The year wrapped on a high note for Restless Books, with year-end accolades from major media outlets ranging from The Wall Street Journal to NPR to VICE for books including György Spiró's Captivity, Alejandro Jodorowsky's Where the Bird Sings Best, and Yoss's A Planet for Rent: all excellent choices for a new year of reading! Read on for review excerpts and links.
The Wall Street Journal: The Best Books of 2015
“Captivity is a complex and fast-paced tale of Jewish life in the early first century, a sort of sword-and-sandals saga as reimagined by Henry Roth. The narrative follows Uri from Rome to Jerusalem and back, from prospectless dreamer to political operative to pogrom survivor—who along the way also happens to dine with Herod Antipas and Pontius Pilate and get thrown into a cell with a certain Galilean rabble-rouser. Hungarian György Spiró’s deft combination of philosophical inquiry and page-turning brio should overcome that oft-mentioned American timidity toward books in translation.”
NPR: The Best Books of 2015
“Where the Bird Sings Best is Alejandro Jodorowsky's brilliant, mad and unpredictable semi-autobiographical novel. Translated by Alfred MacAdam, this multigenerational chronicle introduces a host of memorable characters, from a dwarf prostitute and a floating ghost-Rabbi to a lion tamer who eats raw meat and teaches his beasts to jump through flaming hoops. Fantastical elements aside, Where the Bird Sings Best is a fiercely original immigration tale that culminates in the author's birth in Chile in 1929 — a complicated time in that nation's history. Combine that with poetry, tarot and Jewish mysticism and you have a genius's surreal vision brought to life.”
NPR: The Best Books of 2015
“A Planet for Rent is the English-language debut of Yoss, one of Cuba's most lauded writers of science fiction. Translated by David Frye, these linked stories craft a picture of a dystopian future: Aliens called xenoids have invaded planet Earth, and people are looking to flee the economically and socially bankrupt remains of human civilization. Yoss' smart and entertaining novel tackles themes like prostitution, immigration and political corruption. Ultimately, it serves as an empathetic yet impassioned metaphor for modern-day Cuba, where the struggle for power has complicated every facet of society.”
VICE: 2015 Was the Year the Literary Versus Genre War Ended
"This hilarious and imaginative novel by Cuba's premiere science-fiction writer gets my vote for most overlooked novel of the year. Yoss's book imagines a world where Earth is run as a tourist destination by capitalist aliens who have little regard for the planet or its inhabitants. A Planet for Rent is a perfect SF satire for our era of massive inequality and seemingly unchecked environmental destruction."