The Hairdresser of Harare, which the New York Times Book Review called “a fresh and moving account of contemporary Zimbabwe,” announced Tendai Huchu as a shrewd and funny social commentator. In The Maestro, the Magistrate & the Mathematician, Huchu expands his focus from Zimbabwe to the lives of expatriates in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The novel follows three Zimbabwean men as they struggle to find places for themselves in Scotland. As he wanders Edinburgh with his Walkman on a constant loop of the music of home, the Magistrate—a former judge, now a health aide—tries to find meaning in new memories. The depressed and quixotic Maestro—gone AWOL from his job stocking shelves at a grocery store—escapes into books. And the youthful Mathematician enjoys a carefree and hedonistic graduate school life, until he can no longer ignore the struggles of his fellow expatriates.
In this novel of ideas, Huchu deploys satire to thoughtful end in what is quickly becoming his signature mode. Shying from neither the political nor the personal, he creates a humorous but increasingly somber picture of love, loss, belonging, and politics in the Zimbabwean diaspora.
In this book-length study, Ewa Szary-Matywiecka examines Maria Wirtemberska’s Malvina, or the Heart’s Intuition, an international success upon its publication in 1816 that is now widely considered to be Poland’s first psychological novel. Applying structuralist methods, Szary-Matywiecka situates Wirtemberska among other literary luminaries of her day, including Rousseau and Goethe, and explores how the nineteenth-century salon culture formed the concerns and themes of her novel. Malvina’s obsession with language games recall the vocabulary quizzes and semantic puzzles popular in the European salons frequented by Wirtemberska. Szary-Matywiecka also argues that the novel’s motif of twins and twinned characters emerges from both the theatrical preoccupations of salons, as well as how Wirtemberska seemingly splits her voice between traditional narration and a more intrusive authorial style, helping shape her novel’s innovative narrative method. Malvina, or Spoken Word in the Novel is an insightful deconstruction of a female-penned classic of European literature.
A Man in Charge: A Novel
Morris Philipson University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress PS3566.H475M3 2000 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
An old-fashioned man of character, Conrad Taylor is executive vice-president of a eastern university who, after leading a satisfying and well-ordered life, finds himself suddenly on shaky ground, struggling to do the right thing in the face of crisis, confrontation, and opportunity. A Man in Charge is an intricate novel about the uncertainties of personal power and the discovery of its limits.
Marta: A Novel
Eliza Orzeszkowa Ohio University Press, 2018 Library of Congress PG7158.O7M313 2018 | Dewey Decimal 891.8537
Eliza Orzeszkowa was a trailblazing Polish novelist who, alongside Leo Tolstoy and Henryk Sienkiewicz, was a finalist for the 1905 Nobel Prize in Literature. Of her many works of social realism, Marta (1873) is among the best known, but until now it has not been available in English. Easily a peer of The Awakening and A Doll’s House, the novel was well ahead of the English literature of its time in attacking the ways the labor market failed women.
Suddenly widowed, the previously middle-class Marta Świcka is left penniless and launched into a grim battle for her survival and that of her small daughter. As she applies for job after job in Warsaw—portrayed here as an every-city, an unforgiving commercial landscape that could be any European metropolis of the time—she is told time after time that only men will be hired, that men need jobs because they are fathers and heads of families.
Marta burns with Orzeszkowa’s feminist conviction that sexism was not just an annoyance but a threat to the survival of women and children. It anticipated the need for social safety nets whose existence we take for granted today, and could easily read as an indictment of current efforts to dismantle those very programs. Tightly plotted and exquisitely translated by Anna Gąsienica-Byrcyn and Stephanie Kraft, Marta resonates beyond its Polish setting to find its place in women’s studies, labor history, and among other works of nineteenth-century literature and literature of social change.
This comic novel, by the author of The Blossom Festival, is set in Mexican California in 1842 and is based on a true story of mistaken conquest. When Commodore Jones and the crew of the National Intention land in Monterey believing themselves to be bringing freedom and democracy to the benighted Californios, they discover that history has preceded them, that cruelty, betrayal, greed, and lust are already well established there, and that far from existing outside of history, California is a battleground for several contending versions of the past. They also find that their own limitations and illusions are far more powerful than the message of hope that they intend to deliver.
The Maze Maker: A Novel
Michael Ayrton University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress PR6051.Y7M39 2015 | Dewey Decimal 823.914
“I address you across more than three thousand years, you who live at the conjunction of the Fish and the Water-carrier,” speaks Daedalus, an artisan, inventor, and designer born into an utterly alien family of heroes who value acts of war above all else, a world where his fellow Greeks seem driven only to destroy—an existence he feels compelled to escape.
In this fictional autobiography of the father of Icarus, “Apollo’s creature,” a brilliant but flawed man, writer and sculptor Michael Ayrton harnesses the tales of the past to mold a myth for our times. We learn of Daedalus’s increasingly ambitious artifacts and inventions; his fascination with Minoan culture, commerce, and religion, and his efforts to adapt to them; how he comes to design the maze of the horned Minotaur; and how, when he decides that he must flee yet again, he builds two sets of wax wings—wings that will be instruments of his descent into the underworld, a place of both purgatory and rebirth.
A compelling mix of history, fable, lore, and meditations on the enigma of art, The Maze Maker will ensnare classicists, artists, and all lovers of story in its convolutions of life and legend. “I never understood the pattern of my life,” writes Daedalus, “so that I have blundered through it in a maze.”
McKay's Bees: A Novel
Thomas McMahon University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS3563.C3858M36 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Moving from Massachusetts to Kansas in 1855 with his new wife and a group of German carpenters, Gordon McKay is dead set on making his fortune raising bees—undaunted by Missouri border ruffians, newly-minted Darwinism, or the unsettled politics of a country on the brink of civil war.
On June 24, 1792, two large traveling coaches left the Tuileries, one for Dunkirk and the other for Barcelona. Their passengers, Pierre Méchain and Jean-Baptiste Delambre, were astronomers charged by the French Revolutionary government with the task of measuring the meridian that passes through these two cities in order to devise one universal unit of measure, "for all time and for all men," the meter.
The Measure of the World by Denis Guedj tells the story of this strange and wonderful effort. Not a traditional history of science, the book is a novelistic account of the measurement project that relies heavily on archival sources. A more "traditional" history could not possibly describe how a sober scientific enterprise could turn into a journey filled with adventures and experiences so bizarre as to be hardly credible. In the tumultuous days of revolutionary and postrevolutionary France, Méchain and Delambre were objects of suspicion as they traveled through the provinces, climbing steeples and deploying strange instrumentsthey were detained as spies, taken for charlatans or fleeing royalists, and arrested for debt. Their perilous labors lasted until 1799, when the meter was formally established.
Arthur Goldhammer's crisp translation of this wonderful novel retains the flavor of the original, and an appendix explaining Guedj's use of historical materials is included. A vivid re-creation of a fascinating and troubling period in history juxtaposed with the achievement of a complicated scientific undertaking, The Measure of the World is a marvelous book-not science fiction, but fiction about science.
Denis Guedj is the author of La évolution des savants and L'Empire des nombres, among other books. La Mesure du monde was awarded the Prix d'Institut in 1989. Arthur Goldhammer is an award-winning translator who has translated works by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Jacques Le Goff, and Jean Starobinski.
Known as Madame de Villedieu, Marie-Catherine Desjardins (ca. 1640-83) was a prolific writer who played an important role in the evolution of the early modern French novel. One of the earliest women to write for a living, she defied cultural convention by becoming an innovator and appealing to popular tastes through fiction, drama, and poetry.
Memoirs of the Life of Henriette-Sylvie de Molière, a semi autobiographical novel, portrays an enterprising woman who writes the story of her life, a complex tale that runs counter to social expectations and novelistic conventions. A striking work, the story skillfully mixes real events from the author's life with fictional adventures. At a time when few women published, Villedieu's Memoirs is a significant achievement in creating a voice for the early modern woman writer. Produced while the French novel form was still in its infancy, it should be welcomed by any scholar of women's writing or the early development of the novel.
Spurned by his first love, Homi Seervai, the Parsi genius from Bombay, creates a machine that lets him scan his brain for memories of the time he spent with her. The machine malfunctions, propelling him instead into his collective unconscious where he encounters ancestors and relatives, both dead and alive. In this wildly inventive book—available for the first time in the United States—Homi, blessed with the memory of elephants, discovers the splendor of his heritage as well as hope for the future.
Ellen D. Finkelpearl's Metamorphosis of Language in Apuleius studies the use of literary allusion by the Roman author Apuleius, in his second century C.E. novel the Metamorphoses, popularly known as The Golden Ass. Apuleius' work is enticing yet frustrating because of its enigmatic mixture of the comic and serious; a young man is transformed into a donkey, but eventually finds salvation with the goddess Isis. Finkelpearl's book represents the first attempt to place Apuleius' allusive practices within a consideration of the development of the ancient novel.
When Apuleius wrote his Metamorphoses, the novel--indeed the very concept of fiction in prose--was new. This study argues that Apuleius' repeated allusions to earlier Latin authors such as Vergil, Ovid, and Seneca represent an exploration on his part of the relationship between the novel and more established genres of the era. Apuleius' struggle with this tradition, Finkelpearl maintains, parallels the protagonist's move from an acceptance of the dominance of traditional forms to a sense of arrival and self- discovery.
An introductory chapter includes general discussion of the theory and practice of allusion. Finkelpearl then revisits the issues of parody in Apuleius. She also includes discussion of Apuleius' use of Vergil's Sinon, the Charite episode in relation to Apuleius' African origins, and the stepmother episode. Finally a new reading of Isis is offered, which emphasizes her associations with writing and matches the multiformity of the goddess with the novel's many voices.
This book will be of interest to scholars of literature and the origins of the novel, multiculturalism, and classical literature.
Ellen D. Finkelpearl is Associate Professor of Classics at Scripps College, Claremont, California.
Howard L. Terry wrote a novel between 1917 and 1922, which he donated to the Gallaudet University Archives in 1951. There it rested until a resurgence of interest in Deaf literature led to its recent rediscovery. Mickey’s Harvest: A Novel of a Deaf Boy’s Checkered Life recounts the rollicking tale of a young deaf man and how he learned to survive and thrive at the advent of the 20th century.
Mickey Dunmore’s story begins with the sinking of his father’s merchant sailing ship and ends with a cliffhanger in World War I. In school, after an illness caused his deafness, Mickey finds himself constantly fighting the hearing boys and later competing with the signing students when he attends a residential school for deaf students. In college, he and his best friend Dick Wagner leave early to travel the nation with the hobos, carnies, and grifters. In one town, they outfox a barker who was using a deaf girl to “read” the minds of their marks. Further on, they meet Bunny, the Mighty Mite deaf man who helps expose a hearing woman posing as deaf to scam sympathetic people. Mickey faces his greatest challenge when he falls in love with Marion Carrel, a deaf girl whose hearing father forbids their romance on eugenics grounds.
Terry, who became deaf at the age of 11, states from the outset that he means for his novel to reveal the biases confronting deaf people at the time. As a tonic, he populates Mickey’s Harvest with artistic, talented deaf individuals who engage readers in an earlier, colorful time as they “show their stuff.”
Fifty years after its publication in English, René Girard’s Deceit, Desire, and the Novel (1965) has never ceased to fascinate, challenge, inspire, and sometimes irritate, literary scholars. It has become one of the great classics of literary criticism, and the notion of triangular desire is now part of the theoretical parlance among critics and students. It also represents the genetic starting point for what has become one of the most encompassing, challenging, and far-reaching theories conceived in the humanities in the last century: mimetic theory. This book provides a forum for new generations of scholars and critics to reassess, challenge, and expand the theoretical and hermeneutical reach of key issues brought forward by Girard’s book, including literary knowledge, realism and representation, imitation and the anxiety of influence, metaphysical desire, deviated transcendence, literature and religious experience, individualism and modernity, and death and resurrection. It also provides a more extensive and detailed historical understanding of the representation of desire, imitation, and rivalry within European and world literature, from Dante to Proust and from Dickens to Jonathan Littell.
Ministers of Fire: A Novel
Mark Harril Saunders Ohio University Press, 2001 Library of Congress PS3619.A8248M56 2012 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Kabul, Afghanistan, 1979: CIA station chief Lucius Burling, an idealistic but flawed product of his nation’s intelligence establishment, barely survives the assassination of the American ambassador. Burling’s reaction to the murder, and his desire to understand its larger meaning, propel him on a journey of intrigue and betrayal that will reach its ultimate end in the streets of Shanghai, months after 9/11. A Chinese dissident physicist may (or may not) be planning to sell his country’s nuclear secrets, and in his story Burling, now living quietly as consul, recognizes the fingerprints of a covert operation, one without the obvious sanction of the Agency. The dissident’s escape draws the violent attention of the Chinese internal security service, and as Burling is drawn inexorably into their path, he must face the ghosts of his past misadventures and a present world of global trafficking, fragile alliances, and the human need for connection above all.
Reminiscent of the best work of Graham Greene and John le Carré, Ministers of Fire extends the spy thriller into new historical, political, and emotional territory.
Miss Carrie: A Novel
Judson N. Hout Parkhurst Brothers, Inc., 2013 Library of Congress PS3608.O885M57 2014 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
“Set in Arkansas during World War II, Hout’s touching story of an orphaned boy's relationship with the inhabitant of a small town's "haunted house” will keep you guessing, right up to the satisfying ending. Another endearing novel from Judson Hout."
James Thompson examines the concept of value as it came to be understood in eighteenth-century England through two emerging and divergent discourses: political economy and the novel. By looking at the relationship between these two developing forms—one having to do with finance, the other with romance—Thompson demonstrates how value came to have such different meaning in different realms of experience. A highly original rethinking of the origins of the English novel, Models of Value shows the novel’s importance in remapping English culture according to the separate spheres of public and domestic life, men’s and women’s concerns, money and emotion. In this account, political economy and the novel clearly arise as solutions to a crisis in the notion of value. Exploring the ways in which these different genres responded to the crisis—political economy by reconceptualizing wealth as capital, and the novel by refiguring intrinsic or human worth in the form of courtship narratives—Thompson rereads several literary works, including Defoe’s Roxana, Fielding’s Tom Jones, and Burney’s Cecilia, along with influential contemporary economic texts. Models of Value also traces the discursive consequences of this bifurcation of value, and reveals how history and theory participate in the very novelistic and economic processes they describe. In doing so, the book bridges the opposition between the interests of Marxism and feminism, and the distinctions which, newly made in the eighteenth century, continue to inform our discourse today. An important reformulation of the literary and cultural production of the eighteenth century, Models of Value will attract students of the novel, political economy, and of literary history and theory.
In 1861, the Civil War severs Michael Morkan from everything he loves and all that defines him--from his son, Leighton; from his love, Cora Slade; and from the quarry he owns in Springfield, Missouri. Forced to give his black powder to the Missouri State Guard, he finds himself indelibly labeled a rebel traitor and is imprisoned in St. Louis. Back in the Ozarks, Leighton joins the Federal Home Guards in hopes of paroling his father. When Leighton finally frees him, the two are pitched in a last gambit for their quarry and for the legacy of the name Morkan.
Mourner's Bench: A Novel
Sanderia Faye University of Arkansas Press, 2015 Library of Congress PS3606.A965M68 2015 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
At the First Baptist Church of Maeby, Arkansas, the sins of the child belonged to the parents until the child turned thirteen. Sarah Jones was only eight years old in the summer of 1964, but with her mother Esther Mae on eight prayer lists and flipping around town with the generally mistrusted civil rights organizers, Sarah believed it was time to get baptized and take responsibility for her own sins. That would mean sitting on the mourner’s bench come revival, waiting for her sign, and then testifying in front of the whole church.
But first, Sarah would need to navigate the growing tensions of small-town Arkansas in the 1960s. Both smarter and more serious than her years (a “fifty-year-old mind in an eight-year-old body,” according to Esther), Sarah was torn between the traditions, religion, and work ethic of her community and the progressive civil rights and feminist politics of her mother, who had recently returned from art school in Chicago. When organizers from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) came to town just as the revival was beginning, Sarah couldn’t help but be caught up in the turmoil. Most folks just wanted to keep the peace, and Reverend Jefferson called the SNCC organizers “the evil among us.” But her mother, along with local civil rights activist Carrie Dilworth, the SNCC organizers, Daisy Bates, attorney John Walker, and indeed most of the country, seemed determined to push Maeby toward integration.
With characters as vibrant and evocative as their setting, Mourner’s Bench is the story of a young girl coming to terms with religion, racism, and feminism while also navigating the terrain of early adolescence and trying to settle into her place in her family and community.
Mrs. Shaw: A Novel
Mukoma Wa Ngugi Ohio University Press, 2015 Library of Congress PR9381.9.M778M77 2015 | Dewey Decimal 823.92
In the fictional East African Kwatee Republic of the 1990s, the dictatorship is about to fall, and the nation’s exiles are preparing to return. One of these exiles, a young man named Kalumba, is a graduate student in the United States, where he encounters Mrs. Shaw, a professor emerita and former British settler who fled Kwatee’s postcolonial political and social turmoil. Kalumba’s girlfriend, too, is an exile: a Puerto Rican nationalist like her imprisoned father, she is an outcast from the island. Brought together by a history of violence and betrayals, all three are seeking a way of regaining their humanity, connecting with each other, and learning to make a life in a new land. Kalumba and Mrs. Shaw, in particular, are linked by a past rooted in colonial and postcolonial violence, yet they are separated by their differing accounts of what really happened.
The memory of each is subject to certain lapses, whether selective or genuine. Even when they agree on the facts—be they acts of love, of betrayal, or of violence—each narrator shapes the story in his or her own way, by what is left in and what is left out, by what is remembered and what is forgotten.
Lake Rose Davis is the only child of former hippies who settled in a small Idaho mill town in the late 1960s. Her parents' eccentric lifestyle makes Lake an outcast among the children of the town, and the unspoken tensions among the adults of her parents' social universe puzzle and disturb her. She ponders over her mother's infidelities and the mysterious resentment between her mother and her grandparents far away in St. Louis, and between her mother and her aunt, a conventional career woman relentlessly in search of love.
As a teenager, Lake joins her grandparents in Missouri and spends her youth seeking answers to her questions about the past, trying to understand the complex pattern of betrayals that shaped it. Only when she herself becomes party to a betrayal as devastating as any committed by her mother does Lake begin to understand.
Passanante writes with a keen eye for the details of behavior that reveal the yearnings and fears beneath the surface. She shows us that the path to understanding is never a smooth one, and that love is often far more complex than we can imagine. Western Literature Series.