- Aline Ohanesian on Orhan’s Inheritance, a novel that shifts between the last years of the Ottoman Empire and 1990s Los Angeles. It tells the story a young Turkish man who leaves his family’s small village, to travel to the US, to discover why his recently deceased grandfather bequeathed the family home to a woman his family has never heard of–a woman who lives in a facility for elderly Aremians. It’s a novel that brings a neglected time in Turkish history to life, spanning decades, honoring the resilience of the human spirit and illustrating the depth of love.
- Patricia Park on Re: Jane, a Korean-American retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, set in Manhattan and Seoul. Its protagonist, Jane, is a an orphan trying to escape from Flushing, NY, where she works in her strict uncle’s grocery store before becoming the au pair, beginning an affair with the father of the children she cares for and then fleeing to Seoul. There, she reconnects with family and works to accept who she really is.
- Kirstin Valdez Quade on her short story collection Night at the Fiestas. Set in northern New Mexico, the 10 stories plunge into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else plumb into its depths: A deadbeat father of a pregnant teen who tries to transform his life by playing the role of Jesus; a young man who discovers that his estranged father and a boa constrictor have been squatting in his grandmother’s empty house; a lonely retiree who becomes obsessed with her housekeeper; and others.
Hosted by Cindy Wolfe Boynton.