Publications

    Paradise
    Morrison, Toni. Paradise. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "The acclaimed Nobel Prize winner challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever present—in prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an epic poem.“They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time.” So begins Toni Morrison's Paradise, which opens with a horrifying scene of mass violence and chronicles its genesis in an all-black small town in rural Oklahoma. Founded by the descendants of freed slaves and survivors in exodus from a hostile world, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own. And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male citizens of Ruby will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous rage." - Publisher description.
    The little death: A Henry Rios mystery
    Nava, Michael. The little death: A Henry Rios mystery. Latino literature. 4th ed. Los Angeles, Calif: Alyson Books, 2003. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Henry Rios is introduced as a troubled San Francisco public defender battling alcoholism and burnout. While investigating the murder of an old friend, he traces clues back to the man’s own wealthy family. It is here that we first encounter Henry Rios’s struggle to maintain his faith in a legal system caught between justice and corruption, a theme that will continue throughout the series." - Amazon description.
    Detransition, Baby
    Peters, Torrey. Detransition, Baby. New York: One World, 2021. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn't hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.Ames isn't happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames's boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she's pregnant with his baby—and that she's not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he's been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can't reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel." - Publisher description.
    Bestiary
    Chang, K-Ming. Bestiary. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "One evening, Ma tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman's body, named Hu Gu Po. She hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterwards, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt leaves red on everything she touches; another aunt arrives with eels in her belly. All the while, Daughter is falling for her neighbor, a girl named Ben with mysterious powers of her own. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother's letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies an old Taiwanese myth–and that she will have to bring her family's secrets to light in order to change their destiny. With a poetic voice of crackling electricity, K Ming Chang is an explosive young writer who combines the wit and fabulism of Helen Oyeyemi with the magical realist aesthetic of Maxine Hong Kingston. Tracing one family's history from Mainland China to Taiwan, from Arkansas to California, Bestiary is a novel of migration, queer lineages, and womanhood"– provided by publisher.

    Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
    Hong, Cathy Park. Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning. New York: One World, 2020. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achieving professionals. But in reality, this is the most economically divided group in the country, a tenuous alliance of people with roots from South Asia to East Asia to the Pacific Islands, from tech millionaires to service industry laborers. How do we speak honestly about the Asian American condition--if such a thing exists? Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. Binding these essays together is Hong's theory of "minor feelings." As the daughter of Korean immigrants, Cathy Park Hong grew up steeped in shame, suspicion, and melancholy. She would later understand that these "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality--when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity. With sly humor and a poet's searching mind, Hong uses her own story as a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness in America today. This intimate and devastating book traces her relationship to the English language, to shame and depression, to poetry and artmaking, and to family and female friendship. A radically honest work of art, Minor Feelings forms a portrait of one Asian American psyche--and of a writer's search to both uncover and speak the truth"-- Provided by publisher.

    A ruthlessly honest, emotionally charged, and utterly original exploration of Asian American consciousness and the struggle to be human. Hong blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. She believes that "minor feelings" occur when American optimism contradicts your own reality-- when you believe the lies you're told about your own racial identity. -- adapted from jacket

    Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China
    Guo, Xiaolu. Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China. First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition. New York: Grove Press, 2017. Book @ Harvard LibraryAbstract

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    "Xiaolu Guo is one of the most acclaimed Chinese-born writers of her generation, an iconoclastic and completely contemporary voice. Her vivid, poignant memoir, Nine Continents is the story of a curious mind coming of age in an inhospitable country, and her determination to seek a life beyond the limits of its borders. Xiaolu Guo has traveled further than most to become who she needed to be. Now, as she experiences the birth of her daughter in a London maternity ward surrounded by women from all over the world, she looks back on that journey. It begins in the fishing village shack on the East China Sea where her illiterate grandparents raised her, and brings her to a rapidly changing Beijing, full of contradictions: a thriving underground art scene amid mass censorship, curious Westerners who held out affection only to disappear back home. Eventually Xiaolu determined to see the world beyond China for herself, and now, after fifteen years in Europe, her words resonate with the insight of someone both an outsider and at home, in a world far beyond the country of her birth. Nine Continents presents a fascinating portrait of China in the eighties and nineties, how the Cultural Revolution shaped families, and how the country's economic ambitions gave rise to great change. It is also a moving testament to the birth of a creative spirit, and of a new generation being raised to become citizens of the world. It confirms Xiaolu Guo as one of world literature's most urgent voices."--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."
    The Face: Cartography of the Void
    Abani, Chris. The Face: Cartography of the Void. Brooklyn, NY: Restless Books, 2016. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "...acclaimed Nigerian-born author and poet Chris Abani has given us a profound and gorgeously wrought short memoir that navigates the stories written upon his own face. Beginning with his early childhood immersed in the Igbo culture of West Africa, Abani unfurls a lushly poetic, insightful, and funny narrative that investigates the roles that race, culture, and language play in fashioning our sense of self. As Abani so lovingly puts it, he contemplates “all the people who have touched my face, slapped it, punched it, kissed it, washed it, shaved it. All of that human contact must leave some trace, some of the need and anger that motivated that touch. This face is softened by it all. Made supple by all the wonder it has beheld, all the kindness, all the generosity of life.” The Face: Cartography of the Void is a gift to be read, re-read, shared, and treasured, from an author at the height of his artistic powers." - Publisher description.
    The Kindness of Enemies : A Novel
    Aboulela, Leila. The Kindness of Enemies : A Novel. New York: Grove Press, 2015. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "It's 2010 and Natasha, a half-Russian, half-Sudanese professor of Islamic studies, is researching the life of Imam Shamil, the nineteenth-century Muslim leader who led the anti-Russian resistance in the Caucasian War. When shy, single Natasha discovers that her star student, Oz, is not only descended from the warrior but also possesses Shamil's priceless sword, the Imam's story comes vividly to life. As Natasha's relationship with Oz and his alluring actress mother intensifies, Natasha is forced to confront issues she had long tried to avoid--that of her Muslim heritage. When Oz is suddenly arrested at his home one morning, Natasha realizes that everything she values stands in jeopardy. Told with Aboulela's inimitable elegance and narrated from the point of view of both Natasha and the historical characters she is researching, The Kindness of Enemies is both an engrossing story of a provocative period in history and an important examination of what it is to be a Muslim in a post 9/11 world." - Publisher description.
    100 Days
    Bitek, Juliane Okot. 100 Days. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: The University of Alberta Press, 2016. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "For 100 days, Juliane Okot Bitek recorded the lingering nightmare of the Rwandan genocide in a poem–each poem recalling the senseless loss of life and of innocence. Okot Bitek draws on her own family's experience of displacement under the regime of Idi Amin, pulling in fragments of the poetic traditions she encounters along the way: the Ugandan Acholi oral tradition of her father–the poet Okot p'Bitek; Anglican hymns; the rhythms and sounds of slave songs from the Americas; and the beat of spoken word and hip-hop. 100 Days is a collection of poetry that will stop you in your tracks." - Publisher description.
    Tales of the Metric System
    Coovadia, Imraan. Tales of the Metric System. Ohio University Press, 2016. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "In Tales of the Metric System, Coovadia explores a turbulent South Africa from 1970 into the present. He takes his home country's transition from imperial to metric measurements as his catalyst, holding South Africa up and examining it from the diverse perspectives of his many characters. An elite white housewife married to a radical intellectual; a rock guitarist; the same guitarist's granddaughter thirty years later; a teenaged boy at the mercy of mob justice-each story takes place over one of ten days across the decades, and each protagonist has his own stakes, her own moment in time, but each is equally caught in the eddies of change. Tales of the Metric System is clear eyed, harrowing, and daring." - Publisher description.
    Madman at Kilifi
    Gachagua, Clifton, and Kwame Senu Neville Dawes. Madman at Kilifi. African poetry book series. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2014. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "    Clifton Gachagua's collection Madman at Kilifi, winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, concerns itself with the immediacy of cultures in flux, cybercommunication and the language of consumerism, polyglot politics and intrigue, sexual ambivalence and studied whimsy, and the mind of a sensitive, intelligent, and curious poet who stands in the midst of it all. Gachagua's is a world fully grounded in the postmodern Kenyan cultural cauldron, a world in which people speak with “satellite mouths,” with bodies that are “singing machines,” and in which the most we can do is “collide against each other.” Here light is graceful, and we glow like undiscovered galaxies and shifting matter. And here as well, we find new expression in a poetry that moves as we do." - Publisher description.
    Modern Muslims: A Sudan Memoir
    Howard, W. Stephen. Modern Muslims: A Sudan Memoir. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2016. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Steve Howard departed for the Sudan in the early 1980s as an American graduate student beginning a three-year journey in which he would join and live with the Republican Brotherhood, the Sufi Muslim group led by the visionary Mahmoud Mohamed Taha. Taha was a religious intellectual who participated in the early days of Sudan's anticolonial struggle, but quickly turned his movement into a religious reform effort based on his radical reading of the Qur'an. He was executed in 1985 for apostasy.

    Decades after returning to the life of an academic in the United States, Howard brings us this memoir of his time with the Republican Brotherhood, who advocated, among other things, equality for women. Modern Muslims describes Howard's path to learning not only about Islam and Sufism but also about Sudan's history and culture. When the Brotherhood was thrust into confrontation with Sudan's then-president Jaafar Nimeiry, Howard had a front-line perspective on the difficult choices communities make as they try to reform and practice their faith freely.

    As well as a story of personal transformation, the book offers an insider's perspective on a modernist nonviolent Islamic movement that thrived and was brutally suppressed. An important book for our times, Modern Muslims yields significant insights for our understanding of modern Islam, African history, and contemporary geopolitics." - Publisher description.

    The Hairdresser of Harare
    Huchu, Tendai. The Hairdresser of Harare. Oxford: Weaver Press, 2010. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Vimbai is a hairdresser, the best in Mrs Khumalo's salon, and she knows she is the queen on whom they all depend. Her situation is reversed when the good-looking, smooth-talking Dumisani joins them. However, his charm and desire to please slowly erode Vimbai's rancour and when he needs somewhere to live, Vimbai becomes his landlady. So, when Dumisani needs someone to accompany him to his brother's wedding to help smooth over a family upset, Vimbai obliges. Startled to find that this smart hairdresser is the scion of one of the wealthiest families in Harare, she is equally surprised by the warmth of their welcome; and it is their subsequent generosity which appears to foster the relationship between the two young people. The ambiguity of this deepening friendship - used or embraced by Dumisani and Vimbai with different futures in mind - collapses in unexpected brutality when secrets and jealousies are exposed. Written with delightful humour and a penetrating eye, The Hairdresser of Harare is a novel that you will find hard to put down." - Publisher description.
    The Book Keeper: A Memoir of Race, Love, and Legacy
    Munemo, Julia McKenzie. The Book Keeper: A Memoir of Race, Love, and Legacy. Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 2020. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "When a stack of pulpy paperback novels written by her long-dead father landed on Julia McKenzie Munemo's kitchen table, she - a white woman - had been married to a black man from Zimbabwe for six years and their first son was a toddler. Her alarm at the covers, which promised interracial pornography set during slavery-some of it even taking place in Africa-was matched only by her shame about her father's secret career. All she'd previously known about him was that he'd suffered from depression and delusions and had killed himself when she was five. So she did what she always did with details about her dad, and hid the books from herself, and from her growing mixed-race family. But then, a decade later, when police shootings of African American men were more and more in the public eye, she realized that understanding her own legacy seemed like the only way to begin to understand what was happening in her country. The Book Keeper is equal parts love story, family interrogation, and racial reckoning as Munemo comes to terms with her whiteness, and with her history." - Publisher description.
    The Reactive
    Ntshanga, Masande. The Reactive, 2016. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "...a clear-eyed and compassionate depiction of a young HIV+ man grappling with the sudden death of his younger brother, for which he feels unduly responsible. Lindanathi and his friends—Cecelia and Ruan—make their living working low-paying jobs and selling anti-retroviral drugs (during the period in South Africa before ARVs became broadly distributed). In between, they huff glue, drift in and out of parties, and traverse the streets of Cape Town, where they observe the grave material disparities of their country. A mysterious masked man appears seeking to buy their surplus of ARVs, an offer that would present the three with the opportunity to escape their environs, while at the same time forcing Lindanathi to confront his path, and finally, his past. With brilliant, shimmering prose, Ntshanga has delivered a redemptive, ambitious, and unforgettable first novel." - Publisher description.
    The Kitchen-Dweller's Testimony
    Osman, Ladan. The Kitchen-Dweller's Testimony. African poetry book series. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "Winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets, The Kitchen-Dweller's Testimony asks: Whose testimony is valid? Whose testimony is worth recording? Osman's speakers, who are almost always women, assert and reassert in an attempt to establish authority, often through persistent questioning. Specters of race, displacement, and colonialism are often present in her work, providing momentum for speakers to reach beyond their primary, apparent dimensions and better communicate. The Kitchen-Dweller's Testimony is about love and longing, divorce, distilled desire, and all the ways we injure ourselves and one another." - Publisher description.
    The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gómez
    Rechy, John. The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gómez. Place of publication not identified: Grove/Atlantic, Inc. 2007. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "In The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez, Amalia Gomez thinks she sees a large silver cross in the sky. A miraculous sign, perhaps, but one the down-to-earth Amalia does not trust. Through Amalia, we take a vivid and moving tour of the "other Hollywood," populated by working-class Mexican Americans, as John Rechy blends tough realism with religious and cultural fables to take us into the life of a Chicano family in L.A. Epic in scope and vision, The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez is classic Rechy." - Publisher description.
    Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream
    Sato, Kiyo. Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream. Newburyport: Soho Press, 2009. eBook @ Harvard Library [HarvardKey required]Abstract
    "First generation Japanese-American Sato chronicles the tribulations her family endured in America through the Great Depression and WWII. Emigrating from Japan in 1911, Sato's parents built a home and cultivated a marginal plot of land into a modest but sustaining fruit farm. One of nine children, Sato recounts days on the farm playing with her siblings and lending a hand with child-care, house cleaning and grueling farm work. Her anecdotes regarding the family's devotion to one another despite their meager lifestyle (her father mending a little brother's shoe with rubber sliced from a discarded tire) gain cumulative weight, especially when hard times turn tragic: in the wake of Pearl Harbor, the Satos find themselves swept up by U.S. authorities and shuffled through multiple Japanese internment camps, ending up in a desert facility while the farm falls to ruin. Sato's memoir is a poignant, eye-opening testament to the worst impulses of a nation in fear, and the power of family to heal the most painful wounds." --Publishers Weekly

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