Here’s a quick look at some notable books—new titles from Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint, and more—that are publishing this week.
Want to learn more about upcoming titles? Then go read our most recent book preview. Want to help The Millions keep churning out great books coverage? Then become a member today.
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about Velvet Was the Night: “This seductive neo-noir thriller from bestseller Moreno-Garcia (Mexican Gothic) draws on the real-life efforts of the Mexican government to suppress political dissent in the 1970s. Maite, a 30-year-old secretary in Mexico City who feels life has passed her by, escapes from routine by reading the magazine Secret Romance, oblivious to the political upheaval around her. When her beautiful art student neighbor, Leonora, disappears, Maite, with the help of Rubén, Leonora’s former lover, begins a search that takes her into the world of student radicals. Meanwhile, 21-year-old Elvis, muscle for a clandestine, government-funded shock troop employed to suppress student protests, longs for something more and wishes to escape his old life. When Elvis’s boss assigns him to track down Leonora, his search crosses that of Maite, with whom he becomes fascinated. As the two get closer to discovering the reason behind Leonora’s disappearance, they uncover secrets that shadowy forces, both domestic and foreign, will kill to protect. This is a rich novel with an engrossing plot, distinctive characters, and a pleasing touch of romance. Readers won’t be able to put it down.”
Against White Feminism by Rafia Zakaria
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about Against White Feminism: “Attorney and journalist Zakaria (Veil) makes a lucid and persuasive argument that feminism must address its ‘problematic genealogies’ of whiteness. She notes that British suffragists refused to support Indian self rule, while those in the U.S. demanded that white women get the vote before Black men, and critiques early feminist theorists including Simone de Beauvoir for centering white womanhood as universal. Zakaria, a Pakistani Muslim woman, describes her own dismissive treatment at the hands of white feminists, but the book’s strongest sections detail how Western aid organizations and feminist groups including the National Organization for Women alienate and devalue women of color worldwide. Among other topics, she dissects the culturally myopic attitudes embedded in sex-positive ’empowerment’ messaging and the ‘ruthless individualism’ of white women journalists who seek to ‘gain access to the intimate spaces of Black and Brown women.’ Zakaria also links ‘moral outrage’ in the West over Muslim ‘honor killings’ to the ‘agenda of colonialism,’ which ‘involved manufacturing definitions of new crimes and new classes of criminality to make a point about the moral degeneracy of the people whose freedom, goods, and land were being looted.’ Tackling complex philosophical ideas with clarity and insight, Zakaria builds an impeccable case for the need to rebuild feminism from the ground up. Readers will want to heed this clarion call for change.”
Names for Light by Thirii Myo Kyaw Myint
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about Names for Light: “In this hypnotic memoir, Burmese-American novelist Myint (The End of Peril, the End of Enmity, the End of Strife, a Haven) looks to myth and folklore to explore her family’s legacy. Ghosts, reincarnated relatives, dark omens, and imagined scenes populate a timeline that oscillates between the author’s forbears’ past and present day, stretching from Myanmar, where she was born in 1989, to Thailand, California, Spain, and Colorado. In lyrical prose, Myint straddles dream and reality beginning with a mythic take on her great-grandfather, who ‘died a man but was reborn as me.’ Lived experience is overlaid with speculative history, as Myint, who moved to the U.S. as a child, mines the alienation—sowed by the colonialism and racism endured by generations of her family—that has rendered her ‘a ghost’ throughout her life. To fill the void of loneliness surrounding her, she pieces together her family’s past, from her mother’s ‘cursed’ home in Yangon and her parents’ marriage on a lake that was ‘constructed by the British’ to her older brother’s illness and death (‘I also believed he had drowned in the lake’). While her poetic narration is indisputably alluring, the nonlinear story line can sometimes become taxing. For those willing to put in the work, this serpentine narrative is a thing of beauty.”
Gordo by Jaime Cortez
Here’s what Publishers Weekly had to say about Gordo: “Artist and graphic novelist Cortez (Sexile) celebrates Chicano life in this exuberant collection. Stories such as ‘El Gordo’ focus on the experiences of the title character, a child of migrant farm workers. Cortez then moves with ease from depictions of Gordo’s family to the intersecting lives of the inhabitants of Watsonville, Calif., in the 1970s. In ‘The Jesus Donut,’ a heretical young girl becomes a hero after she shares a donut with other kids, offering bits of it as communion. In ‘Alex,’ Gordo’s family helps out their injured butch lesbian neighbor, Alex, and the burgeoning friendship becomes a cover for Gordo’s mother to help Alex’s abused femme partner escape to safety. In ‘The Problem of Style,’ bullied sixth grader Raymundo gains confidence when he decides to grow his hair out and become ‘artistic.’ At their best, Cortez’s stories highlight the community’s functional and paradoxical stew of interpersonal relationships, brimming with threats as well as love. Cortez has a bright, clear voice that avoids stereotypes and navigates issues of identity with ease: ‘Raymundo tossed his hair, turned smartly on his heels, and crossed an unmarked border into a new country.’ Readers will be delighted.”