A Duplicate Daughter
By Randy Nelson
Twelve years after a botched kidnapping, young Mía Muñoz gets returned to a life of wealth and privilege in California. It’s the right name. But it’s the wrong girl.
High in the Sierra Madre mountains of northern Mexico, impoverished Amedeo Munoz rescues an anonymous baby girl during a 1936 earthquake, insisting that she is his daughter. Twelve years later, when young Maria is ‘rescued’ again, this time by detective Gerald Manley, a more glamorous lie takes hold.–What happens when the princess and the pauper are the same person?
Mia, as she is known, adapts well to her new life, never doubting the narrative that has absorbed her…until she has to choose between two worlds.
A Duplicate Daughter
by Randy Nelson
Release date: October 31, 2017
Genre: Literary Fiction; Crime; Suspense
About the Author
Randy Nelson is a multiple-award-winning writer whose work has appeared in numerous national and international publications. His short story collection, The Imaginary Lives of Mechanical Men won the Flannery O’Connor Award for short fiction. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that “Nelson is expert at crafting scenes of desperation resolved, zealotry succumbed to and disaffection upended—all while refusing to repeat instance, image or idea,” and Publishers Weekly praised Nelson’s collection “Running the gamut from weird to outright creepy, these thirteen stories shed sympathetic light on the unseemly, the ungainly and the unrefined.”
Nelson’s individual stories have also been recognized in Pushcart Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, and as a Carson McCullers Award winner in Story. With his wife Susan he lives in Davidson, NC, where he is the Virginia Lasater Irvin Professor of English at Davidson College.
Hot Season, by Susan DeFreitas
“One of 25 Oregon writers every Oregonian must read” –The Oregonian
Featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB Public Radio), with her writers group,The Guttery
One of the most-listened to interviews on ‘Today’s Best Writers in Conversation with Host David Naimon’, KBOO 90.7 FM Between the Covers podcast
Hot Season was recently featured on the Rose City Reader book blog 3-27-17: Mailbox Monday
More Features and Events
Spillers interview, “The Voice of Phoenix Fiction”
She was recently interviewed by Portland public radio station, OPB, for a show called State of Wonder, with her writing group, The Guttery: Airtimes TBA.
She is presenting at book clubs this spring
2.23.17 at 5:30 pm Happy Hour with Indigo Editing at Zeus Cafe (303 SW 12th Ave,) Portland, OR
3.26.17 at 2:00 pm Author Appearance at Newport Public Library (35 NW Nye St.) Newport, OR
4.2.17 at 7:00 pm Presentation at Tsunami Books (2585 Willamette St) Eugene, OR
4.7–8.17 at (panel various times) IBPA’s Publishing University (Benson Hotel, 309 SW Broadway) Portland, OR
4.11.17 at 7 pm Author Appearance at Broadway Books (1714 NE Broadway St) Portland, OR
4.17.17 at 7:30 pm Group reading for City of Weird anthology at Post 134 (2104 NE Alberta St) Portland, OR
4.18.17 at 7 pm Reading at Annie Bloom’s (7834 SW Capitol Hwy) Portland, OR
4.20.17 at 7 pm Group Reading at Another Read Through (3932 N Mississippi Ave) Portland, OR
An outlaw activist on the run. A pipeline set to destroy a river. And three young women who must decide who to love, who to trust, and what to sacrifice for the greater good.
In the tinder-dry Southwest, three roommates—students at Deep Canyon College, known for its radical politics—are looking for love, adventure, and the promise of a bigger life that led them West.
But when the FBI comes to town in pursuit of an alum wanted for “politically motivated crimes of property,” rumor has it that undercover agents are enrolled in classes, making the college dating scene just a bit more sketchy than usual.
Katie, an incoming freshman, will discover a passion for activism that will put her future in jeopardy; Jenna, in her second semester, will find herself seduced by deception; and Rell, a senior, will discover her voice, her calling, and love where she least expects it.
Based in part on real events in the Northwest and the Southwest in the early Nineties and mid-Aughts, Hot Season explores what Oregon Book Award Winner Cari Luna called “the charged terrain where the youthful search for identity meets the romantic, illicit lure of direct action.”
Praise for Hot Season
by Susan DeFreitas
Release date: November 1, 2016
Genre: Eco-activist-fiction, Suspense
“A stunning debut novel.”
“DeFreitas oscillates between elegant description and coarse dialog, between cool river grove shade and damning desert sunshine. From the unforgiving arid land that baked it, HOT SEASON prospers in the heat.”
“Enjoy the gorgeous prose and thought-provoking narrative in HOT SEASON, and wait for the next novel from this talented writer.”
“Magnificent. A stunning book.”
—Rene Denfeld, multi award-winning author of The Enchanted
“Steeped in a slow-boil sensuality, and the wide-eyed innocence of the young, but also with the suspicion of the status quo, this examination of current climate fears is a must-read.”
“A true Prescott novel, Hot Season asks big questions — not only about water rights and the importance of riparian corridors in the West, but about what it means to fight for the natural world. Young and idealistic, the three protagonists, Katie, Jenna and Rell, attend Deep Canyon College (whose real life inspiration was our own Prescott College). These three roommates negotiate love and the lure of monkey-wrenching in the time of rumored undercover agents in the classroom. And heat — did I mention the heat? For much of the novel it is summer, the air scorched, the heat palpable. Beautifully written, “Hot Season” sizzles with nuanced friendships, passion, and the search for identity, so malleable during the college years. As DeFreitas eloquently puts it, “All these selves were turning into other selves, burning off in the heat of this strange summer.”
“She is carving a niche for herself among environmental novelists such as Margaret Atwood, Edward Abbey and Barbara Kingsolver.”
“DeFreitas gives us a moment on the timeline of our lives–when, over a four-year span, we grow from someone in search of an identity into fully formed humans with ideas, opinions, true friends and a wisdom often gleaned from our own stupidity.”
“…contrasts recur throughout—humor in unexpected moments of seriousness, juvenilia in the face of political terrorism, innocence set against world-weary realism. But what makes DeFreitas’s debut work so damn well is the utterly recognizable accuracy of her details, of the characters and their motivations, yes, and of the richness of her descriptions, also yes, but mainly in her portrait of the anarchist collective, its home base, and its crusty crew. I have known many people of such political affiliation (or, I suppose, non-affiliation) and have spent much time in such spaces, and so, obviously, has DeFreitas, and she paid close attention, as every zine on their shelf and every patch on their jackets are so perfectly placed I found myself laughing along with a few passages, like hearing a stranger describe your memories. It’s also a really fun read with a complex political issue interwoven into its narrative of three young women—and all in the span of 200 pages—as if Donna Tartt had been edited by Gordon Lish. Hot Season is that wonderful mix of literary thoughtfulness and instinctual storytelling gifts.”
“A brisk read with a potent mix of wit and edge.”
“DeFreitas carries this laidback realism through Hot Season, from seemingly minor details that build her rich universe—the color of a sunset, the horrible white-people dreads of college manarchists, the yerba maté beside the soil science textbook—to the book’s complicated, relatable women characters. (The men of Hot Season are refreshingly peripheral.) From unhappily coupled Jenna’s fantasy of solo life on a ranch without men, to Rell’s levelheaded attempt to balance her political ideals with the practical demands of her life, to Katie’s dangerous attraction to self-mythologizing, Hot Season is really a book about women. It’s a sad fact that in many activist movements, women and other marginalized people are often drowned out by swaggering white-guy hypocrisy. Here, they’re given room to breathe, and watching their various sundry selves evolve is something I’m glad to have witnessed.
“Hot Season by Susan DeFreitas brings contemporary environmental activism into the literary vernacular at an interesting moment. ….the novel’s saga of political tension surrounding commercial development chimes intriguingly with current news.”
—Donna Miele, Rain Taxi
“Hot Season, Susan DeFreitas’s finely wrought debut novel, explores the charged terrain where the youthful search for identity meets environmental activism and the romantic, illicit lure of direct action. A compelling book.”
—Cari Luna, Oregon Book Award winner,
author of The Revolution of Every Day
“In Susan DeFreitas’s riveting debut, the desert looms large over the dreams and desires of three friends contending with big questions — such as who to love, who to trust, and what to sacrifice for the greater good. A tale of youth, lust, and activism, Hot Season is a beguiling college novel in the tradition of The Secret History.”
—Mo Daviau, author of Every Anxious Wave
“Susan DeFreitas’s powerful, timely novel asks big questions—not only about water rights and the importance of riparian corridors in the West, but about what it means to fight for the natural world.”
—Michaela Carter, author of Further
Out Than You Thought
“A beautiful book that asks the crucial question, is it worse to destroy a dam or to destroy a river? Which is to say, how do we live our conscience on a crowded, corrupted planet?”
—Monica Drake, author of The Stud Book
Praise for Susan DeFreitas
—Jess Walter, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Beautiful Ruins
“Irresistible—funny and whip smart and dead-on.”
—David Long, author of The Inhabited World
OPB Radio on Susan’s writing group, The Guttery
About the Author
Susan DeFreitas’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in The Utne Reader, Southwestern American Literature, The Nervous Breakdown, Story Magazine, and Fourth River, among other publications. DeFreitas lived in the high country of central Arizona, where Hot Season is set, for fourteen years, and covered topics related to the environment and green technology until 2009, when she moved to the Pacific Northwest. Melanie Bishop, writing for Huffington Post Books, called her “a spokesperson for our times.”
IPPY medalist; INDIEFAB Finalist — Winners to be announced in June!
A #1 Amazon bestseller in biographical fiction – FREE on Kindle April 2 – 6
Included in Reader’s Digest’s Best Books That Inspire You to Travel
A migrant novel based on the true story
of Lost Boy of Sudan Michael Majok Kuch
“The best war novel told from a young boy’s perspective
since Jerzy Kozinski’s The Painted Bird.”
—Nyoul Lueth Tong, author of There is a Country:
New Writing from the New Country of South Sudan
Sept 13, 2016, 6:00 PM, Katz JCC, 1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, NJ
Sept. 27, 2016, 7:00 PM, Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County, Fairfield, Conn
October 13 2016, , Merchantville Book Club, 7-9 PM
*October 28, 2016, 4:00-6:00 PM Book Launch, Drexel University, Pearlstein Gallery
(concurrent with Warp & Weft; work by Caroline Lathan Steifel), 3401 Filbert Street, October 28, 4:00-6:00 PM
*October 30, 2016, 10:30 AM, Har Zion Temple, Penn Valley, PA
*November 1, 2016, Live! Radio Times with Marty Moss Coane, WHYY 90.9 10-11 AM
*November 1, 2016, 6:00 PM, Philadelphia City Institute, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1905 Locust Street
*November 2, 2016, 7:00 PM, Main Line Books, 116 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne PA
*November 3, 2016, Center for Africana Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Walnut Street, Phila.
*November 9th, 2016, The Peace Center, featuring a talk by Michael Majok Kuch, 109 Maple Avenue, Langhorne PA
*November 15, 2016, 4 PM, Arcadia University, 450 S. Easton Road, Glenside, PA
*November 17, 2016, Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Lock Haven, PA
*November 18, 2016, 9:40 AM, Friends Central School, 1101 City Ave., Wynnewood, PA
*November 20, 2016, 3:00 PM Marcus Jewish Community Center, Atlanta Georgia
*November 22, 2016, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, 500 W Willow Grove Ave, Phila., PA
*November 30, 2016, University of Pennsylvania, International Social Work Class, Fisher Bennet Hall Room 141, 5:00 PM
*December 1, 2016, University of Pittsburgh, African Studies Program, 4217 Posvar Hall, 2-3:30 PM
*December 1, 2016, 8 PM City of Asylum at Alphabet City, 40 W. North Ave. – Pittsburgh, PA – 15212
*December 12, 2016, 7 PM, Amy and Anne’s Book Club, New York New York
*December 15, 2016, 7 PM, Kesher Israel, 4th and Lombard, Philadelphia PA
December 20th, 2016, Bryn Gweled Homesteads Book Club
*January 9, 2017, Australia Book Launch The Avid Reader, Brisbane, Australia
*Jan 19, 2017, 4:30 PM, LaSalle College High School, 8605 Cheltenham Avenue, Wyndmoor, PA
*Jan 20th, 2017, 9:00 AM, Central High School, Philadelphia
*January 22, 2017, 2:00 PM, C. Burr Artz Public Library, sponsored by Curious Iguana Books, 10010 East Partick Street, Frederick MD
*January 24, 2017, 7 :00 PM, BookCulture, (with Jill Bialosky) 450 Columbus Avenue, New York, New York
*January 25, 2017, 4:30 PM, La Salle High School, 8605 Cheltenham Avenue, Glenside, PA
February 15, 2017, Merchantville Women’s Club, Merchantville, NJ
February 8-11, 2017, TBA, Associated Writing Programs Annual Conference, Washington D.C., “When Authors Move in and Out of Their Countries and Genres,” with Garth Greenwell, Dina Elenbogen and Fabienne Joshaphat.
Feb 16 or 21, 2017, 12:30 PM, Sheree’s Book Club, Bryn Mawr, PA
Feb 16, 2017, 7 PM, Wooden Shoe Books 704 South Street, Philadelphia, PA
*February 22, 2017, (Online) Charter for Compassion Global Read—Free, Register here. Charter for Compassion International is thrilled to be collaborating with Harriet Levin Millan for their Global Read Program! Charter members from all around the world have been reading Harriet’s novel How Fast Can You Run and will come together for an online conversation with Harriet (and the protagonist from the book itself!) on February 22nd at 9:00 am PST. This will be their kickoff Global Read Session of 2017!
March 1, 2017, 7 PM, SUNY Stony Brook Southampton MFA Program, Writers Speak Series with Omar Bah.
March 6, 2017, 7:00 PM, Poetry Reading, Free L library of Philadelphia (with Jill Bialosky), Philadelphia, PA
March 29, 2017, 5:00 PM Temple Beth Zion Israel, 300S 18th St. Philadelphia, PA
April 9, 2017, 10:00 AM, Beth El Men’s Club, 8215 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD
May 7, 2017, 9:30 AM, Congregation Sukkat Shalom, Willamette, IL
May 8, 2017, Prairie Lights Bookstore, Iowa City, Iowa
June 8, 2017, Explorer Book Store, Aspen, CO
June 9-11, 2017, 3-4 PM, Philadelphia Writers Conference, Novel Writing Workshop – *appearing with Michael Majok Kuch
Set across a backdrop of refugee migration that spans Africa, America and Australia, How Fast Can You Run is the inspiring story of Michael Majok Kuch and his journey to find his mother. In 1988, Majok, as a five-year-old boy, fled his burning village in southern Sudan when the North systematically destroyed it, searching for John Garang, the South’s leader. Majok, along with thousands of other fleeing people, many of them unaccompanied minors, trekked through the wilderness in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya to arrive at a series of refugee camps where he would live for the next ten years. When the U.S. brokered an agreement, granting approximately 4,000 unaccompanied minors political asylum, Majok, now Michael, was given a new start in the U.S. Yet his new life was not without trauma. He faced prejudice once again, disrupting the promise of his new beginnings. This is a story of a survivor who in facing challenge after challenge summons the courageous spirit of millions of refugees throughout history and today.
How Fast Can You Run
by Harriet Levin Millan
Release date: October 28, 2016
Genre: True Fiction, Migrant Fiction, Suspense
Join “The Smart Set Read” book discussion on Goodreads, and get your free copy of How Fast Can You Run, as a download on Amazon.com from April 3-7.
Click here to accept the invitation.
WTOP Radio News Anchor Bruce Alan talks with author Harriet Levin Millan about her very real story of a young boy separated from his family at the age of 5 when his village was destroyed in Sudan’s civil war — how he survived — and what he’s up to now.
“Many people have heard of Africa’s lost boys, but none tell their story quite so well as Harriet Levin Millan, who shares her first-hand account, in this elegantly written book. As inspirational as it is lustrous, the book follows the journey of lost boy, Michael Majok Kuch, as he sets off to find his mother, after his village is burned down in Southern Sudan.”
“…the strength here is in Millan’s ability to fully inhabit Majok’s consciousness; she has crafted a rich tale that authentically portrays—and doesn’t exploit—Majok’s refugee experience. A deeply felt novel of grace and intelligence.”
“Generosity and justice prevail in the storytelling . . . an unforgettable individual portrait of all-too-impersonal war. ”
“How Fast Can You Run is an insightful, gripping, and compassionate account of the second Sudanese Civil War and refugee life in America. Michael Majok Kuch’s observations, as the author has written them, about what happens to him over the course of his young life are heartbreaking and hopeful in equal measure. Refugees are individuals. They are not the faceless, nameless millions we in the West encounter only on the evening news. How Fast Can You Run is an important reminder of this.”
“The circuitous journey in How Fast You Can Run is like a story that never ends. The main character Majok struggles with warfare and starvation even within the confines of refugee camps. When he comes to America, he deals with the terror of a new country and betrayal.”
“The un-imaginable journey of Sudanese refugee Michael Majok Kuch becomes an epic tale through the telling of Harriet Levin Millan’s How Fast Can You Run. Genre bursting, this part memoir, part bildunsroman, part adventure tale, and part heart-felt family reunion avoids the pitfalls of many of its predecessors. Full characterization from Sudan to Philadelphia, exacting detail from beginning to end, clearly visualized African landscapes in all their complexity; there are no broad brushstrokes of civil war, refugee plight and immigration here. A fuller story than How Fast Can You Run cannot have been told of the tragic events of war in Sudan that uproot the young boy from the Dinka plains of Southern Sudan to Kakuma refugee camp to Nairobi and Philadelphia and how he has to fight a different kind of war in America from which he emerges victorious. Epic.”
—Bill Kahora, Editor, Kwani
“…an unforgettable individual portrait of all-too-impersonal war. A book like How Fast Can You Run is an eye-opening experience, awakening empathy for a much wider world.”
“In How Fast Can You Run Harriet Levin Millan turns novel-biography into a genre of its own and shows how empathy can turn into a true solidarity. This is a beautiful and crucial story told by two people, one Sudanese with dreams of independence, the other, an American poet who listens to Michael Majok Kuch through her imagination. For Mike in the United States, Halloween with strange fruit hanging triggers PTSD, ethnicity becomes race, soldiers become white police, tragedy there becomes tragedy here and in the end there is only one life for Mike to live. An enduring image for me – a refugee boy blowing up a discarded bloody surgical glove to make a soccer ball, this bio-novel reminds us that the most human of all activities, the one thing that binds us all is finding beauty even in impossible situations.”
—Mukoma Wa Ngugi, author of Nairobi Heat
“Harriet Levin Millan has transformed the story of one “lost boy” into an earthy, grittily told, highly affecting novel. With a poet’s piercing eye, attuned ear, and facility for recognizing resonant moments, Ms. Millan has written an emotionally rich-veined, dramatically moving and ultimately triumphant story. I emerged from this ingenious, fast-paced novel with the sensation of having been taken along by its protagonist on a poignant, heart-pounding journey, enlarged, and changed.”
—Okey Ndibe, author Foreign Gods, Inc.
“And an excellent wordsmith can bring everything together in a story line that’s completely accessible to newcomers to this history…. Few accounts can adequately capture such experiences, but where nonfiction may falter, How Fast Can You Run proves that an adept writer can step in and use the fiction format to capture the drama, psychology, and tension of civil war from a child’s eye (in this case, Michael Majok Kuch)….Because How Fast Can You Run is based on a true saga, the viewpoints and experiences of Kuch come to vivid life and weave a powerful saga of politics, struggle, and survival that’s hard to put down. Any reader interested in accounts of the Sudanese war will find this a compelling method of absorbing history at its most meaningful: through the eyes of a young eyewitness who didn’t just observe events, but lived through and survived them.”
—D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“How Fast Can You Run is the story of the indomitable spirit of a boy who overcomes inconceivable loss and countless instances of physical and emotional danger, exiled from everything he had ever known. Millan’s telling of Kuch’s story is a refugee’s dark odyssey that witnesses the vicious realities of the Sudanese conflict and the power of a single human life to overcome impossible trauma with perseverance, hard-won wisdom, and an unyielding grace. Devastating, moving, full of magical grace.”
—Tyler Meier, Executive Director, University of Arizona Poetry Center
“In How Fast Can You Run, Harriet Levin Millan tells the story of one boy’s search for a mother’s love through almost unimaginable pain and suffering. After being separated from his family at the age of five during Sudan’s civil war, Majok and later Mike, the novel’s real-life South Sudanese protagonist, braved war, hunger, and desperate illness before arriving in the United States as a refugee. Millan, who met Michael Majok Kuch when her creative writing class interviewed Sudanese immigrants, brilliantly renders the contours of Dinka and refugee life as well as the internal life of a young refugee tormented by the loss of his family and his childhood. Congratulations to Millan. How Fast Can You Run is a marvelous achievement.”
—Deborah Scroggins, author, Emma’s War: A True Story of Love and Death in Sudan
Michael Majok Kuch returned to his homeland of South Sudan in 2010, after attending high school, college, and graduate school in Philadelphia. In 2005, he was featured in the PBS Documentary, Dinka Diaries, as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. In 2008, he was the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Department of Education Scholarship to Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. He currently works for the government of the Republic of South Sudan, where he is an advisor in Research and Policy in the Office of the President. He lives in Juba with his wife and daughter.
More news on the migrant crisis
‘Inside the World’s Biggest Refugee Camp‘—The BBC interviews refugees from Somalia in the largest refugee camp in the world
where 300 000 people live in Kenya.
Article on Kakuma, the camp Mike lived in.
Poetry by Harriet Levin Millan
Harriet’s poetry in Ghost Town
About the Author
Harriet Levin Millan is a prize winning poet and writer. Her poetry collection, The Christmas Show, (Beacon Press) was selected for the Barnard New Women Poets Prize and The Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She received a MFA from the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop and has written for The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Harvard Review, The Iowa Review, PEN America, The Smart Set, among other publications. She and her family founded the Reunion Project and along with the participation of Philadelphia-area high school and college students, raised money to reunite several Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan with their mothers living abroad. She teaches creative writing in the English Department at Drexel University and directs the Certificate Program in Writing and Publishing. She lives with her husband outside Philadelphia.
Leapfrog Fiction Contest Semifinalist; Asheville Award Finalist; Willow Books Literature Award Finalist
Transoceanic Lights chronicles the hardships of a Chinese family after immigrating to the US. The overbearing mother must reconcile the immensity of her sacrifice in the midst of a deteriorating marriage. Her only solace is the distant promise of a better life for her son, who spends his days in school longing for the comfort of his homeland. This is a novel about familial love and discord, the strains of displacement, and the elusive nature of the American Dream.
“Here they come, fresh off the flight from China: The father, Ba, the mother, Ma, and their only child, unnamed; we’ll call him Son. Son is 5, the same age the Chinese-American author was on his arrival in the U.S.; the novel has a strong autobiographical flavor.”
by S. Li
Three hopeful families from post-Mao China immigrate to the US
Genre: Multicultural, Suspense, Family, Asian
Release date: March 2, 2015 - 5 x 8 paperbk; Price: $15.88
October 15, 2016 - 4.37 x 7 paperbk; ISBN: 978-1-941861-33-2
“Transoceanic Lights is perhaps the biggest surprise on the ‘5 Under 35’ list, and it’s the only book published by a small press. It follows a family of Chinese immigrants struggling to adjust to life in the U.S. The story line parallels Li’s own history: H left China when he was five. Li earned a medical degree before publishing his first novel, putting him in the ranks of many other doctors-turned-writers, including Abraham Verghese and Ethan Canin.”
“Ma’s childbirth scene is a killer. The full account . . . should be enough to make any of us swear off having sex, much less fabricating babies, forever and forever, amen.”
—The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities
“When Li focuses his narrative on the several tensions that threaten to tear the narrator’s family apart, the novel makes for absorbing reading. Li also has an admirable linguistic command, an ability to spin out lovely descriptions and fresh, memorable metaphors. The precision and beauty of this description works on both sensory and emotional levels….a tender and persuasive portrait of Chinese-American immigration in the post-Mao era.”
—Pleiades Book Review
“What Li accomplishes, as Lahiri and others have done before, is to put in stark relief the continuing social, emotional, and psychological consequences of the Faustian bargain struck when making the decision to leave one’s country to come to another [. . .]. Li is not afraid to say that such bargains are not only fraught with difficulty, but also sometimes doomed to failure. Nor is any failure the result of some simplified notion of a lack of will to succeed (a quintessentially Western notion). Sometimes, the cognitive dissonance is simply too great to overcome – but, sometimes, the details are simply in the journey.”
“Li creates tension with such conflicting imagery [and] examines the heart of the American experiment from an outsider’s point of view…. The rapidly deteriorating inter-family relationship mirrors the evermore fragile relationship between the narrator’s iron-willed mother and shady father. Li’s writing style is dense, great detail given to mundane objects and sights…this rush of imagery and imagination mimics the onslaught and confusion of a child in a strange land.”
—The Broadkill Review
“Labels do not adequately describe the high quality of writing, subtlety of construction, or fresh look at the subject. The writing is remarkable for its lack of self-pity. The style is fluent. It surprises, in the way a reader likes to be surprised, takes chances, and fits the story the way a seasoned novelist suits the word to the action. The shifting points of view move the story effectively. The sense of place is marvelous. I doubt there will be many better published this year. Let me be the first to welcome a serious new talent to the room.”
“Tolstoy begins Anna Karenina with “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Fast forward 100 or so years later to a far different setting than imperialist Russia, to the humble origins of an immigrant Chinese family in Boston, and you’ll be in the territory ofTransoceanic Lights [. . .]. Li has written a mature work with an intense quality that provides a rarely seen aspect of the Asian American experience. S. Li is a singular contribution to the immigrant narrative and a necessary new voice to the growing genre of Asian American literature.”
“The style is fluent. It surprises, in the way a reader likes to be surprised, takes chances, and fits the story the way a seasoned novelist suits the word to the action.”
“The characters are well developed, and the emotions are so intensely described that we live the book!”
“Transoceanic Lights digs deep into the emotions of love, anger, loss, betrayal, and compassion as the families discover their place in a new country. Ma and Ba offer such psychological tension. This novel is a page-turner, a must read!”
—Gloria Mindock, editor of Červená Barva Press
“The portrayal of childhood is brilliant. The characters are as vivid as if they were our own relatives. The writing is nuanced, intelligent, lyrical, sensuous. S. Li has much to teach us about other cultures and the art of the novel. A very fine novel indeed.”
—Luke Salisbury, author of Hollywood and Sunset
About the Author
S. Li was born in Guangzhou, China in 1984 and moved to the US in 1989. He graduated with an A.B. in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard in 2006 and an M.D. from the University of Massachusetts in 2010. He lives in Boston. Transoceanic Lights is his first novel.
by Michael A. Ferro
Forthcoming in 2018
In his twenties and well-educated, Heald Brown might be responsible for the loss of thirty-seven highly classified TITLE 13 government documents, and has perhaps hopelessly lost himself, too.
TITLE 13 combines the sobering realities of contemporary life with elements of dark humor and unconventional love. Heald Brown is a fractured young man, living in the Windy City and looking to harness the promise of the Mecca of the Midwest. He scrabbles with government hoopla, mental illness and addiction, marooned love, and feelings of a discombobulated life that he had once imagined would be so different.
Teetering anxiously between despondency and bombastic sarcasm, he silently clings to his quixotic roots, as he works at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Chicago Regional Census Center, busily prepping the 2010 Decennial Census, when he is targeted for losing the TITLE 13 government documents. Indeed, having haphazardly moving from Detroit to Chicago during the crippling recession, Heald has certainly lost plenty over the past few years, no doubt due to the frightening course of his alcoholism at such a young age.
As Heald struggles to come to terms with what is at stake, including a budding romance within the office and an emotional confrontation with his concerned family and dying grandmother, will he succumb to the devastating effects of his drinking? Reality at home and work digress into farcical absurdity and arcane psychological revelation, both hilarious and redoubtable in nature, as he seeks the thirty-seven pages of secrets that must be somewhere in the vibrant city. The missing TITLE 13 hangs over each character like a specter, interweaving a series of plot points that ultimately beg the question: Is it the documents that Heald has lost, or is it his own cardinal virtue
About the Author
Born and Bred in Metro Detroit, Michael A. Ferro’s work has been featured in various online and print publications. He was awarded the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award for Fiction. Michael’s debut novel, TITLE 13, is forthcoming from Harvard Square Editions in 2018. Additional writing and information can be found at www.michaelaferro.com and @MichaelFerro. After traveling, working, and writing throughout the Midwest, Michael currently resides in rural Ann Arbor, Michigan.
That One Cigarette
by Stu Krieger
A story of ordinary people making extraordinary ripples in the ocean of life
Stu Krieger is the winner of the
Riverside International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award
That One Cigarette is a counterfactual history novel following four families from November of 1963 to January of 2009. In November ’63, Ed Callahan is an assistant manager at the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas. His promise to his wife to quit smoking as soon as he finishes the pack in his pocket ends up changing the course of events on November 22. The fallout of this action alters the lives of the Scott family in Rochester, New York, the Kaufman/Goldman family in Los Angeles and the extended Kashat family in Baghdad, Iraq.
It’s not until the final chapters that all of these lives intersect, but along the way, That One Cigarette explores questions of fate, love, loyalty and the ability of each of us to make defining contributions to our world by simply being present in our own lives.
That One Cigarette
by Stu Krieger
Release date: November 24, 2017
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense
About the Author
Stu Krieger is an acclaimed screen and television writer making his debut as a novelist with That One Cigarette. He is currently a professor of screen and television writing in the University of California, Riverside’s Department of Theatre, Film & Digital Production and in the Creative Writing for the Performing Arts MFA Program at UCR. Each fall, he also teaches the Producing the Screenplay class at USC’s Peter Stark MFA Producing Program.
Krieger co-wrote the Emmy award winning mini-series A Year in the Life and was nominated for a Humanitas Prize for co-writing the Disney Channel original movie, Going to the Mat.
Among his more than 25 produced credits, Krieger wrote the animated classic The Land Before Time for producers Steven Spielberg & George Lucas and ten original movies for the Disney Channel, including Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century and its two sequels, Tru Confessions, Smart House, Phantom of the Megaplex, and Cow Belles.
He has been a story editor and writer on Spielberg’s Amazing Stories and the supervising producer on the ABC Television series Jack’s Place. He served as the head writer and story editor of the animated preschool series Toot & Puddle on Nickelodeon in 2008-2009.
His first full-length play, Chasing Smoke, debuted in a staged reading at Garry Marshall’s Falcon Theatre in Burbank in July 2014. His short film script Bad Timing was produced by the UCR Department of Theatre, Film & Digital Production in 2016. He is an Executive Producer on “The Binding,” a 2016 feature film written and directed by his son, Gus Krieger and also served as an Executive Producer on “My Name is Myeisha,” Gus’s second feature film which Gus co-wrote with UCR TFDP Professor Rickerby Hinds, based on Professor Hinds’ play, “Dreamscape.” “Myeisha” was shot on location in Riverside in October 2016.
Mr. Krieger’s TEDx Talk, “Choose Joy,” can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v02wrQ-OSA
On April 22, 2017, Stu Krieger will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in Screenwriting at the opening night gala of the 2017 Riverside International Film Festival.
Love and Famine
A forthcoming true-fiction, historical novel by Han-ping Chin
A 9th-grader, Dapeng Liu, greets the 1949 communist victory in China with awe and confusion. While trying to shed old traditions and fit into the revolution, he’s constantly caught between incomprehensible reality and his conscience. Amid his struggles with shifting political dictates, academic and financial adversity, purges, a broken marriage, and loneliness, he learns to swim in the stormy sea of Mao’s first decades in power. As his professional achievement and ideological remolding win Party favor, he quietly maps a path to a brighter future and his lost love. One of the readers dubbed it “The Chinese Dr. Zhivago.”
This coming of age story set in China from 1949-1965 during the Mao Zedong Era portrays a fate inextricably intertwined with the way Chinese people lived during the formative stage of modern China. Han-ping Chin’s historical autobiography fills the niche left by Ha Jin, winner of the National Book Award, and other modern Chinese writers.
Love and Famine
by Han-ping Chin
Release date: September 8, 2017
Genre: True Fiction, Immigrant Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Suspense
About the Author
Han-ping Chin was born in Wuhan and driven by Japanese troops to South China, where he spent his childhood in an abandoned coalmine district, a place of poverty, plagues, and superstition. He survived the war and the diseases it spread, while five of his siblings died. From 1956 to 1978, he worked as an engineer stabilizing tunnels and dams. Traveling through the provinces and living at various construction sites, he came know the people in all parts of China. In an era when propaganda replaced entertainment and friendships turned into political liabilities, he spent most of my spare time alone with the Chinese classics.
He came to the US as one of the first 52 PRC exchange scholars in 1978. Later, he received his PhD from the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC Berkeley, and registered as a civil engineer in California. Exposed to Western society and history that was heavily censored in China, he was forced to face the emotions, feelings, and memories of his earlier life that he’d thought long-since extinguished. An urge to offer a glimpse of an ancient, vanishing world to Western readers and younger generations of Chinese has lured him from his engineering profession. He’s been writing for the past thirty years, and his short stories have appeared in The Partisan Review and Willow Springs.
APPOINTMENT WITH ISIL
A forthcoming Anthony Provati Literary Thriller
by Joe Giordano
Texas launch June 30th, 7.00 PM at Malvern Books, 613 West 29th Street
Italy Book Tour June 19-30, 2017
This time, Anthony’s libido threatens his life. Anthony Provati flirts with Russian mob boss, Gorgon Malakhov’s mistress. The Russian deals in death. ISIL, the Islamic State in the Levant, wants the product. Russian Intelligence supplies the means, and an art theft funds the scheme. ISIL’s targets are chilling. The chase across the Mediterranean is on. Can Anthony thwart ISIL? Will he survive?
APPOINTMENT WITH ISIL
by Joe Giordano
Release date: June 15, 2017
Genre: Crime, Thriller, Suspense
“The threats feel very real. The plotting and writing throughout are taut and the stakes are very high. Not only are individual lives in peril, but plans are laid for massive attacks and enormous security breaches. Sales of submarines, Strontium-90 (a component of diabolical “dirty bombs”), and shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles are all part of the high-level negotiations. Also mixed into the nefarious loot are massive amounts of heroin and three small, but priceless, Vermeer paintings…. A roller-coaster ride to the finish, this book confirms Giordano as a writer to eagerly watch.”
“If you like gritty intriguing thrillers involving the FBI, Russian/Italian mobs or Islamic Terrorists you will absolutely love this book…. The characters, the plot and prose come together for an outstanding work of contemporary Americana. PRIMO highly recommends Appointment with ISIL.
“…Giordano paints a globe where the chaotic isn’t resolved but modulated, where crime isn’t black and white but a shifting polarity of moment by moment compromises, where good often emerges out of the back alleyways of Manhattan to save the world.”
“This is a fast paced thriller that will keep your attention hooked. Anthony has a lusty libido and that gets him up to his neck in trouble. But he is bound and determined to stop more deaths from ISIL. If that doesn’t get you interested in the story, the first chapter will have you in tears. If you like fast action with a great story, look no further. I strongly recommend reading Appointment with ISIL.”
“Appointment with ISIL by Joe Giordano is a riveting chase around the world that will have gritty thriller lovers salivating for more from this talented and bold author. Action-packed, suspenseful and at times terrifying, clearly a must read for those who like hanging on the edge of the cliff by only their fingers.”
–Dianne Bylo, Five stars Tome Tender, Top 1% of Reviewers on Goodreads
“Joe Giordano’s superbly written new novel, Appointment with ISIL, is arguably an important book, providing a deeper understanding of a tumultuous world that seems hopelessly mired in a terrifying clash of cultures and belief systems. The book is a gripping socio-political thriller, taking us on a frantic chase from the tough streets of New York to Greece and Egypt and ultimately to the Vatican and Jerusalem. And with such a careful account of history, the human condition and the current state of the world, the book stands with such academic works as Waltz’s Man, The State and War. The author’s command of the language is on display throughout, and his vivid imagery and wry metaphors are real gifts for readers. His narrative, unique characters, and international settings are a pleasure to take in as we become immersed in the action. Appointment with ISIL is a must-read.”
–Daniel VanTassel, editor, The Zodiac Review
The Pen & Muse interviews Joe Giordano
J Bronder Book Reviews interviews Joe Giordano
Other fiction by Joe Giordano
Boston Literary Magazine – “Twenty-Pound Salmon”
About the Author
Joe Giordano’s stories have appeared in more than ninety magazines including Bartleby Snopes, The Saturday Evening Post, decomP, and Shenandoah. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, was published by Harvard Square Editions October 2015. His second novel, Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller will be published by HSE in June 2017. Read the first chapters and sign up for his blog.
Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife, Jane, have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their shih tzu, Sophia.
Erika at Barnes & Noble
1035 Emmet Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903
Should family therapy be a spectator sport?
2014 USA Best Book Award Literary Fiction Finalist
On the ballot for Teen Choice Book of the Year
Close, a novel of family and suspense. Single mom Kik Marcheson is doing the best she can — but effort doesn’t seem to count for much in the parenting department. Her oldest daughter is swimming in the deep end of adolescence; the middle-child slash good-girl is fraying along the edges; and the baby, a quirky kindergartner, has befriended an imaginary playmate. When a TV therapist offers help, they take it. And then things go from bad to terrifying.
“Discovering that you are not alone in your battles is sometimes a relief – or not. Close by Erika Raskin does just that by revealing the imperfections of the Marcheson family. This book tells a poignant and edgy story of a divorced-family dynamic through complex characters and the real life struggles of parenting and adolescence. While trying to get help for the Marcheson daughters this family experiences something that will shock you.”
—LitPick Student Book Reviews, 5 Star Rating, www.litpick.com
“Raskin easily balances humor and drama in this novel about parenting, reality TV, and family. Erika Raskin’s Close is a welcoming and nuanced novel that offers a window into the life of the Marcheson family—with ultimately much of America peering through that window as well.”
—Foreword Reviews 5 Heart Rating
“This book is all about relationships between people and knowing when to forgive and when to let go. It focuses on the theme of trust and what happens when that fragile trust is broken. CLOSE by Erika Raskin is a great read for any teenager and the characters are all extremely relatable. While most families will fortunately never experience the pain of a missing child or the humiliation of national criticism, the actions and struggles of the characters will touch readers as they hope for a happy ending for the Marcheson family.”
“Author Erika Raskin’s ability to deftly blend humor and drama into a relentlessly entertaining novel that holds the reader’s rapt attention from beginning to end without letup is truly impressive! Very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library General Fiction collections…”
Close , by Erika Raskin
A novel of family and suspense
Release date: October 16, 2014
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Suspense
Release October 31, 2016
“Close by Erika Raskin, looks at the fragile link that holds families together. The unraveling of one thread can rapidly lead to the disassembling of the whole unit. Parents and children may have the best intentions, but they don’t always let their true selves be known.”
“. . . Close details the moving, wryly funny and ultimately fateful actions of a single mother trying to cope with raising three daughters. “
“Crisply written. A page-turner of significance. This wise debut novel, Close, slices into 21st century motherhood on an academic campus revealing expected and unexpected terrors and tenderness. Erika Raskin captures the thousands of small choices that can go tragically wrong on an ordinary day, the perils of making the private public, and the vulnerability that comes with loving a child. Her ability to portray a mother’s love for three very different children is uncanny.”
—Alice Randall, Author of The Wind Done Gone
“Wow. Erika Raskin’s right-on-the-money observations and incisive prose pull you directly into the heart of this messy, endearing family. It’s an accelerating story of entwined love and dread, and it left me breathless.”
—Janis Jaquith, public radio commentator,
“Raskin’s debut novel delivers witty, insightful prose, flesh and blood characters and a compelling plot with a twist that keeps you on the edge of your seat. A terrific read!”
—Deborah M. Prum, author of First Kiss
and Other Cautionary Tales
“When Erika Raskin writes that the father ‘downshifted into the somnolent whisper of the Permanently Disappointed’ she forcefully sets the tone of her well-paced novel. Close paints an astute yet funny portrait of three daughters and a mother trying to cope with their fractured family. Her vivid characters remind me of many families I’ve treated over the years.”
—Justin A. Frank, M.D., Psychoanalyst and
best-selling author of Obama on the Couch
“Raskin’s debut novel will keep you turning the pages in this turbulent family drama, and you’ll cheer on as the Marchesons get their collective act together despite their all-knowing TV therapist.”
—Jenny Gardiner, author of Kindle #1 Bestseller
Slim to None
• Erika Raskin’s second novel, Best Intentions, Macmillan
• Visit Erika’s website at www.erikaraskin.net
• Author Twitter @ErikaRaskin
The College of Corn
by Kunyang He
A tragicomic story set in a Midwest university town, The College of Corn portrays a community of overseas Chinese students and immigrants, and three fledging young woman scholars — one from Taiwan, one Mainlander, and one Hong Konger — experiencing early adulthood, the reality of the American dream, commercialized education, and romance in a troubled country and flawed academia.
Rachel, a Ph.D. student from China and the chief editor of a “notorious” local Chinese newspaper has been using the paper as a weapon for scathing criticism and as a channel for underdogs’ grievances. She is struggling with budget deficit and continual threats from the authorities and her own compatriots. The story is told from the point of view of Alex, the newspaper’s graphic designer and Rachel’s secret admirer. While the newspaper is short-staffed and facing another severe cutback, Alex meets the daughter of a Taiwanese tycoon, a stellar young scholar, who can write and seems the solution to both the problems of the paper and Alex’s unrequited love, until events take an unexpected turn.
The College of Corn
by Kunyang He
Release date: November 15, 2017
“The College of Corn captures the rhythms and textures of the lives of international students at a large midwestern university while telling a story filled with humor, pathos, and truth. Kunyang He writes with wit and a sharp eye, bringing the characters to life. The story grabbed me. I couldn’t put it down, and after I finished it I felt like I had a personal relationship with the people in the story.”
—John Nerone, the author of The Media and Public Life: A History
About the Author
Kunyang He is a Chinese author writing in English. He has written two independent films and one documentary featuring the new generation of Chinese immigrants and international students in the States. He is also a translator and an English teacher, who takes teaching very seriously. The College of Corn is his first novel.
Launch events and readings
6 October Gatsby Books Long Beach 3pm
31 October Bluestockings bookshop New York
5 November PACC Milpitas CA
Selina, a beautiful, British-born Pakistani young woman recently lost her father, and finds herself struggling to cope with life, in particular with some aspects of her studies. Matters go from bad to worse, when a trusted family friend from the mosque offers to tutor her, and rapes her instead. With the threat of dishonour to her family at her back, Selina goes to extreme lengths to avoid scandal, and prevent shame being brought to her widowed mother’s door. It will take all the strength and courage Selina can muster when her life travels down a dangerous path, from which there may be no return…
by Abda Khan
Release date: October 3, 2016
Genre: Crime, Romance, Thriller
“loaded with painful lessons from the contemporary immigrant experience”
—The Weekly Voice
“Khan has written a contemporary Tess of the D’Urbervilles, a heart-wrenching and engrossing tale that challenges the definition of morality through the story of a wronged young woman fighting to come to terms with harsh realities and finding empowerment along the way.”
—Booklist, Caitlin Brown
“The depiction of how a conservative community, emotional blackmail, and rape culture all lead to an intelligent young woman to not report her sexual assault is realistic and therefore upsetting. But what I enjoyed most about this novel was how ultimately, the story was about Selina’s strength and growth as a survivor. The title and (current) book cover may not indicate this, but Selina emerges a stronger person out of this ordeal. In the end, she refuses to allow her life to be defined by the men around her, whether they are positive or negative influences in it. She wants to carve out a life of her own and define its parameters herself. This feminist message strengthens the story and provides an important perspective.”
“One of the things I love in stories about Muslim women is when they are actually by Muslim women. I really liked this book, both for how it delicately addressed taboos and for the fact that it adds to a body of work where Muslim voices and narratives are lacking. Stained is a gripping read. 10/10 would read again.”
“…this book is so important; diverse read; hard-hitting, emotionally-charged subject matter; super short, but SO SO heavy; Selina’s story is one of strength and poise in the face of adversity, of finding yourself despite the darkness threatening to swallow you; this book touched me deeply.”
—Betwixt These Pages
“This book was a page turner! Totally gripping, and inspiring.”
—Dr Sana Rashid, New Jersey, USA
“Stained examines the pressures of cultural taboos and sensitivities faced by women in society, and how they affect their life profoundly. Ultimately, it explores human endurance in the face of extreme adversity, and the extent to which, eventually, one is left with nothing but hope. The plot and characters draw the reader in from the very first page. Abda Khan has skilfully produced a novel that is both compelling and thought-provoking. A thoroughly captivating book.”
—Julian Knight, former BBC Journalist, Member of the British Parliament
“Stained draws readers in with the effortless combination of an intense storyline that is tinged with elements of the unexpected. Khan’s skillful characterisation facilitates a relationship with the heroine, and allows the reader to become immersed in her world….The narrative is fast-paced, the storyline is gripping, and the characters are engaging. The novel tackles many pressing cultural, social and moral issues that are prevalent in the Pakistani/Muslim and other Asian communities in Britain today, particularly pertaining to the position and rights of women. Khan’s masterful characterisation and dramatic plot lend an eloquent voice to women who currently do not have a voice at all, and expose the traumatic abuse faced by women in many cultures.”
“Whoever picks up this novel will witness the horrifying build up to sexual abuse, and all through a victim’s perspective….Stained is a vitally important novel for the British Asian community. It unearths truths that have long simmered beneath the surface, and Abda Khan is extremely brave to bring them to light.”
“The author does an amazing job with positioning us inside the perspective of a victim. A lot of times, people, assume that a survivor of rape doesn’t go through anything else. We often ignore the fact that it is a everlasting trauma that reoccurs and can be triggered by so many things”
“An inspiring and empowering story about a young British Muslim girl’s determination for independence and self-regulation. Selina’s story is captivating, with so many twists and turns that I read it in one sitting!”
—Mrs Rehana Hanif, Yorkshire, UK – Reviewer
“Stained, no doubt, is a voice for women, loud and clear, from highlighting the unfair treatment of daughters, to disregarding of girls rights to education and most importantly to their consent in all its forms. Selina, goes on to achieve the unthinkable in this story by fighting for her name on her own, and in the end clearing her name of the dishonor that had befallen her.”
“Selina is a superb character – very easy to like and empathise with, and her voice feels completely natural and real. I also love the way Abda has woven in the various strands about culture and identity, and the cultural clash that takes place in the homes and hearts of South Asian families in Britain. The differing viewpoints of Selina and her mother come across very sharply, but with a warmth that’s often lacking. I found the story to be dark and shocking in places, but this only added to my enjoyment of it. Stained showcases what, for me, is the often almost hopeless reality of life for so many girls, and the ending, although sad, is refreshingly honest and real. I love that it’s set in Bradford and Brum, and that Abda has left no stone unturned, especially in dealing with patriarchy and the predatory nature of some men. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
—Bali Rai, celebrated British Asian teenage fiction author of Dream On, selected for the Book Trust’s inaugural Booked Up list
“Lawyer and author Abda Khan will tell you she has no professional training as a writer, but real life experience proved more than enough preparation for her debut novel, Stained.”
Shaktistri Interview with Abda Khan
Ravi Magazine Interview with Abda Khan
Yorkshire Post Interview with Abda Khan
Article by Abda Khan
News: “The threats and abuse outspoken Pakistani women receive” — BBC
Abda Khan’s web site
In 2017, the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation named Abda Khan a ‘True Honour Award’ Honouree for her work, including Stained (HSE 2016), her debut novel. She has also been shortlisted for the Asian Women of Acheivement Award 2017. Born to Pakistani immigrant parents, Abda Khan was the first child in her family to go on to higher education. She is a lawyer with her own practice.
Living Treasures, by Yang Huang
Harvard Square Editions 2014
Gold Medal: Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Multicultural Fiction; A top 3 historical novel of 2014; Living Now Book Award Medalist; Bellwether Prize and INDIEFAB finalist; Yang’s 2nd novel is this year’s Juniper Prize Winner and will be published by University of Massachusetts Press
A woman can have a career and family, but which comes first?A starving panda eats a hen in order to nurse her cub in the dead of winter—there begins the perilous adventure of Gu Bao, a girl who grows up under the Chinese government’s one-child policy. Bao falls in love with a handsome soldier during the tumultuous Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. The demonstrations transfix her fellow students and kill one of her friends. Bao finds herself pregnant and faces the end of her academic career. Her grieving parents arrange for a secret abortion and ship her off to her grandparents’ house in the remote countryside where she was raised.
Bao searches for her inner strength while exploring the evocative Sichuan mountain landscape. She befriends a panda mother caught in a poacher’s snare, and an expectant young mother hiding from villainous one-child policy enforcers bent on giving compulsory abortions. All struggle against society to preserve the treasure of their little ones. Can Bao save a rural family from destruction, and help a giant panda along the way? She devises a daring plan that changes the lives of everyone around her.
Author Signing Barnes and Noble Hillsdale
Saturday, May 30, 2015 from 11:00am – 2:00pm
Book Signing at Barnes and Noble Blossom Hill
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Barnes and Noble Blossom Hill
Join author Yang Huang for a signing of her book Living Treasures, a gripping page-turner and an incisive social critique.
Read my blog: Sex Is a Lesson about Life.
Join author Yang Huang for a signing of her book Living Treasures, a gripping page-turner and an incisive social critique, portraying a young woman’s quest for romance and justice in a rigid society.
Book launch Tuesday, November 18, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (PST) Food, drinks, and prizes:
Green Apple Books, 506 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94118
Dec. 6: San Francisco Public Library (bilingual talk)
Book talk: Hercules Book Club, Saturday, January 10, 2015
1:00pm 5:00pm, Yang will talk about Living Treasures with Hercules Book Club hosted by Christine Nadeau.
21st Annual Festival of Women Authors, Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 9:30am – 3:00pm, HS Lordships Restaurant , Berkeley Marina
Eliminating racism, empowering women, YWCA Berkeley/Oakland
Feb. 7: Reading at Barnes and Noble San Jose, Stevens Creek, San Jose, Saturday, February 7, 2015, 1:00pm 3:00pm
Feb. 9: Book talk at Albany library
Saturday, May 23, 2015, San Jose Public Library, 10:00am 3:00pm
A deeply moving story of family, passion, and courage, Living Treasures is both a gripping page-turner and an incisive social critique, portraying a young woman’s quest for romance and justice in a rigid society. Bao, a law student, aspires to have both a career and family, but which comes first? A baby rarely arrives at a convenient time. The decision about the woman’s body is not an easy choice but rather a compromise that comes with a dear price. Bao’s struggle encapsulates many women’s journeys through life, as they experience the triumphs, suffer the heartbreaks, and learn to live with the consequences.
“Living Treasures is a book that breaks your heart, and then mends it with hope. Best book I’ve read this year.”
—Jiayu Jeng, KTSF Channel 26 Talk Tonight host
“Living Treasures is nothing short of spectacular; especially for readers who want a story steeped in Chinese culture, tradition, and politics but cemented by a powerful young woman who emerges as a savior to others.”
“The personal and the political merge in Yang Huang’s debut novel about a college student in post-Cultural Revolution China. Gu Bao negotiates the shifting landscape of a country still struggling toward modernity, as China’s education system, family planning policies and the deaths of her fellow students in Tiananmen Square sometimes push her to desperate measures. The story moves from city life to the rural home of Bao’s grandparents, acquiring an epic feel in a compact length.”
“True to life . . . focuses refreshingly on the human spirit”
“Huang does an admirable job balancing Bao’s individual story against the canvas of China’s evolution using crisply drawn characters who reveal their layers as the story progresses. A knotty, engaging novel of China’s recent history.”
“Huang’s winning novel is more than another work of historical fiction. Living Treasures is endearing, extraordinarily moving, and its timely message about life makes it a must read for young and old readers alike.”
by Yang Huang
A law student finds out what it feels like to be an endangered species
Release date: October 23, 2014
Genre: Fiction, Multicultural, Suspense
“A deeply human and sympathetic portrait of people living as best they can in an imperfect society”
“The novel is itself a treasure. . . . All of the characters are rich and complex. Huang writes in such a way that the reader sympathizes with each one. This isn’t easy to do, but she’s done it well. . . . The theme is love and it circles round and back to it again and again. Bravo! I recommend this to others.”
—Marlene Thomasson, The Ocean Observer
“Living Treasures is a gripping and extraordinary historical and cultural novel that declares author Yang Huang as a talented, master storyteller.”
—Aditi Saha, BookStopCorner
“Living Treasures is real, stunning, heartbreaking and intense . . . . If you read one book this year, consider this one—it’s full of real, achievable, human magic—you might even learn something too.”
“Living Treasures is a treasure. Sensual, brave and relevant, the book takes you to a place in China that few of us have ever experienced. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Patricia Harman, author of The Midwife of Hope River
“This is a very well written and very touching story.”
“The use of metaphor and symbolism is strong throughout the story, with many images of babies, mothers, and the visceral realities of life and survival. The theme of women’s bodies not always being their own is prominent.”
—School Library Journal
“The novel offers an incisive fictional account of the perils of Chinese motherhood in all of its contemporary manifestations.”
—Stephen Sohn, Asian American Literature Fans
“I feel like I have unearthed another hidden gem!”
—Dianne Bylo, Tome Tender
“Huang’s measured yet evocative novel heightens Bao’s journey from timid student to defiant adversary in the midst of personal and political upheaval….This title has been recommended for young adult readers: YA/Mature Readers: Older teens and new adults will likely identify with Bao’s coming-of-age, despite its unique circumstances.”
“Living Treasures is a poignant and fascinating exploration of how we shape and are shaped by the events and environments that choose us.”
—Amy Glynn, the award winning poet
and author of The Modern Herbal
“Yang Huang is a born storyteller. Her luminous tale of one woman’s struggles with love, cultural repression and the forces of nature is also the greater story of a country on the brink of transformation.”
—Clare Willis, the author of Once Bitten
“Living Treasures paints a lyrical and compelling picture of a young woman’s tumultuous journey from the remote mountains of Sichuan province to the barricades of Tiananmen Square and back again, putting her own life on the line to challenge China’s one-child policy.”
—John Byrne Barry, author of Bones in the Wash
“Like a young Alice Munro, Yang Huang—authoritative, compassionate, and witty—has a gift for creating characters whose actions, for good or evil, can take even themselves by surprise. Living Treasures is a suspenseful, soul-satisfying novel by an impeccable storyteller. I eagerly await her next book.”
—Elizabeth Evans, the author of The Blue Hour
“Living Treasures explores love against a backdrop of oppression in 1989 China. . . . Yang rightly keeps the plot focused on the human side of the nation-changing events taking place in the background of life-changing situations faced by the characters. . . . With the national, political, and cultural setting involved here, this would be a thought-provoking read for high school students, particularly if they are guided by a knowledgeable teacher.”
—Bill Wolfe, Read Her Like An Open Book
“Yang Huang has written a wonderful first novel. Bao is a complex and appealing character whose harrowing journey through 1989 rural China is told in quietly poetic language that illuminates and reveals. I did not want this book to end.”
—Elizabeth Graver, author of The End of the Point
“In Living Treasures, Bao is a first year law student living untouched within the bubble of her parents’ expectations when she falls in love with a young soldier, Tong, and finds herself pregnant. With this, she starts her journey, which will drive her to make hard choices. Part myth, part fairy tale, yet completely realistic in its depiction of daily life in China, this is the beautiful and unique coming of age story of a young woman at a moment of history in which her personal journey flows together with that of her generation, a journey of self-determination.”
—C.E. Poverman, author of Love by Drowning
About the Author:
Born and raised in mainland China, Huang was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Living Treasures is Huang’s debut novel. She is represented by Barbara Braun and has had short stories and a feature-length screenplay published in literary magazines including the Asian Pacific American Journal, The Evansville Review, Futures, Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine, Nuvein, and Stories for Film. Huang works as a computer engineer for U. C. Berkeley and a writer by vocation. She came to the U.S. shortly after taking part in the 1989 student movement. Find out more about Yang at www.yanghuang.com
Yang Huang grew up in Jiangsu, China and came to the US to study computer science. While working as an engineer, she studied literature and pursued writing, her passion since childhood. Yang’s 2nd novel, My Old Faithful, is this year’s Juniper Prize Winner and will be published by University of Massachusetts Press. Her debut novel Living Treasures is a Pen/Bellwether Prize finalist and a Top Ten Historical Novel of 2014 at Foreword Reviews.