God Help the Child
by Toni Morrison
Nobel winner Morrison introduces us to Lula Ann, born with dark skin that repels her light skinned mother who withholds the affection her child desperately craves. As an adult, Lula Ann reinvents herself, renames herself Bride and becomes a success in the beauty industry. But she cannot escape her painful past, and her path connects with others who bear childhood scars. “The strength of the novel... is that it becomes a swirl of deep emotions, sucking the reader in” (Booklist).
Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes
by Per Petterson
The acclaimed Norwegian author’s new novel, I Refuse, is about Tommy and Jim, best friends growing up who haven’t seen each other since a tragic accident 35 years earlier. A chance meeting prompts them to look back on their lives. Publishers Weekly says I Refuse “might be his saddest, most powerful take yet on families torn asunder, missed opportunities, lost friendships, and regrets that span a lifetime.”
Fans can rejoice in the melancholy: a second Petterson book arrives this month. Ashes in My Mouth, Sand in My Shoes is a collection of linked stories featuring Arvid Jansen, a character who has also appeared in I Curse the River of Time and It's Fine by Me. This debut work was originally published in 1987, and is just now available in English. “A bittersweet read that can be fully savored in one sitting” (Publishers Weekly).
The Turner House
by Angela Flournoy
Viola, the matriarchal widow of the Turner family and mother of 13 grown children, is ailing and must move in with her eldest son Cha-Cha. But what will become of the house on Yarrow Street, her home of over 50 years, in a state of decline along with the rest of their Detroit neighborhood and saddled with an underwater mortgage? The sibling squabbles mount as the family saga unfolds. Booklist calls it a “wonderfully lively debut novel” and “a compelling read that is funny and moving in equal measure.”
by Viet Thanh Nguyen
A half-Vietnamese, half-French young man looks back at the fall of Saigon, his flight to the United States as a refugee and his new life in Southern California. He’s a double agent: a Communist sympathizer working for the South Vietnamese Army, torn between two loyalties, two cultures and two lands. “Ultimately a meditation on war, political movements, America's imperialist role, the CIA, torture, loyalty, and one's personal identity, this is a powerful, thought-provoking work” (Library Journal). “Both chilling and funny, and a worthy addition to the library of first-rate novels about the Vietnam War” (Kirkus).
The Water Museum: Stories
by Luis Alberto Urrea
Thirteen stories set in the Southwest explore territory such as cross cultural love, racial politics and the effects of interminable drought with language that ranges from “spare eloquence” to “lush, Latin and slangy”(Kirkus). Publishers Weekly calls this book “darkly funny” with stories that are “vibrant, tender, and invoke a strong sense of place.” Urrea is an acclaimed novelist, poet and essayist best known for the 2005 novel The Hummingbird's Daughter and the 2004 nonfiction book The Devil's Highway, a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
by Chigozie Obioma
Trouble ensues in 1990s Nigeria when Eme, husband and father of six, receives a job transfer, moving him to Yola while his wife and children remain in Akure. In their father’s absence, the four eldest brothers flaunt family rules by fishing at the Omi-Ala, a river that is dangerous, dirty and steeped in superstition. An encounter there with Abulu, a madman and perhaps prophet, launches a series of turbulent and tragic events. “The talented Obioma exhibits a richly nuanced understanding of culture and character. A powerful, haunting tale of grief, healing, and sibling loyalty” (Kirkus). You can read the first chapter of The Fishermen here.
by Aline Ohanesian
Orhan has travelled from Istanbul to the small Turkish village of his youth to discover that he has inherited his grandfather’s business, but the family’s ancestral home has been left to a mysterious woman in an Armenian nursing home in Los Angeles. Family secrets unravel as does the history between Turkey and Armenia. Booklist calls it a “heartrending debut” and Kirkus calls it “a novel that delves into the darkest corners of human history and emerges with a tenuous sense of hope.”
The Children's Crusade
by Ann Packer
From the author of The Dive from Clausen's Pier (2002), a family drama set in Silicon Valley unfolds over three decades, featuring a physician and devoted father, an artist and an absent, unhappy mother, and their four children. With the passing of the patriarch comes division and discord as the siblings argue over whether or not to sell the family home. Publishers Weekly raves, “Packer is an accomplished storyteller whose characters are as real as those you might find around your dinner table. Readers will be taken with this vibrant novel.” Packer is also the author of Songs Without Words (2007) and Swim Back to Me (2011).
The Distant Marvels
by Chantel Acevedo
In 1963, as Hurricane Flora approaches Cuba, 82-year-old María Sirena Alonso prefers to stay home, but is compelled to shelter with others in a historic mansion. A former lector in a cigar factory, she passes the storm by regaling her shelter compatriots with astonishing and moving stories from her life and Cuban history. Booklist calls it “a major, uniquely powerful, and startlingly beautiful novel” and Kirkus praises its “irresistible moments of rebellion and bravery.” Acevedo’s first novel, Love and Ghost Letters (2005), won the Latino International Book Award.
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