Lyn Innes, Emeritus Professor of Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, is the great-granddaughter of the last Nawab of Bengal, Mansour Ali Khan. In this family memoir, she vividly brings the period to life through the stories of her antecedents, using both family history and source materials from the time, while giving a fascinating insight into the British Raj in India from the perspective of a local prince who was mistreated, and ultimately deposed, by the British authorities.
At the start of Ira Sukrungruang’s new book, This Jade World, he’s about to meet a new woman in a hotel room while his wife is packing her things to walk out on their marriage. This is going to be an open and honest memoir, a journey that will conclude with lessons learned and a new lease on life. Along the way, Sukruangruang writes about Asian masculinity, women’s relationships, and how his Chicago upbringing was shaped by his divorced Thai immigrant parents.
Zilka Joseph is a poet in Michigan whose writing is informed by her immigrant experience, an unusual one at that for it’s not just that she was born and raised in India: she’s also Bene Israel, the name for Indian Jews who have lived on the subcontinent for two thousand years. Her new book of poetry, In Our Beautiful Bones, tells mostly of her experiences in the United States.
It wasn’t unusual in the 1980s and 90s for parents in China to leave their kids behind with grandparents in search of economic opportunities overseas. Anna Qu was one, and only reunited with her mother in New York at age seven after a five-year separation. A not unusual story then, up to a point: Qu finds that she was never going to be included in her mother’s successes. Her book Made in China: A Memoir of Love and Labor is much more about labor than love.
Where do those relegated to the margins find belonging? In her luminous debut Unbelonging, Gayatri Sethi deftly interweaves verse, memoir, and a bold call to action as she recounts her experience searching for home in the diaspora.
When Kat Chow was a girl, her mother once joked about being preserved by taxidermy after she dies so that her family will still have her around. Not long after, she succumbs to cancer, leaving grief in her wake. Grief pervades the immigrant story of Kat Chow’s new memoir, Seeing Ghosts. Although most of the book takes place in Connecticut, where Chow was born and raised, her story reaches back to Southern China, Hong Kong, and Cuba.
It’s 1981 and Alma Rosen is a thirteen year-old living in New York City’s East Village. She’s mourning the loss of Grandma Miriam, her paternal grandmother who passed away a few years ago and to whom she was very close. Her parents don’t get along and she’s worried her family is going to further splinter apart. This is the backdrop of Tina Cane’s new novel in verse, Alma Presses Play. The book is marketed as a young adult novel, but Alma is still in middle school and the subject matter is just as appropriate for pre-teens as it is for teens.