March 5, 2022
To usher in Women’s History Month, we have a political satire set in a fictional African country quietly controlled by women; a favorite English writer with a story about a woman in quarantine; a debut novel from Spain about women’s friendship; a collection of Chinese sci-fi and fantasy short fiction edited and translated by Chinese women; and a book that will help aspiring and seasoned writers alike to finish their drafts.
Buyer, The Center for Fiction Bookstore
By NOVIOLET BULAWAYO
Published by VIKING
Bulawayo (We Need New Names) is a Booker Prize finalist born in Zimbabwe. Her second novel parallels the fall of that country’s longtime president Robert G. Mugabe during a coup, and pays homage to Orwell’s Animal Farm. The story is narrated by a group of animals, most notably a goat, in the imaginary country of Jidada—a thinly disguised stand-in for Zimbabwe. Bulawayo combines satire with folklore to tell the tragic story of her birthplace’s recent history. It’s a story of power and corruption, leavened by the humor and elegance of her storytelling talents.
By SARAH MOSS
Published by FSG
Moss had a particularly anxious time during the pandemic lockdown, but the claustrophobic period did give rise to her wonderful new novel. Normally an outdoors-y, sporty type, she gives her new heroine a similar intolerance for forcible confinement. The Fell follows what happens when Kate, ensconced indoors during a 2-week quarantine, decides to sneak out of the house for an innocent walk on the nearby moor. Trouble lies ahead. Our heroine takes a spill—a chilling event that could happen to anyone but turns this brief, fast-moving narrative into a gripping race against time. Always compelling, Moss proves again she can spin a simple experience into fictional gold..
The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories
By YU CHEN & REGINA KANYU WANG
Published by TORDOTCOM
Translated by Multiple Translators
This lively new anthology gathers seventeen stories of science fiction and fantasy written only by women and nonbinary people. It introduces English-speaking readers to the work of authors such as Xiu Xiny—whose story is about capturing baby stars in a Chinese village—and translators like Emily Xueni Jin, translating from Chinese to English and the other way around. As the audience for Chinese writers like Cixin Liu (The Three-Body Problem) expands along with interest in collections focusing on gender and race (New Suns), Tordotcom has issued a valuable addition to the speculative future.
By ELENA MEDEL
Published by ALGONQUIN
Translated by Lizzie Davis and Thomas Bunstead
This moving debut novel begins in 1960s Madrid and follows three generations whose lives converge at the 2018 Spanish Women’s Strike denouncing discrimination, domestic violence, and the wage gap, which took place almost exactly four years ago. Medel, a poet first published at the age of 16, wanted to address the issues that have always concerned her: “Family genealogy . . . allowed me to develop a series of topics I wanted to think and write about: the link between the private and the political; how money and social class define a life; how inequalities affect women the hardest; the public repercussions of motherhood and care.” She has done so with great success..
Refuse to Be Done
By MATT BELL
Published by SOHO PRESS
Bell (Appleseed) is a widely published fiction writer who knows how to get the work done. It’s a given that revision is the secret to finishing a piece, but here are the tools, skills, tips and ideas of how to do exactly that. His advice is extremely useful and accessible. Serious writers, new and old, should plan to keep a copy on their desks.