The Complexities Of Families

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Maureen Sun – The Sisters K

In her original, masterful, debut novel, Maureen Sun dissects the unfolding tragedy about sisters and family and the hostile undercurrents of love and hate keeping them together. After years of estrangement, Minah, Sarah, and Esther have been forced together again. Called to their father’s deathbed, the sisters must confront a man little changed by the fact of his mortality. Vicious and pathetic in equal measure, Eugene Kim wants one thing: to see which of his children will abject themselves for his favor— and more importantly, his fortune. From their childhood in California to the depths of a mid-Atlantic winter, the solitary sisters Kim must face a brutal past colliding with their present. Grasping at their broken bonds of sisterhood, they will do what is necessary to escape the tragedy of their circumstances—whatever the cost. For Minah, the eldest, the money would be recompense for their father’s cruelty. A practicing lawyer with an icy pragmatism, she dreams of a family of her own and sets to work on securing her inheritance. For Sarah, a gifted and embittered academic who wields her intelligence like a weapon, confronting her father again forces her to reckon with the desperation of her present life. It is left to the youngest— directionless and loving Esther— to care for their father in her lonely quest to do right by everyone. A fortune pales in comparison to the prospect of finally reuniting with her sisters. With a legacy of violence haunting their lives, the sisters dare to imagine a better future even as their father’s poison courses through their blood. Maureen Sun has reimagined Dostoevsky’s dark classic, The Brothers Karamazov complete with a vivid and visceral exploration of rage, shame, and the betrayals of intimacy.

Ellen Weinstein – Five Stories

“I am a third-generation resident of the Lower East Side in New York.” writes Ellen Weinstein “My grandparents and great-grandparents came to the Lower East Side as part of the Great Wave of Immigration from Eastern European in the early 1900s. I tried to imagine my grandparents and great grandparents crossing the Atlantic by boat from Russia to Ellis Island. I wondered about my neighbors and their journeys and what they left behind. Although I based the first girl in this story on my real grandmother, Jenny Epstein, the other characters are made up from many different people I learned about.” The acclaimed illustrator and author has created a vivid authentic picture book based on her intimate knowledge and real-life observations of the neighborhood she grew up in and the families from many culture who live there. Five Stories is a cross section of American history that celebrates the many diverse cultures that make up the USA. Ellen makes clear in our conversation that now more than ever, we all need to be determined to refute the ugly voices of hostility against peoples of different cultures.

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