Constellation_of_VitalA Constellation of Vital Phenomena

by Anthony Marra

In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He seeks refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

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Enchanted_WandererThe Enchanted Wanderer: And Other Stories

by Nikolai Leskov

Unlike his nineteenth-century Russian contemporaries, Leskov presents a mythical and untamed Russia populated by soldiers and monks, serfs and princes, Tartars and gypsies—a vast country brimming with the promise of magic. These seventeen tales are all told in the voices of storytellers addressing their audience with narratives that unfurl in startlingly modern ways.

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City_of_ThievesCity of Thieves

by David Benioff

During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake.

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SlapboxingSlapboxing with Jesus

by Victor LaValle

Twelve original and interconnected stories in the traditions of Junot Díaz and Sherman Alexie. Victor D. LaValle’s astonishing, violent, and funny debut offers harrowing glimpses at the vulnerable lives of young people who struggle not only to come of age, but to survive the city streets.

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company-of-heavenThe Company of Heaven: Stories from Haiti

by Marilène Phipps-Kettlewell

These interconnected stories transport the reader to a lush, lyrical, flamboyant, and spirit-filled Haiti.  Singular characters mysteriously address the deeper meanings of human existence and dream of escape, whether from themselves, from family, from Vodou, from financial and cultural difficulties and the politicians that create them, or from the country itself.

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all-the-lightAll the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr

Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, flees Nazi-occupied Paris with her father to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, carrying a valuable and dangerous secret. The orphan Werner’s talent for fixing radios wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth and then a special assignment to track the resistance. He travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

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UnAmericansThe UnAmericans: Stories

by Molly Antopol

An actor, imprisoned during the Red Scare for playing up his communist leanings, is shamed by his act when he reunites with his precocious young son. A young American and her Israeli husband are forced to reconsider their marriage after the death of her dissident art-collecting grandmother. In this collection of stories, deeply sympathetic characters struggle for footing in an uncertain world, hounded by forces beyond their control.

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GoldfinchThe Goldfinch

by Donna Tartt

Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

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Small_backs_of_childrenThe Small Backs of Children

by Lidia Yuknavitch

In a war-torn village in Eastern Europe, an American photographer captures a heart-stopping image: a young girl flying toward the lens, fleeing a fiery explosion that has engulfed her home and family. The image wins acclaim and prizes, becoming an icon for millions—and a subject of obsession for one writer, the photographer’s best friend, who has suffered a devastating tragedy of her own.

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SymphonySymphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad

by M.T. Anderson

In September 1941, Hitler’s Wehrmacht surrounded Leningrad in what was to become one of the longest and most destructive sieges in Western history. Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, who would write a symphony that roused and commemorated his fellow citizens—the Leningrad Symphony. This is the true story of a city under siege and the power of music in beleaguered lives.

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