The Hunter’s Walk, Nabeel Ismeer (Penguin Random House Southeast Asia, June 2021)
The Hunter’s Walk, Nabeel Ismeer (Penguin Random House Southeast Asia, June 2021)

Generations of prolonged drought and hunger have allowed the harsher voices of the Zarda tribe to set edicts of discrimination against their fair skin members. Ghar, a dark skin cave painter and Dun, his fair skin brother, push back on this discrimination to ensure that Dun and the fair skins can take part in the Hunter’s Walk, a Zardan rite of passage.

Seaways and Gatekeepers: Trade and State in the Eastern Archipelagos of Southeast Asia, c.1600–c.1906, Heather Sutherland (NUS Press, May 2021)
Seaways and Gatekeepers: Trade and State in the Eastern Archipelagos of Southeast Asia, c.1600–c.1906, Heather Sutherland (NUS Press, May 2021)

The eastern archipelagos stretch from Mindanao and Sulu in the north to Bali in the southwest and New Guinea in the southeast. Many of their inhabitants are regarded as “people without history”, while colonial borders cut across shared underlying patterns. Yet many of these societies were linked to trans-oceanic trading systems for millennia. Indeed, some of the world’s most prized commodities once came from territories which were either “stateless” or under the very tenuous control of loosely structured polities. Although individual regimes sought to control traffic, exchange between trans-regional or even trans-oceanic shippers and local communities was often direct, without mediation by overarching authorities.

Q & A: Voices from Queer Asian North America, Martin F Manalansan IV (ed), Alice Y Hom (ed), Kale Bantigue Fajardo (ed), David L Eng (preface)
Q & A: Voices from Queer Asian North America, Martin F Manalansan IV (ed), Alice Y Hom (ed), Kale Bantigue Fajardo (ed), David L Eng (preface) (Temple University Press, August 2020)

First published in 1998, Q & A: Queer in Asian America, edited by David L Eng and Alice Y Hom, became a canonical work in Asian American studies and queer studies. This new edition of Q & A is neither a sequel nor an update, but an entirely new work borne out of the progressive political and cultural advances of the queer experiences of Asian North American communities.

Passing for Perfect: College Impostors and Other Model Minorities, erin Khuê Ninh (Temple University Press, 2021)
Passing for Perfect: College Impostors and Other Model Minorities, erin Khuê Ninh (Temple University Press, 2021)

In her engaging study, Passing for Perfect, erin Khuê Ninh considers the factors that drove college imposters such as Azia Kim—who pretended to be a Stanford freshman—and Jennifer Pan—who hired a hitman to kill her parents before they found out she had never received her high school diploma—to extreme lengths to appear successful. Why would someone make such an illogical choice? And how do they stage these lies so convincingly, and for so long?

Samak the Ayyar:  A Tale of Ancient Persia, Freydoon Rassouli (trans), Jordan Mechner (adapted) (Columbia University Press, August 2021)
Samak the Ayyar: A Tale of Ancient Persia, Freydoon Rassouli (trans), Jordan Mechner (adapted) (Columbia University Press, August 2021)

The adventures of Samak, a trickster-warrior hero of Persia’s thousand-year-old oral storytelling tradition, are beloved in Iran. Samak is an ayyar, a warrior who comes from the common people and embodies the ideals of loyalty, selflessness, and honor—a figure that recalls samurai, ronin, and knights yet is distinctive to Persian legend. His exploits—set against an epic background of palace intrigue, battlefield heroics, and star-crossed romance between a noble prince and princess—are as deeply rooted in Persian culture as are the stories of Robin Hood and King Arthur in the West. However, this majestic tale has remained little known outside Iran.

Proof of Stake: An Elegy, Charles Valle (Fonograf Editions)
Proof of Stake: An Elegy, Charles Valle (Fonograf Editions, June 2021)

Proof of Stake is a multivalent meditation on loss, grief, and social constructs. Grounded in the death of the poet’s daughter, Vivian, this long elegy ruminates on a wide range of subjects, from the effects and winding paths of disruptive technologies, such as paper and cryptocurrency, to critiques and observations of art movements, diasporas, social unrest, and the history of the Philippines.

Rabbit in the Moon, Heather Diamond (Camphor Press, May 2021)
Rabbit in the Moon, Heather Diamond (Camphor Press, May 2021)

Rabbit in the Moon is an honest, finely crafted meditation on intercultural marriage, the importance of family, and finding the courage to follow your dreams. Returning from a holiday course in Hawaii to her teaching job in Texas, Heather Diamond wonders if her whirlwind affair with Fred, an ethnomusicologist from Hong Kong, was a moment of madness. She is, after all, forty-five years old, married, a mother and grandmother.