Indie Book Radar

Here’s what Alternating Current staffers have read lately.

In Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe, author Lori Jakiela gives the reader a memoir unlike any other. At once a litany and a long-form poem, Belief tells the story of the author’s search for connection to a distant past, all the while swirling around the immediate and gritty present of parenthood and, simply, the weight of life itself. With sharp insight and a delicate, weblike narrative, author Jakiela has created a singular memoir of adoption, mothers, and the ties of family.

Andreas Morgner’s Kinyamaswa is an epic poem in detail, closely following a handful of characters while telling a story that is simultaneously personal and broad, buried in the aftermath of the Rwandan Genocide. In much the same way, Morgner treads a line between myth and reality, creating a story that echoes throughout human experience by occupying an archetypal space. Chilling yet accessible, and eerily familiar, Kinyamaswa is a story of the depths and heights of humanity.

Iris Moody is a bright sixteen-year old, but her world is crumbling down around her. With the death of her mother comes an absentee father, and Iris has begun to close herself off to everyone else. When she’s called out for a misunderstood threat against her English teacher, Iris’ troubles multiply, and she is sentenced to community service at a dog rehabilitation shelter. There she finds Roman, the three-legged pit bull, and with lively prose, author Jennifer Caloyeras’ young-adult novel, Strays, brings Iris and Roman together, and shows Iris that he’s not the only one who needs a little help.

Annie Dawid’s sprawling, far-reaching exploration of Jewish history in the past century, And Darkness Was under His Feet, follows the Solomon family and their descendants through country after country, time after time, in a series of rich vignettes. These vignettes span some of the most important moments in modern history. Despite these distances, Dawid never loses sight of her characters, even when they, themselves, appear to have lost their way, creating a broad narrative of warmth and scope.

A book for our time, Steve Karas’ Kinda Sorta American Dream invites the reader to explore the condition of America, and its eponymous dream, from all walks of life. This collection of stories vividly captures the struggle of people who are sold the shining city, but find the reality of present-day America to be anything but a heavenly ideal. Imaginative, empathic, and powerful, Karas has written an important collection, and added his wryly-critical voice to the national conversation.

Originally published on 11/4/15.