Of all the family gatherings in her childhood, one stands out in Amina's memory. It is 1979, in Salem India, when a visit to her grandmother's house escalates into an explosive encounter, pitching brother against brother, mother against son. In its aftermath, Amina's father Thomas rushes his family back to their new home in America. And while at first it seems that the intercontinental flight has taken them out of harm's way, his decision sets off a chain of events that will forever haunt Thomas and his wife Kamala; their intellectually furious son, Akhil and the watchful young Amina. Now, twenty years later, Amina receives a phone call from her mother. Thomas has been acting strangely and Kamala needs her daughter back. Amina returns to the New Mexico of her childhood, where her mother has always filled silences with food, only to discover that getting to the truth is not as easy as going home. Confronted with Thomas's unwillingness to talk, Kamala's Born Again convictions, and the suspicion that not everything is what it seems, Amina finds herself at the centre of a mystery so tangled that to make any headway, she has to excavate her family's painful past. And in doing so she must lay her own ghosts to rest.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE BOSTON GLOBE, KIRKUS REVIEWS, BUSTLE, AND EMILY GOULD, THE MILLIONS For fans of J. Courtney Sullivan, Meg Wolitzer, Mona Simpson, and Jhumpa Lahiri comes a winning, irreverent debut novel about a family wrestling with its future and its past. With depth, heart, and agility, debut novelist Mira Jacob takes us on a deftly plotted journey that ranges from 1970s India to suburban 1980s New Mexico to Seattle during the dot.com boom. The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is an epic, irreverent testimony to the bonds of love, the pull of hope, and the power of making peace with life’s uncertainties. Celebrated brain surgeon Thomas Eapen has been sitting on his porch, talking to dead relatives. At least that is the story his wife, Kamala, prone to exaggeration, tells their daughter, Amina, a photographer living in Seattle. Reluctantly Amina returns home and finds a situation that is far more complicated than her mother let on, with roots in a trip the family, including Amina’s rebellious brother Akhil, took to India twenty years earlier. Confronted by Thomas’s unwillingness to explain himself, strange looks from the hospital staff, and a series of puzzling items buried in her mother’s garden, Amina soon realizes that the only way she can help her father is by coming to terms with her family’s painful past. In doing so, she must reckon with the ghosts that haunt all of the Eapens. Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more. “With wit and a rich understanding of human foibles, Jacob unspools a story that will touch your heart.”—People “Optimistic, unpretentious and refreshingly witty.”—Associated Press “By turns hilarious and tender and always attuned to shifts of emotion . . . [Jacob’s] characters shimmer with life.”—Entertainment Weekly “A rich, engrossing debut told with lightness and care.”—The Kansas City Star “[A] sprawling, poignant, often humorous novel . . . Told with humor and sympathy for its characters, the book serves as a bittersweet lesson in the binding power of family, even when we seek to break out from it.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “Moving forward and back in time, Jacob balances comedy and romance with indelible sorrow. . . . When her plot springs surprises, she lets them happen just as they do in life: blindsidingly right in the middle of things.”—The Boston Globe “This is an effortlessly gorgeous and rich book. Its prose is lovely and precise, alternately luminous and direct; its observations of people and families and the physical world are poignant and a delight. The dialogue is sharp, funny, and true. This is a triumphant debut!”—Jonathan Ames, author of Wake Up, Sir! “Comparisons of Jacob to Jhumpa Lahiri are inevitable; . . . both write with naked honesty about the uneasy generational divide among Indians in America and about family in all its permutations.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review) From the Trade Paperback edition.
The story of a family, divided across generations and cultures, wrestling with its future and its past, The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing is at once magical, mouth-watering and heartbreaking
Author: Mira Jacob
Publisher: One World/Ballantine
A moving graphic memoir that grapples with the toughest conversations about family, race, love, and American identity--and the ways they change us. Mira Jacob's touching, often humorous, and utterly unique graphic memoir takes readers on her journey as a first-generation American. At an increasingly fraught time for immigrants and their families, Good Talk delves into the difficult conversations about race, sex, love, and family that seem to be more unavoidable than ever. Inspired by her popular BuzzFeed piece "37 Difficult Questions from My Mixed-Raced Son," here are Jacob's responses to her six-year-old, Zakir, who asks if the new president hates brown boys like him; uncomfortable relationship advice from her parents, who came to the United States from India one month into their arranged marriage; and the imaginary therapy sessions she has with celebrities from Bill Murray to Madonna. Jacob also investigates her own past, from her memories of being the only non-white fifth grader to win a Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest to how it felt to be a brown-skinned New Yorker on 9/11. As earnest and moving as they are sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, these are the stories that have formed one American life.
To Keep the Sun Alive
Author: Rabeah Ghaffari
A cinematic novel about an Iranian family and their fruit orchard, caught up in the Revolution of 1979.
Author: Edan Lepucki
Publisher: Little, Brown
The highly acclaimed, instant New York Times bestseller that "shows the moment-by-moment reality of a painful possible future, the price we may have to pay for our passionate devotion to all of the wrong things." --Sarah Stone, San Francisco Chronicle The world Cal and Frida have always known is gone, and they've left the crumbling city of Los Angeles far behind them. They now live in a shack in the wilderness, working side-by-side to make their days tolerable in the face of hardship and isolation. Mourning a past they can't reclaim, they seek solace in each other. But the tentative existence they've built for themselves is thrown into doubt when Frida finds out she's pregnant. Terrified of the unknown and unsure of their ability to raise a child alone, Cal and Frida set out for the nearest settlement, a guarded and paranoid community with dark secrets. These people can offer them security, but Cal and Frida soon realize this community poses dangers of its own. In this unfamiliar world, where everything and everyone can be perceived as a threat, the couple must quickly decide whom to trust. A gripping and provocative debut novel by a stunning new talent, California imagines a frighteningly realistic near future, in which clashes between mankind's dark nature and deep-seated resilience force us to question how far we will go to protect the ones we love.
How to Read the Air
Author: Dinaw Mengestu
From the prizewinning international literary star: the searing and powerful story of one man's search for redemption. Dinaw Mengestu's first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, earned the young writer comparisons to Bellow, Fitzgerald, and Naipaul, and garnered ecstatic critical praise and awards around the world for its haunting depiction of the immigrant experience. Now Mengestu enriches the themes that defined his debut with a heartbreaking literary masterwork about love, family, and the power of imagination, which confirms his reputation as one of the brightest talents of his generation. One early September afternoon, Yosef and Mariam, young Ethiopian immigrants who have spent all but their first year of marriage apart, set off on a road trip from their new home in Peoria, Illinois, to Nashville, Tennessee, in search of a new identity as an American couple. Soon, their son, Jonas, will be born in Illinois. Thirty years later, Yosef has died, and Jonas needs to make sense of the volatile generational and cultural ties that have forged him. How can he envision his future without knowing what has come before? Leaving behind his marriage and job in New York, Jonas sets out to retrace his mother and father's trip and weave together a family history that will take him from the war-torn Ethiopia of his parents' youth to his life in the America of today, a story—real or invented—that holds the possibility of reconciliation and redemption. Watch a Video
“Spine chilling … written with flair and clear-eyed acidity.” — The New Yorker Based on actual events, The Story of My Assassins tells the story of a journalist who learns that the police have captured five hitmen on their way to kill him. Landing like a bombshell on his comfortable life, just as he’s started a steamy affair with a brilliant woman, the news prompts him to launch an urgent investigation into the lives of his aspiring murderers—a ragtag group of street thugs and village waifs—and their mastermind. Who wanted him dead, and why? But the investigation forces him to reexamine his own life, too—to confront his own notion of himself, his job, and his treatment of the women in his life, as well as his own complex feelings about the country that crafted his would-be killers. Part thriller and part erotic romance, full of dark humor and knife-edged suspense, The Story of My Assassins is a piercing literary novel that takes us from the lavish, hedonistic palaces of India’s elite to its seediest slums. It is a novel of corruption, passion, power, and ambition; of extreme poverty and obscene wealth. It is an awesome adventure into the heart of today’s India. From the Hardcover edition.
We That Are Young
Author: Preti Taneja
A stunning debut novel, a modern-day King Lear set in contemporary India: the tale of a battle for power within a turbulent family, for status within a nation in a constant state of transformation, and for the love and respect of a father disappearing into dementia Jivan Singh, the bastard scion of the Devraj family returns to his New Delhi childhood home at the age of twenty-three after fifteen years in the United States. His arrival coincides with the unexpected resignation of the founder and aging patriarch of the Company--its simple name belying its vast holdings across industry and entertainment, and the family's national renown. On the same day, Sita, Devraj's youngest daughter, disappears--refusing to marry the man her father wants for her. Now, Radha and Gargi, Sita's older sisters, are given the Company--and a brutal struggle for power begins. Set against the backdrop of the anti-corruption protests that spread across India in 2011 and 2012, We That Are Young is brilliant in its fierce, incandescent storytelling and the energy of its prose. It tells a deeply insightful tale of India today, the pace of life in one of the world's fastest growing economies, the clash of youth and age, and the ever-present specter of death. But more than that, it is a novel about the human heart--and its inevitable breaking point.
Author: Brit Bennett
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, 17-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance - and the subsequent cover-up - will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth
Author: Tanwi Nandini Islam
Named a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize, and the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award “A Brooklyn-by-way-of-Bangladesh Royal Tenenbaums.”—The Denver Post A vibrant debut novel, set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh, follows three young women and one family struggling to make peace with secrets and their past For as long as she can remember, Ella has longed to feel at home. Orphaned as a child after her parents’ murder, and afflicted with hallucinations at dusk, she’s always felt more at ease in nature than with people. She traveled from Bangladesh to Brooklyn to live with the Saleems: her uncle Anwar, aunt Hashi, and their beautiful daughter, Charu, her complete opposite. One summer, when Ella returns home from college, she discovers Charu’s friend Maya—an Islamic cleric’s runaway daughter—asleep in her bedroom. As the girls have a summer of clandestine adventure and sexual awakenings, Anwar—owner of a popular botanical apothecary—has his own secrets, threatening his thirty-year marriage. But when tragedy strikes, the Saleems find themselves blamed. To keep his family from unraveling, Anwar takes them on a fated trip to Bangladesh, to reckon with the past, their extended family, and each other. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Optimistic Decade
Author: Heather Abel
Publisher: Algonquin Books
“Bighearted, wise, and beautifully written, this sharply observant exploration of idealism gone awry engages at every level.” —Andrea Barrett, author of The Voyage of the Narwhal and Archangel This entertaining and assured debut novel about a utopian summer camp and its charismatic leader asks smart questions about good intentions gone terribly wrong. Framed by the oil shale bust and the real estate boom, by protests against Reagan and against the Gulf War, The Optimistic Decade takes us into the lives of five unforgettable characters and is a sweeping novel about idealism, love, class, and a piece of land that changes everyone who lives on it. There is Caleb Silver, the beloved founder of the back-to-the-land camp Llamalo, who is determined to teach others to live simply. There are the ranchers, Don and his son, Donnie, who gave up their land to Caleb and who now want it back. There is Rebecca Silver, determined to become an activist like her father and undone by the spell of both Llamalo and new love; and there is David, a teenager who has turned Llamalo into his personal religion. Heather Abel’s novel is a brilliant exploration of the bloom and fade of idealism and how it forever changes one’s life.
Coming of age in middle America, 18-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister. By the best-selling author of The Jane Austen Book Club.
Author: Jill Ciment
The basis for the major motion picture 5 Flights Up starring Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman. New York City is on high alert—a gasoline truck is “stuck” in the Midtown tunnel and the driver has fled. Through panic and gridlock, Alex and Ruth must transport their beloved old dachshund—whose back legs are suddenly paralyzed—to the animal hospital, using a cutting board as a stretcher. But this is also the weekend when Alex and Ruth must sell the apartment in which they have lived for most of their adult lives. Over the course of forty-eight hours, as the mystery of the missing truck driver terrorizes the city and the dachshund’s life hangs in the balance, the bidding war over their apartment becomes a barometer for collective hope and despair. Told in shifting points of view—Alex’s, Ruth’s, and the little dog’s—Heroic Measures is a moving, deft novel about urban anxiety and the love that deepens over years.
Author: Advaita Kala
In a city where old is meeting new, daughters are surprising mothers, and love is breaking all the rules, this heartfelt and wickedly funny cross-cultural debut novel introduces a smart, irreverent young woman searching for independence and matrimony in a culture bound by tradition. Between elegant soirees and the occasional mortifying mishap, Aisha Bhatia’s job as guest relations manager at New Delhi’s five-star Grand Orchid Hotel is intermittently fabulous—she certainly knows her wines and cheeses. But despite a life filled with good friends and first-class travel accommodations, the fact is that not many twenty-nine-year-old women in India are single—as Aisha’s mother never fails to remind her. Somewhere a clock is ticking, though as far as Aisha is concerned, it can be cheerfully drowned out by laughter over a champagne brunch. Yet when the handsomely chiseled Karan Verma arrives from New York, Aisha experiences an unexpected attitude adjustment. Karan is everything she’s ever wanted…that is, if she actually knew what she wanted. Is it possible that she’s about to find out? Savvy, sexy, and unforgettable, Almost Single tackles the loving, exasperating tug-of-war between mothers and daughters, traditional customs and contemporary romance—and what happens when a modern Indian woman is caught in the middle. From the Trade Paperback edition.