An Indonesian epic consisting of myths and fables stacked on top of each other, this novel is much, much more Grimm than Disney, and the storytelling pace is relentless. With each passing chapter, the payoff becomes more and more brutally beautiful, as many of the central characters—who readers will alternately despise and sympathize with—come to define a generation of the most famous family in town. Kurniawan is also staging these stories with enough Indonesian and world history to provide a solid foundation. The result is grand in scope and at the same time remarkably nuanced.

Beauty Is a Wound Cover Image
By Eka Kurniawan, Annie Tucker (Translated by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9780811223638
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions - September 8th, 2015

Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing (Coffee House, $24), the debut novel that took down The Goldfinch for the Baileys Women’s Prize for fiction, may be remembered less for its plot than for its powerful emotional and linguistic punch. Inhabiting the headspace of a girl so ambitious and determined, yet so misguided and self-destructive, can be a brutal reading experience, but McBride’s style draws you in. Comparisons with Joyce’s style are apt, but McBride makes her anonymous narrator’s fragmented thoughts and warped reality much more lucid than those of Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus, and her pacing is relentless. Experiencing repeated sexual violence, the narrator develops an uncanny ability to seek solace for poisoned relationships in all the most devastating places, and while she struggles with these emotional complexities, her brother faces an even more overwhelming struggle with a terminal illness. McBride’s account of these siblings leaves you breathless, and finishing this novel is like waking from a nightmare you’d grown almost comfortable with—which confirms this young writer’s already unforgettable, masterful ability to bring a wrenching story to life.

A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781566893688
Availability: Backordered
Published: Coffee House Press - September 9th, 2014

A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101903438
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hogarth - June 9th, 2015

In this comprehensive collection of Italo Calvino’s hybrid series, The Complete Cosmicomics (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24), the happy-go-lucky narrator is present at the creation of the universe, survives the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period, and spends the better part of cosmic history gambling on the outcomes of random events. And his name is unpronounceable: Qfwfq. Short punchy sections front-load this collection, with “Distance from the Moon,” “A Sign in Space,” and especially “Without Colours”; these stories lead off with an exuberance that filters through the volume, even as Calvino’s writing and storytelling matures into more elaborate conceptual prose (one story takes place on the cellular level, and another unfolds in a single instant of time). Consistent first to last, however, are the comical, naive personas that, in a way, undercut the scientific and cosmic themes. Almost everything is personified, and almost nothing lacks an engaging, slightly bumbling nature, evoking the randomness with which cosmic events take place. As a whole, Calvino’s cosmology is creative and wondrous, unlike anything else you’ll read.

Pages