Jhumpa Lahiri presents a generous picture of the Indian-American parents who straddle two cultures, and the second generation which feels almost entirely “American.” The title for her collection, Unaccustomed Earth (Vintage, $15), comes from a story by Hawthorne; she suggests that Indians striking “their roots into unaccustomed earth” will flourish. The title story, my favorite, is about a young Indian-American woman who invites her recently widowed father to visit her in Seattle. After seeing how attached he becomes to her son, she overcomes her previous misgivings and asks him to move in with her family, but it turns out that he has other plans. There is both a celebration of achievement and a sense of loss or difference that pervades the stories.

Unaccustomed Earth (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307278258
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - April 7th, 2009

Simon Van Booy writes some of the most haunting and lyrical prose you’ll find in fiction today. He evokes the pain of grief as “a country where it rains and rains but nothing grows,” as vividly as he does the faux Venice of a Las Vegas casino or the rainy hills of Ireland. While the five stories in Love Begins In Winter (Harper Perennial, $13.99) dramatize love in its various forms from ferocious to tender, his true focus is the vulnerable, pure-hearted child in all of us. “Isn’t everything something from childhood?” he asks, and his stories register the lasting truth of our first impressions of love and loss, of joy and isolation. Like the fiction in his beautiful first book, The Secret Lives of People in Love, these stories glow with the melancholy of foreign art films and wet roads that “reflect the world with a beautiful inaccuracy”—only Van Booy’s reflections are both beautiful and dead on.

Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061661471
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - May 12th, 2009

What’s so great about Steven Millhauser’s book is how it transforms the usual story dynamics into whimsical, sometimes fantastic, tales of mystery and frustration. One of Millhauser’s gifts is his ability to create new ways of looking at classic issues of adolescence, frustration, fear, and desire. From a literary re-creation of the cartoon cat and mouse, to his “Impossible Architectures,” where human ingenuity outraces our most fundamental faults, Dangerous Laughter (Vintage, $14.95) is a many-textured collection.

Dangerous Laughter: Thirteen Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307387479
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - February 10th, 2009