Next book

EACH OF US KILLERS

A formally diverse collection with exquisitely crafted stories about longing, striving, and learning what we can control.

A slim debut full of nuanced, cleareyed tales of unvarnished humanity.

In these 15 stories, Bhatt's characters struggle against the barriers imposed on them by gender, race, class, caste, location, and familial expectations. Creating a rich array of Indian immigrants, students abroad, repatriates, and people who have never left their villages, Bhatt skillfully probes the fault lines where desire shears against limitation, revealing the complex mix of luck, history, circumstance, and grit that determines which side will dominate. In "Pros and Cons," Urmi, a 45-year-old yoga instructor who has drifted through a series of semifulfilling careers, is considering moving on from yoga, never having led a class of her own. When she makes a bid at feeling in control by having an end-of-retreat affair with a fellow teacher, she begins to trust again "in the one precious sanctuary that is ours alone, ours forever." In "Life Spring," a woman who returned to Mumbai after divorcing her husband is rehydrated by a passionate encounter, which feeds her inspiration as a baker and catalyzes her determination to create her own recipe for a successful life. In "Journey to a Stepwell," newly engaged Vidya and her mother travel to her mother's ancestral home to fulfill a prenuptial tradition. Throughout the long, crowded bus ride, Vidya badgers her mother to tell her once again the story of four beautiful, unmarried sisters; as she listens to the elegantly told legend, to which her mother appends a new ending, Vidya tries to envision the shape her future will take. And in the title story, a group of Dalit men in the tiny village of Saakarpada discuss a series of local tragedies with a journalist from Mumbai. Though he's one of their low-caste brothers, they believe the writer from the city can't comprehend the indignities, rigidity, injustices, and dangers they regularly face, and they reveal only certain details, determined to manage their affairs in the same way they always have. Though, as in most collections, not every story stands at the same level, there are more than enough gems of polish and depth to satisfy.

A formally diverse collection with exquisitely crafted stories about longing, striving, and learning what we can control.

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73336-726-4

Page Count: 180

Publisher: 7.13 Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

LONG ISLAND

A moving portrait of rueful middle age and the failure to connect.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

An acclaimed novelist revisits the central characters of his best-known work.

At the end of Brooklyn (2009), Eilis Lacey departed Ireland for the second and final time—headed back to New York and the Italian American husband she had secretly married after first traveling there for work. In her hometown of Enniscorthy, she left behind Jim Farrell, a young man she’d fallen in love with during her visit, and the inevitable gossip about her conduct. Tóibín’s 11th novel introduces readers to Eilis 20 years later, in 1976, still married to Tony Fiorello and living in the titular suburbia with their two teenage children. But Eilis’ seemingly placid existence is disturbed when a stranger confronts her, accusing Tony of having an affair with his wife—now pregnant—and threatening to leave the baby on their doorstep. “She’d known men like this in Ireland,” Tóibín writes. “Should one of them discover that their wife had been unfaithful and was pregnant as a result, they would not have the baby in the house.” This shock sends Eilis back to Enniscorthy for a visit—or perhaps a longer stay. (Eilis’ motives are as inscrutable as ever, even to herself.) She finds the never-married Jim managing his late father’s pub; unbeknownst to Eilis (and the town), he’s become involved with her widowed friend Nancy, who struggles to maintain the family chip shop. Eilis herself appears different to her old friends: “Something had happened to her in America,” Nancy concludes. Although the novel begins with a soap-operatic confrontation—and ends with a dramatic denouement, as Eilis’ fate is determined in a plot twist worthy of Edith Wharton—the author is a master of quiet, restrained prose, calmly observing the mores and mindsets of provincial Ireland, not much changed from the 1950s.

A moving portrait of rueful middle age and the failure to connect.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781476785110

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

Next book

THE MAN WHO LIVED UNDERGROUND

A welcome literary resurrection that deserves a place alongside Wright’s best-known work.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller


  • IndieBound Bestseller

A falsely accused Black man goes into hiding in this masterful novella by Wright (1908-1960), finally published in full.

Written in 1941 and '42, between Wright’s classics Native Son and Black Boy, this short novel concerns Fred Daniels, a modest laborer who’s arrested by police officers and bullied into signing a false confession that he killed the residents of a house near where he was working. In a brief unsupervised moment, he escapes through a manhole and goes into hiding in a sewer. A series of allegorical, surrealistic set pieces ensues as Fred explores the nether reaches of a church, a real estate firm, and a jewelry store. Each stop is an opportunity for Wright to explore themes of hope, greed, and exploitation; the real estate firm, Wright notes, “collected hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent from poor colored folks.” But Fred’s deepening existential crisis and growing distance from society keep the scenes from feeling like potted commentaries. As he wallpapers his underground warren with cash, mocking and invalidating the currency, he registers a surrealistic but engrossing protest against divisive social norms. The novel, rejected by Wright’s publisher, has only appeared as a substantially truncated short story until now, without the opening setup and with a different ending. Wright's take on racial injustice seems to have unsettled his publisher: A note reveals that an editor found reading about Fred’s treatment by the police “unbearable.” That may explain why Wright, in an essay included here, says its focus on race is “rather muted,” emphasizing broader existential themes. Regardless, as an afterword by Wright’s grandson Malcolm attests, the story now serves as an allegory both of Wright (he moved to France, an “exile beyond the reach of Jim Crow and American bigotry”) and American life. Today, it resonates deeply as a story about race and the struggle to envision a different, better world.

A welcome literary resurrection that deserves a place alongside Wright’s best-known work.

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-59853-676-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Library of America

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

Close Quickview