Friday, August 23, 2013

“The Room Above the Sundry Shop”, by Zhang Su Li

Malaysian travel writer ZHANG SU LI finds solidarity in the most unlikely of places during a storm in small-town Malaysia

AS A CHILD, I used to walk, run or cycle across the Kopisan landscape that is so unique to Perak.

I used to travel for hours until my body switched to autopilot and I stopped feeling my legs moving. I’m sure I could even sleep while walking if I tried. The rugged terrain and its clumps of tall lalang grass look a little like the beaches of New Hampshire—except for the red earth. My friends and I used to spend our evenings playing around the old mining pools that had turned into murky lakes. By the time we got home, our feet were red, and the fine red earth mixed with sweat looked like chilli paste lodged between our toes.

Kopisan’s famous landmarks are the large cast-iron water pipes dotted at the joints with rivets like giant buttons. Built by the British during the colonial days, they channelled water from the hills to the mining pools. Our favourite place was a cool spot under a pipe joint where there was a leak, and the water pressure created a fine spray, like a mist fan.

During those easy and carefree days, we made bird traps with slivers of bamboo and pretended to launch jet planes with lalang grass. To do this, we would tear a little bit of the blade on both sides of the stem, and place the two strips between our index and middle fingers. Then we would yank the strips off forcefully so the stem shot into the air like an arrow. We had to be very careful because lalang grass has tiny little sharp “teeth” that run along its length in one direction. On several occasions, we got a nasty shock from mistakenly pulling the grass from the wrong end. For a few minutes, we’d be speechless as a burning sensation seared through our bleeding fingers and numbed our arms.

The other unique feature of this part of the country is its limestone hills, densely covered with trees. From a distance, the layers of hills look as though they were draped over with velvet blankets in different shades of green. These hills form the undulating shape of the unique skyline of Perak. Water that flows from natural springs in these hills is so pure it made the best sar hor fun and tofu in the country. People here take longer showers as the water makes it difficult to rinse the soap off their hair. Their bodies remain slippery even after they have sluiced bucket after bucket of water over themselves. And girls from this area are believed to be the most beautiful in Malaysia because the water gives them such healthy soft skin. It has been said by many that if you touched a girl and a piece of tofu with your eyes closed, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them.

THE LAST TIME I WAS IN KOPISAN, it was a cool and breezy evening—the sort made for walking. Thus I decided to leave my car by a small village road in Kopisan and stroll the rest of the way to Gopeng for a bowl of sar hor fun. I made my way across the landscape that was so familiar to me, one that I loved very much.

But this evening, that part of Kopisan was like a lingering ghost. Most of the land was now dotted with new shop lots and modern houses blocking out the horizon, where we used to watch flocks of birds fly home at dusk. The old cast-iron pipes had been taken down. But as I continued walking, once in a while I saw the remains of rusty frames that used to hold such pipes.

It was beginning to get late. I could just about make out the shapes of the large lily pads floating on the murky water of a remaining lake. Long-stemmed pink lotus flowers opened up towards the purple sky.

Twenty minutes later, when I reached the main road leading towards Gopeng, I felt a few drops of water land on my face. The sky had gone dark and the air had become heavy with moisture. I ran until I saw a row of shop lots on the other side of the road. By then the rain was beating hard against the pavement. To avoid getting soaked, I climbed up a dark, narrow flight of stairs next to a sundry shop.

As I sat on one of the steps waiting for the storm to subside, my stomach rumbled impatiently. Almost half an hour later, I was still sitting there, cursing the stormy weather. Once in a while, there’d be a girl or two walking back and forth on the pavement. They were dressed in short skirts, laddered black tights and high heels. From where I sat, I could only see up to their waists, but it was enough to know what they did for a living.

As a child, my friends and I always ran past this particular row of shops when we wanted to get to the other side of Kopisan. We would laugh at the last person to finish the race, chanting “chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken.” This was because the adults always warned us that if we loitered around that area too much, the mamasan would kidnap us and turn us into her “chickens”, a word used by the Chinese to refer to sex workers.

We didn’t know anything about sex workers except that they wore skimpy clothes, and that they were to be avoided because they were bad people.

A thin woman appeared at the bottom of the stairs. She spun her umbrella to shake off the rain before closing it. As she climbed the stairs, she glanced at me. I didn’t know whether to smile or not, so I looked straight ahead at a cobweb that was swaying from the ceiling.

“Are you waiting for the rain to stop?” she asked me in English.

I replied that I was on my way to the Gopeng market and that I’d left my car some distance away.

“Do you want some tea?”

The thought of a hot cup of milky tea made me accept her invitation eagerly.

We walked up the remaining steps and entered a tiny room. It smelled of fabric conditioner. There was a curtain that divided the room into two. It had bright yellow butterflies printed on it, and the air from the table fan made it flutter in waves. The woman led me towards a small foldable table under a wooden plantation window that was painted in cobalt blue. Against the adjacent wall was a narrow and rusty iron-framed bed on which a stack of neatly folded clothes lay.

She started emptying a plastic bag of cucur udang onto an enamel plate. Reaching for a tin flask with red roses painted on it, she smiled and apologised that the tea wasn’t freshly made. I assured her I didn’t mind. She pulled out the muslin-wrapped cork stopper and poured tea into two stainless steel cups.

As we drank tepid tea, my gaze swept along the shelf above the bed. There was a hairbrush, a round swivel mirror, and a mint-green enamel mug containing a toothbrush and a tube of Darlie toothpaste. Several bottles of shampoo and lotion stood in line. Next to those, closest to the head of the bed, was an old, creased paperback wrapped in clear cellophane that looked just like the books in libraries and second-hand bookstores. It was a collection of short stories by W. Somerset Maugham.

Introducing herself as Radha, the woman asked me where I was from. I told her that I lived in Kuala Lumpur, but made occasional visits to my hometown of Gopeng where I spent most of my childhood. This prompted Radha to talk enthusiastically about her own childhood. She, too, used to climb up onto the water pipes and walk along them barefoot.

“I still remember how nice and cool the pipes felt under my feet,” Radha said. “On clear nights, after dinner, I would sit on a pipe near a mining pool and look at fireflies hovering above the water. Sometimes I caught a few in a glass jar to bring home. I’d lie in bed and watch the fireflies under our blanket. I often fell asleep that way.”

I wanted to know more about Radha’s background and family, as it was unusual for someone living under her present circumstances to be so fluent in English. Assuming that she went to secondary school, I was curious about what happened between then and now. But the right moment to ask never came, so I did not probe.

We talked a while longer about the beauty of the hills, and lamented over the recent developments. In the past decade, developers have been using explosives to break down sections of the hills to obtain rocks for construction work. Many of the hills now have jagged edges that expose their reddish inner layers and looked as though they were bleeding.

“Every time I come back,” I told Radha, “another few hills along the highway are being destroyed.”

“There was once a lot of beauty here,” Radha said.

Radha’s expression was hard to read. There was a very subtle curl at the corners of her mouth, but it wasn’t really a smile. At times, I thought I saw a tinge of sadness in her eyes, but I couldn’t sense any sorrow. Possibly in her late twenties, Radha had a clear and radiant complexion, which made me wonder if it was due to the water found here. She wore clean and well-pressed clothes: a lime-coloured sleeveless blouse and a floral print cotton skirt that went down past her knees—dowdy in comparison to the girls pacing the pavement outside. Gold bangles adorned her bony wrists. I noticed small circular scars on her arms, exactly the circumference of a cigarette.

The storm had calmed down to a drizzle now. I heard a soft whimper and wondered where it came from. Radha bent over a cardboard box at the foot of the bed and picked up a toddler who looked about two years old. He stirred a little and whimpered again, but when he opened his eyes fully and saw his mother, he started to gurgle happily.

Radha’s face lit up and she seemed suddenly unaware of my presence. For a few moments, it was just her and her child.

“What’s his name?” I asked.

“Prem,” she replied, turning to me.

“It’s a nice name,” I said. “What does it mean?”

“Love,” Radha said proudly. “It means love.”

I stayed for a few more minutes and shared some cucur udang with her. Prem sat on his mother’s lap, sucking on a small piece. The grease from the prawn fritter made his plump lips and a spot on his cheek shine. Radha wiped her son’s face and hands with a damp towel.

“You have to go to Auntie Suba now, chellam,” she said to Prem in Tamil.

Radha carried him to the other side of the room, behind the curtain covered in yellow butterflies. I heard the sleepy voice of another woman. They conversed in Tamil for a few minutes. When Radha returned to her half of the room, I stood up.

“I won’t keep you any longer. Thanks so much for the tea.”

Radha didn’t reply, but gave me a quiet smile. She looked neither happy nor sad. Just peaceful and serene, like the face of the Buddha.

Outside, the rain had released an earthy scent from the ground. The air smelled of cinnamon.

AS I MADE MY WAY towards Gopeng market I couldn’t help wondering if Radha had been lying on her back earlier on that evening in the rusty bed while her son was sleeping. Letting sweat from the man on top of her drip onto her face. While the man did what he wanted with her, Radha daydreamed about W. Somerset Maugham’s stories of lavish dinner parties in colonial bungalows in Malaya, where English planters wore smart dinner jackets and pencil moustaches while their wives dressed in the fashion of the Twenties, with feathers in their hair and long strands of pearls around their necks. In Radha’s imagination, the clinking of champagne glasses and the sounds of jazz music from a gramophone drowned out the man’s grunts and the creaking of the bed. The fragrance of frangipani flowers from the garden floated into her mind to mask the smell of alcohol in his breath.

What Radha said kept echoing in my mind. “There was once a lot of beauty here.” I wondered if she was referring to her own life, and not just the hills. And if so, I wondered what led to its decay. I wondered why she invited me to her room for tea, and if her generosity was because she saw a kindred spirit in me.

For a long time, I couldn’t help thinking about Radha, and the beautiful innocence that was once in all of us.

ZHANG SU LI was born in Ipoh, educated in the United Kingdom, and currently lives in Kuala Lumpur. She is a freelance copywriter who spends half her day at work and the other half writing for causes she believes in, cooking, and taking walks in the jungle with her rescued dog Russell. A Backpack and a Bit of Luck is her first book.

Reproduced from Zhang Su Li’s A Backpack and A Bit of Luck: Stories of a Traveller with No Sense of Direction (MPH Group Publishing, 2013)

JULY 2013 | NONFICTION TRAVEL | 5.15 x 7.75 | 300pp | ORIGINAL PAPERBACK | ISBN 978-967-415-866-8 | e-ISBN 978-967-415-867-5

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Inspired by Dreams

MULTI-TALENTED:
Hèlene Cardona is a poet, actor,
translator, teacher and dream analyst
Photo by John Michael Ferrari

Actress-poet HÉLÈNE CARDONA weaves SHANTINI SUNTHARAJAH a story of a life steeped in culture and the arts. Coordinated by ERIC FORBES

AT VARIOUS TIMES IN HER LIFE, Hélène Cardona was a teacher, a language interpreter, a dancer and a poet. She has appeared in major Hollywood movies such as Chocolat (based on Joanne Harris’s bestselling novel), alongside Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Alfred Molina and Lena Olin; the 1999 comedy drama Mumford, with Zooey Deschanel, Martin Short and Ted Danson; and Gabriel Schmidt’s Lunch Break.

If that is not fascinating enough, Cardona is also a dream analyst. “I was introduced to dream work by my acting coach Sandra Seacat as a way to deepen my relationship with the characters I was playing,” she explains. “I found it so fascinating that I kept studying it with several dream teachers and also trained in shamanism.”

Perhaps it is not so surprising, therefore, that she has turned out to be such a multifaceted, intelligent and successful woman. “I grew up steeped in different cultures. My father worked at the United Nations in Geneva and his colleagues were from all over the world.”

Already a world traveller by the time she was twelve, Cardona’s early memories include learning to ski in Gstaad, Switzerland, summers in Spain with her grandparents, and touring Greece and Italy with her parents and younger brother. “At the age of eleven I started riding horses and fell in love with them right away,” says Cardona of her ongoing passion for all things equestrian. “I kept riding when we moved to Paris, and made a point to ride almost everywhere I visited or lived.”

However, hers wasn’t a childhood made up of just travelling and horse riding. There is a whole lot of personal effort and perseverance behind the polished veneer.

For Cardona, the hard work and endless practice required to join the echelon of great performance artists began early on. “I started learning the piano when I was six, and ballet when I was five. I played the piano every day for at least an hour.”

“I enjoyed playing Françoise ‘Fuffi’ Drou in Chocolat
because the character is so playful.”

Unlike many other little ones who are pushed to study music and dance by ambitious parents, she needed no prodding and looked forward to her piano and dance classes with enthusiasm. “It was like a meditation. I loved going to the Music Conservatory in Geneva for piano and ballet classes,” she reveals. “It felt like a world of my own. I graduated from the Conservatory with the second prize in piano.”

Cardona’s achievements aren’t just confined to the world of music and dance. “My father is Spanish and my mother Greek and Irish. At home we spoke French, Spanish and Greek,” she says. On top of that, she also writes and translates in German and Italian. “When I lived in Paris I belonged to a dance company. I’ve always loved to dance and it was exhilarating to perform at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. I started working as an interpreter as a way to earn an income while I was studying at the Sorbonne for my Master’s degree.”

Her gift for language also extends to poetry. “I’ve been writing poetry since I was ten. My first chapbooks were published between 2003 and 2005, and my first book, The Astonished Universe, was published by Red Hen Press in 2006.” Her new book, Dreaming My Animal Selves, was published by Salmon Publishing in Ireland in early 2013. “It’s a bilingual collection of poetry in English and French. It’s inspired by dreams, which play a primordial role in my life, and filled with animals, which appear in my dreams and are a constant in my life.”


While music, dance and language came into Cardona’s life quite naturally, acting seemed to have entered her world quite by accident. “When I was ten, the school decided to stop its regular curriculum and have an experimental programme for a week,” she says. “Out of the blue I picked drama!” However, she only had seven days to explore her previously hidden interest. “After the school resumed its academic schedule the drama bug was left dormant.”

However, it was soon to come back to life. “When my family moved to Paris we had subscriptions to the Comédie Française, the Opera and other theatres. I felt transformed after watching Lorenzaccio, Life is a Dream and so many other amazing plays. I felt that the life I wanted to live was through characters on stage.”

Cardona’s zeal for acting had been stirred but it would be a few years before she would be free to pursue her calling. First, she had to get through the French school system. “The French system has a very rigorous way of selecting the best students through maths. Even though I loved French literature and languages, at fourteen I specialised in maths, physics and chemistry because that was our system. I got into medical school at seventeen and my artistic endeavours were relegated to the background.”

It took a while, but she eventually gave in to her heart’s true desire. “After I left medical school two years later, I was able to reassess my life and focus on literature and theatre again.” It was at this point that she made the momentous decision to move to New York City and attend The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA).

Unlike many other actresses who have to spend years moonlighting at other jobs before getting their first break, Cardona’s talent was recognised fairly quickly and she began to receive offers. “I started performing in plays and recording voices for commercials, documentaries and books on tape and getting roles on TV and film. My first play was Wild Honey, by Anton Chekhov. My first TV roles were on One Life to Live, Another World and the well-known Law & Order.”

Hèlene Cardona
Photo by John Michael Ferrari

The leap to the big screen was next and Cardona had the chance to work on a number of feature films with exceptionally brilliant directors such as Lawrence Kasdan and Lasse Hallström. “I played Candy Heskin in his movie Mumford. Candy is a woman who is beaten by her husband and ends up leaving him. It was raw and emotionally charged. Kasdan is an extraordinary writer and director and the whole cast was amazing.”

She also recalls her time on the set of Chocolat with fondness. “I enjoyed playing Françoise “Fuffi” Drou in Chocolat because the character is so playful. The costumes and hair and make-up were gorgeous. The director Lasse Hallström, just like Kasdan, is one of the best directors in cinema and it was such a treat to work with him.”

Cardona recently worked on Megan Clare Johnson’s Stealing Roses with John Heard and Cindy Williams. “It’s a bittersweet comedy with a social theme. It just won the three tops awards at the Los Angeles Comedy Festival.”

She knows that she plays many roles, not just on the silver screen but in life as well. When asked which role resonates with her the most, she speaks at length about her rewarding experiences in connection to dance, her time as an interpreter and as a dream analyst. However, when it comes to acting, she simply says, “Acting is indescribable. I just love expressing myself that way.”

SHANTINI SUNTHARAJAH is a great Enid Blyton fan. She was inspired to become a writer after reading her mother’s early edition of The Famous Five: Five on a Treasure Island when she was nine. Life, however, had other plans for her, and she ended up an engineer, but the call of the written word proved too strong. Through circuitous and unexpected circumstances, she eventually became a journalist and then a freelance writer. She loves nothing more than to spend hours seeking out words that will perfectly convey what she wants to say. She lives in Kuala Lumpur.

Reproduced from the July-September 2013 issue of Quill magazine

Thursday, August 01, 2013

August 2013 Highlights

Novels
1. The Corpse Washer (trans. from the Arabic by Sinan Antoon) (Yale University Press, 2013) / Sinan Antoon
2. Longbourn (Doubleday, 2013) / Jo Baker
3. Lookaway, Lookaway (St. Martin’s Press, 2013) / Wilton Barnhardt
4. All the Land to Hold Us (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013) / Rick Bass
5. Going Home Again (Alfred A. Knopf/HarperCollins Canada, 2013) / Dennis Bock
6. Tumbledown (Graywolf Press, 2013) / Robert Boswell
7. The Luminaries (Granta/McClelland & Stewart, 2013) / Eleanor Catton
8. Paris Was the Place (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / Susan Conley
9. Worthless Men (Sceptre, 2013) / Andrew Cowan
10. Clare of the Sea Light (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / Edwidge Danticat

11. Sweet Thunder (Riverhead, 2013) / Ivan Doig
12. The Guts (Jonathan Cape, 2013) / Roddy Doyle
13. The Virgins (Tin House Books, 2013) / Pamela Erens
14. A Bird’s Eye (House of Anansi Press, 2013) / Cary Fagan
15. Fallen Land (Riverhead, 2013) / Patrick Flanery
16. Extraordinary (Patrick Crean Books, 2013) / David Gilmour
17. The White Princess (Simon & Schuster, 2013) / Philippa Gregory
18. Strange Weather in Tokyo (trans. from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell) (Portobello Books, 2013) / Hiromi Kawakami
19. The Daughters of Mars (Atria Books, 2013) / Thomas Keneally
20. The Gardener from Ochakov (trans. from the Russian by Amanda Love Darragh) (Harvill Secker, 2013) / Andrey Kurkov

21. A Marker to Measure Drift (Alfred A. Knopf/John Murray, 2013) / Alexander Maksik
22. The Infatuations (trans. from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa) (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / Javier Marías
23. After Her (Harper/William Morrow, 2013) / Joyce Maynard
24. The Good Lord Bird (Riverhead, 2013) / James McBride
25. Almost English (Mantle, 2013) / Charlotte Mendelson
26. The Orchard of Lost Souls (Simon & Schuster UK, 2013) / Nadifa Mohamed
27. The Road from Gap Creek (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013) / Robert Morgan
28. The Husband’s Secret (Penguin, 2013) / Liane Moriarty
29. The Son (trans. by Will Firth) (Istros Books, 2013) / Andrej Nikolaidis
30. Muse (Doubleday Canada, 2013) / Mary Novik

31. Snake Road (Chatto & Windus, 2013) / Sue Peebles
32. How the Light Gets In (Minotaur Books, 2013) / Louise Penny
33. The Siege (trans. from the Spanish by Frank Wynne) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) / Arturo Pérez-Reverte
34. Night Film (Random House, 2013) / Marisha Pessl
35. A Curse on Dostoevsky (trans. from the French by Polly McLean) (Chatto & Windus, 2013) / Atiq Rahimi
36. No Man’s Nightingale (Hutchinson, 2013) / Ruth Rendell
37. Helium (Bloomsbury USA, 2013) / Jaspreet Singh
38. Brewster (W.W. Norton, 2013) / Mark Slouka
39. Love and Lament (Other Press, 2013) / John Milliken Thompson
40. The Crooked Maid (Bloomsbury USA/Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013) / Dan Vyleta

41. Minister Without Portfolio (Penguin Canada, 2013) / Michael Winter
42. The Swan Book (Giramondo, 2013) / Alexis Wright
43. The Realm of Last Chances (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / Steve Yarbrough

First Novels
1. The Glass Ocean (The Penguin Press/Virago, 2013) / Lori Baker
2. Three Souls (HarperCollins Canada, 2013) / Janie Chang
3. The Ghost Bride (William Morrow/Hot Key Books, 2013) / Yangsze Choo
4. The Rathbones (Doubleday, 2013) / Janice Clark
5. Necessary Errors (Penguin Books, 2013) / Caleb Crain
6. A Naked Singularity (MacLehose Press, 2013) / Sergio De La Pava
7. It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris (Grove Press, 2013) / Patricia Engel
8. Queen’s Gambit (Simon & Schuster, 2013) / Elizabeth Fremantle
9. The Gravity of Birds (Simon & Schuster, 2013) / Tracy Guzeman
10. The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Sandstone Press, 2013) / Eve Harris

11. Burial Rites (Picador, 2013) / Hannah Kent
12. The Bone Season (Bloomsbury, 2013) / Samantha Shannon
13. The Golem and the Djinni (Blue Door, 2013) / Helene Wecker
14. Ballistics (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013) / D.W. Wilson
15. The People in the Trees (Doubleday, 2013) / Hanya Yanagihara
16. Snow Hunters (Simon & Schuster, 2013) / Paul Yoon

Stories
1. Archangel (W.W. Norton, 2013) / Andrea Barrett
2. The Color Master (Doubleday, 2013) / Aimee Bender
3. Amor and Psycho (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / Carolyn Cooke
4. The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien (eds. Neil Murphy and Keith Hopper) (Dalkey Archive Press, 2013) / Flann O’Brien
5. Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge (Little, Brown, 2013) / Peter Orner
6. Brief Encounters with the Enemy (The Dial Press, 2013) / Said Sayrafiezadeh
7. Battleborn (Granta, 2013) / Claire Vaye Watkins

Poetry
1. Imagining Alexandria: Poems in Memory of C.P. Cavafy (Harvill Secker, 2013) / Louis de Bernières
2. Her Birth (Carcanet Press/Northern House, 2013) / Rebecca Goss
3. Selected Poems (ed. Michael Longley) (Faber & Faber, 2013) / Robert Graves
4. The Water Stealer (Faber & Faber, 2013) / Maurice Riordan
5. The Forage House (Red Hen Press, 2013) / Tess Taylor
6. F (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) / Franz Wright

Nonfiction
1. Lawrence in Arabia: Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East (Doubleday, 2013) / Scott Anderson
2. The Sacred History: How Angels, Mystics and Higher Intelligence Made Our World (Quercus, 2013) / Jonathan Black
3. Telling Tales: Selected Writings, 1993-2013 (Union Books, 2013) / Amit Chaudhuri
4. Birds & People (photographs by David Tipling) (Jonathan Cape, 2013) / Mark Cocker
5. Four Fields (Jonathan Cape, 2013) / Tim Dee
6. The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution, 1945-1957 (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013) / Frank Dikötter
7. A History of Silence: A Memoir (Text Publishing, 2013) / Lloyd Jones
8. The Winter Sun Shines In: A Life of Masaoka Shiki (Columbia University Press, 2013) / Donald Keene
9. The Trip to Echo Spring: Why Writers Drink (Canongate Books, 2013) / Olivia Laing
10. The Novel: An Alternative History, 1600-1800 (Bloomsbury, 2013) / Steven Moore

11. Prosaics and Other Provocations: Empathy, Open Time, and the Novel (Academic Studies Press, 2013) / Gary Saul Morson
12. George Orwell: A Life in Letters (ed. Peter Davison) (Liveright, 2013) / George Orwell
13. Suitable Accommodations: An Autobiographical Story of Family Life: The Letters of J.F. Powers, 1942-1963 (ed. Katherine A. Powers) (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013) / J.F. Powers
14. The Making of Assisi: The Pope, the Franciscans and the Painting of the Basilica (Yale University Press, 2013) / Donal Cooper and Janet Robson
15. Black Milk: On Motherhood and Writing (trans. from the Turkish by Hande Zapsu) (Penguin, 2013) / Elif Shafak
16. O My America!: Six Women and Their Second Acts in a New World (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013) / Sara Wheeler