Staff Pick

Winner of the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Fiction, awarded by Barbara Kingsolver for a novel that addresses issues of social justice, The Leavers (Algonquin, $25.95), by Lisa Ko, is an exploration of the lives of a family of Chinese immigrants.  Polly, an undocumented immigrant, is rounded up in a raid on the nail salon where she works, gets caught up in the system, and eventually is repatriated to China.  Her eleven-year-old son doesn’t know where she’s gone or what happened to her. She’s just gone.  Fostering with a kind, intelligent couple (both are professors) in the suburbs, Deming has difficulty recovering from the trauma and confusion of his early life.  The book is timely and the subject important, but the strength of the novel lies in the composition of the principal characters, showing the depth of their humanity, their worthiness of our empathy.

The Leavers (National Book Award Finalist): A Novel Cover Image
By Lisa Ko
ISBN: 9781616206888
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - May 2nd, 2017

Staff Pick

In the world Louise Erdrich envisions in Future Home of the Living God (Harper, $28.99), nature appears to have reversed itself and evolution has gone haywire: cats and birds now come in often horrifying scale, and, most terrifying, women give birth to barely recognizable primitive creatures.  Our narrator, Cedar Hawk Songmaker, is an Ojibwe raised by white parents in Minnesota, and she’s four months pregnant.  The state has demanded that all pregnant women surrender themselves, and those who do not are hunted by officials and sent to prison-like hospitals.  Cedar reunites with her Ojibwe birth family and lives on the reservation until even that gets too dangerous.  Future Home of the Living God is an exciting page-turner, but it’s also a serious look at authoritarianism and the politics of reproduction.

Future Home of the Living God: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062694058
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - November 14th, 2017

Staff Pick

In Forest Dark (Harper, $27.99), Nicole Krauss trains her fierce intelligence and keen eye on the story of two Americans in Israel.  Jules Epstein is a man in transition, following the death of his parents and his recent divorce.  He’s in Israel with the intention of finding worthy recipients of his philanthropy, but instead finds a transformative experience reimagining the life of King David.  Nicole is a novelist who comes to Tel Aviv in hopes of relieving a debilitating writers-block.  Meeting a literature professor, she’s told a story about the novelist Franz Kafka—notably, his life in Israel and a supposed trove of never published documents.  Krauss creates through her characters the insecurities that rise from intense introspection, the dislocation of oneself in one’s environment, and the never-ending wonder of experience.

Forest Dark: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062430991
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 12th, 2017