A HEAVEN OF THEIR CHOOSING, stories by Joann Smith
(September 22, 2021)
A widow plans her husband’s funeral feeling as much resentment towards him as grief. A mother believes her young son has the DNA of a long-dead ex-boyfriend. A woman becomes obsessed with a drifter who stands in the same spot every day in her neighborhood. A couple grieving a series of miscarriages set out to adopt in China, only to get pregnant again.
In thirteen stories that explore the complexities and messiness of faith, marriage, illness, and grief, Joann Smith’s A Heaven of Their Choosing is a wise debut collection for fans of Grace Paley or Alice Munro.
Joann Smith has published stories in many literary journals. Her work has been anthologized and selected as notable stories of the year by Best American Short Stories. She lives and writes in the Bronx and is most drawn to characters who find the extraordinary in their ordinary lives.
BORDER LESS, a novel by Namrata Poddar
Dia Mittal is an airline call center agent in Mumbai searching for a new life. When her search takes her to America, Dia’s journey into selfhood foregrounds the experiences and perspectives of a transnational brown community of South Asian descent across the class spectrum.
As the book follows Dia’s migration via call center agents, travel agents, immigrant maids, fashion designers, blue- and white-collar workers in the hospitality industry, junior and senior artists in Bollywood, hustling single mothers, academics, tourists in the Third World, and refugees displaced by military superpowers, among others, they negotiate different life roles and power struggles that are mediated by race, class, gender, nationality, age, and place.
In the novel’s staccato, fragmented form, full of wordplay, Border Less questions the “mainstream” Western novel and its assumptions of good storytelling.
Border Less was a finalist for The Feminist Press’s Louise Meriwether First Book Prize. Chapters from the novel won the Short Story Contest organized by 14th International Conference on the Short Story in English, judged by Bharati Mukherjee and Clark Blaise; the New Asian Writing Prize; and appeared in The Best Asian Short Stories anthology. The opening chapter, in a slightly different form, was published in The Kenyon Review.