Kiran Shah is a little different compared to his peers in 1980s Western New York; he is Indian, obviously gay, and also somewhat geeky. His older sister Preeti is more conventional in her ways; while Indian, she has converted to Christianity (and religion will be a large influence on the family in this book), and she fits in well as a pretty cheerleader. She even dates baseball star Shawn for a period in middle school. But Kiran has his own secret relationship with Shawn, which may have contributed to Shawn’s public humiliation of Preeti when they are 12, and Kiran is only 8. The guilt from this event follows him into adulthood, and even spreads out to affect his family.
Reviewed by Nina Longfield
In a rural province of India, young Anil Patel witnesses secondhand the miracle of modern medicine when a traveling clinic restores health to a baby girl and faith within the family. Anil is then determined to enter the medical field with his father’s blessings. Anil’s father sees medicine as an honorable calling and encourages his son’s pursuit giving him permission to remain home away from the fields so he can study, which Anil does morning to night.
Every life tells a story. While we may feel our story is a novel, it may really be a chapter in a much bigger drama that extends beyond our lifetime. In her tale, The Debt of Tamar, Nicole Dweck captures a sense of how our lives and the ways we live have the opportunity to impact others long after we are gone. Using a narrative that covers several centuries, the story begins in the 16th century with a wealthy family forced to flee Spain during a time when being a Jew was a crime. Having practiced her faith secretly for many years, Dona Antonia realizes that the time has come for her and her daughter and nephew to flee before they are discovered.
A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi revolves around the lives of modern Afghan women. The character Zeba used to be a wife, mother, and a peaceful villager. Her husband Kamal is found murdered outside the courtyard of their house and as anyone sane would be, Zeba is overcome with grief and shock. Unfortunately, due to her altered state, she cannot recall where she was at the time of the murder leading her husband’s family to believe that she has murdered her own husband.
Zeba is arrested and jailed. While awaiting trial, she bonds with a group of other Afghan women who share their stories with her. She meets Nafisa, a teenager who was imprisoned to protect her from an honor killing.
All her life, Hazel Renner’s mother expounds on Hazel’s intellect and gifts. She claims Hazel is destined for greatness. The Renners are German immigrants living well for nearly two decades in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When an obscure Archduke is assassinated in Serbia, people who have grown to think of themselves as American are taunted with hyphenated geographical alliances. The Renners have suddenly become German-Americans and are now referred to as foreigners.
Set against the backdrop of a shifting American landscape with a world war engulfing Europe, Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt looks at what it means to be American and what it means to be different. As the war in Europe grows, the Renners are torn in their interests as to what is happening abroad. Hazel’s father and uncle devour news from Germany where their younger brother and cousins are fighting and dying for Germany.
After reading the synopsis for What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera, I was intrigued. I was also very interested to learn why the word “lies” is emphasized on the cover, and by the end of the book, I had my answer.
This novel tells the tale of a young Sri Lankan girl growing up in a seemingly loving family and living in a gorgeous home. However, we quickly realize that this paradise she lives in isn’t what it seems.
After a horrific turn of events, the girl and her mother must move to America, where she grows up into a troubled young woman.
In the Country by Mia Alvar is a collection of finely crafted short stories about people from the Philippines. These are rich stories that span the globe from the Philippines to Bahrain to New York and places in between. In the Country is a collection of captivating snapshots of people tied to history or beauty or family or living or attempting to live in an ever changing world.
In the opening story, “The Kontrabida”, a young man returns home to the Philippines. After years of living and working in New York, he is an outsider in Manila and seeing his childhood home and family as perhaps a familiar stranger might see things. In the story “Legends of the White Lady”, a fading beauty is contemplating her empty life as she ponders leaving the modeling
Reviewed by Neriza Billi
Ever since I read Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones, I have been continuously searching for similar books. Intertwined lives from different social classes in a historical city, their existence centering on a famous Spanish architecture; The Dream of the City seems to tick all the boxes.
Laura and Dimas are the primary characters in the book. Laura comes from a wealthy family in Barcelona while Dimas is from the working class. After fulfilling an apprenticeship for a master jeweler in Rome, Laura comes back to Barcelona, full of ideas and enthusiasm for how she will be able to help their family business. However, she finds out that it
Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin
When Brooke’s company undergoes some restructuring, she finds herself with some time off while things are rearranged with new staff. Rather than take a vacation to a resort destination, she decides to join up with a friend leading a group of women to Russia after the fall of communism. Collectively, they hope to give Russian women some direction as they attempt to start businesses and support their families. As the small group flies across the Atlantic, they bring with them their American ideals, business savvy and varied experiences that will surely benefit those they’ve come to help. It is this story that Talia Carner shares in her novel, Hotel Moscow.
From the time she sets foot
What are the threads that bind us together? How do two worlds collide? Is life purely coincidence or do our choices direct the unknown? In his novel, The Red Notebook, Antoine Laurain spins a tale of two people whose lives collide when one grabs what fate has dealt and pursues an unlikely course of action, despite the high risk of failure. In the heart of Paris lives Laurent, a divorced father who owns a book shop and spends more time reading novels and sorting books than engaging in meaningful relationships. Only a few blocks away lives Laure, a widow, whose career as a guilder results in a completely different circle of friends. Never before have they crossed paths, until one day everything changes.
While returning home from work late one evening, Laure is attacked