Publications

    Friday Black
    Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame. Friday Black. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

     "An excitement and a wonder: strange, crazed, urgent and funny...The wildly talented Adjei-Brenyah has made these edgy tales immensely charming, via his resolute, heartful, immensely likeable narrators, capable of seeing the world as blessed and cursed at once." -- George Saunders

    "This book is dark and captivating and essential...A call to arms and a condemnation. Adjei-Brenyah offers powerful prose as parable. The writing in this outstanding collection will make you hurt and demand your hope. Read this book." -- Roxane Gay

    A piercingly raw debut story collection from a young writer with an explosive voice; a treacherously surreal, and, at times, heartbreakingly satirical look at what it's like to be young and black in America. From the start of this extraordinary debut, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah's writing will grab you, haunt you, enrage and invigorate you. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah reveals the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities that black men and women contend with every day in this country. These stories tackle urgent instances of racism and cultural unrest, and explore the many ways we fight for humanity in an unforgiving world. In "The Finkelstein Five," Adjei-Brenyah gives us an unforgettable reckoning of the brutal prejudice of our justice system. In "Zimmer Land," we see a far-too-easy-to-believe imagining of racism as sport. And "Friday Black" and "How to Sell a Jacket as Told by Ice King" show the horrors of consumerism and the toll it takes on us all. Entirely fresh in its style and perspective, and sure to appeal to fans of Colson Whitehead, Marlon James, and George Saunders, Friday Black confronts readers with a complicated, insistent, wrenching chorus of emotions, the final note of which, remarkably, is hope.

    A treacherously surreal, and, at times, heartbreakingly satirical look at what it's like to be young and black in America. By placing ordinary characters in extraordinary situations, Adjei-Brenyah reveals the violence, injustice, and painful absurdities that black men and women contend with every day in this country. Readers are left with a complicated, insistent, wrenching chorus of emotions, the final note of which, remarkably, is hope." -- adapted from info provided

    Go Home!
    Buchanan, Rowan Hisayo, ed. Go Home!. First Feminist Press edition. New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Asian diasporic writers imagine "home" in the twenty-first century through an array of fiction, memoir, and poetry."
    American Dirt
    Cummins, Jeanine. American Dirt. First U.S. edition. New York: Flatiron Books, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "También de este lado hay sueños. Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable. Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy-two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia-trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier's reach doesn't extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to? American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed when they finish reading it. A page-turner filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page, it is a literary achievement."– provided by publisher.
    Spit Baths
    Downs, Greg. Spit Baths. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "With a reporter's eye for the inside story and a historian's grasp of the ironies in our collective past, Greg Downs affectionately observes some of the last survivors of what Greil Marcus has called the old, weird America. Living off the map and out of sight, folks like Embee, Rudy, Peg, and Branch define themselves by where they are, not by what they eat, drink, or wear.

    The man who is soon to abandon his family in "Ain't I a King, Too?" is mistaken for the populist autocrat of Louisiana, Huey P. Long--on the day after Long's assassination. In "Hope Chests," a history teacher marries his student and takes her away from a place she hated, only to find that neither one of them can fully leave it behind. An elderly man in "Snack Cakes" enlists his grandson to help distribute his belongings among his many ex-wives, living and dead. In the title story, another intergenerational family tale, a young boy is caught in a feud between his mother and grandmother. The older woman uses the language of baseball to convey her view of religion and nobility to her grandson before the boy's mother takes him away, maybe forever.

    Caught up in pasts both personal and epic, Downs's characters struggle to maintain their peculiar, grounded manners in an increasingly detached world."

    Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas
    Dumas, Henry. Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas. Second edition. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "Championed by Toni Morrison and Walter Mosley, Dumas's fabulist fiction is a masterful synthesis of myth and religion, culture and nature, mask and identity. From the Deep South to the simmering streets of Harlem, his characters embark on real, magical, and mythic quests. Humming with life, Dumas's stories create a collage of midcentury Black experiences, interweaving religious metaphor, African cosmologies, diasporic folklore, and America's history of slavery and systemic racism. Henry Dumas was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, in 1934 and moved to Harlem at the age of ten. He joined the air force in 1953 and spent a year on the Arabian Peninsula. Upon his return, Dumas became active in the civil rights movement, married, had two sons, attended Rutgers University, worked for IBM, and taught at Hiram College in Ohio and at Southern Illinois University. In 1968, at the age of thirty-three, he was shot and killed by a New York City Transit Authority police officer."--Amazon.com.
    Stone Butch Blues
    Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books, 1993. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Jess Goldberg decides to come out as a butch in the bars and factories of the pre-feminist '60s and then to pass as a man in order to survive when she is left without work or a community in the early '70s."
    Celestial Bodies: A Novel
    Hārithī, Jūkhah, and Marilyn Booth. Celestial Bodies: A Novel. New York: Catapult, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "In the village of al-Awafi in Oman, we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who chooses to refuse all offers and await a reunion with the man she loves, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families, their losses and loves, unspool ... against a backdrop of a rapidly changing Oman, a country evolving from a traditional, slave-owning society into its complex present"– provided by publisher.
    Bright Lines
    Islam, Tanwi Nandini. Bright Lines. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2015. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A Bangladeshi orphan haunted by her parents' murders moves in with family members in Brooklyn until a fateful coming-of-age summer when her Islamic runaway cousin and she confront painful family secrets."
    The Prophets: A Novel
    Jones, Robert. The Prophets: A Novel. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2021. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
     "A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence"-- Provided by publisher.

    Isaiah was Samuel's and Samuel was Isaiah's. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. When an older fellow slave seeks to gain favor by preaching the master's gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel's love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation's harmony. -- adapted from jacket
    The Time between Places: Stories That Weave In and Out of Egypt and America
    Kaldas, Pauline. The Time between Places: Stories That Weave In and Out of Egypt and America. University of Arkansas Press, 2010. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "This collection of twenty stories delves into the lives of Egyptian characters, from those living in Egypt to those who have immigrated to the United States. With subtle and eloquent prose, the complexities of these characters are revealed, opening a door into their intimate struggles with identity and place. We meet people who are tempted by the possibilities of America and others who are tempted by the desire to return home. Some are in the throes of re-creating themselves in the new world while others seem to be embedded in the loss of their homeland. Many of these characters, although physically located in either the United States or Egypt, have lives that embrace both cultures."
    Parade: A Folktale
    Kawakami, Hiromi, Allison Markin Powell, and Takato Yoshitomi. Parade: A Folktale. First Soft Skull edition. New York: Soft Skull, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "On a summer afternoon, Tsukiko and her former high school teacher have prepared and eaten somen noodles together. 'Tell me a story from long ago,' Sensei says. 'I wasn't alive long ago,' Tsukiko says, 'but should I tell you a story from when I was little?' 'Please do,' Sensei replies, and so Tsukiko tells him that, when she was a child, she awakened one day to find something with a pale red face and something with a dark red face in her room, arguing with each other. They had human bodies, long noses, and wings. They were tengu, creatures that appear in Japanese folktales. The tengu attach themselves to Tsukiko and begin to follow her everywhere. Where did they come from and why are they here? And what other invisible and unacknowledged forces are acting upon Tsukiko's seemingly peaceful world?"– provided by publisher.
    Flowers for Algernon
    Keyes, Daniel. Flowers for Algernon. 1st ed. Orlando: Harcourt, 2004. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Charlie Gordon is about to embark upon an unprecedented journey. Born with an unusually low IQ, he has been chosen as the perfect subject for an experimental surgery that researchers hope will increase his intelligence-a procedure that has already been highly successful when tested on a lab mouse named Algernon.

    As the treatment takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment appears to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance, until Algernon suddenly deteriorates. Will the same happen to Charlie?" - provided by publisher

    The Cotillion, or, One Good Bull is Half the Herd
    Killens, John Oliver. The Cotillion, or, One Good Bull is Half the Herd. The Coffee House Press black arts movement series. St. Paul, MN: Coffee House Press, 2002. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Beautiful, high-stepping Yoruba of Harlem is invited to the annual cotillion thrown by African American high society of Queens. Caught between the indifference of her father, the excitement of her social-climbing mother, and her prodigal boyfriend's militancy, Yoruba persuades her sister debutantes to challenge the aging doyennes in one of the most sidesplitting scenes in American literature."
    Kitchen Curse: Stories
    Kurniawan, Eka, Annie Tucker, Tiffany Tsao, Maggie Tiojakin, and Benedict R. O'G Anderson. Kitchen Curse: Stories. London: Verso, 2019. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "Hailed as a Southeast Asian Gabriel Garcia Marquez for the exuberant beauty of his prose and the darkly comic surrealism of his stories, Eka Kurniawan is the first Indonesian writer to be nominated for a Man Booker Prize. Here is his first collection of short stories–Indonesian literature's characteristic form–to be translated into English. A man captures a caronang, a strange, intelligent dog that walks upright, and brings it home, only to provoke an all-too-human outcome. A girl plots against a witch doctor whose crimes against her are, infuriatingly, like any other man's. Eka Kurniawan's freewheeling imagination explores the turbulent dreams of an ex-prostitute, the hapless life of a perpetual student, victims of an anticommunist genocide, the travails of an elephant, even the vengeful fantasies of a stone. Dark, sexual, scatological, violent, and mordantly funny, these fractured fables span city and country, animal and human, myth and politics. Like nothing else, Kurniawan's stories bury themselves in the mind. His characters and insights are at once hauntingly familiar, peculiar, and twisted."–Publisher description
    Pachinko
    Lee, Min Jin. Pachinko. First trade paperback edition. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity"– provided by publisher.
    What We Are: A Novel
    Malae, Peter Nathaniel. What We Are: A Novel. New York: Grove/Atlantic, 2011. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "This novel of a young Samoan-American’s search for authenticity is “a rollercoaster ride inside the haunted house of American multi-cultural sin and shame” (Sherman Alexie). The twenty-eight-year-old mixed-race son of a Samoan immigrant, Paul Tusifale is desperate to find his place in an American culture that barely acknowledges his existence. Within the Silicon Valley landscape of grass-roots activists and dotcom headquarters, where the plight of migrant workers is ever-present, Paul drifts on and off the radar. An unemployed drifter who defiantly—even violently—defends those in need, Paul soon discovers that life as an urban Robin Hood will never provide the answers he seeks. So he decides to try the straight-and-narrow: getting a job, obeying the law, and reconnecting with his family. Along the way, Paul moves through the lives of sinister old friends, suburban cranksters, and septuagenarian swingers. A dynamic addition to America’s diverse literature of the outsider, What We Are brings to life the pull of a departed father’s homeland, the anger of class divisions, the noise of the evening news, and the pathos of the disengaged."
    Where the Wild Ladies Are
    Matsuda, Aoko, and Polly Barton. Where the Wild Ladies Are. First Soft Skull edition. New York: Soft Skull Press, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "In this witty and exuberant collection of linked stories, Aoko Matsuda takes the rich, millenia-old tradition of Japanese folktales-shapeshifting wives and foxes, magical trees and wells-and wholly reinvents them, presenting a world in which humans are consoled, guided, challenged, and transformed by the only sometimes visible forces that surround them. A busybody aunt who disapproves of hair removal; a pair of door-to-door saleswomen hawking portable lanterns; a cheerful lover who visits every night to take a luxurious bath; a silent house-caller who babysits and cleans while a single mother is out working. Where the Wild Ladies Are is populated by these and many other spirited women-who also happen to be ghosts. This is a realm in which jealousy, stubbornness, and other excessive "feminine" passions are not to be feared or suppressed, but rather cultivated; and, chances are, a man named Mr. Tei will notice your talents and recruit you, dead or alive (preferably dead), to join his mysterious company"– provided by publisher.
    A Place for Us
    Mirza, Fatima Farheen. A Place for Us. First US edition. New York: SJP for Hogarth, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A story of family identity and belonging follows an Indian family through the marriage of their daughter, from the parents' arrival in the United States to the return of their estranged son. As an Indian wedding gathers a family back together, parents Rafiq and Layla must reckon with the choices their children have made. There is Hadia: their headstrong, eldest daughter, whose marriage is a match of love and not tradition. Huda, the middle child, determined to follow in her sister's footsteps. And their estranged son, Amar, returns to the family for the first time in three years to take his place as brother of the bride. What secrets and betrayals have caused this close-knit family to fracture?" -- adapted from jacket.
    The Speed of Dark
    Moon, Elizabeth. The Speed of Dark. 1st ed. New York: Ballantine Books, 2013. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "An exploration into the world of an autistic man who is offered a chance to try a brand-new experimental 'cure' for his condition. He must decide if he should submit to a surgery that might completely change the way he views the world, and the very essence of who he is."
    The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories
    Motoya, Yukiko, and Asa Yoneda. The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories. First Soft Skull edition. New York: Soft Skull, 2018. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract
    "A housewife takes up bodybuilding and sees radical changes to her physique, which her workaholic husband fails to notice. A boy waits at a bus stop, mocking commuters struggling to keep their umbrellas open in a typhoon, until an old man shows him that they hold the secret to flying. A saleswoman in a clothing boutique waits endlessly on a customer who won't come out of the fitting room, and who may or may not be human. A newlywed notices that her spouse's features are beginning to slide around his face to match her own. In these eleven stories, the individuals who lift the curtains of their orderly homes and workplaces are confronted with the bizarre, the grotesque, the fantastic, the alien--and find a doorway to liberation. The English-language debut of one of Japan's most fearlessly inventive young writers"--Back cover.

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