Camp Nine: A Novel
Vivienne Schiffer University of Arkansas Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3619.C366C36 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the U.S. military to ban anyone from certain areas of the country, with primary focus on the West Coast. Eventually the order was used to imprison 120,000 people of Japanese descent in incarceration camps such as the Rohwer Relocation Center in remote Desha County, Arkansas. This time of fear and prejudice (the U.S. government formally apologized for the relocations in 1982) and the Arkansas Delta are the setting for Camp Nine. The novel's narrator, Chess Morton, lives in tiny Rook Arkansas. Her days are quiet and secluded until the appearance of a "relocation" center built for what was, in effect, the imprisonment of thousands of Japanese Americans. Chess's life becomes intertwined with those of two young internees and an American soldier mysteriously connected to her mother's past. As Chess watches the struggles and triumphs of these strangers and sees her mother seek justice for the people who briefly and involuntarily came to call the Arkansas Delta their home, she discovers surprising and disturbing truths about her family's painful past.
The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma: A Novel
Tadeusz Dolega-Mostowicz; Translated from the Polish by Ewa Malachowska-Pasek and Megan Thomas and with an introduction by Benjamin Paloff Northwestern University Press
First published in Polish in 1932, The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma was Tadeusz Dolega-Mostowicz’s breakout novel. Dyzma is an unemployed clerk who crashes a swanky party, where he makes an offhand crass remark that sets him on a new course. Soon high society—from government ministers to drug-fueled aristocrats—wants a piece of him. As Dyzma’s status grows, his vulgarity is interpreted as authenticity and strength. He is unable to comprehend complicated political matters, but his cryptic responses are celebrated as wise introspection. His willingness to do anything to hold on to power—flip-flopping on political positions, inventing xenophobic plots, even having enemies assaulted—only leads to greater success.
Dolega-Mostowicz wrote his novel in a newly independent Poland rampant with political corruption and populist pandering. Jerzy Kosinski borrowed heavily from the novel when he wrote Being There, and readers of both books will recognize similarities between their plots. This biting political satire—by turns hilarious and disturbing, contemptuous and sympathetic—is an indictment of a system in which money and connections matter above all else, bluster and ignorance are valorized, and a deeply incompetent man rises to the highest spheres of government.
Catina’s Haircut: A Novel in Stories spans four generations of a peasant family in the brutal poverty of post-Unification southern Italy and in an immigrant’s United States. The women in these tales dare to cross boundaries by discovering magical leaps inherent in the landscape, in themselves, and in the stories they tell and retell of family tragedy at a time of political unrest. Through an oral tradition embedded in the stone of memory and the flow of its reinvention, their passionate tale of resistance and transformation courses forward into new generations in a new world.
A woman threatens to join the land reform struggle in her Calabrian hill town, against her husband’s will, during a call for revolution in 1919. A brother and sister turn to the village sorceress in Fascist Italy to bring rain to their father’s drought-stricken farm. In Pittsburgh, new immigrants witness a miraculous rescue during the Great Flood of 1936. A young girl courageously dives into the Allegheny River to save her grandfather’s only memento of the old country. With only broken English to guide her, a widow hops a bus in search of live chickens to cook for Easter dinner in her husband’s memory. An aging woman in the title story is on a quest to cut the ankle-length hair as hard as the rocky soil of Calabria in a drought. A lonely woman who survived World War II bombings in her close-knit village, struggles to find community as a recent immigrant. A daughter visits her mother’s hill town to try and fulfill a wish for her to see the Fata Morgana. These haunting images permeate Corso’s linked stories of loss, hope, struggle, and freedom.
An official selection of The Sons of Italy® Book Club
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the Public Library Association
Winner of the 2004 Michigan Literary Fiction Award for novel
A haunting story of the power of death, the pain of loss, and the possibility of hope.
"Gripping, damning, and transfixing."
" . . . possesses a time-bending gravity. . . . [A] small classic of graceful language and earned emotion." ---San Francisco Chronicle
". . . a beautifully written novel of war and the wrenching grief and unanswerable questions it leaves in its wake. . . . A Century of November is full of precise, startling imagery and elegant, richly poetic description---Wetherell seems genuinely incapable of writing a lazy sentence---and this last section of the novel is as surreal, hypnotic and harrowing as any literature in recent memory. The whole thing, in fact, is a jewel, an unforgettable historical novel that Wetherell has carefully (and artfully) seeded with loads of contemporary resonance." ---Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)
"A poignant, probing story. . . . Wetherell's prose and character writing are unflinching . . . [and his] take on a parent's anguish is deeply moving."
"A timely reminder of the devastation of mortal combat. . . ."
A Certain Smile: A Novel
Françoise Sagan University of Chicago Press, 2011 Library of Congress PQ2633.U74C413 2011 | Dewey Decimal 843.914
Françoise Sagan is best known for her first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, which caused a scandal when she first published it at the age of eighteen in 1953. But her second novel, A Certain Smile, less shocking and more psychologically convincing, was preferred by many critics. Like Bonjour Tristesse, this story is set in Paris in the 1950s and told by a young student bored by her law books, restless and curious about love and sex. She is fond of her loyal boyfriend, but he, too, bores her. His worldly uncle strikes her as more exciting, appealingly risky and forbidden. Frank and spontaneous, vulnerable and cruel, thoughtless and insightful, Sagan's young narrator explores such perennial themes as unrequited love and the precarious balance of irrational emotions and self-restraint.
This edition includes a new foreword by Diane Johnson, author of the best-selling novels Le Divorce and L’Affaire.
“The second book is now out, and so is the verdict. Sagan’s novel Un Certain Sourire, written in two months, is the new literary sensation of Paris.”—Time
“Miss Sagan is a technician of the highest order, working with exceptional economy and elegance in the tradition of Colette and Benjamin Constant.”—Atlantic
“The reader is given the feeling of having opened a young girl’s intimate diary by mistake. But whoever put such a diary down?—especially when the author is as sensitive, experienced, gifted and freshly talented as Mlle. Sagan!”—San Francisco Examiner
“[Sagan’s] style is honest, direct, and her dialogue true. But for her sake let’s hold back those invidious comparisons. Colette indeed! She might turn out to be Sagan.”—Saturday Review
Paul Scott is most famous for his much-beloved tetralogy The Raj Quartet, an epic that chronicles the end of the British rule in India with a cast of vividly and memorably drawn characters. Inspired by Scott’s own time spent in India and Malaya during World War II, this two powerful novel provides valuable insight into how foreign lands changed the British who worked and fought in them, hated and loved them.
The Chinese Love Pavilion follows a young British clerk, Tom Brent, who must track down a former friend—now suspected of murder—in Malaya. Tom faces great danger, both from the mysterious Malayan jungles and the political tensions between British officers, but the novel is perhaps most memorable for the strange, beautiful romance between Tom and a protean Eurasian beauty whom he meets in the eponymous Chinese Love Pavilion.
The City of Palaces: A Novel
Michael Nava University of Wisconsin Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3564.A8746C58 2014 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
In the years before the Mexican Revolution, Mexico is ruled by a tiny elite that apes European culture, grows rich from foreign investment, and prizes racial purity. The vast majority of Mexicans, who are native or of mixed native and Spanish blood, are politically powerless and slowly starving to death. Presiding over this corrupt system is Don Porfirio Díaz, the ruthless and inscrutable president of the Republic.
Against this backdrop, The City of Palaces opens in a Mexico City jail with the meeting of Miguel Sarmiento and Alicia Gavilán. Miguel is a principled young doctor, only recently returned from Europe but wracked by guilt for a crime he committed as a medical student ten years earlier. Alicia is the spinster daughter of an aristocratic family. Disfigured by smallpox, she has devoted herself to working with the city’s destitute. This unlikely pair—he a scientist and atheist and she a committed Christian—will marry. Through their eyes and the eyes of their young son, José, readers follow the collapse of the old order and its bloody aftermath. The City of Palaces is a sweeping novel of interwoven lives: Miguel and Alicia; José, a boy as beautiful and lonely as a child in a fairy tale; the idealistic Francisco Madero, who overthrows Díaz but is nevertheless destroyed by the tyrant’s political system; and Miguel’s cousin Luis, shunned as a “sodomite.” A glittering mosaic of the colonial past and the wealth of the modern age, The City of Palaces is a story of faith and reason, cathedrals and hovels, barefoot street vendors and frock-coated businessmen, grand opera and silent film, presidents and peasants, the living and the dead.
Winner, International Latino Book Award for Latino Fiction, Latino Literacy Now
Second place, International Latino Book Award for Historical Fiction, Latino Literacy Now
Finalist, Gay Fiction, Lambda Literary Awards
Honorable Mention in Drama, Latino Books into Movies Award, International Latino Book Awards
Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians
Outstanding Book, selected by the Public Library Reviewers
A Coin in Nine Hands: A Novel
Marguerite Yourcenar University of Chicago Press, 1994 Library of Congress PQ2649.O8D413 1994 | Dewey Decimal 843.912
During the space of a day in Rome in 1933, a ten-lira coin passes through the hands of nine people—including an aging artist, a prostitute, and a would-be assassin of Mussolini. The coin becomes the symbol of contact between human beings, each lost in private passions and nearly impenetrable solitude.
"A Coin in Nine Hands has . . . passages that move close to poetry and a story that belongs in both literature and history."—Doris Grumbach, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"What lingers at the end of A Coin in Nine Hands is the shadowiness and puppetlike vagueness of the Dictator, and the compelling specificity of the so-called 'common people' revolving all around him."—Anne Tyler, The New Republic
"Within a few pages we have met half the major characters in this haunting, brilliantly constructed novel. . . . The studied perfection, the structural intricacy and brevity remind one of Camus. Yet by comparison, Yourcenar's prose is lavish, emotional and imagistic."—Cynthia King, Houston Post
"Transcends its specific time and place to become a portrait of vividly delineated characters caught in the vise of a tragically familiar political situation."—Publisher's Weekly
Best known as the author of Memoirs of Hadrian and The Abyss, Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-87) achieved countless literary honors and was the first woman ever elected to the Académie Française.
The Color of Rock: A Novel
Sandra Cavallo Miller University of Nevada Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3613.I55293C65 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
"Part Gray’s Anatomy, part modern western romance, Miller’s enjoyable story marries unexpected diagnoses with the promise of a happily-ever-after and will please fans of Jojo Moyes." —Publishers Weekly
A young physician, Dr. Abby Wilmore, attempts to escape her past by starting over at the Grand Canyon Clinic. Silently battling her own health issues, Abby struggles with adjusting to the demands of this unique rural location. She encounters everything from squirrel bites to suicides to an office plagued by strong personalities. While tending to unprepared tourists, underserved locals, and her own mental trials, Abby finds herself entangled in an unexpected romance and trapped amidst a danger even more treacherous than the foreboding desert landscape.
Sandra Cavallo Miller’s debut novel transports readers to the beautiful depths of Arizona and weaves an adventurous and heartwarming tale of the courage and strength it takes to overcome personal demons and to find love.
Come Landfall: A Novel
Roy Hoffman University of Alabama Press, 2014 Library of Congress PS3558.O34634C66 2014 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
The worlds of three women and the men they love come together in this novel of war and hurricanes, loss and renewal. Christiane, or Nana, reliving the past in her eighties, her granddaughter Angela, working at a Biloxi casino in her twenties, and their teenage friend Cam, the daughter of a Vietnamese shrimper, form a deep connection. As they face heartbreak, their bonds nurture and sustain them. Ordinary people impacted by the shifts of history—Come Landfall is a southern story with a global sensibility.
The Gulf Coast serves as more than just a setting—it is a character unto itself. With casinos lining one side of the highway, antebellum homes along the other, and a Vietnamese neighborhood up the road, here the old South collides with the new. From households along this stretch of US 90, lineages and emotional connections stretch all over the world.
Inspired by true events, Roy Hoffman’s novel has its seeds in the saga of his uncle, Maj. Roy Robinton, US Marine Corps, a WWII prisoner of war in the Philippines who disappeared as captive on a Japanese “hellship.” His young bride, back home, was ground down, waiting.
Christiane returns in her mind to the man she married at twenty-one—Rosey, a flyer with the Army Air Corps who was in the Philippines at the outbreak of WWII. Angela meets Frank, an airman at Keesler Air Force base who is proudly patriotic, deeply religious, and a student of weather. Cam falls in love with Joe, a Biloxi cop, and her own tumultuous story begins to interweave with that of Angela’s and Nana’s. What’s taken from Nana, Angela, and Cam (and so many others when storms make their landfall), what’s given back, and what’s kept forever sit at the heart of this
intimate yet expansive novel.
The year 1816 in Delaware and surrounding states was known as “the year without a summer” due to debris from the eruption of Mt. Tambora that tainted most of the Northern hemisphere with chill and darkness. This time of chill and darkness provides the setting for this ambitious tale of people divided by the institution of slavery, ignorance, greed and social isolation and the triumph of a few people of character over impossible odds. Historians H.A. Maxson and Claudia H. Young bring alive this little known time and place in America. Their collaboration results in a memorable tale of loyalty and betrayal, compassion and cruelty, and of dauntless courage and creativity. Comfort is a talented young seamstress who has worked to buy her freedom from slavery from her benevolent owner, an Irish immigrant and former indentured servant. Her husband Cuff is an unwise, irresponsible and weak man who sells his wife to pay his gambling debt. When Comfort falls into the hands of the reprehensible dealer of human flesh Joe Johnson, she is sold south to Virginia, to a cruel master and poor manager. Comfort’s stalwart friend Esther, is a slave whose skin is pale enough for her to pass as white. Esther possesses an extensive knowledge of “Roots”, the native art of using plants for therapeutic and not-so-therapeutic purposes. Esther pairs with Pompey, a mute freed slave who is clever and resourceful, to escape her sadistic owner, travel south to find Comfort and help her find her way back to freedom and her baby girl. Comfort tells the story of how shared morality and character can lead to unlikely partnerships in intrepid heroism. This extraordinary work by veteran authors sets a new standard for interpretation of the reverse underground railroad.
The fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989 marked, in one famous formulation, the "end of history." 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.
Even as Coming from an Off-Key Time suggests the influence of such writers as Mikhail Bulgakov, the fantastic satirist of the early Soviet Union, Suceava engages the complexities of a quickly changing country in search of its bearings and suspicious of its past. Bogdan Suceava is an associate professor of mathematics at California State University, Fullerton. One of Romanian literature’s most promising and original young writers, he is the author of four novels, two books of short stories, and several collections of poems.
Alistair Ian Blyth’s previous translations include Filip Florian, Little Fingers (2009); Lucian Dan Teodorovici, Our Circus Presents (2009); and Catalin Avramescu’s An Intellectual History of Cannibalism (2009).
Eloquent and thought-provoking, this classic novel by the Eritrean novelist Gebreyesus Hailu, written in Tigrinya in 1927 and published in 1950, is one of the earliest novels written in an African language and will have a major impact on the reception and critical appraisal of African literature.
The Conscript depicts, with irony and controlled anger, the staggering experiences of the Eritrean ascari, soldiers conscripted to fight in Libya by the Italian colonial army against the nationalist Libyan forces fighting for their freedom from Italy’s colonial rule. Anticipating midcentury thinkers Frantz Fanon and Aimé Césaire, Hailu paints a devastating portrait of Italian colonialism. Some of the most poignant passages of the novel include the awakening of the novel’s hero, Tuquabo, to his ironic predicament of being both under colonial rule and the instrument of suppressing the colonized Libyans.
The novel’s remarkable descriptions of the battlefield awe the reader with mesmerizing images, both disturbing and tender, of the Libyan landscape—with its vast desert sands, oases, horsemen, foot soldiers, and the brutalities of war—uncannily recalled in the satellite images that were brought to the homes of millions of viewers around the globe in 2011, during the country’s uprising against its former leader, Colonel Gaddafi.
Explores the lives behind the headlines of the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, evoking anew the scope of tragedy through the vision of literary fiction.
It was called the crime of the century, and it was front-page news: the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Correction of Drift: A Novel in Stories imagines the private lives behind the headlines of the case, and examines the endurance—and demise—of those consumed by the tragedy.
Every character brings a different past life to the event, be it a life of celebrity, or of misfortune and obscurity. There is Anne Morrow Lindbergh—daughter of a millionaire, the shy poet who married a national hero; Charles Lindbergh—the rough-and-tumble Minnesota barnstormer, who at age twenty-five made the first transatlantic flight, bringing him world-wide prestige; Violet—the skittish family maid with a curious attachment to the boy and a secret life that lapses into hysteria and self-destruction; and the kidnappers—an assembly of misfits with their own histories of misery. All are bound by the violence, turmoil, and mystery of the child’s disappearance as it becomes evident that each life has been irrevocably changed. Patterns of bereavement and loss illuminate these stories: despair at the death of a child; the retreat into seclusion; the comfort and the desolation of a marriage. But the heart of this novel is the far-reaching nature of tragedy, and the ways the characters go on to live—or end—their lives.
Country Place: A Novel
Ann Petry, foreword by Farah Jasmine Griffin Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress PS3531.E933C68 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Originally published in 1947, Ann Petry’s classic Country Place depicts a predominantly white community disillusioned by the indignities and corruption of small-town life.
Johnnie Roane returns from four years of military service in World War II to his wife, Glory. They had been married just a year when he left Lennox, Connecticut, where both their families live and work. In his taxi ride home, Johnnie receives foreboding hints that all has not been well in his absence. Eager to mend his fraying marriage, Johnnie attempts to cajole Glory to recommit to their life together. But something sinister has taken place during the intervening years—an infidelity that has not gone unnoticed in the superficially placid New England town.
Accompanied by a new foreword from Farah Jasmine Griffin on the enduring legacy of Petry’s oeuvre, Country Place complicates and builds on the legacy of a literary celebrity and one of the foremost African American writers of her time.
Cranberry Red: A Novel
Jerry Apps University of Wisconsin Press, 2010 Library of Congress PS3601.P67C73 2010 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
The fourth novel in Jerry Apps’s Ames County series, Cranberry Red brings the story into the present, portraying the challenges of agriculture in the twenty-first century.
As the novel opens, Ben Wesley has lost his job as agricultural agent for Ames County. He is soon hired as a research application specialist for Osborne University, a for-profit institution that has developed “Cranberry Red,” a new chemical that promises not only to improve cranberry crop yields but also to endow the fruits with the power to prevent heart disease, reduce brain damage from strokes, and ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Ben must promote the new product to cranberry growers in Ames County and beyond, but he worries whether the promised results are credible. Was Cranberry Red rushed to market?
When the chemical does all that the university claims it will do, Ben is relieved . . . until disturbing side effects emerge. Can he criticize Cranberry Red and safeguard farmers and consumers without losing his job, or will Ben’s honesty get him fired while his community continues to get sicker?
Rubem Fonseca's Crimes of August offers the first serious literary treatment of the cataclysmic events of August 1954, arguably the most turbulent month in Brazilian history. A rich novel, both culturally and historically, Crimes of August tells two stories simultaneously. The first is private, involving the well-delineated character of Alberto Mattos, a police officer. The other is public, focusing on events that begin with the attempted assassination of Carlos Lacerda, a demagogic journalist and political enemy of President Getúlio Vargas, and culminate in Vargas's suicide on August 24,1954. Throughout this suspenseful novel, deceptively couched as a thriller, Fonseca interweaves fact and fiction in a complex, provocative plot. At the same time, he re-creates the atmosphere of the 1950s, when Rio de Janeiro was Brazil's capital and the nexus of political intrigue and corruption. Mattos is assigned to solve the brutal murder of a wealthy entrepreneur in the aftermath of what appears to be a homosexual liaison. An educated and introspective man, and one of the few in his precinct not on the take from the bankers" of the illegal lottery, Mattos suffers from alienation and a bleeding ulcer. His investigation puts him on a dangerous collision course with the conspiracy to depose Vargas, the novel's other narrative thread. The two overlap at several points, coming to their tragic end with the aged politician's suicide and Mattos's downfall.
On the outskirts of a European riverport city lives a powerful woman banker, a public figure admired and hated in equal measure, who has decided to turn from the worlds of high finance and modern life to embark on a quest. Having commissioned a famous writer to undertake her "authentic" biography, she journeys through the Spanish Sierra de Gredos and the region of La Mancha to meet him. As she travels by all-terrain vehicle, bus, and finally on foot, the nameless protagonist encounters five way stations that become the stuff of her biography and the biography of the modern world, a world in which genuine images and unmediated experiences have been exploited and falsified by commercialization and the voracious mass media.
In this visionary novel, Peter Handke offers descriptions of objects, relationships, and events that teach readers a renewed way of seeing; he creates a wealth of images to replace those lost to convention and conformity. Crossing the Sierra de Gredos is, as well, a very human book of yearning and the ancient search for love, peopled with memorable characters (from multiple historical periods) and imbued with Handke’s inimitable ability to portray universal, innerworldly adventures that blend past, future, present, and dreamtime.
The story of the development of the novel—its origin, rise, and increasing popularity as a narrative form in an ever-expanding range of geographic and cultural sites—is familiar and, according to the contributors to this volume, severely limited. In a far-reaching blend of comparative literature and transnational cultural studies, this collection shifts the study of the novel away from a consideration of what makes a particular narrative a novel to a consideration of how novels function and what cultural work they perform—from what novels are, to what they do. The essays in Cultural Institutions of the Novel find new ways to analyze how a genre notorious for its aesthetic unruliness has become institutionalized—defined, legitimated, and equipped with a canon. With a particular focus on the status of novels as commodities, their mediation of national cultures, and their role in transnational exchange, these pieces range from the seventeenth century to the present and examine the forms and histories of the novel in England, Nigeria, Japan, France, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Works by Jane Austen, Natsume Sôseki, Gabriel García Márquez, Buchi Emecheta, and Toni Morrison are among those explored as Cultural Institutions of the Novel investigates how theories of “the” novel and disputes about which narratives count as novels shape social struggles and are implicated in contests over cultural identity and authority.
Contributors. Susan Z. Andrade, Lauren Berlant, Homer Brown, Michelle Burnham, James A. Fujii, Nancy Glazener, Dane Johnson, Lisa Lowe, Deidre Lynch, Jann Matlock, Dorothea von Mücke, Bridget Orr, Clifford Siskin, Katie Trumpener, William B. Warner