New fiction at the Libraries, March 1

March 1, 2011 – 12:45 PM

Train to Budapest by Dacia Maraini
Translated from the Italian by Silvester Mazzarella
PQ4873.A69 T7414 2010

1956: Amara, a young Italian journalist, is sent to report on the growing political divide between East and West in post-war central Europe. She also has a more personal mission: to find out what happened to Emanuele, her soul mate from before the war when both were children in Florence. Emanuele and his family were Jews transported by the Nazis from wartime Vienna, but not before he had sent Amara a long series of letters she still carries with her. Her quest now takes her on long train journeys. She visits the holocaust museum at Auschwitz, and Budapest, where she is caught up in the tumultuous events of the October rising against the Soviet Union. Amara is helped by chance travel companions, notably Hans, part Austrian and half-Jewish, who works as a surrogate father at weddings for brides orphaned in the war, and Hovath, an elderly Hungarian captured by the Russians after forced service with the German army outside Stalingrad in 1942. Along the way she meets many other survivors, each with their own story to tell, and ponders the troubled existence of her own parents in the oppressive world of Mussolini’s Italy. But did Emanuele survive the war or, like so many other Viennese Jews, did he die in Auschwitz or a ghetto in Poland?

The Collaborators: A novel by Pierre Siniac
Translated by Jordan Stump
PQ2679.I54 F4713 2010

A noir set in the seediest backwaters of the French publishing industry, The Collaborators tells the story of a hapless drifter who, after years of not particularly heroic effort, finally manages to write a book. A good book? A bad book? Well, it’s complicated – and soon the complications he’s set in motion spiral entirely out of control. Praised by Pierre Bayard in How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read, and finally available in English by one of our greatest translators, The Collaborators is both a sinister thriller and a comedy of outrageous proportions.

Under the title Ferdinaud Céline, The Collaborators was published in French in 1997 to great acclaim.

The Ghost of Milagro Creek: A novel by Melanie Sumner
PS3569.U46 G47 2010

The story of Ignacia Vigil Romero, a full Jacarilla Apache, and the two boys, Mister and Tomás, she raised to adulthood unfolds in a barrio of Taos, New Mexico—a mixed community of Native Americans, Hispanics, and whites. Now deceased, Ignacia, a curandera—a medicine woman, though some say a witch—begins this tale of star-crossed lovers.

Mister and Tomás, best friends until their late teens, both fall for Rocky, a gringa of some mystery, a girl Tomás takes for himself. But in a moment of despair, a pledge between the young men leads to murder. When Ignacia falls silent, police reports, witness statements, and caseworker interviews draw an electrifying portrait of a troubled community and of the vulnerable players in this mounting tragedy. Set in a terrain that becomes a character in its own right, The Ghost of Milagro Creek brilliantly illuminates this hidden corner of American society.

Horse, Flower, Bird: Stories by Kate Bernheimer
PS3602.E76 H67 2010

In Kate Bernheimer’s familiar and spare—yet wondrous—world, an exotic dancer builds her own cage, a wife tends a secret basement menagerie, a fishmonger’s daughter befriends a tulip bulb, and sisters explore cycles of love and violence by reenacting scenes from Star Wars.

Enthralling, subtle, and poetic, this collection takes readers back to the age-old pleasures of classic fairy tales and makes them new. Their haunting lessons are an evocative reminder that cracking open the door to the imagination is no mere child’s play, that delight and tragedy lurk in every corner, and that we all “have the key to the library . . . only be careful what you read.”

The Eden Hunter: A novel by Skip Horack
PS3608.O72 E34 2010

In 1816, five years after being captured and sold into slavery, Kau, a pygmy tribesman, flees south into the Florida wilderness, determined to find a place where he can once again live in harmony with nature. Both haunted and driven by his memories of Africa, he embarks on an epic quest through the treacherous pinewoods, swamps, and river bottoms of the Southern frontier. He encounters renegades and thieves, traitors and mercenaries, and the dark prophetic magic of the forest before he finally finds himself within the walls of a remote fort on the Apalachicola River. There, he becomes the reluctant companion of several hundred runaway slaves once recruited by the British to fight in the War of 1812, then abandoned to fend for themselves against the American forces intent on destroying their remarkable stronghold.

Inspired by actual historical events occurring after the turn of the nineteenth century, and at turns both violent and beautiful, The Eden Hunter is the amazing story of a man’s journey into the turbulent forces of a torn and fragmented America.

Four Stories by Etgar Keret
PJ5054.K375 Z46 2010

This remarkable collection includes four of Keret s most treasured stories: Asthma Attack, Shoes, Siren, and Foreign Language. Heralded as one of Israel’s leading voices in literature and cinema, Keret mixes wry humor, keen intelligence, and subtle tenderness to create some of the most ambitious and entertaining stories of his generation.

Glorious: A novel by Bernice L. McFadden
PS3563.C3622 G56 2010

Glorious is set against the backdrops of the Jim Crow South, the Harlem Renaissance, and the civil rights era. Blending the truth of American history with the fruits of Bernice L. McFadden’s rich imagination, this is the story of Easter Venetta Bartlett, a fictional Harlem Renaissance writer whose tumultuous path to success, ruin, and revival offers a candid portrait of the American experience in all its beauty and cruelty.

Glorious is ultimately an audacious exploration into the nature of self-hatred, love, possession, ego, betrayal, and, finally, redemption.

The Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti by Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell
PS3566.H558 C66 2010

Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell’s award-winning stories transport you to Haiti—to a lush, lyrical, flamboyant, and spirit-filled Haiti where palm trees shine wet with moonlight and the sky paints a yellow screen over your head and the ocean sparkles with thousands of golden eyes—and keep you there forever. Her singular characters mysteriously address the deeper meanings of human existence. They also dream of escape, whether from themselves, from family, from Vodou, from financial and cultural difficulties and the politicians that create them, or from the country itself, but Haiti will forever remain part of their souls and part of the thoughts of her readers.

Some characters do achieve escape through the mind or through sea voyage—escape found by surrendering to spectacular fantasies and madness and love, bargaining with God, joining the boat people. Marie-Ange Saint-Jacques’s mother sacrifices everything to ensure her daughter’s survival on a perilous boat trip, Angelina waits to fly away to Nou Yòk, Vivi creates her own circus with dozens of rescued dogs, Gustave dies a martyr to his faith. Throughout, the “I” who moves in and out of these dream-filled stories embraces the heavenly mysteries found in “the room where all things lost are stored with grace.”

We begin our journey to Haiti with images of a little girl in a pink bedroom reading by candlelight a book about the life of Saint Bernadette, surrounded by the bewitching scents, sounds, and textures of a Caribbean night. Each story stands by itself, but some characters can be followed from one story to another through the transformations they undergo as a result of their life experiences. In this way, the collection can be read as one story, the story of a family trapped in a personal and cultural drama and the story of the people with whom the family interacts, themselves burdened by the need to survive within Haiti’s rigorously class-determined society and blessed by their relationship to the company of heaven in which they live and for which they are destined.

Post a Comment