Saturday, September 27, 2014

Debut Novelist Natalie Baszile


A mother-daughter story of reinvention—about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana

Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.

They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that’s mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.

Penguin has a rich tradition of publishing strong Southern debut fiction—from Sue Monk Kidd to Kathryn Stockett to Beth Hoffman. In Queen Sugar, we now have a debut from the African American point of view. Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and intimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.



 
Natalie Baszile has a B.A. in English from University California, Berkeley, a Masters in Afro-American Studies from UCLA, and earned an M.F.A from Warren Wilson's MFA Program for Writers. An early version of Queen Sugar won the Hurston Wright College Writer's Award, the Sylvia Clare Brown fellowship, and was runner-up in the Faulkner Pirate's Alley novel-in-progress competition. Natalie has had residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Hedgebrook. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto and lives in San Francisco with her family.

 http://nataliebaszile.com/index.html

Friday, August 15, 2014

Debut Novelists Worth a Look

 
Til the Well Runs Dry opens in a seaside village in the north of Trinidad where young Marcia Garcia, a gifted and smart-mouthed 16-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk Karam, an ambitious young policeman (so taken with Marcia that he elicits the help of a tea-brewing obeah woman to guarantee her ardor), the risks and rewards in Marcia’s life amplify forever.

On an island rich with laughter, Calypso, Carnival, cricket, beaches and salty air, sweet fruits and spicy stews, the novel follows Marcia and Farouk from their amusing and passionate courtship through personal and historical events that threaten Marcia’s secret, entangle the couple and their children in a scandal, and endanger the future for all of them.

‘Til the Well Runs Dry tells the twinned stories of a spirited woman’s love for one man and her bottomless devotion to her children. For readers who cherish the previously untold stories of women’s lives, here is a story of grit and imperfection and love that has not been told before.
 
 

 



Lauren Francis-Sharma, daughter of Trinidadian-born parents, was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School and practiced as a corporate lawyer before writing "'Til the Well Runs Dry", her first novel.

http://www.laurenfrancissharma.com/




    
                                    



 
 
Travel into the heart and mind of an extraordinary autistic boy in this deeply imaginative debut novel of a mother’s devotion, a father’s punishment, and the power of love.
Sephiri is an autistic boy who lives in a world of his own making, where he dwells among imagined sea creatures that help him process information in the “real world” in which he is forced to live. But lately he has been having dreams of a mysterious place, and he starts creating fantastical sketches of this strange, inner world.
 
Brenda, Sephiri's mother, struggles with raising her challenged child alone. Her only wish is to connect with him - a smile on his face would be a triumph.
 
Meanwhile, Sephiri's father, Horus, is sentenced to life in prison, making life even lonelier for Brenda and Sephiri. Yet prison is still not enough to separate father and son.
 
In the seventh year of his imprisonment and the height of his isolation, Horus develops supernatural mental abilities that allow him to reach his son. Memory and yearning carry him outside his body, and through the realities of their ordeals and dreamscape, Horus and Sephiri find each other—and find hope in ways never imagined.
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                Morowa YejidĂ©'s (pronounced: Moe-roe-wah Yay-gee-day) short stories have appeared in the Istanbul Review, Ascent Aspirations Magazine, Underground Voices, the Adirondack Review, and others. Her story "Tokyo Chocolate" was nominated in 2009 for the Pushcart Prize, anthologized in the best of the Willesden Herald Stories, and reviewed in the Japan Times. Her novel Time of the Locust was a 2012 finalist for the national PEN/Bellwether Prize. She is also the recipient of the Norris Church Mailer Scholarship from Wilkes University. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and three sons.
          http://www.morowayejide.com/

Thursday, May 08, 2014

African American Fiction  

Coming in 2014

 

RUBY by Cynthia Bond
April 29, 2014




KIRKUS REVIEW


Voodoo, faith and racism converge in an East Texas town—particularly within the troubled titular heroine—in this bracing debut novel.

When we first meet Ruby Bell, she’s a symbol of local disgrace: It’s 1974, and a decade earlier she returned to her hometown of Liberty seemingly gone crazy. The local rumor mill (mostly centered around the church) ponders a host of reasons: the lynching of her aunt; her being forced into prostitution as a child; a stint in New York, where she was the rare black woman in a white highbrow literary milieu. The only person who doesn't keep his distance is Ephram, a middle-aged man who braves the town’s mockery and the mad squalor of Ruby’s home to reconnect with her. Bond presents Ruby as a symbol of a century’s worth of abuse toward African-Americans; as one local puts it, “Hell, ain’t nothing strange when Colored go crazy. Strange is when we don’t.” The echoes of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison are clear, but Bond is an accomplished enough writer to work in a variety of modes with skill and insight. She conjures Ruby’s fun-house-mirror mind with harrowing visions of voodoo ceremonies and the ghosts of dead children, yet she also delivers plainspoken descriptions of young Ruby’s experience in a brothel, surrounded by horrid men. And Bond can be sharply funny, satirizing the high-toned sanctimony of Liberty’s churchgoers (especially Ephram’s sister Celia) that’s really a cover for hypocritical pride and fear. Some of the more intense passages of the novel lapse into purple prose, and the horror of Ruby’s experience (which intensifies as the novel moves along) makes her closing redemption feel somewhat pat. But the force of Ruby’s character, and Bond’s capacity to describe it, is undeniable.

A very strong first novel that blends tough realism with the appealing strangeness of a fever dream.





8165690

 
This interracial, inter-generational saga of love, land and loss is told from the disparate perspectives of Ruth Thatcher, who is Black, and Jonas Thatcher, who is White, and spans nearly a century. The story begins in 1917 when Ruth and Jonas are farm children and ends in 2005 as their descendants struggle to unravel and understand the legacies of this star-crossed pair. During the course of their two lifetimes, Ruth and Jonas– and their respective families– have evolved and ultimately have prospered, but it is left for their descendants to come to grips with the long-unacknowledged truth that the two families are actually one.