Cara M. Staff Picks


 

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Are You Somebody?: The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman By Nuala O'Faolain Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780805089875
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Holt Paperbacks - February 17th, 2009

WE heartLOVEheart NUALA

The O.G. Irish feminist.

Her memoir is brutally honest, unflinchingly direct, and caustically insightful.


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Kissing the Witch: Old Tales in New Skins By Emma Donoghue Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780064407724
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: HarperTeen - February 27th, 1999

"Old Tales in New Skins" describes it best. The feminine of fairy tale notoriety develop new voices, vices, complexity, and fame.


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New Islands: And Other Stories By María Luisa Bombal, Jorge Luis Borges (Foreword by) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374528249
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - December 31st, 2003

Just one of Chile's best doing her mystical, erotic, surrealist, feminist thing.


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Nadirs (European Women Writers) By Herta Muller, Sieglinde Lug (Translated by), Sieglinde Lug (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Herta Muller, Sieglinde Lug (Translated by), Sieglinde Lug (Afterword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780803282544
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: University of Nebraska Press - September 1st, 1999

In typical Muller style, these short stories revisit the Ceausescu-an Romania of her youth with dreamlike viscerality.


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Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky) By Rebecca Roanhorse Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781534437685
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - June 29th, 2021

Sometimes with multiple character POV's I'm tempted to skip ahead to my favorites-- not so here! Roanhorse's pre-Columbian reimagination of the Americas is equally engrossing from all perspectives.


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The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) By Andrea Stewart Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316541435
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Orbit - March 30th, 2021

East-Asian inspired floating (and sinking) island chain Empire. A magic system inspired by coding and AI. Multiple character POV's. CUTENESS OVERLOAD from furry talking pet friend!!


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Olivia By Dorothy Strachey, André Aciman (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Dorothy Strachey, André Aciman (Introduction by)
$15.00
ISBN: 9780143134404
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Penguin Classics - June 9th, 2020

An autobiographical novel that so perfectly captures the torrential emotion of first teenage love. Felt like reading a mirror. 

(P.S. cited by Andre Aciman as the main inspiration for Call Me By Your Name).


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Constructing a Nervous System: A Memoir By Margo Jefferson Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781524748173
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Pantheon - April 12th, 2022

A memoir and critical collection remeniscent of a fine, aged wine. Margo Jefferson knows what she's talking about, and, importantly, how to say what she's talking about-- you should listen.


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Black Swan Green: A Novel By David Mitchell Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812974010
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 27th, 2007

A haunting coming-of-age story that will make you cry, laugh, and feel those sharp pangs all over again along with the pertinacious narrator.


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The Moor's Account By Laila Lalami Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780804170628
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Vintage - August 18th, 2015

A triumphant experiment in using fiction to recover historic voices lost to the gaping maw of Western historiography. Lalami memo(i)rializes the journies of Moroccan slave Estebanico, the first Black explorer of America.


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The Poppy War: A Novel By R. F. Kuang Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062662583
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Harper Voyager - April 23rd, 2019

A historical fantasy rooted in Chinese mythology and brimming with cool ideas. Kuang is currently pursuing a PhD in East Asian studies, and her huge knowledge base comes through impressively. 


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The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) By S. A. Chakraborty Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062678119
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Harper Voyager - July 3rd, 2018

The most indulgent epic fantasy I've read in a while. Bonus-- it is not a Eurocentric world. Double bonus-- All three books in the series are already published! (maybe because the author is female? lol ;)). 


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The Old Drift: A Novel By Namwali Serpell Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781101907153
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Hogarth - May 5th, 2020

Do you like historical fiction, contemporary realism, speculative fiction, Afrofuturism, women's novels, magical realism, ecocriticism, and epic multigenerational sagas? If so, you've come to the right staff pick!


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Females By Andrea Long Chu Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781788737371
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Verso - October 29th, 2019

Long Chu forces you to suspend belief while you hear her out on the word "female"-- through critical examination of an oft-forgot Valerie Solanas play and her own transition process, she re-defines the word from a philosophical standpoint rather than a biological one. It's a wild ride, but well worth the suspended belief.


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Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through By T. Fleischmann Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566895477
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Coffee House Press - October 24th, 2022

Genre-blending meditations on art, queerness, time, and everything in between. Read if you want to shake up your perspective.


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Água Viva By Clarice Lispector, Stefan Tobler (Translated by), Benjamin Moser (Preface by) Cover Image
By Clarice Lispector, Stefan Tobler (Translated by), Benjamin Moser (Preface by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811219907
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: New Directions - June 13th, 2012

Clarice says it herself --- "In my core I have the strange impression that I don't belong to the human species." With this intoxicating blend of philosophy, art, and fictionalized memoir, she shows us why. This is her attempt to "eat straight from the placenta" of the world, to explain how we become like oysters dripped in lemon juice when confronted with "the facts of life." In a word, it's brilliant. 


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The Girls of Slender Means (New Directions Classic) By Muriel Spark Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811213790
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: New Directions - April 17th, 1998

Dame Muriel Spark at her best, layering cynical wit with existential truth until it's impossible to tell them apart. The May of Teck Club is an all-girl's boarding house in London, and its residents are burgeoning socialites determined to drag themselves out from the shadow of WWII.


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Heavy: An American Memoir By Kiese Laymon Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501125669
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Scribner - March 5th, 2019

Heavy is a coming-of-age memoir, addressed to the author's mother, grappling with what it means to be a son, a grandson, a student, a friend, a writer, and more, while growing up as a black boy in Mississippi. Kiese Laymon's focus on body is reminiscent of Roxane Gay's Hunger, and indeed she has blurbed it on the cover. I'll take her recommendations any day.  


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Natural Histories: Stories By Guadalupe Nettel, J. T. Lichtenstein (Translated by) Cover Image
By Guadalupe Nettel, J. T. Lichtenstein (Translated by)
$12.95
ISBN: 9781609806057
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Seven Stories Press - June 16th, 2015

The falling apart of a marriage is mirrored by the bevahior of the couples' two fish. A grad student's surprise preganacy parallels that of her cat. There's an undercurrent of unease and discomfort between the lines of these five stories...perhaps because we don't want to admit that we are animals, too? Guadalupe Nettel is one of Mexico's finest. 


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Indelicacy: A Novel By Amina Cain Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250785718
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Picador - February 9th, 2021

Vitória used to clean a museum, but now she's a rich man's wife. Which parts of herself should she carry forward, and which should she leave behind? Arranged in short glimpses that resemble the evocative descriptors Vitória writes for her favorite paintings, this novella could be painted, written, or performed.  


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Little Eyes: A Novel By Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (Translated by) Cover Image
By Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525541370
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Riverhead Books - May 4th, 2021

A cyborg fable for the modern age. What happens when two people, a keeper and a dweller, are connected randomly by the strip of computer code that activates a robotic pet? These pets, called kentukis, are the common thread connecting various storylines around the world. Samanta Schweblin's newest is literature's answer to Black Mirror, but better (of course).


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The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths) By Margaret Atwood Cover Image
$16.00
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781841957982
Published: Canongate Us - October 1st, 2006

What was Penelope REALLY doing while Odysseus was off being an ancient Greek man? What makes her more than a patient human lighthouse? In Margaret Atwood's deft hands, her outline solidifies into three deep, complicated dimensions.  


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Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things (John Hope Franklin Center Book) By Jane Bennett Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780822346333
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Duke University Press - January 4th, 2010

It's out there... it'll make you think... and it's so worth it. 

The perfect trifecta.


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The Hundred-Year House: A Novel By Rebecca Makkai Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143127444
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Penguin Books - May 26th, 2015

This book absorbs you just like the titular house absorbs the lives of three generations of the Devohr family. Is it because the house once functioned as an artist's colony for dozens of modernists? Or are there darker secrets, from further back? Told in reverse chronological order, this book got me hook, line, and sinker.


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The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness By Michelle Alexander Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781620971932
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: New Press - January 7th, 2020

Michelle Alexander brings a lawyer's thoroughness and precision to today's criminally (pun somewhat intended) underplayed Greatest American Problem. 


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The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) By N. K. Jemisin Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316229296
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Orbit - August 4th, 2015

Fundamentally recreating the genre of mainstream fantasy. Blending themes of ecocriticism, racism, and feminism on an Earth where the planet fights back, and having the ability to engage it in combat is a societal death sentence. 


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Open City: A Novel By Teju Cole Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812980097
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - January 17th, 2012

I'm super into books that read as though they were a visual piece of art. Open City fits the bill. Teju Cole has written a literal and figurative palimpsest.


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Bloodchild and Other Stories By Octavia E. Butler Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9781583226988
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Seven Stories Press - October 4th, 2005

Not only is Octavia Butler a master of chilling your blood in ten pages, but she also somehow combines the imagination of a bookish 10-year-old with the wisdom of a wizened 100-year-old.  


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it By Inger Christensen, Susanna Nied (Translated by), Anne Carson (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Inger Christensen, Susanna Nied (Translated by), Anne Carson (Introduction by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9780811215947
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: New Directions - November 29th, 2006

Crystalline structure is built and ruptured, with the many minutae of life and death woven both tightly and loosely throughout. Inger Christensen can grab you by the hair, shake you roughly, then leave you with a gentle hug and a peck on each cheek. 


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Garden by the Sea By Mercè Rodoreda, Martha Tennent (Translator) Cover Image
By Mercè Rodoreda, Martha Tennent (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781948830089
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Open Letter - February 18th, 2020

Open Letter's translation of Rodoreda's Catalan novel is deceptively smooth and simple, just like its narrator. An aging gardener watches as many summers pass in the lives of the rich socialites whose villa he tends. But does their flashy, flowery beauty measure up to his beloved garden?

 


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Underland: A Deep Time Journey By Robert Macfarlane Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780393358094
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 18th, 2020

MacFarlane's new book is GENIUS. He tackles deep time (the time of rocks moving) at its source, delving deep below the earth amongst a variety of places and people, from particle scientists in underground dark matter labs to roving cataphiles beneath the Parisian catacombs. His excavation doesn't stop at tunnelling through the earth; he also digs into wonderfully evocative language, inventing wildly beautiful new ways to describe the undescribable. 

  


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Trust Exercise: A Novel By Susan Choi Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781250231260
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Holt Paperbacks - May 5th, 2020

I was blindsided by the skill and dexterity with which Susan Choi layers this novel. It's an alluringly complex study of what reality and consent really mean. Pair that with the backdrop of a performing arts high school, and you've got something golden.


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The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie: A Novel By Muriel Spark Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780061711299
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - February 6th, 2018

Who could not fall for the audaciously single, passionately alive, manipulatively nurturing Miss Brodie? After all, as she constantly tells her girls, she's in her prime. 


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Letters, Dreams, and Other Writings By Remedios Varo (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Margaret Carson (Introduction by), Margaret Carson (Translator) Cover Image
By Remedios Varo (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Margaret Carson (Introduction by), Margaret Carson (Translator)
$14.95
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781939663399
Published: Wakefield Press - November 27th, 2018

Did you ever make a prank call? Remedios Varo did it better. Prank letters to random psychiatrists, prank research papers, prank party invitations… infused with a plethora of surrealist goodies. Plus Margaret Carson!


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Binti By Nnedi Okorafor Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780765385253
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Tordotcom - September 22nd, 2015

A great, quick subway read. The first in a trilogy of intergalactic proportions. Binti is the first of her people to enter space, but her journey to the University abruptly becomes a cosmic nightmare.


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Night By Etel Adnan Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9781937658533
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Nightboat Books - August 2nd, 2016

She gets life. And how to parse it into tiny, beautiful, digestable verses. I'm humbled.


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Veronica (Vintage Contemporaries) By Mary Gaitskill Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780375727856
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Vintage - July 18th, 2006

This is the perfect book to travel with. It displaces you from space and time, piercing behind the veil of the everyday to suffuse you with the sense of something more. I find myself thinking about it still, months later.


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Ayiti By Roxane Gay Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802128263
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Grove Press - June 12th, 2018

Here are Gay's earliest short stories (plus a few new ones). Haiti is the thread she uses to weave her stunning web of memory, sensation, family, loss, life, and more.


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Fever Dream: A Novel By Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (Translated by) Cover Image
By Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399184604
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Riverhead Books - March 6th, 2018

This novella is a shot of pure adrenaline. Seriously, I naively opened it on the morning of a busy and important day, then spent every spare second of the next ten hours blazing through it. It's weird, it's touching, it's surreal, it's rock n' roll.


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The Overstory: A Novel By Richard Powers Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9780393356687
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 2nd, 2019

This story already exists deep in everyone's veins, but Richard Powers' acute perception bleeds it straight into the consciousness. I'm head-over-heels in love.


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A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing: A Novel By Eimear McBride Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781101903438
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Hogarth - June 9th, 2015

This is the deep exploration of a girl's existence. Written in brilliant stream-of-consciousness prose that exfoliates every layer of nature and nurture gone into the making of her.  


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Fen: Stories By Daisy Johnson Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977740
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Graywolf Press - May 2nd, 2017

Short stories reminiscent of Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties! Veins of fen magic, dark and sensuous, twist through each woman's story, entwining in subtle but impactful moments.


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She Would Be King: A Novel By Wayétu Moore Cover Image
$26.00
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781555978174
Published: Graywolf Press - September 11th, 2018

This is a fierce debut! Beautiful, lucid prose, and characters who came to life fully on the page. Their stories converge into the early formation of Liberia with a twist of magical realism.


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Exit West: A Novel By Mohsin Hamid Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780735212206
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Riverhead Books - February 27th, 2018

This is a beautiful study of love and life in a world of crisis. The political vista within which Saeed and Nadia struggle to maintain a day-to-day existence is a timely illustration of the political vista threatening to envelop our country today; a world where borders are created and destroyed, security and stability are upended in an instant, and the value of a human life is weighed in increasingly untenable terms.


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Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body By Roxane Gay Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062420718
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Harper Perennial - June 12th, 2018

I have no words to describe the beauty and importance of this book. Roxane Gay bravely and honestly writes her story, a story that resonates on the deepest, densest, most human part of our souls. 


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House of Names: A Novel By Colm Toibin Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501140228
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Scribner - March 6th, 2018

It's like a 360 degree panoramic view of the classic Clytemnestra story, including x-ray vision into the tale's most morally conflicted souls. Martha Graham choreographed a powerful retelling from the titular woman's perspective, so I could not be happier to see that trend continued here, with Toibin's first section written from Clytemnestra's point of view.  


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Near to the Wild Heart By Clarice Lispector, Alison Entrekin (Translated by), Benjamin Moser (Preface by) Cover Image
By Clarice Lispector, Alison Entrekin (Translated by), Benjamin Moser (Preface by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780811220026
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: New Directions - June 13th, 2012

This is a book. A collection of words. But it changed my life. Lispector is an archetypal force.


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Dancing Girls By Margaret Atwood Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780385491099
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Anchor - May 18th, 1998

This is early Margaret Atwood at her best. Each short story fiercely probes the nucleus of a woman's psychology. Not a single word is wasted; every mundane detail takes on a sacred significance, accumulating by the end of each story into the entire world encapsulated in a mere twenty pages.


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The Life of Elves By Muriel Barbery, Alison Anderson (Translated by) Cover Image
By Muriel Barbery, Alison Anderson (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609453152
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Europa Editions - February 9th, 2016

This book is a beautiful literary meditation on art and nature. Even in translation, there's a potency to the wonderfully evocative language resonating somewhere deep within. Mulpitle passages induced vsceral heart-wrenches.


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Cosmos By Witold Gombrowicz, Danuta Borchardt (Translator) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802145628
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Grove Press - November 15th, 2011

Gombrowicz is such a riveting writer. He creates this nebulous, atmospheric prose that alternates between hard-boiled fiction and a metaphysical stream-of-consciousness. Then, every once in a while, he pierces through the cloud with a perfect expression that just shatters your heart. And the translation from the Polish by Danuta Borchardt is so creatively thought through. I really really recommend this one!


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The Land of Green Plums: A Novel By Herta Müller, Michael Hofmann (Translated by) Cover Image
By Herta Müller, Michael Hofmann (Translated by)
$20.00
ISBN: 9780312429942
Availability: On hand at one or more locations, see product page for details
Published: Picador - November 23rd, 2010

The daily horrors of living inside Ceausescu's Romania are recorded here in a story that is both blunt and poetic, real and mysterious. The boundary between the outer and inner landscapes has melted away..