RaveForeword Reviews... exuberant ... These eighteen stories are intimate, focusing on internal examinations of personal sacrifices and desires, desperate struggles to connect and survive, and honest moments between two people. They distill flashes of joy, despair, and lust into crystalline moments of flickering emotion. Long, vibrant sentences and powerful imagery ground their feelings ... This collection amplifies the lives of people who were often disregarded or dismissed by a Brazilian society in flux. Its stories vibrate with emotion and honesty, conveyed through distinct voices and strong imagery by a confident and deft writer.
Fatima Daas, Tr. Lara Vergnaud
RaveForeword Reviews... a mesmerizing, semiautobiographical novel about the meanings of identity, family, and sexuality ... Woven throughout the novel are rich etymologies, folklore, and religious beliefs. The straightforward style is accentuated by the repetition of biographical information and the nuanced changes in the history of her identity. Fatima’s fears and desires impact her relationships as she grapples with her truths. The structure is taut, showcasing the passage of time and Fatima’s shifting identities. The Last One is a fresh addition to queer fiction—a deep and original debut novel featuring a Muslim lesbian who is looking for acceptance and belonging.
Maryse Condé, Tr. Richard Philcox
RaveForeword ReviewsThe prose is fluid, luminous, and evocative of each setting. It also hops from the present day to the rich backstories of each character, highlighting the struggles inflicted on them because of political strife, climate disasters, and colorism. They are layered characters who, despite their circumstances, find hope in friendship. The novel is crowded with details about their struggles; they are linked through how they’ve survived deceit, betrayal, and hardship. The subtle cynicism throughout the novel is balanced by the love the men have for each other.
PositiveLambda Literary... a vivid and striking story ... Through Clem’s perspective, the novel evokes a tapestry of smells and their obscure origins. Paris is wistfully recalled through the scents of each character’s freedom before the war. As secrets and truths are revealed of all, the destiny of each character—and the choices they make—cause reverberations in the lives of the others ... Small acts of bravery during the Resistance may be less known, but this novel gives imagination to the courage of queer lives during the Occupation. Clem embodies the wisdom of a fully-rendered life, filled with deception, compassion, and transformation. A luminous character invented to populate the queer history that was lost. Once she’s allowed herself to love others, she deceives one last time for those she loves.
Matthew Clark Davison
PositiveForeword ReviewsGlimpses into his past add context to the story line, while Matthew Clark Davison’s clear prose highlights Thomas’s external challenges and internal struggles ... riveting.
RaveForeword ReviewsDrawing on family stories and scraps of truth, Lane reconstructs rich histories ... Her book’s short, emotive chapters reimagine the pain and suffering that her great-grandparents withstood. Lane expresses that she feels those bonds in her blood and bones, and carries each family truth as a lesson of survival ... an exceptional memoir of self-discovery through family histories, even without official records.
Banine, trans. by Anne Thompson-Ahmadova
RaveForeword ReviewsFrench Azerbaijani writer Banine’s memoir of her childhood, Days of the Caucasus, is an entertaining early twentieth-century account ... Banine’s consummate prose is marked by undertones of erudite wittiness. Educated and pragmatic, but also hopeful, she expresses wanting nothing more than to be free to pursue self-realization. Days in the Caucasus was published in 1945; this first English translation of the memoir is an absolute joy—full of adventure, travel, and youthful dreams.
Jeffrey H. Jackson
RaveForeword Reviews... a captivating tale of queer love and resistance during World War II ... Jackson’s research is impeccable and his writing is lively. Even though this is a Holocaust biography, the trajectory of the women’s lives, and their artistic symbiosis, make for fascinating reading. The book’s clean, crisp language incorporates needed historical context well ... Full of struggles, triumphs, and intimate knowledge of a complex relationship, Paper Bullets is a gem of a historical text about two women who stood up to power defiantly, living on their own terms.
PositiveForeword Reviews... riveting ... Clear, structured, and lively, the book and its intrigues are fascinating. Jeffreys-Jones humanizes all involved, revealing the motivations of spies and government investigators alike. The Nazi Spy Ring is an engaging account of interwar espionage that played out in newspapers across the world.
Maryse Condé, Trans. by Richard Philcox
RaveForeword ReviewsMaryse Condé’s The Wondrous and Tragic Life of Ivan and Ivana is a gripping story ... Rich atmospheres are established ... Gritty, dank surroundings are contrasted with the clothes, neighborhoods, and homes of the well-off ... a searing literary portrait of the exploitation of immigrants, the corruption of governments, and the powerful emergence of radicalism, with astute commentary on how these elements breed trauma, generation after generation.
Kristen Millares Young
PositiveForeword Reviews... rife with personal struggles, confrontations, and the pain of memory ... the prose is most evocative when it’s describing the eerie and alluring nature of Neah Bay and of its particular settings ... The characters soften toward one another as the novel progresses, their depth becoming apparent and their stories becoming more and more compelling ... a gritty novel in which floundering people find hope and understanding where they least expect it.
Guillermo Saccomanno, Trans. by Andrea G. Labinger
PositiveForeword Reviews77 is a taut historical thriller with noir overtones ... Gómez’s late-night wanderings through the streets of Buenos Aires of the seventies energize the novel along with Saccomanno’s judicious use myth and superstition. These noirish elements deepen the suspense with a foreboding moodiness that enhances the paranoiac tone. Saccomanno’s 77 is a trenchant thriller recounting the murderous epoch of the Dirty War.
RaveThree PercentThis topic of female friendship may seem prosaic and even fertile ground for melodrama, but Ferrante is too gifted and too smart to reduce her own psychological observations to dramatic extremes. Instead she mines the emotional gamut of friendship through success, poverty, betrayal, abuse, and resignation … The Story of a New Name is a departure from her previous novels in that it is much longer and involves a multitude of characters that intersect, overlap and weave seamlessly in and out of the narrative. Most importantly though, it examines the role of femininity, how it represses, constricts, judges and becomes currency.