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National Book Award
The National Book Awards were established in 1950 to celebrate the best writing in America. Since 1989, they have been overseen by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture. The Awards currently honors the best Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature published each year.
*The Young People's Literature winner and finalists are not included as reading options.
National Book Award Adult Fiction 2022 Winner and Finalists
The Rabbit Hutch by
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * The standout literary debut that everyone is talking about * "Inventive, heartbreaking and acutely funny."--The Guardian Blandine isn't like the other residents of her building. An online obituary writer. A young mother with a dark secret. A woman waging a solo campaign against rodents -- neighbors, separated only by the thin walls of a low-cost housing complex in the once bustling industrial center of Vacca Vale, Indiana. Welcome to the Rabbit Hutch. Ethereally beautiful and formidably intelligent, Blandine shares her apartment with three teenage boys she neither likes nor understands, all, like her, now aged out of the state foster care system that has repeatedly failed them, all searching for meaning in their lives. Set over one sweltering week in July and culminating in a bizarre act of violence that finally changes everything, The Rabbit Hutch is a savagely beautiful and bitingly funny snapshot of contemporary America, a gorgeous and provocative tale of loneliness and longing, entrapment and, ultimately, freedom. "Gunty writes with a keen, sensitive eye about all manner of intimacies―the kind we build with other people, and the kind we cultivate around ourselves and our tenuous, private aspirations."--Raven Leilani, author of Luster
Publication Date: 2022-08-02
The Birdcatcher by
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST 2022 Publishers Weekly Top 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2022 "Gayl Jones's work represents a watershed in American literature." --Imani Perry Legendary writer Gayl Jones returns with a stunning new novel about Black American artists in exile Gayl Jones, the novelist Toni Morrison discovered decades ago and Tayari Jones recently called her favorite writer, has been described as one of the great literary writers of the 20th century. Now, for the first time in over 20 years, Jones is publishing again. In the wake of her long-awaited fifth novel, Palmares, The Birdcatcher is another singular achievement, a return to the circles of her National Book Award finalist, The Healing. Set primarily on the island of Ibiza, the story is narrated by the writer Amanda Wordlaw, whose closest friend, a gifted sculptor named Catherine Shuger, is repeatedly institutionalized for trying to kill a husband who never leaves her. The three form a quirky triangle on the white-washed island. A study in Black women's creative expression, and the intensity of their relationships, this work from Jones shows off her range and insight into the vicissitudes of all human nature--rewarding longtime fans and bringing her talent to a new generation of readers.
Publication Date: 2022-09-13
The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories by
FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION NAMED ONE OF THE NEW YORKER'S BEST BOOKS OF 2022 "An endlessly inventive and moving collection from a thrilling and capacious young talent." --Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins. A luminous new collection of stories from a young writer who "has brought his culture's rich history, mythology, and lyricism to American letters." --Sandra Cisneros Pen/Hemingway finalist Jamil Jan Kochai ​breathes life into his contemporary Afghan characters, moving between modern-day Afghanistan and the Afghan diaspora in America. In these arresting stories verging on both comedy and tragedy, often starring young characters whose bravado is matched by their tenderness, Kochai once again captures "a singular, resonant voice, an American teenager raised by Old World Afghan storytellers."* In "Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain," a young man's video game experience turns into a surreal exploration on his own father's memories of war and occupation. Set in Kabul, "Return to Sender" follows two married doctors driven by guilt to leave the US and care for their fellow Afghans, even when their own son disappears. A college student in the US in "Hungry Ricky Daddy" starves himself in protest of Israeli violence against Palestine. And in the title story, "The Haunting of Hajji Hotak," we learn the story of a man codenamed Hajji, from the perspective of a government surveillance worker, who becomes entrenched in the immigrant family's life. The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories is a moving exploration of characters grappling with the ghosts of war and displacement--and one that speaks to the immediate political landscape we reckon with today. *The New York Times Book Review
Publication Date: 2022-07-19
All This Could Be Different by
2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST A New York Times Editors' Choice Pick "One of the buzziest, most human novels of the year...breathless, dizzying, and completely beautiful." --Vogue "Dazzling and wholly original...[written] with such mordant wit, insight, and specificity, it feels like watching a new literary star being born in real time." -Entertainment Weekly From a brilliant new voice comes an electrifying novel of a young immigrant building a life for herself--a warm, dazzling, and profound saga of queer love, friendship, work, and precarity in twenty-first century America Graduating into the long maw of an American recession, Sneha is one of the fortunate ones. She's moved to Milwaukee for an entry-level corporate job that, grueling as it may be, is the key that unlocks every door: she can pick up the tab at dinner with her new friend Tig, get her college buddy Thom hired alongside her, and send money to her parents back in India. She begins dating women--soon developing a burning crush on Marina, a beguiling and beautiful dancer who always seems just out of reach. But before long, trouble arrives. Painful secrets rear their heads; jobs go off the rails; evictions loom. Sneha struggles to be truly close and open with anybody, even as her friendships deepen, even as she throws herself headlong into a dizzying romance with Marina. It's then that Tig begins to draw up a radical solution to their problems, hoping to save them all. A beautiful and capacious novel rendered in singular, unforgettable prose, All This Could Be Different is a wise, tender, and riveting group portrait of young people forging love and community amidst struggle, and a moving story of one immigrant's journey to make her home in the world.
Publication Date: 2022-08-02
The Town of Babylon by
A FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION A PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY "BEST BOOK OF 2022" ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022 - BuzzFeed, LitHub, Electric Literature, LGBTQ Reads, Latinx in Publishing *Recommended by The New York Times* "Haunting, sublime, solemn, and true." --Robert Jones Jr., author of The Prophets "[An] intense, astute meditation on race, family, class, love, and friendship." --Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies In this contemporary debut novel--an intimate portrait of queer, racial, and class identity --Andrés, a gay Latinx professor, returns to his suburban hometown in the wake of his husband's infidelity. There he finds himself with no excuse not to attend his twenty-year high school reunion, and hesitantly begins to reconnect with people he used to call friends. Over the next few weeks, while caring for his aging parents and navigating the neighborhood where he grew up, Andrés falls into old habits with friends he thought he'd left behind. Before long, he unexpectedly becomes entangled with his first love and is forced to tend to past wounds. Captivating and poignant; a modern coming-of-age story about the essential nature of community, The Town of Babylon is a page-turning novel about young love and a close examination of our social systems and the toll they take when they fail us.
Publication Date: 2022-03-22
National Book Award Adult Fiction 2021 Winner and Finalists
Hell of a Book by
An astounding work of fiction from New York Times bestselling author Jason Mott, always deeply honest, at times electrically funny, that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans and America as a whole. In Jason Mott's Hell of a Book, a Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and more urgent: Mott's novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour. As these characters' stories build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it's also about the nation's reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America. Who has been killed? Who is The Kid? Will the author finish his book tour, and what kind of world will he leave behind? Unforgettably told, with characters who burn into your mind and an electrifying plot ideal for book club discussion, Hell of a Book is the novel Mott has been writing in his head for the last ten years. And in its final twists, it truly becomes its title.
Publication Date: 2021-06-29
Cloud Cuckoo Land by
Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna's will cross. Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon's story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet. Like Marie-Laure and Werner in All the Light We Cannot See, Anna, Omeir, Seymour, Zeno, and Konstance are dreamers and outsiders who find resourcefulness and hope in the midst of gravest danger. Their lives are gloriously intertwined, and Doerr's dazzling imagination transports us to worlds so dramatic and immersive that we forget, for a time, our own. Dedicated to "the librarians then, now, and in the years to come," Cloud Cuckoo Land is a beautiful and redemptive novel about stewardship--of the book, of the Earth, of the human heart.
Publication Date: 2021-09-28
Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. But in a world that is shifting and corroding in frightening ways, one that can never reconcile itself with her existence, will the sheer force of Marie's vision be bulwark enough?
Publication Date: 2021-09-07
As a girl, Zorrie Underwood's modest and hardscrabble home county was the only constant in her young life. After losing both her parents, Zorrie moved in with her aunt, whose own death orphaned Zorrie all over again, casting her off into the perilous realities and sublime landscapes of rural, Depression-era Indiana. Drifting west, Zorrie survived on odd jobs, sleeping in barns and under the stars, before finding a position at a radium processing plant. At the end of each day, the girls at her factory glowed from the radioactive material. But when Indiana calls Zorrie home, she finally finds the love and community that have eluded her in and around the small town of Hillisburg. And yet, even as she tries to build a new life, Zorrie discovers that her trials have only begun.
Publication Date: 2021-02-09
The Prophets by
A singular and stunning debut novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence. Isaiah was Samuel's and Samuel was Isaiah's. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man--a fellow slave--seeks to gain favor by preaching the master's gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel's love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation's harmony.
Publication Date: 2021-01-05
National Book Award Adult Fiction 2020 Winner and Finalists
Interior Chinatown by
From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play.
Leave the World Behind by
A magnetic novel about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong.
A Children's Bible by
Follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion. Contemptuous of their parents, who pass their days in a stupor of liquor, drugs, and sex, the children feel neglected and suffocated at the same time. When a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, the group's ringleaders--including Eve, who narrates the story--decide to run away, leading the younger ones on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside.
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by
Explores the raw and tender places where black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions.
Shuggie Bain by
Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in public housing in Glasgow, Scotland.
National Book Award Adult Fiction Category 2019 Winner and Finalists
Trust Exercise by
In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving "Brotherhood of the Arts," two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed--or untoyed with--by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley. The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school's walls--until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down.
Sabrina & Corina by
Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado--a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite--these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force. In "Sugar Babies," ancestry and heritage are hidden inside the earth but tend to rise during land disputes. "Any Further West" follows a sex worker and her daughter as they leave their ancestral home in southern Colorado only to find a foreign and hostile land in California. In "Tomi," a woman leaves prison and finds herself in a gentrified city that is a shadow of the one she remembers from her childhood.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own. As Tracker follows the boy's scent--from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers--he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him?
The Other Americans by
Late one spring night, Driss Guerraoui, a Moroccan immigrant living in California, is walking across a darkened intersection when he is killed by a speeding car. The repercussions of his death bring together a diverse cast of characters: Guerraoui's daughter Nora, a jazz composer who returns to the small town in the Mojave she thought she'd left for good; his widow, Maryam, who still pines after her life in the old country; Efraín, an undocumented witness whose fear of deportation prevents him from coming forward; Jeremy, an old friend of Nora's and an Iraq War veteran; Coleman, a detective who is slowly discovering her son's secrets; Anderson, a neighbor trying to reconnect with his family; and the murdered man himself. As the characters tell their stories, connections among them emerge, even as Driss's family confronts its secrets.
Disappearing Earth by
One August afternoon, on the shoreline of the Kamchatka peninsula at the northeastern edge of Russia, two girls--sisters, eight and eleven--go missing. In the ensuing weeks, then months, the police investigation turns up nothing. Echoes of the disappearance reverberate across a tightly woven community, with the fear and loss felt most deeply among its women. Taking us through a year in Kamchatka, Disappearing Earth enters with astonishing emotional acuity the worlds of a cast of richly drawn characters, all connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother.
National Book Award Adult Nonfiction 2022 Winner and Finalists
South to America by
FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "An elegant meditation on the complexities of the American South--and thus of America--by an esteemed daughter of the South and one of the great intellectuals of our time. An inspiration." --Isabel Wilkerson An essential, surprising journey through the history, rituals, and landscapes of the American South--and a revelatory argument for why you must understand the South in order to understand America We all think we know the South. Even those who have never lived there can rattle off a list of signifiers: the Civil War, Gone with the Wind, the Ku Klux Klan, plantations, football, Jim Crow, slavery. But the idiosyncrasies, dispositions, and habits of the region are stranger and more complex than much of the country tends to acknowledge. In South to America, Imani Perry shows that the meaning of American is inextricably linked with the South, and that our understanding of its history and culture is the key to understanding the nation as a whole. This is the story of a Black woman and native Alabaman returning to the region she has always called home and considering it with fresh eyes. Her journey is full of detours, deep dives, and surprising encounters with places and people. She renders Southerners from all walks of life with sensitivity and honesty, sharing her thoughts about a troubling history and the ritual humiliations and joys that characterize so much of Southern life. Weaving together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences, Imani Perry crafts a tapestry unlike any other. With uncommon insight and breathtaking clarity, South to America offers an assertion that if we want to build a more humane future for the United States, we must center our concern below the Mason-Dixon Line. A Recommended Read from: The New Yorker * The New York Times * TIME * Oprah Daily * USA Today * Vulture * Essence * Esquire * W Magazine * Atlanta Journal-Constitution * PopSugar * Book Riot * Chicago Review of Books * Electric Literature * Lit Hub
Publication Date: 2022-01-25
The Man Who Could Move Clouds by
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * LONGLISTED FOR THE 2023 ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE IN NONFICTION * A TIME BEST BOOK OF THE SUMMER * From the bestselling author of Fruit of the Drunken Tree, comes a dazzling, kaleidoscopic memoir reclaiming her family's otherworldly legacy. "Rojas Contreras reacquaints herself with her family's past, weaving their stories with personal narrative, unraveling legacies of violence, machismo and colonialism... In the process, she has written a spellbinding and genre-defying ancestral history."--New York Times Book Review For Ingrid Rojas Contreras, magic runs in the family. Raised amid the political violence of 1980s and '90s Colombia, in a house bustling with her mother's fortune-telling clients, she was a hard child to surprise. Her maternal grandfather, Nono, was a renowned curandero, a community healer gifted with what the family called "the secrets": the power to talk to the dead, tell the future, treat the sick, and move the clouds. And as the first woman to inherit "the secrets," Rojas Contreras' mother was just as powerful. Mami delighted in her ability to appear in two places at once, and she could cast out even the most persistent spirits with nothing more than a glass of water. This legacy had always felt like it belonged to her mother and grandfather, until, while living in the U.S. in her twenties, Rojas Contreras suffered a head injury that left her with amnesia. As she regained partial memory, her family was excited to tell her that this had happened before: Decades ago Mami had taken a fall that left her with amnesia, too. And when she recovered, she had gained access to "the secrets." In 2012, spurred by a shared dream among Mami and her sisters, and her own powerful urge to relearn her family history in the aftermath of her memory loss, Rojas Contreras joins her mother on a journey to Colombia to disinter Nono's remains. With Mami as her unpredictable, stubborn, and often amusing guide, Rojas Contreras traces her lineage back to her Indigenous and Spanish roots, uncovering the violent and rigid colonial narrative that would eventually break her mestizo family into two camps: those who believe "the secrets" are a gift, and those who are convinced they are a curse. Interweaving family stories more enchanting than those in any novel, resurrected Colombian history, and her own deeply personal reckonings with the bounds of reality, Rojas Contreras writes her way through the incomprehensible and into her inheritance. The result is a luminous testament to the power of storytelling as a healing art and an invitation to embrace the extraordinary.
Publication Date: 2022-07-12
The Invisible Kingdom by
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION Named one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2022 by The New Yorker "Remarkable." -Andrew Solomon, The New York Times Book Review At once a rigorous work of scholarship and a radical act of empathy."--Esquire A ray of light into those isolated cocoons of darkness that, at one time or another, may afflict us all." --The Wall Street Journal Essential.--The Boston Globe A landmark exploration of one of the most consequential and mysterious issues of our time: the rise of chronic illness and autoimmune diseases A silent epidemic of chronic illnesses afflicts tens of millions of Americans: these are diseases that are poorly understood, frequently marginalized, and can go undiagnosed and unrecognized altogether. Renowned writer Meghan O'Rourke delivers a revelatory investigation into this elusive category of "invisible" illness that encompasses autoimmune diseases, post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, and now long COVID, synthesizing the personal and the universal to help all of us through this new frontier. Drawing on her own medical experiences as well as a decade of interviews with doctors, patients, researchers, and public health experts, O'Rourke traces the history of Western definitions of illness, and reveals how inherited ideas of cause, diagnosis, and treatment have led us to ignore a host of hard-to-understand medical conditions, ones that resist easy description or simple cures. And as America faces this health crisis of extraordinary proportions, the populations most likely to be neglected by our institutions include women, the working class, and people of color. Blending lyricism and erudition, candor and empathy, O'Rourke brings together her deep and disparate talents and roles as critic, journalist, poet, teacher, and patient, synthesizing the personal and universal into one monumental project arguing for a seismic shift in our approach to disease. The Invisible Kingdom offers hope for the sick, solace and insight for their loved ones, and a radical new understanding of our bodies and our health.
Publication Date: 2022-03-01
National Book Award Finalist The story of the worldwide scientific quest to decipher the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, trace its source, and make possible the vaccines to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Breathless is the story of SARS-CoV-2 and its fierce journey through the human population, as seen by the scientists who study its origin, its ever-changing nature, and its capacity to kill us. David Quammen expertly shows how strange new viruses emerge from animals into humans as we disrupt wild ecosystems, and how those viruses adapt to their human hosts, sometimes causing global catastrophe. He explains why this coronavirus will probably be a "forever virus," destined to circulate among humans and bedevil us endlessly, in one variant form or another. As scientists labor to catch it, comprehend it, and control it, with their high-tech tools and methods, the virus finds ways of escape. Based on interviews with nearly one hundred scientists, including leading virologists in China and around the world, Quammen explains that: -Infectious disease experts saw this pandemic coming -Some scientists, for more than two decades, warned that "the next big one" would be caused by a changeable new virus--very possibly a coronavirus--but such warnings were ignored for political or economic reasons -The precise origins of this virus may not be known for years, but some clues are compelling, and some suppositions can be dismissed -And much more. Breathless takes you inside the frantic international effort to understand and control SARS-CoV-2 as if we were peering over the shoulders of the brilliant scientists who led the chase.
Publication Date: 2022-10-04
His Name Is George Floyd by
FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION A landmark biography by two prizewinning Washington Post reporters that reveals how systemic racism shaped George Floyd's life and legacy--from his family's roots in the tobacco fields of North Carolina, to ongoing inequality in housing, education, health care, criminal justice, and policing--telling the story of how one man's tragic experience brought about a global movement for change. "It is a testament to the power of His Name Is George Floyd that the book's most vital moments come not after Floyd's death, but in its intimate, unvarnished and scrupulous account of his life . . . Impressive." --New York Times Book Review "Since we know George Floyd's death with tragic clarity, we must know Floyd's America--and life--with tragic clarity. Essential for our times." --Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Antiracist "A much-needed portrait of the life, times, and martyrdom of George Floyd, a chronicle of the racial awakening sparked by his brutal and untimely death, and an essential work of history I hope everyone will read." --Henry Louis Gates, Jr., author of The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song The events of that day are now tragically familiar: on May 25, 2020, George Floyd became the latest Black person to die at the hands of the police, murdered outside of a Minneapolis convenience store by white officer Derek Chauvin. The video recording of his death set off the largest protest movement in the history of the United States, awakening millions to the pervasiveness of racial injustice. But long before his face was painted onto countless murals and his name became synonymous with civil rights, Floyd was a father, partner, athlete, and friend who constantly strove for a better life. His Name Is George Floyd tells the story of a beloved figure from Houston's housing projects as he faced the stifling systemic pressures that come with being a Black man in America. Placing his narrative within the context of the country's enduring legacy of institutional racism, this deeply reported account examines Floyd's family roots in slavery and sharecropping, the segregation of his schools, the overpolicing of his community amid a wave of mass incarceration, and the callous disregard toward his struggle with addiction--putting today's inequality into uniquely human terms. Drawing upon hundreds of interviews with Floyd's closest friends and family, his elementary school teachers and varsity coaches, civil rights icons, and those in the highest seats of political power, Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa offer a poignant and moving exploration of George Floyd's America, revealing how a man who simply wanted to breathe ended up touching the world.
Publication Date: 2022-05-17
National Book Award Adult Nonfiction 2021 Winner and Finalists
All That She Carried by
A renowned historian traces the life of a single object handed down through three generations of Black women to craft an extraordinary testament to people who are left out of the archives. In 1850s South Carolina, an enslaved woman named Rose faced a crisis, the imminent sale of her daughter Ashley. Thinking quickly, she packed a cotton bag with a few precious items as a token of love and to try to ensure Ashley's survival. Soon after, the nine-year-old girl was separated from her mother and sold. Decades later, Ashley's granddaughter Ruth embroidered this family history on the bag in spare yet haunting language-including Rose's wish that "It be filled with my Love always." Ruth's sewn words, the reason we remember Ashley's sack today, evoke a sweeping family story of loss and of love passed down through generations. Now, in this illuminating, deeply moving book inspired by Rose's gift to Ashley, historian Tiya Miles carefully unearths these women's faint presence in archival records to follow the paths of their lives-and the lives of so many women like them-to write a singular and revelatory history of the experience of slavery, and the uncertain freedom afterward, in the United States. The search to uncover this history is part of the story itself. For where the historical record falls short of capturing Rose's, Ashley's, and Ruth's full lives, Miles turns to objects and to art as equally important sources, assembling a chorus of women's and families' stories and critiquing the scant archives that for decades have overlooked so many. The contents of Ashley's sack-a tattered dress, handfuls of pecans, a braid of hair, "my Love always"-are eloquent evidence of the lives these women lived. As she follows Ashley's journey, Miles metaphorically unpacks the bag, deepening its emotional resonance and exploring the meanings and significance of everything it contained.
Publication Date: 2021-06-08
A Little Devil in America by
"I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too." Inspired by these few words, spoken by Josephine Baker at the 1963 March on Washington, MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellow and bestselling author Hanif Abdurraqib has written a profound and lasting reflection on how Black performance is inextricably woven into the fabric of American culture. Each moment in every performance he examines--whether it's the twenty-seven seconds in "Gimme Shelter" in which Merry Clayton wails the words "rape, murder," a schoolyard fistfight, a dance marathon, or the instant in a game of spades right after the cards are dealt--has layers of resonance in Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and Abdurraqib's own personal history of love, grief, and performance. Touching on Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Billy Dee Williams, the Wu-Tan Clan, Dave Chappelle, and more, Abdurraqib writes prose brimming with jubilation and pain. With care and generosity, he explains the poignancy of performances big and small, each one feeling intensely familiar and vital, both timeless and desperately urgent. Filled with sharp insight, humor, and heart, A Little Devil in America exalts the Black performance that unfolds in specific moments in time and space--from midcentury Paris to the moon, and back down again to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio.
Publication Date: 2021-03-30
Running Out by
An intimate reckoning with aquifer depletion in America's heartland. The Ogallala aquifer has nourished life on the American Great Plains for millennia. But less than a century of unsustainable irrigation farming has taxed much of the aquifer beyond repair. The imminent depletion of the Ogallala and other aquifers around the world is a defining planetary crisis of our times. Running Out offers a uniquely personal account of aquifer depletion and the deeper layers through which it gains meaning and force. Anthropologist Lucas Bessire journeyed back to western Kansas, where five generations of his family lived as irrigation farmers and ranchers, to try to make sense of this vital resource and its loss. His search for water across the drying High Plains brings the reader face to face with the stark realities of industrial agriculture, eroding democratic norms, and surreal interpretations of a looming disaster. Yet the destination is far from predictable, as the book seeks to move beyond the words and genres through which destruction is often known. Instead, this journey into the morass of eradication offers a series of unexpected discoveries about what it means to inherit the troubled legacies of the past and how we can take responsibility for a more inclusive, sustainable future.
Publication Date: 2021-05-18
Tastes Like War by
Part food memoir, part sociological investigation, Tastes Like War is a hybrid text about a daughter's search through intimate and global history for the roots of her mother's schizophrenia. In her mother's final years, Grace learned to cook dishes from her parent's childhood in order to invite the past into the present, and to hold space for her mother's multiple voices at the table.
Publication Date: 2021-05-18
Covered with Night by
In the summer of 1722, on the eve of a conference between the Five Nations of the Iroquois and British-American colonists, two colonial fur traders brutally attacked an Indigenous hunter in colonial Pennsylvania. The crime set the entire mid-Atlantic on edge, with many believing that war was imminent. Frantic efforts to resolve the case created a contest between Native American forms of justice, centered on community, forgiveness, and reparations, and an ideology of harsh reprisal, based on British law, that called for the killers' execution. In a stunning narrative history based on painstaking original research, acclaimed historian Nicole Eustace reconstructs the crime and its aftermath, taking us into the worlds of Euro-Americans and Indigenous peoples in this formative period.
Publication Date: 2021-04-27
National Book Award Nonfiction 2020 Winner and Finalists
The Dead Are Arising by
An epic biography of Malcolm X finally emerges, drawing on hundreds of hours of the author's interviews, rewriting much of the known narrative.
Unworthy Republic by
In this powerful, gripping book, Claudio Saunt upends the common view that "Indian Removal" was an inevitable chapter in US expansion across the continent. Instead, Saunt argues that it was a contested political act--resisted by both indigenous peoples and US citizens--that passed in Congress by a razor-thin margin.
My Autobiography of Carson Mccullers by
While working as an intern in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center, Jenn Shapland encounters the love letters of Carson McCullers and a woman named Annemarie-letters that are tender, intimate, and unabashed in their feelings.
The Undocumented Americans by
One of the first undocumented immigrants to graduate from Harvard reveals the hidden lives of her fellow undocumented Americans in this deeply personal and groundbreaking portrait of a nation.
How to Make a Slave and Other Essays by
Personal essays exploring identity, family, and community through the prism of race and black culture. Confronts the medical profession's racial biases, shopping while black at Whole Foods, the legacy of Michael Jackson, raising black boys, haircuts that scare white people, racial profiling, and growing up in Southside Chicago.
National Book Award Nonfiction 2019 Winner and Finalists
The Yellow House by
In 1961, Sarah M. Broom's mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plant--the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarah's father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarah's birth, the Yellow House would become Ivory Mae's thirteenth and most unruly child.
In these eight ... explorations on beauty, media, money, and more, Tressie McMillan Cottom--award-winning professor and ... author of Lower Ed--embraces her ... role as a purveyor of wit, wisdom, and Black Twitter snark about all that is right and much that is wrong with this thing we call society.
What You Have Heard Is True by
Describes the author's deep friendship with a mysterious intellectual who introduced her to the culture and people of El Salvador in the 1970s, a tumultuous period in the country's history, inspiring her work as an unlikely activist.
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by
Beginning with the tribes' devastating loss of land and the forced assimilation of their children at government-run boarding schools, Treuer shows how the period of greatest adversity also helped to incubate a unifying Native identity. He traces how conscription in the US military and the pull of urban life brought Indians into the mainstream and modern times, even as it steered the emerging shape of their self-rule and spawned a new generation of resistance. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is an essential, intimate history - and counter-narrative - of a resilient people in a transformative era.
This is the unforgettable life story of a man who served more than four decades in solitary confinement--in a 6-foot by 9-foot cell, 23 hours a day, in notorious Angola prison in Louisiana--for a crime he did not commit.
National Book Award Young People's Literature 2022 Winner and Finalists
All My Rage by
National Book Award FINALIST An INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! An INSTANT INDIE BESTSELLER! "All My Rage is a love story, a tragedy and an infectious teenage fever dream about what home means when you feel you don't fit in." -- New York Times Book Review From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir comes a brilliant, unforgettable, and heart-wrenching contemporary novel about family and forgiveness, love and loss, in a sweeping story that crosses generations and continents. Lahore, Pakistan. Then. Misbah is a dreamer and storyteller, newly married to Toufiq in an arranged match. After their young life is shaken by tragedy, they come to the United States and open the Clouds' Rest Inn Motel, hoping for a new start. Juniper, California. Now. Salahudin and Noor are more than best friends; they are family. Growing up as outcasts in the small desert town of Juniper, California, they understand each other the way no one else does. Until The Fight, which destroys their bond with the swift fury of a star exploding. Now, Sal scrambles to run the family motel as his mother Misbah's health fails and his grieving father loses himself to alcoholism. Noor, meanwhile, walks a harrowing tightrope: working at her wrathful uncle's liquor store while hiding the fact that she's applying to college so she can escape him--and Juniper--forever. When Sal's attempts to save the motel spiral out of control, he and Noor must ask themselves what friendship is worth--and what it takes to defeat the monsters in their pasts and the ones in their midst. From one of today's most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness--one that's both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.
Publication Date: 2022-03-01
The Ogress and the Orphans by
A new instant-classic fantasy about the power of generosity and love, and how a community suffers when they disappear, by Kelly Barnhill, winner of the Newbery Medal for The Girl Who Drank the Moon, a New York Times bestseller. Stone-in-the-Glen, once a lovely town, has fallen on hard times. Fires, floods, and other calamities have caused the people to lose their library, their school, their park, and even their neighborliness. The people put their faith in the Mayor, a dazzling fellow who promises he alone can help. After all, he is a famous dragon slayer. (At least, no one has seen a dragon in his presence.) Only the clever children of the Orphan House and the kindly Ogress at the edge of town can see how dire the town's problems are. Then one day a child goes missing from the Orphan House. At the Mayor's suggestion, all eyes turn to the Ogress. The Orphans know this can't be: the Ogress, along with a flock of excellent crows, secretly delivers gifts to the people of Stone-in-the-Glen. But how can the Orphans tell the story of the Ogress's goodness to people who refuse to listen? And how can they make their deluded neighbors see the real villain in their midst?
Publication Date: 2022-03-08
The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School by
National Bestseller * National Book Award Finalist A sharply funny and moving debut novel about a queer Mexican American girl navigating Catholic school, while falling in love and learning to celebrate her true self. Perfect for fans of Erika L. Sánchez, Leah Johnson, and Gabby Rivera. Sixteen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers to be known for her killer eyeliner, not for being one of the only Mexican kids at her new, mostly white, very rich Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she's gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend before transferring to Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: keep her brother out of trouble, make her mom proud, and, most importantly, don't fall in love. Granted, she's never been great at any of those things, but that's a problem for Future Yami. The thing is, it's hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. So cute. Either way, Yami isn't going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she'll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do? Told in a captivating voice that is by turns hilarious, vulnerable, and searingly honest, The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School explores the joys and heartaches of living your full truth out loud.
Publication Date: 2022-05-17
Victory. Stand! by
On October 16, 1968, during the medal ceremony at the Mexico City Olympics, Tommie Smith, the gold medal winner in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, the bronze medal winner, stood on the podium in black socks and raised their black-gloved fists to protest racial injustice inflicted upon African Americans. Both men were forced to leave the Olympics, received death threats, and faced ostracism and continuing economic hardships. In his first-ever memoir for young readers, Tommie Smith looks back on his childhood growing up in rural Texas through to his stellar athletic career, culminating in his historic victory and Olympic podium protest. Cowritten with Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author Honor recipient Derrick Barnes and illustrated with bold and muscular artwork from Emmy Award-winning illustrator Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand! paints a stirring portrait of an iconic moment in Olympic history that still resonates today.
Publication Date: 2022-09-27
Maizy Chen's Last Chance by
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * Twelve year-old Maizy discovers her family's Chinese restaurant is full of secrets in this irresistible novel that celebrates food, fortune, and family. Welcome to the Golden Palace! Maizy has never been to Last Chance, Minnesota . . . until now. Her mom's plan is just to stay for a couple weeks, until her grandfather gets better. But plans change, and as Maizy spends more time in Last Chance and at the Golden Palace--the restaurant that's been in her family for generations--she makes some discoveries.For instance: You can tell a LOT about someone by the way they order food. People can surprise you. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in disappointing ways. And the Golden Palace has secrets... But the more Maizy discovers, the more questions she has. Like, why are her mom and her grandmother always fighting? Who are the people in the photographs on the office wall? And when she discovers that a beloved family treasure has gone missing--and someone has left a racist note--Maizy decides it's time to find the answers. "This book is a gift." --Tae Keller, Newbery Medal-winning author of When You Trap a Tiger
Publication Date: 2022-02-01
National Book Award Young People's Literature 2021 Winner and Finalists
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the feeling took root--that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible. But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
Publication Date: 2021-01-19
The Legend of Auntie Po by
Part historical fiction, part fable, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine while she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885. Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman's daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan--reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch. Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the difficulty and politics of lumber camp work and her growing romantic feelings for her friend Bee. The Legend of Auntie Po is about who gets to own a myth, and about immigrant families and communities holding on to rituals and traditions while staking out their own place in the United States.
Publication Date: 2021-06-15
Too Bright to See by
It's the summer before middle school and eleven-year-old Bug's best friend Moira has decided the two of them need to use the next few months to prepare. For Moira, this means figuring out the right clothes to wear, learning how to put on makeup, and deciding which boys are cuter in their yearbook photos than in real life. But none of this is all that appealing to Bug, who doesn't particularly want to spend more time trying to understand how to be a girl. Besides, there's something more important to worry about- A ghost is haunting Bug's eerie old house in rural Vermont...and maybe haunting Bug in particular. As Bug begins to untangle the mystery of who this ghost is and what they're trying to say, an altogether different truth comes to light--Bug is transgender.
Publication Date: 2021-04-20
Revolution in Our Time: the Black Panther Party's Promise to the People by
With passion and precision, Kekla Magoon relays an essential account of the Black Panthers--as militant revolutionaries and as human rights advocates working to defend and protect their community. In this comprehensive, inspiring, and all-too-relevant history of the Black Panther Party, Kekla Magoon introduces readers to the Panthers' community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens. For too long the Panthers' story has been a footnote to the civil rights movement rather than what it was: a revolutionary socialist movement that drew thousands of members--mostly women--and became the target of one of the most sustained repression efforts ever made by the U.S. government against its own citizens. Revolution in Our Time puts the Panthers in the proper context of Black American history, from the first arrival of enslaved people to the Black Lives Matter movement of today. Kekla Magoon's eye-opening work invites a new generation of readers grappling with injustices in the United States to learn from the Panthers' history and courage, inspiring them to take their own place in the ongoing fight for justice.
Publication Date: 2021-11-08
Me (Moth) by
A debut YA novel-in-verse by Amber McBride, Me (Moth) is about a teen girl who is grieving the deaths of her family, and a teen boy who crosses her path. Moth has lost her family in an accident. Though she lives with her aunt, she feels alone and uprooted. Until she meets Sani, a boy who is also searching for his roots. If he knows more about where he comes from, maybe he'll be able to understand his ongoing depression. And if Moth can help him feel grounded, then perhaps she too will discover the history she carries in her bones. Moth and Sani take a road trip that has them chasing ghosts and searching for ancestors. The way each moves forward is surprising, powerful, and unforgettable. Here is an exquisite and uplifting novel about identity, first love, and the ways that our memories and our roots steer us through the universe.
Publication Date: 2021-08-17
National Book Award Young People's Literature 2020 Winner and Finalists
King of the Dragonflies by
In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.
We Are Not Free by
For fourteen-year-old budding artist Minoru Ito, her two brothers, her friends, and the other members of the Japanese-American community in southern California, the three months since Pearl Harbor was attacked have become a waking nightmare: attacked, spat on, and abused with no way to retaliate--and now things are about to get worse, their lives forever changed by the mass incarcerations in the relocation camps.
Every Body Looking by
A mixed-heritage dancer's coming of age within the African diaspora is shaped by abuse at the hands of a cousin, her mother's descent into addiction, and her father's efforts to create a Nigerian-inspired home in America.
The Way Back by
Follows Eastern European teens Yehuda and Bluma on a journey through the Far Country, the Jewish land of the dead.
National Book Award Young People's Literature 2019 Winner and Finalists
In Jam and Redemption’s hometown of Lucille, there are no monsters anymore — or so they’ve always been taught. But when a creature emerges from Jam’s mother’s painting and claims it’s here to hunt a monster, Jam and Redemption must reconsider what they thought they knew, and answer the question: how do you hunt monsters if no one will admit they even exist?
Look Both Ways by
This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy-- Talking about boogers. Stealing pocket change. Skateboarding. Wiping out. Braving up. Executing complicated handshakes. Planning an escape. Making jokes. Lotioning up. Finding comfort. But mostly, too busy walking home.
Patron Saints of Nothing by
Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte's war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story. Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth -- and the part he played in it. As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by
Frankie and her sister, Toni, are abandoned alongside so many other orphans--two young, unwanted women doing everything they can to survive. And as the embers of the Great Depression are kindled into the fires of World War II, and the shadows of injustice, poverty, and death walk the streets in broad daylight, it will be up to Frankie to find something worth holding on to in the ruins of this shattered America--every minute of every day spent wondering if the life she's able to carve out will be enough. I will admit I do not know the answer. But I will be watching, waiting to find out. That's what ghosts do.
1919 the Year That Changed America by
1919 was a world-shaking year. America was recovering from World War I and black soldiers returned to racism so violent that that summer would become known as the Red Summer. The suffrage movement had a long-fought win when women gained the right to vote. Laborers took to the streets to protest working conditions; nationalistic fervor led to a communism scare; and temperance gained such traction that prohibition went into effect. Each of these movements reached a tipping point that year.
National Book Award Translated Literature 2022 Winner and Finalists
Seven Empty Houses by
Finalist for the 2022 National Book Award for Translated Literature A blazing new story collection that will make you feel like the house is collapsing in on you, from the 3 time International Booker Prize finalist, "lead[ing] a vanguard of Latin American writers forging their own 21st-century canon." -O, the Oprah magazine The seven houses in these seven stories are strange. A person is missing, or a truth, or memory; some rooms are enticing, some unmoored, others empty. But in Samanta Schweblin's tense, visionary tales, something always creeps back inside: a ghost, a fight, trespassers, a list of things to do before you die, a child's first encounter with darkness or the fallibility of parents. In each story, twists and turns will unnerve and surprise: Schweblin never takes the expected path and instead digs under the skin, revealing surreal truths about our sense of home, of belonging, and of the fragility of our connections with others. This is a masterwork from one of our most brilliant modern writers.
Publication Date: 2022-10-18
A New Name: Septology VI-VII by
2022 International Booker Prize, Finalist 2022 National Book Award, Finalist New York Times Editors' Choice "With Septology, Fosse has found a new approach to writing fiction, different from what he has written before and--it is strange to say, as the novel enters its fifth century--different from what has been written before. Septology feels new."--WYATT MASON, HARPERS Asle is an aging painter and widower who lives alone on the west coast of Norway. His only friends are his neighbor, Åsleik, a traditional fisherman-farmer, and Beyer, a gallerist who lives in the city. There, in Bjørgvin, lives another Asle, also a painter but lonely and consumed by alcohol. Asle and Asle are doppelgängers--two versions of the same person, two versions of the same life. Written in melodious and hypnotic "slow prose," A New Name is the final installment of Jon Fosse's Septology, "a major work of Scandinavian fiction" (Hari Kunzru) and an exquisite metaphysical novel about love, art, God, friendship, and the passage of time.
Publication Date: 2022-02-26
In four beautifully woven parts, Mukasonga spins a marvelous recounting of the clash between ancient Rwandan beliefs and the missionaries determined to replace them with European Christianity. When a rogue priest is defrocked for fusing the gospels with the martyrdom of Kibogo, a fierce clash of cults ensues. Swirling with the heady smell of wet earth and flashes of acerbic humor, Mukasonga brings to life the vital mythologies that imbue the Rwandan spirit.
Publication Date: 2022-09-13
Finalist for the 2022 National Book Award in Translated Literature! "Was desire something like being possessed by a nightmare?" Fernanda and Annelise are so close they are practically sisters: a double image, inseparable. So how does Fernanda end up bound on the floor of a deserted cabin, held hostage by one of her teachers and estranged from Annelise? When Fernanda, Annelise, and their friends from the Delta Bilingual Academy convene after school, Annelise leads them in thrilling but increasingly dangerous rituals to a rhinestoned, Dior-scented, drag-queen god of her own invention. Even more perilous is the secret Annelise and Fernanda share, rooted in a dare in which violence meets love. Meanwhile, their literature teacher Miss Clara, who is obsessed with imitating her dead mother, struggles to preserve her deteriorating sanity. Each day she edges nearer to a total break with reality. Interweaving pop culture references and horror concepts drawn from from Herman Melville, H. P. Lovecraft, and anonymous "creepypastas," Jawbone is an ominous, multivocal novel that explores the terror inherent in the pure potentiality of adolescence and the fine line between desire and fear.
Publication Date: 2022-02-08
Scattered All over the Earth by
Welcome to the not-too-distant future: Japan, having vanished from the face of the earth, is now remembered as "the land of sushi." Hiruko, its former citizen and a climate refugee herself, has a job teaching immigrant children in Denmark with her invented language Panska (Pan-Scandinavian): "homemade language. no country to stay in. three countries I experienced. insufficient space in brain. so made new language. homemade language." As she searches for anyone who can still speak her mother tongue, Hiruko soon makes new friends. Her troupe travels to France, encountering an umami cooking competition; a dead whale; an ultra-nationalist named Breivik; unrequited love; Kakuzo robots; red herrings; uranium; an Andalusian matador. Episodic and mesmerizing scenes flash vividly along, and soon they're all next off to Stockholm. With its intrepid band of companions, Scattered All Over the Earth (the first novel of a trilogy) may bring to mind Alice's Adventures in Wonderland or a surreal Wind in the Willows, but really is just another sui generis Yoko Tawada masterwork.
Publication Date: 2022-03-01
National Book Award Translated Literature 2021 Winner and Finalists
Winter in Sokcho by
It's winter in Sokcho, a tourist town on the border between South and North Korea. The cold slows everything down. Bodies are red and raw, the fish turn venomous, beyond the beach guns point out from the North's watchtowers. A young French Korean woman works as a receptionist in a tired guesthouse. One evening, an unexpected guest arrives: a French cartoonist determined to find inspiration in this desolate landscape. The two form an uneasy relationship. When she agrees to accompany him on trips to discover an "authentic" Korea, they visit snowy mountaintops and dramatic waterfalls, and cross into North Korea. But he takes no interest in the Sokcho she knows--the gaudy neon lights, the scars of war, the fish market where her mother works. As she's pulled into his vision and taken in by his drawings, she strikes upon a way to finally be seen.
Publication Date: 2021-04-27
Peach Blossom Paradise by
In 1898, reformist intellectuals in China persuaded the young emperor that it was time to transform his sclerotic empire into a prosperous modern state. The Hundred Days' Reform that followed was a moment of unprecedented change and extraordinary hope--brought to an abrupt end by a bloody military coup. Dashed expectations would contribute to the revolutionary turn that Chinese history would soon take, leading in time to the deaths of millions. Peach Blossom Paradise, set at the time of the reform, is the story of Xiumi, the daughter of a wealthy landowner and former government official who falls prey to insanity and disappears. Days later, a man with a gold cicada in his pocket turns up at his estate and is inexplicably welcomed as a relative. This mysterious man has a great vision of reforging China as an egalitarian utopia, and he will stop at nothing to make it real. It is his own plans, however, which come to nothing, and his "little sister" Xiumi is left to take up arms against a Confucian world in which women are chattel. Her campaign for change and her struggle to seize control over her own body are continually threatened by the violent whims of men who claim to be building paradise.
Publication Date: 2020-12-08
The Twilight Zone by
It is 1984 in Chile, in the middle of the Pinochet dictatorship. A member of the secret police walks into the office of a dissident magazine and finds a reporter, who records his testimony. The narrator of Nona Fernández's mesmerizing and terrifying novel, The Twilight Zone, is a child when she first sees this man's face on the magazine's cover with the words "I Tortured People." His complicity in the worst crimes of the regime and his commitment to speaking about them haunt the narrator into her adulthood and career as a writer and documentarian. Like a secret service agent from the future, through extraordinary feats of the imagination, Fernández follows the "man who tortured people" to places that archives can't reach, into the sinister twilight zone of history where morning routines, a game of chess, Yuri Gagarin, and the eponymous TV show of the novel's title coexist with the brutal yet commonplace machinations of the regime. How do crimes vanish in plain sight? How does one resist a repressive regime? And who gets to shape the truths we live by and take for granted? The Twilight Zone pulls us into the dark portals of the past, reminding us that the work of the writer in the face of historical erasure is to imagine so deeply that these absences can be, for a time, spectacularly illuminated.
Publication Date: 2021-03-16
When We Cease to Understand the World by
A fictional examination of the lives of real-life scientists and thinkers whose discoveries resulted in moral consequences beyond their imagining. When We Cease to Understand the World is a book about the complicated links between scientific and mathematical discovery, madness, and destruction. Fritz Haber, Alexander Grothendieck, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger--these are some of the luminaries into whose troubled lives Benjamín Labatut thrusts the reader, showing us how they grappled with the most profound questions of existence. They have strokes of unparalleled genius, alienate friends and lovers, descend into isolation and insanity. Some of their discoveries reshape human life for the better; others pave the way to chaos and unimaginable suffering. The lines are never clear. At a breakneck pace and with a wealth of disturbing detail, Labatut uses the imaginative resources of fiction to tell the stories of the scientists and mathematicians who expanded our notions of the possible.
Publication Date: 2021-09-28
Planet of Clay by
Rima, a young girl from Damascus, longs to walk, to be free to follow the will of her feet, but instead is perpetually constrained. Rima finds refuge in a fantasy world full of colored crayons, secret planets, and The Little Prince, reciting passages of the Qur'an like a mantra as everything and everyone around her is blown to bits. Since Rima hardly ever speaks, people think she's crazy, but she is no fool--the madness is in the battered city around her. One day while taking a bus through Damascus, a soldier opens fire and her mother is killed. Rima, wounded, is taken to a military hospital before her brother leads her to the besieged area of Ghouta--where, between bombings, she writes her story. In Planet of Clay, Samar Yazbek offers a surreal depiction of the horrors taking place in Syria, in vivid and poetic language and with a sharp eye for detail and beauty.
Publication Date: 2021-10-05
National Book Award Translated Literature 2020 Winner and Finalists
Tokyo Ueno Station by
A surreal, devastating story of a homeless ghost who haunts one of Tokyo's busiest train stations. Kazu is dead. Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Japanese Emperor, his life is tied by a series of coincidences to the Imperial family and has been shaped at every turn by modern Japanese history.
High As the Waters Rise by
One night aboard an oil drilling platform in the Atlantic, Waclaw returns to his cabin to find that his bunkmate and companion, Mátyás, has gone missing. A search of the rig confirms his fear that Mátyás has fallen into the sea. Grief-stricken, he embarks on an epic emotional and physical journey that takes him to Morocco, to Budapest and Mátyás's hometown in Hungary, to Malta, Italy, and finally to the mining town of his childhood in Germany.
The Family Clause by
"The son did as he was told. All his bloody life, he has done as he has been told. Time to change that, he thinks, grabbing a pen. He doesn't write that this will be the last time his father stays here. He doesn't write that he wants to break the father clause. Instead, he writes: Welcome, Dad. Hope you had a good flight."
Minor Detail by
Minor Detail begins during the summer of 1949, one year after the war that the Palestinians mourn as the Nakba--the catastrophe that led to the displacement and exile of some 700,000 people--and the Israelis celebrate as the War of Independence. Israeli soldiers murder an encampment of Bedouin in the Negev desert, and among their victims they capture a Palestinian teenager and they rape her, kill her, and bury her in the sand. Many years later, in the near-present day, a young woman in Ramallah tries to uncover some of the details surrounding this particular rape and murder, and becomes fascinated to the point of obsession, not only because of the nature of the crime, but because it was committed exactly twenty-five years to the day before she was born.
National Book Award Translated Literature 2019 Winner & Finalists
Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by
Set in contemporary times, Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming tells the story of a Prince Myshkin-like figure, Baron Béla Wenckheim, who returns at the end of his life to his provincial Hungarian hometown. Having escaped from his many casino debts in Buenos Aires, where he was living in exile, he longs to be reunited with his high-school sweetheart Marika. Confusions abound, and what follows is an endless storm of gossip, con men, and local politicians, vividly evoking the small town's alternately drab and absurd existence.
Death Is Hard Work by
Abdel Latif, an old man from the Aleppo region, dies peacefully in a hospital bed in Damascus. His final wish, conveyed to his youngest son, Bolbol, is to be buried in the family plot in their ancestral village of Anabiya. Though Abdel was hardly an ideal father, and though Bolbol is estranged from his siblings, this conscientious son persuades his older brother Hussein and his sister Fatima to accompany him and the body to Anabiya, which is--after all--only a two-hour drive from Damascus. There's only one problem: Their country is a war zone.
The Barefoot Woman by
A moving, unforgettable tribute to a Tutsi woman who did everything to protect her children from the Rwandan genocide, by the daughter who refuses to let her family's story be forgotten.
The Memory Police by
On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses--until things become much more serious. Most of the island's inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.
The death of head of state Enver Hoxha and the loss of his father leave Bujar growing up in the ruins of Communist Albania and of his own family. Only his fearless best friend, Agim--who is facing his own realizations about his gender and sexuality--gives him hope for the future. Together the two decide to leave everything behind and try their luck in Italy. But the struggle to feel at home--in a foreign country and even in one's own body--will have corrosive effects, spurring a dangerous search for new identities.
National Book Award Poetry 2022 Winner and Finalists
A landmark collection of poetry by acclaimed fiction writer, translator, and MacArthur Fellow John Keene, PUNKS: NEW & SELECTED POEMS is a generous treasury in seven sections that spans decades and includes previously unpublished and brand new work. With depth and breadth, PUNKS weaves together historic narratives of loss, lust, and love. The many voices that emerge in these poems--from historic Black personalities, both familial and famous, to the poet's friends and lovers in gay bars and bedrooms--form a cast of characters capable of addressing desire, oppression, AIDS, and grief through sorrowful songs that "we sing as hard as we live." At home in countless poetic forms, PUNKS reconfirms John Keene as one of the most important voices in contemporary poetry. "John Keene's PUNKS is utterly brilliant. The range, vision, depth and humanity he brings to the page are as galactic as Banneker's astral wanderings, as crisp as the chordal cutting of a searching horn, as courageous and small as a nose wide open. Keene's masterfully inventive inquiry of self and history is queered, Blackened, and joyously thick with multitudes of voice and valence. Amen to this exploration!"--Tyehimba Jess Poetry. African & African American Studies. LGBTQIA Studies.
Publication Date: 2021-12-01
Look at This Blue by
Finalist for the 2022 National Book Award in Poetry! Interweaving elegy, indictment, and hope into a love letter to California, Look at This Blue examines America's genocidal past and present to warn of a future threatened by mass extinction and climate peril. Truths about what we have lost and have yet to lose permeate this book-length poem by American Book Award winner and Fulbright scholar Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. An assemblage of historical record and lyric fragments, these poems form a taxonomy of threatened lives--human, plant, and animal--in a century marked by climate emergency. Look at This Blue insists upon a reckoning with and redress of America's continuing violence toward Earth and its peoples, as Hedge Coke's cataloguing of loss crescendos into resistance.
Publication Date: 2022-03-29
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST * Songs from our era of communal grief and reckoning--by the Pulitzer Prize and T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry winner, called "a poet for these times, a powerful woman who won't back down" (San Francisco Chronicle). "At the time of have-not, I look at myself in this mirror," writes Olds in this self-scouring, exhilarating volume, which opens with a section of quarantine poems, and at its center boasts what she calls Amherst Balladz (whose syntax honors Emily Dickinson: "she was our Girl - our Woman - / Man enough - for me") and many more in her own contemporary, long-flowing-sentence rhythm. Olds sings of her childhood, young womanhood, and maturity all mixed up together, seeing an early lover in the one who is about to buried; seeing her whiteness, seeing her privilege; seeing her mother (whom her readers will recognize) "flushed exalted at Punishment time"; seeing how we've spoiled the earth but carrying a stray indoor spider carefully back out to the garden. It is Olds's gift to us that in the richly detailed exposure of her sorrows she can still elegize songbirds, her true kin, and write that heaven comes here in life, not after it.
Publication Date: 2022-10-04
Best Barbarian by
The poems in Best Barbarian roam across the literary and social landscape, from Beowulf's Grendel to the jazz musician Alice Coltrane, from reckoning with immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border to thinking through the fraught beauty of the moon on a summer night after the police have killed a Black man. Daring and formally elegant, Best Barbarian asks the reader: "Who has not been an entryway shuddering in the wind / Of another's want, a rose nailed to some dark longing and bled?" Reeves extends his inquiry into the work of writers who have come before, conversing with--and sometimes contradicting--Walt Whitman, James Baldwin, Sappho, Dante, and Aimé Césaire, among others. Expanding the tradition of poetry to reach from Gilgamesh and the Aeneid to Drake and Beyoncé, Reeves adds his voice to a long song that seeks to address itself "only to freedom." Best Barbarian asks the reader to stay close as it plunges into catastrophe and finds surprising moments of joy and intimacy. This fearless, musical, and oracular collection announces Roger Reeves as an essential voice in American poetry.
Publication Date: 2022-03-22
The Rupture Tense by
* FINALIST FOR THE 2022 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY * The astounding second collection by Jenny Xie, "a magician of perspective and scale" (The New Yorker) Shaped around moments of puncture and release, The Rupture Tense registers what leaks across the breached borders between past and future, background and foreground, silence and utterance. In polyphonic and formally restless sequences, Jenny Xie cracks open reverberant, vexed experiences of diasporic homecoming, intergenerational memory transfer, state-enforced amnesia, public secrecies, and the psychic fallout of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Across these poems, memory--historical, collective, personal--stains and erodes. Xie voices what remains irreducible in our complex entanglements with familial ties, language, capitalism, and the histories in which we find ourselves lodged. The Rupture Tense begins with poems provoked by the photography of Li Zhensheng, whose negatives, hidden under his floorboards to avoid government seizure, provide one of the few surviving visual archives of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and concludes with an aching elegy for the poet's grandmother, who took her own life shortly after the end of the Revolution. This extraordinary collection records the aftershocks and long distances between those years and the present, echoing out toward the ongoing past and a trembling future.
Publication Date: 2022-09-20
National Book Award Poetry 2021 Winner and Finalists
Martín Espada is a poet who "stirs in us an undeniable social consciousness," says Richard Blanco. Floaters offers exuberant odes and defiant elegies, songs of protest and songs of love from one of the essential voices in American poetry. Floaters takes its title from a term used by certain Border Patrol agents to describe migrants who drown trying to cross over. The title poem responds to the viral photograph of Óscar and Valeria, a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned in the Río Grande, and allegations posted in the "I'm 10-15" Border Patrol Facebook group that the photo was faked. Espada bears eloquent witness to confrontations with anti-immigrant bigotry as a tenant lawyer years ago, and now sings the praises of Central American adolescents kicking soccer balls over a barbed wire fence in an internment camp founded on that same bigotry. He also knows that times of hate call for poems of love--even in the voice of a cantankerous Galápagos tortoise. The collection ranges from historical epic to achingly personal lyrics about growing up, the baseball that drops from the sky and smacks Espada in the eye as he contemplates a girl's gently racist question. Whether celebrating the visionaries--the fallen dreamers, rebels and poets--or condemning the outrageous governmental neglect of his father's Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane María, Espada invokes ferocious, incandescent spirits.
Publication Date: 2021-01-19
What Noise Against the Cane by
The 115th volume of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, What Noise Against the Cane is a lyric quest for belonging and freedom, weaving political resistance, Caribbean folklore, immigration, and the realities of Black life in America. Desiree C. Bailey begins by reworking the epic in an oceanic narrative of bondage and liberation in the midst of the Haitian Revolution. The poems move into the contemporary Black diaspora, probing the mythologies of home, belief, nation, and womanhood. Series judge Carl Phillips observes that Bailey's "poems argue for hope and faith equally. . . . These are powerful poems, indeed, and they make a persuasive argument for the transformative powers of steady defiance."
Publication Date: 2021-04-13
Eschewing series and performative typography, Douglas Kearney's Sho aims to hit crooked licks with straight-seeming sticks. Navigating the complex penetrability of language, these poems are sonic in their espousal of Black vernacular traditions, while examining histories, pop culture, myth, and folklore. Both dazzling and devastating, Sho is a genius work of literary precision, wordplay, farce, and critical irony. In his "stove-like imagination," Kearney has concocted poems that destabilize the spectacle, leaving looky-loos with an important uncertainty about the intersection between violence and entertainment.
Publication Date: 2021-04-06
A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure by
A collection inspired by Hoa's mother, a stunt motorcyclist in an all-woman Vietnamese circus troupe, is verse meditation on Vietnam's diaspora. Hoa Nguyen's latest collection is a poetic meditation on historical, personal, and cultural pressures pre- and post-"Fall-of-Saigon" and comprises a verse biography on her mother, Diep Anh Nguyen, a stunt motorcyclist in an all-woman Vietnamese circus troupe. Multilayered, plaintive, and provocative, the poems in A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure are alive with archive and inhabit histories. In turns lyrical and unsettling, her poetry sings of language and loss; dialogues with time, myth and place; and communes with past and future ghosts.
Publication Date: 2021-04-06
The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void by
The poems in The Sunflower Cast A Spell To Save Us From The Void read like dispatches from the dream world, with Jackie Wang acting as our trusted comrade reporting across time and space. By sharing her personal index of dreams with its scenes of solidarity and resilience, interpersonal conflict and outlaw jouissance, Wang embodies historical trauma and communal memory. Here, the all-too-familiar interplay between crisis and resistance becomes first distorted, then clarified and refreshed. With a light touch and invigorating sense of humor, Wang illustrates the social dimension of dreams and their ability to inform and reshape the dreamer's waking world with renewed energy and insight.
Publication Date: 2021-02-02
National Book Award Poetry 2020 Winner and Finalists
DMZ Colony by
A new book by Don Mee Choi that includes poems, prose, and images.
A Treatise on Stars by
These are poems of deep listening and patient waiting, open to the channeling of daily experience, to gestalt and angel, dolphins and extraterrestrials. Here, family is a type of constellation and 'thought is a form of organized light.'
Postcolonial Love Poem by
Through these poems, the wounds inflicted by America onto an indigenous people are allowed to bloom pleasure and tenderness.
Borderland Apocrypha by
The 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo marked an end to the Mexican--American War, but it sparked a series of lynchings of Mexicans and subsequent erasures, and long-lasting traumas. This pattern of state-sanctioned violence committed towards communities of color continues to the present day. Borderland Apocrypha centers around the collective histories of these terrors, excavating the traumas born of turbulence at borderlands.
Fantasia for the Man in Blue by
In his debut collection Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Tommye Blount orchestrates a chorus of distinct, unforgettable voices that speak to the experience of the black, queer body as a site of desire and violence.
National Book Award Poetry 2019 Winner and Finalists
Sight lines by
Arthur Sze employs a wide range of voices--from lichen on a ceiling to a man behind on his rent--and his mythic imagination continually evokes how humans are endangering the planet; yet, balancing rigor with passion, he seizes the significant and luminous and transforms these moments into riveting and enduring poetry.
The Tradition by
Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we've become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown's mastery, and his invention of the duplex--a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues--is testament to his formal skill.
Deaf Republic by
Deaf Republic opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear--they all have gone deaf, and their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence: a newly married couple, Alfonso and Sonya, expecting a child; the brash Momma Galya, instigating the insurgency from her puppet theater; and Galya's girls,heroically teaching signing by day and by night luring soldiers one by one to their deaths behind the curtain.
Be Recorder by
The many times and tongues in these poems investigate the precariousness of personhood in lines that excoriate and sanctify.