The Underground Railroad
by Colson Whitehead
What happens Oprah selects your new novel for her book club? Your publisher secretly releases your book a month early! So even though technically this book has been out since early August, we can’t miss the opportunity to mention the latest release from a major American talent and MacArthur Foundation “genius”. Cora is a young slave who flees the violence and terror of her Georgia plantation via a system of literal, not metaphorical, subterranean steam trains. The Underground Railroad is a “fully realized masterpiece, a weird blend of history and fantasy that will have critics rightfully making comparisons to Toni Morrison and Gabriel García-Márquez.” (Boston Globe) It “resonates with deep emotional timbre” and “disrupts our settled sense of the past and stretches the ligaments of history right into our own era.” (Washington Post) And it’s on Obama’s summer reading list.
Please don’t be discouraged by the long hold list for this book. As usual, the more holds we have, the more copies we’ll buy, so please get in line!
by Ann Patchett
An illicit kiss breaks apart two families and reconfigures them into a blended mashup with six stepsiblings. Years later, their secrets are agonizingly exposed when one of the sisters shares the family history with her lover, a famous writer who bases a blockbuster novel on their story. “This is Patchett's most autobiographical novel, a sharply funny, chilling, entrancing, and profoundly affecting look into one family's 'commonwealth,' its shared affinities, conflicts, loss, and love.” (Booklist) “Irresistible.” (Library Journal) Patchett is the recipient of multiple awards including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize; her novels include Bel Canto (2001) and State of Wonder (2011).
by Emma Donoghue
In rural 1850s Ireland, 11-year-old Anna O'Donnell hasn’t eaten in four month as a miraculous testament to her devotion to God. English nurse Lib Wright has been sent to find out if the O’Donnells are perpetrating a hoax but instead soon fears that they’re slowly committing their child’s murder. “Heart-hammering suspense builds as Lib monitors Anna's quickening pulse, making this book's bracing conclusion one of the most satisfying in recent fiction.” (Library Journal) Donoghue is best known for her acclaimed and bestselling novel Room (2010).
by Juan Gabriel Vasquez, translated by Anne McLean
Javier Mallorino is a celebrated and influential Columbian cartoonist. Just as the government is honoring his career by issuing a commemorative postage stamp, an unexpected visit from a young woman forces him to look back on a cartoon that had devastating ramifications, calling his life’s work into question. “A brisk and sophisticated study of a conscience in crisis” with “plenty of philosophical bite.” (Kirkus Reviews) Vasquez’s novel The Sound of Things Falling (2014) won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
by Nisi Shawl
Tiptree Award-winner Shawl imagines an alternative history in which a utopian nation called Everfair is established in the midst of a brutally colonized Congo during the late 18th century. In Everfair, Congolese people can live freely alongside members of a returning African Diaspora and others who have fled their oppressors from around the globe. “Elegant, rendered with masterful craft in simple, compelling language—a tour de force of Shawl's tremendous ability to create deeply nuanced characters.” (Booklist) “This highly original story blends steampunk and political intrigue in a compelling new view of a dark piece of human history.” (Publishers Weekly)
by Peter Ho Davies
Davies explores the Chinese immigrant experience in America through four novellas, four settings and four protagonists. There’s the life of Ling, an orphan and railroad organizer in the 19th century west, Hollywood starlet Anna May Wong in the 1930s, Vincent Chin, a victim of violence near Detroit in the early 1980s, and a present day couple who head to China in hopes of adopting a child. Publishers Weekly gushes: “The book's scope is impressive,” praising the novel’s “utter intimacy and honesty of each character's introspection” and “the depth and the texture created by the juxtaposition of different eras,” and concluding that it’s “a brilliant, absorbing masterpiece.” Davies has been hailed as one of the Best Young British Novelists by Granta and his first novel, The Welsh Girl (2007), was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist.
by Laia Jufresa, translated by Sophie Hughes
Agatha Christie mysteries help 12-year-old Ana pass the time and forget her grief over the death of her younger sister. When Ana decides to plant a garden in the Mexico City courtyard her family shares with four other homes, the secrets and sorrows of her neighbors begin to unfold. “Panoramic, affecting, and funny, these narratives entwine to weave a unique portrait of present-day Mexico” from “an extremely talented young writer.” (The Millions)
by Michelle Tea
Beloved San Francisco author Michelle Tea’s autobiographical novel touches on many of her usual themes such as addiction, queer love and creativity, but with a dystopian twist. The protagonist, an author named Michelle, flees alcohol, drugs and a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco in a quest for art and love in Los Angeles while the end of the world looms. Black Wave “is a genre- and reality-bending story of quiet triumph for the perennial screw-up and unabashed outsider. A biting, sagacious, and delightfully dark metaliterary novel about finding your way in a world on fire.” (Kirkus)
by Viet Dinh
Disaster workers descend on Gujarat, India following a devastating earthquake in 2001. Among them are Dev, a Delhi-based doctor, his ex, Ted, a New York based newbie to USAID who has arrived with veteran aid worker Piotr, and British firefighter Andy. Their lives intertwine as they grapple with the logistical and cultural ramifications of the disaster and their own motivations and shortcomings. “Short-story author Dinh's impressive storytelling abilities are on display in this mesmerizing debut novel.” (Library Journal) “Shocking, engaging, and moving, this novel embraces humanity in all its messy, thrilling complexity.” (Kirkus)
Deceit and Other Possibilities
by Vanessa Hua
Local author Hua debuts with a collection of stories that spring from a variety of immigrant experiences. “Hua's ability to imagine the detailed lives of her disparate characters, including a sex-scandal runaway, missionary saviors, and a lock-picking immigrant, gives her stories impact, despite a few jarring endings… Winner of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award and other honors, Hua is a writer to watch.” (Booklist) “This collection is funny and sad, quick-witted and thought provoking.” (Bustle)
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