Mailbox Monday

These are the books which came into my mailbox last week:

Translated from the Arabic by Leri Price

Planet of Clay by Samar Yazbek came to me from World Editions. It is longlisted for the 2022 National Book Award for Translated Literature.

An ode to fantasy and beauty in the midst of war-torn Damascus

Rima, a young girl from Damascus, longs to walk, to be free to follow the will of her feet, but instead is perpetually constrained. She finds refuge in a fantasy world full of colored crayons, secret planets, and The Little Prince, reciting passages of the Qur’an like a mantra as everything and everyone around her is blown to bits. Since Rima hardly ever speaks, people think she’s crazy, but she is no fool—the madness is in the battered city around her. One day while taking a bus through Damascus, a soldier opens fire and her mother is killed. Rima, wounded, is taken to a military hospital before her brother leads her to the besieged area of Ghouta—where, between bombings, she writes her story. In Planet of Clay, Samar Yazbek offers a surreal depiction of the horrors taking place in Syria, in vivid and poetic language and with a sharp eye for detail and beauty.

Planet of Clay will be published October 5, 2021.)

Translated from the Japanese by Sam Bett

My Annihilation is the latest thriller from Fuminori Nakamura, who is a Japanese literary sensation.

What transforms a person into a killer? Can it be something as small as a suggestion?

Turn this page, and you may forfeit your entire life.

With My Annihilation, Fuminori Nakamura, master of literary noir, has constructed a puzzle box of a narrative in the form of a confessional diary that implicates its reader in a heinous crime. 

Delving relentlessly into the darkest corners of human consciousness, My Annihilation reveals with disturbing honesty the psychological motives of a killer. While all humans have unspeakable thoughts, only monsters act on them.

(My Annihilation will be published on January 11, 2022.)

Translated from the French by Adriana Hunter

Whenever a new book is published by Peirene Press, I am quite eager to get my hands on it. Their books have often been included with the contenders for the International Booker Award, and they have never disappointed me. Winter Flowers by Angelique Villeneuve is Peirene Title No. 36, about how “one small family must learn to live together again.” ~Claire Fuller

It’s October 1918 and the war is drawing to a close.

Toussaint Caillet returns home to his wife, Jeanne, and the young daughter he hasn’t seen growing up. He is not coming back from the front line but from the department for facial injuries at Val-de-Grâce military hospital, where he has spent the last two years.

For Jeanne, who has struggled to endure his absence and the hardships of wartime, her husband’s return marks the beginning of a new battle. With the promise of peace now in sight, the family must try to stitch together a new life from the tatters of what they had before.

(Winter Flowers is available for preorder, and will be published October 7, 2021.)

You can find more books which have lately entered readers’ homes at Mailbox Monday, here.