Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan

Staff Pick

Christmas 1985 for the Furlongs and their small Irish town is unexceptional. Bill Furlong delivers coal and collects payments, his wife bakes, and their five daughters attend choir practice, write to Santa, and finish their school exercises. But there’s more going on below this ordinary surface. When Bill opens the convent’s coal house, he finds one of the “girls in training” there. Disoriented, cold, dirty, and barefoot, Sarah begs Bill to help her escape. He takes her back to the nuns as he feels he should but, instead of dismissing the incident like a dutiful Catholic, he broods over what, in addition to its other unsettling elements, reminds him of both his daughters’ vulnerabilities and his own situation as the son of an unwed mother who never divulged his father’s identity.  As he gets more involved with Sarah, he rethinks the way he’s been taught to do things. From the opening page’s “long November winds,” Keegan’s novel brims with heart and exquisite craft—it only looks small.

Small Things Like These By Claire Keegan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802158741
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Grove Press - November 30th, 2021

Ganbare! Workshops on Dying, by Katarzyna Boni

Staff Pick

The Polish journalist takes her title from a Japanese word that means “Hang in there!”  and her form from the oral-history collage perfected by the Nobel writer Alexievich for a panoramic, yet detailed account of everything related to the March 11, 2011, Tōhoku earthquake. Her powerful narrative presents statistics as astounding as the tsunami was—5000 buildings, or 40% of Onagawa lost; 5800 dogs left in the evacuated zone; 22 million cubic tons of black plastic bags full of contaminated soil—but it’s the individual experiences that prove most moving. As post-Katrina, here are stories of lost families, homes, jobs, and even towns, along with protracted exile and the fear of radiation sickness from the disabled Daiichi nuclear plant. What sustains people through such horrors? The answer is both history and imagination. Japan is no stranger to earthquakes and tsunamis—nor to nuclear disasters—and the latest victims draw on a heritage ranging from the kataribe, “people who talk about disaster,” to the itaki, or shamanesses, who contact the dead on behalf of the living, to come up with practices including the disconnected land line where you can phone lost ones, cafes where you can recall the dead and cry, and workshops where you practice letting go of your five favorite places, things, activities, and, hardest of all, people.

Ganbare!: Workshops on Dying: Workshops on Dying By Katarzyna Boni, Mark Ordon (Translator) Cover Image
By Katarzyna Boni, Mark Ordon (Translator)
ISBN: 9781948830423
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Open Letter - November 23rd, 2021

Generations, by Lucille Clifton

Staff Pick

The prose of great poets resonates from a special, liminal place all its own, and Clifton’s lyrical memoir—first published in 1976 and reissued with an appreciation by former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith—sings with not just her own voice, but those of her family members as channeled through her “great storyteller” father. Richly cadenced with the rhythms of ordinary speech, these moving stories—punctuated by excerpts from Whitman—profile the generations descended from Mammy Ca’line—abducted from Africa, trafficked to the U.S., and forced to walk North from New Orleans to Virginia at “eight years old”; through her daughter, Lucille Sale, “the first Black woman legally hanged in the state of Virginia”; and on to Clifton’s father, Sam, that “rock” of a man who could barely write but was “an avid reader” and instilled in his daughter the pride of Dahomey women.



Generations: A Memoir By Lucille Clifton, Tracy K. Smith (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Lucille Clifton, Tracy K. Smith (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781681375878
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: NYRB Classics - November 16th, 2021