Friday, February 8, 2019

New Books Coming Your Way February 12, 2019

Living on the Borderlines by Melissa Michal
250 p.; Fiction/Native American

For the loosely connected Seneca community members living in Upstate New York, intergenerational memory slips into everyday life: a teenager struggles to understand her grandmother's silences, a family seeks to reconnect with a lost sibling, and a young woman searches for a cave that's called to her family for generations. With these stories, debut writer Melissa Michal weaves together an understated and contemplative collection exploring what it means to be Native.


Elsewhere Home by Leila Aboulela
224 p.; Short stories/Global

A young woman’s encounter with a former classmate elicits painful reminders of her former life in Khartoum. A wealthy Sudanese student studying in Aberdeen begins an unlikely friendship with a Scottish man. A woman experiences an evolving relationship to her favorite writer, whose portrait of their shared culture both reflects and conflicts with her own sense of identity.

Shuttling between the dusty, sunbaked streets of Khartoum and the university halls and cramped apartments of Aberdeen and London, Elsewhere, Home explores, with subtlety and restraint, the profound feelings of yearning, loss, and alienation that come with leaving one’s homeland in pursuit of a different life.


The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
384 p.; Historical fiction/Malaysia

Smart, vivacious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been hoping for.

Across town, 11-year-old houseboy Ren is on a mission of his own, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s severed finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.

As the days tick by, a series of unexplained deaths wreak havoc on the town, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren are pulled together in ways they couldn’t have imagined, as their increasingly dangerous paths lead them from lush plantations, to hospital storage rooms, to a ghostly dreamscape.

The Night Tiger draws us into a world of servants and masters, ancient superstition and modern ambition, sibling rivalry and forbidden love. But anchoring this dazzlingly ambitious, propulsive novel is the intimate coming of age of a boy and a girl, each searching for their place in a society that would rather they stay invisible.


Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima
192 p.; Fiction/Japan

It is spring. A young woman, left by her husband, starts a new life in a Tokyo apartment. Territory of Light follows her over the course of a year, as she struggles to bring up her two-year-old daughter alone. Her new home is filled with light streaming through the windows, so bright she has to squint, but she finds herself plummeting deeper into darkness, becoming unstable, untethered. As the months come and go and the seasons turn, she must confront what she has lost and what she will become.

At once tender and lacerating, luminous and unsettling, Yuko Tsushima’s Territory of Light is a novel of abandonment, desire, and transformation. It was originally published in twelve parts in the Japanese literary monthly Gunzo, between 1978 and 1979, each chapter marking the months in real time.

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