Sivakami was married at ten, widowed at eighteen, and left with two children. According to the dictates of her caste, her head is shaved and she puts on widow's whites. From dawn to dusk, she is not allowed to contaminate herself with human touch, not even to comfort her small children. Sivakami dutifully follows custom, except for one defiant act: She moves back to her dead husband's house to raise her children. There, her servant Muchami, a closeted gay man who is bound by a different caste's rules, becomes her public face. Their singular relationship holds three generations of the family together through the turbulent first half of the twentieth century, as India endures great social and political change. But as time passes, the family changes, too; Sivakami's son will question the strictures of the very beliefs that his mother has scrupulously upheld. The Toss of a Lemon is heartbreaking and exhilarating, profoundly exotic yet utterly recognizable in evoking the tensions that change brings to every family.
Here are three novellas of escape and exile, touching and funny and at times calculatedly outrageous. In "Saturn Street," a disaffected L.A. screenwriter delivers lunches to homebound AIDS patients, only to find himself falling in love with one of them. In "The Wooden Anniversary," Nathan and Celia - familiar characters from Leavitt's story collections - reunite after a five-year separation. And in "The Term-Paper Artist," a writer named David Leavitt, hiding out at his father's house in the aftermath of a publishing scandal, experiences literary rejuvenation when he agrees to write term papers for UCLA undergraduates in exchange for sex.
In 1871, nineteen men, women, and children, voyaging on the Arctic explorer USS Polaris found themselves cast adrift on an ice floe as their ship began to founder. Based on one of the most remarkable events in polar history, Afterlands tells the haunting story of this small society of castaways -- a white and a black American, five Germans, a Dane, a Swede, an Englishman, and two Inuit families -- and the harrowing six months they spend marooned in the Arctic, struggling to survive both the harsh elements and one another. As the group splinters into factions along ethnic and national lines, rivalries -- complicated by sexual desire, unrequited love, extreme hunger, and suspicion -- begin to turn violent. Steven Heighton's provocative novel fills in the blanks of the Polaris's documented history and explores the shattering emotional and psychological consequences faced by those who survive.
Scenes from Village Life is like a symphony, its movements more impressive together than in isolation. There is, in each story, a particular chord or strain; but taken together, these chords rise and reverberate, evoking an unease so strong its almost a taste in the mouth . . . Scenes from Village Life is a brief collection, but its brevity is a testament to its force. You will not soon forget it.--New York Times Book Review Strange things are happening in Tel Ilan, a century-old pioneer village. A disgruntled retired politician complains to his daughter that he hears the sound of digging at night. Could it be their tenant, that young Arab? But then the young Arab hears the digging sounds too. And where has the mayors wife gone, vanished without a trace, her note saying Dont worry about me? Around the village, the veneer of new wealth--gourmet restaurants, art galleries, a winery--barely conceals the scars of war and of past generations: disused air-raid shelters, rusting farm tools, and trucks left wherever they stopped. Scenes From Village Life is a memorable novel in stories by the inimitable Amos Oz: a brilliant, unsettling glimpse of what goes on beneath the surface of everyday life. Translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange Finely wrought . . . Oz writes characterizations that are subtle but surgically precise, rendering this work a powerfully understated treatment of an uneasy Israeli conscience." --Publishers Weekly, starred Informed by everything, weighed down by nothing, this is an exquisite work of art.--The Scotsman
The Courage Consort, possibly the seventh best-known a cappella vocal ensemble in Britain, are given two weeks in a Belgian chateau to rehearse their latest commission, the monstrously complicated Partitum Mutante. But can the piece be performed? Does it matter that its composer is a maniac best known for attacking his wife with a stiletto shoe at the baggage reclaim of Milan airport? Can the five members of the Consort endure their own sexual tensions and wildly differing temperaments? And what is the inhuman voice that calls out to them from the woods at night? The esoteric world of avant-garde classical music is the unlikely setting for a story of rare power - perhaps the most moving Michel Faber has yet written.