KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Martha Anne Toll

Three Summers, by Magarita Liberaki [1919-2001], weaves a dreamy, cinematic tapestry of Greek village life. Originally published in 1946, the novel has been reissued, translated by Karen Van Dyck. It's set in the countryside around Athens, "where all the gardens were."

Massoud Hayoun is a member of the Arab diaspora. With Moroccan, Egyptian, and Tunisian heritage, he is also Jewish.

His new book, When We Were Arabs, is an absorbing family history that spans continents and epochs.

Hayoun uses his grandparents' stories to illuminate the fading history of a once thriving Arab Jewish community. In the process, he delivers a scathing indictment of colonialism. He considers his Arabness "cultural," "African," and "Jewish," but "retaliatory" as well.

The German viola I played during my serious music days failed to accrue value; twentieth century German instruments don't produce a warm enough sound. For tone, you need Italian or French or English. In some cases, American will do, as Gregory Spatz attests in his new collection. Set in and around Seattle, Spatz's What Could Be Saved plumbs the rarified world of high-end stringed instruments. Spatz teaches writing at Eastern Washington University; he is also a professional fiddler, which lends his book an authenticity often lacking in fiction about musicians.

Some years ago, on vacation in New Hampshire, I picked up a copy of Lorene Cary's Black Ice, a memoir of her two years attending an elite New England prep school. Riveting for its honesty and straightforward storytelling, the book opens a window into what happens when a black girl from an educated family enters such hallowed halls.

Since its founding, America has been fertile ground for conspiracy beliefs. While every generation produces rumor-mongers, today we anoint them with special powers through social media.

Anna Merlan, a journalist at Gizmodo Media Group, explores our contemporary fixation with conspiracy theories of all political stripes in Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power. Throughout the book, she reports from gatherings of people whose beliefs are both extreme and false.

Can a writer put visual art on the page? Or render a visual artist's creative impulses into words?

Now, Now, Louison is Jean Frémon's freewheeling effort to do so. Frémon — lawyer, writer and gallery owner — inhabits artist Louise Bourgeois as if she herself were writing this novel-cum-memoir. Elegantly translated by Cole Swensen, Now, Now, Louison portrays a woman whose mind never rests, whose capacious memory serves as a bottomless source of artistic inspiration.

Who Killed My Father, by French writer Édouard Louis (lyrically translated by Lorin Stein), is a brief, poetic telling of the myriad ways societal contempt, homophobia, and poverty can kill a man.

Following Louis' autobiographical novel, The End of Eddy, this book is a deeply personal meditation: a gay man speaking to a father mired in toxic masculinity, whose absence is louder than his presence, but who ultimately finds love and understanding — even respect — for that same son.