Broken River opens with a cinematic scene: lights still on, dishes in the sink, cigarettes aglow in an ashtray and a couple fleeing with a child in the middle of the night. From who? Why? And what is the thing, inside the house, watching? Eleven years later, the house welcomes another couple with a child: a philandering husband and neglectful father, a frustrated wife trying to write her fifth romance novel, and a lonely daughter far too aware of her parents' flaws. What unfolds is a family drama ripe with the tensions of a broken family, narrated in a sprightly prose. Lennon twists this drama, subverting expectations, as the truth of what happened that night many years ago slowly reveals itself and the threat of violence stalks the family.
Javier Mallarino is a Colombian political cartoonist whose work over the course of forty years “had turned him into a moral authority for half the country, public enemy number one for the other half,” able to, at the stroke of a pen “cause the repeal of a law, overturn a judge’s decision, [or] bring down a mayor…” Mallarino is confident in his legacy as his country’s gadfly. Until, that is, he meets a young woman whose uncertain recollection of a night at his house years ago forces him to question his supposedly unimpeachable moral authority. Reputations is an intelligent, complex examination of what it means to have a reputation. Vasquez explores the slipperiness of memory, as well as the thin, unstable line between reputability, respectability and their opposites.
Chronicle of a Last Summer is an emotionally resonant chronicle of a young woman's coming of age and of Egypt's turbulent, cyclical history, from Nasser to the years after Mubarak. Here personal and national histories intertwine, but even as El Rashidi recounts big moments in Egyptian history, the heart of this story of Egypt are its people, their everyday lives, intimate moments, silences and small gestures. She brings us into their homes, and we sit at their breakfast tables, watch television in their living rooms, walk the streets beside them, and see what they see. El Rashidi captures and mines these moments in a moving exploration of the Egyptian national psyche and the culture of silence that has plagued generations of Egyptians. It’s a mesmerizing, intensely thoughtful debut.