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In nineteenth-century China a girl named Lily is paired with a laotong, an "old same," in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she's written a poem in nu shu, a language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret. As the years pass, the two find solace in their friendship, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their relationship threatens to tear apart.
Set in the post-martial-law era of late-1980s Taipei, "Notes of a Crocodile" is a coming-of-age story of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, this cult classic is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and major countercultural figure.
This is the stunning, deeply moving story of a family's search for their mother, who goes missing one afternoon amid the crowds of the Seoul Station subway. Told through the voices of a daughter, son, husband, and mother, "Please Look After Mom" is at once an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and a universal story of family love. You will never think of your mother the same way again after you read this book.
Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India's independence. Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence: his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India's 1,000 other "midnight's children," all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.
"Paradise of the Blind" is a portrait of three Vietnamese women struggling to survive among male dominance and Communist corruption. Through the eyes of Hang, a woman in her twenties, we come to know the tragedy of her family as land reform rips apart their village. When her uncle's political loyalties replace family devotion, Hang is torn between her mother's self-sacrifice and her aunt's bitterness. Only by freeing herself from the past will Hang be able to find dignity -- and a future.
Amba was named after a tragic figure in Indonesian mythology, and she spends her lifetime trying to invent a story she can call her own. When she meets two suitors who fit perfectly into her namesake's myth, Amba cannot help but feel that fate is teasing her. But military coups and religious disputes make 1960s Indonesia a place of uncertainty, and the chaos strengthens Amba's pursuit of freedom. The more Amba does to claim her own story, the better she understands her inextricable bonds to history, myth, and love.
Rehana Haque, a young widow, blissfully prepares for the party she will host for her son and daughter. But this is 1971 in East Pakistan, and change is in the air. Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, "A Golden Age" is a story of passion and revolution; of hope, faith, and unexpected heroism in the midst of chaos--and of one woman's struggle to keep her family safe.
Moth Smoke tells the story of Daru Shezad, who, fired from his banking job in Lahore, begins a decline that plummets him from the ranks of Pakistan's cell-phone-toting elite into a life of drugs and crime. But when a heist goes awry, Daru finds himself on trial for a murder he may or may not have committed.
A young boy descended from both chiefs and outlaws, Tor Baz becomes the Wandering Falcon, moving between the tribes of Pakistan and Afghanistan and their uncertain worlds. The wild area he travels has become a political quagmire known for terrorism and inaccessibility. Yet, author Jamil Ahmad lyrically and insightfully reveals the people who populate those lands, their tribes and traditions, and their older, timeless ways in the face of sometimes ruthless modernity.
Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them, they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation.
"Iraq + 100" poses a question to Iraqi writers: What might your home country look like in the year 2103, a century after a disastrous foreign invasion? Using science fiction, allegory, and magical realism to challenge the perception of what it means to be "The Other," this groundbreaking anthology contains stories that are heartbreakingly surreal, yet utterly recognizable. Though born out of exhaustion, fear, and despair, these stories are also fueled by love, family, endurance, and hope for the future.
Artemio Cruz, the all-powerful newspaper magnate and land baron, lies confined to his bed after collapsing during a business meeting. In dreamlike flashes, he recalls the pivotal episodes of his life, from his heroic campaigns during the Mexican Revolution to his relentless climb from poverty to wealth. "The Death of Artemio Cruz" is a haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico.
Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack, is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just desserts. An aunt convinces Quoyle and his two emotionally disturbed daughters to return with her to the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of their ancestral home in Newfoundland. Here, on desolate Quoyle's Point, in a house empty except for a few mementos of the family's unsavory past, the battered members of three generations try to cobble up new lives.
This landmark novel tells the story of the Buendia family of Columbia, chronicling the irreconcilable conflict between the desire for solitude and the need for love in rich, imaginative prose that has come to define an entire genre known as "magical realism."
"Things Fall Apart" tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a "strong man" of an Ibo village in Nigeria. The first traces Okonkwo's fall from grace with the tribal world in which he lives, while the second concerns the clash of cultures and the destruction of Okonkwo's world through the arrival of aggressive, proselytizing European missionaries.
Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a nun and a surgeon at a hospital in Addis Ababa. Orphaned by their mother's death and their father's disappearance, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Love for the same woman tears them apart and forces Marion to flee. When the past catches up to him, Marion must entrust his life to the two men he thought he trusted least: the father who abandoned him and the brother who betrayed him.
Trevor Noah's path from apartheid South Africa to "The Daily Show" began with a criminal act: Trevor was born to a white father and a black mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. "Born a Crime" is a collection of Trevor's stories about his curious world. They are by turns hilarious and dramatic, weaving together to form a portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother's unconventional, unconditional love.
Two half-sisters are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married to an Englishman and lives in comfort. Esi is sold into slavery in America. One thread of "Homegoing" follows Effia's descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana. The other follows Esi's children in America, from the plantations of the South to the jazz clubs of twentieth-century Harlem and the present day. "Homegoing" makes history visceral and captures how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
"Cry, the Beloved Country," the most famous and important novel in South Africa's history, is the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, "Cry, the Beloved Country" is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.
As teenagers in Nigeria, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. But Ifemelu departs for America to study, and when Obinze tries to join her, post-9/11 America will not let him in, plunging him into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu is the successful writer of a blog about race. When Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, and she and Obinze reignite their passion, they will face the toughest decisions of their lives.