In 2011, Saudi Arabian novelist Raja Alem became the first woman to win the International Prize for Arabic Fiction for The Dove’s Necklace. However, the news was met with controversy and skepticism, since Alem was also the first co-winner of the award, along with Moroccan writer Achaari.
On a visit to India, award-winning novelist and editor Githa Hariharan met a local man who, despite living his entire life in the village of Hampi, didn’t know any of the traditional stories immortalized by local statues and shrines to Ganesha, Narasimha, or any of the other gods. He didn’t know about the 16th-century warrior king, Rama Raya, or how the village was built on the site of the ancient city of Vijayanagar. Hariharan did.
At first glance, Stork Mountain sounds like a typical, coming-of-age immigrant narrative, when a young Bulgarian in America returns to his homeland to escape student loan debt. But Miroslav Penkov—author of the acclaimed short story collection, East of the West—uses classic narrative forms as a springboard for a dark, dreamlike debut novel steeped in Balkan history and legend.
The Confidence Game is a revealing and engrossing primer on how con artists work and why we’re such suckers. But for all the insights Konnikova offers, fraudsters will continue to separate fools from their money (she refers to the confidence game as “the (real) oldest profession”) because our ingrained trust and gullibility make us easy prey for the right scam.
Ron Rash’s Poems: New and Selected acts as interpreter, cryptographer, and historiographer. His poetry transcends hundreds of years—familial history forgotten, misread, and unknown. His makes a stubborn and unchanging place accessible to us, to family that forgot, and to anyone who looks to one day return to a place they miss. Ron Rash sees the American South as only a mystic preacher and time traveler can, and he’s damn sure worth listening to.
The theme of translation pulses through every story in the collection, which spans science fiction, magical realism, and what Liu has coined “silkpunk,” a science fiction-fantasy hybrid inspired by East Asian antiquity. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories is a rare combination of lavish prose, characters in fascinating, unique situations, and heart-wrenching moments.
Kafka’s surreal tale of sudden and shocking transformation has since become a staple framework of fiction. In his debut novel Blackass, Nigerian author A. Igoni Barrett puts a unique spin on Kafka’s idea: instead of a lowly clerk mutating into a giant insect, a young Nigerian man turns white overnight.