Charlotte Salomon is born into a family stricken by suicide and a country at war – but there is something exceptional about her. She has a gift, a talent for painting. And she has a great love, for a brilliant, eccentric musician. But just as she is coming in to her own as an artist, death is coming to control her country. The Nazis have come to power and, a Jew in Berlin, her life is narrowing – she is kept from her art, torn from her love and her family, chased from her country. And still she is not safe, not from the madness that has hunted her family, or the one gripping Europe . . . Charlotte is a heart-breaking true story – inspiring, unflinching, awful, hopeful – of a life filled with curiosity, animated by genius and cut short by hatred. A beautifully, lucidly told memorial, it has become an international sensation.
An Unnecessary Woman
Winner of the California Book Award Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for the National Book Award “Beautiful and absorbing.”—New York Times An Unnecessary Woman is a breathtaking portrait of one reclusive woman’s late-life crisis, which garnered a wave of rave reviews and love letters to Alameddine’s cranky yet charming septuagenarian protagonist, Aaliya, a character you “can’t help but love” (NPR). Aaliya’s insightful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and her volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left. Here, the gifted Rabih Alameddine has given us a nuanced rendering of one woman's life in the Middle East and an enduring ode to literature and its power to define who we are. “A paean to the transformative power of reading, to the intellectual asylum from one’s circumstances found in the life of the mind.”—LA Review of Books “[The novel] throbs with energy…[Aaliya’s] inventive way with words gives unfailing pleasure, no matter how dark the events she describes, how painful the emotions she reveals.”—Washington Post
A debut novel that tells the story of Rasa, a young gay man coming of age in the Middle East Set over the course of twenty-four hours, Guapa follows Rasa, a gay man living in an unnamed Arab country, as he tries to carve out a life for himself in the midst of political and social upheaval. Rasa spends his days translating for Western journalists and pining for the nights when he can sneak his lover, Taymour, into his room. One night Rasa's grandmother — the woman who raised him — catches them in bed together. The following day Rasa is consumed by the search for his best friend Maj, a fiery activist and drag queen star of the underground bar, Guapa, who has been arrested by the police. Ashamed to go home and face his grandmother, and reeling from the potential loss of the three most important people in his life, Rasa roams the city’s slums and prisons, the lavish weddings of the country’s elite, and the bars where outcasts and intellectuals drink to a long-lost revolution. Each new encounter leads him closer to confronting his own identity, as he revisits his childhood and probes the secrets that haunt his family. As Rasa confronts the simultaneous collapse of political hope and his closest personal relationships, he is forced to discover the roots of his alienation and try to re-emerge into a society that may never accept him.
The Incorrigible Optimists Club
Paris, 1959. As dusk settles over the immigrant quarter, 12-year-old Michel Marini - amateur photographer and compulsive reader - is drawn to the hum of the local bistro. From his usual position at the football table, he has a vantage point on a grown-up world - of rock 'n' roll and of the Algerian War. But as the sun sinks and the plastic players spin, Michel's concentration is not on the game, but on the huddle of men gathered in the shadows of a back room... Past the bar, behind a partly drawn curtain, a group of eastern European men gather, where under a cirrus of smoke and over the squares of chess boards, they tell of their lives before France - of lovers and wives, children and ambitions, all exiled behind the Iron Curtain. Listening to this band of survivors and raconteurs, Michel is introduced to a world beyond the boundaries of his childhood experience, a world of men made formidable in the face of history, ideas and politics: the world of the Incorrigible Optimists Club.
** Longlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction ** Selected as a Book of the Year -- Observer, Sunday Times, Times, Guardian, i magazine ‘It’s got a thunderstorm in it. And revenge. Definitely revenge.’ Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge. After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It’s magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall? Margaret Atwood’s novel take on Shakespeare’s play of enchantment, revenge and second chances leads us on an interactive, illusion-ridden journey filled with new surprises and wonders of its own.
Magnus is a deeply moving and enigmatic novel about the Holocaust. Magnus is a man searching for his own identity, attempting to piece together the complex puzzle of his life. But his true story turns out to be closer to a painting by Edward Munch than the romantic tale of family heroism and self-sacrifice on which he was nurtured by the woman he believed was his mother. In Magnus, Sylvie Germain uses imagination and intuition to unlock the enigma of human life and confer on history the power of myth and fable.
**WINNER of the PULITZER PRIZE for NON-FICTION 2016** In a thrilling dramatic narrative, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread to become the world's greatest threat. When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented character-driven account of the rise of ISIS, Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Western governments led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swathes of Syria and Iraq. Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the allied invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, Western officials inadvertently spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi’s hideout in 2006. His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and the rest of the world largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi’s dream of an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate. Drawing on unique high-level access to global intelligence sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today’s most dangerous extremist threat.
Blue Bay Palace
Sixteen-year-old Mauritian Maya falls in love with David, a man from a wealthy family who she hopes will be able to help her escape poverty, but everything falls apart when she learns that he has agreed to an arranged marriage.
Dreams Of My Russian Summers
A boy growing up in the Soviet Union of the 1960s and 1970s visits his French grandmother each summer, accumulating new tales of a Russia he never knew
'ONE OF THE FIRST POLITICAL CLASSICS OF THE 21st CENTURY'- Observer 'EXTRAORDINARILY POWERFUL, POIGNANT AND AFFECTING. I WAS GREATLY MOVED' Michael Palin FOREWORD BY CHRISTINA LAMB Journalist Samar Yazbek was forced into exile by Assad's regime. When the uprising in Syria turned to bloodshed, she was determined to take action and secretly returned several times. The Crossing is her rare, powerful and courageous testament to what she found inside the borders of her homeland. From the first peaceful protests for democracy to the arrival of ISIS, she bears witness to those struggling to survive, to the humanity that can flower amidst annihilation, and why so many are now desperate to flee.