(Photo by Diego Jiminez)
OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “OYE WHAT I’M GONNA TELL YOU,” BY CECILIA RODRIGUEZ MILANES AND “A BLOOM OF BONES,” BY ALLEN MORRIS JONES, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, ALONG WITH THE “FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY.” OR, YOU CAN CLICK AN AUTHOR’S NAME ON OUR AUTHOR’S PAGE.
Americans think about China a lot these days, but how many of us really know very much about that enormous and enigmatic country?
Well, Kaitlin Solimine, for one. Her novel, “Empire of Glass,” will be featured this week on Snowflakes in a Blizzard (snowflakesarise.wordpress.com) and this is her background:
“I lived in China in the mid-90s with a family with whom I grew very close. Over the course of the next decade, and as I became a substitute mother figure to my Chinese host sister, I questioned what this relationship meant personally but also set within the wider context of US-China relations and history. I felt there was a narrative within this worth delving into and examining in a fictional story so I could experiment with both form and point of view. The entire process (from research to book published and on shelves) took just over 10 years (I know!). It was a decade during which I was learning how to write and also, more specifically, how best to write this story and what structure suited the characters and the overall themes of inheritance, translation, cross-cultural communication, and historical memory.”
This week will also mark Tom Bentley’s second appearance on the Snowflakes site, this time with his novel “Aftershock.” And a third novel, “The Trench Angel,” comes from Michael Keenan Gutierrez.
UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, MARCH 13-19
“EMPIRE OF GLASS,” BY KAITLIN SOLIMINE.
Called a “gorgeous experimental work,” by BookRiot, this novel examines the unlikely relationship between an American homestay student in Beijing and her Chinese host family. In the mid-1990s, the American teenager, named Lao K, stands on Coal Hill in Beijing, a loop of rope in her hand. Will she assist her Chinese homestay mother, Li-Ming, in ending her life, or will she choose another path? Twenty years later, Lao K receives a book written by Li-Ming called “Empire of Glass,” a narrative chronicling the lives of Li-Ming and her husband, Wang, in pre and post-revolutionary China. Lao K begins translating the story, which becomes the novel we are reading. But, as translator, how can Lao K separate fact from fiction, and what will her role be in the book’s final chapter?
Chronicling the seismic changes in China over the last half century through the lens of one family’s experiences, Empire of Glass is an investigation into the workings of human memory and the veracity of oral history that pushes the boundaries of language and form.
“THE TRENCH ANGEL,” BY MICHAEL KEENAN GUTIERREZ
The Trench Angel is set 1919 in Colorado and follows Neal Stephens, a newspaper photographer just back from the War. We follow Neal through a week of coal strikes, a murder, and memories of his long lost wife who was presumed dead during the war. He also has to deal with the re-emergence of his father, an anarchist, who abandoned Neal as a boy. The book is part mystery, part political novel, part dark comedy. It touches on issues of class, race, and how communities shape who we become for good and ill.
“AFTERSHOCK, BY TOM BENTLEY.”
A scheming would-be novelist, his prim, closet-alcoholic boss and a discerning homeless veteran have their fates thrown together by the 1989 S.F. earthquake. The distinct first-person voice of the schemer, and that of the homeless veteran and the secret alcoholic make for an at times rollicking, at times sad collision of lives. Their interplay is disastrous, surprising, and richly human. Through the fragile fault lines of these rocky relationships runs humor, loss and longing for connection.