The nine stories of Francesca Marciano’s The Other Language (Pantheon, $24.95) feature characters in foreign lands during transitional times in their lives. In one, a middle-aged married couple on holiday in India makes spontaneous decisions that affect the rest of their lives. In another a recently divorced woman has just purchased a house in a small Italian village; hoping for serenity, she is instead confronted by her fractured familial relationships, an eccentric villager with a remarkable talent, and a movie star who just won’t go away. The collection perfectly encapsulates the bittersweet, lonely feeling of traveling or living abroad. Marciano is a natural storyteller, and reading her work is like listening to a friend talk about people she knows. As well as being conversational, Marciano’s language has an almost cinematic quality—I was utterly engrossed in each scene as it played out before me. Whether you’re going on vacation or just dreaming about one, I can’t imagine a more atmospheric book to accompany and inspire you. I simply love this book.

The Other Language Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307908360
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon Books - April 8th, 2014

The Other Language (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345804488
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - February 3rd, 2015

A father who disciplines his daughter “looked as if he’d been sent all the bills in the world and couldn’t pay them.” A little girl “sounded small and strange, as if she lived in a fairy tale”; in fact she does live in a fairy tale, and by its rules, she is perfectly normal. In such lines, New Zealand’s Janet Frame crystallized whole lives, and her short stories, in turn, encapsulate much larger narratives. Frame’s characters are generally outsiders; they’re poor, ill, or disenfranchised by some perceived oddness. But they are not passive. Frame describes one woman as having “a kind of helplessness” in her eyes that “would change in a flash to defiance.” The two dozen works in Between My Father and the King (Counterpoint, $15.95) are stories of that flash. Frame (1924-2004) was institutionalized herself (saved from a lobotomy by winning a writing award) and she questions authority by showing how even those who have it—the rich, the doctors—are subject to fate’s reversals. Frame has tremendous empathy as well as imagination, and her brilliant portrayals of life from the perspectives of children and patients show how these marginalized individuals supplement their partial understanding of reality with dreams, myths, and stories, creating for themselves alternate realities that may collide with the accepted one, but that may also allow them to thrive.

Between My Father and the King: New and Uncollected Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781619023208
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Counterpoint LLC - May 13th, 2014

From The Girl in the Flammable Skirt to Willful Creatures, the fiction writer Aimee Bender has proven herself a master of the short story. The fifteen meticulously crafted pieces in her latest collection, The Color Master (Anchor, $15), feature characters such as a woman who mends the torn-apart flesh of tigers and a child who cannot recognize other people’s faces—figures that provoke an elegant disquiet. Enter Bender’s spare, strange, and often heartbreakingly lovely small worlds, and when you re-emerge, it’s with something fundamentally shifted. Bender is that rare writer who can achieve much with few words—just one quality which makes this work so compelling, important, and utterly enjoyable.

The Color Master Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307744197
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Anchor - April 22nd, 2014