Okay, I am at it again. A certain level of financial liberation does one wonders. I simply couldn’t complete the month without purchasing some books. Everyone knows me Achilles heels by now: books and books and more books. Tsundoku I certainly have become. Even though I have piles of unread books, I just couldn’t stop myself from buying more. April 2019 is no different. Here are my book hauls for the month.
Title: The General of the Dead Army
Author: Ismail Kadare
Translator: Derek Coltman
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Publishing Date: 2008
No. of Pages: 264
Synopsis: “During World War II, first Mussolini’s army, then Hitler’s, invaded and occupied Albania, a tiny country that through the ages had been conquered and overrun time and time again. in the mid-1960s, yielding to the pressure of the families whose sons had never returned, an Italian general – equipped with measurements, dental records, and maps – scours the countryside for the remains of his countrymen who had fallen in battle. Accompanied by a laconic priest and Albanian laborers, the general grimly digs up battlefields that now are unmarked graveyards, checking teeth and dog tags, assembling an army of the dead into pine boxes.
Fighting endless sleet and snow, and the growing antipathy of the locals, the general sees his task as a mission of mercy – while they see it more and more as an opportunity to avenge themselves and humiliate their former conquerors. Then, in a terrible crescendo, he is made to answer for the crimes of his country and all countries that have invaded this land of eagles, seeking to enslave or destroy its people. But nothing he can do or say can alter the past or make amends.”
Title: The Accident
Author: Ismail Kadare
Translator: John Hodgon
Publisher: Grove Press
Publishing Date: 2010
No. of Pages: 265
Synopsis: “On a rainy morning in Vienna, a taxi pulls onto the autobahn only to crash into the median barrier moments later, hurling its two passengers – a man and a woman – from the backseat as it spins through the air. The driver cannot explain why he lost control; he only says that the mysterious couple seemed to be about to kiss.
As the investigation into their deaths deepens, a lonely researcher will uncover a mutually destructive relationship that blurs the line between fact and fiction, fear and desire, and love and fixation over the course of twelve years. An alluring mixture of vivid hallucination and cold reality, The Accident is a fever dream of a novel that marks a bold and fascinating departure from Kadare’s previous works.”
Title: The Bastard of Istanbul
Author: Elif Shafak
Publishing Date: 2007
No. of Pages: 357
Synopsis: “Asya is a nineteen-year-old woman who loves Johnny Cash and the French existentialists. She. Lives in an extended household in Istanbul, where she has been raised, with no father in sight, by her mother, the beautiful and irreverent Zeliha Kazanei, and by Zeliha’s three older sisters: Banu, a devout woman who has rediscovered herself as a clairvoyant; Cevriye, a prim, widowed high school teacher; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. Their one brother, Mustafa, left Turkey many years earlier and now lives in Tucson with an American woman named Rose who has one daughter from a previous marriage to an Armenian man, this daughter, Armanoush, is nineteen and splits her time between Tucson and San Francisco, where her father’s family lives.
As an Armenian living in America, Armanoush feels that part of her identity is missing and that she must make a journey back to the past, to Turkey, in order to start living her life. She secretly flies to Istanbul, finds the Kazanei sisters, and becomes fast friends with Asya. A secret is eventually uncovered that links the two families together and ties them to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres.”
Author: Dasa Drndic
Translator: Ellen Elias-Bursac
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Publishing Date: 2012
No. of Pages: 353
Synopsis: “Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, in northeastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after sixty-two years with her son, fathered by an SS officer and stolen from her by the German authorities as part of Himmler’s clandestine Lebesborn project.
Haya reflects on her Catholicized Jewish family’s experiences, dealing unsparingly with the massacre of Italian Jews in the concentration camps of Trieste. Her obsessive search for her son leads her to photographs, maps, and fragments of verse, to testimonies rom the Nuremberg trials and interviews with second-generation Jews, and to eyewitness accounts of atrocities that took place on her doorstep. From this broad collage of material and memory arises the staggering chronicle of Nazi occupation in northern Italy.”
Author: Anna Burns
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publishing Date: 2018
No. of Pages: 348
Synopsis: “In an unnamed city, middle sister stands out for the wrong reasons. She reads while walking, for one. And she has been taking French night classes downtown. So when a local paramilitary known as the milkman begins pursuing her, she suddenly becomes “interesting,” the last thing she ever wanted to be. Despite middle sister’s attempts to avoid him – and to keep her mother from finding out about her maybe-boyfriend – rumors spread and the threat of violence lingers. Milkman is a story of the way inaction can have repercussions, in a time when the wrong flag, wrong religion, or even a sunset can be subversive.”
Title: Bangkok Wakes to Rain
Author: Pitchaya Sudbanthad
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 357
Synopsis: “A house in Bangkok is the confluence of lives shaped by upheaval, memory, and the lure of home.
A missionary doctor pines for his native New England even as he succumbs to the vibrant chaos of nineteenth-century Siam. A post-World War II society woman marries, mothers, and holds court, little suspecting her solitary future. A jazz pianist in the age of rock, haunted by his own ghosts, is summoned to appease the house’s resident spirits. In the present, a young woman tries to outpace the long shadow of her political past. And in a future New Krungthep, teenagers earn money rowing tourists past landmarks of the drowned old city they themselves do not remember. Time collapses as these story lines collide and converge, linked by the forces voraciously making ad remaking the amphibious, ever-morphing capital itself.”
That completes my list of April 2019 book purchases. How about you fellow readers, what books were you able to purchase? Were you able to purchase the books you’ve been wanting to purchase for the longest time? I sure hope you did. Here’s to more books to read!
Happy reading everyone!