September is a serious month for books. Publishing folks are back from the beach and readers are ready to snuggle up with something substantive, it’s a book lover’s dream. There are multitudes of titles to look forward to this month, here are six of my picks:
*PSA: one of the best things you can do for an author with a new book out is tell everyone if you love it, so don’t forget to share on you social media and review on Amazon and Goodreads.
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Everfair is a Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium's disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier. Fabian Socialists from Great Britain join forces with African-American missionaries to purchase land from the Belgian Congo's "owner," King Leopold II. This land, named Everfair, is set aside as a safe haven, an imaginary Utopia for native populations of the Congo as well as escaped slaves returning from America and other places where African natives were being mistreated.
Shawl is Seattle-based and launches her book tonight at one of my favorite locals, University Bookstore.
Inhabiting four lives—a railroad baron’s valet who unwittingly ignites an explosion in Chinese labor, Hollywood's first Chinese movie star, a hate-crime victim whose death mobilizes Asian Americans, and a biracial writer visiting China for an adoption—this novel captures and capsizes over a century of our history, showing that even as family bonds are denied and broken, a community can survive—as much through love as blood.
Building fact into fiction, spinning fiction around fact, Davies uses each of these stories—three inspired by real historical characters—to examine the process of becoming not only Chinese American, but American.
The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam (September 6th)
Two and a half decades into a devastating civil war, Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority is pushed towards the coast by the advancing army. Amongst the evacuees is Dinesh, whose world has contracted to a makeshift camp. Alienated from family, home, language and body, he exists in a state of mute acceptance, numb to the violence around him, till he is approached one morning by an old man who makes an unexpected proposal: that Dinesh marry his daughter, Ganga. Marriage, in this world, is an attempt at safety. As a couple, they would be less likely to be conscripted to fight for the rebels, and less likely to be abused in the case of an army victory. Thrust into this situation of strange intimacy and dependence, Dinesh and Ganga try to come to terms with everything that has happened, attempting to awaken to themselves and to one another before the war closes over them once more.
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Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home --- a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse --- but John's not there. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy's womb. Told from a perspective unlike any other, NUTSHELL is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world’s master storytellers.
There aren’t many writers I would trust to tell a story from the perspective of a foetus, but McEwan is one of them. I will never not be excited that he has a new book out.
After besting (and arresting) a ruthless silk factory owner and his gang of thugs, Constance Kopp became one of the nation’s first deputy sheriffs. But when the wiles of a German-speaking con man threaten her position and her hopes for this new life, and endanger the honorable Sheriff Heath, Constance may not be able to make things right. LADY COP MAKES TROUBLE sets Constance loose on the streets of New York City and New Jersey. Cheering her on, and goading her, are her sisters Norma and Fleurette --- that is, when they aren't training pigeons for the war effort or fanning dreams of a life on the stage.
In an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, a child called Pavla is born to peasant parents. Her arrival, fervently anticipated and conceived in part by gypsy tonics and archaic prescriptions, stuns her parents and brings outrage and scorn from her community. Pavla has been born a dwarf, beautiful in face, but as the years pass, she grows no farther than the edge of her crib. When her parents turn to the treatments of a local charlatan, his terrifying cure opens the floodgates of persecution for Pavla. Little Nothing unfolds across a lifetime of unimaginable, magical transformation in and out of human form, as an outcast girl becomes a hunted woman whose ultimate survival depends on the most startling transfiguration of them all. Woven throughout is the journey of Danilo, the young man entranced by Pavla, obsessed only with protecting her. Part allegory about the shifting nature of being, part subversive fairy tale of love in all its uncanny guises, Little Nothing spans the beginning of a new century, the disintegration of ancient superstitions, and the adoption of industry and invention. With a cast of remarkable characters, a wholly original story, and extraordinary, page-turning prose, Marisa Silver delivers a novel of sheer electricity.