Friday, July 12, 2019

ZULEIKHA by Guzel Yakhina

One World Publication
Available now


The year is 1930. In a small Tartar village, a woman named Zuleikha watches as her husband is murdered by communists. Zuleikha herself is sent into exile, enduring a horrendous train journey to a remote spot on the Angara River in Siberia. Conditions in the camp are tough, and many of her group do not survive the first difficult winter.

As she gradually settles into a routine, Zuleikha starts to get to know her companions. The eclectic group includes a rather dotty doctor, an artist who paints on the sly, and Ignatov, Zuleikha’s husband’s killer. Together, the group starts to build a new life, one that is far removed from those they left behind.
Guzel Yakhina’s smooth prose describes Zuleikha’s adjustment to a new reality and her discovery of a new form of happiness, and covers a range of cultural, ethnic, religious and socio-political issues. This outstanding debut novel from an exciting new talent has been showered with prizes and is capturing the hearts of readers all over the world.

Monday, June 24, 2019


Publishing date October 15, 2019


The Scent of Buenos Aires offers the first book-length English translation of Uhart's work, drawing together her best vignettes of quotidian life: moments at the zoo, the hair salon, or a cacophonous homeowners association meeting. She writes in unconventional, understated syntax, constructing a delightfully specific perspective on life in South America. These stories are marked by sharp humor and wit: discreet and subtle, yet filled with eccentric and insightful characters. Uhart's narrators pose endearing questions about their lives and environments - one asks "Bees - do you know how industrious they are?" while another inquires, "Are we perhaps going to hell in a hand basket?"

Thursday, June 20, 2019

THE GRAMMARIANS, by Cathleen Schine

Farrar Straus and Giroux
Publishing date September 16, 2019P


The Grammarians are Laurel and Daphne Wolfe, identical, inseparable redheaded twins who share an obsession with words. They speak a secret “twin” tongue of their own as toddlers; as adults making their way in 1980s Manhattan, their verbal infatuation continues, but this love, which has always bound them together, begins instead to push them apart. Daphne, copy editor and grammar columnist, devotes herself to preserving the dignity and elegance of Standard English. Laurel, who gives up teaching kindergarten to write poetry, is drawn, instead, to the polymorphous, chameleon nature of the written and spoken word. Their fraying twinship finally shreds completely when the sisters go to war, absurdly but passionately, over custody of their most prized family heirloom: Merriam Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition.
Cathleen Schine has written a playful and joyful celebration of the interplay of language and life. A dazzling comedy of sisterly and linguistic manners, a revelation of the delights and stresses of intimacy, The Grammarians is the work of one of our great comic novelists at her very best.

Monday, June 17, 2019

WILD GAME by Adrienne Brodeur


Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publishing date October 16, 2019

On a hot August night on Cape Cod when Adrienne was fourteen, her mother, Malabar, woke her at midnight with five simple words that would set the course of both of their lives for years to come: Ben Souther just kissed me. 
Adrienne instantly became her mother’s confidante and helpmate, blossoming in the sudden light of her attention, and from then on, Malabar came to rely on her daughter to help orchestrate what would become an epic affair with her husband’s closest friend. The affair would have calamitous consequences for everyone involved, impacting Adrienne’s life in profound ways, driving her into a precarious marriage of her own, and then into a deep depression. Only years later will she find the strength to embrace her life—and her mother—on her own terms.  

My thoughts

First I would like to mention, there is no anymosity between Malabar, the mother, and Rennie, the daughter in this memoir. The writing is one of healing on Rennie's part, of understanding her mother.
Entering into this memoir I feel it matters to understand the family's dynamics.
A family descendant of the Mayflower, people of privileged and wealth.
Malabar, a mother without boundaries will incapacitated Rennie through her teen years and beyond, she will never understand her indecent misstep.
The healing will consume Rennie for many years, the search for herself.
Distancing herself from Malabar will be her first step. Finding hope and guidance through books suggested by her stepmother Margo will lead her toards fundamental understandings.
I was taken aback by Rennie's lack of literary education, yet not surprised considering the hedonistic lifestyle she grew up around.
Literature will become Rennie's vocation, which can be noticed by the beautiful writing in this memoir.

Thank you NetGalley & Houghton Mifflain and Harcourt

Thursday, May 30, 2019

THE WATER DANCE by Ta - Nehisi Coates


One World

Publishing Date September 24, 2019


Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.

This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children—the violent and capricious separation of families—and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.

My thoughts

Virginia, tobacco fields who once enriched the masters and brought on the slave trade, see their land striped to sand, their mansions crumbling.

Slaves are sold, families separated, children sold from their mothers, all send Natchez - way, Tennessee, Missouri, where masters with lucrative land are in need of Taskers...slaves.

[...I heard stories of white men who bought colored men to enact their wildest pleasures - white men who kept them locked away for the sheer thrill of being able to...]

Hiram, a child without a mother he can remember, a child, a slave who's father is the master. We will travel many ways with Hiram, on his road to find his mother, on his road to find freedom for many. I spend 4 days with Hi as he calls himself and found myself missing him.

You will have to wait till the end to find out what separated Hiram from his mother, well worth the wait.

I loved this novel based on facts, so well many truth.

A must read