The whimsicality and enchantment of this collection of Ossetian folk tales could best be captured in the seductive melodies of Rimsky-Korsakoff’s fairy tale operas and the evocative stagings of Leon Bakst or Ivan Bilibin. The Tales of the Narts go back deep into the well of time, to the age when the Scythians pastured their horses from the Danube to Gansu, and when the Chechens, Adyghe and Karbadians were forging iron swords in the crags of the Caucasus.

The Lacquered Talisman: A novel of fourteenth century China, Laurie Dennis (Earnshaw 2020)
The Lacquered Talisman: A novel of fourteenth century China, Laurie Dennis (Earnshaw 2020)

A sweeping coming-of-age epic, The Lacquered Talisman launches the story of one of the most influential figures in Chinese history. He is the son of a bean curd seller and he will found the Ming Dynasty, which ruled China from 1368-1644.

Korean American K-pop star Jessica Jung may have gotten her start as a singer and performer with the hit band Girls’ Generation, but now also has a fashion line and has modeled for make-up lines and magazine covers around the world. Her branding is reaching into film and television. And now she has a debut young adult novel, Shine.

Tragedy finds its ideal form when a good character is partially responsible for her own downfall, which should unfold with the slow and inexorable force of a moral sentencing. Or so said Aristotle. Likewise, an irresistible blend of pity, horror, and satisfaction emerges through each of Ha Seong-nan’s short stories in this new collection. Even if not all of Ha’s characters are “good”, they still prove to be pitifully wretched creatures.

After the Nobel Prize 1989-1994: The Non Fiction Writing of Naguib Mahfouz, R Neil Hewison (trans), Rasheed El-Enany (intro)
After the Nobel Prize 1989-1994: The Non Fiction Writing of Naguib Mahfouz, R Neil Hewison (trans), Rasheed El-Enany (intro) (Gingko, July 2020)

Naguib Mahfouz was familiar to newspaper readers across Egypt for his column in the leading daily Al-Ahram, in which he reflected on issues of the day, from domestic and international events, politics and economics to culture. This volume brings together his articles written between January 1989 and the knife attack in October 1994 that almost ended his life.

Diksha Basu’s Destination Wedding is a delightful comedy of manners, about relationships among an extended clan of Indian-American wedding-goers. Cast as a sort of Crazy Rich South Asians, the destination is Delhi. The wedding is that of Shefali and Pavan, a thoroughly-modern couple of rich kids with wacky families, whose wedding, unbeknownst to them, is the first ever staged by Bubbles Trivedi, their larger-than-life wedding planner.