Sometimes there is love so deep and broad that it is almost impossible to express in words, but for the sake of this new book by Becky Chambers, I must. In a post-climate apocalypse, post-industrial age, a tea monk travels from settlement to settlement on their bike, making tea and listening to folks and their problems. When they decide to leave the beaten path, they meet a self-actualizing robot and the two travel the wilderness. The prose is gentle, the world is beautiful, the characters are inspiring, and reading this book (all in one sitting, I may add) gave me a little hope for the future and reminded me to hold fast to those I love. I cannot recommend this book any higher and I am very excited to see what the planned series holds in store for the Monk and the Robot.
What happens when your savior isn't enough? How do you protect your family? Through visceral and vibrant prose, Kawai Strong Washburn unfolds a beautiful and heartbreaking family drama. The Flores family has been followed by the shades of the old Hawai'ian gods, but the crushing realities of poverty, racism, and sexism bend them to a breaking point. When tragedy strikes, the family will have to pull. With tight storytelling and evocative lyricism, this is an incredible debut from an exciting new voice of American literature.
Timothy Egan's newest book, A Pilgrimage to Eternity (Viking, $28), is part travelogue, part history, and part
religious narrative. As he treads the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrim route that starts in Canterbury, England,
and ends in Rome, Italy, Egan traces this history of Europe and Catholicism and weaves in his own family's story.
He comes to the route with his eyes open, both to the wonder of the landscape he is walking through—described
in elegant prose that makes me long for the clear air of the Alps and the sun-soaked hills of Italy—and to the truths
that history lays at our feet. Though the book is written with a Twain-esque twinkle, Egan isn't afraid to address
the big questions of faith, violence, and the tumultuous present of our world and institutions. He writes about the
landscape with as much reverence as he does the relics, and addresses history and philosophical musings with
a liveliness and humility that come from placing one foot in front of the other. A Pilgrimage to Eternity is charming,
insightful, beautiful, and leaves the reader with just a little bit of hope that maybe faith and love can help save a
person after all.