Staff Pick

The eponymous phone booth here is an actual disconnected black rotary in Otsuchi, Japan, where mourners speak to their lost loved ones. In her gem of a novel, Messina tells the stories of two strangers who visit this kaze no denwa or “wind phone”; hoping “to get our shadows back,” Yui—whose daughter and mother perished in the 2011 tsunami, and Takeshi, whose wife died of cancer—instead find each other. That Messina has created a thoroughly charming work from the pair’s long, painful path to healing –which includes both touches of whimsy and philosophical reflections on connections, parenthood, luck, and much else—testifies to the power of both her spare, empathetic prose and the miracle of the kaze no denwa itself, where even “death…felt like a beautiful thing,” and where grief and joy do indeed go hand in hand.

The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419754302
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: The Overlook Press - March 9th, 2021

Staff Pick

“In the end, all we are is our attention, there is nothing else,” Hamer notes. As his rich second book moves month by month through the year of a working gardener, his attention is alternately on the mechanics of how ferns unfurl; the process of sowing cosmos seeds; the whys, whens, and hows of pruning and deadheading; issues of class and masculinity; the lives of poets and stoic philosophers; thoughts on his long, warm, marriage; and observations of the well-heeled, kind, but often opaque Miss Cashmere, whose garden he tends. As readers of Hamer’s unforgettable How to Catch a Mole know, he’s a real character, and the journal format here allows full-play for his humor, wisdom, irrepressible childlike wonder, and (mostly faux) curmudgeonliness. There is much to savor and treasure on every page, from hard-won lessons such as how “nature doesn’t require individuals; they are disposable as long as there are enough of them,” to vivid descriptions of the natural and human lives of “this ever changing here and now,” where “twilight lets the shadows out and transforms the mundane into the magical.”  

Seed to Dust: Life, Nature, and a Country Garden Cover Image
ISBN: 9781771647687
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Greystone Books - May 4th, 2021

Staff Pick

Ali, a noted poet, was born in London to Pakistani parents, “mainly grew up” in Staten Island and other American cities, but always felt closest to JenPeg, the tiny Manitoba town—headquarters for a dam project—where he learned to read and to look at the stars. But years later, idly wondering what became of it, Ali discovers instead the world of nearby Cross Lake, home of the Pimicikamak Cree. Unaware of the region’s Indigenous population when he lived here, Ali is stunned to learn of a rash of suicides among its young people; seeking to understand both this and the pull the place—and, more, the people—suddenly have on him, he travels to Cross Lake. His heartfelt book, a graceful weave of memoir, journalism, and meditations on home, colonialism, climate change, and more, chronicles Ali’s meetings with the Cree—whose warm welcome included an invitation to join their Sweat Ceremony—the history of Native-European relations, and the lasting trauma of white efforts to repress Indigenous culture. But it also testifies to this people’s resilience and sprit as they recover traditional ways, from language and ritual to a sustainable, reverent relationship with the land.

Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313829
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Milkweed Editions - March 9th, 2021