New this week: The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud, A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and three newly translated books from by Icelandic author Sjón: The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse, and From the Mouth of the Whale. New in paperback is The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.
“It’s funny how as an author, I rarely notice what seems so obvious to other people: that I have obsessions and will write about them endlessly. Sad, lonely, self-loathing guy? Mid-20th and 21st century literature loves to write about that guy, and so do I. Reckless, self-aggrandizing, narcissist man? I like to write about him, too, though of course they are the same person. A person whose energy compels people to orbit him—family, friends, underlings, women.” The Rumpus talks with Woke Up Lonely author Fiona Maazel (who’s written for The Millions).
A Mansion in the Sky by Goli Taraghi: Taraghi is one of Iran’s most acclaimed literary practitioners with a wide audience. In the United States and Europe, however, she is virtually unknown. This slim selection of short stories is magnetic, drawing you into Iranian lives in the most intimate and distilled way. You won’t find a hint of politics or religion or disputation about the veil. Taraghi’s work is clean and moving, anchored in the exceptional instances when the concrete world slip-slides into indisputable truths. Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih: Sudanese novelist Salih, acclaimed by African and Arab writers, died last year without an American publisher of this novel, his masterpiece. Three months later New York Review Books, champion of overlooked texts, finally published this edition. The novel’s central figure, Mustafa Sa’eed, is one of literature’s greatest contradictory creations, a hyper-sexualized flag bearer of intellection, an economist once celebrated in Europe who, as the novel opens, is reduced to farming oranges and watermelons in a small Sudanese village. Why he has come to this pass, and, who he really might be--combine into a transfixing story. More from a Year in Reading 2010 Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 The good stuff: The Millions' Notable articles The motherlode: The Millions' Books and Reviews Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions