In the Eye of the Wild, by Nastassja Martin

Staff Pick

In August 2015, Martin suffered an almost fatal run-in with a bear while doing anthropological field work in the Kamchatka mountains, then underwent nearly as brutal an assault during reconstructive surgery in Russian, then French, hospitals—"stripped, strapped down” and stuffed with nutrients via a tube—her “jaw the scene of a Franco-Russian medical cold war.” But the suffering at the hands of surgeons is responsible only for part of her acute alienation. Recognizing her “profound mismatch with society,” she just wants to return to the bear’s territory, and the narrative takes off when she’s smuggled back into Siberia in the back of a car. This leads to similarly riveting moments as she faces down headwinds in -50-degree temperatures, drinks blood tea from freshly slaughtered reindeer, and recalls epiphanic moments from her life “under the volcano with the Evens of Icha”—the most transformative being the one that made her a medka: half human, half bear. As meditative as it is visceral, this is an unforgettable story eloquently, and often magically, told.

In the Eye of the Wild By Nastassja Martin, Sophie R. Lewis (Translated by) Cover Image
By Nastassja Martin, Sophie R. Lewis (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781681375854
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: New York Review Books - November 16th, 2021

Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan

Staff Pick

Christmas 1985 for the Furlongs and their small Irish town is unexceptional. Bill Furlong delivers coal and collects payments, his wife bakes, and their five daughters attend choir practice, write to Santa, and finish their school exercises. But there’s more going on below this ordinary surface. When Bill opens the convent’s coal house, he finds one of the “girls in training” there. Disoriented, cold, dirty, and barefoot, Sarah begs Bill to help her escape. He takes her back to the nuns as he feels he should but, instead of dismissing the incident like a dutiful Catholic, he broods over what, in addition to its other unsettling elements, reminds him of both his daughters’ vulnerabilities and his own situation as the son of an unwed mother who never divulged his father’s identity.  As he gets more involved with Sarah, he rethinks the way he’s been taught to do things. From the opening page’s “long November winds,” Keegan’s novel brims with heart and exquisite craft—it only looks small.

Small Things Like These By Claire Keegan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802158741
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Grove Press - November 30th, 2021

Ganbare! Workshops on Dying, by Katarzyna Boni

Staff Pick

The Polish journalist takes her title from a Japanese word that means “Hang in there!”  and her form from the oral-history collage perfected by the Nobel writer Alexievich for a panoramic, yet detailed account of everything related to the March 11, 2011, Tōhoku earthquake. Her powerful narrative presents statistics as astounding as the tsunami was—5000 buildings, or 40% of Onagawa lost; 5800 dogs left in the evacuated zone; 22 million cubic tons of black plastic bags full of contaminated soil—but it’s the individual experiences that prove most moving. As post-Katrina, here are stories of lost families, homes, jobs, and even towns, along with protracted exile and the fear of radiation sickness from the disabled Daiichi nuclear plant. What sustains people through such horrors? The answer is both history and imagination. Japan is no stranger to earthquakes and tsunamis—nor to nuclear disasters—and the latest victims draw on a heritage ranging from the kataribe, “people who talk about disaster,” to the itaki, or shamanesses, who contact the dead on behalf of the living, to come up with practices including the disconnected land line where you can phone lost ones, cafes where you can recall the dead and cry, and workshops where you practice letting go of your five favorite places, things, activities, and, hardest of all, people.

Ganbare!: Workshops on Dying: Workshops on Dying By Katarzyna Boni, Mark Ordon (Translator) Cover Image
By Katarzyna Boni, Mark Ordon (Translator)
ISBN: 9781948830423
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Open Letter - November 23rd, 2021