Destined to be a modern classic from “an original and a canonical presence in Irish fiction” (Colm Toibin), Small Things Like These is Claire Keegan’s landmark new novel, the tale of one man’s courage — and a remarkable portrait of love and family
It is 1985 in a small Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal merchant and family man, who is father to five girls, faces into his busiest season. Early one morning, while delivering an order to the local convent, Bill makes a discovery which forces him to confront both his past and the complicit silences of a town controlled by the church.
Already a bestseller in France and certain to be read worldwide for generations to come, Small Things Like These is a deeply affecting and inspiring story of hope, quiet heroism, and empathy from one of our most critically celebrated and iconic writers.
A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-finalist author of A Tale for the Time Being.
After the tragic death of his beloved musician father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house—a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous. At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world, where “things happen.” He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many. And he meets his very own Book—a talking thing—who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.
A novel for anyone who has loved and lost, and lived to tell the tale, this gorgeously written debut is a love story told in reverse, starting with the heart-rending breakup, and weaving back together an already unraveled tapestry, from tragic break-up to magical first kiss.
A blazing new talent debuts with the story of a status-driven wedding planner grappling with her absent mother, her glittering career amongst New York’s elite and her Puerto Rican roots in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
For generations, Rich Gundersen’s family has chopped a livelihood out of the redwood forest along California’s rugged coast. Now, his wife Colleen is wondering if the herbicides used by the logging company are causing all of the miscarriages in their community—hers included. Is this even a safe place to raise their young son Chub? As mudslides take out clear-cut hillsides and salmon vanish from creeks, her search for answers threatens to unravel not just Rich’s livelihood, but their marriage too, dividing a town that lives and dies on timber along the way. Told from the perspectives of Rich, Colleen, and Chub, in prose as clear as a spring-fed creek, this intimate, compassionate portrait of a community clinging to a vanishing way of life amid the perils of environmental degradation makes Damnation Spring an essential novel for our time.
In The School For Good Mothers, the main character, Frida Liu, is struggling. She doesn’t have a career worthy of her Chinese immigrant parents’ sacrifices. She can’t persuade her husband, Gust, to give up his wellness-obsessed younger mistress. Only with Harriet, their cherubic daughter, does Frida finally attain the perfection expected of her. Harriet may be all she has, but she is just enough.
Until Frida has a very bad day.
The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida. The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.
Faced with the possibility of losing Harriet, Frida must prove that a bad mother can be redeemed. That she can learn to be good.
A searing page-turner that is also a transgressive novel of ideas about the perils of “perfect” upper-middle class parenting; the violence enacted upon women by both the state and, at times, one another; the systems that separate families; and the boundlessness of love, The School For Good Mothers introduces, in Frida, an everywoman for the ages. Using dark wit to explore the pains and joys of the deepest ties that bind us, Chan has written a modern literary classic.
In this stunning debut novel—a tale of self-discovery and feminist awakening—a feisty Nigerian-Ghanaian girl growing up amid the political upheaval of late 1960s postcolonial Ghana begins to question the hypocrisy of her patriarchal society, and the restrictions and unrealistic expectations placed on women.
When Fly and Stela meet in 21st Century New York City, it seems like fate. He’s a Black American musician from a mixed-religious background who knows all about heartbreak. She’s a Catholic science teacher from the Caribbean, looking for lasting love. But are they meant to be? The answer goes back decades—all the way to their parents’ earliest loves. Vibrant and emotionally riveting, Monster in the Middle moves across decades, from the U.S. to the Virgin Islands to Ghana and back again, to show how one couple’s romance is intrinsically influenced by the family lore and love stories that preceded their own pairing. What challenges and traumas must this new couple inherit, what hopes and ambitions will keep them moving forward? Exploring desire and identity, religion and class, passion and obligation, the novel posits that in order to answer the question “who are we meant to be with?” we must first understand who we are and how we came to be.
Shruti Swamy’s debut, A House Is a Body: Stories (Algonquin Books, 2020), was a finalist for both the PEN / Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. Now, Swamy brings us an accomplished and immersive coming-of-age novel set in Bombay in the 1960s and 70s. As a child, Vidya exists to serve her family, watch over her younger brother, and make sense of a motherless world. One day she catches sight of a class where the students are learning Kathak, a precise, dazzling form of dance that requires the utmost discipline and focus. Kathak quickly becomes the organizing principle of Vidya’s life, even as she leaves home for college, falls in love with her best friend, and battles demands on her time, her future, and her body. Can Vidya give herself over to her art and also be a wife in Bombay’s carefully delineated society? Can she shed the legacy of her own imperfect, unknowable mother? Must she, herself, also become a mother? Intensely lyrical and deeply sensual, with writing as rhythmically mesmerizing as Kathak itself, The Archer is about the transformative power of art and the possibilities that love can open when we’re ready.
Abandoned by her parents, Olga is raised by her grandmother in a Prussian village around the turn of the 20th century. Smart and precocious, endearing but uncompromising, she fights against the prejudices of the time to find her place in a world that sees women as second-best. When Olga falls in love with Herbert, a local aristocrat obsessed with gaining all the power, glory and greatness the modern age can provide, her life is irremediably changed. Their love goes against all odds and encounters many obstacles, entwined with the twisting paths of German history, leading us from the late 19th to the early 21st century, from Germany to Africa and the Arctic, from the Baltic Sea to the German south-west. Unfolding across centuries, Olga is an epic romance, and a wrenching tale of devotion to a restless man in a fateful moment of great rebellion. Though Olga lives her life within the margins of others, her magnetic presence breathes vivid life into these pages. Told in three distinct parts—which brilliantly shift from different points of view to the epistolary form—Schlink paints a full portrait of a singular woman’s complex life.