Irish writer Walsh's debut novel is a fierce, sharp ride through Kinlough, past and present, centering on the disappearance of the eponymous Kala. While the narrative's surface is all pints and smiles, something darker--the parts of life people there never speak of--shimmers beneath, making the book a multilayered literary thriller where Walsh plays with memory and shows how our younger and older selves overlap. Brimming with heart and a sweetness honed to a razor's edge, this may be the read of the summer!
Day after day in rural Brazil, Edgar Wilson swings a mallet, stunning cows for the slaughter. It's the proverbial dirty job that someone has to do. But though he's used to the constant proximity of death, something darker still may be lurking, and Maia, through poetic prose that makes a telling contrast with her subject, powerfully explores our relationship with animals and meat consumption--and the toll these take on the human psyche.
Whale became a South Korean bestseller when it appeared in 2004; translated into English, it earned a spot on the 2023 International Booker Prize longlist. Historical fiction sprinkled with magic realism and bound with graceful prose, Cheon Myeong-kwan's first novel unfolds in the years around the Korean Civil War. While its large-scale setting is matched with a suitably sprawling cast, the narrative centers on a mother and daughter, exploring their relationship to the small town they watch disappear--along with the childhoods and first loves that go with it.