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KL's Reviews

Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett

The experience of reading Checkout 19 is like having an intimate conversation with an author about the creative process. We, as readers, are confidants of the anonymous narrator as she describes the events that made her a writer. Imagination is key to her artistic ability and she often draws from her surroundings to fuel the fire of her creativity. An ingenious blend of realism and flights of fancy, this book is for those that believe that art is life and life is art. —Katrina

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Checkout 19: A Novel By Claire-Louise Bennett Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593420508
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - February 28th, 2023

The Family Izquierdo by Rubén Degollado

Tolstoy once wrote that all happy families are alike, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. This is certainly true of the Izquierdo clan, who cannot agree on what has caused the

sudden decline of the family patriarch, Papa Tavo. Each member of the Izquierdo family claims that the family’s misfortune originates from a different source (a curse from a neighbor [!], an inherited nervous disposition). These unique viewpoints regarding the state of the family affairs are told from the perspectives of multiple members of the Izquierdo clan, and the reader is given full access to the often clashing and always entertaining personalities of each family member. My personal favorite narrator is Gonzalo, the vulnerable and self-reliant eldest son. I read on to see what would become of Gonzalo’s marriage and his relationship with his aging father. I fully recommend The Family Izquierdo to readers who love multi-generational family sagas. —K.L.

All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami

Mieko Kawakami is a genius when it comes to writing about social outcasts. Fuyuko Irie, Kawakami’s latest lone wolf, is a freelance editor who only interacts with her boss. Irie seems to be completely satisfied with her monastic existence until she has a fateful encounter with a nondescript man. The dreamy tone of this novel and the narrator’s strong desire to connect with another person is tremendously engaging.  —Katrina

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All the Lovers in the Night By Mieko Kawakami, Sam Bett (Translator), David Boyd (Translator) Cover Image
By Mieko Kawakami, Sam Bett (Translator), David Boyd (Translator)
ISBN: 9781609456993
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - May 3rd, 2022

Sedating Elaine by Dawn Winter

Have you ever been through a devastating breakup? If you have, you will delight in Sedating Elaine, which features not one but two dumpster-fire relationships. The protagonist, Frances, has more problems than she can count on one hand: Not only is she still obsessed with her ex-girlfriend, she is behind on paying her drug dealer, and her current girlfriend is exhausting her patience. Although Frances’s mental health is precarious, and she finds herself in dangerous situations, the novel has an unfailingly comedic tone. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to laugh until their sides ache.  —Katrina

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Sedating Elaine: A novel By Dawn Winter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593320549
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - April 12th, 2022

Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada

Scattered All Over the Earth is a unique novel about a dystopian world brought about by climate change. An ensemble of characters and their interactions brings a lighthearted narrative to life. One of the main characters, Hiruko, is a displaced citizen from Japan living in Scandinavia, where she decides to develop a language called Panska. In searching for someone from her homeland, her journey through Europe encompasses the book’s themes of language and identity. —Katrina

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Scattered All Over the Earth By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translated by) Cover Image
By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780811229289
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - March 1st, 2022

The Kingdom by Jo Nesbø

Jo Nesbø knows how to write a good mystery. His reputation as the master of Norwegian crime is upheld in this standalone novel about the reunion of two brothers. What I enjoyed about this book is that each character has a unique weakness—what the Greeks would call hamartia—that defines their fate. While older brother Roy is responsible yet unsociable, younger, more personable Carl is reckless in a way that is both heartrending and endearing. Despite the brothers’ determination to create a promising future for themselves and their town, their flaws and murky past render their dreams all but impossible. The tension is palpable, with secrets and lies in this tale that is both clever and dark. — K.L.

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The Kingdom: A novel By Jo Nesbo, Robert Ferguson (Translated by) Cover Image
By Jo Nesbo, Robert Ferguson (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780525655411
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Knopf - November 10th, 2020

To the Lake: A Balkan Journey of War and Peace by Kapka Kassabova

Like a carp along the bottom of the lake, Kassabova stirs through the murky depths of the Balkan past. As she journeys through her grandmother's place of origin, the people and places she encounters tell the stories of a region long defined by conflict. Part biography, part history, part geography, To the Lake is a pellucid reflection of the weight and trauma of national division, and an urgent call to overcome it. Prepare for a deep dive! —Kalina

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To the Lake: A Balkan Journey of War and Peace By Kapka Kassabova Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450260
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - August 4th, 2020

The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo

A delightful whodunit that features one of the most charming detectives I have come across in the mystery genre, The Honjin Murders is the perfect book to relax with on a chilly fall day. The story begins when a wealthy newlywed couple is murdered on the eve of their wedding. Shortly after their shocking murder, the small town the couple lived in is buzzing with gossip as several characters are exposed for hiding potential grudges and concealing incriminating evidence. The setting of the book is atmospheric due to the honjin, an inn that caters to well to do clientele, which creates an intimate, conspiratorial reading experience. I felt immersed in the world of the honjin as I eagerly anticipated the unveiling of the culprit. —K.L.

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The Honjin Murders (Detective Kindaichi Mysteries #28) By Seishi Yokomizo, Louise Heal Kawai (Translated by) Cover Image
By Seishi Yokomizo, Louise Heal Kawai (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781782275008
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pushkin Vertigo - August 4th, 2020

Take Me Apart by Sara Sligar

Kate Aitken, a former journalist who has fled her native New York in order to archive the personal effects of the famous artist Miranda Brand, does not expect to become obsessed with the enigmatic woman and the mysterious circumstances surrounding her death. Kate begins to uncover Miranda’s hidden secrets, secrets that contradict Miranda’s image as a rebellious feminist icon. Although the book is a psychological thriller about a potential murder, its most hair-raising aspect is the inability of the female characters to control their own stories, to seek relief from their demons, even to escape scrutiny. In Take Me Apart, Sarah Sligar implies that life in America is full of traps set for women, and it is the lucky ones who make it out alive.

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Take Me Apart: A Novel By Sara Sligar Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374272616
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: MCD - April 28th, 2020

Seven Years of Darkness by You-Jeong Jeong

The revenge narrative has gotten a bold new update with You-Jeong Jeong’s Seven Years of Darkness. This is a book driven by atmospheric setting and character development, and these features certainly deliver. The characters are endearingly flawed, and you feel for them as they attempt to right the wrongs that they have committed, and in some cases, inherited. As a reader, I was especially intrigued by Sowon, the son of a convicted mass murderer who grapples with the disparity between the loving memories he has of his father and the reality of his father’s crimes. The uncompromising yet sympathetic depiction of the characters’ moral ambiguities makes this book a one-of-a-kind read.

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Seven Years of Darkness: A Novel By You-Jeong Jeong Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143134244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 2nd, 2020


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