Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, by Eugie Foster

Eugie Foster is a Chinese-American writer; she was born in the Midwest (Urbana, adiposity IL) but escaped down south (Atlanta) and refuses to return. (After this winter, I can see why.) She writes columns on how to write for YAs, a pursuit I applaud, and is one of the directors of Dragon*Con. She’s also the managing editor of a magazine called The Fix. Her fiction (short stories) has appeared in online magazines, print anthologies by various editors, podcasts, and now a collection from Norilana Books, published this year. The Wikipedia page has a good collection of her works available online legitimately, but of course I’m going to encourage you to buy the book.

This collection of twelve stories spans a little over two hundred pages, and includes retellings of folk tales from a handful of east Asian countries, primarily China, Japan, and Korea. The titles are:

“Daughter of Bótù”
“The Tiger Fortune Princess”
“A Thread of Silk”
“The Snow Woman’s Daughter”
“The Tanuki-Kettle”
“Honor is a Game Mortals Play”
“The Raven’s Brocade”
“Shim Chung the Lotus Queen”
“The Tears of My Mother, the Shell of My Father”
“Year of the Fox”
“The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon”
“Returning My Sister’s Face”

They were all originally published in various places, including Heroes in Training, an anthology published by DAW Books in 2007; So Fey: Queer Fairy Fiction, an anthology published by Haworth Press in 2007; many different magazines, and various websites. This, I believe, is her first full-length collection. Continue reading Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, by Eugie Foster

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie is of Spokane/Coeur d’Alene heritage; he was born on the Spokane reservation in Washington and had hydrocephalus when he was a kid. He attended the local white high school and played basketball before going to Gonzaga and Washington State University. A B.A. in American Studies later, check he started writing poetry, and then novels, winning the great-young-novelist kind of awards. One of his short stories was adapted, with his collaboration, into the movie Smoke Signals. This novel is his first for YAs, and has won many more awards.

The story was inspired by his own life: Arnold Spirit, Jr. (called Junior on the rez) was born in the same town (Wellpinit) as Mr. Alexie, and made the same choice to go to Rearden, the all-white high school with an Indian as their mascot, after the same incident — discovering that his geometry book was the same book his mother had used, thirty years earlier. There, he has to confront his own heritage and what that means to him — as well as what his decision means to the rest of his reservation. He fights his own expectations, the expectations of the other students, and the expectations of his old best friend, Rowdy. Continue reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Crystal Rain, by Tobias Buckell

Tobias Buckell was born on Grenada; he is of mixed racial heritage. He moved to the U.S. right before he started college, surgeon and attended Bluffton College, located in middle-of-nowhere, Ohio. (I can say that because my father was born there.) He still lives in Bluffton, Ohio, and complains about its land-lockedness. (I’m pretty sure he knows about Lake Erie.) He started publishing short-form fiction in 2000, just after attending Clarion East and around his 21st birthday, and Tor published this, his first novel, in 2006. They also gave it away as a free e-book during their spate of free e-books last year. There are, to my knowledge, two sequels published as of yet.

Nanagada is a smallish continent on a world that has been populated by people who used to live in the Caribbean on Earth, several hundred years ago. They share the continent with the Azteca, who are obviously of Central and South American heritage. The Nanagadans worship the Loa, and the Azteca the Teotls. Of course, they have major differences, and these erupt in a full-blown invasion at some point. John de Brun, a fisherman and sailor living towards the southern part of the land, is apparently the man of the hour — two men are looking for him, both to get the codes for the Ma Wi Jung, whatever that is. But John de Brun has no idea what they’re talking about, because he’s got amnesia prior to about twenty years ago. Can the Nanagadans survive, and will John live? Continue reading Crystal Rain, by Tobias Buckell

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. He is considered one of the pioneers of the ‘magic realism’ movement, pathopsychology a subset of postmodernism that concerns itself chiefly with telling things that are true, treatment even if they aren’t necessarily ‘real.’ He writes epic stories; this novel spans at least a hundred years, and six generations. Other novels include Love in the Time of Cholera, which was recently made into a movie. He is of Latino heritage, and is also considered a leader of the current Central/South American Spanish-speaking writers movement. His books, while originally published in Spanish, are all available in very well-done English translations.

Macondo is a city somewhere in Central America, founded by Jose Arcadio Buendia and his wife Ursula; he and a good deal of other people hacked through the forest to find the proper place to build. Over the course of the next hundred years, the town, largely isolated, rises to a peak of activity and prosperity, and then gradually sinks until it just dries up and blows away in the dust. Some of the Buendia family members become famous throughout the area, for different reasons — military, craftsmanship, etc. — and the strength of Ursula ties it all together for longer than imagined. Through it all, the Buendia family continues to lead the town, even when the years of moderate craziness and even some inbreeding bring the family down to a level never imagined by the first generation or two. Continue reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Private Arrangements, by Sherry Thomas

This is not the usual kind of book that I review on this website, viagra sale and I feel I must disclose that I won this book in a contest on Dear Author. The condition of the winning is that I read it and promote it somehow on its release date, story which is today. The conditions, of course, didn’t state that I had to like the book, or that I had to give it a good review, but cheerfully, I liked it quite a bit. This is Ms. Thomas’s first release, and I am quite looking forward to the next.

The setting is 1893, in England. Lord and Lady Tremaine have been estranged for ten years, but he has returned home because she wants a divorce. For some reason he cannot yet name, Lord Tremaine is not quite ready to let his wife go without a — well, a discussion at least. This is Victorian England, of course. Continue reading Private Arrangements, by Sherry Thomas