Dead-End Memories: Stories by Banana Yoshimoto

Dead-End Memories: Stories by Banana Yoshimoto

“This is a supremely hopeful book, one that feels important because it shows that happiness, while not always easy, is still a subject worthy of art.” —Brandon Taylor, The New York Times Book Review

Japan’s internationally celebrated master storyteller returns with five stories of women on their way to healing that vividly portrays the blissful moments and everyday sorrows that surround us in everyday life

First published in Japan in 2003 and never before published in the United States, Dead-End Memories collects the stories of five women who, following sudden and painful events, quietly discover their ways back to recovery.

Among the women we meet in Dead-End Memories is one betrayed by her fiancé who finds a perfect refuge in an apartment above her uncle’s bar while seeking the real meaning of happiness. In “House of Ghosts,” the daughter of a yoshoku restaurant owner encounters the ghosts of a sweet elderly couple who haven’t yet realized that they’ve been dead for years. In “Tomo-chan’s Happiness,” an office worker who is a victim of sexual assault finally catches sight of the hope of romance.

Yoshimoto’s gentle, effortless prose reminds us that one true miracle can be as simple as having someone to share a meal with, and that happiness is always within us if only we take a moment to pause and reflect. Discover this collection of what Yoshimoto herself calls the “most precious work of my writing career.”

After the Hurricane by Leah Franqui

After the Hurricane by Leah Franqui

Reminiscent of Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt, Leah Franqui brings us an engrossing, deeply personal novel with a mystery at its heart as a daughter returns to Puerto Rico to search for her troubled father, who has gone missing after Hurricane Maria.

From the outside, Elena Vega’s life appears to be an easy one: the only child of two professional parents, private school, NYU. But her twenties are aimless and lacking in connection. Something has always been amiss in her life: her father, the brilliant but deeply troubled Santiago Vega.

Born in rural Puerto Rico, Santiago arrived in New York as a small child. His harsh, mercurial father returned to the island, leaving Santiago to be raised by his mentally ill mother and his formidable grandmother. An outstanding student, he followed scholarships to Stanford, then Yale Law, marrying Elena’s mother along the way. Santiago is the shining star of his migrant family—the one who made it out and struck it rich. But he is a haunted man, plagued by trauma, bipolar disorder, and alcoholism. He’s lost contact with Elena over the years and returned to San Juan to wrestle his demons alone.

Then Hurricane Maria strikes, and Santiago vanishes. Desperate to know what happened to the father she once adored, Elena returns to Puerto Rico, a place she loved as a child but hasn’t seen in years. There she must unravel the truth about who her father is, crisscrossing the storm-swept island and reaching deep into his family tree to find relatives she’s never met, each of whom seems to possess a clue about Santiago’s fate.

A compelling mystery unfolds, as Elena is reunited with family, and with a place she loved and lost—the island of Puerto Rico, which is itself a character in this book. It’s a story of connection, migration, striving, love, and loss, illuminated by humor and affection, written by a novelist at the height of her gifts.

Moth by Melody Razak

Moth by Melody Razak

Set during the most tumultuous years in modern Indian history, Melody Razak recreates the painful turmoil of a rupturing nation and its reverberations across the fates of a single family. Powerfully evocative and atmospheric, Moth is a testament to survival and a celebration of the beauty and resiliency of the human spirit.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life.

Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.

Ask the Brindled: Poems by No’u Revilla

Ask the Brindled: Poems by No’u Revilla

Ask the Brindled, selected by Rick Barot as a winner of the 2021 National Poetry Series, bares everything that breaks between “seed” and “summit” of a life—the body, a people, their language. It is an intergenerational reclamation of the narratives foisted upon Indigenous and queer Hawaiians—and it does not let readers look away.

In this debut collection, No‘u Revilla crafts a lyric landscape brimming with shed skin, water, mo‘o, ma‘i. She grips language like a fistful of wet guts and inks the page red—for desire, for love, for generations of blood spilled by colonizers. She hides knives in her hair “the way my grandmother—not god— / the way my grandmother intended,” and we heed; before her, “we stunned insects dangle.” Wedding the history of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi with contemporary experiences of queer love and queer grief, Revilla writes toward sovereignty: linguistic, erotic, civic. Through the medium of formal dynamism and the material of ʻŌiwi culture and mythos, this living decolonial text both condemns and creates.

Ask the Brindled is a song from the shattered throat that refuses to be silenced. It is a testament to queer Indigenous women who carry baskets of names and stories, “still sacred.” It is a vow to those yet to come: “the ea of enough is our daughters / our daughters need to believe they are enough.”

The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

An epic fantasy ode to martial arts and magic, about what happens when a prophesied hero is not the chosen one after all—and has to work with a band of unlikely allies to save the kingdom anyway, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Lives of Tao

So many stories begin the same way: With a prophecy. A Chosen One. And the inevitable quest to slay a villain, save the kingdom, and fulfill a grand destiny.

But this is not that kind of story.

It does begin with a prophecy: A child will rise to defeat the Eternal Khan, a cruel immortal god-king, and save the kingdom.

And that prophecy did anoint a hero, Jian, raised since birth in luxury and splendor, and celebrated before he has won a single battle.

But that’s when the story hits its first twist: The prophecy was wrong.

What follows is a story more wondrous than any prophecy can foresee, and with many unexpected heroes: Taishi, an older woman who is the greatest grandmaster of magical martial arts in the kingdom but who thought her adventuring days were all behind her; Sali, a straitlaced warrior who learns the rules may no longer apply when the leader she pledged her life to is gone; and Qisami, a chaotic assassin who takes a little too much pleasure in the kill.

And Jian himself, who has to find a way to become what he no longer believes he can be–a hero after all.

The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope

The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope

A woman able to communicate with spirits must assemble a ragtag crew to pull off a daring heist to save her community in this timely and dazzling historical fantasy that weaves together African American folk magic, history, and romance.

“Never make a deal with shadows at night, especially ones that know your name.”

Washington D. C., 1925: Clara Johnson can talk to spirits—a gift that saved her during her darkest moments, now a curse that’s left her indebted to the cunning spirit world. So when a powerful spirit offers her an opportunity to gain her freedom, Clara seizes the chance, no questions asked. The task: steal a magical ring from the wealthiest woman in the District.

Clara can’t pull off this daring heist alone. She’ll need the help of an unlikely team, from a handsome jazz musician able to hypnotize with a melody to an aging actor who can change his face, to pull off the impossible. But as they race along DC’s legendary Black Broadway, conflict in the spirit world begins to leak into the human one—an insidious mystery is unfolding, one that could cost Clara her life and change the fate of an entire city.

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