The Wasted Vigil - Nadeem Aslam

Set in post-9/11 Afghanistan, The Wasted Vigil (Knopf, $25) is a powerful novel of the loss of and search for loved ones. A Russian woman comes to Usha to look for her brother, a Soviet soldier. She stays with Marcus, a British doctor, convert to Islam, and lifelong resident of Afghanistan. His Muslim wife and daughter dead, he hunts for his missing grandson, as does David, a former CIA operative who was briefly involved with Marcus’s daughter. What these characters find is Afghanistan’s brutal recent history and its rich ancient culture. In often stunningly beautiful language, Nadeem Aslam tells the stories of these survivors, the pain they’ve experienced, witnessed, and sometimes inflicted, and the ongoing bloodshed in a land torn between rival warlords, the Taliban, and Western armies. As he did for the complex British Pakistani community in Maps for Lost Lovers, Aslam brings to life a wide range of characters, dramatizing conflicting views of religion, nationalism, and devotion.

The Wasted Vigil (Vintage International) By Nadeem Aslam Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307388742
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - September 8th, 2009

The Shadow of Sirius - W. S. Merwin

W.S. Merwin has earned his distinguished place in American letters.  A prodigious poet, translator, and essayist, he has both a phenomenal output to his credit and an instantly recognizable lyric voice, one with rhythms so assured that Merwin can write poems without using punctuation. The Shadow Of Sirius (Copper Canyon, $22), his latest poetry collection, focuses on late-life themes like memory and time; in Merwin’s hands, each moment is both singular and rich with archetypal resonance. In a Proustian spirit, Merwin draws beautiful lyrics from a remembered patch of sunlight, a reflection in a tile, the sound of a trolley. While these moments inevitably pass, they also linger in a timeless transcendent state, and Merwin evokes this paradox in his many nature poems, celebrating the endless cyclical recurrence which, like the sky overseeing all, is “never unknown and never known.”

The Shadow of Sirius By W. S. Merwin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556593109
Availability: Backordered
Published: Copper Canyon Press - October 1st, 2009

One Secret Thing - Sharon Olds

In her ninth collection, Sharon Olds continues to write the powerful, passionate poetry that has made her voice distinctive. These poems are rooted both in a social consciousness that speaks out against injustice, and in her inexhaustible memories of growing up in an unhappy and violent home. But if One Secret Thing (Knopf, $16.95) reflects Olds’s outrage at war and her bitter ambivalence toward her mother, it also tempers these emotions with tolerance, appreciation for beauty, and humor. At her dying mother’s bedside, Olds notes how her mother’s “throat made a guttural/creek bed sound, like pebbly relief.” Olds is never less than frank about illness, death, and relationships. Above all, she renders the full range of physical experience, whether her subject is loneliness, the aging body, or a photo of someone else’s suffering.

One Secret Thing By Sharon Olds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375711770
Availability: Backordered
Published: Knopf - September 30th, 2008