The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw

Review Summary The Harmony Silk Factory traces the story of textile merchant Johnny Lim, a Chinese peasant living in British Malaya in the first half of the twentieth century. Johnny’s factory is the most impressive structure in the region, and to the inhabitants of the Kinta Valley Johnny is a hero—a Communist who fought the …

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

Review   Summary Set in modern-day India, it is the story of two compelling and achingly real women: Sera Dubash, an upper-middle-class Parsi housewife whose opulent surroundings hide the shame and disappointment of her abusive marriage, and Bhima, a stoic illiterate hardened by a life of despair and loss, who has worked in the Dubash …

ARC: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Review Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was sent to the library where I worked, and I took it home for review. This review was not requested by the publisher. Summary Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, …

In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib

Review   Summary Samir and Nagla Al-Menshawy appear to have attained the American dream. After immigrating to the United States from Egypt, Samir successfully works his way through a residency and launches his own medical practice as Nagla tends to their firstborn, Hosaam, in the cramped quarters of a small apartment. Soon the growing family …

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

Review   Summary For over a decade, Jenna Metcalf obsesses on her vanished mom Alice. Jenna searches online, rereads journals of the scientist who studied grief among elephants. Two unlikely allies are Serenity Jones, psychic for missing people who doubts her gift, and Virgil Stanhope, jaded PI who originally investigated cases of Alice and her …

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Review   Summary Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when …

Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord

Review   Summary  Inspired by a Senegalese folktale, Redemption in Indigo is a tale of adventure, magic, and the power of the human spirit. Paama’s husband is a fool and a glutton. Bad enough that he followed her to her parents’ home in the village of Makendha—now he’s disgraced himself by murdering livestock and stealing …

The Vagrants by Yiyun Li

Review   Summary Brilliant and illuminating, The Vagrants, Yiyun Li’s debut novel, is set in China in the late 1970s. Beijing was rocked by the Democratic Wall Movement, an anti-Communist groundswell designed to move China beyond the dark shadow of the Cultural Revolution toward a more enlightened and open society. In this powerful and beautiful story, …

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Review Summary This, my friends, is a story with potential. Who wouldn’t want to read a feminist rethinking of the “crazy wife” trope that snaps from the corners of Jane Eyre? It’s a sure ticket to a gritty, messy, ingenious exploration of the patriarchy in 18th and 19th century England. We’ll ignore the fact that we already know …

ARC: If You Left by Ashley Prentice Norton

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. If You Left is a story of a struggling (read “failing”) marriage, but more than that, it’s a story of courage and freedom. When Althea, a bipolar photographer, realizes that her swings to and from manic/depressive states may …