Works of literature that feature the nomadic peoples of the Eurasian taiga are extremely rare; the only ones that immediately come to mind are The Last Quarter of the Moon by Chi Zijian, about Evenki along the Heilongjiang-Russian border, and the (true) story of Dersu Uzala, a Nanai introduced to the world in Vladimir K Arsenyev’s now century-old Across the Ussuri Kray: Travels in the Sikhote-Alin Mountains.

In Remembrance of the Saints: The Rise and Fall of an Inner Asian Sufi Dynasty, Muḥammad Ṣadiq Kashghari, David Brophy (trans), Columbia University Press (January 2021)
In Remembrance of the Saints: The Rise and Fall of an Inner Asian Sufi Dynasty, Muḥammad Ṣadiq Kashghari, David Brophy (trans), Columbia University Press (January 2021)

In the first half of the 18th century, rival dynasties of Naqshbandi Sufi shaykhs vied for influence in the Tarim Basin, part of present-day Xinjiang. In the 1750s, the collapse of the Junghar Mongol state gave one branch of this family an opportunity to assert their independence in the oasis cities of Kashgar and Yarkand. Others sided with the armies of the Qing dynasty, which were massing on the frontiers to invade. The ensuing conflict saw the region incorporated into the expanding Qing imperium.

“Ivy Lin was a thief but you would never know it to look at her.” White Ivy, the debut novel by Susie Yang, is the story of Ivy Lin, a Chinese-American teenager growing up just outside of Boston, where she struggles to achieve the trappings of suburban teenagerhood. Years later, as a 27-year-old teacher haunted by confused feelings about her upbringing, she comes across characters from her past, which spurs a desire—perhaps an obsessive one—to remake her life. The novel has won rave reviews in publications and book clubs across the United States over the past few months.