Octavia Butler makes Faulkner’s aphorism about the past not being past literal in this tale of a modern black woman, Dana, who is drawn unwittingly back through time to the Antebellum South to interact with her ancestors. Dana is pulled back and forth between past and present, each stay in the slave quarters lasting longer and becoming more dangerous, and as the tension and brutality rises she struggles to understand the connections that are... (read more)Recommended by Patrick D.
Tove Jansson is best known as the creator of the Moomins, and her writing for adults has the same blend of simplicity and wonder that marks those works. Written shortly after her mother died, and about a little girl whose mother has similarly passed away, The Summer Book is a series of vignettes that follow a grandmother and her granddaughter through a summer spent in the Finnish archipelago. Little Sophia, with the cheerful tyranny of... (read more)Recommended by Patrick D.
Guapa takes place over a single day, following Rasa, a young queer Muslim man as he navigates the aftermath of two crises — the sputtering disappointment of the Arab Spring and accompanying authoritarian backlash, and the fact that his domineering grandmother Teta, the only family he has, has just caught him with his lover. Stuck between the social propriety of his grandmother and deeply closeted lover on one side and the passionate... (read more)Recommended by Patrick D.