Absinthe 24 pushes and prods Hellenism beyond its geographic and cultural comfort zones, and sets it tumbling off beyond both internal and external borders of its nation-state, in a wide-ranging but always site-specific and localized itinerary. At each stop along the way, this Greekness finds its plurals—hence the “Hellenisms” of the title. While they present no unified topography, tongue or even topic, these Hellenisms map out the contours of a shared conversation. Today’s Hellenism isn’t limited to Hellas, nor to the Hellenic language. The selected texts in this volume explore Greece from the perspective of visitors, displaced persons, and marginalized people looking in, or, conversely, from the perspective of locals striving to break out.
An epic story of a Bedouin family’s survival and legacy amid their changing world in the unforgiving Sahara Desert.
Ahmed is a camel herder, as his father was before him and as his young son Abdullahi will be after him. The days of Ahmed and the other families in their nomadic freeg are ruled by the rhythms of changing seasons, the needs of his beloved camel herd, and the rich legends and stories that link his life to centuries of tradition.
But Ahmed’s world is threatened—by the French colonizers just beyond the horizon, the urbanization of the modern world, and a drought more deadly than any his people have known. At first, Ahmed attempts to ignore these forces by concentrating on the ancient routines of herding life. But these routines are broken when a precious camel named Zarga goes missing. Saddling his trusted Laamesh, praying at the appointed hours, and singing the songs of his fathers for strength, Ahmed sets off to recover Zarga on a perilous journey that will bring him face to face with the best and the worst of humanity and test every facet of his Bedouin desert survival skills.
Spanning the period from the late 1930s to World War II, this historical novel dramatizes antifascist resistance and the rise and fall of proletarian political parties in Europe. Living in Berlin in 1937, the unnamed narrator and his peers—sixteen- and seventeen-year-old working-class students—seek ways to express their hatred for the Nazi regime. They meet in museums and galleries, and in their discussions they explore the affinity between political resistance and art, the connection at the heart of Weiss’s novel. Weiss suggests that meaning lies in embracing resistance, no matter how intense the oppression, and that we must look to art for new models of political action and social understanding. The novel includes extended meditations on paintings, sculpture, and literature. Moving from the Berlin underground to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War and on to other parts of Europe, the story teems with characters, almost all of whom are based on historical figures. The Aesthetics of Resistance is one of the truly great works of postwar German literature and an essential resource for understanding twentieth-century German history.
Against a Darkening Sky was originally published in 1943. Set in a semirural community south of San Francisco, it is the story of an American mother of the mid-1930s and the sustaining influence she brings, through her own profound strength and faith, to the lives of her four growing children.
Scottish by birth, but long a resident of America, Mary Perrault is married to a Swiss-French gardener. Their life in South Encina, though anything but lavish, is gay, serene, and friendly. As their children mature and the world outside, less peaceful and secure than the Perrault home, begins to threaten the equilibrium of their tranquil lives, Mrs. Perrault becomes increasingly aware of a moral wilderness rising from the physical wilderness which her generation has barely conquered.
Her struggle to influence, while not invading the lives of her children, is the focus of this novel of family life during the Depression years.
“Who knows if there’s a God? There’s us, now, and caterpillars and other insects and mulch. So thinks Stephen Wirth as he watches his marriage collapse. Between bouts of alcoholism and attempts to restore a fleet of decrepit boats, Stephen does his best to help his daughters cope with their mother having fallen in love with another woman. But growing up and making sense of the world is something the girls must do on their own, just as for their mother there is no easy way around building a new life. Set on Long Island, The Agnostics follows the Wirths through several decades as they struggle to redefine themselves and their idea of family.
Painting with a fine and delicate brush, Wendy Rawlings reveals her characters’ lives as a series of discrete moments, illuminating the intimate story of one American middle-class family.
“Already an accomplished stylist, Rawlings has given us a first novel that is at once delicate and intense. The characters are so finely engraved and their passions so recognizable, the river of their daily lives runs so broad and deep, in the end we feel not that we have merely read about them but that we have lived with them, side by side. A poignant, exquisitely focused book.”
—Sigrid Nunez, author of The Last of Her Kind
Traveling through China in 1989, not long after the Tiananmen Square massacre, Fanny hopes to make sense of her brother Bruno’s death in a motorcycle accident by finding a woman with whom he had exchanged letters. On her journey Fanny’s fate becomes entwined with a handsome British rogue, an American of Russian-Cuban descent returning to Tashkent, and two Chinese men—one who loves Charles Dickens, the other a budding, entrepreneurial con man—struggling to find their way in a country undergoing tumultuous transformation. Kathleen Lee’s debut novel explores the tension between the allure of the unfamiliar that draws us to distant lands and its unbidden tendency to reveal us to ourselves. With its rollicking sense of humor and slyly lyrical voice, as well as an extraordinary deftness in the rendering of place, All Things Tending towards the Eternal is an unforgettable ride.
A prismatic, imaginative exploration of David Bowie’s last days
An intricate collage-novel fusing and confusing fact and imagination, Always Crashing in the Same Car is a prismatic exploration of David Bowie through multiple voices and perspectives—the protean musician himself, an academic trying to compose a critical monograph about him, friends, lovers, musicologists, and others in Bowie’s orbit.
At its core beat questions about how we read others, how we are read by them, how (if at all) we can tell the past with something even close to accuracy, what it feels like being the opposite of young and still committed to bracing, volatile innovation.
Set during Bowie’s last months—those during which he worked on his acclaimed final album Black Star while battling liver cancer and the consequences of a sixth heart attack—yet washing back and forth across his exhilarating, kaleidoscopically costumed life, Always Crashing in the Same Car enacts a poetics of impermanence, of art, of love, of truth, even of death, that apparently most permanent of conditions.
Munro’s stories were born five decades ago in a small English village where children were seen and not heard, fathers were wacky, neighbors were snoopy, and maiden aunts were beautifully crafted artifices. Her original stories, dolloped with characters reminiscent of those from her childhood, telling of domestic shenanigans and outings gone revealingly awry are written with meticulous timing. Rich in details about the frailty and strength of the human spirit, her stories resonate with the truth of what is means to be human.
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