RaveBooklist...[a] compelling collection ... Avoiding an overtly political tone, Aboulela nonetheless sets out to challenge preconceptions and the uneasy intersection of the West with the rest of the world. She captures details with passionate focus ... Connected by a consistent authenticity, these stories display a virtuosity in building on the most relatable emotional hooks ... remarkable.
PositiveBooklistCouto evokes a quality of lingering sadness and dramatizes his characters’ searches for something beyond. His descriptions of landscapes and people have the power and mystery of the best style of folklore. The strength of his characters, whether he’s portraying an old math professor exploring love, a cross-dressing neighbor, or a businessman creating a happy communal space as a gift to God‚ is most apparent in how with few words their varied lives become relatable. Becker’s translation conveys Couto’s precise use of language to capture the innately elusive nature of human experience.
PositiveBooklistVivid in the visual detail a photographer would gather, Collins’ politically complex and psychologically intense tale demands the reader’s complete submersion in a decaying world in which the lines between good and evil sway and vanish ... Though the plot twists like that of a thriller and authentic characters keep the story moving, Collins’ underlying theme of why choices are made and what the consequences are makes for a philosophically compelling read.
PositiveBooklistAn elegy for lost mothers and lost homes and a consideration of the complexity of national and religious identities and gender roles. A feminist framework underpins a narrative peppered with references to Western art and literature from ancient to modern times and extended by many thoughtful detours. The author’s own apparently dueling instincts as a mother and writer are examined with unflinching forthrightness.
RaveBooklistMcGrath’s memoir...is an endearing combination of insightful commentary and sympathetic comedy. This is a book in the best tradition of travel writing as it offers an outsider’s take on a culture with a genuine appreciation for cultural and social differences. Lesotho comes alive as a nation that has the feel of a small community ... laugh-out-loud moments are balanced by heart-warming interludes, and altogether, this is an illuminating and enjoyable read that reminds readers of the essential oneness of humanity.
PositiveBooklistAll the complexity of race and relationships is laid out in Grady’s novel ... This is a moving and eye-opening reminder of history’s deep scars. In the best tradition of Toni Morrison and Colson Whitehead, Grady brings home the truth that there are no simplistic ways to combat and overcome deep-rooted hate and fear.
Gaël Faye, Trans. by Sarah Ardizzone
PositiveBooklistThe Tutsi-Hutu violence, the notion of identity to a biracial child, and the impossible choices of those living in troubled territories are all explored in a straightforward style befitting a young narrator. ...presents a world where there are no easy demarcations of good and evil, sane and insane, or pure and corrupted ... capturing the full impact of social and political disintegration.
RaveBooklistKumarasamy’s brilliant collection of interlinked short stories is a masterful combination of strong, insightful storytelling and tangential political commentary ... The themes are as ambitious in scope as the sprawling canvas .. [a] must read collection.
Mia Couto Trans. by David Brookshaw
RaveBooklist Online\"Couto’s mastery lies in his ability to turn his exploration of this slice of history into a commentary on all of human civilization. Richly translated by Brookshaw in words that suggest more than they say, Couto’s tale evokes a sense of timelessness, especially in the world seen through Imani’s eyes. An intriguing combination of folklore, history, and magic realism, and the first in a trilogy, this is a novel to be read and reread, savored and analyzed as Couto writes \'the names of the dead. So that they may be born again in the footprints we leave.\'\
RaveBooklistMartin’s debut novel, about pediatric cardiologist Zadie Anson and trauma surgeon Emma Colley, is a medical drama executed with just the right balance of intensity, plot twists, tragedy, and humor ... Though the story is definitely a page-turner, Martin’s humorous scenes of parenting failures, evocative settings, and realistic re-creation of the urgency of medical situations make this a remarkably absorbing read as well.
RaveBooklistWhether Craig is describing the family’s escape through the jungle during WWII or student protests in 1962, she transports us to the thick of the conflicts. Though this story is specifically Burmese, the references to the influence of British, American, and communist players emphasizes the intertwined histories of nations, of alliances both widely known and forgotten. Based on real lives, Craig’s historical novel challenges our assumptions about everything from beauty queens to rebels and reminds us that the course of a nation’s history is often determined by the fallibility of individuals.