An SF author spins stories about spirituality and the supernatural. Tales by a Bengali writer explore family life in Calcutta. A story cycle focuses on Russian immigrants in America. Kirkus Indie recently reviewed these three impressive collections, which feature characters ranging from a teenager who faces a spectacular sea monster to a desperate man who searches for exquisite pearls concealed in pillows. All three titles received a Kirkus star.

In Bruce McAllister’s Stealing God and Other Stories, a dying pope meets a boy with a bizarre talent, and a young man with an Indigenous heritage pilfers Native American objects. A tale called “Sandy” introduces a startling character: “Because she had four arms and a six-fingered hand on each arm, Sandy could look for four-leaf clovers faster than I could.” McAllister’s “fantastically dark imagination makes this unnerving collection difficult to put down,” our reviewer writes.

Ashapurna Debi’s Brahma’s Weapon, translated by Prasenjit Gupta, with an introduction by Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri, dissects the complicated domestic relationships between men and women in Calcutta. One of the most notable Bengali authors of the 20th century, Debi, who died in 1995, skillfully examined the abysmal effects of poverty on various households: “Scarcity destroys character.” According to our critic, “For those new to Debi’s work, this is a remarkable introduction, one that showcases her deep reserves of literary radiance.”

The Most Excellent Immigrant by Mark Budman revolves around a Russian-born Jewish engineer in Boston who’s “the interpreter of dreams and afflictions.” Touches of magic realism surface in these pages: “The Green Man stands alone on the sidewalk of a new housing development where every house is at least half a million in Earth money.…His skin is poison-green, the color that makes you think of an industrial spill.” Our reviewer calls the book “a dazzling read with true philosophical depth amid wild flights of fancy.”

Myra Forsberg is an Indie editor.