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OC TOBER/NOVEMBER 2020

Read Global Books in Translation

WHAT TO READ NEXT IN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING


OUR STORY

S H E LF

U N B O U N D

M A G A Z I N E All we wanted was a really good magazine. About books. That was full of the really great stuff. So we made it. And we really like it. And we hope you do, too. Because we’re just getting started.

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Lamb to the

Slaughter by Pete Delohery A novel about love and cour age, sin and redemption “Iron” Mike McGann is facing the twilight of his prizefighting career. Desperate for his future, he has refused to honor his promise to his wife to quit the ring and start a family. Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard is the most menacing presence in prizefighting. But behind his menacing ring presence lives a man nobody knows, a complex man who despises his own image. Rufus “Hurricane” Hilliard vs. “Iron” Mike McGann, just another fight shown on The Continuous Sports Network, but by the time it is over the lives of these and many others will be forever different.

“This heartfelt tale makes a powerful emotional impact.” —Blue Ink Starred Review Also in Spanish: El Cordero al matadero Available in print and e-book at Amazon, xlibris, and Barnes & Noble.

w w w. p e t e d e l o h e r y. c o m

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Shelf Unbound Staff. PRESIDENT, EDITOR IN CHIEF Sarah Kloth PARTNER, PUBLISHER Debra Pandak CREATIVE DIRECTOR Anna Trokan COPY EDITOR Molly Niklasch CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Megan Lord Sara Grochowski Lynn Russo V. Jolene Miller Christian Brown D.L. Graser Gabriella Guerra FINANCE MANAGER Jane Miller

For Advertising Inquiries: e-mail sarah@shelfmediagroup.com For editorial inquiries: e-mail media@shelfmediagroup.com

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OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020

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THE EMERGENCE OF HIV A NOVEL

DAVID CORNISH MD

Dr. Arthur Noble is a brilliant first-year medical resident in San Francisco, who has a stellar career ahead of him. However, all of Noble’s skills are put to the test when he encounters a strange new illness.  The ailment seemingly appears out of nowhere, and serves its victims a most horrible and brutal death.   Noble struggles to find answers to the medical mystery, even as many researchers and society refuse to believe it is a serious threat, or that it even exists.1980 is an authentic medical story about a disease that will eventually have an unimaginable impact on the entire world.

1980 is a fascinating read written with the medical professional in mind. It paints a complete picture of the early days of the crisis. …one of the most frightening mysteries of modern medicine. Medical professionals will find it fascinating and the general public, compelling.” - A&U Magazine, America’s AIDS Magazine

Available at

Print ISBN: 978-1-54392-803-7 eBook ISBN: 978-1-54392-804-4

Check out David Cornish’s first novel, 1918, about the influenza pandemic that killed 100 million people.

Print ISBN: 9780692334805 eBook ISBN: 9780692334812

WWW.DAVIDCORNISHBOOKS.COM

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OCTOBER / NOVEMBER CONTENTS FEATURES

I N TH IS

ISSUE

26 Bookstagram

22 Black Authors in English Translation By Lynn Russo Whylly

30 Interview with Translotrs of Gardnen

36 Interview: Robert Chandler

51 Recommended Reading

114 Indie Reviews

By by Sara Grochowski

By The Sea, Martha Tennent and Maruxa Relaño By V. Jolene Miller

SECTIONS

99 Book Shelf

12 Interview with Jayant Kaikini

By V. Jolene Miller

126 Interview with Translator for The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa By Gabrielle Guerra

124 On Our Shelf

ON P G 126

I NTE RV I E W W ITH TR A N S L ATO R O F TH E M E M O RY P O LI C E COLUMNS 95 Girl Plus Book

Sara Grochowski

104 Reading on the Run V. Jolene Miller

108 Book Mom

Megan Verway

110 Fit Lit

Christian Brown

112 Small Press Reviews Shannon Ishizaki

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A WORD FROM THE PUBLISHER

Books In Translation. BY SARAH KLOTH, PUBLISHER

This past year, I had the opportunity to visit Belize. This was my first trip outside of the U.S. and also my first ride in a little 12 passenger plane. More than the typical fancy resorts with their pool bars and mini desserts with fruit on top, I got to experience the real Belize. I enjoyed the best meal I've ever had from women just outside of Providence (complete with homemade tortilla shells), and caught and cooked fresh lobster, conch and crab from a local fisherman’s camping spot known as conch island. Consumed by the local culture, I was able to experience something truly amazing, something I would have missed by staying local. Like travel, reading global allows you to experience other cultures beyond what you learn in history books or on travel shows. Translated fiction delivers new voices we as readers connect to from across the globe.

And we have access to these stories thanks to the translators and editors committed to sharing more these stories across multiple languages. In this issue: Interview with Jayant Kaikin, author of short story No Presents Please. Q&A with Black Authors in English Translation. Interview with mother daughter team, Martha Tennent and Maruxa Relaño, translators of Garden By The Sea. Interview with Robert Chandler, translator of Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad. Interview with Stephen Snyder, translator for The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa. 

Right, Dog on Conch Island. Left, Conch Island, Belize. 7


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Rio

A Love Story

How My Dog Saved My Life by Joni darc Shepherd

Dog owners will be entertained by Rio and darc Shepherd’s journey … the story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking ... Rio will ring true to dog lovers …” – Blue Ink Review Most of us will experience tragedy and heartbreak during our lives. Rio – A Love Story is a heartwarming memoir of a girl’s family tragedies, the loss of her closest family and support system overnight. She fell into depression and needed a miracle. This miracle appeared in the form of a charming show dog who gave her unconditional love and guided her from sadness to a renewed passion for life. Join them on their inspirational and entertaining journey through the dog show world to rewarding community service, and their magical journey continues.

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Compelling thriller based on a true story, an American citizen turned spy must do everything in his power to stop a cycle of dark events before more innocent civilians die at

It is 1940 and Europe is in crisis. Adolph Hitler is leading Germany, the Italians have declared war on Great Britain and France, and the Luftwaffe is attacking Great Britain. Carlton Fuller, a husband, father, lawyer, and common citizen of the United States, is going about his day in Cleveland when he receives a strange phone call from General William Donovan, future director of the Office of Strategic Services.

www.codenamearcangelbrucejarvis.com 10

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Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry Poems by John Murillo

Murillo proves himself to be steeped in the traditions of American poetry, carving his own path and curating his own canon....” — Diego Báez, Booklist

“Maybe memory is the only home you get. And rage, where you first learn how fragile the axis upon which everything tilts.”

Four Way Books. Literary publishers since 1993. Available where books are sold and through www.fourwaybooks.com

Buy Online

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INTERVIEW

Interview: Jayant Kaikini.

Author of short story No Presents Please

BY SARA GROCHOWSKI

01 Earlier this year, in July, Indian writer and poet Jayant Kaikini published his first book in the US, No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories (Catapult Press). Translated from Kannada by Tejaswini Niranjana, this collection introduces compelling and memorable small-town migrants working to build a life in the big city of Mumbai. Kaikini spoke with Shelf Unbound about the complimentary natures of science and art, his interest in a wide range of forms and formats, and his interest in writing about Mumbai.

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CONTINUED

YOU’RE A TRAINED BIOCHEMIST WHO WORKED IN PHARMACEUTICALS FOR 20 YEARS. HOW AND WHEN DID YOUR CAREER AS AN ARTIST AND WRITER BEGIN?

JK: I started reading and writing in my teens, long before I became a biochemist. Poems happened to me like pimples! I published my first book of poems when I was 19. Science is an art and art is a science; both are deeply involved in understanding the plight of a human being, so they are mutually complimentary. Literature or art is like an electro-cardiogram of our times and society.

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INTERVIEW

of it for ourselves. Each story or poem is like a window. Purpose is about opening it to a light breeze and a view beyond. Each story has its own body and soul. The shape of the fish is hydrodynamically designed for swimming. The shape of the bird is aerodynamically designed for flying. In the same way, the form of each story is designed by its soul. I don't search for subjects or stories or characters; it’s the other way around. They are in search of me. I must get lost so that they can find me. THIS IS YOUR FIRST VOLUME OF SELECTED STORIES AND THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE BEEN PUBLISHED IN

YOU’RE A POET, SHORT STORY

NORTH AMERICA. WHAT DO YOU HOPE

WRITER, COLUMNIST, AND

FOR THIS COLLECTION AS IT REACHES

PLAYWRIGHT, AS WELL AS A LYRICIST,

READERS?

SCRIPT AND DIALOGUE WRITER. DO

JK: It’s always exciting to reach new readers in new spaces. Each new reader with his own sensibility breathes into the book, giving a new life to the characters and situations... Isn't it a heartening cultural osmosis?

YOU FIND YOURSELF DRAWN MORE STRONGLY TO A CERTAIN FORM OF STORYTELLING? OR, DOES ONE COME MORE NATURALLY?

JK: Each form has its own restlessness and secret silence. Forms are very unique to the experiences they are trying to understand or evoke or create. I am not talking about the craft or skill part of it, but the experience that is created, so I relish every form. Life has no structure, no form. It is non-literary! It just flows. It is we who try to give a structure to it to make sense

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO FOCUS THIS COLLECTION SPECIFICALLY ON MUMBAI AND ITS PEOPLE?

JK: Mumbai is a hardworking city that has evolved into a liberating, nonjudgmental, collective mind. This city has transcended all man-made class, caste, creed, religious, gender, and linguistic barriers by sheer hard

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CONTINUED

work. Mumbai by default is a spiritual space because of its minimalistic living conditions. No physical or mental space for frills, flab, or extra baggage. This non-fussy city speaks in a language that is a leveler. It never uses respectful plural, which is used in other Indian languages. Only Mumbai allows my characters or situations to be what they are. In a way, this bunch of stories reflects the collective mind of Mumbai. HOW INVOLVED WERE YOU IN THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING THE COLLECTION? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR TRANSLATOR?

JK: Tejaswini Niranjana, who has translated these stories, has been a dear friend for five decades. And she too lived in Mumbai and loves the place. We jointly decided which 16 stories would be picked from my five Kannada anthologies that have been published in the last four decades. Maybe we met once to discuss retaining typical Mumbai multilingual expressions like "khalaas" or "khaalipeeli". Other than this, there was no involvement from my side in the translation process at all. That's why the book is what it is. I feel translation is always safest in the hands of a poet because a poet is well tuned to the unsaid. Tejaswini is a fine English poet who published her debut poetry book as a teenager!

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INTERVIEW

ARE THERE AUTHORS OR ARTISTS THAT YOU FEEL HAVE INFLUENCED YOUR WORK?

JK: My father Gourish Kaikini (1912-2002), a radical humanist, schoolteacher, and writer, has influenced me deeply. He was fond of music, theatre, science, philosophy, art, and literature. We had good collections of books at home. The modernist movement in Kannada literature was naturally dear to my growing mind and Kannada writers like Yashwant Chittal, Tejaswi, A.K. Ramanujan, Khaasnees, Shantinath Desai, K.V. Tirumalesh, filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Aravindan, and theatre directors like Satyadev Dubey and Badal Sarcar have enriched my sensibility and restlessness. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jayant Kaikini is a Kannada poet, short story writer, columnist, and playwright, as well as an award-winning lyricist and script and dialogue writer for Kannada films. He won his first Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Award at the age of nineteen in 1974 and has since won the award three times, in addition to winning various other awards in India, including the first Kusumagraj Rashtriya Bhasha Sahitya Puraskar. No Presents Please, his volume of selected stories, is the first book in translation to have won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. î –


CONTINUED

01

INTERVIEW

ABOUT THE BOOK

NO PRESENTS PLEASE Catapult Press For readers of Jhumpa Lahiri and Rohinton Mistry, as well as Lorrie Moore and George Saunders, here are stories on the pathos and comedy of small-town migrants struggling to build a life in the big city, with the dream world of Bollywood never far away. Jayant Kaikini’s gaze takes in the people in the corners of Mumbai—a bus driver who, denied vacation time, steals the bus to travel home; a slum dweller who catches cats and sells them for pharmaceutical testing; a father at his wit’s end who takes his mischievous son to a reform institution. In this metropolis, those who seek find epiphanies in dark movie theaters, the jostle of local trains, and even in roadside keychains and lost thermos flasks. Here, in the shade of an unfinished overpass, a factory worker and her boyfriend browse wedding invitations bearing wealthy couples’ affectations—“no presents please”—and look once more at what they own. Translated from the Kannada by Tejaswini Niranjana, these resonant stories, recently awarded the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, take us to photo framers, flower markets, and Irani cafes, revealing a city trading in fantasies while its strivers, eating once a day and sleeping ten to a room, hold secret ambitions close.

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YOU NEVER KNOW WHO’S WATCHING

A cop. An ex-FBI agent turned private eye. His contact within the Bureau. An anti-capitalist activist. A shady financier and his right-hand man. A biker gang. The brother of a murdered woman, seeking vengeance. A software program that can capture subjects’ entire lives on video. What do they have in common? Big Deal Enterprises, America’s largest retailer. When the manager of a Big Deal store is murdered, her brother knows the fault lies with BDE. When activist Liberty Halfnight is threatened just as she’s about to release a damning exposé of BDE, she calls on her PI contact to investigate the corporation. The resulting investigation reveals a slick theft operation, blackmail, and rampant corruption. As pieces of the puzzle fall into place, they realize that sometimes justice is best served outside the law.

PAULTRINETTI.COM ABOUT PAUL

A lifelong resident of Toronto, Paul Trinetti is proud to have worked for his family’s business for nearly twenty-five years. His passion for writing came out of a love of music. As a young child, he became fascinated by the clever storytelling of The Beatles and later with the writing of other artists like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Yes, Rush, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, and Lou Reed. In his spare time, Paul has recorded close to seventy original songs. Paul is also an avid sports fan.

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You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love

by Yona Harvey

...Readers will be captivated by Harvey’s voice and vision.” —Publishers Weekly

“there were no street signs or landmarks just the dark stretching”

Four Way Books. Literary publishers since 1993. Available where books are sold and through www.fourwaybooks.com

Buy Online

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The Perf ection of Fish A Near-Future Fable of Genetics and Identity

Poignant, provocative, hilarious, and original, The Perfection of Fish is an addictive pageturner from a serious new talent”

- BlueInk Review

www. vorpelword.com 19


a deliciously twisted sci-fi mystery with plenty of danger and romance!” — ILoveUniqueBooks.com

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www.kaylinmcfarren.com


AMERICA IS DEAD.

LONG LIVE THE UNITY! “A powerful blend of post-apocalyptic fiction, science fiction and brass-knuckle social commentary ... Outland Exile is a towering tour de force of a novel....Relentlessly visionary, thematically profound, and impeccably edited, it is one of those rare stories that both entertains and enlightens, providing a nightmarish glimpse into America’s post-apocalyptic future that will stay with readers long after the last page is turned. In short, Outland Exile is a must-read for anyone who loves speculative fiction.” –Blue Ink Review

The World is getting older and younger 2129: A mature nation of the young has arisen: Full Employment, Cheap Drugs, Retire at 40! What could possibly go wrong? Middle-aged, 17-year-old, Malila Chiu is sent to the outlands for her errors only to be captured by a middle-aged, disfigured, barbarian poet who claims to be older than the Unity itself. Malila, liberated by her captivity, sees the stars, the laughter in a baby’s eyes, and the illusions foisted upon her by a callous homeland.

FULL SERIES AVAILABLE NOW 21


F E AT U R E A R T I C L E

Black Authors in English Translation. A Q&A ROUNDTABLE BY LYNN RUSSO WHYLLY

These works of fiction, written by black authors in their native language and translated into English, take great care to be true to their country’s culture and history. Doomi Golo—The Hidden Notebooks is a story of pure imagination, but the author also uses it as a platform to help certain tragedies be remembered so as not to be repeated. The other three books are historical fiction. But despite the fact that the painful events revealed in these pages happened decades or in some cases centuries ago, you will notice a very familiar ring as we continue to deal with many of the same issues today, such as racism, war, inequality, and white privilege. These books not only deliver great writing, but they also will make you question how far humanity has, or has not, come. We spoke with the translators of these four books to learn more about the relevance of their authors’ works in today’s society.

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TRANSLATORS:

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VERA WÜLFING-LECKE

SASKIA VOGEL

Doomi Golo—The Hidden Notebooks Author: Boubacar Boris Diop Publisher: Michigan State University Press (2016) Country/language: Senegal/French

They Will Drown in Their Mother’s Tears Author: Johannes Anyuru Publisher: Two Lines Press (2019) Country/language: Sweden/Swedish

ALLISON M. CHARETTE

KAIAMA L. GLOVER

Beyond the Rice Fields Author: Naivoharisoa Patrick Ramamonjisoa Publisher: Restless Books (2017) Country/language: Madagascar/French

Dance on the Volcano Author: Marie Vieux-Chauvet Publisher: Archipelago Books (2017) Country/language: Haiti/French

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020


HOW DOES THIS WORK OF FICTION RELATE TO ACTUAL HISTORY?

VWL: Within its multi-layered, nonlinear framework, the narrator either simply touches upon, or gives an in-depth account of both local and more far-flung events, such as the battle pitting the Damel (king) of Cayor (one of the old kingdoms of Senegal), against his own son, or the day in March 1821 when the Women of Ndeer set themselves alight in a straw hut in a desperate bid to escape slavery. The Joola Ferry Disaster and the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in 1961 are mentioned, as well as ‘The great National Throat Slitting’, a sarcastic allusion to the Rwandan Genocide, among other historic events. AMC: The political and social monarchy, and the major historical events, are happening in the background, but they’re all true. Players such as the first king and queen of what was essentially Madagascar are real, as is French industrialist Jean Laborde. Everything he does in the book is real and built by him. It is not the focus, but it’s how those types of things affected normal people. SV: This book relates heavily to present-day. For example, on August 19th, the Muslim Advocates organization reported that U.S. Customs and Immigration in Miami were feeding pork to detained Muslims ever since the outbreak of COVID-19. It's practically

taken straight from Anyuru's novel. With the current U.S. administration and the legacy of 9/11, this book has a good chance of striking a nerve. KLG: This book is set in a momentous time in Haitan history leading up to the Haitian revolution and the war with France. There is a massive conflict between the black enslaved population and mixed-race people who are not enslaved but do not have the same freedoms as white colonists. The book deals with this powder keg of history and gives the perspective of all three groups. WAS THERE A SCENE IN THE BOOK THAT MOVED YOU MORE THAN ANY OTHER?

VWL: The metamorphosis of Nguirane Faye's dark-skinned daughter-in-law, Yacine Ndiaye, into a white woman named MarieGabrielle von Bolkowsky is a stand-out passage. Yacine personifies the reluctance of many of the author’s compatriots to accept and embrace their own identity as black Africans. To achieve her ultimate goal of becoming white, Yacine is prepared to comply with all that witch doctor Sinkoun Tiguidé Camara demands. What she doesn’t anticipate is that such miraculous gifts usually come at a price. AMC: Fara’s mother is forced to undergo a trial of poison called tangena. These trials 23


CONTINUED

really happened to thousands of people in Madagascar. If you were able to physically expel the poison and survive it, then you were considered innocent. If you died, then you were considered guilty. The story tells of the horrific physical things she’s forced to undergo and the mental anguish of the entire community turning on her, all told through the perspective of her daughter who is watching this unfold in real time. KLG: At age 15, Mynette is put on stage for her debut performance. She has no familiarity with white society and all she sees is a sea of white faces. She’s terrified and suffers incredible paralysis. Then she looks up and sees the black section of the hall and her family is there. And she remembers how her people are moving toward liberation and competency and she’s able to sing for them, bringing the house down. She realizes her voice is a political gift and she overcomes her fear. It’s a very moving moment.

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F E AT U R E A R T I C L E

zone, we should first get to know who we are and where we come from. In an era of seemingly relentless progress and information overload, we must learn that not everything that's new deserves to be adopted, while traditional methods that have stood the test of time are ruthlessly discarded AMC: There is a racial tension in Madagascar that parallels racism everywhere. But it is not between black and white. There are 18 different tribes and the distinctions and racial tensions between the lighter-skinned Malagasys, who have smoother hair, and the darker-skinned Malagasys, who have crimped hair, continue to this day. I was not expecting that. SV: Remember to care for our fellow humans, and that no matter how different we may seem, we are all human, we all belong here, and we owe it to ourselves to find a way to make life as good as possible for all, not just a few.

WHAT LESSON CAN WE LEARN THAT MIGHT HELP US OVERCOME ONE OR MORE OF TODAY’S CHALLENGES?

VWL: In the advice Nguirane Faye passes on to Badou in Notebook 5, he explains, in his cryptic way, that we need roots before we can attempt to fly, and that before venturing outside our comfort 24

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020

KLG: Sometimes the best way of affecting radical change is through networks, and they can be incredibly diverse. It’s a reminder that history is often a lot messier and alliances and solidarity can exist beyond gender, race or class. 


CONTINUED

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F E AT U R E A R T I C L E ABOUT THE BOOKS

DOOMI GOLO —THE HIDDEN NOTEBOOKS Nguirane Faye has lost his only son, Assane Tall, and his grandson Badou has migrated to an unknown destination. Faye feels that his grandson will return one day, but believes it will happen long after he is gone. So he speaks to Badou through seven notebooks, six of which are revealed to the reader, while the seventh, the "Book of Secrets," is reserved for Badou's eyes only. The notebooks form the only possible means of communication and preserve the legacy between the two. BEYOND THE RICE FIELDS

Twin narratives tell a singular story from two points of view. Tsito, a slave, and Fara, his master's daughter, have been close since her father bought the boy after his forest village was destroyed. Tsito’s story looks forward to the bright promise of freedom, but Fara’s looks backward to a dark, long-denied family history. The differing views cause a rift between them just as British Christian missionaries and French industrialists arrive. Violence erupts across the country, enveloping 19th-century Madagascar in tyranny, superstition, and fear. THEY WILL DROWN IN THEIR MOTHER’S TEARS In the midst of a terrorist attack on a bookstore reading by Göran Loberg, a comic book artist famous for demeaning drawings of the prophet Mohammed, one of the attackers, a young woman, has a sudden premonition that something is wrong, changing the course of history. Two years later, she invites a famous writer to visit her in the criminal psychiatric clinic where she's living. She then shares with him an incredible story. Despite discrepancies that make the writer highly skeptical, he becomes increasingly fascinated by her tale and believes she is telling the truth. The story echoes Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, the Charlie Hebdo tragedy and anti-immigrant hysteria.

DANCE ON THE VOLCANO Two sisters growing up during the Haitian Revolution experience a culture that swings heavily between decadence and poverty, sensuality and depravity, and hatred and fear. One sister, because of her singing ability, is able to enter into the white colonial society otherwise generally off limits to people of color. Closely examining a society sagging under the white supremacy of the French colonist rulers, Dance on the Volcano closely depicts the seeds and fruition of the Haitian Revolution, tracking an elaborate hierarchy of skin color and class through the experiences of two young women who despite being sisters, have lives that are worlds apart. 25


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@ab_reads TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOU.

@ab_reads: My name’s Abbie, I’m 25 and from the North East of England where I still live with my boyfriend and my rescue dog. Currently I’m working for myself, doing a bit of writing, proof-reading and content creating. I also work part-time for The StoryGraph, an upcoming book-tracking and recommendations website!

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TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BOOKSTAGRAM ACCOUNT AND HOW IT GOT STARTED.

BOOKSTAGRAM Each issue we feature a new bookstagrammer highlighting some of their amazing work.

NAME: @AB_READS FAVORITE INDIE BOOK:

LOOP BY BRENDA LOZANO FAVORITE GENRE:

LITERARY FICTION

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@ab_reads: I started my account in February 2016, when I was at home from university for a year. That was when I got back into reading for pleasure, and I really wanted someone to talk about books with. I stumbled across the bookstagram hashtag one day and made my account that same day. I’ve always used it as a reading diary of sorts, posting currently reading updates and reviews. This year I started taking my passion for translated fiction more seriously and dedicated myself to reading 50% translated books in 2020. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE INDIE AUTHOR?

@ab_reads: Probably Annie Ernaux, who’s published by Fitzcarraldo Editions in the UK. I tend to bounce around authors quite a lot, but with Ernaux I’ve read about five of her books in the space of a year. She writes really intense memoirs and I love how she’s not afraid to bear all to the page. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INDIE BOOK?

@ab_reads: I really loved Loop by Brenda Lozano, translated by Annie McDermott and published by Charco Press. Everything they publish is great, but this one struck a chord with me the most. It’s one of those books that’s really quiet and thoughtful but gets under your skin. There’s a mix of more introspective musings, but then Lozano also weaves in some pertinent contemporary issues such as femicide.


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A SATRIRICAL ROMP THROUGH THE WALL STREET AND SILICON VALLEY SWAMPS

In this gloriously sardonic book... the descriptions and dialogue are consistently pithy and snarky... Overall, this novel will be a riotous ride for readers...Fast-paced and often hilarious fiction.” - Kirkus Reviews “Complex, witty, dramatic, thoughtprovoking, and filled with business and social inspection...Snatch 2&20 is engrossing, unexpected, and hard to put down...” -Midwest Book Review “Snatch 2&20 is just wild enough to support its destructive, incongruously wholesome conclusion...a clever, cynical novel about the absurdities of capitalism and the people who prop it up.” - Foreword Clarion Reviews


Available at

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Here is the book that so many early readers are going crazy over. It is the TRUE story of the REAL American hero who risked his life in 1947 to fly the X-1 rocket plane through the sound barrier and take the world of aviation into the modern age. The risks were great with some scary ups and downs, but Chuck Yeager was steady and determined and he did it. What is the sound barrier? This book gives a careful explanation. You and your children will never forget this story. See the movie at www.supersonicflyer.com.


INTERVIEW

Interview: Martha Tennent and Maruxa Relaño.

Translators, Garden By The Sea

BY V. JOLENE MILLER

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Mercè Rodoreda’s novel Garden by the Sea is a story that drifts; filled with wealthy friends enjoying many summers together under the watchful eye of the gardener. The “slow moving drama” is what Martha Tennent and Maruxa Relaño enjoy most about it. Mother and daughter, they’ve translated several novels separately and together, and were especially intrigued by the quiet road Rodoreda created that led them into this unique portrayal of what they believe to be Spain in the 1920s.


CONTINUED

02

INTERVIEW

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED AS TRANSLATORS?

MR: We’d been collaborating, off and on, for

MT: Living in a trilingual cultural environment

years, when Open Letter approached us about translating this book. We were thrilled.

in Barcelona inevitably I found myself translating on a daily basis. My theoretical interest in translating started later, during the years I was Dean of the School of Translation and Interpreting at the University of Vic, Barcelona, but paradoxically I had no time then to devote to any literary translations of my own. It was only later, while living in New York City that I started translating, almost by accident. I was reading the short stories of Rodoreda and it occurred to me to try my hand at rendering some of them into English.

Mercè Rodoreda in magazines and from there a correspondence with Chad Post of Open Letter Books developed. I translated Rodoreda’s novel Death in Spring, in 2009, and then in 2011 I translated The Selected Stories of Mercè Rodoreda, both for Open Letter Books.

MR: For someone who has grown up bilingual,

MR: By the time Open Letter commissioned

translation work often comes naturally, even if it is usually commercial translation. As many bilinguals do, I dabbled in it for years as a way of supplementing my income, then worked as a translation editor for the Wall Street Journal. One summer, Martha and I were on a short vacation in the South of France. We were sitting across a long wooden table from each other, in a dusty stone cottage. She looked up from her computer and asked if I’d be interested in co-translating a novel with her. Yes! AND WHAT LED UP TO YOUR TRANSLATING GARDEN BY THE SEA?

IS THIS THE FIRST RODOREDA BOOK YOU’VE TRANSLATED? MT: I had published some short stories by

the translation of Rodoreda’s novel War, So Much War, published in 2015, we were already a more or less established translation team, having previously co-translated two other novels together. HAVE YOU COLLABORATED ON OTHER PROJECTS (WITH EACH OTHER OR OTHER TRANSLATORS) OR DO YOU TEND TO WORK INDEPENDENTLY? MT: We have worked both independently

and collaborated on other projects. Maruxa (pronounced Maroosha) and I have translated five novels together.

31


CONTINUED

02

INTERVIEW

WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGES DID

SETTING AND/OR CHARACTERS DREW

YOU FACE WHILE TRANSLATING

YOU TO THIS BOOK?

RODOREDA’S BOOK TOGETHER? MT: I think we were both attracted by MT: It was tricky to find the tone we wanted

for this benevolent gardener who relates events, or non-events, mainly after the fact or second handedly. How does the translator convey the subtlety of what is only implied, what is left unsaid? And as always in Rodoreda, the great lover of flowers, it is not always easy to find the right translation for her enormous botanical lexicon. Some local Catalan terms for flowers, for example, vary regionally or even by village, something that is also true of fish and wild mushrooms—another nightmare to translate! MR: I’d say our main challenge, by no

means an insurmountable one, is coming to an agreement on tone, and negotiating our differences when it comes to interpreting the text. I’m more conservative than Martha, whereas she has less of a problem reinterpreting the text for a different audience. It’s a give and take. Altogether, I’d say we are a salutary corrective to each other.

the slow-moving drama, the “unhurried melancholy” as Maruxa described it, a slow quiet road that will lead to disaster, the measured discovery of ever deeper layers of meaning that appear throughout the novel, despite the sparseness of the story itself, the counterpoint of lush descriptions of the garden and the domestic drama that unfolds. It is an elegant, romantic novel. MR: The temporal setting was also interesting,

for there are no dates in the novel, no references to historical events. In many ways it is a timeless novel. We think it is probably intended to portray the late 1920s. Rodoreda was twenty years old in 1928, the year she married her uncle. She refers in the novel to the new sport of water-skiing, invented in 1922. There are no rumbles of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), and the 40s in Spain was a period of penury and hunger, which does not feature in the novel. THE BOOK IS TOLD THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GARDENER INDICATING

GARDEN BY THE SEA TAKES PLACE

A STORYLINE ABOUT SOCIOECONOMIC

OVER 6 SUMMERS IN SPAIN AND

STATUS. TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS ON

HONES IN ON THE LIVES OF WEALTHY

THE AUTHOR’S USE OF THAT POV.

FRIENDS INTENT ON ENJOYING THEIR TIME TOGETHER. WHAT ABOUT THE 32

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020

MT: Contrary to most novels that deal with


CONTINUED

different social classes, here the wealthy “masters” and the extremely rich family next door were not born into wealth, but have risen into it, and they treat their domestics kindly for the most part, which is in itself interesting. It is the sassy Brazilian maid who ends up marrying the richest of them all! MR: The character of the gardener, who

narrates the novel, is an unassuming, unnamed man, both an intimate part of life at the villa and completely outside of it at the same time. He listens and observes the goings-on around him while he goes his own way, tending his garden with infinite care and knowledge.This distance affords him a detached equanimity, and he views the dramas that swirl around him accordingly. While the rich people and their friends fight, throw lavish parties, and strive in vain to keep their existential ennui at bay, Rodoreda seems to be advocating, through the gentle gardener, the merits of a contemplative life and independent spirit, though no one in this novel is spared sadness. WHAT IS YOUR TRANSLATION PROCESS LIKE? MT: We like to divide the text up and tackle

it head on, then edit each other’s work for however many rounds are necessary, reading the translated draft against the original to ensure accuracy and also to conserve, when

02

INTERVIEW

possible, its syntactical structure, which has a lot to do with its intended rhythm and texture. In subsequent drafts we discuss disagreements at the word and sentence level, as well as regarding style. MR: In the final stages of the translation

process, we combine our translations into a master copy and begin editing anew, often working physically together and stopping every few pages to review our progress, making the necessary changes. At the very end, we sit down together and one of us reads the text aloud, tweaking the final draft as we go. We certainly don’t always agree on every contentious phrase. We slam doors occasionally or retreat from the table in a huff. And we laugh a lot. That’s how we work! WITHOUT ANY SPOILERS, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT GARDEN BY THE SEA? MR: I like the atmosphere, the salt water,

the summer heat, the fact that nothing much seems to happen, the drifting and unapologetic lethargy of the family. The quiet tone of the narrative, combined with the humility and poise with which the gardener-narrator approaches life, seems a welcome rebuke of our dizzying, narcissistic times. 

33


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35


INTERVIEW

Interview: Robert Chandler. Translator of Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad

BY V. JOLENE MILLER

03

36

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020

Inspired by his love of Russian folk tales and a desire to share them with English friends, Robert Chandler has been translating books for over four decades. Chandler describes his unique partnership with his wife in the telling of author Vasily Grossman’s tale of wartime devastation and the battle between German and Soviet troops. Included in Vasily’s intricate attention to detail is a personal connection Chandler felt with Stalingrad’s main character. Through the lens of Colonel Novikov and Robert Chandler’s translation, English readers have the opportunity to go back in time and witness both the convincing beauty and pain of World War II.


CONTINUED

03

INTERVIEW

THERE ARE A GREAT NUMBER OF BOOKS SET IN WWII, WHAT DREW YOU

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH DESCRIBES

TO STALINGRAD? WHAT SETS IT APART

STALINGRAD AS A MAGNIFICENT

FROM OTHER BOOKS WRITTEN IN THE

NOVEL NOT ONLY OF WAR BUT OF ALL

SAME ERA?

HUMAN LIFE. DO YOU AGREE? AND,

RC: Along with his slightly elder friend,

WHICH CHARACTER(S) STOOD OUT TO

Andrey Platonov, Grossman is one of the greatest twentieth-century writers in any European language. As well as writing novels and short stories, Grossman was an acclaimed war correspondent. Among his many gifts were a remarkable memory and the ability to get all kinds of people - top generals, ordinary soldiers, down-and-outs - to talk freely to him. Many chapters of Stalingrad are taken directly from his wartime notebooks. Every scene in the novel is vividly drawn and every character, however minor, is entirely convincing.

YOU AND WHY?

HAVE YOU TRANSLATED OTHER BOOKS FROM THIS TIME PERIOD? HOW DID GROSSMAN’S NOVEL STACK UP AGAINST THE OTHERS? RC: Many Soviet writers wrote well about

the war, in a variety of mediums. Maria Bloshteyn’s outstanding new anthology, Russia Is Burning, includes work by all the finest poets - some already well known, some only now coming to be recognized. Victor Nekrasov wrote a good novel about Stalingrad. I have heard high praise for Vasil Bykov, a more recent writer who wrote in both Russian and Belarusian - but I have yet to read his work.

RC: I agree entirely. Life and Fate, the sequel

to Stalingrad, is a more significant moral and political statement, but Stalingrad is the finer novel. Colonel Novikov is the character who stood out for me. In part, this is for personal reasons - he reminds me of my father, who also fought in the Second World War, also reached the rank of colonel and was also highly intelligent, often irritable, and deeply honourable. In part, this is because some of the most memorable passages in the novel are seen through Novikov’s eyes. One I have read aloud in public many times describes the first minutes of the war, on the frontier with German-occupied Poland. It illustrates Grossman’s ability to bring together delicate realistic detail and the grandest, most cosmic perspectives: Soon after this came a moment that lodged itself in Novikov’s memory with a particular sharpness and precision. As he hurried after the pilots dashing towards the airstrip, he stopped in the middle of the garden where only a few hours earlier he had gone for a stroll. There was a silence, during which it seemed that everything was unchanged: the earth, the grass,

37


CONTINUED

the benches, the wicker table under the trees, a card chessboard, dominoes still lying scattered about. In that silence, with a wall of foliage shielding him from the flames and smoke, Novikov felt a lacerating sense of historical change that was almost more than he could bear.

03

INTERVIEW

batting different versions between us. Among Elizabeth’s gifts are a perfect sense of idiom and rhythm and a fine visual memory. If she is unable to visualize a particular scene clearly, it usually indicates that I have misunderstood or blurred some detail. THE TITLE IS THE NAME OF THE BATTLE

It was a sense of hurtling movement, similar perhaps to what someone might experience if they could glimpse, if they could sense on their skin and with every cell of their being, the earth’s terrible hurtling through the infinity of the universe.

BETWEEN GERMAN AND SOVIET TROOPS. WOULD YOU SAY THE BOOK IS ABOUT THAT BATTLE OR ABOUT THE LIVES THE BATTLE AFFECTED? RC: About both. And about how the battle

changed the Soviet Union as a whole. This change was irrevocable, and although only a millimetre lay between Novikov’s present life and the shore of his previous life, there was no force that could cancel out this gap. The gap was growing, widening; it could already be measured in metres, in kilometres. The life and time that Novikov still sensed as his own were already being transformed into the past, into history, into something about which people would soon be saying, ‘Yes, that’s how people lived and thought before the war.’ And a nebulous future was swiftly becoming his present. WHAT IS YOUR TRANSLATION PARTNERSHIP LIKE? HOW ARE YOUR PROCESSES THE SAME AND HOW DO THEY DIFFER? RC: My wife does not know Russian. Our work

together is entirely oral. I read drafts aloud and we discuss them sentence by sentence,

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OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020

TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHAT STARTED YOU IN THIS FIELD. RC: I was deeply moved by one of Andrey

Platonov’s versions of Russian folk tales and I wanted to be able to read it to English friends. I translated that story, “No-Arms," over fortyfive years years ago - my first translation done on my own initiative rather than for a school or university teacher. I was pleased to be able to republish a revised version eight years ago in Russian Magic Tales (Penguin Classics). 


CONTINUED

03

INTERVIEW

ABOUT THE BOOKS

STALINGRAD The prequel to Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate, the War and Peace of the 20th Century, now in English for the first time. In April 1942, Hitler and Mussolini meet in Salzburg where they agree on a renewed assault on the Soviet Union. Launched in the summer, the campaign soon picks up speed, as the routed Red Army is driven back to the industrial center of Stalingrad on the banks of the Volga. In the rubble of the bombed-out city, Soviet forces dig in for a last stand. The story told in Vasily Grossman’s Stalingrad unfolds across the length and breadth of Russia and Europe, and its characters include mothers and daughters, husbands and brothers, generals, nurses, political activists, steelworkers, and peasants, along with Hitler and other historical figures. At the heart of the novel is the Shaposhnikov family. Even as the Germans advance, the matriarch, Alexandra Vladimirovna, refuses to leave Stalingrad. Far from the front, her eldest daughter, Ludmila, is unhappily married to the Jewish physicist Viktor Shtrum. Viktor’s research may be of crucial military importance, but he is distracted by thoughts of his mother in the Ukraine, lost behind German lines.

39


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HOW THE DEER MOON HUNGER BY SUSAN WINGATE

Winner Best Fiction In The 2020 Pacific Book Award Mackenzie Fraser witnesses a drunk driver mow down her seven-year-old sister and her mother blames her. Then she ends up in juvie on a trumped-up drug charge. Now she’s in the fight of her life. And she’s losing. How the Deer Moon Hungers is a coming of age story about loss, grief, and the power of love. “Adult and new adult readers will fall headlong into it. No one who picks up this heartrending story will emerge from it unchanged or unmoved. Great for fans of Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, Lois Lowry’s A Summer to Die.” –BookLife Review Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Wingate a #1 Amazon bestseller and award-winning author who writes unputdownable, surprising and twisty stories with crackling dialogue that exhibit a rare deftness in style offering up stories that are riveting, original and with a humanity rarely seen in contemporary fiction.

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BIRD IN HAND

BY NIKKI STERN

Sam Tate returns to face off against a vengeful killer, a mistrustful boss, a shadowy nemesis, and a 300-yearold pirate. When Arley Fitchett's body washes up onto Maryland's Eastern Shore, Lieutenant Sam Tate, just two months into her new job, is charged with finding out who murdered the popular guide and treasure hunter. Fitchett, she discovers, was hunting a rare carving he believed had been stolen by Chesapeake Bay pirates in 1718 and hidden nearby. No one knows if the story is true, but several locals seem to share Fitchett's interest in the wooden bird with the sapphire eye. Any one of them could be the next victim. One of them is definitely the killer. “Shades of the Maltese Falcon. The stuff that dreams are made of for mystery lovers.” ~Kirkus Reviews Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nikki has written five books, a dozen short stories, and countless essays, several of which have been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today and in three anthologies. She is a co-contributor to the interactive murder mystery musical series “Café Noir,” published by Samuel French. The Wedding Crasher, the first in her new series about dedicated homicide investigator Sam Tate, won the Kindle Book Review Award for best mystery/ thriller in 2019. Nikki, the former executive director of Families of September 11, currently serves on the leadership council of Search for Common Ground, an international conflict transformation organization. She plans to continue writing mysteries while also collaborating on both a children’s book and a nonfiction project to be announced. 43


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FICTION

SHADOWS FALLING

BY CARMEN

Elena, a young Jewish orphan, is subjected to cruel and invasive acts of pedophilia as a youth and by her father. One night she invites Ernst a friend and member of the Nazi Jungen Corps into her bedroom. Acting upon her imprinted bizarre lifestyle, she teaches him all of the intimate actions she is now addicted to. Thus, their spirits bind in a manner that will soon transcend into their next lifetime. Elena is sent to the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp for women. Ernst now an SS officer, transfers there where they both meet their demise and are thrust into this present world. Upon meeting, she says. “Yes I know who you are. You’ve come back to me again… and just in time.” Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Somma, a former Law Enforcement Officer of 28 years, investigated, arrested and testified in the trial of pedophiles, and the defense of the very young victims hopelessly entrapped in the abomination of sex trafficking. These mere young innocent girls are offered to the local military population with no hope of escape and often in fear of their lives. While their owners profit greatly from this nefarious form of slave trade. The author chooses to remain anonymous in the hope of continuing his work, and hopes “Shadows Falling”, although labeled as fiction, will lend some insight into the horrors these victims endure, and to their continued methods of recruitment and entrapment. 44

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020


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FICTION

SEDUCTION OF A WANTON DREAMER

BY RICHARD BEESON

The image on the cover is a modern carving of the Mayan goddess Ix Chel. To quote a passage from this book, “She is goddess of the moon, childbirth, death, the endless cycle… The rattlesnakes stand for nobility, reincarnation, and eternity. Nobility, because they are polite: they warn you with their rattles when you get too close. Reincarnation, because they shed their skins and grow new ones; eternity, because birth, death, the shedding of skin, go on for all time. Ix Chel is goddess of the moon, because the cycles of the moon are the cycles of fertility, the cycles that create our crops and our children. She is the goddess of death, because death is the other side of birth. There can be no birth without death.” I purchased the carving in the photograph from the man who carved it, a Mayan guard outside Loltun cave, in Yucatán, in May 1980. He spoke no English, but I managed to carry on a conversation with him using my rudimentary Spanish (with the help of a pocket dictionary) for several hours. Now, almost forty years later, I have come to realize how deeply what he told me informed my subsequent thinking, and that Ix Chel represents the spirit of magic and mystery that I wanted to convey. I have therefore put her on the cover.

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound ABOUT THE AUTHOR Richard Beeson graduated from the Lakeside School in Seattle (where the young Bill Gates and Paul Allen first encountered computers), before attending Columbia University and the Juilliard School of Music. After graduating from Juilliard he enjoyed a successful career as an orchestral musician at Lincoln Center, performing alongside Beverly Sills, Luciano Pavarotti, and Placido Domingo, among others. In 1987 Beverly Sills appointed him to the position of Orchestra Manager at the New York City Opera. In the year 2000, he left the performing arts so he could return to an earlier passion: writing fiction. Since then he has completed the trilogy Seduction of a Wanton Dreamer (Learning to Dream, Dreaming in the Afterjoint, and Dreams of a Dying Shaman), the thriller Stonewall’s Head, and a play titled Ball of Plutonium. He lives in New York City with his wife, the songwriter Elli Frye. To see his other books, visit his website at www.richardbeeson.com

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LITERARY FANTASY

After Ever After: The Ritual of Forgetting BY MINDI MELTZ

What happens after the happily ever after? At last, a mature fairy tale for the wondrous, accursed depths of relationship itself—not only for princesses, but for those who would be queens. Cinderella must overcome the terror of childhood oppression to accept love and stand for a people. Sleeping Beauty wakes after a hundred years to find her old world destroyed, furiously captive to an arranged marriage. Snow White, raised by wild-men of old, lost her humanness in a broken mirror, while Beauty longs for the soulful passion of the Beast her prince used to be. What does true sovereignty look like, for a woman beyond the ever after? It’s the Wicked Witch herself who holds the key. Where to Buy: Amazon | SPD Books | Logosophia Books

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mindi Meltz is the author of two previous novels: Beauty (2009) and her epic fairy tale Lonely in the Heart of the World (2013), which was a finalist for the ForeWord Reviews Fantasy Book of the Year Award. In addition to literary fantasy about women, nature, and the sacred feminine, she is the creator of themed and customized Animal Wisdom Cards, which connect human spirit with animal teachings by intimate invitation. She holds an MA in Transpersonal Psychology, and has been inspired by listening to and dreaming the stories of many beings through counseling work, teaching, and travel in many landscapes. Originally from the coast of Maine, she now lives in an off-grid home with her husband and animals in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 46

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020


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FICTION

Carrying Independence BY KAREN A. CHASE

July, 1776. The Congress has agreed to assemble on August 2nd to sign a single copy of the Declaration of Independence that would show they stand unanimous in their desire to separate from British rule. But the struggle to bring all the congressmen to Philadelphia seems as insurmountable as the fight for independence against the world’s greatest army‌ With cries of war spreading across the colonies, an intrepid young Post Rider, Nathaniel Marten, is reluctant to raise a rifle for the Cause. His heart is pulled by sympathy for his mother, English-born and loyal to her homeland; concern for his father, whose artisanal gun shop is being converted into an armory for the newly formed Continental army; and fear for the peaceful Shawnee tribe he has long considered his second family. In a chance encounter with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, Nathaniel is asked to secure the remaining seven signatures by carrying the sole copy of the Declaration across the colonies by land and by sea.

Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Chapters | IndieBound ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen A. Chase is an award-winning author, and a Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR). Her first book, Bonjour 40: A Paris Travel Log, garnered seven independent publishing awards. In 2017 she was a visiting scholar at the American Antiquarian Society, and is now a 2019-2020 Virginia Humanities fellow at the Library of Virginia. A member of the Historical Novel Society and James River Writers, she also provides presentations to lineage groups and historical organizations, as well as book clubs. Discover more #ChasingHistories at KarenAChase.com. 47


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BIOGRAPHY

MORE THAN PRESIDENTS

BY NANCY TODD ENGLER

More than Presidents gives an inside look at the personal lives of the men who shaped this nation. Learn about the childhood experiences of ordinary men from diverse backgrounds who went on to become Presidents of the United States. The stories are personal insights, sometimes amusing, often poignant, into our nation’s leaders. A book to inspire readers of any generation, More than Presidents demonstrates how one person can make a difference. Full color photographs and unique presidential biographies fill this beautiful 176-page commemorative book. More than history, more than biography, More than Presidents reveals the true men behind the legends. Where to Buy: Amazon | MoreThanPresidents.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nancy Todd Engler, a local author, served on the Board of Directors for The City of Presidents. Her role was to research and document the personal lives of each U. S. President to be viewed in the Presidential Information Center. In the research process, Nancy chose to delve into the private lives of each president, telling the personal stories of the men who would be president. She ultimately authored a four-color book of the statues and the biographies of all our national leaders, "More Than Presidents." By writing about the private lives of these men who shaped a nation, my goal was to be impartial, informative, and factual. I hope those who read this book will accept it as historical storytelling. 48

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020


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THE HUBLEY CASE

BY J. LEE

American businessman Peter Hubley lays sprawled across the floor of a Brazilian airport, cappuccino dripping down what remains of his forehead. Within an hour, his killers are dead and their bodies stolen. When an organized crime syndicate claims responsibility for the savage murder, questions are raised and the case is assigned to Special Agent Nikki Benton. To Benton, a straight-laced FBI veteran, the Hubley case is an unusual and much-anticipated opportunity to prove herself and get out from under the thumb of her misogynistic boss. But she quickly realizes that nothing about it adds up and she may be in over her head. Her instincts prove true when her prime suspect Ben Siebert, a rebellious ex-Marine with a questionable past, is pressing a Glock 27 to her temple. The two are forced to work together when they learn that everything - the death of the killers, the public's assumption Hubley was hiding something, even the case being assigned to Benton - was part of a carefully orchestrated plan...and that they are the next targets. But to stop a formidable perpetrator intent on killing thousands of innocent people, they must risk everything and reveal the shocking truth behind the Hubley case. Where to Buy: Amazon | B&N ABOUT THE AUTHOR

J. Lee lives in the suburbs of Chicago. He graduated from Duke University with degrees in Engineering and Sociology and a minor in Business. In his spare time, he can usually be found playing Frisbee Golf or reading in his La-Z-Boy. The Hubley Case is his first novel. To learn more about or contact him, please visit www.jleethrillers.com

49


A god’s power, a mortal’s heart, a murderer to catch, and only one way to fix them all. “Goddess of the North is a fresh take on the police procedural . . . Kamsika deftly weaves mythology with modern-day policing in a mystery that was twisty right up to the end. —Patrice Sarath, author of The Sisters Mederos and Fog Season, The Tales of Port Saint Frey

“Goddess of the North is the best kind of urban fantasy, the kind that holds a mirror up to our world and shows us who we are and, more importantly, who we can be. Highly recommended!” —Bryan Camp, author of The City of Lost Fortunes and Gather the Fortunes

www.kamsika.com

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OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020


RECOMMENDED READING

EXCERPTS

SHELF UNBOUND’S RECOMMENDED READING Take a bite from your next favorite book.

51


RECOMMENDED READING

Origin: Croatian

Mars.

BY ASJA BAKIC, TRANSLATED BY JENNIFER ZOBLE

Short Stories | The Feminist Press | March 2019

The secretaries explained first that a dead person’s soul goes wherever she’d expected to go. “Everyone wants to go to heaven,” I said. “It must be too crowded there.” “It’s not,” said one of them. “Most people are so unimaginative that they simply stay wedged in the ground, like a potato.” “So I was lucky?” “You weren’t made for the soil.” “Wait a second,” I interjected. “I can’t tell the two of you apart.” “I am Tristesa,” said the one on the left. “I am Zubrowka,” said the other. “Like the vodka?” “Listen, kiddo, don’t complain,” she said. “You drink what you poured.” Death is typically a

52

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020

European film. The scenes are evocative, the atmosphere and characters charged. But in my case, death took on a different form. I suppose my final moments spent in front of the TV determined it. I was watching and unwittingly took his motto, “Alone against everyone,” to the world beyond. If it worked for him, it probably will for me too was my first thought once I realized what had happened. It wasn’t clear where death’s pervasive melancholy had gone: with the two secretaries who could only be distinguished by the color of their underwear (Tristesa’s were blue, to match her mood; Zubrowka’s, pink), it wasn’t realistic to expect the New Wave or anything like that. “Where’s God?” I asked. Zubrowka smiled and said that God didn’t exist. “He must be somewhere,” I insisted.

“You should’ve been more careful when you had the chance. You can’t champion atheism and then play cards with the Lord when you die.” When I was alive, I’d written a funny play about a sex-obsessed God and his gay disciples. If nothing else, I figured, this place would be like that. It wasn’t like I hadn’t considered Him. “God slipped in the tub,” Zubrowka said after a moment.


RECOMMENDED READING

I didn’t believe her. It was obvious from the way she kept looking at Tristesa that they were up to something. “You can’t keep things from me and use my heathenism as an excuse.” The secretaries shrugged and offered up more reasons. Seeing that I’d learn nothing from them, I gave up my line of questioning. To be honest, I just didn’t think God was necessary; I was used to getting along without Him. And the secretaries weren’t any more necessary. I couldn’t figure out where they’d come from. At first I thought I’d lifted them from some comic strip I’d read long ago, but as time passed (I’m using the word time reflexively, because

death doesn’t free the brain from such useless signposts), it became clear that they weren’t under my control. The secretaries came with death. This was, needless to say, frustrating. I was trying desperately to understand. I couldn’t shake the feeling that my head was slowly expanding from all that strain. This whole time, I thought, it had been growing on all sides. It was right in front of my nose, but I hadn’t noticed it. Actually, it wasn’t right in front of my nose because it was my head, and, however big it was, I couldn’t see it without a mirror. Tristesa was rubbing her hands together in a satisfied manner. It was plain on her face that she was attentively following the growth of my head and was quite pleased.

She called over Zubrowka. “She’s thinking?” Zubrowka asked as if I weren’t in the room. Then she looked at me and patted me on the shoulder. “This is just the beginning. We have an idea for how to make it grow even faster.” “But I don’t want an enormous head,” I said nervously. “The head doesn’t ask,” said Tristesa. “It simply grows.” At that moment, I regretted choosing this instead of the potato option. 

ABOUT THE BOOK MARS Mars showcases a series of unique and twisted universes, where every character is tasked with making sense of their strange reality. One woman will be freed from purgatory once she writes the perfect book; another abides in a world devoid of physical contact. With wry prose and skewed humor, an emerging feminist writer explores twenty-first century promises of knowledge, freedom, and power.

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Like A Bird.

Origin: Australian

BY FARIHA RÓISÍN

Fiction | The Unnamed Press | September 2020

I had visions of Dadi-ma as I washed and grasped at my old talisman, my chain with two rings on it that I always wore around my neck. I thought back to when she had gotten very ill. She lived in Kolkata, and Baba, full with filial piety, insisted that we move to give her moral support in her last days. So we relocated to India for a few months during the summer holidays in my early teens, leaving our Upper West Side brownstone for a home in bustling West Bengal. I was soon enchanted by India. Growing up in New York often provides you with the conceit that no other city is worth venturing to. The busy streets of India were, unlike New York, filled with an unnameable exuberance and a strong, dreamy energy. The rickshaws, the cars, even the raucous fumes, felt like home. I grew fond of seeing lakes, cement, and sloping green trees (the secret Mughal gardens) with a readied 54

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excitement. Outpacing the chase, what resided in the streets of Kolkata was also a kindred resilience. The people were friendly and cared for you, and that was the strangest part of it all. Dadi-ma, someone I had never met before in my life, cared about me. Her love was so thick I could feel it, slick and stretched out, floating past me even when I was away from her. The first night I was there, she sat me down and combed my hair, lovingly caressing my temples to my roots, slathering my hair with coconut oil. The light through the venetian blinds traced our bodies as I sat at her feet, my torso enveloped in her shadha saree. She smelled of burnt cinnamon and her hands were soft and rubbery, like a toy—comforting, as she drew me to her. Gold bands lined her delicate wrists, hanging off her body’s ancient tapestry, clicking and

clinking every time she moved. Every night after that, she’d kiss me good night and call me her puuthul. Within the cracks of my childhood, my relationship with my dadi-ma was the tangible kintsugi to my healing. Like gold glue, the veins of a leaf, she filled me with an intense, overwhelming serenity, but more—she initiated a healing of sorts. There was something powerful in being seen by her—the theme of my life. The need for my body to be


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seen in all of its varying dimensions was like a drug I was hooked on; it gave me permission to like myself, too. A diminutive me, Dadi-ma and I even had the same thick, fuzzy brows, the same button nose, the same petalshaped lips. She spoke mainly in Bangla (not because she couldn’t speak English, but because she didn’t want to) and would argue with Baba for not teaching me and Alyssa the language. “You must read Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, Taylia.” That was one of the few things she ever said to me in English, both a suggestion and a command. She passed away five weeks into our visit. Although I knew it would happen, I never believed it really could. Here was a strong

woman, never submitting to the demands society put on her sex. She went to school when women weren’t allowed to; she raised a son and sent him to America despite growing up relatively middle class. She was strong-willed in every sense of the word and had a great understanding of herself and what she wanted to contribute to the world. I remember, because I understood there was something violent in her. I could see it in the way she went walking with me through the woods, the ways in which she could still cut the throat of a chicken and pluck it for dinner. A few weeks before she died, she gave me a necklace grooved with indents, her fingers

lacing the chain around my neck—from hers to mine—spooling the golden strand underneath my hair. There were two rings: one yellow and the other silver. When she showed me the former, she pointed to me and said, “You.” Then she indicated the silver one—a twine of longing—and said, “Husband.” I understood her and nodded, my breath catching up to the excitement of knowing that somebody cared. 

ABOUT THE BOOK LIKE A BIRD Taylia Chatterjee has never known love, and certainly has never felt it for herself. Growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, with her older sister Alyssa, their parents were both overbearing and emotionally distant, and despite idyllic summers in the Catskills, and gatherings with glamorous family friends, there is a sadness that emanates from the Chatterjee residence, a deep well of sorrow stemming from the racism of American society. 55


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Dead Girls.

Origin: Spanish

BY SELVA ALMADA, TRANSLATED BY ANNIE MCDERMOTT

Fiction | Charco Press | September 2020

The morning of November 16th, 1986, was clear and cloudless in Villa Elisa, the town where I was born and raised, in the central eastern part of Entre Ríos province. It was a Sunday and my dad was grilling meat in the backyard. We still didn’t have a proper barbecue, but he made do with a metal sheet on the ground, the coals on top, and a grill on top of the coals. My dad would barbecue in all weathers: if it rained, he just used another piece of metal to cover the meat and the coals. Near the grill, in the branches of the mulberry tree, a portable, batterypowered radio, tuned permanently to LT26 Radio Nuevo Mundo. They played traditional 56

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folk songs and read the news every hour, though there was never much to read. It wasn’t yet forest fire season in the El Palmar national park, around thirty miles away, which went up in flames every summer and set off the sirens in all the fire stations nearby. Aside from the odd road accident, always some kid heading back from a dance, barely anything happened at weekends. Not even football in the afternoons, because the heat meant the tournament had moved to the evenings. I’d been woken that morning in the early hours by a gale that shook the roof of the house. I stretched out in bed and felt something that made me sit bolt upright, heart racing. The mattress was damp,

and some warm, slimy forms moved against my legs. Still half-asleep, it took me a few seconds to work out what was going on: my cat had given birth at the foot of the bed again. The lightning that flashed through the window showed her curled up, gazing at me with her yellow eyes. I pulled myself into a ball, hugging my knees, so as not to touch them again. My sister was asleep in


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the next bed. The lightning cast a blue glow over her face, her half-open eyes – she always slept that way, like hares do – and her chest as it rose and fell, far removed from the storm and the rain that had swept everything away. I fell asleep too, looking at her.

find her or her kittens. He was sitting in the shade of the mulberry tree, away from the grill but close enough to keep an eye on it. The stainless steel cup he always used was on the ground at his feet, filled with wine and ice. The metal was sweating.

When I awoke, only my dad was up. My mum, brother and sister were still sleeping. The cat and her kittens had gone from the bed. The only trace of the birth was a yellowish stain with dark edges, at one end of the sheet.

She must’ve hidden them in the shed, he said. I looked over, but couldn’t bring myself to check. A mad dog we used to have once buried her puppies in the shed. She ripped the head off one of them. The canopy of the mulberry tree was a green sky with the sun glinting golden through the leaves. In a few weeks it would be

I went out to the yard and told my dad the cat had given birth but I couldn’t

covered in fruit, flies would come buzzing around it, the air would be thick with the bitter-sweet smell of overripe mulberries, and no one would want to sit underneath it for a while. But that morning it was beautiful. You just had to watch out for the hairy caterpillars, bright and green like Christmas wreaths, which were sometimes so heavy they fell from the leaves and burned your skin with their acidic sparks. 

ABOUT THE BOOK DEAD GIRLS Femicide is generally defined as the murder of women simply because they are women. In 2018, 139 women died in the UK as a result of male violence (The Guardian). In Argentina this number is far higher, with 278 cases registered for that same year. Following the success of The Wind That Lays Waste, internationally acclaimed Argentinian author Selva Almada dives into the heart of this problem with this journalistic novel, comparable to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood or John Hersey’s Hiroshima, in response to the urgent need for attention to a serious problem of our times.

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Origin: Spanish

The Adventures of China Iron. BY GABRIELA CABEZÓN CÁMARA, TRANSLATED BY FIONA MACKINTOSH AND IONA MACINTYRE

Fiction | Charco Press | November 2019

It was the brightness of the light. The young pup, radiating life, was scampering excitedly between the dusty sore paws of the few dogs left round there. Poverty yields cracked skin. It carves and slowly scrapes away at its young, and leaves them to fend for themselves in all weathers. It makes skin dry, leathery, and scarred, and forces its offspring into unwonted shapes. But not yet the pup: it radiated sheer delight at being alive and gave off a light undimmed by the dingy sadness of a poverty that was, I’m sure, as much a lack of ideas as anything else. We didn’t often go hungry, but everything was grey and dusty, everything was so drab that when I saw 58

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the pup I knew in an instant what I wanted for myself: something radiant. It wasn’t the first time I’d ever seen a young creature, after all I’d already given birth to two children, and it’s not as if the pampa never shone. It became dazzling with the rains, reawakened even as it was flooded. No longer flat, it heaved with grain, tents, Indians on the move, white women escaping from captivity, horses swimming with their gaucho riders still astride, while all around the dorado fish darted like lightning into the depths, into the middle of the bursting river. And in each fragment of that river that was devouring its own banks, a bit of sky was reflected. It didn’t seem real to witness such a thing, to see the whole world

being dragged along, slowly spiralling, muddy and dizzying, a hundred leagues away to the sea. First men, dogs, horses and calves fought against the choking and gulping river, against the water’s power to kill. Several hours later the struggle was over. The lost herd stretched long and wide, the cattle ran wild like the river, dragged rather than herded, the cows


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and everything around turning somersaults, hooves up, forwards, down, backwards, like spinning tops, cheek by jowl they hurtled onwards, going in alive and coming out as pounds of rotting flesh. It was a rushing river of cattle falling horizontally; that’s how rivers flow where I’m from, with a momentum inseparable from drowning. And so back to the dust with which I began, the dust that dulls everything, and back to the resplendence of the pup that I saw as though I’d never seen one before and as if I’d never seen cows swimming before, nor their shining

hides, nor the whole pampa ablaze like a wet stone in the midday sun. I saw the dog and from then on all I wanted was to find that kind of brightness for myself. So the first thing I did was keep the pup. I named him Estreya (which means Star), and that’s still his name, even though I’ve changed mine since then. Now I’m called China, Josephine Star Iron and Tararira. From the old days I’ve only kept Iron (the English for Fierro), which was never my name to begin with, and Star which I chose when I chose Estreya. My real name? Well, I didn’t have one; I was born an

orphan, if that’s possible, as if the violet-flowered pastures that softened the savagery of the pampa had somehow given birth to me. That’s what I used to think whenever I heard the woman who brought me up saying ‘it’s as if you just sprouted with the weeds’. La Negra: the black woman later widowed by the blade of my brute of a husband’s knife. My husband, Martín Fierro, who was probably blind drunk and killed El Negro just for being black, just because he could. 

ABOUT THE BOOK THE ADVENTURES OF CHINA IRON This is a riotous romp taking the reader from the turbulent frontier culture of the pampas deep into indigenous territories. It charts the adventures of Mrs China Iron, Martín Fierro’s abandoned wife, in her travels across the pampas in a covered wagon with her new-found friend, soon to become lover, a Scottish woman named Liz. While Liz provides China with a sentimental education and schools her in the nefarious ways of the British Empire, their eyes are opened to the wonders of Argentina’s richly diverse flora and fauna, cultures and languages, as well as to its national struggles.

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Lake Like a Mirror.

Origin: Chinese

BY HO SOK FONG, TRANSLATED BY NATASCHA BRUCE

Fiction | Two Lines Press | April 2020

When the developers said they were building a wall to keep out the sound, everybody thought it was a good idea. For the past few years, the expressway had been expanding, coming closer and closer to our houses. It used to be a full sixty meters away, but now had come so close we were practically run over every time we opened our back doors. One morning, a sevenyear-old girl really was run over outside her back door. Late that night, the developers started building a wall along the side of the road. “They’re laying bricks straight onto the ground,” said the aunty next door. From her upstairs window, she watched the workmen 60

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spread a layer of cement, then position a line of bricks, then smear on more cement. “It’s got no foundations,” she said to her husband, when she came back downstairs. He was watching a football game on television, and when they scored he clapped and cheered with the South American sportscaster, so didn’t hear her. His wife wasn’t surprised. She went back to watching the workmen build the wall. She thought they looked thin, as though they were too feeble for a job like that. But their wall looked very thick, thick enough to hide one of them in it. It grew higher and higher, until it blocked her view. When it was over one story high, she

went to bed. The next morning, all the tenants in our row woke to find the wall was finished. It cut off the sunlight, making our back gardens and kitchens dark. But everybody agreed that sunlight wasn’t much of a price to pay, considering the seven-year-old girl who’d been killed by a car. The only thing was, the wall blocked our back doors too, and now


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they opened only a little wider than the width of a foot. Wide enough for a cat, or a small dog, but too much of a squeeze for a human. The next-door aunty wasn’t happy. Wasn’t this the same as having no back door at all? No back door meant no way out. Her husband agreed. “It’s like having a mouth but no asshole,” is what he said. But, gradually, they got used to it. There’s nothing a person can’t get used to. It wasn’t too much of a hardship, anyway, not compared to what that girl’s mother was going through. Two days after

the incident, the aunty and her husband saw a tiny coffin being carried out through the other family’s gate. A few days later, the mother lit a fire in a big metal trashcan by her front door and burned her daughter’s clothes and schoolbag. The thick white smoke reeked of melting plastic and choked up the whole street. The aunty couldn’t remember if her husband had ever left the house. He sat glued to the football on the television. The light was gone from their windows, but they carried on as best they could.

take care of and spent most of her time in the kitchen. If she closed the kitchen door, she couldn’t even hear the television. Before the wall, the kitchen had been filled with the roar of cars hurtling along the expressway. After the wall, the noise was muffled, like a person humming deep within their chest. After a few days, she was used to it, and didn’t mind much one way or the other. 

The aunty had no kids to

ABOUT THE BOOK LAKE LIKE A MIRROR In precise and disquieting prose, Ho Sok Fong draws her readers into a richly atmospheric world of naked sleepwalkers in a rehabilitation center for wayward Muslims, mysterious wooden boxes, gossip in unlicensed hairdressers, hotels with amnesiac guests, and poetry classes with accidentally charged politics-a world that is peopled with the ghosts of unsaid words, unmanaged desires and uncertain statuses, surreal and utterly true. 61


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Echo on the Bay.

Origin: Japanese

BY MASATSUGU ONO, TRANSLATED BY ANGUS TURVILL

Fiction | Two Lines Press | June 2020

Dad had a lot of things bothering him when he was stationed on the coast. There was the abandoned boat floating in the bay. There was the body that Mitsugu Azamui said was on the beach, but which nobody had ever found. There were the boys who kept shooting bottle rockets at old Toshikobā’s house. And then there was me, in love with Mr. Yoshida, my social studies teacher. “Looks like we’ll be able to get a new car!” Dad said, seeing how fed up Mom looked when he told her about the move. Mom was worried about my private high school entrance exams. In the city, I’d been going to a well-known cram school in the evenings and was due to join the advanced group when I got to second year. Down on the 62

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coast there was no such things as a cram school. Dad wasn’t exactly against me going to a private high school, but he took no interest in the idea. “A public school will be fine,” he said. “They’re all the same in the end. Look at me. I never went near a private school, but I’m looking after you all well enough!” Dad often said that kind of thing, ignoring the fact that he’d always failed his promotion exams and was set to spend how whole career on the bottom. rung. His self-confidence unsettled Mom and made her set all the more importance on my exams. Dad had been in a good mood ever since he’d been told about the transfer. His head was full of this new car idea. In fact, upgrading was standard behavior among his colleagues.

Whenever any of them was reposted a long way off they always used their relocation allowances to buy a better car. Mr. Yamamoto, whom Dad was replacing, had come back to the city with a Nissan Cima. “Yamamoto’s got GPS!” Dad exclaimed. “What’s the use of GPS in a place like that? There’s only one road. Not a single traffic light.” “The work’s easy,” Mr. Yamamoto told Dad. “Nothing to worry about.”


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It was the day before we were set to leave and there was stuff all over the floor.

them. You’ll have somebody drinking at your house every single night.”

“Nothing series happens,” he said. “You won’t get any burglaries. You may have to grab up a high school kid now and then for stealing dried squid, but that’s about it. Nobody even bothers to lock up at night or when they go out. I sometimes went inside people’s houses to turn off their lights when there was nobody there. I suppose I could have been arrested for unlawful entry! But the people there don’t get worked up about a thing like that,” he laughed, pulled a piece of packing tape off his sock. “The only problem is it’s so small. You see the same people all the time and you get too close to

It was just as Mr. Yamamoto said. Almost every day when I got home from volleyball, I’d find Mitsugu Azamui in the living room, drinking. He’d be sitting cross-legged on the floor opposite Dad. His thin body was always bent so far forward that it looked like he was drinking directly from the tabletop. From time to time he’d look up at Dad, as if suddenly remembering that someone was with him. His eyes were cloys and yellow. My eightyear-old brother, Keiji, was scared of him and wouldn’t come into the living room. He’d peer in from the kitchen looking miserable. “I wanna watch TV!” he’d

snivel to Mom. Mitsugu Azamui was one of the village celebrities. He drank all day every day and had sold his house to pay for it. His wife and children had left him long ago. Now he was living in public housing on the fare side of the creek that ran past the police house. The reason he didn’t have to work was that he got disability payments for hand-arm vibration syndrome. He’d been a construction working when he was younger, moving from one tunnel site to the next. 

ABOUT THE BOOK ECHO ON THE BAY All societies, whether big or small, try to hide their wounds away. In this, his Mishima Prize-winning masterpiece, Masatsugu Ono considers a fishing village on the Japanese coast. Here a new police chief plays audience for the locals, who routinely approach him with bottles of liquor and stories to tell. As the city council election approaches, and as tongues are loosened by drink, evidence of rampant corruption piles up—and a long-held feud between the village’s captains of industry, two brothers-in-law, threatens to boil over.

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On Lighthouses.

Origin: Spanish

BY JAZMINA BARRERA, TRANSLATED BY CHRISTINA MACSWEENEY

Essays | Two Lines Press | May 2020

We arrive in Portland, Oregon, to stay with Willey, my aunt’s boyfriend. In his youth Willey had been an EMT and a member of the Black Panthers; he had a daily routine that included a full breakfast of ham, eggs, wheat semolina, and toast, reading the newspaper, and smoking two or three cigarettes on the balcony of his home. I don’t smoke, but during my first day in that house I spent a long time on the balcony watching the river with its boats and seabirds. I guess that’s equivalent to smoking. The following day we took the highway south. My cousin—two meters tall—and I were squashed in the back seat of the red pickup Willey referred to as “my baby.” We spent a night at the snowcapped 64

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hotel where The Shining was filmed, en-route to the crater of an extinct volcano that is now a sapphire-blue lake. Two years later, when I returned to Portland with my mother and aunt, Willey drove us to the coastal city of Newport. It was September. In that same pickup, we traveled along a wooded highway, stopping at a diner halfway to our destination to eat cupcakes made from locally grown marionberries, served by a couple of kindly old men. I remember that I had my headphones on, and was looking out the window at the forests of bare trees with trunks that were first dark, then white, and finally red. In Newport, I felt I’d never before seen an ocean so gray, so cold. Even in

summer, the whole city is shrouded in mist, and you have to search for your hotel among the clouds. * The great majority of my collections have been failures. When I was small, I used to admire those children who had all the Knights of the Zodiac figures, or the series of collectable toys that came in bags of potato chips. I tried my very best, but never


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achieved that form of prowess. Two collections that became quite extensive though were my gemstones (I now know they were all varieties of quartz) and my marbles. I was fascinated by the colors and texture of those glass spheres, which is possibly the reason for my choice. My collection of dried flowers also prospered: I still have it, specimens from the gardens that have been part of my life. My largest collection is of books. As a child I used to read them the day they were bought. Up until adolescence, every book I owned had been read. Then came the moment when I

had more books than time to peruse them, and I soon realized that I’d probably never read everything on my shelves (there is a Japanese word for it: tsundoku). I’m now able to divide that collection into two categories: the books themselves, as objects, and the reading experiences, which can also be coveted and amassed. Even before I ever saw a lighthouse, I dreamed of one; it was abandoned, far from the coast. At the foot of the building was a garden and the house where I lived with my parents. In my childhood dream, I asked my father what he’d found during his

exploration of the crumbling rooms. “Just the skeleton of a bat,” he said. I insistently asked for reassurance that the animal was dead, but he only muttered to himself, like someone in the trailer for a horror movie: “Dead, but alive.” The tip of the tower was visible: a dark garret where the bony hands of the bat’s skeleton stirred a cauldron containing a potion. The camera then zoomed in on the skull, which in a squeaky voice said, “I’m brewing my revenge on the person who killed me.” 

ABOUT THE BOOK ON LIGHTHOUSES Far from home, in the confines of a dim New York apartment where the oppressive skyscrapers further isolate her, Jazmina Barrera offers a tour of her lighthouses—those structures whose message is “first and foremost, that human beings are here.” Starting with Robert Louis Stevenson’s grandfather, an engineer charged with illuminating the Scottish coastline, On Lighthouses artfully examines lighthouses from the Spanish to the Oregon coasts and those in the works of Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allan Poe, Ingmar Bergman, and many others.

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The Law of Lines.

Origin: Korean

BY HYE-YOUNG PYUN, TRANSLATED BY SORA KIM-RUSSELL

Fiction | Arcade Publishing | May 2020

As darkness spread and lights flickered on one after the other, the ruin of #157 revealed itself: the blown-out walls and incinerated kitchen, the half-obliterated armoire, the chest of drawers burnt beyond recognition, the caved-in living room ceiling, the melted lump of a cassette deck, the fallen kitchen counter, the dining table collapsed on its burnt legs, the sofa reduced to its metal frame and burnt springs. The only undamaged thing visible from the living room were the trees in the yard. Flowers had come into full bloom in the blackened earth and endured a crestfallen spring before wilting. Now, tender green leaves sprouted in their place. The dried and yellowed petals lying on the 66

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ground were quiet proof of how much time had passed. There should have been an out-of-style chandelier hanging from the ceiling, its dim light straining to escape a thick layer of dust. There should have been a sofa against the wall to the right, the leather worn and the yellow stuffing poking through. The wall to the left should have had a long console with a boxy television set sitting on top. Now it was all gone. In contrast, Se-oh’s room was relatively unscathed. The ceramic angel music box was still in its usual spot on the bookshelf, unmarred by even the slightest trace of ash. The angel’s gray eyes cast a benevolent gaze on Se-oh. She turned it so it

was facing away. Having her father look at her like that was enough. If that person on the stretcher really was my father, Se-oh had thought upon arriving at the hospital, then at least he was able to move with each tilt of the stretcher. He could wave his hand to signal that he needed help, and groan to request medical attention. Her father had lain in the hospital bed wrapped


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in bandages from head to toe. It had given her a sliver of hope that maybe this wasn’t really her father after all. The only proof that it was him was the name written on the chart at the foot of the bed. Se-oh was summoned by the doctor as Su-chang Yun’s legal guardian. The doctor sounded impatient and unfriendly each time he spoke, and he used too much medical jargon, the vast majority of which she couldn’t understand. But she had no trouble understanding that her father was in critical condition, that treatment was difficult, and that he was very likely to die. Even without the doctor’s

brusque explanation, the full-body bandages and the fleet of medical equipment attached to him left her in despair. The hospital was hot, and the hospital room was even hotter, but Se-oh had kept her purple trench coat on and refused to sit down the whole time she was there, just in case her father opened his eyes and looked up at her. She wanted him to see her wearing the coat he’d bought for her. Based on what the doctor had said, the odds were high he would never get to see it for himself and, sure enough, that was what happened.

The first morning after his funeral was silent. There was no grunting as her father hoisted his dumbbells, no grumbling as he read the newspaper, no rattling of the pressure cooker valve to signal that the rice was done, none of his usual belches upon finishing his breakfast, and no audible gulps that followed when he noticed Se-oh’s frown and struggled to squelch any more burps from escaping. Her father feared Se-oh above all others. He wanted to stay on her good side. He loved her more than anyone. 

ABOUT THE BOOK THE LAW OF LINES The Law of Lines follows the parallel stories of two young women whose lives are upended by sudden loss. When Se-oh, a recluse still living with her father, returns from an errand to find their house in flames, wrecked by a gas explosion, she is forced back into the world she had tried to escape. The detective investigating the incident tells her that her father caused the explosion to kill himself because of overwhelming debt she knew nothing about, but Se-oh suspects foul play by an aggressive debt collector and sets out on her own investigation, seeking vengeance.

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The Book of Anna.

Origin: Spanish

BY CARMEN BOULLOSA, TRANSLATED BY SAMANTHA SCHNEE

Fiction | Coffee House Press | April 2020

The Karenins continue their discussion into the wee hours. It has nothing to do with the extraordinary quality of an oil painting that is exceedingly lifelike in its depiction of one human being. The canvas is brave and compelling in its expression of the conflicts and contradictions of an individual, uniting them all in one image. There are a number of reasons why it’s such a pleasure to look at, as w as its model. It has the gift of beauty, just like Anna. But Anna’s beauty provoked a desire to possess it; it was irresistible to anyone susceptible to its charms. Although the 68

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canvas is scrupulously faithful to its model, that’s not why it’s so mesmerizing. Delicate, it invites contemplation of the color, the fabric, the craftsmanship of a hypothetical creature, capturing her beauty without her sensual magnetism, making the viewer introspective. It’s a classic. Its creator, Mikhailov, had no idea what he would achieve when he painted it. He exceeded his ambitions, and how. He knew he had done a good job, and he was well paid in return. That’s all—but all is nothing compared to this vertiginously beautiful painting.

During their conversation, Sergei lays out all the reasons why he can’t stand to have the portrait of his mother on view for all and sundry to see. Claudia argues otherwise. At some point during the night, Sergei says it would be acceptable if the picture were exhibited as Portrait of a Woman, without disclosing the identity


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of the model. Claudia argues that it will cause a scandal no matter what. “People will gossip one way or another. They’re idle and lazy, they don’t have anything better to do. They neglect their children, loll about in messy rooms, and keep them-selves busy with slanderous rumors.” On the other hand, they could sell the portrait and buy something big. . . . “A boat? Or a motorcar like Prince O rlov’s?” She’s trying to distract him. “Land in Texas? An Italian villa?”

The painting could fetch a price that would make many a dream possible. Then they would gain the tsar’s good graces by allowing the portrait to be part of the exhibition, and in noticing them, he might grant Sergei the government post he’s been wanting for some time. And from that post, many decorations would follow. The painting would help Sergei’s career, not hinder it.

decides that she’ll send a letter in the morning thanking the tsar for the invitation to include the piece in the imperial collection and requesting that an expert appraise it to be sure it has sufficient artistic merit for the honor of being exhibited in such a museum. If it’s not a masterpiece, the canvas doesn’t deserve to become part of the imperial collection. 

All Claudia’s arguments eventually disarm Sergei, and in his exhaustion, he gives in. Claudia

ABOUT THE BOOK THE BOOK OF ANNA Saint Petersburg, 1905. Behind the gates of the Karenin Palace, Sergei, son of Anna Karenina, meets Tolstoy in his dreams and finds reminders of his mother everywhere: the vivid portrait that the tsar intends to acquire and the opium-infused manuscripts Anna wrote just before her death, which open a trapdoor to a wild feminist fairy tale. Across the city, Clementine, an anarchist seamstress, and Father Gapon, the charismatic leader of the proletariat, plan protests that embroil the downstairs members of the Karenin household in their plots and tip the country ever closer to revolution.

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Ornamental.

Origin: Spanish

BY JUAN CARDENAS, TRANSLATED BY LIZZIE DAVIS

Fiction | Coffee House Press | June 2020

It’s not the first time we’ve introduced a third person into the relationship. Of course, it’s hardly something we can boast of. Group sex became a vulgar habit the moment it gained popularity among whitecollar workers. What’s fashionable these days is a steady partner, kids, a house in the country, a garden, a folk music collection. It so happens that last year a young man writing his graduate thesis on my wife’s work began to frequent our apartment. A few weeks later, she told me she’d slept with the guy in her studio. I felt nothing resem bling jealousy. I understood that m y wife actually w 70

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anted to be w ith both of us at the sam e tim e, and to appease her, I agreed. It w as obvious that this young m an was no more than an accessory to our love, a channel through which my wife could transmit the desire she’d honed for me. The young man was a marionette. We maneuvered him as we pleased, leveraging his candor and the adm iration my wife roused in him . Week by week we wore down his initial masculine vigor, feminizing him by degrees, reduc-ing his vitality and initiative until he became no more than a plaything. My wife’s fantasy of absolute penetration was replaced with the destructive pleasure of watching me come in the young man’s mouth.

In the end, he agreed to it all without putting up any resistance, his will reduced to the enigma of obedience. Naturally, boredom wasn’t far off. The arrangement lasted less than two months, and it was my wife who dispatched him in the end, refusing to see him again even about the thesis. I don’t know what became of the poor kid. Now that the trial is over, number 4 has


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asked to stay with us for a few days. Her reasons for not going home have been fairly nebulous, but my wife is so smitten with the idea that I’d accept whatever explanation. Number 4 and my wife have very quickly developed a com plicity that scares me. I often catch them whispering to each other, exchanging looks I can’t decipher. Sometimes I think they’re trying to shut me out of the triangle. And worst of all, the link between them intensifies when they’re on the drug, to which they are now definitively addicted. So much so that I’ve been obliged to restrict them to

two daily doses. In spite of these practical details, the truth is, I can’t complain. I enjoy our time together very much. Number 4 continues to be som ewhat evasive in our day-today dealings, but she’s solicitous when I summon her, even if my wife isn’t around. I can sense that she feels indebted to us, and, although I’m certain she gets equal pleasure from being alone with me, I can’t help but think the sex is her way of repaying our hospitality.

babble if it makes her tired, or she’ll converse normally with my wife. Number 4, it turns out, is a stupendous conversationalist. As suspected, she’s an educated woman, though she still won’t reveal to us when or where she learned so m any things. Selftaught, she says. Which no one believes. 

Oddly, since she left the lab, number 4 has stopped pr-ducing discourses on the drug. At most she’ll

ABOUT THE BOOK ORNAMENTAL A doctor recruits volunteers for the trial of a new recreational drug that exclusively affects women. Among them is “number 4,” who becomes emotionally involved with first the scientist, then his wife, a well-known visual artist in the midst of a creative crisis. The scientist is oblivious to the atrocities his new drug will bring to the city; his wife is oblivious to the superfluousness of the objects she has committed her life to exhibiting in galleries and museums. Number 4’s presence pierces the couple’s complacency, gradually undoing the many certainties they’ve accumulated in their lives of ease.

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Girls Lost.

BY JESSICA SCHIEFAUER READFiction AN EXCERPT | Deep Vellum | March 2020

We turned fourteen that spring, Bella, Momo, and I. We kept to ourselves. In winter we were mostly in Momo’s room but during the hot time of year we kept to Bella’s garden, or the greenhouse when it rained. We listened to the insects and to the rain, watched the droplets on the petals evaporate when the sun broke through. Curious, we watched the flower flies mate in the oxeye daisies— a strange and violent dance that sent shivers through the thin petals. During dry spells we watered at night. Bella 1lled the green can over by the house and we helped carry it across the lawn. She never asked us to help but neither did she stop us, wordlessly showing us what to do. She knew the names and types of flowers but she rarely shared them and 72

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I didn’t ask, it wasn’t important to me. Her flowerbeds dazzled like New Year’s fireworks and like all fireworks they were best at night, when the streetlights’ soft yellow glow spread through the neighborhood. You might have thought the velvety leaves would close up when it was dark but they didn’t. They opened up to the night, screaming at the stars: I’m over here! Look at me! The night is black BUT I AM IN COLOR! We lived amidst this sparkle and it made me forget that I was Kim, that I had a growing, bursting body. The greenhouse was a free zone, a space governed by other laws. The school days and hallways and my parents’ house—everything fell

away when I walked through that glass door. Even Bella became someone else in there. Her eyes were calm and sharp as a knife, her movements were precise and confident. At school she was a chubby girl with red hair and freckles, a girl who preferred to sit quietly and stay invisible for as long as possible. And me, I was a sad skinny thing with lanky legs and an oversized head. My skin flamed with eczema as soon as it came in contact with any unknown substance—I


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couldn’t handle the hot summer sun or cold winter winds, nor could I eat red tomatoes or golden oranges. They gave me a flaming rash around my mouth and nostrils, and I would have to rub stinky ointment into my skin for days in a row. My girl-skin preferred paperdry air and wallpapered walls, strip lighting and linoleum, and chlorinated water. I hated it. My body clung to me like something foreign—a sticky, itchy rubber suit; but no matter how much I scratched and scraped at it, it was where it was. At night I dreamed of shedding my body. It was so simple, suddenly a zipper appeared in my skin. Sometimes it was along my inner thigh,

sometimes across my stomach, along my back or between my legs. I opened it, I could feel the air flowing toward my real skin underneath, like a vacuum seal breaking. And I peeled off my skin, climbed out of it like a soiled garment and I could feel the cool floor against my new soles. But before I could get to the mirror and discover what I actually looked like, I’d wake up. I told Bella about this dream once, while she was culling her red flowerbed. I was crouching down next to her, handing her the spade and the hand rake, and I told her exactly how it felt—what it was like when my skin loosened and fell o4 me. Bella had dirt on her face, a

blade of grass at her hairline, and she listened earnestly. She didn’t say a word, but I knew she got me. Yes, we turned fourteen that spring and we hid in the greenhouse to avoid growing up. We stayed away from people our own age, we were wary of heeding the call of the hormones in our blood because we suspected that they could overpower us at any time, without our consent. We knew what was waiting for us: one morning we’d simply get out of bed and know that the time for children’s games was done. 

ABOUT THE BOOK GIRLS LOST Girls Lost is a thriller featuring three teenage girls: Kim, Bella, and Momo. The three occupy a challenging limbo between childhood and adulthood, made only more difficult by the steady provocation of their malicious male classmates and pubescent bodies that are changing beyond their control. They are on the precipice of a grown-up world that seems to be broken into two groups: male and female; public and private; assailant and target. Eager to escape, the girls seek refuge in Bella’s greenhouse, a free zone where their imaginations run wild and their talents can flourish. 73


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Blood of the Dawn.

BY CLAUDIA SALAZAR JIMENEZ, TR. BY ELIZABETH BRYER Historical READ AN EXCERPT Fiction | Deep Vellum | December 2016

Their most important work was making decisions in the midst of war. Our one and only ideological line decided it. Comrade Leader, Comrade Number Two, and Comrade Number Three: a perfect trinity. Comrade Leader is the One, the Guiding Thought of our revolution. Comrade Two was the person who brought me into the party. Comrade Three was in charge of logistics. Three. A perfect, sacred number. A closed Circle. The Standing Commit-tee. Organized secrecy at the epicenter. The revolution couldn’t wait any longer; sitting and waiting on reactions is what the State wants. To substitute one class for another, one number for another. Thought rules, but Mao said it: “Power grows out of the barrel of 74

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a gun.” Our military arm, Comrade Felipe, was a restless colt itching for combat. He said that in some rural communities, people had reacted negatively to the revolutionary doctrine. Some found it dificult to accept the revo-lution, but we trusted they would absorb and grow to understand the Guiding Thought. There were clashes and some comrades fell, which emboldened police in zones key to our advancement. At that meeting, I remember how Comrade Felipe showed Comrade Three one of the FAL infantry rifles we had seized. “This is what power is made of, comrade, feel it.” It had been a long time since she’d held one. Now she focused on politics and

theory, on what endures when arms are laid down. It didn’t feel so heavy to her, but its bulk braced her arm. Quick as anything, she unloaded and reloaded it. Then, as if suddenly uncomfortable, she gave it back to Comrade Felipe. The Leader prepared to speak to the assembled commissars and open the meeting. Comrades, it must be made clear from the first: the party rules over the barrel of the gun and we will never let it


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be the other way around. That said, the masses need to be educated on the crucible of MarxistLeninist-Maoist thought, and the revolutionary army must mobilize the masses. Forceful measures are needed to take the qualitative leap of decisive importance for the party and for the revolution. To transform the orderless agrarian masses into an organized militia. Comrade Leader paused to observe people’s reactions. Not one murmur. Respectful silence in response to his words. Comrade Two maintained an unreadable look. Her posture was always erect, vertical, in line with the wall, where there was an image

of Mao guiding his people beneath the red sun in perpetual advancement and transformation. A new dawn unfolding. Comrade Leader continued outlining the ideological plan. Comrade Felipe would be in charge of the tactical details this time, of overseeing how the action should proceed. The place had already been decided. The colt felt liberated and clenched the FAL rifle harder, the veins in his hands bulging. Objective: to deprive our enemies of their undeserved upper hand, forcing them into submission. May our actions speak for themselves.

They’re either with us or against us. Annihilate. We will start tearing down the walls and unleashing the Dawn. It will send a strong message. They’re not expecting this. Comrade Leader announced the name of the hamlet: Lucanamarca.“Lucanamarca,” echoed Number Three, her voice raised almost to a shout, her fist in the air. Comrade Two looked at me with dis-quiet. She had let a few seconds go by without reacting and now lifted her fist in the air as well, reiterating the one and only decision. “Lucanamarca.” 

ABOUT THE BOOK BLOOD OF THE DAWN An award-winning debut novel of politics, desire, and pain by Peruvian author Claudia Salazar Jiménez. The lives of three women intertwine and are ripped apart during what’s known as “the time of fear” in Peruvian history, when the Shining Path rebel insurgency was at its peak. We are reminded, through Jiménez’s lucid and brutal prose, of the personal tragedies that occur within the social trauma of armed conflict. Blood of the Dawn is a beautiful example of what art can do to help us not forget.

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One Hundred Twenty-One Days. BY MICHÈLE AUDIN, TR. BY CHRISTIANA HILLS

READ Historical AN EXCERPT Fiction | Deep Vellum | April 2016

I start to write: Once upon a time, in a remote region of a faraway land, there lived a little boy. And this little boy was full of an insatiable curiosity and he was always asking ever so many questions. The faraway land where he lived was in Africa, in a country that encompassed a big river called the Saloum River, and the little boy filled the land around this river with his questions.

was used to measure all circles, both big ones and little ones, and the schoolteacher didn’t spank him.

He asked his father why the Blacks on the plantation were beaten with a stick, and his father spanked him with his leather belt. He asked his mother why she didn’t read her Bible by herself, and his mother spanked him with her two white hands. He asked the village priest why he drank the communion wine during Cat-echism class, and the priest spanked him with his cane. He asked the schoolteacher why the same number, π,

A fairy tale is one way to recount history. The Saloum River, its village, its plantation, its pirogues, and its 1ame trees form the setting for this tale. The little boy’s parents, his little brother, the fairies, the priest, the schoolteacher, a dog, and a few of the villagers are its characters. The little boy who lived in this exotic setting at the center of this little world was named Christian. The good fairies, along with the

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I must tell you, O Best Beloved, that some good fairies were watching over this little boy’s cradle. If there were a few evil fair-ies as well, no one noticed. So there will be no discussion of evil fairies at this point in the tale.

schoolteacher who didn’t spank anyone who asked questions, were responsible for the fact that he really loved going to school, where he was taught to read books, to write fast and well, to count fast and high, and to ask questions. As for his parents, they thought that the time he spent at school was much too long. Because you see, although his mother liked that he could read the Gospels aloud to her, his parents wondered why he needed to learn any more. One day, while spanking


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him with his leather belt, the boy’s father said: “Well, you’re not going to become a writer, in any case!” Because, O Best Beloved, at this time on the banks of the Saloum River, there were public writers who would write letters for people and read them the letters they received. And, you see, the little boy’s father was working hard to make the Negroes sweat on the peanut plantation, and he thought that the writer, who spent all his days sitting in the shade of a kapok tree right in the middle of the village, was a lazy man. One fine morning, at the beginning of summer, the school-teacher came to the plantation and explained to the little boy’s parents that not only could their son read

and write fast and well, but that he also knew how to do sums using very big numbers, and that it would be good to send him to secondary school, in the big city, so that he might learn all that can be done with all those big numbers and all that reading and writing. But you see, O Best Beloved, at this time and in the land around the Saloum River, no boy had ever gone to secondary school. His parents listened politely and said they would think about it. Yet as soon as the schoolteacher left, they fought, his mother kicked, his father punched, then they both started spanking the little boy without wasting any more time. They even called the priest over for help. The boy’s little brother was also spanked for good measure.

A little later, when that was over, the little boy came across a yellow dog that belonged to one of his friends, and said to him: “My father has spanked me, and my mother has spanked me, and the priest has spanked me. And still I want to go to secondary school in the big city to learn how to do calculations with even bigger numbers and learn more about the number π." And the little yellow dog licked the little boy’s face affectionately as the little boy scratched him behind the ears. 

ABOUT THE BOOK ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-ONE DAYS The debut novel of mathematician, author, and Oulipo member Michèle Audin, One Hundred Twenty-One Days retraces the lives of French mathematicians over several generations during World Wars I and II. The narrative oscillates stylistically from chapter to chapter, sometimes resembling a novel, at others a fable, historical research, or a diary, locking and unlocking codes, culminating in a captivating, original reading experience.

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Home.

BY LEILA S. CHUDORI, TR. BY JOHN H. MCGLYNN READ Historical AN EXCERPT Fiction | Deep Vellum | October 2015

Like a black net enclosing the city, ink from a monster squid spreading across Jakarta’s entire landscape—the color of my uncertain future. Inside the darkroom, I know not the sun, the moon, or even my wristwatch. But the darkness that envelopes this room is imbrued with the scent of chemicals and anxiety. Three years ago, the Nusantara News Agency where I worked was cleansed of lice and germs like myself. The army was the disinfectant and we, the lice and the germs, were eradicated from the face of the earth, with no trace left. Yet, somehow, this particular louse had survived and was now eking out a living at Tjahaja Photo Studio on the corner of Jalan Sabang in central Jakarta. I switched on the red 78

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light to inspect the strips of negatives hanging on the drying-line overhead. It must have been around 8p.m. because I could hear the muzzled sound of the muezzin drifting in to the darkroom through the grate in the door, summoning the faithful for evening prayer. I imagined the scene on Jalan Sabang outside: the quarrelsome cackling of motorized pedicabs; the huffing and puffing of slow-moving opelets searching for passengers; the creaking of humandriven pedicabs in need of an oil job; the cring-cring sound of hand bells on bicycles as their riders wove their way through the busy intersection; and the cries of the bread seller on his three-wheel contraption with its large box and clear glass windows. I could even see the early evening wind bearing the smoke and smell rising from skewers of goat satay being

grilled on the brazier at Pak Heri’s itinerant but immensely popular food stall located smack dab at the intersection of Sabang and Asem Lama. I could see him using his wellworn pestle to grind fried peanuts and thinly sliced shallots on an oversized mortar, then drizzling sweet soy sauce over the mix. And then I imagined my good friend, Dimas Suryo, studiously observing Pak Heri and discussing with him his choice of peanuts with the same kind of intensity that he might


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employ when dissecting a poem by Rivai Apin. Almost every evening, like clockwork, all other sounds from the outside were drowned out by the long shrill whistle from the steamer on Soehardi’s food cart as our regular vendor of steamed putu—a favorite treat of mine, those steamed rice-Hour balls with their grated coconut on the outside and melted cane sugar inside—pulled up outside the photo studio. But other than the smell of Pak Heri’s goat satay, that sound was about the only thing—that shrieking sound—that was able to make its way into the darkroom. The deadly darkness of the developing room seemed to smother almost every sound.

But the screak of the putu steamer and the smell of the cakes always served as a rap on the doors and windows of the photo studio. It was a sign the time had come for me to leave this room that knew no such a thing as time. Today, I don’t know why, I felt reluctant to go outside. Maybe because I could picture the world outside the room and how depressing it seemed to me: neon lights casting their harsh glow on the studio’s white tiled Hoor and glass display cases; Suhardjo and Liang tending to customers who were there waiting to pick up prints from rolls of film they had left at the store a week before or to have their pictures taken for the formal photographs they

now needed for identification purposes. For the past two years, income from the latter had been the largest source of revenue for the studio. Every day, at least ten to fifteen people came to have passport-size photographs taken to attach to governmentissued letters of certification that they were not a communist, had never participated in any activity sponsored by the Indonesian Communist Party, and had not been involved in the so-called attempt to overthrow the Indonesian government now known as Gestapu, the September 30 Movement. 

ABOUT THE BOOK HOME Home is Leila S. Chudori’s remarkable fictional account of life in Indonesia and in Paris among political exiles during the reign of Suharto, from the 1965 anti-communist massacre of over a million alleged Communists and their sympathizers and its aftermath, through Suharto’s overthrow in 1998. The history of the 1965 massacre was manipulated by the Suharto regime to portray its involvement in this atrocity in a favorable light, a history explored by director Joshua Oppenheimer in his extraordinary Oscar-nominated documentaries The Act of Killing, and its powerful follow-up, The Look of Silence. 79


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Texas: The Great Theft. BY CARMEN BOULLOSA, TR. BY SAMANTHA SCHNEE Historical READ AN EXCERPT Fiction | Deep Vellum | December 2014

Let's state it up fron, so we don’t get muddled: this is the year 1859. We’re on the northern and southern banks of the Río Bravo, known to some as the Rio Grande, in the cities of Bruneville and Matasánchez.Heading into the wind on horseback we could make it to the sea in half a morning. Bruneville and Matasánchez call themselves cities, but you be the judge of whether they should be called towns. I should tell you a few things about them: Bruneville is part of the state of Texas, Matasánchez is part of Mexico. The former (Bruneville) hasn’t been around long, only since ’21, when Mexico declared its independence. That year, Mexico’s Far North was sparsely populated, though there were a few ranches scattered around—like the ones owned by Doña Estefanía which extend 80

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from the Nueces River all the way south to the Río Bravo—you’d have to ride four days to cross her lands from south to north. Back then buffalo flourished. Mustangs ran free. Since the grasslands hadn’t been sown, you didn’t find cattle in herds; they grazed in twos or threes. But the Indians abounded, and they traveled in bands. Indian Territory lay to the northeast, where the Apaches had lived since God created the Earth, and where a variety of northern tribes had moved, evicted from their homelands by the Americans, or fleeing from them. Since the Indians were so different (some were hunters and tanners, some farmers, some warriors), they didn’t share their territory in holy peace, no matter how similar we’d like to think they were. To protect their northern frontier from greedy

Europeans and warlike Indians, the Mexican federal government invited Americans to live there. The government loaned them land or just gave it to them, sometimes even throwing in some livestock on certain conditions. To be perfectly clear: they made them sign contracts swearing to abide by the Catholic faith and pledge their allegiance to the Mexican government. However, they refused from the beginning to allow the importation of slaves, relenting only under great


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pressure, allowing a few in dribs and drabs. In ’35 the gringos responded to Mexico’s generosity by declaring their independence. They were motivated by their own interests, especially the right to own slaves. The brand new (slaveholding) Republic of Texas declared its southern frontier to be the Nueces River. At that time the sowing of the grasslands had begun—the grass seeds greedily hogging everything the earth had to offer—while acacias were burned down to make way for herds of livestock, which grazed and mul-tiplied. The buffalo were decimated by hunters. The arrows of the hunter tribes frequently flew in vain, without finding targets. It goes without saying

that this was like a slap in the face to the Mexican government and made its landowners and ranchers hopping mad. Then, in ’46, the Republic of Texas joined the United States, becoming the Lone Star State. Immediately Texas claimed that its territories extended to the Río Bravo. And you already know what happened after that. The Americans invaded us. In ’48, after the invasion (which they called the Mexican-American War, some nerve!), they declared that the Río Bravo was the official border. To stake their claim, the Texans founded Bruneville where previously there had been nothing but a dock built by the town

of Matasánchez, “just in case.” Matasánchez became a border town. Immigrants flooded into Bruneville from all over, some respectable folks, and some American lawyers determined to enforce the new laws, which meant shifting ownership of the land to the gringos. There were all kinds of crooks, the aforementioned, well-dressed ones who robbed (Mexicans) from behind their desks, as well as the kind who tied kerchiefs over their faces. And there were those who did a little of both. It’s under these circumstances that our story takes place, at the time of the Great Theft. 

ABOUT THE BOOK TEXAS: THE GREAT THEFT 1859: Matasánchez and Bruneville. Two cities divided by the Río Bravo – or the Rio Grande, depending on which side you’re on – filled with a volatile mix of characters… tensions are running high, and it all boils over one hot summer day…

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Of Darkness.

Origin: Danish

BY JOSEFINE KLOUGART, TRANSLATED BY MARTIN AITKEN

Fiction | Deep Vellum Publishing | February 2017

The setting sun. The way the light at first seems to dip down and coil, then launch forward to gild the landscape from a standing start, commencing at the far end of the fields where the hedgerow runs and the woods begin; gentle and yet enraged, like the seeming coldness of white-hot coals, or a seeming attention to matters of detail that is actually disappointment over some very basic states-of-affairs. The way things fit together, the way a passage of events draws something through the organism, summer autumn winter, the rhythm of the flesh, and the displacements that may also occur. The holding together of something, the hanging together by spite. A skilled carpenter whose 82

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box joints are made with such accuracy as to be quite as strong as the solid wood itself. The feeling of the sun and earth coming together in the same way as two people. The fact of not understanding. The body is the corset that keeps the thoughts in place; neglect the body and the thoughts withdraw, they seep away imperceptibly, the body undoing the ties, removing them from their metal eyelets; or the thoughts seeping away, tightening a frail drawstring in retreat, a string that eventually succumbs and breaks. The girls stand on the riding ground with their horses. Seven girls and seven horses. The horses have been walked with slackened

reins, now they lower their heads by turn, snorting muzzles in the dirt, a looseness of gait, the sounds they make. Nipping at grass. Flap, flap, muzzles flapping over tarnished teeth, the muscle of tongues, the rigid bristle of eyelashes seemingly inserted physically into the lids. They lead the horses around, stirrup irons flopped over saddles, drawn from the right, across the leather’s


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gleaming seat, to dangle on the left, and likewise from left to right. The sun upon the black leather, a girl untangling a knotted mane, the thickness and stiffness of the hairs. A saddle scratched by a tackroom cat sharpening claws against the leather. We see the horses with their riders, a girl and a horse connected by the reins. The horses led around the exercise ground. We watch the weary suppleness of their movements, the way seven pairs spread out over the pale oblong landscape. To all sides: flelds extending like tongues, only a long,

gravelled intestine cuts through their tossing contours, connecting the oblong with the stables; the manor farm at the end of the tree-lined track, the way it stands resplendent. A horse lifts a hoof, the elegant bend of the pastern, the elbow, the joining of the animal’s various parts, the seamless movement from the joints, the stretch of the tendons, the contraction of muscle. Like planets, the horses disperse with their riders, their spreading out is the only movement in the frame, a symmetry to which one can only acquiesce. Some sounds—birdsong,

farm machinery at work somewhere in the fields. A flaxen fringe swept from a moistened brow, a girth loosened three notches by a practised hand beneath the saddle flap, two girth straps at once and then the third. Quiet chatter that becomes par-ticular by virtue of the sun’s position in the sky. 

ABOUT THE BOOK OF DARKNESS In this genre-bending apocalyptic novel Josefine Klougart fuses myriad literary styles to breathtaking effect in poetic meditations on life and death interspersed with haunting imagery. Her experimental novel asks readers to reconsider death, asserting sorrow and loss as beautiful and necessary aspects of living.

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LOVE, DECEIT, PERSEVERANCE, HEALING

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Surprising plot twist . . . whodunit element . . . engaging cast of characters make for a compelling read.”

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020

- BlueInk Review

Debra could be any woman out there.”

- Katheryn Bennett for Readers’ Favorite


MURDER IN

CHATSWOOD

A heavy vehicle smashes into four people dining on a street cafĂŠ in busy Chatswood. Detective Brock Larsen has been called to investigate. Were all four victims the target or just one of them? A search for the killer leads the Homicide team to a variety of potential suspects. During the investigation, Larsen and each of his four team members also need to tackle their individual love issues.

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THE PHANTOM OF WITCH’S TREE BY MARK LUNDE

An unapologetically raunchy Western with subtle fantasy elements, Mark Lunde’s stellar debut novel, The Phantom of Witch’s Tree, is set in 1912—the last days of the Wild West—and follows one man’s redemptive journey from wastrel to legend.” - BlueInk Reviews

The Phantom of Witch’s Tree, a novel that shatters all the shoot-’em-up conventions of the traditional western as it shifts seamlessly between dark fantasy, horror and the supernatural, unleashing a wild ride through an Old West never before experienced.

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Vivid and timeless.”

As enthralling as it is shocking... this novel was brilliant from start to finish.”

Compelling, riveting, enthralling”

Regardless of where many think a woman’s sole place and situation must be, in the historical novel NAKED TRUTH: OR EQUALITY THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT by Carrie Hayes, two irrepressible sisters are determined to carve out their own positions in this world.

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INTERVIEW

Interview: Stephen Snyder.

Translator for The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa

BY GABRIELLE GUERRA

04

“It’s difficult to imagine a world without translated literature and other forms of writing. We would be a sadly reduced globe with access to only works that were written in the one or two or three languages we might be able to read.”

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CONTINUED

04

INTERVIEW

IN LANGUAGES?

Japanese writers and the one whose work moves and pleases me most profoundly.

SS: I studied French and Classical Greek

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN

before beginning to learn Japanese in graduate school, so, yes. In fact, I still read in French almost as often as in Japanese. (The Greek, sadly, is completely gone.)

TRANSLATING TEXT? IS THIS

HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD AN INTEREST

HOW MANY LANGUAGES DO YOU SPEAK AND TRANSLATE? SS: I speak and read Japanese and French. I

translate only from Japanese to English. IS THE MEMORY POLICE YOUR FIRST NOVEL OR PIECE OF FICTION YOU HAVE TRANSLATED? WHAT OTHER BODIES OF WORK DO YOU TRANSLATE?

SOMETHING YOU DO FULL TIME? SS: I am not a full-time translator. I am

primarily an academic, and, of late, an academic administrator, serving as the Dean of the Middlebury Summer Language Schools. I got my start translating while finishing my doctoral degree. I was asked by a publishing company in Japan to translate a historical novel by Kunio Tsuji that was published as The Signore. It happened to win the U.S.Japan Friendship Commission Translation Prize (beginner’s luck), and since that time I have been pretty much continuously translating Japanese fiction.

SS: I believe The Memory Police is the

15th book I’ve translated. I have translated primarily fiction by living writers, with one exception, a novel from the early part of the 20th century by the writer I studied in my dissertation, Kafu Nagai. I’ve translated works by a number of well-known contemporary writers, including the Nobel prize winner Kenzaburo Oe, Ryu Murakami, Natsuo Kirino, Kanae Minato, and Miri Yu. In the last decade, I have worked primarily on translating the fiction of Yoko Ogawa, who I feel is one of the most important living

HOW CLOSELY DID YOU WORK WITH YOKO OGAWA? SS: We have collaborated closely on the

selection of the works to be translated into English. She has several dozen works in print in Japanese, only five of which I have translated so far. We meet annually or more often to discuss the works I’ve read and her new work, focusing the discussion on which works would be of most interest to an Englishlanguage audience.

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We do not communicate a great deal during the translation process. In the rare event that I do have a question, we communicate via email, since I’m based in Vermont and she is in Ashiya, near Osaka. DOES HAVING A GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF THE CULTURE

04

INTERVIEW

beauty. The greatest challenge was to find the language and tone in English that communicated this complex combination of moods and styles that is so central to the original Japanese. Yoko Ogawa’s prose in Japanese is extraordinarily beautiful, so it’s always a challenge to try to find a way to capture even a vague sense of that beauty in English.

HELP YOU TRANSLATE THE TEXT? DO YOU FEEL A GREAT SENSE SS: Having a good grasp of the culture

OF RESPONSIBILITY TO GET THE

(actually, of both the source culture and your own culture) is essential for any translator. Literature is deeply embedded in the social, historical, and cultural contexts in which it is produced, and translating effectively requires the ability to recognize those contexts in all their complexity and then to find equivalents in the target language and culture that will accommodate the meaning and the poetry in ways that are comprehensible to the new readers—all while not flattening the contours of difference.

AUTHOR'S PURPOSE AND MESSAGE ACROSS AS CLEARLY AS POSSIBLE? SS: Yes, it is a responsibility, and all the more

so when the works are important one’s, like Ogawa’s. It’s not difficult to translate the general sense of a text or the actual words themselves, but to convey what makes them literature, what makes them matter, and what might make them last is much more difficult, much more rewarding, and much more intimidating as a responsibility. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE

WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING

TRANSLATED BOOKS AND OTHER

ASPECT OF TRANSLATING THE

BODIES OF WORK?

MEMORY POLICE? SS: It’s difficult to imagine a world without SS: The Memory Police is a powerful,

suspenseful novel, but it is also a quiet, meditative book full of moments of great

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translated literature and other forms of writing. We would be a sadly reduced globe with access to only works that were written in


CONTINUED

04

INTERVIEW

the one or two or three languages we might be able to read. The flow of ideas across borders, the enrichment that comes to any language and culture from outside influences, the sense of empathy for other people in other places and other times, and the greater humanity and humane spirit that empathy evokes—none of these would be possible without the art of translation and translated books. 

ABOUT THE BOOKS

THE MEMORY POLICE On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses—until things become much more serious. Most of the island's inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten. When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards. As fear and loss close in around them, they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past. A surreal, provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language.

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The Golden Heart by Emil Kackos

Dragons suddenly appear out of the night sky, burning everything in sight. The evil wizard that created them is about to complete a spell that will exchange his heart with the magical Golden Heart and make him the ruler of the world. All he needs is a cup of blood: Human blood! He has created creatures to conquer the inhabitants in preparation for his rule. A teenage witch and several young companions are selected to face the wizard is his lair and save the world.

“Young readers with a love of action will have fun with this tale of fire-breathing dragons and magic spells�

- BlueInk Review

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NEW TO SHELF UNBOUND!

Introducing Shelf Media Group's digital young adult community designed to connect readers with YA authors and books.

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Here the Whole Time.

BY VITOR MARTINS, TRANSLATED BY LARISSA HELENA

In Here the Whole Time, Brazilian Felipe welcomes the solitude of winter break and the distance it will allow from his classmates and their taunts about his weight, but when his mom tells him his neighbor, Caio, will be staying with them for fifteen days, he’s understandably annoyed. Sharing a bedroom with his longtime crush doesn’t exactly sound relaxing. At first Felipe tries to ignore and avoid Caio but living in a small apartment and constantly being thrown together by his meddling mother leaves him no choice but to face his insecurities head-on. One of the biggest charms of this novel is Felipe and his sense of humor and self-awareness. While Felipe’s body image is negative and unhealthy, Martins never allows Felipe to veer into self-deprecation that isn’t countered by depictions of body positivity or valuable messages about mental health and supportive friends and family. Especially notable is Felipe’s weekly visits to a therapist; the conversations there and his reflections about their discussions are beautifully depicted, with no shame or taboo attached.

WHAT TO READ IN YA FICTION BY SARA GROCHOWSKI

Young adult fiction continues to become one of the most popular genres – mostly for adults. Join us each issue to find your next YA read.

HERE THE WHOLE TIME BY VITOR MARTINS, TRANSLATED BY LARISSA HELENA

The relationship between Felipe and Caio develops slowly and believably with friendship outshining romance, though the latter is still present. The slow, meandering burn feels appropriate and healthy as the two work to individually accept and find themselves; there are no easy fixes here. Instead Martins shows that, even in our imperfection – real or perceived – we deserve love and connection. Honest and affirming but never prescriptive, readers will be left hoping for more from Martins.

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|

RECOMMENDED AS YOU R N EX T

YA R E A D

HERE THE WHOLE TIME

What would you do if you had to spend the next 15 days with your lifelong crush? Felipe gets it -- he's fat. Not chubby. Not big-boned. Fat. And he doesn't need anyone to remind him, which is, of course, what everyone does. That's why he's been waiting for this moment ever since the school year began: school break. Finally, he'll be able to spend some time far away from school and the classmates who tease him incessantly. His plans include catching up on his favorite TV shows, finishing his to-be-read pile, and watching YouTube tutorials on skills he'll never actually put into practice. But things get a little out of hand when Felipe's mom informs him that Caio, the neighbor kid from apartment 57, will be spending the next 15 days with them while his parents are on vacation. Felipe is distraught because A) he's had a crush on Caio since, well, forever, and B) Felipe has a list of body image insecurities and absolutely NO idea how he's going to entertain his neighbor for two full weeks. Suddenly, the days ahead of him that once promised rest and relaxation (not to mention some epic Netflix bingeing) end up bringing a whirlwind of feelings, forcing Felipe to dive head-first into every unresolved issue he has had with himself -- but maybe, just maybe, he'll manage to win over Caio, too. 96

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W H AT P E O P L E A R E S AY I N G A B O U T G I R L + B OO K

“Best YA Blogs And Book Reviewers” - URBAN EPICS, 2015 BLOGGER AWARDS

“Top 100 Book Review Blogs For Book Readers and Authors” - FEEDSPOT

“The awesome Girl+Book YA book review blog.....I smiled to see Blue Karma recommended for "tom-boys, tree climbers, adventure seekers, and backyard-campers" because I have answered (or still do) to all of these descriptions....The Girl+Book blog continues to make my day.” - J.K. ULLRICH, AUTHOR OF BLUE KARMA

“I Just Read Girl Plus Book’s Review Of Revelation, And It Made My Night!” - ELLERY KANE, AUTHOR OF LEGACY SERIES

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A fatal race across the Andes to hold a corrupt government to account

A father and daughter’s trekking expedition turns into deathly pursuit across the Peruvian Andes as they try to deliver information that will bring down a corrupt government. If you like travel to remote, exotic locations, you will like this novel. Told with such authenticity it makes you feel you’re there, the story winds and twists its way through remote mountain passes and unending crises. www.rolfmargenau.com

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BOOK SHELF BS

SHELF UNBOUND’S

Book Shelf What to read next in independent publishing

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

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BOOK SHELF

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Moustache & Macintosh BY D.L. GRASER

Three Nails: Adventures of Moustache and Macintosh

The night was calm as we floated across the ocean. “Land's not too far away,” I heard the captain tell Short Leg Louie after dinner. I had not heard anymore cries from the princess in the last couple of nights. I wondered why. I just have a gut feeling that tonight is the night I take her off this ship with me. I have to leave because Short Leg Louie said he will make sure there are no witnesses and I am the only witness aboard this vessel.

As Princess Yahaloma slept, I made my way through the wall of butterflies that surrounded us and out into the night. I noticed the heaviness of the air, it was thick and had an odd smell to it. My feet seemed to slip a little as I walked because of the mist that covered the ground. Nothing moved out here. There was no moon, no wind, no sound, no nothing. In the middle stood a very tall man. I crouched down in the tall grass. Who and what was this? I should have never left her. What was I thinking?

www.pagepublishing.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

www.pagepublishing.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Distance Between Stars

Dark Prisoner: The Kruthos Key

In an African country quickly sliding towards civil war, an American diplomat adrift in his personal life searches for an investigative reporter who has gone missing in the bush.

Imprisoned for over a thousand years by the Diveneans of old, demon Lord Balthazar covets one thing: his freedom.

BY JEFF ELZINGA

"...a thoroughly authentic novel of Africa whose themes of race, privilege and what it means to be American ring true to anyone who has spent time on the continent.” — Keith Richburg, former Africa bureau chief, Washington Post www.watersedgepress.com Available at Amazon and Bookshop.org 100

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BY D.L. GRASER

BY D. THOMAS JERLO

Using his minion, Isafel, and an evil imp spawn called Ilio, they will search for the one thing that will set their master free—the Kruthos Key. Readers are comparing Dark Prisoner: The Kruthos Key to Terry Goodkind’s The Sword of Truth series. Dark Prisoner is seeped with mage’ic, monsters, and the never-ending battle between good and evil. www.dthomasjerlo.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


BOOK SHELF

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Two Tickets to Dubrovnik BY ANGUS KENNEDY

A View From The Languedoc BY ANGUS KENNEDY

Australian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, goes to Dubrovnik to prepare an article for his editor on the wines and wineries of southern Rhône. He meets up with an old Bordelaise wine making acquaintance, Lucien Delasalles, and his step-sister, Niki Menčetić. He becomes embroiled in the murky affairs of Niki and her family and the local police, which leads to his sad departure from the ancient city.

Australian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, is again staying in Europe, this time with his brother, Adrian, for both work and a holiday. During an extensive new wine project from his publisher, he meets up again with a number of his old acquaintances from both France and Dubrovnik, including Niki Menčetić. Whether he can resolve his difficulties with Niki’s life is uncertain.

www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

To The East

The Final Programme

The book gives a composite picture of what heaven is like based on the eyewitness testimony of nineteen separate accounts. As a result it gives a more complete picture than any other single book does. All of Scripture’s testimony about heaven is confirmed and many more details God never revealed in His Word. Many readers say it’s a great blessing and have bought extra copies to give away.

In this final novel of the Out of Solitude tetralogy, Australian wine writer, Andrew Johnston, is comatose in a hospital in Sydney, Australia after the events of Međjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His Croatian lover, Niki Menčetić, believes him gone, the victim of a cruel deception by Andrew’s brother, Adrian, and has returned to Dubrovnik. Andrew now has to try to re-establish the rest of his life.

www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

www.anguskennedybooks.com Available at Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble.

BY ANGUS KENNEDY

BY ANGUS KENNEDY

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Tokyo Traffic

Midori: and the 1000 Stitch Belt

Running from a life she didn’t choose in a city she doesn’t know, Sukanya, a young Thai girl, escapes into Tokyo from human traffickers who will do anything to get her and their computer back. With help from a girl living in a net café, Sukanya tries to get free from her pursuers and her past. Detective Hiroshi Shimizu tracks the killers through Tokyo’s teen hangouts and deserted docks, straight into the underbelly of the global economy.

Midori is a Japanese Midwife, wedded to the General responsible for the rape and slaughter of innocents at Nanking, China in 1937. Although told through fictional characters, the book remains true to all of the events of the Pacific theatre of WW ll. The story traverses the slaughter at Nanking, the battle for Iwo Jima, invasion of Okinawa, the horrors of the Japanese human experimentation camp 731, and the last of her three surviving sons assigned to pilot the Ohka, a sealed bomb dropped from the belly of a bomber to his ultimate death as a Kamikaze, and then to the ultimate finale for Midori at Hiroshima. It is a tale of the senseless suicide of mere children caught up in the fanaticism of the times. Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

BY MICHAEL PRONKO

www.michaelpronko.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Feast of Fates

BY CHRISTIAN A. BROWN

BY DR C THOMAS SOMMA

Journey Into Darkness: A Story In Four Parts, 3rd Edition BY J. ARTHUR MOORE

Morigan lives a quiet life as the handmaiden to a fatherly old sorcerer named Thackery. But when she crosses paths with Caenith, a not wholly mortal man, her world changes forever. Their meeting sparks long buried magical powers deep within Morigan. As she attempts to understand her newfound abilities, unbidden visions begin to plague her—visions that show a devastating madness descending on one of the Immortal Kings who rules the land.

Duane Kinkade was ten years old in the summer of 1861 when raiders struck his farm after his pa had gone to the war; eleven the following spring when he left in search of his father and became a part of the war himself; thirteen the summer he returned home, a veteran soldier after two and a half years of army life and battlefield experience. An intricate blend of fact and fiction, the thread of experience of the fictitious boy soldier runs through the fabric of a very real war and its historic violence as it actually happened.

www.christianadrianbrown.com Available at Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

www.jarthurmoore.com Available at Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

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BOOK SHELF

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Renato!

Mind Riot

This novel of the life of the painter Renato Stillamare, told in his own words, is a "dazzling magnum opus" (Publishers Weekly) as well as "a bittersweet, beautiful story that speaks wisely to life’s truths. . . and merits wide attention" (Kirkus Reviews).

Salem Scott had one goal for his summer vacation. Instead, he’s volunteering in a private mental institution, confronting demons he’s not ready to face. But when his band kicks him out for missing rehearsals, he might just find the greatest summer of all time.

BY EUGENE MIRABELLI

"Mirabelli has reinvented the peculiarly Italian, extravagantly melodramatic and often comic vision—the opera—in the novel form. . . . This truly is a wise and comforting book, funny and sad, wonderfully intelligent, whimsical yet thoughtful." —Douglas Glover www.mcphersonco.com Available from Bookshop.org and indie bookstores everywhere.

BY KEN BAGNIS

Hopeful and fun, Mind Riot explores what happens when kids who are “too cool for feels” are dropped into a reality where emotions are too loud to ignore. Available at Amazon

Untamed Spirit

The Night Girl

Untamed Spirit opens the door to the secret world Redwood Coast. It is a touching story about the unexpected friendship between a wild dog and her pups and two friends who moved from the city to the country. Book illustrations include 315 original pictures by the author of the redwood world, along with coastal beaches and stunning wildlife. It is a tale about the alchemy of love that survives death.

Perpetua Collins works for a real troll. Well, technically a goblin, and it’s not as bad as it sounds. But as Perpetua settles into her new job, disturbing questions arise. How does her boss keep his “clients” out of the public eye? They’ve been part of the city far longer than anyone thinks, and are growing restless under the burden of forced invisibility and financial poverty. What happens if the veil drops, and humans see?

BY TRACY RENEE STEFAN

www.dorrancebookstore.com Available at Amazon & Barnes & Noble.

BY JAMES BOW

www.reuts.com Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 103


TRAVEL THE GLOBE FROM THE COMFORT OF HOME. BY V. JOLENE MILLER

READING ON THE RUN

Binge reading on the run because everything else can wait.

ABOUT THE COLUMNIST

I live in remote Alaska where I work 40+ hours a week at my day job, write novels, and own a pop-up book shop. In my spare time, I chase after grandbabies and go running with my giant puppy, Omar. Always, I carry a book in my purse. I never know when I’ll get a few minutes to indulge in a good read. Fifteen minutes before dawn, at lunch, bundled up in my car by the river, or right before falling into bed. Reading is my resting place.

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In this time when international travel is severely limited I find it ironic that this edition of Shelf Unbound is called “Read Global.” Ironic and somewhat delicious and lovely. Isn’t it grand? When you can’t flit off to the Cayman Islands or take a jet to Europe to explore and experience a spectacular adventure, authors bring those adventures right to our doorsteps. It’s convenient. In the last two weeks alone, I’ve been to London and the French island of Mayotte. My sources tell me the latter is also known as Mahoré and that it sits somewhere in the Mozambique Channel. Want to know a secret? These aren’t places I have a desire to physically go to. I’m sure they are fascinating places filled with interesting people. And I adore fascinating places and interesting people. But I’m a homebody at heart. Get me too far away from my house and keep me away for too long and I come down with a serious case of homesickness. I also don’t care for long flights, which puts the majority of international travel outside of my comfort zone. What can I say? I need my grandkids and my to-do list within reach. Back in the day (pre-grandkids) my husband and I, in between going to college and starting careers, homeschooled our six children. While our kids’ schedules offered flexibility and they could take their school work with them when we traveled, my husband and I didn’t have that luxury. He was the pastor of a local church and they liked it when he


showed up every Sunday. Meanwhile, I worked in the mental health field and I couldn’t very well take my clients with me if I wanted to explore places near or far. Yet it was important to us to broaden our kids’ horizons. We wanted them to experience other cultures, new foods, and grow beyond the small town where we lived. Books and family reading time became a perfect way to include all of those things -right from the comfort of our home. Well, we drove to the neighborhood library to check out those fascinating books and then we returned to the comfort of our home, but I digress. Since we were busy (and living off of student loans) we got creative about family reading time by incorporating as many life elements into it that we could. Books set in or about Mexico resulted in cooking Mexican food for dinner and making a piñata. When we read about cultures that sat on pillows on the floor while they ate their meal, we took the legs off the dining room table. The books about Amish culture resulted in a family trip to Pennsylvania where we tried shoo-fly pie and later learned how to make our own. Apparently reading global for us meant filling our stomachs with incredible food from around the world. Hmmm. I’m sure there’s something deeply profound in that thought, but it’ll have to wait until after I’ve

had a snack. Now that the kids are grown I’m not as quick to seek out recipes from far-flung places or immerse myself in books set in faraway places. In fact, prior to this year I’d never considered a book that has “translated from” on the cover page. If I don’t know the language will the translation be too complex for me? If I’ve not been to Mayotte, will I find it difficult to conjure up the lay of the land? It turns out the answer to both questions is a resounding no. Perhaps I wouldn’t fare well in London since I don’t know the language and I’d for sure need a map to get around Mayotte, but I learned something from those books. I traveled outside my reading comfort zone and stretched myself. And you know what? Those are fascinating places filled with interesting people. I suggest you engage in some globe trotting from the comfort of your couch. Step away from the news. Leave those dishes in the sink. Take a breather and explore faraway places in the pages of a book. The news will be there later. The dishes will be too, unless you can convince someone else to wash them. Either way, you can wash the dishes and not read a book or read a book and wash the dishes. And doesn’t the latter have a nice ring to it? 

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Who is Titus? A chicken farmer at 12 years of age, US Army Paratrooper in Japan at 17, All-Scholastic Football player, Football Coach, Biology Teacher, Professional Photographer, Bank Incorporator, Presidential Confidant, Chiropractor and a critic’s quote,  

“TITUS OUT GUMPS FORREST!!” The story of a young mill town sports hero. Grit, focus and an ability to weave through all obstacles dominated his life game on the field .......... and off !!!!! Ensuing years finds the sports hero hanging up the cleats and one day dining with a US president and going on to professional brilliance and international acclaim. Never far from hometown yet lightyears from his humble beginnings. This engaging tale will inspire others in pursuit of their own distant personal goal posts!!!! Available at

Titus & Senator Marco Rubio, exchanging books, two great examples of the “American Dream”

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AROUND THE WORLD THROUGH BOOKS. BY MEGAN LORD

BOOK MOM A little bit of everything from a scatter-brained, book-loving Mom.

ABOUT THE COLUMNIST

I am the mother of an adventurous and exhausting but amazing toddler boy that runs my life. I spend a ridiculous amount of time reading mind numbing children’s books over and over again because he has his select favorites… But when I do get time to read (or listen) I love reading and listening to a variety of genres. I get the most time to indulge in books of my choice during what I like to call “wind-down baths” once a week.

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It’s never too early to start exposing and teaching your children about diversity and the vast world we live in. Books are a great and easy way to take your kids on imaginative adventures around the world and educate them on diversity. You can take your infant around the world with the board book Babies around the World by Puck. If you haven’t shown your baby a picture book of other babies yet, you’re in for a treat. Babies LOVE to look at pictures of other babies! And getting them familiar and comfortable with different appearances early is the starting point to teaching them just how big this world we live in is. Then celebrate diverse culture with your toddler while reading Whoever You Are by Mem Fox. Introduce your little one to 12 different children all over the map with Children Around the World by Donata Montanari. Written in the first person, this book introduces your child to different families, food, languages, schools, and transit. Once your kid hits elementary school age – support an amazing first-time author at 16 years old Madeleine MacLeod Lippey and her book A Little Piece of Me. Then take them through time zones with At the Same Time Around the World by Clotilde Perrin. Giving your child an early start at understanding


the vastness of the world, diverse cultures, appearances, locations, and everything of the like will help them be adventurous, caring and kind, accepting, adaptable and genuinely more set up for success throughout their lives. Teaching them about different places, cultures and people will open up a new door in their imagination for play, allow them to strive for adventure, and teach them to greet every new face and experience with an open mind. Okay Mom… but what about YOUR Global Reading Experience… Now is where I get really honest with you all. So, when I first saw that this issue was going to focus on Global Reading… I thought oh man, I don’t know if I’ve done any “global reading”. I thought, well, at least I’ve been trying to integrate diversity into my children’s books and that ties in the global aspect for them… but have I myself done any “global reading”? I definitely feel uneducated in the aspect of authors from around the world – but I surprised myself and just learned that the Author of one of my favorite books 1984, George Orwell, was actually born in India and died in the UK. One of my favorite Audiobooks is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, a British

author –and an amazing one at that. But even that seems weak in the global reading department. So, you know what I decided… I’m SUPER excited about this issue because I desperately need to add some diversity and world to my reading list! Sure, I’ve read a few books about the holocaust. And Harry Potter wasn’t based in the United States… but major weak sauce on my part still. So, I’ve set myself a new goal. Because I love to travel and have a few upcoming trips planned, I’m going to add some of the books I learn about in this issue to a new Travel Reads list. Yes, I’m a list person and every time I adventure out, whether it be within the States or international, I vow to read something written by someone from somewhere other than the US, OR about/based in a place outside of the US. I need to diversify my own reading. And who knows, I might just end up adding to my travel bucket list that way as well! Let’s all try to read our way and travel our way around the Globe! 

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A Tonic for Your Spiritual Health: Rainer Maria Rilke. FIT LIT

BY CHRISTIAN ADRIAN BROWN

Body, Mind and Quill

When celebrating international authors, there is no shortage of talent from which to choose. Now, as this is a mind/ body/ spirit column, I’ll try and refine that list to persons who’ve used their vivacity to power their craft. First and honourable mention goes immediately to Haruki Murakami, though we’ve chatted about him at length before. That’s also a bit on the nose since “health” goes deeper than just skin and muscle. Optimal health is a state of mindfulness and spiritual symmetry and when I think of that particular equilibrium, I immediately think of Rainer Maria Rilke. A man whom I believe to be one of the greatest philosophers and thinkers of the last century. Although he doesn’t need my accolades, since Rainer is renowned as one of the most read poets of all time. While he only wrote one novel, he wrote numerous collections of poetry and several volumes of correspondence, with himself or others (his letters are especially poignant and beautiful).

ABOUT THE COLUMNIST

Quadragenarian fitness model, lifestyle coach and bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Feast of Fates, Christian A. Brown received a Kirkus star in 2014 for the first novel in his genrechanging Four Feasts till Darkness series. He has appeared on Newstalk 1010, AM640, Daytime Rogers, and Get Bold Today with LeGrande Green. He actively writes and speaks about his mother’s journey with cancer and on gender issues in the media.

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Rainer is an exemplary example of how literature can transcend culture, as his works have been translated into dozens of languages and are still read to this day, and used as quotations for consumable media. While he was a raised a religious man, he constantly


examined his faith and its attachments to the world, and eventually came to reject strict Catholicism (though not spirituality as a whole). He was a deeply passionate man who wrote in metaphor and often cited aspects of Greek mythology. His vision of God, Heaven, Hell and the afterlife is highly interpretive since his work focuses so intently on self and mythic archetypes. Scholars have postulated that his vision of God aimed to justify his/ our own experience and aspirations— that life was about Creation*. So one does not have to be a religious person to be appreciative of his thoughts, as he speaks universal, though often unheard, truths. He talks a lot about personal reflection, accountability and happiness (or sorrow). He talks about the necessity of knowing both love and loss, beauty and ugliness, instead of the addled fixation on dopamine hits from social media and from our curated existences that we of the modern age can suffer from. Because it is in our humility that we discover our humanity. In today’s post-modern world, where we can tend to look at issues with a surface and selfish lens, Rainer

continues to bridge a necessary tie between the spiritual and the physical, between emotion and reason, between what we see and what is deeper and unseen. I believe that he’s an essential read for anyone who ponders matters of the mind, society and the harmony (and precious solitude) we can foster in each and I would encourage you to read his works, especially his Letters to a Young Poet, which are highly personal and affective, and focused on the state of mind poets—and writers— should ideally aspire to attain. I could gush about this man and his honeyed-words forever, but, as this is a wellness column, I think I’ll leave you with some nourishment for the mind instead. One of my favourite quotes, which got me through any number of dark days: “Let everything happen to you Beauty and terror Just keep going No feeling is final” —C  *Professor Peter Rickman, 2014

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Happy 200th Birthday Florence Nightingale. Written by Shannon Ishizaki, Owner of TEN16 Press a division of Orange Hat Publishing

SMALL PRESS REVIEWS

TEN16 PRESS TEN16 Press, a division of Orange Hat Publishing, housing fiction, non-fiction, YA and poetry books. WWW.ORANGEHATPUBLISHING.COM

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Today we are reminded of the amazing dedication and commitment of frontline health-care workers as we watch the events of the global COVID-19 pandemic unfold before our eyes. How fitting that the World Health Organization had named 2020 the year of the midwife in honor of the founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday on May 12th. But as we are reminded time and again to wash our hands to protect ourselves from the virus, we cannot help but wonder: what would you do if you didn’t have access to clean water? This is the situation where Gavina, a Guatemalan midwife, found herself. She was frustrated and tired of watching infants and young mothers die from infections. She knew how to prevent these deaths and take care of her community, but she was held back by two barriers: clean water, and a raging river nicknamed “The Assassin” which prevented her patients from reaching the hospital. Gavina is not alone. It’s a deadly gender issue that puts mothers and newborns at tremendous risk when every year, 17 million women give birth in health-care facilities without adequate water, soap, and toilets. In some places, newborns aren’t even named because death is so common. Infections are easily transmitted by unwashed hands, contaminated beds, unsafe water, and dirty instruments used to cut umbilical cords. Most of these deaths are preventable. This crisis is global and affects hundreds of thousands of


time when a backpack full of money to buy health-care facilities in low- and middlematerials was accidently left at a store. income countries, where some 2 billion people have to use these health-care facilities Michael Paddock, the author, aptly warned without basic water services. of a pandemic back in September with “A Pandemic Killed My Great-Grandfather. The book Bridging Barriers: How a Here’s What We Need to Avoid Another,” Community Changed Its Future with Help published in Global Citizen. His professional From Engineers Without Borders USA career was spent managing projects such Volunteers, published by TEN16 Press a division of Orange Hat Publishing, tells the as the Marquette Interchange program, and he was the youngest-ever recipient of story of how Gavina and her community Wisconsin’s “Engineer of the Year” award. eliminated maternal and infant mortality After a near-death cancer experience, he was and prepared itself for its fight against motivated to begin a pro bono engineering COVID-19. The water and bridge projects were completed by the Marquette University career that has delivered projects with EWBEngineers Without Borders USA volunteers USA, Rotary, and other nonprofits on five continents. with assistance from Southeastern Wisconsin Rotarians. The book is a Paddock’s book, Bridging Barriers: How a fascinating read full of stories about a Community Changed Its Future with Help crusty old Brit named Don Mike and how From Engineers Without Borders USA he helped the students navigate trials and Volunteers, was released in June 2020, and is challenges during bridge construction, available at your local bookstore and online. such as weather disasters like Hurricane  Stan, along with other missteps, like one

CAPTION: A family gets clean water for the first time. Don't let their lack of expression fool you, It is part of the Guatemalan culture to not smile in photos. Having access to water is life changing for this family. 113


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OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020


The Bubbe Meise and Other Stories

A du lt

BY AARON ZEVY

With the ease of a practiced storyteller and an outrageously droll sense of humor, Aaron Zevy (“Ronnie” to his friends and family), presents an anthology of rollicking personal essays and fictional short stories in his latest offering: The Bubbe Meise and Other Stories. Similar to a “Bubbe-meise,”(a Yiddish word meaning a grandmother’s fable or old wives tale), Zevy’s stories present real and imagined characters and events, which the author admits he has embellished. “This book is a work of both imagination and lived experiences mixed together to delight and entertain. Do not assume anything in this book is true or accurate… Enjoy,” the author writes.

PUBLISHER: TUMBLEWEED PRESS

The first part of the book offers stories based on his life. Topics range from corned beef to golf and failed romances. Most take place in Toronto, Zevy’s hometown. A la Woody Allen, Zevy is frequently the butt of his own joke. Of a poker game, he remarks, “The other players at the table have stacks of chips

that look like high-rise apartments. My chips look like a pup tent pitched in the backyard.” Zevy banters with his friends, Goldfarb and Lewberg, using effective one-liners and wielding expletives like sesame seeds on a bagel: “Wait what? Uncle Haim is the motherfucking guest of honor?” Zevy can’t seem to get out of his own way when wooing potential girlfriends. While attempting to impress a woman with his waterskiing prowess, he manages a spectacular high-speed crash instead. The book’s final section features five reflective fictional stories. Zevy writes of failed marriages, murders, and miscarriages. The last tale, “The Card Game”, depicts bickering card players, who, it is slowly revealed, have followed Moses into the desert and await his descent from the mountain top. As the story unwinds, the author’s storytelling skill becomes unmistakable. Zevy’s self-deprecating humor makes him an irresistible character. His easy-going prose and fast paced, sitcom-style conversations create laugh-out-loud and sometimes poignant moments. While those unfamiliar with contemporary Jewish customs and religious traditions may miss the subtler culturally related humor, Zevy’s facile comic ability will appeal to anyone willing to find humor in the human condition.  115


Sorry You Missed It….

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BY FRED HOSLEY

In Fred Hosley’s poignant and memorable coming-of-age tale, the strains of early rock ‘n’ roll in the sunny beach town of Clearwater, Florida, provide the perfect backdrop for a group of young adolescents growing up in the ’50s. Twelve-year old Matt Parker is known throughout his friendly waterside community as a smart, respectful, and likeable individual. With summer winding down, he and his buddies look forward to the new school year, until Matt is unexpectedly asked to look out for a fellow classmate being threatened by an older bully.

PUBLISHER: BACKWATER BAYOU BOOKS

The leather jacket, T-shirt and Levi-clad Wayne Tyson is intent on proving his toughness. But when a warning prank from Wayne goes too far, Matt and his steadfast friends create an elaborate ruse to thwart Wayne’s nefarious actions. The story’s tension and excitement build as this group of preteens, under Matt’s creative direction, exact their own form

of justice, from sneak attacks reminiscent of John Wayne’s movie heroics to a meticulous plan involving fabricated claims on a buried treasure. Hosley provides a varied and supporting cast, including loving parents who guide their offspring on a steady path, mentoring teachers offering sound advice, and the wisdom of a cantankerous neighbor with a soft side. Sorry You Missed It… takes readers back to an earlier time, with the rhythmic beats of Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Elvis and a host of other legendary musical performers forming the soundtrack of these young pubescent lives. Amidst fishing trips and camping excursions, “boys will be boys” humor and fascinations, dance parties and teen angst, a balanced blend of narrative, pondering thought, and lively conversation easily draws readers into the steadily moving tale. The full-circle, heartfelt epilogue takes the central characters five decades into the future. Sorry You Missed It… represents fine storytelling. With its blend of small-town Americana charm, spot-on characterization, and life lessons that move beyond the page, its classic stylings should find broad appeal. 

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The Crocodile Makes No Sound.

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BY N.L. HOLMES

Set in pharaonic Egypt during the early reign of Akhenaten, the second installment of N.L. Holmes’ Lord Hani mystery series (after Bird in a Snare) continues the adventures of Hani, a lifelong diplomat who recently left the service because of the perplexing foreign policy agenda of the new king. Like the first novel, three narrative aspects make this an engrossing read: the impressively complicated mystery threads, the cast of fully developed characters, and the focus throughout on the meticulous description of 1346 BCE Egypt.

PUBLISHER: WAYBACK PRESS

As the novel begins, Hani discovers that his brother-inlaw—a priest who has openly shared his disgust at the new king’s abandonment of the country’s traditional polytheistic religion for Atenism—has disappeared and is feared to be dead. His brother-in-law’s actions have jeopardized Hani and his entire family—and to make matters worse, Hani becomes reluctantly entangled in a blackmail plot involving

the King’s beloved wife, Kiya, whose affair with an artisan could destabilize the entire empire. Complicating the aging envoy’s life further is a former outlaw leader and new vassal staying at his house indefinitely, the looming births of grandchildren, his younger brother’s unintentionally illegal business deal, and a teenaged daughter who wants to be a doctor. Holmes’ descriptions (externally and internally) of the main characters are so deep and insightful that readers will finish this novel feeling like they not only know Hani but his entire family, as well. Even the description of secondary characters, like Queen Nefertiti, are memorable: “Her heavy-lidded eyelids were painted to perfection, her full lips rouged… her movements, even in this formal setting, were sinuous and catlike.” Holmes’ description is just as rich when it comes to setting. Readers will feel as if they are there, fully immersed in the reality of ancient Egypt. The Crocodile Makes No Sound is a masterfully written saga featuring complex storylines and emotionally connective characters. It should delight mystery and historical fans alike. 

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The Living Days.

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BY BY ANANDA DEVI, TRANSLATED BY JEFFREY ZUCKERMAN

A Realistic Fairy Tale Kirkus describes The Living Days as “a gorgeously written, profoundly upsetting fairy tale of race, class, power, and desire.” Profoundly upsetting? Yes. A gorgeously written fairy tale? No.

PUBLISHER: THE FEMINIST PRESS

The portrayal of Cub and his poverty-stricken family living in the ghetto implies Mary’s behavior is permissible - almost saviour-like. As if the family’s plight is as wicked as a preying old woman. Somehow Mary’s dementia gives her a free pass to take advantage until the end of the book when Cub’s mother demands answers.

The time period of Devi’s book hints at being post 9/11, yet the division between race and class, power and desire, rich and poor, have been in existence since long before that historical event. Mary and Cub aren’t fairy tales. They’re fictional portrayals of real flesh and blood. Does the excessive purple prose in Devi’s writing make rape less ugly? Are the eloquent words supposed to make Mary’s desire less repulsive? Does Mary’s reclusive lifestyle and paltry self-esteem grant her permission to take advantage of an innocent child? Simply put, they don’t. Perhaps Zuckerman’s goal is to raise awareness of such atrocities. It’s hard to say. The story line is drowned out by cliché situations with a single twist on the characterization of the abuser. 

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Tropic of Violence.

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BY NATHACHA APPANAH, TRANSLATOR GEOFFREY STRACHAN

A Mother’s Love and Luck Heat and poverty consume Nathacha Appanah’s novel Tropic of Violence. The reader has no choice but to be enveloped by the world of Moise, a young boy with one brown eye and one green born to a young illegal immigrant.. He’s believed to be touched by the djinn, an omen of bad luck so great his birth mother hands him off to Marie to be raised. Marie sees Moise as a gift, and blinded by love she goes to great lengths to immerse herself in the role of motherhood. PUBLISHER: GRAYWOLF PRESS

The story structure in Tropic of Violence reminds me of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novel, The Virgin Suicides with twists and turns throughout. The variety in points of view are the characters’ sense of urgency to tell their part of the story. “Hear me. Believe me,” they shout simultaneously as they unfold their version like a gift left at the reader’s feet. Despite each character’s role they are relatable and even likeable. They invite you into their sector of the community and let you peer into the crevices of their beings. A retelling of good vs. evil, nature vs. nurture, and chance events, Strachan’s translation of Nathacha Appanah’s novel will leave you pondering what could have been one sultry night on the island of Mayotte. 

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Hurricane Season.

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BY FERNANDA MELCHOR, TRANSLATED BY SOPHIE HUGHES

Hurricane Season Brings a Sense of Justice to the Forgotten On the outskirts of the Mexican town of La Matosa lives a woman who has been branded a witch. The women of the town go to her with their troubles, and the witch stirs up potions to heal everything from headaches to unwanted pregnancy to broken hearts. PUBLISHER: NEW DIRECTIONS

Meanwhile, with little industry and no real hope for the future, the men of the hot, damp, mosquito-ridden town spend

their paychecks in bars getting drunk, buying drugs, and screwing the neighborhood prostitutes. They fight, they kill and they end up in jail, all while their wives and mothers wail from broken hearts. When the witch is found dead in an irrigation ditch, her murder sets off an even more murderous crime spree, as well as a series of investigations, myths, and mysteries that would last decades and become woven into both Mexican folklore and the country’s actual history. Hurricane Season is a fiction novel based on true facts. î –

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Mephisto’s Waltz.

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BY SERGIO PITOL, TRANSLATED BY GEORGE HENSON

Mephisto’s Waltz Paints Descriptive Scenes with Words A Mexican-born writer travels across Europe and Asia, parallelling much of the author’s own background and experiences.

PUBLISHER: DEEP VELLUM PUBLISHING

A cast of colleagues and companions surround him as he traverses war time in Barcelona, attends university in Paris, holds a job in Warsaw, debates artists and their paintings in Rome, and takes a long, drawn-out train ride from China to Russia, among other places.

With his notebooks always in hand, the writer is often found debating his latest scenes and plots, questioning how his book might turn out differently if a character or a storyline took a different direction. In each location, Pitol’s attention to detail allows you to visualize the buildings, neighborhoods, street corners and bars. You can practically hear the classical music and deep conversations that take place and may feel as if you want to weigh in. 

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The Territory of Light.

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BY YUKO TSUSHIMA

Subtle, Single Mom Drama I thought Tsushima’s writing would remind me of Amy Tan’s. Aside from the classic mother/daughter dynamic that Tan frequently writes about, the two are not similar.

PUBLISHER: PICADOR

An unreliable narrator, the female main character embarks on her journey into single motherhood. Along the way she tells her story of financial struggles, uncertainty, childcare problems, and her search for a new home. Her storytelling abilities are disoriented and out of sequence. An accurate depiction perhaps considering she’s acclimating to a new way of

life. The character is relatable and the story plausible, but her journey lacked depth. Why did her story need to be told? There wasn’t anything that set this character apart from any other newly single mother on the block and I kept waiting for that something to appear. An easy read, The Territory of Light is a simple book about a broken marriage. Paired with a glass of wine or a bowl of ice cream it’s a book best read while commiserating over a break-up. A far cry from literary fiction, the late Tsushima’s novel reads more like an offbeat Jennifer Weiner novel with older characters, more subtle drama, and a plot more subdued than Tan writes.  122

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020


OK COULD BE H O B ER UR E! O Y Promote your book in Shelf Unbound in our Special Advertising Section for Authors.

Each issue of Shelf Unbound is distributed to more than 125,000 people in the U.S. and 62 countries around the globe. Our introductory ad rate for this section is $350/quarter page as seen here. Contact publisher Sarah Kloth to reserve your space. sarah@shelfmediagroup.com

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ON OUR SHELF BS

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What's On Our Shelf Nobody loves books more than us. We're a team of readers with broad interests and strong feelings about the books on our shelves.

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ON OUR SHELF

MANY PEOPLE DIE LIKE YOU by Lina Wolff

PERMAFROST by Eva Baltasar

A SILENT FURY: THE EL BORDO MINE FIRE by Yuri Herrera

An underemployed chef is pulled into the escalating violence of his neighbour’s makeshift porn channel. An elderly piano student is forced to flee her home village when word gets out that she’s had sex with her thirty-something teacher. A hose pumping cava through the maquette of a giant penis becomes a murder weapon in the hands of a disaffected housewife. In this collection from the winner of Sweden’s August Prize, Lina Wolff gleefully wrenches unpredictability from the suffocations of day-to-day life, shatters balances of power without warning, and strips her characters down to their strangest and most unstable selves.

Permafrost’s no-bullshit lesbian narrator is an uninhibited lover and a wickedly funny observer of modern life. Desperate to get out of Barcelona, she goes to Brussels, ‘because a city whose symbol is a little boy pissing was a city I knew I would like’; as an au pair in Scotland, she develops a hatred of the colour green. And everywhere she goes, she tries to break out of the roles set for her by family and society, chasing escape wherever it can be found: love affairs, travel, thoughts of suicide.

On March 10, 1920, in Pachuca, Mexico, the Compañía de Santa Gertrudis — the largest employer in the region, and a subsidiary of the United States Smelting, Refining and Mining Company — may have committed murder. The alert was first raised at six in the morning: a fire was tearing through the El Bordo mine. After a brief evacuation, the mouths of the shafts were sealed. Company representatives hastened to assert that “no more than ten” men remained inside the mineshafts, and that all ten were most certainly dead. Yet when the mine was opened six days later, the death toll was not ten, but eighty-seven. And there were seven survivors. 125


ON OUR SHELF

GROVE: A FIELD NOVEL

MANSOUR'S EYES by Ryad Girod

by Esther Kinsky

An unnamed narrator, recently bereaved, travels to Olevano, a small village southeast of Rome. It is winter, and from her temporary residence on a hill between village and cemetery, she embarks on walks and outings, exploring the banal and the sublime with equal dedication and intensity. She recalls her travels in 1970s Italy, which she often visited as a child with her father. Fragmented impressions and memories—of Communist party rallies, roadside restaurants, film sequences, bird life, and the ubiquitous Etruscan necropoli—combine into a mosaic of a bygone era.

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WE ALL LOVED COWBOYS by Carol Bensimon

Mansour al-Jazaïri is on his way to his public execution. As his faithful friend Hussein looks on, the crowd calls for his head. Gassouh! Gassouh! It is a time when age-old rituals play out amid skyscrapers and are replayed on smartphone screens in the air-conditioned corridors of shopping malls. Set over the course of a single day in the Saudi Arabian capital, Mansour’s Eyes weaves together several historical pasts: the time of Mansour’s great-grandfather, the Emir Abdelkader; that of Algerian independence; and that of another Mansour, Mansur Al-Hallaj, a Sufi mystic executed in 922.

After a falling out, two friends reunite for a long-planned road trip through Brazil. As they drive from town to town, the complications of their friendship resurface. At the novel’s center is a romance, as Bensimon offers an intimate look into identity, love, and desire. By the end of the trip, the women must decide what the future holds, in a queer, coming-of-age debut novel that has been celebrated in Brazil.


ON OUR SHELF

THE RIGHT INTENTION

SMALL COUNTRY

MOUTHFUL OF BIRDS

by Andrés Barba

by Gaël Faye

by Samanta Schweblin

Nothing is simple for the men and women in Andrés Barba's stories. As they go about their lives, they are each tested by a single, destructive obsession. A runner puts his marriage at risk while training for a marathon; a teenager can no longer stand the sight of meat following her parents' divorce; a man suddenly fixates on the age difference between him and his younger male lover. In four tightly wound novellas, Andrés Barba establishes himself as a master of the form.

In 1992, Gabriel, ten years old, lives in Burundi in a comfortable expatriate neighborhood with his French father, his Rwandan mother and his little sister, Ana. In this joyful idyll, Gabriel spends the better part of his time with his mischievous band of friends, in a tiny cul-de-sac they have turned into their kingdom. But their peaceful existence will suddenly shatter when this small African country is brutally battered by history.

A spellbinding, eerily unsettling collection of short stories from the Argentinian sensation Samanta Schweblin, author of Fever Dream.

In this magnificent coming-ofage story, Gael Faye describes an end of innocence and drives deep into the heart and mind of a young child caught in the maelstrom of history.

Mouthful of Birds is the awardwinning collection by Samanta Schweblin, critically acclaimed author of Fever Dream. Unearthly and unexpected, these stories burrow their way into your psyche with the feel of a sleepless night, where every shadow and bump in the dark takes on huge implications, leaving your pulse racing and blurring the line between the real and the strange.

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ON OUR SHELF

ASEROË

COME ON UP

AN ORPHAN WORLD

by François Dominique

by Jordi Nopca

by Giuseppe Caputo

Aseroë, the mushroom, as object of fascination. First observed in Tasmania and South Africa, it appeared suddenly in France around 1920. It is characterized by its stench and, at maturity, its grotesque beauty.

What happens when the hopes of a generation are dashed by austerity policies and underemployment? Come On Up is a group portrait of contemporary Barcelona, beaten by the economic crisis and divided by a secessionist movement. Always witty, often absurdist, these stories offer a mesmerizing glimpse into the daily lives of couples, families, and neighbors living the new normal of the 21st century.

In a run-down neighbourhood, in an unnamed seaside city without amenities, a father and son struggle to keep their heads above water. Rather than being discouraged by their difficulties and hardship, they are spurred to come up with increasingly outlandish plans for their survival. Even when a terrible, macabre event rocks the neighbourhood’s bar district and the locals start to flee, father and son decide to stay put. What matters is staying together. This is a bold poignant text that interplays a very tender father-son relationship while exposing homosexuality and homophobia with brutal honesty. With delicate lyricism and imagery, Caputo is extremely original and creative producing a tale that harmoniously balances violence, discrimination, love, sex and defiance, demonstrating that the he is a storyteller of great skill.

Aseroë, the word, as incantation. Can a word create a world? It does, here. François Dominique is a conjurer, who through verbal sorcery unleashes the full force of language, while evoking the essential rupture between the word and the object. An impossible endeavor, perhaps, but one at the very heart of literature.

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A husband seeks revenge on his wife as they stalk author Peter Stamm; an out-of-work bartender fills his empty days by shoving bananas into the tailpipes of parked cars; a mysterious ritual, spied through a neighbor’s window, arouses deadly spirits.


ON OUR SHELF

THE WIND THAT LAYS WASTE by Selva Almada

The Wind That Lays Waste begins in the great pause before a storm. Reverend Pearson is evangelizing across the Argentinian countryside with Leni, his teenage daughter, when their car breaks down. This act of God - or fate - leads them to the home of an aging mechanic called Gringo Brauer and his young boy named Tapioca. As a long day passes, curiosity and intrigue transform into an unexpected intimacy between four people: one man who believes deeply in God, morality, and his own righteousness, and another whose life experiences have only entrenched his moral relativism and mild apathy; a quietly earnest and idealistic mechanic’s assistant, and a restless, sceptical preacher’s daughter.

TROUT, BELLY UP

OLDER BROTHER

by Rodrigo Fuentes

by Daniel Mella

In this highly original collection of interconnected short stories, the Guatemalan countryside is ever-present, a place of timeless peace yet also riven by sudden violence. The stories provide glimpses into the life of Don Henrik, a good man struck time and again by misfortune, as he confronts the crude realities of farming life. Over the course of these episodes we meet merciless entrepreneurs, hitmen, drug dealers and fallen angels, all wanting their piece of the pie. Told with precision and a stark beauty, in a style that recalls Hemingway, Trout, Belly Up is a unique ensemble of beguiling, disturbing stories set in the heart of the rural landscape in a country where violence is never far from the surface.

During the summer of 2014, on one of the stormiest days on record to hit the coast of Uruguay, 31-year old Alejandro, lifeguard and younger brother of our protagonist and narrator, dies after being struck by lightning. This marks the opening of a novel that combines memoir and fiction, as it unveils an urgent exploration of the brotherly bond, and the effects that death can have on our most intimate circles as well as on ourselves. It’s always the happiest and most talented who die young. People who die young are always the happiest of all…

Can grief be put into words? Can we truly rationalise death and cohabit with it?

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ON OUR SHELF

THE LITTLE HOUSE by KyĹ?ko Nakajima

The Little House is set in the early years of the Showa era (1926-89), when Japan’s situation is becoming increasingly tense but has not yet fully immersed in a wartime footing. On the outskirts of Tokyo, near a station on a private train line, stands a modest European style house with a red, triangular shaped roof. There a woman named Taki has worked as a maidservant in the house and lived with its owners, the Hirai family. Now, near the end of her life, Taki is writing down in a notebook her nostalgic memories of the time spent living in the house. Her journal captures the refined middle-class life of the time from her gentle perspective. 130

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020

JOKES FOR THE GUNMEN

THINGS THAT FALL FROM THE SKY

by Mazen Maarouf

by Selja Ahava

A brilliant collection of fictions in the vein of Roald Dahl, Etgar Keret and Amy Hempel. These are stories of what the world looks like from a child's pure but sometimes vengeful or muddled perspective. These are stories of life in a war zone, life peppered by surreal mistakes, tragic accidents and painful encounters. These are stories of fantasist matadors, lost limbs and voyeuristic dwarfs. This is a collection about sex, death and the allimportant skill of making life into a joke. These are unexpected stories by a very fresh voice. These stories are unforgettable.

A young girl loses her mother when a block of ice falls from the sky. A woman wins the lottery jackpot twice in a row. A man is struck by lightning five times. They are all searching for an explanation for these random events, for a way to come to terms with the unexpected turns their lives have taken. After her mothers death, Saara and her father move in with her Auntie Annu. While Saara dwells on all the things that are left unfinished when someone dies from gardening and house renovations to bedtime stories her dad is overwhelmed with anger. Annu keeps the family going, until she wins her second lottery jackpot, and falls into a deep sleep.


ON OUR SHELF

THE END

THE PLOTTERS

ARID DREAMS

by Karl Ove Knausgård

by Un-su Kim

by Duanwad Pimwana

n My Struggle, Karl Ove Knausgaard examines with ruthless, unsparing rigour his life, his ambitions and frailties, his uncertainties and doubts, and his relationships with friends and exes, his wife and children, his mother and father. It is an opus in which life is described in all its nuances from moments of great drama to the most trivial everyday details. It is also a project that is full of risk, where the borders between private and public worlds cross, not without cost for the author himself and the people portrayed.

Behind every assassination, there is an anonymous mastermind--a plotter--working in the shadows. Plotters quietly dictate the moves of the city's most dangerous criminals, but their existence is little more than legend. Just who are the plotters? And more important, what do they want? Reseng is an assassin. Raised by a cantankerous killer named Old Raccoon in the crime headquarters "The Library," Reseng never questioned anything: where to go, who to kill, or why his home was filled with books that no one ever read. But one day, Reseng steps out of line on a job, toppling a set of carefully calibrated plans. And when he uncovers an extraordinary scheme set into motion by an eccentric trio of young women-a convenience store clerk, her wheelchair-bound sister, and a cross-eyed librarian--Reseng will have to decide if he will remain a pawn or finally take control of the plot.

In thirteen stories that investigate ordinary and working-class Thailand, characters aspire for more but remain suspended in routine. They bide their time, waiting for an extraordinary event to end their stasis. A politician’s wife imagines her life had her husband’s accident been fatal, a man on death row requests that a friend clear up a misunderstanding with a prostitute, and an elevator attendant feels himself wasting away while trapped, immobile, at his station all day. With curious wit, this collection offers revelatory insight and subtle critique, exploring class, gender, and disenchantment in a changing country.

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ON OUR SHELF

THE FIG TREE

SLASH AND BURN

by Goran Vojnović

by Claudia Hernández

The Fig Tree is a multigenerational family saga, a tour de force spanning three generations from mid-20th century through the turbulent times in the Balkans until present day. Vojnović is a master storyteller, and while fateful choices made by his characters are often dictated by historical realities of the turbulent times they live in, at its heart this is an intimate story of family, of relationships, of love, freedom and the choices we make.

Through war and its aftermaths, a woman fights to keep her daughters safe.

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As a girl she sees her village sacked and her beloved father and brothers flee. Her life in danger, she joins the rebellion in the hills, where her comrades force her to give up the baby she conceives. Years later, having outlived countless men, she leaves to find her lost daughter, travelling across the Atlantic with meagre resources. She returns to a community riven with distrust, fear and hypocrisy in the wake the revolution.

WHEN WE CEASE TO UNDERSTAND THE WORLD by Benjamín Labatut

A fast-paced, mind-expanding literary work about scientific discovery, ethics and the unsettled distinction between genius and madness. Albert Einstein opens a letter sent to him from the Eastern Front of World War I. Inside, he finds the first exact solution to the equations of general relativity, unaware that it contains a monster that could destroy his life's work. The great mathematician Alexander Grothendieck tunnels so deeply into abstraction that he tries to cut all ties with the world, terrified of the horror his discoveries might cause.


ON OUR SHELF

MISS ICELAND

THE STORY OF A GOAT

VAGABOND

by Auรฐur Ava ร“lafsdรณttir

by Perumal Murugan

by Hao Jingfang

Named after one of Iceland's most magnificent volcanoes, Hekla always knew she wanted to be a writer. In a nation of poets, where each household proudly displays leatherbound volumes of the Sagas, and there are more writers per capita than anywhere else in the world, there is only one problem: she is a woman.

A farmer in India is watching the sun set over his village one quiet evening when a mysterious stranger, a giant man who seems more than human, appears on the horizon. He offers the farmer a black goat kid who is the runt of the litter, surely too frail to survive. The farmer and his wife take care of the young she-goat, whom they name Poonachi, and soon the little goat is bounding with joy and growing at a rate they think miraculous.

In 2096, after Earth has successfully colonised Mars, a war of independence erupts and Mars breaks away from Earth's rule. Over the next century, two radically different societies develop, each regarding the other with mutual suspicion. Eventually, Mars sends a group of young delegates to spend five years on Earth in an attempt at reconciliation.

She decides to try her luck in Reykjavik, and moves in with her friend Jon, a gay man who longs to work in the theatre, but can only find dangerous, backbreaking work on fishing trawlers. Hekla's opportunities are equally limited: marriage and babies, or a job as a waitress, in which harassment from customers is part of the daily grind. They both feel completely out of place in a small and conservative world.

But Poonachi's life is not destined to be a rural idyll: dangers lurk around every corner, and may sometimes come from surprising places, including a government that is supposed to protect the weak and needy. Is this little goat too humble a creature to survive such a hostile world?

In 2196, the delegates are brought home to Mars, along with a group of representatives from Earth. Among them is Luoying, an eighteen-year-old dance student and the granddaughter of the governor of Mars.

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134

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER 2020


Literary translations construct cultural bridges and enlarge our horizons.”

NÚRIA AÑÓ

135


OC TOBER / NOVEMBER 2020

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