Song of the Shank

A Novel

Author: Jeffery Renard Allen

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 1555970923

Category: Fiction

Page: 608

View: 1188

A contemporary American masterpiece about music, race, an unforgettable man, and an unreal America during the Civil War era At the heart of this remarkable novel is Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth-century slave and improbable musical genius who performed under the name Blind Tom. Song of the Shank opens in 1866 as Tom and his guardian, Eliza Bethune, struggle to adjust to their fashionable apartment in the city in the aftermath of riots that had driven them away a few years before. But soon a stranger arrives from the mysterious island of Edgemere—inhabited solely by African settlers and black refugees from the war and riots—who intends to reunite Tom with his now-liberated mother. As the novel ranges from Tom's boyhood to the heights of his performing career, the inscrutable savant is buffeted by opportunistic teachers and crooked managers, crackpot healers and militant prophets. In his symphonic novel, Jeffery Renard Allen blends history and fantastical invention to bring to life a radical cipher, a man who profoundly changes all who encounter him.

Song of the Shank

A Novel

Author: Jeffery Renard Allen

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 9781555976804

Category: Fiction

Page: 608

View: 5224

A contemporary American masterpiece about music, race, an unforgettable man, and an unreal America during the Civil War era At the heart of this remarkable novel is Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth-century slave and improbable musical genius who performed under the name Blind Tom. Song of the Shank opens in 1866 as Tom and his guardian, Eliza Bethune, struggle to adjust to their fashionable apartment in the city in the aftermath of riots that had driven them away a few years before. But soon a stranger arrives from the mysterious island of Edgemere—inhabited solely by African settlers and black refugees from the war and riots—who intends to reunite Tom with his now-liberated mother. As the novel ranges from Tom's boyhood to the heights of his performing career, the inscrutable savant is buffeted by opportunistic teachers and crooked managers, crackpot healers and militant prophets. In his symphonic novel, Jeffery Renard Allen blends history and fantastical invention to bring to life a radical cipher, a man who profoundly changes all who encounter him.

Song of the Shank

Author: Jeffery Renard Allen

Publisher: Ireland Books

ISBN: N.A

Category:

Page: N.A

View: 8657

A contemporary American masterpiece about music, race, an unforgettable man, and an unreal America during the Civil War era At the heart of this remarkable novel is Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth-century slave and improbable musical genius who performed under the name Blind Tom. Song of the Shank opens in 1866 as Tom and his guardian, Eliza Bethune, struggle to adjust to their fashionable apartment in the city in the aftermath of riots that had driven them away a few years before. But soon a stranger arrives from the mysterious island of Edgemere—inhabited solely by African settlers and black refugees from the war and riots—who intends to reunite Tom with his now-liberated mother. As the novel ranges from Tom's boyhood to the heights of his performing career, the inscrutable savant is buffeted by opportunistic teachers and crooked managers, crackpot healers and militant prophets. In his symphonic novel, Jeffery Renard Allen...

Holding Pattern

Stories

Author: Jeffery Renard Allen

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 1555973477

Category: Fiction

Page: 256

View: 2856

The world of Jeffery Renard Allen's stunning short-story collection is a place like no other. A recognizable city, certainly, but one in which a man might sprout wings or copper pennies might fall from the skies onto your head. Yet these are no fairy tales. The hostility, the hurt, is all too human. The protagonists circle each other with steely determination: a grandson taunts his grandmother, determined to expose her secret past; for years, a sister tries to keep a menacing neighbor away from her brother; and in the local police station, an officer and prisoner try to break each other's resolve. In all the stories, Allen calibrates the mounting tension with exquisite timing, in mesmerizing prose that has won him comparisons with Joyce and Faulkner. Holding Pattern is a captivating collection by a prodigiously talented writer.

London and the South-East

A Novel

Author: David Szalay

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 155597984X

Category: Fiction

Page: 352

View: 3986

Never before published in the United States, the debut novel by the wildly talented author of Booker Prize Finalist All That Man Is “That clattering noise you hear is the sound of critics and readers racing to find [David Szalay’s] earlier books, an activity worth the effort,” wrote Dwight Garner in his New York Times review of Szalay’s All That Man Is. And now American readers finally have their chance with his debut novel, London and the South-East. Paul Rainey, the hapless antihero at the center of this “compulsively readable” (Independent on Sunday) story works, miserably, in ad sales. He sells space in magazines that hardly exist, and through a fog of booze and drugs dimly perceives that he is dissatisfied with his life—professionally, sexually, recreationally, the whole nine yards. If only there were something he could do about it—and “something” seems to fall into his lap when a meeting with an old friend and fellow salesman, Eddy Jaw, leads to the offer of a new job. But when that offer turns out to be as misleading as Paul’s own sales patter, his life is transformed in ways very much more peculiar than he ever thought possible. London and the South-East, which won the Betty Trask Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, is both a gloriously told shaggy-dog story about the compromising inanities of office life and consumer culture, and the perfect introduction to one of the best writers at work today.

The Last Brother

A Novel

Author: Nathacha Appanah

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 1555970230

Category: Fiction

Page: 208

View: 1917

In The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah, 1944 is coming to a close and nine-year-old Raj is unaware of the war devastating the rest of the world. He lives in Mauritius, a remote island in the Indian Ocean, where survival is a daily struggle for his family. When a brutal beating lands Raj in the hospital of the prison camp where his father is a guard, he meets a mysterious boy his own age. David is a refugee, one of a group of Jewish exiles whose harrowing journey took them from Nazi occupied Europe to Palestine, where they were refused entry and sent on to indefinite detainment in Mauritius. A massive storm on the island leads to a breach of security at the camp, and David escapes, with Raj's help. After a few days spent hiding from Raj's cruel father, the two young boys flee into the forest. Danger, hunger, and malaria turn what at first seems like an adventure to Raj into an increasingly desperate mission. This unforgettable and deeply moving novel sheds light on a fascinating and unexplored corner of World War II history, and establishes Nathacha Appanah as a significant international voice.

The Impossible Fairy Tale

A Novel

Author: Han Yujoo

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 1555979602

Category: Fiction

Page: 192

View: 3148

A chilling, wildly original novel from a major new voice from South Korea The Impossible Fairy Tale is the story of two unexceptional grade-school girls. Mia is “lucky”—she is spoiled by her mother and, as she explains, her two fathers. She gloats over her exotic imported color pencils and won’t be denied a coveted sweater. Then there is the Child who, by contrast, is neither lucky nor unlucky. She makes so little impression that she seems not even to merit a name. At school, their fellow students, whether lucky or luckless or unlucky, seem consumed by an almost murderous rage. Adults are nearly invisible, and the society the children create on their own is marked by cruelty and soul-crushing hierarchies. Then, one day, the Child sneaks into the classroom after hours and adds ominous sentences to her classmates’ notebooks. This sinister but initially inconsequential act unlocks a series of events that end in horrible violence. But that is not the end of this eerie, unpredictable novel. A teacher, who is also this book’s author, wakes from an intense dream. When she arrives at her next class, she recognizes a student: the Child, who knows about the events of the novel’s first half, which took place years earlier. Han Yujoo’s The Impossible Fairy Tale is a fresh and terrifying exploration of the ethics of art making and of the stinging consequences of neglect.

She Would Be King

A Novel

Author: Wayétu Moore

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 1555978681

Category: Fiction

Page: 336

View: 7376

A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history—a dazzling retelling of Liberia’s formation Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them. Moore’s intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. “If she was not a woman,” the wind says of Gbessa, “she would be king.” In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.

The Moor's Account

A Novel

Author: Laila Lalami

Publisher: Pantheon

ISBN: 0307911675

Category: Fiction

Page: 336

View: 8517

**Longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize** **Nominated for the 2016 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award** A Pulitzer Prize Finalist A New York Times Notable Book A Wall Street Journal Top 10 Book of the Year An NPR Great Read of 2014 A Kirkus Best Fiction Book of the Year In this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America—a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record. In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez sailed from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a crew of six hundred men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernán Cortés. But from the moment the Narváez expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril—navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year there were only four survivors: the expedition’s treasurer, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer named Andrés Dorantes de Carranza; and Dorantes’s Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori, whom the three Spaniards called Estebanico. These four survivors would go on to make a journey across America that would transform them from proud conquis-tadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers. The Moor’s Account brilliantly captures Estebanico’s voice and vision, giving us an alternate narrative for this famed expedition. As the dramatic chronicle unfolds, we come to understand that, contrary to popular belief, black men played a significant part in New World exploration and Native American men and women were not merely silent witnesses to it. In Laila Lalami’s deft hands, Estebanico’s memoir illuminates the ways in which stories can transmigrate into history, even as storytelling can offer a chance for redemption and survival. From the Hardcover edition.

The Art of Waiting

On Fertility, Medicine, and Motherhood

Author: Belle Boggs

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 1555979459

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 224

View: 5418

A brilliant exploration of the natural, medical, psychological, and political facets of fertility When Belle Boggs's "The Art of Waiting" was published in Orion in 2012, it went viral, leading to republication in Harper's Magazine, an interview on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, and a spot at the intersection of "highbrow" and "brilliant" in New York magazine's "Approval Matrix." In that heartbreaking essay, Boggs eloquently recounts her realization that she might never be able to conceive. She searches the apparently fertile world around her--the emergence of thirteen-year cicadas, the birth of eaglets near her rural home, and an unusual gorilla pregnancy at a local zoo--for signs that she is not alone. Boggs also explores other aspects of fertility and infertility: the way longing for a child plays out in the classic Coen brothers film Raising Arizona; the depiction of childlessness in literature, from Macbeth to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; the financial and legal complications that accompany alternative means of family making; the private and public expressions of iconic writers grappling with motherhood and fertility. She reports, with great empathy, complex stories of couples who adopted domestically and from overseas, LGBT couples considering assisted reproduction and surrogacy, and women and men reflecting on childless or child-free lives. In The Art of Waiting, Boggs deftly distills her time of waiting into an expansive contemplation of fertility, choice, and the many possible roads to making a life and making a family.

This House Is Not For Sale

A Novel

Author: E.C. Osondu

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0062097784

Category: Fiction

Page: 192

View: 6013

The award-winning author of Voice of America paints a vivid, fully imagined portrait of an extraordinary African family and the house that holds them together. A powerful tale of family and community, This House Is Not for Sale brings to life an African neighborhood and one remarkable house, seen through the eyes of a young member of the household. The house lies in a town seemingly lost in time, full of colorful, larger-than-life characters; at the narrative’s heart are Grandpa, the family patriarch whose occasional cruelty is balanced by his willingness to open his doors to those in need, and the house itself, which becomes a character in its own right and takes on the scale of legend. From the decades-long rivalry between owners of two competing convenience stores to the man who convinces his neighbors to give up their earthly possessions to prepare for the end of the world, Osondu’s story captures a place beyond the reach of the outside world, full of superstitions and myths that sustain its people. Osondu’s prose has the lightness and magic of fable, but his themes—poverty, disease, the arrival of civilization in an isolated community—are timeless and profound. At once full of joyful energy and quiet heartbreak, This House Is Not for Sale is an utterly original novel from a master storyteller.

Listen to the Lambs

A Novel

Author: Daniel Black

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466890665

Category: Fiction

Page: 352

View: 7419

In Listen to the Lambs by Daniel Black, nothing can convince Lazarus Love III to return to the lifestyle of affluence and social status he once knew. Longing for a freedom of the soul that the world of capitalism cannot provide, Lazarus leaves all that he knows--including his wife and children--to achieve the ultimate level of peace and silence living as a homeless man. When his quest causes him to cross paths with four other wanderers, all of whom later call themselves "the family," a shocking, brutal act leaves Lazarus in a dire position and his newfound family must struggle to save him. By doing so, both families--past and present--are redeemed and consequently learn the beauty of sacrificial love.

Geek Sublime

The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty

Author: Vikram Chandra

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 1555973264

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 272

View: 3000

The nonfiction debut from the author of the international bestseller Sacred Games about the surprising overlap between writing and computer coding Vikram Chandra has been a computer programmer for almost as long as he has been a novelist. In this extraordinary new book, his first work of nonfiction, he searches for the connections between the worlds of art and technology. Coders are obsessed with elegance and style, just as writers are, but do the words mean the same thing to both? Can we ascribe beauty to the craft of writing code? Exploring such varied topics as logic gates and literary modernism, the machismo of tech geeks, the omnipresence of an "Indian Mafia" in Silicon Valley, and the writings of the eleventh-century Kashmiri thinker Abhinavagupta, Geek Sublime is both an idiosyncratic history of coding and a fascinating meditation on the writer's art. Part literary essay, part technology story, and part memoir, it is an engrossing, original, and heady book of sweeping ideas.

The B Side

The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song

Author: Ben Yagoda

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0698172515

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 304

View: 9399

From an acclaimed cultural critic, a narrative and social history of the Great American Songwriting era. Everybody knows and loves the American Songbook. But it’s a bit less widely understood that in about 1950, this stream of great songs more or less dried up. All of a sudden, what came over the radio wasn’t Gershwin, Porter, and Berlin, but “Come on-a My House” and “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” Elvis and rock and roll arrived a few years later, and at that point the game was truly up. What happened, and why? In The B Side, acclaimed cultural historian Ben Yagoda answers those questions in a fascinating piece of detective work. Drawing on previously untapped archival sources and on scores of interviews—the voices include Randy Newman, Jimmy Webb, Linda Ronstadt, and Herb Alpert—the book illuminates broad musical trends through a series of intertwined stories. Among them are the battle between ASCAP and Broadcast Music, Inc.; the revolution in jazz after World War II; the impact of radio and then television; and the bitter, decades-long feud between Mitch Miller and Frank Sinatra. The B Side is about taste, and the particular economics and culture of songwriting, and the potential of popular art for greatness and beauty. It’s destined to become a classic of American musical history.

Children of God

A Novel

Author: Lars Petter Sveen

Publisher: Graywolf Press

ISBN: 1555978207

Category: Fiction

Page: 256

View: 9509

Daring and original stories set in New Testament times, from a rising young Norwegian author Lars Petter Sveen’s Children of God recounts the lives of people on the margins of the New Testament; thieves, Roman soldiers, prostitutes, lepers, healers, and the occasional disciple all get a chance to speak. With language free of judgment or moralizing, Sveen covers familiar ground in unusual ways. In the opening story, a group of soldiers are tasked with carrying out King Herod’s edict to slaughter the young male children in Bethlehem but waver in their resolve. These interwoven stories harbor surprises at every turn, as the characters reappear. A group of thieves on the road to Jericho encounters no good Samaritan but themselves. A boy healed of his stutter will later regress. A woman searching for her lover from beyond the grave cannot find solace. At crucial moments an old blind man appears, urging the characters to give in to their darker impulses. Children of God was a bestseller in Norway, where it won the Per Olov Enquist Literary Prize and gathered ecstatic reviews. Sveen’s subtle elevation of the conflict between light and dark focuses on the varied struggles these often-ignored individuals face. Yet despite the dark tone, Sveen’s stories retain a buoyancy, thanks to Guy Puzey’s supple and fleet-footed translation. This deeply original and moving book, in Sveen’s restrained and gritty telling, brings to light stories that reflect our own time, from a setting everyone knows.

Harbors and Spirits

Author: Jeffery Renard Allen

Publisher: Asphodel Press

ISBN: 9781559212083

Category: Poetry

Page: 158

View: 6847

A debut collection of African-American poetry draws on a wide variety of sources that includes African, Caribbean, voodoo, folklore, and the northern urban oral traditions and conveys the writer's efforts to blend myth with the common experience. Original. IP.

Training School for Negro Girls

Author: Camille Acker

Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY

ISBN: 1936932385

Category: Fiction

Page: N.A

View: 8514

A TSA agent who has never flown, a girl braving new worlds to play piano, a teacher caught up in a mayoral race. In this debut collection of stories, each of them navigate life’s “training school”—with its lessons on gentrification and respectability—while fighting to create a vibrant sense of self in this love letter to Washington, DC.