‘Man Hating Psycho’ is the caustic new collection of stories from visionary writer Iphgenia Baal. Interrogating the disconnect between our public identities and real-life selves, Baal exposes the inherent duplicity of online communication. With black and disquieting humour, thirteen playful texts disparage the highly-profitable superstitions that are the scaffolding of our current social order.
While on her daily walk with her dog in the nearby woods, our protagonist comes across a note, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground with stones. Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body. Shaky even on her best days, she is also alone, and new to this area, having moved here from her long-time home after the death of her husband, and now deeply alarmed. Her brooding about the note grows quickly into a full-blown obsession, as she explores multiple theories about who Magda was and how she met her fate. Her suppositions begin to find echoes in the real world, and the fog of mystery starts to form into a concrete and menacing shape. But is there either a more innocent explanation for all this, or a much more sinister one – one that strikes closer to home?
University sophomore Miwako Sumida has hanged herself, leaving those closest to her reeling. In the months before her suicide, she was hiding away in a remote mountainside village, but what, or whom, was she running from? Expanding on the beautifully crafted world of ‘Rainbirds’, Clarissa Goenawan gradually pierces through a young woman’s careful facade, unmasking her most painful secrets.
The award-winning Honeys are back with more delicious dishes from the Middle East, and this time their focus is firmly on the grill. Join them on a journey filled with flavour and fire as they visit their favourite ‘swim cities’ exploring the beaches and lakes of the Levant, collecting recipes, stories and culinary culture along the way.
A woman and man, parted a quarter of a century, reunite in a bar in New Orleans as the St Patrick’s Day parade goes by. A divorced suburban dad helps his daughter pick out a card for her friend who’s moving away. A group of friends in late middle age, all once promising, reunite for dinner when one of their number loses her husband, but the gathering splinters when bitter revelations about their shared past emerge. Two teenage boys sit in a drive-in, the air thick with the scent of gin and popcorn and longing. A visionary collection of luminous landscapes, of great moments in small lives, of the people we carry with us long after they are gone, ‘Sorry for Your Trouble’ takes disappointment, ageing, grief, love and marriage and silhouettes them against the heady backdrop of Irish America in the past and present.
Disasters are by their very nature hard to predict. Pandemics, like earthquakes, wildfires, financial crises and wars, are not normally distributed; there is no cycle of history to help us anticipate the next catastrophe. But when disaster strikes, we ought to be better prepared than the Romans were when Vesuvius erupted or medieval Italians when the Black Death struck. We have science on our side, after all. Yet the responses of a number of developed countries to a new pathogen from China were badly bungled. Why? The facile answer is to blame poor leadership. While populist rulers have performed poorly in the face of the pandemic, more profund problems have been exposed by COVID-19. Only when we understand the central challenge posed by disaster in history can we see that this was also a failure of an administrative state and of economic elites that had grown myopic over much longer than just a few years.
In 1833, a young Charles Darwin was astonished by a strange animal he met in the Falkland Islands: a set of handsome, social, and oddly crow-like falcons that were ‘tame and inquisitive,’ ‘quarrelsome and passionate,’ and so insatiably curious that they stole hats, compasses, and other valuables from the crew of the Beagle. Darwin met many unusual creatures in his five-year voyage, but no others showed an interest in studying him, and he wondered why these birds were confined to remote islands at the tip of South America, sensing a larger story. These birds – now called striated caracaras – still exist, though they’re very rare; and this book reveals the wild and fascinating story of their history, origins, and possible futures in a series of travels throughout South America, from the fog-bound coasts of Tierra del Fuego to the tropical forests of Guyana.
The struggles of Black Lives Matter and the attempt to achieve a new America have been challenged by the election of Donald Trump. For James Baldwin, these after times came in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, when a similar attempt to force a confrontation with the truth of America’s racism was answered with the murders of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. In the years from the publication of ‘The Fire Next Time’ in 1963 to that of ‘No Name in the Street’ in 1972, Baldwin became a more overtly political writer, a change that came at great professional and personal cost. But from that journey, Baldwin emerged with a sense of renewed purpose about the necessity of pushing forward in the face of disillusionment and despair. Glaude suggests we can find hope and guidance through our own after times, this era of shattered promises and white retrenchment.
In ‘Working’, Robert A. Caro offers a captivating account of his life as a writer, describing the sometimes staggering lengths to which he and his wife Ina have gone in order to produce his books and offering priceless insights into the art and craft of non-fiction writing.
Reese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn’t hate. She’d scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child. Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men. When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued. After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina. Now Katrina’s pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family – and raise the baby together?
Set on a farming estate in the upper reaches of the River Spey,Â Of Stone and SkyÂ follows several generations of a shepherding family in a paean to the bonds between people, their land and way of life. It is a profound mystery, a passionate poem, a political manifesto, shot through with wisdom and humour.