The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!
We are undoubtedly experiencing a golden age of surreal fiction, much of it translated, and the best of it written by women. For short story junkies like myself it is a particularly good time to be stuck at home avoiding other humans. Each story in this amazing collection connects with me viscerally, yet each one connects differently, like a smell, a taste, or a texture. Some are mysterious and subtle while others are brazen and bold, grotesque even. Each one is exquisitely crafted and exhilarating to read!
Rabbit Island by Elvira Navarro, Christina MacSweeney (Trans (List Price: $19.95, Two Lines Press, 9781949641097, 2/9/2021)
Reviewed by Tony Peltier, Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
A fantastic new novel from an incredible writer. I loved every moment of Creatures of Passage and was hooked from the first page. Full of myth and mysticism, this is a complex web of stories that intersect in a way that slowly and gracefully unfolds. Complicated family relationships, systemic poverty and privilege, the transformative destruction of abuse, all of these themes and more create a beautiful and tragic look at the Anacostia neighborhood of DC.
Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejidé (List Price: $25, Akashic Books, 9781617758768, 3/16/2021)
Reviewed by Jamie Southern, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Inside the shimmering cover of this book is a fascinating modern look at the golden promise of the American Dream, and its dark underpinnings. Neeraj Narayan (or Neil, as he’s known in his Atlanta suburb) feels inferior to his over-achieving Asian American peers and unequipped to meet the expectations of his parents. So, when a magical solution presents itself in the form of a potion concocted by his neighbors, he’s all too willing to try it. This quick-fix has tragic consequences that continue to haunt him a decade later when he’s trying to find his footing in Silicon Valley as a graduate student writing his dissertation on the Gold Rush. This is a fascinating novel about history, ambition, addiction, and the question his sister and friends had to try and answer while competing in the Miss Teen India pageant: “What does it mean to be both Indian and American?”
Gold Diggers by Sanjena Sathian (List Price: $27, Penguin Press, 9781984882035, 4/6/2021)
Reviewed by Lady Smith, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama