Through riveting stories of identity and struggle, these thrilling new books will transport you to places beyond San Francisco.
The Prophets is Robert Jones Jr.’s debut novel. Taking place on a plantation in Mississippi during the late 18th century, Jones’ novel details the illicit relationship between two enslaved men, Isaiah and Samuel. The romance between the two characters and the events that follow deem to explain history’s rocky past with Black LGBTQ issues, the Christian church and precolonial African slavery. The book proves love’s power and the deeply felt dejected history of the country. Alexander Book Company, 50 Second St., alexanderbook.com
George Saunders takes readers through a series of seven short stories in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life. Saunders’ familiarity with these stories comes from his teaching them at Syracuse University over the past 20 years. With short stories by Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gogol and Turgenev, Saunders analyzes fiction and honestly and approachably explains the value of fiction and its power over people’s beliefs. City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Ave., citylights.com
Aftershocks: Dispatches From the Frontlines of Identity chronicles the turbulent life of the author Nadia Owusu. The memoir takes the reader through Owusu’s childhood when she and her sister were abandoned by their mother in Tanzania to losing their father as young teenagers. Living in constant unbelonging, Owusu’s identity is shaky, and she details the struggles over constant moving, new languages, six homes and lack of family. The nonlinear writing is intimate, intense and examines Owusu’s fragmented coming-of-age story. BookShop West Portal, 80 W. Portal Ave., bookshopwestportal.com
Award-winning author Michael S. Malone investigates the long history between San Diego and Tijuana in his new book El Tercer País: San Diego & Tijuana, Two Countries, Two Cities, One Community. The book takes a deep dive into the lives of individuals who go across the border—legally—between these two cities for work, education and just to visit the other side. Malone’s book depicts the staggering differences between the peaceful communities of the two cities versus the exploitative drug and immigration wars going on around the border. siliconvalleypress.net
Photography by: FROM TOP: THE PROPHETS AND GEORGE SAUNDERS COVERS COURTESY OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE; AFTERSHOCKS COVER COURTESY OF SIMON & SCHUSTER; EL TERCER PAÍS COVER COURTESY OF SILICON VALLEY PRESS