This Book haul includes all the ebooks that I got from publishers during the last few weeks. They were kind enough to send me ecopies of books that I requested and I am really excited to read! Thank you to Europa Editions and Portobello Books for trusting me. For Portabello Books they provided me a copy of The Vegetarian by Han Kang which is the winner of the 2016 Man Booker International 2016, Human Acts by Han Kang and A Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami. From Europa Editions, I got Sergio Y. by Alexandre Vidal Porto and Baba Dunja’s Last Love by Alina Bronsky. If you’re curious, most of these books are literary fiction. It’s one of my favorite book genres an I feel like I’m not reading that much books in that genre this year.
Here are the synopsis for each book:
The Vegetarian by Han Kang
Translated from Korean by Deborah Smith
Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people. He is an office worker with moderate ambitions and mild manners; she is an uninspired but dutiful wife. The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more ‘plant-like’ existence, decides to become a vegetarian, prompted by grotesque recurring nightmares. In South Korea, where vegetarianism is almost unheard-of and societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision is a shocking act of subversion. Her passive rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, leading her bland husband to self-justified acts of sexual sadism. His cruelties drive her towards attempted suicide and hospitalisation. She unknowingly captivates her sister’s husband, a video artist. She becomes the focus of his increasingly erotic and unhinged artworks, while spiralling further and further into her fantasies of abandoning her fleshly prison and becoming – impossibly, ecstatically – a tree.
Fraught, disturbing and beautiful, The Vegetarian is a novel about modern day South Korea, but also a novel about shame, desire and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another. (Portobello Books)
Published: 5 November 2015
Human Acts by Han Kang
Translated from Korean by Deborah Smith
Gwangju, South Korea, 1980. In the wake of a viciously suppressed student uprising, a boy searches for his friend’s corpse, a consciousness searches for its abandoned body, and a brutalised country searches for a voice. In a sequence of interconnected chapters the victims and the bereaved encounter censorship, denial, forgiveness and the echoing agony of the original trauma.
Human Acts is a universal book, utterly modern and profoundly timeless. Already a controversial bestseller and award-winning book in Korea, it confirms Han Kang as a writer of immense importance. (Portobello Books)
Published: 6 January 2016
A Strange Weather in Tokyo Hiromi Kawakami
Translated from Japanese by Allison Markin Powell
Tsukiko is in her late 30s and living alone when one night she happens to meet one of her former high school teachers, ‘Sensei’, in a bar. He is at least thirty years her senior, retired and, she presumes, a widower. After this initial encounter, the pair continue to meet occasionally to share food and drink sake, and as the seasons pass – from spring cherry blossom to autumnal mushrooms – Tsukiko and Sensei come to develop a hesitant intimacy which tilts awkwardly and poignantly into love.
Perfectly constructed, funny, and moving, Strange Weather in Tokyo is a tale of modern Japan and old-fashioned romance. (Portobello Books)
Published: 1 May 2014
Sergio Y. by Alexandre Vidal Porto
Translated from Portuguese by Alex Ladd
A startling and inspirational work of transgender fiction by a leading figure in Brazil’s “New Urban” fiction movement.
Armando is one of the most renowned therapists in São Paulo. One of his patients, a 17-year-old boy by the name of Sergio, abruptly interrupts his course of therapy after a trip to New York. Sergio’s cursory explanation to Armando is that he has finally found his own path to happiness and must pursue it.
For years, without any further news of Sergio, Armando wonders what happened to his patient. He subsequently learns that Sergio is living a happy life in New York and that he is now a woman, Sandra. Not long after this startling discovery, however, Armando is shocked to read about Sandra’s unexpected death. In an attempt to discover the truth about Sergio and Sandra’s life, Armando starts investigating on his own.
Sergio Y. is a unique and moving story about gender, identity, and the search for happiness. (Europa Editions)
Published: 3 May 2016
Baba Dunja’s Last Love by Alina Bronsky
Translated from Russian by Tim Mohr
Government warnings about radiation levels in her hometown (a stone’s throw from Chernobyl) be damned! Baba Dunja is going home. And she’s taking a motley bunch of her former neighbors with her. With strangely misshapen forest fruits to spare and the town largely to themselves, they have pretty much everything they need and they plan to start anew.
The terminally ill Petrov passes the time reading love poems in his hammock; Marja takes up with the almost 100-year-old Sidorow; Baba Dunja whiles away her days writing letters to her daughter. Life is beautiful. That is until one day a stranger turns up in the village and once again the little idyllic settlement faces annihilation.
From the prodigiously talented Alina Bronsky, this is a return to the iron-willed and infuriatingly misguided older female protagonist that she made famous with her unforgettable Russian matriarch, Rosa Achmetowna, in The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine. Here she tells the story of a post-meltdown settlement, and of an unusual woman, Baba Dunja, who, late in life, finds her version of paradise. (Europa Editions)
Published: 7 June 2016
For the book that I’m currently reading, it’s Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven. I’ll be part of a blog tour for the book this coming September (ready for the book’s release by October) which is being hosted by JM of Book Freak Revelations. I’m halfway through the book and I’m liking it so far. I find this book so engaging.
I’ve read and reviewed Niven’s All the Bright Places and to compare the two, there’s something in her new book that makes me choose it over the former. I can’t pinpoint it yet since I haven’t yet finished the book but I ‘m hoping that the book’s momentum will be the same until the end. Be sure to check my review soon.
And for my next post? It will be a BIG book haul! It’ll include all the books that I got from last month and this month so far. If you’re following me on Instagram and Twitter, you might have already seen the books that I got from Fully Booked’s sale.
So until then. What books have you got recently? What books above have you read and enjoyed? Share me your thoughts.
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