Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Indie Book Buzz: Oneworld Publications

It's the return of the Indie Book Buzz here at TNBBC. Over the next few weeks, we will be inviting members of the small press publishing houses to share which of their upcoming releases they are most excited about!

This week's picks come from Missi Smith, 
Assistant Publicist at 45th Parallel Communications.

What is it about? David Harris-Gershon is an American Jewish writer who moved to Jerusalem with his wife Jamie to attend Hebrew University.   On July 31, 2002, Jamie and a friend were studying in a cafeteria when, in an instant, their lives were torn apart by a Hamas terrorist who set off a backpack bomb in the building.  Jamie’s friends were killed and her own injuries were near-fatal.  David rushed to the hospital to be by her side and for months their lives revolved around her recovery.  Slowly her wounds healed, the bomber was convicted and jailed, and eventually David and his wife moved back to the States and started a family. But David was still haunted by fear and anxiety.  In his memoir, David unfolds the psychological journey on which he embarked in order to heal his own emotional wounds.  He describes discovering the news that, upon capture, the Hamas bomber expressed genuine remorse for his crime.  This information rocks the ground beneath David’s feet. His subsequent quest for resolution and reconciliation lead him back to Jerusalem on a journey to meet the terrorist in a desperate effort to understand his enemy.

Why am I excited to be publishing it?  Good memoir is a literary account of those who have overcome great obstacles or conflicts, woven into an engaging story that resonates with readers. Oneworld Publications strives to produce books that are read by the intellectually curious all around the world. What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?  is an excellent fit for our list because it presents the Palestinian-Israeli conflict through the lens of one man’s all-too-human experience as the collateral damage of this complicated conflict. It’s a story of family and healing that reflects on the world-wide reality of terrorism in a very personal narrative.  David’s memoir focuses the big picture of the Israeli – Palestinian struggles on individual fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers who are working to put shattered lives back together peacefully.  The book is also a wider testament to the author’s experience of psychological trauma and healing, and a powerful call for reconciliation despite all odds.

What the River Washed Away by Muriel Mharie Macloed(Releases August 2013)

What is it about?   This novel centers around Arletta, a young black girl growing up in Jim Crow-era Louisiana.  Arletta’s voodoo-practicing mother, Mambo, gallivants about town with suitors rather than caring for Arletta in their sharecropper shack.  Since her Pappy died, Arletta spends most days home alone in the shack.  Two white men soon take notice of her vulnerability.  They brutally rape Arletta many times and threaten her with lynching if she doesn’t keep the horrible secret of her abuse. Eventually she finds the courage to violently strike back, never to see the men again, but she still maintains her silence. Then, many years later, Arletta learns the men have victimized another young girl. She calls upon her mother and her voodoo arts, and together Arletta and Mambo seek final revenge.

Why am I excited to be publishing it?  Macleod’s imagery transports readers to another time and place, and she beautifully navigates the challenge of writing dialect for characters that come alive in her descriptions.  Following the tradition of Beloved, the book covers substantial themes from American history while also covering universal themes of human spirit.  The topics of racial inequality in American history and pedophilia can easily drag a narrative down, yet What the River Washed Away is marked by transcendence and an uplifting tone of tenacity and survival.  Arletta and Mambo, as well as the characters around them, embark on a dynamic journey of growth and learning.  A remarkable, modern feminist narrative, What the River Washed Away is ideal for heated book club discussions and for readers who seek out stories inspired by real-life events.

Beacons edited by Gregory Norminton(Releases August 2013)

What is it about? Beacons is a series of fictional short stories written by a sensational lineup of authors in response to the climate crisis our planet faces.  Authors include Joanne Harris, AL Kennedy, Alasdair Gray, and Toby Litt, to name a few. Some of the stories are satire, some cautionary tales, and some are tragic realism.  All of them offer a unique response to a global problem.  Fans of Atwood, Kingsolver, and the Transmetropolitan graphic novels will all find something to love in this collection.

Why am I excited about publishing it?  The climate crisis is still an emerging theme in contemporary literature and few writers have dealt with it in this manner.  The main theme of this book is most often shrouded in overwhelming doom and gloom, yet each story in Beacons is touched by hopeful optimism.  The stories contain characters of strong human spirit and adaptability.  Beacons is not an apocalyptic hell and brimstone imagining of our future or that of our children.  The stories are human, touching, and resilient.  This book important because, as Norminton explains in his intro:
“We have a collective duty to imagine what we fear to look at, for in looking away we fail, not only to avert the worst for our children, but also to create the happier and more just society in which we should wish them to live.”


Missi Smith is an Assistant Publicist at 45th Parallel Communications, the publicity and marketing firm representing Oneworld Publications.

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