Small-town life has the reputation of being constrained by neighbors who know everyone else’s business. This truth is taken to an extreme in the impoverished provincial Chinese town of Muddy River, the setting of Yiyun Li’s powerful first novel, The Vagrants (Random House, $15). It’s 1979, a decade after the Cultural Revolution and another ten years before the Tiananmen Square uprising. Democracy Walls are springing up in Beijing, but no one knows how far they will go. When a young woman is executed as a counterrevolutionary after her boyfriend reports the once-fervent believer’s doubts about the Party, her village is split between those who want to protest and those who fear the authorities. In Li’s vivid portrait of a repressed society, even schoolchildren can become informers, and personal acts bear political consequences.

The Vagrants: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812973341
Availability: Backordered
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 16th, 2010

Welcome to Kittur. Aravind Adiga’s tour of this Southwestern Indian city of 193,432 takes place Between The Assassinations (Free Press, $15) of Indira Gandhi in 1984 and her son Rajiv in 1991. Interspersed with maps, history, and sight-seeing highlights, these 14 linked stories from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The White Tiger  focus on Kittur’s diverse and contentious religions, ethnicities, and castes. Of whatever faith or social level, however, the majority of Adiga’s characters are poor. Poor, angry, and defiant. They may sleep in the streets, beg for money for a father’s drugs, abase themselves before bosses and rich patrons, but these people never lose their essential dignity. Adiga’s searing stories of hard work, betrayal, love, and corruption capture “that strange mixture of the strikingly beautiful and the filthy that is the nature of every Indian village.”

Between the Assassinations Cover Image
ISBN: 9781439153161
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Free Press - June 1st, 2010

Sometimes a reader feels so close to certain books, it’s as if he or she knows the author intimately. Elizabeth Hawes became fascinated with Camus when she read his work in college. Forty years later, he was still on her mind and she set out to track him down. Camus: A Romance (Grove Press, $14) is a combination memoir/travelogue, biography/literary essay. We get the voices of both Hawes and Camus as Hawes chronicles her expeditions to the places where Camus lived, recounts her meetings with his surviving friends and family, and presents her research on the reception and legacy of his writing.

Camus, A Romance Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802144881
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Grove Press - June 8th, 2010