Four Treasures of the Sky

Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself.

From the publisher:

Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been—including the ones she most wants to leave behind—in order to finally claim her own name and story.

At once a literary tour de force and a groundbreaking work of historical fiction, Four Treasures of the Sky announces Jenny Tinghui Zhang as an indelible new voice. Steeped in untold history and Chinese folklore, this novel is a spellbinding feat.

 

We Are a Haunting

Going back to the ’80s, we see Key’s life consisting of nightclubs and enchantment. While training as a doula, she discovers that for her, the dead are much closer than expected and learns how to speak both to and for them, forming a connection between passed and living family members. After her death, Colly soon discovers that he shares the same sacred gift his mother had.

From the publisher:

Taking place over 30 years, We Are a Haunting follows a family of East New Yorkers struggling to maintain a connection to their history. Grandma Audrey, herself a living ancestor among the speaking dead, is about to lose her apartment; her indelible and vivacious daughter Key dies young after serving the Black women of her neighborhood, leaving behind a grieving son, Colly, who holds deep-seated disdain for a community to which he has no choice but to be accountable.
From the publisher:

Going back to the ’80s, we see Key’s life consisting of nightclubs and enchantment. While training as a doula, she discovers that for her, the dead are much closer than expected and learns how to speak both to and for them, forming a connection between passed and living family members. After her death, Colly soon discovers that he shares the same sacred gift his mother had.

His expulsion from school forces Colly across town, where he forges an understanding of how friendship, family, and community foster love in places where it may seem inherently and systemically impossible. After college, Colly returns to East New York to work with community organizers addressing structural neglect and the crumbling NYCHA blocks; to do what he can for the people that mean the most to him.

 

Brother Alive

In 1990, three boys are born, unrelated but intertwined by circumstance: Dayo, Iseul, and Youssef. They are adopted as infants and live in a shared bedroom perched atop a mosque in one of Staten Island’s most diverse and precarious neighborhoods, Coolidge.

From the publisher:

In 1990, three boys are born, unrelated but intertwined by circumstance: Dayo, Iseul, and Youssef. They are adopted as infants and live in a shared bedroom perched atop a mosque in one of Staten Island’s most diverse and precarious neighborhoods, Coolidge. The three boys are an inseparable if conspicuous trio: Dayo is of Nigerian origin, Iseul is Korean, and Youssef indeterminately Middle Eastern. Nevertheless, Youssef is keeping a secret: he sees a hallucinatory double, an imaginary friend who seems absolutely real, a shapeshifting familiar he calls Brother.

The boys’ adoptive father, Imam Salim, is known for his radical sermons, but at home he is often absent, spending long evenings in his study with whiskey-laced coffee, writing letters to his former compatriots back in Saudi Arabia. Like Youssef, he too has secrets, including the cause of his failing health and the truth about what happened to the boys’ parents. When Imam Salim’s path takes him back to Saudi Arabia, the boys will be forced to follow. There they will be captivated by an opulent, almost futuristic world, a linear city that seems to offer a more sustainable modernity than that of the West. But they will have to change if they want to survive in this new world, and the arrival of a creature as powerful as Brother will not go unnoticed.

 

Hangman

In the morning, I received a phone call and was told to board a flight. The arrangements had been made on my behalf. I packed no clothes, because my clothes had been packed for me. A car arrived to pick me up. A man returns home to sub-Saharan Africa after twenty-six years in America.

From the publisher:

In the morning, I received a phone call and was told to board a flight. The arrangements had been made on my behalf. I packed no clothes, because my clothes had been packed for me. A car arrived to pick me up.

A man returns home to sub-Saharan Africa after 26 years in America. When he arrives, he finds that he doesn’t recognize the country or anyone in it. Thankfully, someone recognizes him, a man who calls him brother―setting him on a quest to find his real brother, who is dying.

In Hangman, Maya Binyam tells the story of that search, and of the phantoms, guides, tricksters, bureaucrats, debtors, taxi drivers, relatives, riddles, and strangers that will lead to the truth.

 

Sirens & Muses

It’s 2011: America is in a deep recession and Occupy Wall Street is escalating. But at the elite Wrynn College of Art, students paint and sculpt in a rarefied bubble. Louisa Arceneaux is a thoughtful, observant nineteen-year-old when she transfers to Wrynn as a scholarship student, but she soon finds herself adrift in an environment that prizes novelty over beauty.

From the publisher:

It’s 2011: America is in a deep recession and Occupy Wall Street is escalating. But at the elite Wrynn College of Art, students paint and sculpt in a rarefied bubble. Louisa Arceneaux is a thoughtful, observant 19-year-old when she transfers to Wrynn as a scholarship student, but she soon finds herself adrift in an environment that prizes novelty over beauty. Complicating matters is Louisa’s unexpected attraction to her charismatic roommate, Karina Piontek, the preternaturally gifted but mercurial daughter of wealthy art collectors. Gradually, Louisa and Karina are drawn into an intense sensual and artistic relationship, one that forces them to confront their deepest desires and fears. But Karina also can’t shake her fascination with Preston Utley, a senior and anti-capitalist Internet provocateur, who is publicly feuding with visiting professor and political painter Robert Berger—a once-controversial figurehead seeking to regain relevance.

When Preston concocts an explosive hoax, the fates of all four artists are upended as each is unexpectedly thrust into the cutthroat New York art world. Now all must struggle to find new identities in art, in society, and among each other. In the process, they must find either their most authentic terms of life—of success, failure, and joy—or risk losing themselves altogether.