Peoples & Cultures

  • Cities of the Red Night

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    While young men wage war against an evil empire of zealous mutants, the population of this modern inferno is afflicted with the epidemic of a radioactive virus. An opium-infused apocalyptic vision from the legendary author of Naked Lunch is the first of the trilogy with The Places of the Dead Roads and his final novel, The Western Plains.

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    The Halt During the Chase

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    Finally back in print, a remarkable, hilarious coming-of-age novel from the cult classic writer Rosemary Tonks. 

    Sophie—a clever and charming young woman—is trying to get out from under her mother’s thumb. She’s in love with her childhood friend Philip (pragmatic, attractive, a bit of a bore), but she often worries that she loves him too much for her own good, and that he might only be another thumb to crawl under.
    Both a sincere bildungsroman of Sophie’s attempt to seize a life for herself and a comic masterpiece with cutting observations and asides, The Halt During the Chase is flutteringly alive as it discusses different forms of love, adulthood (“Isn’t buying new lampshades a form of slow death?”), marriage, insecurity, and stifling British snobbery and classism. Sophie’s voice, fueled by Tonks’s acidic narration, evolves from thrashing about in various traps into a triumphant, croaky-throated liberation song.

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    Where the Air Is Clear

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    My name is Ixca Cienfuegos. I was born and I live in Mexico City. Which is not so grave: in Mexico City there is never tragedy but only outrage. Thus begins Carlos Fuentes’s first novel, unfolding a panorama in which many people’s lives depend on the fact that they live in today’s Mexico City, where the air is clear and yet filled with the old gods and devils still struggling to overcome the new, where a long and bloody revolution is still being fought and paid for in flesh. The vividness of Fuentes’s characters and the country that is theirs has made many critics claim this as his best novel. It is unquestionably among the finest works of literature to be produced in the Western Hemisphere.

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    A Conference of Victims

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    First published in 1966, A Conference of Victims charts the corrosive power of guilt and loneliness, showing how one terrible act can possess a family

    Hal O. Costigan, candidate for Congress, is the kind of man people envy. He has a loving wife, a supportive family, and a devoted mother. Friendly, intelligent, successful, he is a man on the rise—until he is caught in an affair with a high school girl and commits suicide. On election day the reporters have forgotten him, and the radio doesn’t mention his name.

    Around Hal’s hometown, however, a handful of people continue lives that will be forever haunted by his memory. Naomi who is thrown nearly out of her mind by her brother’s suicide questions even her own reason for living.
    Gina Berriault’s work as a storywriter of great psychological empathy and extraordinary elegance and subtlety was celebrated widely at the end of her life and, with this reissue of one of her more celebrated short novels, her work can be discovered by a new generation of readers. 

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    The Lights of Earth

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    A master of the short form, Gina Berriault stands somewhere between Chekhov and Isaac Babel in style and psychological acuity—and in this beautiful new edition of one of her most beloved novellas, she traces the changing relationships between one woman and two fellow novelists.

    When it was first published, Andre Dubus said of The Lights of Earth, “Like her stories, it’s masterly. Its central character is a woman, Ilona Lewis, who confronts loss of earthly love. But Ilona’s experience is far more complex than losing a man because he has become a celebrity. It involves the hearts of all of us seeking the lights of earth, the soul’s blessing in its long, dark night.”
    Forsaken by her lover as he gains fame as a novelist, Ilona is stirred by the need to remember the brother she left behind long ago. Revealing the precious worth of life that emerges from the depths of loss, The Lights of Earth is a deeply moving exploration of the soul and a masterwork of style and psychological acuity from one of the most celebrated voices in contemporary fiction.
    Gina Berriault’s work as a storywriter of great psychological empathy and extraordinary elegance and subtlety was widely praised at the end of her life and, with this reissue of one of her more celebrated short novels, her work can be discovered by a new generation of readers.

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    The Selected Stories of Xu Zechen

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    This book contains six works that each reflect the different styles of the author in each period of his work, paying attention to men of low status, memories of childhood, campus life, and the living conditions of Beijing’s drifters. Told in a straightforward manner, all the stories in this book are told in the first person and can be regarded together as a spiritual autobiography. Xu Zechen won the sixth Lu Xun Literature Award for short stories, and short stories have always been the focus and intention of his creation.

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    Four women from La Plata, Argentina, are forced to suffer through a series of ordeals thanks to their impoverished, dysfunctional family—in this darkly comic literary masterpiece from Aurora Venturini, never before translated into English

    At the age of eighty-five, Aurora Venturini stunned Argentine readers when her darkly funny and formally daring novel, Cousins (Las primas), won Página/12’s New Novel Award. She had already written more than forty books, but it was only then, in 2007, that she was widely recognized as a paradigm-shifting voice in Spanish-language literature.

    Venturini never stopped writing in her ninety-two years, and produced an oeuvre that is mischievous and stylish, vital and mysterious, and completely original. She lived a life immersed in the literature and culture of the twentieth century: her first award was given to her in person by Jorge Luis Borges; she was friends and colleagues with Eva Perón; and when she lived in exile in Paris, she socialized with a sparkling milieu of writers and philosophers, including Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.

    Cousins, widely regarded as Venturini’s masterpiece, is the story of four women from an impoverished, dysfunctional family in La Plata, Argentina, who are forced to suffer through a series of ordeals, including illegal abortions, miscarriages, sexual abuse, disfigurement, and murder, narrated by a daughter whose success as a painter offers her a chance to achieve economic independence and help her family as best as she can.

    Neighborhood mythologies, family, female sexuality, vengeance, and social mobility through art are explored and scrutinized in the unmistakable voice of Yuna—who stares wildly at the world in which she is compelled to live—a voice unique in contemporary literature whose unconventional style can be candid, brutal, sharp, and utterly breathtaking. With the translation of Cousins into several languages for the first time, Aurora Venturini is now being discovered internationally and championed as a major voice in Latin American literature.

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    My Men

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    “My Men is a stylistic tour de force . . . It reads like an expressionist prose-poem penned by a stark-minded zealot . . . Kielland is clearly a gifted writer, and My Men is an impressively realized creation.” —Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

    “This fascinating, off-kilter novel about a female serial killer is an unexpectedly thrilling read.”
    —Karl Ove Knausgård, author of My Struggle and The Morning Star

    “Kielland’s dense, lyrical novel offers both insight and opacity . . .  Despite the subject matter, this novel is not your typical thriller. The language, in Searls’ translation, is dense, poetic, and deeply figurative.” —Kirkus Reviews

    Based on the true story of Norwegian maid turned Midwestern farmwife Belle Gunness, the first female serial killer in American history. My Men is a fictional account of one broken woman’s descent into inescapable madness.

    Among thousands of other Norwegian immigrants seeking freedom, Brynhild Størset emigrated to the American Upper Midwest in the late nineteenth century, changing her name and her life. As Bella, later Belle Gunness, she came in search of not only fortune and true faith but, most of all, love.

    From Victoria Kielland, a rising star of Norwegian literature, comes My Men, a literary reimagining of the harrowing true story of Belle Gunness, who slowly but irreversibly turned to senseless murder for release from her pain, becoming America’s first known female serial killer. In pursuit of her American Dream, Kielland’s Belle grows increasingly alienated, ruthless, and perversely compelling.

    Raw, visceral, and altogether hypnotic, My Men is a brutal yet radically empathetic glimpse into the world of a woman consumed by desire.

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    Juno Loves Legs

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    For readers of Sally Rooney and fans of Shuggie Bain and Just Kids, Juno Loves Legs is the epic and heartbreaking story of a young friendship set in working-class Dublin in the 1980s

    Juno Loves Legs is the story of two teens labeled as delinquents. Juno and “Legs” grow up on the same housing estate in Dublin, where spirited, intelligent Juno is ostracized for her poverty and Legs is persecuted for his sexuality; they find safety only in each other.

    Set against the backdrop of Dublin in the 1980s, a place of political, social and religious change, the friends yearn for an unbound life and together they begin to fight to take up the space of who they truly are. As their defiance reverberates through their lives, the children are further alienated from their surrounding society through acts of bravery and cowardice, both their own and others’. Finding themselves as outsiders, they are feared, coveted and watched, but rarely truly seen.

    Told through the eyes of Juno, we see the pair begin to navigate the political and oftentimes confusing adult world with honesty and intuition. A country emerging from a dark Catholicism into the wider world of possibilities. Who is invited into modernity and gentrification and who is left behind?

    Caught between the rich depth of her intellect and the harsh reality of her life, we follow Juno as she begins to understand how divergent a life lived and a life thought can be.

    Juno Loves Legs shows the frustration of feeling trapped in a life that is not yours and the ability of friendship to lift us out of our experiences and into a truer version of ourselves. It is a novel that reminds us that kindness, bravery, and love appear in places where they are not always expected and in forms not usually recognised, but with a potency that cannot be ignored.

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    Peace Adzo Medie, author of Reese’s Book Club pick His Only Wife, returns with a moving novel about the unbreakable power of female friendship.

    When Selasi and Akorfa were young girls in Ghana, they were more than just cousins; they were inseparable. Selasi was exuberant and funny, Akorfa quiet and studious. They would do anything for each other, imploring their parents to let them be together, sharing their secrets and desires and private jokes.

    Then Selasi begins to change, becoming hostile and quiet; her grades suffer and she builds a space around herself, shutting Akorfa out. Meanwhile, Akorfa is accepted to an American university with the goal of becoming a doctor. Although hopeful that she can create a fuller life as a woman in America, she discovers the insidious ways that racism places obstacles in her path once she leaves Ghana. It takes a crisis to bring the friends back together, with Selasi’s secret revealed and Akorfa forced to reckon with her role in their estrangement.

    A riveting depiction of class and family in Ghana, a compelling exploration of memory, and an eye-opening story of life as an African-born woman in the United States, Nightbloom is above all a gripping and beautifully written novel attesting to the strength of female bonds in the face of societies that would prefer to silence women.


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    The Son

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    The haunting story of a woman who desires “something more, as if something more had been promised her that was not yet given.”

    Vivian Carpentier, confined by her role as an upper class woman in the 1940s, gleans meaning only from erotic love. Troubled by the elusiveness of men, yet convinced that they run the world, she can barely conceal her desperation to entice. Struggling with motherhood and the failure of marriage, she takes jobs to bridge intervals between lovers. She sings in a hotel bar, sells dresses, and nurses her father’s friend through his last illness, hoping to atone for a self-centered life. The constant in Vivian’s life is her son, David. Having seen her worst and best moments, he provides her with consolation and a reason for living.

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    Second Star

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    A #1 bestseller in France, Second Star is an inspiring series of lyrical meditations on life’s smallest moments, from peeling a clementine, drinking a cold mojito, to washing your windows

    A still life in motion, Second Star “consumes the present” with a patient curiosity, asking us to “put off tomorrow” and join Philippe Delerm in tasting, touching, listening, and noticing.

    Whether biting into a bitter turnip or savoring a summer evening in June, Philip Delerm’s literary snapshots transport us to simple, often overlooked sensations and pleasures, and, pausing, expand a moment or emotion outwards in concentric circles.
    Vividly translated by Jody Gladding, these evocative vignettes invite us to linger, to “savor the few moments of silence”––as if each bite of a ripe watermelon, each exhaled breath on a bitterly cold day, each cloudy evening on the beach, were our last.

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    My Life as Edgar

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    A sensitive portrait of one boy’s travels from earliest consciousness through his salad days in the countryside and onward by a “genius” of “nuanced interior moments” (Los Angeles Times)

    Fabre’s ability to act as a “discreet megaphone of the man in the crowd” (Elle Magazine) will take you by surprise and leave an immutable mark on your heart.
    Edgar loves nothing more than listening to the birds in the trees, the squeaking of moles in nearby chalk quarries, the conversations trickling out of the carpeted offices surrounding his favorite park in the suburbs of Paris. He also listens to the hushed conversations of passersby, strangers who whisper that he is “not all there.” But what constitutes the supposedly insufficient character of Edgar’s interior life?
    Dominique Fabre gives himself over to Edgar’s way of seeing, his sensitivity, his innocence and wisdom, his longings and perceptions, his tentative interpolations into the social fabric of 1960s France, and in each passage we find a stirring answer.

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    The Waitress Was New

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    This “charming . . . short account of ordinary goings-on in a French café” explores love, work, loneliness, and aging as it follows the daily life of a middle-aged Parisian bartender (Lemony Snicket)   Pierre is a veteran bartender in a café in the outskirts of Paris. He observes his customers as they come and go—the young man who drinks beer as he reads Primo Levi, the fellow who from time-to-time strips down and plunges into the nearby Seine, the few regulars who eat and drink there on credit—sizing them up with great accuracy and empathy. Pierre doesn’t look outside more than necessary; he prefers to let the world come to him.   Soon, however, the café must close its doors, and Pierre finds himself at a loss. As we follow his stream of thoughts over three days, Pierre’s humanity and profound solitude both emerge. The Waitress Was New is a moving portrait of human anguish and weakness, of understated nobility and strength.

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