The sixth month of the year has just commenced. Who’d have thought that we’ve already completed five months of 2021. However, before I commence my June reading journey, let me first flash back to the month that was. Here are the books that I was able to purchase during the month. Happy reading everyone and have a great weekend ahead. Always keep safe, too.

Title: How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House
Author: Cherie Jones
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publishing Date: February 2021
No. of Pages: 276

Synopsis: “In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister. It’s a cautionary tale, about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers and go into the Baxter’s Tunnels.

When she’s grown, Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma, whose thwarted burglary of one of the beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences: A gunshot no one was meant to witness. A new mother whose baby is found lifeless on the beach. A woman torn between tow worlds and incapacitated by grief. And two men driven into the Tunnels by desperation and greed who attempts a crime that will risk their freedom – and their lives.

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is an intimate and visceral portrayal of interconnected lives, across race and class, in a rapidly changing resort town, told by an astonishing new author of literary fiction.”

Title: Detransition, Baby
Author: Torrey Peters
Publisher: One World
Publishing Date: 2021
No. of Pages: 332

Synopsis: “Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.

Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese – and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby – and that she’s not sure whether she want to keep it – Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family – and raise the baby together?

This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.”

Title: How Do You Live?
Author: Genzaburo Yoshino
Translator: Bruno Navarsky
Publisher: Rider Books
Publishing Date: 2021
No. of Pages: 276

Synopsis: “The streets of Tokyo swarm below fifteen-year-old Copper as he gazes into the city of his childhood. Struck by the thought of the infinite people whose lives play out alongside his own, he begins to wonder, how do you live?

Considering life’s biggest questions for the first time, Copper turns to his dear uncle for heart-warming wisdom. As the old man guides the boy on a journey of philosophical discovery, a timeless tale unfolds, offering a poignant reflection on what it means to be human.”

Title: Whereabouts
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publishing Date: 2021
No. of Pages: 157

Synopsis: “A marvelous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladies–her first in nearly a decade.

Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. The woman at the center wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home, an engaging backdrop to her days, acts as a confidant: the sidewalks around her house, parks, bridges, piazzas, streets, stores, coffee bars. We follow her to the pool she frequents and to the train station that sometimes leads her to her mother, mired in a desperate solitude after her father’s untimely death. In addition to colleagues at work, where she never quite feels at ease, she has girl friends, guy friends, and “him,” a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will change.

This is the first novel she has written in Italian and translated into English. It brims with the impulse to cross barriers. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement. (Source: Goodreads)”

Title: How to Pronounce Knife
Author: Souvankham Thammavongsa
Publisher: Back Ray Books
Publishing Date: 2020
No. of Pages: 179

Synopsis: “A failed boxer painting nails at the local salon. A woman plucking feathers at a chicken-processing plant. A housewife learning English from daytime soap operas. A mother teaching her daughter the art of worm harvesting. In her stunning first book of fiction, O. Henry Prize winner Souvankham Thammavongsa focuses on characters struggling to make a living, illuminating their hopes, disappointments, love affairs, acts of defiance, and above all their pursuit of a place to belong. In spare, intimate prose charged with emotional power and sly wit, she paints an indelible portrait of watchful children, wounded men, and restless women caught between cultures, languages, and values. As one of Thammavongsa’s character says, “All we wanted was to live.” And in these stories, they do – brightly, ferociously, unforgettably. How to Pronounce Knife announces Souvankham Thammavongsa as one of the most striking voices of her generation.”

Title: Brooklyn
Author: Colm Toibin
Publisher: Scribner
Publishing Date: May 2010
No. of Pages: 262

Synopsis: “”One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind.

Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.”

Title: The Dumas Club
Author: Arturo Perez-Reverte
Translator: Sonia Soto
Publisher: The Harvill Press
Publishing Date: 1996
No. of Pages: 323

Synopsis: “Lucas Corso is a book detective, a middle-aged mercenary hired to hunt down rare editions for wealthy and unscrupulous clients. When a well-known bibliophile is found dead, leaving behind part of the original manuscript of Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, Corso is brought in to authenticate the fragment. He is soon drawn into a swirling plot involving devil worship, occult practices, and swashbuckling derring-do among a cast of characters bearing a suspicious resemblance to those of Dumas’s masterpiece. Aided by a mysterious beauty named for a Conan Doyle heroine, Corso travels from Madrid to Toledo to Paris on the killer’s trail in this twisty intellectual romp through the book world. (Source: Goodreads)

Title: The Grass is Singing
Author: Doris Lessing
Publisher: Flamingo
Publishing Date: 1994
No. of Pages: 206

Synopsis: “Doris Lessing brought the manuscript of The Grass is Singing, her classic first novel, with her when she left Southern Rhodesia and came to England in 1950. When it was first published it created an impact whose reverberations we are still feeling, and immediately established itself as a landmark in twentieth-century literature.

Set in Rhodesia, it tells the story of Dick Turner, a failed white farmer and his wife, Mary, a town girl who hates the bush. Trapped by poverty, sapped by the heat of their tiny brick and iron house, Mary, lovely, and frightened, turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding.

A masterpiece of realism, The Grass is Singing is a superb evocation of Africa’s majestic beauty, an intense psychological portrait of lives in confusion and, most of all, a passionate exploration of the ideology of white supremacy.”

Title: Cathedral of the August Heat
Author: Pierre Clitandre
Translator: Bridget Jones
Publisher: Readers International
Publishing Date: 1987
No. of Pages: 159

Synopsis: “On 15 August 1791, the Day of the Assumption of the Virgin, a great uprising commenced which was to make Haiti – under Toussaint L’Ouverture – the world’s first independent black republic and the first society to abolish slavery after the French Revolution. This key date lies behind Pierre Clitandre’s sweeping story of contemporary Haiti.

Through the eyes of the poorest people of the Americas – the higglers, the washerwomen, the tap-tap drivers of the shantytowns crowding around Port-au-Prince – we experience the dynamic current of history that has brought Haiti once again to rebellion.

Woven from many characters and stories is the lyrical tapestry of a people, fascinating and complex. Bridget Jones puts into a lively West Indian English this pageant of Haitian history, symbols and beliefs.”

Title: The Gangster We Are All Looking For
Author: Le Thi Diem Thuy
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publishing Date: May 2004
No. of Pages: 158

Synopsis: “This acclaimed novel reveals the life of a Vietnamese family in America through the knowing eyes of a child finding her place and voice in a new country.

In 1978 six refugees – a girl, her father, and four “uncles”” – are pulled from the sea to begin a new life in San Diego. In the child’s imagination, the world is transmuted into an unearthly realm: she sees everything intensely, hears the distress calls of inanimate objects, and waits for her mother to join her. But life loses none of its strangeness when the family is reunited. As the girl grows, her matter-of-fact innocence eddies increasingly around opaque and ghostly traumas: the cataclysm that engulfed her homeland, the memory of a brother who drowned and, most inescapable, her father’s hopeless rage.”