Transformation

You can’t go home again.

In these three starred works of Indie nonfiction, the subjects are irrevocably changed by leaving their home countries, whether voluntarily or by force. A daughter re-creates her family’s mid-20th-century departure from China; a biography of a Czech artist describes his World War II–era journey from Prague to Britain to New York; and a Jewish American journalist flees a divorce and midlife crisis for the United Arab Emirates.

Karen_Pashtun Accomplice to Memory by Q.M. Zhang:In her semifictionalized memoir, Zhang animates the tumultuous life of her father, who came of age in a country plagued by regional crime, Japanese occupation, and civil war, and gives readers a “warm, intellectually rich journey through several nations and identities.”

Riko: Seductions of an Artist by Denise B. Dailey:This biography recounts the lives of Czech artist Jan Emmerich “Riko” Mikeska, born in 1903, and his wife, Greta Schmied. Riko was born in the industrial town of Vitkovice, Moravia, and lived and painted in Vienna, Berlin, Paris, and Prague. Greta was an artist, illustrator, and teacher. “A skillfully written, well-researched account of two difficult, mesmerizing characters,” says our reviewer. 

My Pashtun Rabbi: A Jew’s Search for Truth, Meaning, and Hope in the Muslim World by David Eden:“Throughout, Eden keeps the book’s tone light, filling it with colorful travelogue and amused double-takes about culture clashes: ‘Mahasba lowered her head, flicked her long eyelashes, moved in, and gently set her lips, her hairy lips, on mine,’ he writes of a Bedouin ritual that involves kissing a camel. At the same time, he undertakes a poignant exploration of identity and belonging….As he tells of being plunged into an unfamiliar and daunting society, Eden manages to uncover and celebrate ordinary kindness and common feeling in the most unlikely places.” Karen Schechner is the vice president of Kirkus Indie. 

 

 

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