BELLS OF OLD TOKYO, by Sherman NOTE: Meeting Online

Wednesday, April 19, 12:30 pm

The Daytime Book Group meets 3rd Wednesday of each month at 12:30 p.m. and reads mostly fiction new and old, and some nonfiction. The group meets online. For info to join meetings please contact Jeanie Teare

The Bells of Old Tokyo: Meditations on Time and a City By Anna Sherman Cover Image

The Bells of Old Tokyo: Meditations on Time and a City (Paperback)


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
1 on hand, as of Mar 26 1:19am

An elegant and absorbing tour of Tokyo and its residents

From 1632 until 1854, Japan’s rulers restricted contact with foreign countries, a near isolation that fostered a remarkable and unique culture that endures to this day. In hypnotic prose and sensual detail, Anna Sherman describes searching for the great bells by which the inhabitants of Edo, later called Tokyo, kept the hours in the shoguns’ city.

An exploration of Tokyo becomes a meditation not just on time, but on history, memory, and impermanence. Through Sherman’s journeys around the city and her friendship with the owner of a small, exquisite cafe, who elevates the making and drinking of coffee to an art-form, The Bells of Old Tokyo follows haunting voices through the labyrinth that is the Japanese capital: an old woman remembers escaping from the American firebombs of World War II. A scientist builds the most accurate clock in the world, a clock that will not lose a second in five billion years. The head of the Tokugawa shogunal house reflects on the destruction of his grandfathers’ city: “A lost thing is lost. To chase it leads to darkness.”

The Bells of Old Tokyo marks the arrival of a dazzling new writer who presents an absorbing and alluring meditation on life in the guise of a tour through a city and its people.

ANNA SHERMAN was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. She studied Greek and Latin at Wellesley College and Oxford before moving to Tokyo in 2001. The Bells of Old Tokyo is her first book.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250206428
ISBN-10: 1250206421
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: December 1st, 2020
Pages: 352
Language: English

"A completely extraordinary book, unlike anything I have read before. At once modest in tone and vast in scale and ambition, The Bells of Old Tokyo extends in all directions, delicately wrought, precise, unfaltering, lucid and strange as a dream. I haven’t felt so excited about an investigation into place since I first read Rings of Saturn. Like Sebald, Sherman is concerned with war, brutality, nostalgia and loss, but her search for the meaning of time is also radiant and absolutely humane."--Olivia Laing, author of Crudo and The Lonely City

“A meditative exploration of time and change...Tokyo’s past, although often physically erased by fires or constant demolition and construction in a nation that prizes change and modernization—is movingly excavated and evoked in this unusual book....Sherman is a profoundly evocative writer.”—Heller McAlpin, The Wall Street Journal

"[A] spiritual memoir, which weaves between personal storytelling...and oral and mythical histories of the old neighborhoods of Tokyo....The author's own layered process mirrors the city's complexity, nonlinearity, and frozen beauty. The bells were not always easy to find, but Sherman was determined, and she successfully brings into focus their elusive stories, which point to an appealing past in a city that has moved rapidly into the future. "--Kirkus Reviews

"The Bells of Old Tokyo is an elegant series of musings, a beautifully written evocation of a place and a philosophical inquiry into the nature of time itself. Sherman has given the world, and one city in particular, an astonishing gift."--Julia Kastner, Shelf Awareness (Starred review)

“A beautiful debut of creative nonfiction.”—Library Journal (Starred review)

"A special book. Every sentence, every thought Sherman has, every question she asks, every detail she notices, offers something. The Bells of Old Tokyo is a gift....It is a masterpiece."--The Spectator [UK]

“Sherman’s writing is elegant and accessible, and the story of Tokyo quickly becomes the story of time itself’”—Uproxx, "Best Books of Summer 2019"

“Delightful… Bells is unknowable, but brilliantly so.”—Japan Times

The Bells of Old Tokyo is part personal memoir, part cultural history, but wholly unique. The fragile, fragmentary poetry of its prose so beautifully captures the transience of Tokyo time, the constant cycle of destruction and reconstruction, and the nostalgia for that which has been lost and yet wonder at all that remains to be found. It is the best book I have read about Tokyo written this century.”—David Peace, author of Tokyo Year Zero

“In her haunting, beautiful debut travel narrative, Anna Sherman takes the reader along on her quest to find the bells of old Tokyo, illuminating a lost world hidden in plain sight…The Bells of Old Tokyo is an ambitious attempt to mirror that map, or is, rather, Sherman’s description of it. And it succeeds.” —South China Morning Post

"A fascinating portrait of a city and its people, epic and intimate at the same time."--The Weekly Times (AUS)

“A subtle, beautifully written meditation... Profoundly moving... This lyrical yet serious work deserves a ringing endorsement.”—Literary Review (UK)

“Good travel writing is often hard to come by - it’s a delicate balance of bringing a destination to life while also informing of its noteworthy aspects, but Anna Sherman does so flawlessly.”—Japan Today

“A staggering reassembling of an ancient city turned neon metropolis… Fascinating... Engrossing… An exceptional and exceptionally original piece of writing.”—The Big Smoke (Australia)

“Only a handful could match Sherman for respectful curiosity, detailed knowledge and sensitivity to her surroundings.”—Canberra Times (Australia)

“A reading treasure... A work of literary art... Magnificent both in its content and in the exquisite, lyrical writing of its author.”—Cape Times (SA)

“[A] haunting, beautiful debut travel narrative... The Bells of Old Tokyo is ambitious... And it succeeds.”— South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

“A great book... that is all at once a memoir, a travelogue, a history book, and an examination of what defines a culture and its people... A masterwork.”—Books and Bao (UK)

THE PROMISE, by Galgut NOTE: Meeting Online

Wednesday, March 15, 12:30 pm

The Daytime Book Group meets 3rd Wednesday of each month at 12:30 p.m. and reads mostly fiction new and old, and some nonfiction. The group meets online. For info to join meetings please contact Jeanie Teare

The Promise: A Novel (Booker Prize Winner) By Damon Galgut Cover Image

The Promise: A Novel (Booker Prize Winner) (Paperback)


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
6 on hand, as of Mar 26 1:19am
Politics and Prose at 70 District Square SW
3 on hand, as of Mar 26 1:33am
Politics and Prose at Union Market
3 on hand, as of Mar 26 1:33am


On her deathbed, Rachel Swart makes a promise to Salome, the family's Black maid. This promise will divide the family--especially her children: Anton, the golden boy; Astrid, whose beauty is her power; and the youngest, Amor, whose life is shaped by feelings of guilt.

Reunited by four funerals over thirty years, the dwindling Swart family remains haunted by the unmet promise, just as their country is haunted by its own failures. The Promise is an epic South African drama that unfurls against the unrelenting march of history, sure to leave its readers transformed.

"Simply: you must read it."--Claire Messud, Harper's Magazine

★ "This tour-de-force unleashes a searing portrait of a damaged family and a troubled country in need of healing."--Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Product Details ISBN: 9781609457440
ISBN-10: 1609457447
Publisher: Europa Editions
Publication Date: March 15th, 2022
Pages: 272
Language: English

GREY BEES, by Kurkov NOTE: Meeting Online for Feb titles read one or both

Wednesday, February 15, 12:30 pm

The Daytime Book Group meets 3rd Wednesday of each month at 12:30 p.m. and reads mostly fiction new and old, and some nonfiction. The group meets online. For info to join meetings please contact Jeanie Teare

Grey Bees By Andrey Kurkov, Boris Dralyuk (Translator) Cover Image

Grey Bees (Paperback)

By Andrey Kurkov, Boris Dralyuk (Translator)


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 70 District Square SW
1 on hand, as of Mar 26 1:33am

With a warm yet political humor, Ukraine's most famous novelist presents a balanced and illuminating portrait of modern conflict.

Little Starhorodivka, a village of three streets, lies in Ukraine's Grey Zone, the no-man's-land between loyalist and separatist forces. Thanks to the lukewarm war of sporadic violence and constant propaganda that has been dragging on for years, only two residents remain: retired safety inspector turned beekeeper Sergey Sergeyich and Pashka, a rival from his schooldays. With little food and no electricity, under constant threat of bombardment, Sergeyich's one remaining pleasure is his bees. As spring approaches, he knows he must take them far from the Grey Zone so they can collect their pollen in peace. This simple mission on their behalf introduces him to combatants and civilians on both sides of the battle lines: loyalists, separatists, Russian occupiers and Crimean Tatars. Wherever he goes, Sergeyich's childlike simplicity and strong moral compass disarm everyone he meets. But could these qualities be manipulated to serve an unworthy cause, spelling disaster for him, his bees and his country?

Born near Leningrad in1961, Andrey Kurkov was a journalist, prison warder, cameraman and screenplay-writer before he became well known as a novelist. He received "hundreds of rejections" and was a pioneer of self-publishing, selling more than75,000 copies of his books in a single year. His novel Death and the Penguin, his first in English translation, became an international bestseller, translated into more than thirty languages. As well as writing fiction for adults and children, he has become known as a commentator and journalist on Ukraine for the international media. His work of reportage, Ukraine Diaries: Dispatches from Kiev, was published in 2014, followed by the novel The Bickford Fuse (MacLehose Press, 2016). He lives in Kiev with his British wife and their three children. Boris Dralyuk is an award-winning translator and the Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He taught Russian literature for a number of years at UCLA and at the University of St Andrews. He is a co-editor (with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski) of the Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, and has translated Isaac Babel's Red Cavalry and Odessa Stories, as well as Kurkov's The Bickford Fuse. In2020 he received the inaugural Kukula Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Book Reviewing from the Washington Monthly.
Product Details ISBN: 9781646051663
ISBN-10: 1646051661
Publisher: Deep Vellum Publishing
Publication Date: March 29th, 2022
Pages: 360
Language: English