The Japanese Lover
by Isabel Allende
In 1939, 8-year-old Alma Belasco is sent from Poland to live with relatives in California, where she meets Ichimei Fukuda. The two are inseparable playmates until Ichimei is forced into internment after Pearl Harbor. Despite many obstacles, their friendship grows into a passionate love that perseveres over seven decades. Library Journal calls it “a beautiful tribute to devotion” and praises “Allende's literary artistry.”
Twain and Stanley Enter Paradise
by Oscar Hijuelos
Before his death in 2013, Hijuelos worked for more than a decade on this vivid portrait of Welsh-born explorer Henry Morton Stanley, his friendship with Mark Twain and his marriage to wealthy artist Dorothy Tennant. Hijuelos enlivens the story with fabricated diary entries, letters and autobiography, in what Booklist calls “an extraordinary feat of imaginative historical re-creation.” The late author is best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1989).
by Mary Gaitskill
Disadvantaged Dominican American teenager Velveteen "Velvet" Vargas spends summers away from her home and family in Brooklyn through the Fresh Air Fund, staying at Paul and Ginger’s place in upstate New York. While Velvet discovers new skills and a new understanding of self through a connection with a neglected horse, Paul, a professor, harbors huge misgivings about this social experiment and Ginger, a troubled artist, becomes increasingly obsessive about Velvet’s home life. Kirkus calls The Mare “candid and emotionally complex, spare, real, and deeply affecting.” Gaitskill is the author of short stories, essays and novels including the National Book Award nominee Veronica (2005).
The Big Green Tent
by Ludmila Ulitskaya
In Cold War-era Soviet Union, a love of literature takes three brilliant and creative childhood friends down an inevitable path of dissident activity, in an examination of the power of books, art and music under the forces of anti-Semitism, censorship and oppression. Publishers Weekly calls it “enthralling,” promising “readers will come away wholly satisfied.” Kirkus laments, “The greatest tragedy of Ulitskaya's story is that it comes to an end.”
by Umberto Eco, translated by Richard Dixon
Colonna, a struggling writer, is hired by a shady hotel magnate to ghostwrite a book about the newspaper he’s founding, which will focus on gossip, conspiracies and scandals. It also might be the perfect tool for blackmail. Now Colonna’s falling for a celebrity columnist and fearing for his life. “Eco's caustically clever, darkly hilarious, dagger-quick tale of lies, crimes, and collusions condemns the shameless corruption and greed undermining journalism and governments everywhere” (Booklist). Philosopher Eco’s best known novel is The Name of the Rose (1994).
The Improbability of Love
by Hannah Rothschild
When young, broke chef Annie McDee impulsively purchases a painting from a junk shop, she unwittingly upends the art world. The lost work by master painter Watteau has touched many lives, and their connected histories unfurl, highlighted with sumptuous depictions of art and food. Kirkus calls it “smart, well-written, and thoroughly gripping” and Library Journal touts it as “the next irresistible blend of art, mystery, and intrigue along the lines of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch.”
One Out of Two
by Daniel Sada
A comic novella about identical twins Constitución and Gloria Gamal, who are practically the same person and have been since they were orphaned at age 13. Now in their forties, they dress alike, they wear the same hairstyle, and sometimes they switch identities. When Constitución meets Oscar Segura, she wonders: why not share the romance with her sister? The late Mexican author Sada was “known for his playfully extravagant style, a mix of earthy colloquialisms and fancy syntax” (Kirkus). “For fans of succinct, clever fiction” (Booklist).
by Toni Sala, translated by Mara Faye Lethem
A mysterious car accident leaves two teenage boys dead, an event that reverberates in a small Catalonian town near the Pyrenees in Spain. At the heart of this haunting and contemplative novel are four people who are deeply struck by this event whether they knew the boys or not. Kirkus calls it “a compelling existential mystery” and “altogether brilliant.” The Boys received Catalonia’s highest literary honor.
Lifelines: New Writing from Bangladesh
edited by Farah Ghuznavi
This groundbreaking anthology features women writers from Bangladesh, examining many facets of their lives and cultural identity. Author Elif Shafak calls the collection “engaging and rich,” saying “Rarely, an anthology manages to capture our hearts and challenge our minds at the same time and with equal fervor. This book does precisely that.”
The Lost Garden
by Ang Li, translated by Sylvia Li-chun Lin and Howard Goldblatt
Yinghong, a Taiwanese woman, looks back on her tender relationship with her father, a wealthy, genteel man who was imprisoned for his political beliefs. Meanwhile, she is caught up in an intensely passionate relationship with a materialistic and stylish young businessman who loves the nightlife of Taipei. “An exploration of contemporary Taiwan through the lens of the past, this novel hits many poignant notes as it threads its way” (Kirkus). Li is the author of The Butcher's Wife (1983).
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