Immigrants


flagEverything I Never Told You / Celeste Ng

A story of the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family explores the fallout of the drowning death of Lydia Lee, the favorite daughter of a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio.

Americanah / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A young woman from Nigeria leaves behind her home and her first love to start a new life in America, only to find her dreams are not all she expected.

Shanghai Girls: a novel / Lisa See

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives…until after the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

The Namesake / Jhumpa Lahiri

A portrait of the immigrant experience follows the Ganguli family from their traditional life in India through their arrival in Massachusetts in the late 1960s and their difficult melding into an American way of life.

The Joy Luck Club / Amy Tan

After being drawn together by the shadows of their past, four women start meeting every week in San Francisco to engage in hobbies they all enjoy. After one of the four members dies, her daughter takes her place to fulfill her mother’s dying wish. After the revelation of a secret, the women are forced to think back to their pasts and remember the sometimes painful events of their lives.

The Leavers: a novel / Lisa Ko

One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. Set in New York and China, the Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away–and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

The Boston Girl: a novel / Anita Diamant

Recounting the story of her life to her granddaughter, octogenarian Addie describes how she was raised in early-twentieth-century America by Jewish immigrant parents in a teeming multicultural neighborhood.

And the Mountains Echoed / Khaled Hosseini

A father recounts a folktale to his two young children. The tale is about a young boy who is taken by a div (a sort of ogre), and how that fate might not be as terrible as it first seems—a brilliant device that firmly sets the tone for the rest of this sweeping, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel. A day after he tells the tale of the div, the father gives away his own daughter to a wealthy man in Kabul. What follows is a series of stories within the story, told through multiple viewpoints, spanning more than half a century, and shifting across continents. The novel moves through war, separation, birth, death, deceit, and love, illustrating again and again how people’s actions, even the seemingly selfless ones, are shrouded in ambiguity.

Saints for all Occasions / J. Courtney Sullivan

A sweeping novel about two sisters–one the matriarch of a boisterous Irish Catholic family, the other a cloistered nun, hidden from the world–and the secret that drove them apart.

We are Called to Rise: [a novel] / Laura McBride

An immigrant youth struggling to assimilate, a middle-aged housewife with a troubled marriage, a Vegas social worker, and a wounded soldier connect with each other and rescue themselves in the wake of an unthinkable incident.

The Burgess Boys: a novel / Elizabeth Strout

Catalyzed by a nephew’s thoughtless prank, a pair of brothers confront painful psychological issues surrounding the freak accident that killed their father when they were boys, a loss linked to a heartbreaking deception that shaped their personal and professional lives.

Brooklyn: a novel / Colm Tóibín

Colm Tóibín’s sixth novel, Brooklyn, is set in Brooklyn and Ireland in the early 1950s, when one young woman, Eilis Lacey, crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself.

The Lowland: a novel / Jhumpa Lahiri

Born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan are inseparable brothers. They are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan — charismatic and impulsive — finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequality and poverty; he will give everything, risk all, for what he believes. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America. But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he goes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family.

Behold the Dreamers: a novel / Imbolo Mbue

In the fall of 2007, Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Their situation only improves when Jende’s wife Neni is hired as household help. But in the course of their work, Jende and Neni begin to witness infidelities, skirmishes, and family secrets. Then, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, a tragedy changes all four lives forever, and the Jongas must decide whether to continue fighting to stay in a recession-ravaged America or give up and return home to Cameroon.

The Book of Unknown Americans: [a novel] / Cristina Henríquez

A boy and a girl fall in love. The two families’ hopes collide with destiny. An extraordinary novel that offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American.

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INHERITANCES


inheritance1Bleak House / Charles Dickens

Bleak House defies a single description. It is a mystery story, in which Esther Summerson discovers the truth about her birth and her unknown mother’s tragic life. It is a murder story, which comes to a climax in a thrilling chase, led by one of the earliest detectives in English fiction, Inspector Bucket.

Absalom’s Daughters: a novel / Suzanne Feldman

Self-educated and brown skinned, Cassie works full time in her grandmother’s laundry in rural Mississippi. Illiterate and white, Judith falls for “colored music” and dreams of life as a big city radio star. These teenaged girls are half-sisters. And when they catch wind of their wayward father’s inheritance coming down in Virginia, they hitch their hopes to a road trip together to claim what’s rightly theirs. In an old junk car, with a frying pan, a ham, and a few dollars hidden in a shoe, they set off through the American Deep South of the 1950s, a bewitchingly beautiful landscape as well as one bedeviled by racial striving and violence. Absalom’s Daughters combines the buddy movie, the coming-of-age tale, and a dash of magical realism to enthrall and move us with an unforgettable, illuminating novel.

The Turner House / Angela Flournoy

A powerful, timely debut, The Turner House marks a major new contribution to the story of the American family. The Turners have lived on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. Their house has seen thirteen children grown and gone–and some returned; it has seen the arrival of grandchildren, the fall of Detroit’s East Side, and the loss of a father. The house still stands despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs. But now, as ailing matriarch Viola finds herself forced to leave her home and move in with her eldest son, the family discovers that the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called home to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts haunts–and shapes–their family’s future. Already praised by Ayana Mathis as “utterly moving” and “un-putdownable,” The Turner House brings us a colorful, complicated brood full of love and pride, sacrifice and unlikely inheritances. It’s a striking examination of the price we pay for our dreams and futures, and the ways in which our families bring us home.

Orhan’s Inheritance: a novel / Aline Ohanesian

When Orhan’s brilliant and eccentric grandfather, who built a dynasty out of making kilim rugs, is found dead in a vat of dye, Orhan inherits the decades-old business. But his grandfather’s will raises more questions than it answers. Kemal has left the family estate to a stranger thousands of miles away, an aging woman in a retirement home in Los Angeles. Her existence and secrecy about her past only deepen the mystery of why Orhan’s grandfather would have left their home to this woman rather than to his own family. Intent on righting this injustice, Orhan boards a plane to Los Angeles.

The Nest / Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Gathering to confront their older brother, who has recently been released from rehab after a drunk driving accident, the Plumb siblings watch as the trust fund left by their father rises and falls according to self-inflicted problems.

Island Girls / Nancy Thayer

When the will of a recently deceased ladies’ man mandates a summer-long reunion for his daughters from different marriages at his posh Nantucket house, the three sisters are forced to confront long-festering resentments and misunderstandings as well as challenges in their private and professional lives, a situation that is complicated by a shocking revelation and the arrival of their mothers.

The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs / Nick Trout

After fifteen years, Dr. Cyrus Mills returns to rural Vermont to inherit the Bedside Manor for Sick Animals, the failing veterinary practice of his recently deceased and long-estranged father. Cyrus, a veterinary pathologist far more comfortable with cold clinical facts than living, breathing animals (not to mention their quirky, demanding owners), intends to sell the practice and get out of town as fast as he can.

The apple Orchard / Susan Wiggs

Tess Delaney makes a living restoring stolen treasures to their rightful owners. People like Annelise Winther, who refuses to sell her long-gone mother’s beloved necklace–despite Tess’s advice. To Annelise, the jewel’s value is in its memories. But Tess’s own history is filled with gaps: a father she never met, a mother who spent more time traveling than with her daughter. So Tess is shocked when she discovers the grandfather she never knew is in a coma. And that she has been named in his will to inherit half of Bella Vista, a hundred-acre apple orchard in the magical Sonoma town called Archangel. The rest is willed to Isabel Johansen. A half-sister she’s never heard of. Against the rich landscape of Bella Vista, Tess begins to discover a world filled with the simple pleasures of food and family, of the warm earth beneath her bare feet. A world where family comes first and the roots of history run deep. A place where falling in love is not only possible, but inevitable. And in a season filled with new experiences, Tess begins to see the truth in something Annelise once told her: if you don’t believe memories are worth more than money, then perhaps you’ve not made the right kind of memories.

That Summer / Lauren Willig

Inheriting a London house from an unknown relative, Julia begins work on the house at the side of an alluring antiques dealer before discovering an old painting that reveals the house’s shrouded history and the story of a mid-nineteenth-century woman trapped in a loveless marriage.

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Just In – October 2017


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Ranger Games: a story of soldiers, family, and an inexplicable crime / Ben Blum

Documents the story of an aspiring U.S. Army Ranger who inexplicably participated in an armed robbery hours before being deployed to Iraq, investigating the influence of the young man’s superior and the Ranger indoctrination program.

Motherest: a novel / Kristen Iskandrian

A young college student in the early 1990s writes letters to her estranged and seemingly disappeared mother to try and capture a closeness they never had until she discovers she is pregnant and grapples with the concept of being a mother herself.

The Boat Runner: a novel / Devin MurphySent to a Hitler Youth Camp to secure German business for his family’s Dutch company, Jacob Koopman, the privileged nephew of a fisherman, finds his world upended by the outbreak of the war, which eventually forces him to make a transformative decision about his life purpose.

Something Like Happy / Eva Woods

Annie Hebden is stuck. Stuck in her boring job, with her irritating roommate, in a life no thirty-five-year-old would want. But deep down, Annie is still mourning the terrible loss that tore a hole through the perfect existence she’d once taken for granted–and hiding away is safer than remembering what used to be. Until she meets the eccentric Polly Leonard.

Impossible Views of the World / Lucy Ives

Navigating a sticky personal life, a colleague’s disappearance and an exhibit by a megalomaniacal corporation, museum curator Stella comes into possession of a map depicting a mysterious 19th-century utopian settlement and embarks on an all-consuming research mission that is complicated by a counterfeiting scheme.

Brave Deeds: a novel / David Abrams

A powerful novel of war, brotherhood, and America. Spanning eight hours, the novel follows a squad of six AWOL soldiers as they attempt to cross war-torn Baghdad on foot to attend the funeral of their leader, Staff Sergeant Rafe Morgan. In an inhospitable landscape, these men recall the most ancient of warriors while portraying a cross section of twenty-first century America–sometimes strong, sometimes weak, but subject to the same human flaws as all of us.

The Secret Rescue: an untold story of American nurses and medics behind Nazi lines / Cate Lineberry

Recounts how the passengers and crew of an American medical evacuation plane, including thirteen nurses and thirteen medics, survived after it crashed in Nazi-controlled Albania in November, 1943, until they could be rescued

What we Lose: a novel / Zinzi Clemmons

Raised in America, the multiracial daughter of a mother from Johannesburg struggles with her mother’s terminal cancer and her own need to find love and a place to belong, quests shaped by losses, changes in her sense of identity and unexpected motherhood.

Young Jane Young: a novel ; Gabrielle Zevin

Young Jane Young’s heroine is Aviva Grossman, an ambitious Congressional intern in Florida who makes the life-changing mistake of having an affair with her boss who is beloved, admired, successful, and very married and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the Congressman doesn’t take the fall, but Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins.