Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius
translated by Jamie Bulloch
PT2664.E4 B5513 2010
Rome, one January afternoon in 1943. A young German woman is on her way to listen to a Bach concert at the Lutheran church. Innocent and naive, the war is for her little more than a daydream, until she realizes that her husband might never return. This is a mesmerizing psychological portrait of the human need to safeguard innocence and integrity at any cost – even at the risk of excluding reality. Moreover, it’s a compelling and credible description of a typical young German woman during the Nazi era. If we can relate to her we come close to understanding the forces that were shaping an entire generation. The literary masterpiece by one of Germany’s most renowned contemporary writers was published in 2006 and immediately reprinted three times within the first couple of months.
A Palace in the Old Village: A novel by Tahar Ben Jelloun
translated by Linda Coverdale
PQ3989.2.J4 A9413 2011
Award-winning, internationally bestselling author Tahar Ben Jelloun’s new novel is the story of an immigrant named Mohammed who has spent forty years in France and is about to retire. Taking stock of his life- his devotion to Islam and to his assimilated children-he decides to return to Morocco, where he spends his life’s savings building the biggest house in the village and waits for his children and grandchildren to come be with him. A heartbreaking novel about parents and children, A Palace in the Old Village captures the sometimes stark contrasts between old- and new-world values, and an immigrant’s abiding pursuit of home.
A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé
translated from the French by Alison Anderson
PQ2663.O7248 A9313 2010
Ivan, a one-time world traveler, and Francesca, a ravishing Italian heiress, are the owners of a bookstore that is anything but ordinary. Rebelling against the business of bestsellers and in search of an ideal place where their literary dreams
can come true, Ivan and Francesca open a store where the passion for literature is given free reign. Tucked away in a corner of Paris, the store offers its clientele a selection of literary masterpieces chosen by a top-secret committee of likeminded literary connoisseurs. To their amazement, after only a few months, the little dream store proves a success. And that is precisely when their troubles begin. At first, both owners shrug off the anonymous threats that come their way and the venomous comments concerning their store circulating on the Internet, but when three members of the supposedly secret committee are attacked, they decide to call the police. One by one, the pieces of this puzzle fall ominously into place, as it becomes increasingly evident that Ivan and Francesca’s dreams will be answered with pettiness, envy and violence.
Popular Hits of the Showa Era by Ryu Murakami
translated by Ralph McCarthy
PL856.U696 S4913 2011
In his most irreverent novel yet, Ryu Murakami creates a rivalry of epic proportions between six aimless youths and six tough-as-nails women who battle for control of a Tokyo neighborhood. At the outset, the young men seem louche but harmless, their activities limited to drinking, snacking, peering at a naked neighbor through a window, and performing karaoke. The six “aunties” are fiercely independent career women. When one of the boys executes a lethal ambush of one of the women, chaos ensues. The women band together to find the killer and exact revenge. In turn, the boys buckle down, study physics, and plot to take out their nemeses in a single blast. Who knew that a deadly “gang war” could be such fun? Murakami builds the conflict into a hilarious, spot-on satire of modern culture and the tensions between the sexes and generations.
The Country Where No One Ever Dies by Ornela Vorpsi
translated by Robert Elsie and Janice Mathie-Heck
PQ4922.O77 P3413 2009
A young girl’s father is constantly forcing her to kiss him, and her aunt predicts that she will grow up to be a whore. With Albania’s communist regime crumbling around them, sex, dictatorship, and death are inescapable subjects for the girl and her family;though the protagonist ofThe Country Where No One Ever Dies always confronts the ridiculousness of her often brutal reality with unflappable irony and a peculiar kind of common sense. Her name and age changing from moment to moment, she is an unforgettable portrait of the imagination under siege, while The Country Where No One Ever Dies is itself a one-of-a-kind atlas to a land where black comedy is simply a way of life.
Coming from an Off-key Time: A novel by Bogdan Suceavă
translated by Alistair Ian Blyth
PC840.429.U34 V4613 2011
In his apocalyptic novel Coming from an Off-Key Time, Bogdan Suceava satirizes the events in his native Romania since the violent end of the Ceausescu regime that fateful year. Suceava uses three interrelated narratives to illustrate the destructive power of Romanian society’s most powerful mythologies. He depicts madness of all kinds but especially religious beliefs and their perversion by all manner of outrageous sects. Here horror and humor reside impossibly in the same time and place, and readers experience the vertiginous feeling of living in the middle of a violent historical upheaval.
Twilight Forever Rising by Lena Meydan translated by Andrew Bromfield
PG3492.76.E93 T9513 2010
Darel Ericson of the Dahanavar clan is a rarity among his vampire brethren: he’s an empath, strong enough to occasionally read thought as well as emotion. For centuries, his power has given the Dahanavar a significant advantage against the machinations of the other vampire families, an advantage which makes Darel both a powerful tool and a highly visible target.
Fortunately for Darel, it is more useful for the heads of the other clans to maintain the centuries-long peace between the houses than to remove him. But, the cunning and violent head of the House of Nachterret is tired of the truce, and of hiding his presence in the world. The Nachterret would like nothing more than have free reign over the helpless human cattle upon which they feed.
Darel, and the human woman he loves, become central to the Nachterret’s scheme to plunge the Houses into all out war. Darel is ultimately forced to face the question: is one young woman’s life too high a price to pay for peace?
Fortune Teller Miracle Fish: Stories by Cathryn Hankla
PS3558.A4689 F67 2011
Short stories about characters who struggle toward more truthful expressions of themselves: A mentally challenged teen in a coma, a WWII veteran weighing his beliefs, an intersexed man anticipating a relationship, a single woman who has kissed far too many frogs, and a first grader suffering at the hands of a family friend. These are just a few of the unforgettable characters in Fortune Teller Miracle Fish, an innovative collection of stories from award- winning novelist and poet Cathryn Hankla. The figures in these stories struggle toward more truthful expressions of themselves, as outsiders whose dilemmas, emotions, and desires make them unmistakably human. As varied as they are vivid, they strive for closer connections of love and community. Through humor and understanding, Hankla intrepidly navigates the transitions that define them — unplanned pregnancy, divorce, death, and gender change, to name a few. Acutely attuned to her subjects’ inner landscapes, Hankla captures the full spectrum of human experience, from childhood to old age, with heart, rare skill, and nerve.
Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman
PS3566.E2187 B56 2011
In this sumptuous offering, one of our premier storytellers provides a feast for fiction aficionados. Spanning four decades and three prize-winning collections, these 21 vintage selected stories and 13 scintillating new ones take us around the world, from Jerusalem to Central America, from tsarist Russia to London during the Blitz, from central Europe to Manhattan, and from the Maine coast to Godolphin, Massachusetts, a fictional suburb of Boston. These charged locales, and the lives of the endlessly varied characters within them, are evoked with a tenderness and incisiveness found in only our most observant seers.
No matter the situation in which her characters find themselves an unforeseen love affair between adolescent cousins, a lifetime of memories unearthed by an elderly couple s decision to shoplift, the deathbed secret of a young girl s forbidden forest tryst with the tsar, the danger that befalls a wealthy couple s child in a European inn of misfits Edith Pearlman conveys their experience with wit and aplomb, with relentless but clear-eyed optimism, and with a supple prose that reminds us, sentence by sentence, page by page, of the gifts our greatest verbal innovators can bestow.
Binocular Vision reveals a true American original, a master of the story, showing us, with her classic sensibility and lasting artistry, the cruelties, the longings, and the rituals that connect human beings across space and time.
The Silver Hearted: A novel by David McConnell
PS3613.C3816 S56 2009
Set against a background of revolution and profiteering of an unnamed port town, the story’s unnamed narrator is hired to protect a vast sum of money shadowy investors have entrusted to him. Literally chests of silver coins, this fortune must be protected at all costs. He turns for assistance to a naïve sailor, beautiful and young, who helps the narrator evacuate his money from a trading emporium overrun by violent mobs. With a hopeless fondness, the boy wants acknowledgement that lives have been destroyed for the sake of money. Unfortunately the ruthless calculus of profit and loss has an eerie appeal the narrator can’t shake, and the mobs are closing in. And he again has to get his fortune out of the city he’s found uneasy shelter in.
The Final Year by Ilse Tielsch
translated by Anne C. Ulmer
In this gentle and simultaneously amusing, yet ominous, autobiographical novel, Ilse Tielsch describes the events of 1938 on the Austrian-Czech border, as seen through the eyes of a bright-eyed and curious ten-year-old girl. We watch as the divisive vitriol of Hitler’s politics destroys the sense of community that had prevailed between speakers of Czech and German, as the awareness of ethnic differences comes to divide people, and as people mysteriously begin to disappear from the town. Throughout the year, Elfi’s parents are increasingly reluctant to answer questions; though they attempt to keep Elfi ignorant of politics, the reader understands before she does what tragic events are building momentum in this region. Elfi’s narrative gives vivid life to the personal histories that are taking place against the background of larger historical events.