460

Review: the one harmless great thing by brooke bolander

January 15, 2019
the one harmless great thing, brook bolander, InToriLex
Published By: Tor.com Publishing on January 23, 2018
Format Read: Paperback Edition (93 pages)
Genre: Sci-fi/ Fantasy/ Historical Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS
~Amazon~
In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island.

These are the facts. 

Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted. Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey that crosses eras, chronicling histories of cruelty both grand and petty in search of meaning and justice.

VERDICT:

Content Warning: Graphic Violence, Animal Cruelty, Animal Death, Radiation Poisoning

REVIEW:

In less than a hundred pages I fell in love with a elephant and cried for real humans I never knew. This book is a tour de force glimpse into the unforgiving way industry has poisoned people, animals and the environment in our recent past. The book follows the life of a female factory worker who is dying from radiation poison due to her work in a factory and Topsy an elephant who is being trained to continue the work that poisoned humans. In this alternative world elephants can communicate with humans and their history is kept through group story telling. Its is a tragedy told in a non-linear way with beautiful prose and memorable characters.
No matter what you did, forty  or fifty or a hundred years passed and everything became a narrative to be toyed with, masters of media alchemy splitting the truth's nucleus into a ricocheting cascade reaction of diverging alternate realities.
The magical realism and harsh reality of factory women being poisoned and dying flowed together to create a master piece. The elephant mythology completely immersed me in a world that was inhumane with too many parallels to our reality. This was a wonderful novella that pulls on your heart strings in a unique way. I am excited to read anything this author publishes in the future.
In a history book swollen tick-tight with so many injustices the poisoning of a factory if girls and the mean public death of a small god don't even register as particularly noteworthy.
Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy magical realism in science fiction
- appreciate alternative history narratives inspired by real events
- wants to read a story that will challenge them to look unflinchingly at injustice

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brooke Bolander
Brooke Bolander writes weird things of indeterminate genre, most of them leaning rather heavily towards fantasy or general all-around weirdness. She attended the University of Leicester 2004-2007 studying History and Archaeology and is an alum of the 2011 Clarion Writers’ Workshop at UCSD. Her stories have been featured in Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Nightmare, Uncanny, and various other fine purveyors of the fantastic. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Hugo, Locus, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy awards, much to her unending bafflement.
TWITTER
WEBSITE
0 comments

21 Notable January 2019 Book Releases

January 10, 2019
Notable January 2019 Book Releases

Happy New Year!! I'm excited to introduce a new monthly feature, Notable Book Releases. These are books that I'm excited for and hope that you'll find something here to add to your TBR list.

The Similars, Rebecca Hanover, InToriLex
~Amazon~     The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn't care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver's exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.
Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver's face.

The Water Cure, Sophie Mackintosh, InToriLex
The Water Cure~Amazon~                                                          King has tenderly staked out a territory for his wife and three daughters, Grace, Lia, and Sky. He has lain the barbed wire; he has anchored the buoys in the water; he has marked out a clear message: Do not enter. Or viewed from another angle: Not safe to leave. Here women are protected from the chaos and violence of men on the mainland. The cult-like rituals and therapies they endure fortify them from the spreading toxicity of a degrading world.
But when their father, the only man they’ve ever seen, disappears, they retreat further inward until the day three strange men wash ashore. Over the span of one blistering hot week, a psychological cat-and-mouse game plays out. Sexual tensions and sibling rivalries flare as the sisters confront the amorphous threat the strangers represent. Can they survive the men?

An Orchestra of Minorities, Chigozie Obioma, InToriLex
An Orchestra of Minorities~Amazon~
A contemporary twist on the Odyssey, An Orchestra of Minorities is narrated by the chi, or spirit of a young poultry farmer named Chinonso. His life is set off course when he sees a woman who is about to jump off a bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, he hurls two of his prized chickens off the bridge. The woman, Ndali, is stopped in her tracks.
Chinonso and Ndali fall in love but she is from an educated and wealthy family. When her family objects to the union on the grounds that he is not her social equal, he sells most of his possessions to attend college in Cyprus. But when he arrives in Cyprus, he discovers that he has been utterly duped by the young Nigerian who has made the arrangements for him. Penniless, homeless, we watch as he gets further and further away from his dream and from home.

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, Ibi Zoboi, InToriLex
Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America~Amazon~Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.
Whether it’s New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds writing about #blackboyjoy or Newbery Honor-winning author Renee Watson talking about black girls at camp in Portland, or emerging author Jay Coles’s story about two cowboys kissing in the south—Black Enough is an essential collection full of captivating coming-of-age stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.

How to Date Men When You Hate Men, Blythe Roberson, InToriLex
How to Date Men When You Hate Men~Amazon~From New Yorker and Onion writer and comedian Blythe Roberson, How to Date Men When You Hate Men is a comedy philosophy book aimed at interrogating what it means to date men within the trappings of modern society. Blythe Roberson’s sharp observational humor is met by her open-hearted willingness to revel in the ugliest warts and shimmering highs of choosing to live our lives amongst other humans. She collects her crushes like ill cared-for pets, skewers her own suspect decisions, and assures readers that any date you can mess up, she can top tenfold. And really, was that date even a date in the first place?

To Keep the Sun Alive, Rabeah Ghaffari, InToriLex
To Keep the Sun Alive~Amazon~A cinematic debut about an Iranian family and their fruit orchard, caught up in the Revolution of 1979
The year is 1979. The Islamic Revolution is just around the corner, as is a massive solar eclipse. In this epic novel set in the small Iranian city of Naishapur, a retired judge and his wife, Bibi, grow apples, plums, peaches, and sour cherries, as well as manage several generations of family members. The days here are marked by long, elaborate lunches on the terrace and arguments about the corrupt monarchy in Iran and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. And yet life in the orchard continues. An uncle develops into a powerful cleric. A young nephew goes to university, hoping to lead the fight for a new Iran and marry his childhood sweetheart. Another nephew surrenders to opium, while his widowed father dreams of a life in the West. Told through a host of vivid, unforgettable characters that range from servants to elderly friends of the family, To Keep the Sun Alive is the kind of rich, compelling story that not only informs the past, but raises questions about political and religious extremism today.

Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell, Mouthful of Birds, InToriLex
Mouthful of Birds~Amazon~
Unearthly and unexpected, the stories in Mouthful of Birds burrow their way into your psyche and don't let go. Samanta Schweblin haunts and mesmerizes in this extraordinary, masterful collection.
Schweblin's stories have the feel of a sleepless night, where every shadow and bump in the dark take on huge implications, leaving your pulse racing, and the line between the real and the strange blur.

The Gilded Wolves,The Gilded Wolves #1, Roshani Chokshi, InToriLex
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)~Amazon~
Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can't yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.
Together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

Golden State, Ben H. Winters, InToriLex
Golden State~Amazon~Lazlo Ratesic is 54, a 19-year veteran of the Speculative Service, from a family of law enforcement and in a strange alternate society that values law and truth above all else. This is how Laz must, by law, introduce himself, lest he fail to disclose his true purpose or nature, and by doing so, be guilty of a lie.
Laz is a resident of The Golden State, a nation resembling California, where like-minded Americans retreated after the erosion of truth and the spread of lies made public life, and governance, increasingly impossible. There, surrounded by the high walls of compulsory truth-telling, knowingly contradicting the truth--the Objectively So--is the greatest possible crime. Stopping those crimes, punishing them, is Laz's job. In its service, he is one of the few individuals permitted to harbor untruths--to "speculate" on what might have happened in the commission of a crime.
But the Golden State is far less a paradise than its name might suggest. To monitor, verify, and enforce the Objectively So requires a veritable panopticon of surveillance, recording, and record-keeping. And when those in control of the truth twist it for nefarious means, the Speculators may be the only ones with the power to fight back.

The Kingdom of Copper, The Daevabad Trilogy #2, S.A. Chakraborty, InToriLex
The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy, #2)~Amazon~
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad's towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

Thick: And Other Essays, Tressie McMillan Cottom, InToriLex
Thick: And Other Essays~Amazon~
Smart, humorous, and strikingly original thoughts on race, beauty, money, and more—by one of today's most intrepid public intellectuals
Tressie McMillan Cottom, the writer, professor, and acclaimed author of Lower Ed, now brilliantly shifts gears from running regression analyses on college data to unleashing another identity: a purveyor of wit, wisdom—and of course Black Twitter snark—about all that is right and much that is so very wrong about this thing we call society. In the bestselling tradition of bell hooks and Roxane Gay, McMillan Cottom’s freshman collection illuminates a particular trait of her tribe: being thick. In form, and in substance.

Golden Child, Claire Adam, InToriLex
Golden Child~Amazon~
Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. They are twins but nothing alike: Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.
When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn't come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul's fate, his world shatters--leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.
Like the Trinidadian landscape itself, Golden Child is both beautiful and unsettling; a resoundingly human story of aspiration, betrayal, and love.

King of Scars, Leigh Bardugo, InToriLex
King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1)~Amazon~
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali, Sabina Khan, InToriLex
The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali~Amazon~
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer.
But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective.

Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

The Music of What Happens, Bill Konigsberg, InToriLex
The Music of What Happens~Amazon~
Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever.
Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His "wives" and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won't like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he's the only one who can keep the family from falling apart.
Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what's considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites.
Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they're willing to risk -- to get the thing they want the most.

The Cerulean, Untitled Duology #1, Amy Ewing , InToriLex
The Cerulean~Amazon~ Sera has always felt as if she didn’t belong among her people, the Cerulean. She is curious about everything and can’t stop questioning her three mothers, her best friend, Leela, and even the High Priestess. Sera has longed for the day when the tether that connects her City Above the Sky to the earthly world below finally severs and sends the Cerulean to a new planet.
But when Sera is chosen as the sacrifice to break the tether, she doesn’t know what to feel. To save her City, Sera must throw herself from its edge and end her own life. But something goes wrong and she survives the fall, landing in a place called Kaolin. She has heard tales about the humans there, and soon learns that the dangers her mothers warned her of are real. If Sera has any hope to return to her City, she’ll have to find the magic within herself to survive.

Love Looks Pretty on You, Lang Leav, InToriLex
Love Looks Pretty on You~Amazon~
The much anticipated new book by international bestselling author Lang Leav. A breathtakingly beautiful collection of contemporary poetry and prose, offering powerful insights into love, heartbreak, relationships, and self-empowerment.

Filled with wisdom and encouragement, every single page is a testament to the power of words, and the impact they can have on the relationships you build with others. And most importantly, the one you have with yourself.
Lang Leav captures the intricacies of emotions like few others can. It's no wonder she has been recognized as a major influencer of the modern poetry movement and her writing has inspired a whole new generation of poets to pick up a pen.

Dana Czapnik, The Falconer, InToriLex
The Falconer~Amazon~New York, 1993. Seventeen-year-old Lucy Adler, a street-smart, trash-talking baller, is often the only girl on the public courts. At turns quixotic and cynical, insecure and self-possessed, Lucy is in unrequited love with her best friend and pick-up teammate Percy, scion to a prominent New York family, who wishes to resist his upper crust fate.
As she navigates this complex relationship with all its youthful heartache, Lucy is seduced by a different kind of life—one less consumed by conventional success and the approval of men. A pair of provocative female artists living in what remains of New York’s bohemia invite her into their world, but soon even their paradise begins to show cracks.

Hala Alyan, The Twenty-Ninth Year, InToriLex
The Twenty-Ninth Year~Amazon~In Islamic and Western tradition, age twenty-nine is a milestone, a year of transformation and upheaval.
For Hala Alyan, this is a year in which the past--memories of family members, old friends and past lovers, the heat of another land, another language, a different faith--winds itself around the present. Hala's ever-shifting, subversive verse sifts together and through different forms of forced displacement and the tolls they take on mind and body. Poems leap from war-torn cities in the Middle East, to an Oklahoma Olive Garden, a Brooklyn brownstone; from alcoholism to recovery; from a single woman to a wife. This collection summons breathtaking chaos, one that seeps into the bones of these odes, the shape of these elegies.

We Cast a Shadow, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, InToriLex
We Cast a Shadow~Amazon~How far would you go to protect your child?
Our narrator faces an impossible decision. Like any father, he just wants the best for his son Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is growing larger by the day. In this near-future society plagued by resurgent racism, segregation, and expanding private prisons, our narrator knows Nigel might not survive. Having watched the world take away his own father, he is determined to stop history from repeating itself.
There is one potential solution: a new experimental medical procedure that promises to save lives by turning people white. But in order to afford Nigel's whiteness operation, our narrator must make partner as one of the few Black associates at his law firm, jumping through a series of increasingly surreal hoops--from diversity committees to plantation tours to equality activist groups--in an urgent quest to protect his son.
This electrifying, suspenseful novel is at once a razor-sharp satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. Writing in the tradition of Ralph Ellison and Franz Kafka, Maurice Carlos Ruffin fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love.

Black is the Body: Stories of My Grandmother’s Time My Mother’s Time and Mine, Emily Bernard, InToriLex
Black Is the Body: Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine~Amazon~"I am black--and brown, too," writes Emily Bernard. "Brown is the body I was born into. Black is the body of the stories I tell."
And the storytelling, and the mystery of Bernard's storytelling, of getting to the truth, begins with a stabbing in a New England college town. Bernard writes how, when she was a graduate student at Yale, she walked into a coffee shop and, along with six other people, was randomly attacked by a stranger with a knife ("I remember making the decision not to let the oddness of this stranger bother me"). "I was not stabbed because I was black," she writes (the attacker was white), "but I have always viewed the violence I survived as a metaphor for the violent encounter that has generally characterized American race relations. There was no connection between us, yet we were suddenly and irreparably bound by a knife, an attachment that cost us both: him, his freedom; me, my wholeness."
Bernard explores how that bizarre act of violence set her free and unleashed the storyteller in her ("The equation of writing and regeneration is fundamental to black American experience").
She writes in Black Is the Body how each of the essays goes beyond a narrative of black innocence and white guilt, how each is anchored in a mystery, and how each sets out to discover a new way of telling the truth as the author has lived it. "Blackness is an art, not a science. It is a paradox: intangible and visceral; a situation and a story. It is the thread that connects these essays, but its significance as an experience emerges randomly, unpredictably . . . Race is the story of my life, and therefore black is the body of this book."
And what most interests Bernard is looking at "blackness at its borders, where it meets whiteness in fear and hope, in anguish and love."
Let me know what new releases your excited about in the comments!
0 comments
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Copyright © 2015 In Tori Lex All Rights Reserved · All Logos & Trademark Belongs To Their Respective Owners | Design by These Paper Hearts
Back to Top