New Titles in World Fiction at the Main Library

February 27, 2013 – 4:22 PM

The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God and Other Stories by Etgar Keret
PJ5054.K375 A23 2004

Bus Driver...Keret

Israel’s hippest bestselling young writer today, Etgar Keret is part court jester, part literary crown prince, part national conscience. The Bus Driver Who Wanted to Be God gathers his daring and provocative short stories for the first time in English. Brief, intense, painfully funny, and shockingly honest, Keret’s stories are snapshots that illuminate with intelligence and wit the hidden truths of life. As with the best comic authors, hilarity and anguish are the twin pillars of his work. Keret covers a remarkable emotional and narrative terrain-from a father’s first lesson to his boy to a standoff between soldiers caught in the Middle East conflict to a slice of life where nothing much happens. Bus Driver includes stories from Keret’s bestselling collections in Israel, Pipelines and Missing Kissinger, as well as Keret’s major new novella, “Kneller’s Happy Campers,” a bitingly satirical yet wistful road trip set in the afterlife for suicides.

Life on Hold by Fahd Al-Atiq
PJ7814.T5116 K3513 2012

Life on Hold

Riyadh is a city of masks, a city “like a pressure cooker that’s about to explode,” a city that sleeps on a pile of words that no one dares utter. Saudi society has split into two camps, one adopting the slogan that God is strict in punishment, the other that God is merciful and forgiving. In the background the media trumpets that everything is perfect. Saudi writer Fahd al-Atiq explores this world through the character of Khaled, whose dysfunctional life, humdrum but rich in memories and introspection, bridges the gap between the old impoverished world of Najd and the consumerism of the years after the various oil booms, symbolized in this novel by the family’s move from the lively back streets of the old city to an isolated dream villa in the new suburbs, where their dreams are never quite fulfilled and their lives remain permanently ‘on hold.

Kiku’s Prayer by Shūsaku Endō
PL849.N4 K435 2013

Endo Shusaku was a renowned twentieth-century Japanese author who wrote from the unusual perspective of being both Japanese and Catholic. His work is often compared to that of Graham Greene, who himself considered Endo one of the century’s finest writers. A historical novel set in the turbulent period between the fall of the shogunate and the Meiji Restoration, “Kiku’s Prayer” embodies themes central to Endo’s work, including religion, modernization, and the endurance of the human spirit. In Japan, the book is considered one of his late masterpieces and has never before been translated into English.

 

Long Day’s Evening by Bilge Karasu
PL248.K33 U9813 2012

Long Day's Evening

When the Emperor of Byzantium orders the destruction of all religious paintings and icons, Constantinople is thrown into crisis. Fear grips the monastery where Andronikos, a young monk, is thrown into a spiritual crisis. Amidst stirrings of resistance he decides to escape, leaving behind his beloved Ioakim, who must confront his own crisis of faith and decide where to place his allegiance. The dualities of dogma and faith, individual and society, East and West, are embodied in a story of prohibited love and devotion to the unseen.

 

Black Flower by Young-ha Kim
PL992.415.Y5863 K6613 2012

In 1904, as the Russo-Japanese War deepened, Asia was parceled out to rising powers and the Korean empire was annexed by Japan. Facing war and the loss of their nation, more than a thousand Koreans left their homes to seek possibility elsewhere—in unknown Mexico.    After a long sea voyage, these emigrants—thieves and royals, priests and soldiers, orphans and entire families—disembark with the promise of land. Soon they discover the truth: they have been sold into indentured servitude.  Aboard ship, an orphan, Ijeong, fell in love with the daughter of a noble; separated when the various haciendados claim their laborers, he vows to find her. After years of working in the punishing heat of the henequen fields, the Koreans are caught in the midst of a Mexican revolution. Some flee with Ijeong to Guatemala, where they found a New Korea amid Mayan ruins.

 

Sandalwood Death: A Novel  by Yan Mo
PL2886.O1684 T3613 2013

Sandalwood Death is set during the Boxer Rebellion (1898–1901)—an anti-imperialist struggle waged by North China’s farmers and craftsmen in opposition to Western influence. Against a broad historical canvas, the novel centers on the interplay between its female protagonist, Sun Meiniang, and the three paternal figures in her life. One of these men is her biological father, Sun Bing, an opera virtuoso and a leader of the Boxer Rebellion. As the bitter events surrounding the revolt unfold, we watch Sun Bing march toward his cruel fate, the gruesome “sandalwood punishment,” whose purpose, as in crucifixions, is to keep the condemned individual alive in mind-numbing pain as long as possible.

Lenin’s Kisses by Lianke Yan
PL2925.L54 S5813 2012

A mystifying climatic incongruity begins the award-winning novel Lenin’s Kisses—an absurdist, tragicomic masterpiece set in modern day China.  Nestled deep within the Balou mountains, spared from the government’s watchful eye, the harmonious people of Liven had enough food and leisure to be fully content. But when their crops and livelihood are obliterated by a seven-day snowstorm in the middle of a sweltering summer, a county official arrives with a lucrative scheme both to raise money for the district and boost his career. The majority of the 197 villagers are disabled, and he convinces them to start a traveling performance troupe highlighting such acts as One-Eye’s one-eyed needle threading. With the profits from this extraordinary show, he intends to buy Lenin’s embalmed corpse from Russia and install it in a grand mausoleum to attract tourism, in the ultimate marriage of capitalism and communism. However, the success of the Shuanghuai County Special-Skills Performance Troupe comes at a serious price.

Apocalypse Hotel by Anh Thai Ho
PL4378.9.H47 C6513 2012

Three violent deaths occur within days among a group of young nouveaux-riche beachgoers of Hanoi—but neither the victims nor the circumstances are as they seem.  Is fate responsible? Or a woman of extreme beauty and mystery? This dark fable draws English-language readers into the divided society of 1990s Vietnam, to an underground economy in which anything may be bought and sold, youth seek speed, sex, and thrills, and past crimes still haunt the pure and the guilty alike. In this riveting, fast-paced cautionary tale, citizens of all ages and situations must come to grips with the sordid, unforeseen consequences of a war once meant to liberate them.

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