Endearingly referred to as “Mother Volga” in Russian, it is the longest river in Europe, flowing from forests to the steppes and marshlands of the Caspian Sea. In The Volga, Janet M Hartley pens a vivid, human-centered story of the great river standing at a crossroad of peoples and cultures. She explores and contextualizes its significance to the history of Russia.
A desire to love, befriend, and uncover characterize Purple Perilla, a short collection of three stories from acclaimed Chinese author Can Xue. The book offers a poetic reckoning for our present moment, while the COVID-19 crisis continues to shape our lives.
Khalil, a young Belgian, is set to blow himself up near France’s national stadium, in the outskirts of Paris, along with his best friend. Khalil reaches for the detonator of his explosive vest in a packed suburban train. There is a twist: he survives, and he wasn’t meant to.
Lisan, a humble fisherman, mysteriously disappears for eight years before returning home. Bhatia, the wife he has left behind, has remarried in the meantime, but there’s more, and something irrepressible for him to reclaim besides her. Lisan has a royal destiny to be fulfilled.
Cambodian-American poet Monica Sok recalls transgeneration trauma in her debut collection, A Nail the Evening Hangs On. Born in Pennsylvania to parents who have sought refuge in the United States, Sok retraces the contours of a difficult and important conversation on identity. She succeeds in using her Americanness to question her sense of belonging in the Cambodian narrative, while inviting the reader in two countries’ complex political history.
In the newly-translated I Live in the Slums, her first collection of short stories in a decade, Chinese writer Can Xue invites us on a bizarre, at times whimsical, dark and unclassifiable journey exploring the terrain of and interaction with China’s urban geography. She keeps with her unique unconventional voice, as is best known in her earlier novels such as Love in the New Millennium, and Frontier.
In the Sahara Desert, Ukhayyad, the son of a powerful tribal leader, receives a camel as a gift. The Mahri camel is not an ordinary breed. It is beautiful, unique. Ukhayyad develops an endearment towards the animal which only grows and runs parallel with his coming-of-age. Gold Dust, its English edition recently republished, follows their bond, as events quickly trouble their tranquillity.