A review of Bianca Marais’s book Hum If You Don’t Know the Words, published on July 11, 2017 by PENGUIN GROUP (Putnam).
Hum If You Don’t Know the Words took place in 1970s Johannesburg, South Africa, during Apartheid rule. When nine-year-old Robin Conrad’s parents are tragically killed, she is sent to live with her aunt who, though loves her niece dearly, chooses to keep her job as a flight attendant. In her absence, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman from a rural village, cares for Robin as she searches for her own daughter after the Soweto Uprising. Told through alternating perspectives, both Robin and Beauty find in the other what they desperately craved – love, acceptance, security, and family.
A review of Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, published on March 14, 2017 by Riverhead Books.
Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West focuses on a young couple, linked by the intimacy of their shared experiences, and how their relationship changed during wartime. It tackles the issue of the refugee crisis, putting forth the societal question: where do refugees belong?
A review of Victor Lavalle’s The Changeling, published on June 13, 2017 by Random House Publishing Group (Random House, Spiegel & Grau).
Apollo Kagwa is happy with his life: he is a book dealer for his business called Improbabilia, he loves his wife Emma, and he is determined to be a better father to his own son than the father that abandoned him as child. However, when baby Brian is six months old, Emma becomes convinced that “it’s not a baby,” and commits an act so atrocious that it is difficult for Apollo to recover. When approached by a mysterious stranger who can tell Apollo where to find Emma, he begins a journey to find her and his baby boy.
A review of Katherine Arden’s The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy, #2).
After her village shunned her and cast her out as a witch, Vasilisa Petrovna (Vasya) is left with only two options: go to a convent or get married. Being a headstrong, independent, and obstinate girl who fears being locked away, she instead defies convention and rides out with her horse, Solovey, disguised as a boy in search of adventure. It isn’t long until she finds trouble – or trouble finds her – and she finds herself in Moscow.
A review of Andy Weir’s latest, Artemis, published on November 14, 2017 by Crown Publishing.
Artemis tells the story of Jasmine (Jazz) Bashara, a criminal (aka a smuggler) who lives on Artemis, the first base on Earth’s Moon. She does not make much money as a porter, so when the opportunity to make 1,000,000 slugs (aka a lot of money) arises, she jumps at the chance to commit the “perfect heist.” But there is no such thing as the “perfect heist,” and she soon finds herself deep in a conspiracy that she must find a way out of, or else face terrible consequences.
A review of Sophie Chen Keller’s The Luster of Lost Things. Published on August 8, 2017 by PENGUIN GROUP (G.P. Putnam’s Sons). This book has been compared to both A Man Called Ove and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Walter Lavender Jr. is a finder, using his gift to help people around the city who have lost important items, anything from dogs to bassoons, yet unable to use it to locate his own lost father. He spends most of his time in his mother’s sweets shop – The Lavenders – a place where desserts come to life, thanks to the magic of the Book. However, when the book is lost, he must go on a journey through New York City to find it. Along the way, he meets the lost people of the city who, like him, just want to be found and belong.
A review of Salman Rushdie’s The Golden House. Published on September 5, 2017 by Random House Publishing Group (Random House).
The Golden House, among other things, is a commentary on the current political atmosphere as well as American life and culture in general, tackling issues from immigration to gender identity and beyond.