Set in Russia’s northeastern Kamchatka Peninsula, Phillips’s eagerly anticipated debut novel unfolds in twelve exquisitely-crafted chapters, each charting one month of the year following the disappearance of two girls from the close-knit and isolated community. Phillips, a Pushcart-nominated writer, spent a Fulbright year in Kamchatka, and her vivid descriptions of its harshly beautiful terrain form a resonant backdrop to the central mystery of the sisters’ fate and the stories of the town’s women. As she shifts the perspective from mothers to daughters to wives, Phillips masterfully builds toward a stunning conclusion.
Rivero’s first novel draws on her own experience for a moving account of an undocumented Peruvian family struggling to survive in New York in the 1990s. Ana Falcón, a woman of indigenous descent married to a man from Lima, has a past haunted by terrorism and a present of few options. Working long hours in a factory, Ana is constantly exhausted, and with no access to banks, she’s dependent on a loan shark. When her husband’s cousins rescind the invitation to share their cramped apartment, he is ready to return to Peru, but Ana has no choice but to stay. Phillips and Rivero will be in conversation with Angie Kim, author of Miracle Creek.