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The Barcelona Brothers

by John Cullen Carlos Zanon

A gritty noir set in Barcelona's savage underbelly.Epi Dalmau is a desperate man. Early one morning, he carries a duffle bag into a dingy bar in a rough neighborhood of Barcelona. Four other people are in the bar: his brother Alex, his good friend Tanveer, the bartender, and a Pakistani man who wandered in to use the restroom. Epi grabs a hammer out of his duffle bag and attacks Tanveer. After a brief struggle and a couple of blows, Tanveer lies dead on the floor and Epi flees the bar.Alex and the bartender plan to find and protect Epi, while blaming the murder on the unfortunate Pakistani man, who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Meanwhile, Epi is hunting for Tiffany, the woman of his dreams and the reason behind the murder. What he'll do when he finds her, and what drove him to brutal violence are the subjects of Carlos Zanón's gritty, unflinching novel, set in a city tourists never see.The Barcelona Brothers is a hard look at what people are capable of when they have no other options, and a portrait of a modern, multicultural Barcelona.

A Distant Father

by John Cullen Antonio Skarmeta

From the prize-winning Chilean novelist Antonio Skármeta, author of Il Postino, comes this soulful novella about a son and his estranged fatherJacques is a schoolteacher in a small Chilean village, and a French translator for the local paper. He owes his passion for the French language to his Parisian father, Pierre, who, one year before, abruptly returned to France without a word of explanation. Jacques and his mother's sense of abandonment is made more acute by their isolation in this small community where few read or think. While Jacques finds distraction in a crush on his student's older sister, his preoccupation with his father's disappearance continues to haunt him. But there is often more to a story than the torment it causes. This one is about forgiveness and second chances.

Don't Move

by John Cullen Margaret Mazzantini

Called to the hospital when his fifteen-year-old daughter, Angela, is injured in a potentially fatal accident, a prominent surgeon sits and waits, silently confessing the affair he had the year Angela was born. As Timoteo's tale begins, he's driving to the beach house where his beautiful, accomplished wife, Elsa, is waiting. Car trouble forces him to make a detour into a dingy suburb, where he meets Italia-unattractive, unpolished, working-class-who awakens a part of him he scarcely recognizes. Disenchanted with his stable life, he seizes the chance to act without consequences, and their savage first encounter spirals into an inexplicable obsession. Returning again and again to Italia's dim hovel, he finds himself faced with a choice: a life of passion with Italia, or a life of comfort and predictability with Elsa. As Angela's life hangs in the balance, Timoteo's own life flashes before his eyes, this time seen through the lens of the one time he truly lived.From the Trade Paperback edition. "Suddenly, driven by an absurd rebellious impulse, you look for the bones of the man you would have liked to be," Timoteo explains to his unconscious daughter, as if asking forgiveness for preferring the passionate life he glimpsed so briefly. In vivid, intense, masterful prose, Margaret Mazzantini has crafted a tale that electrifies from start to finish, drawing us deep down into the darkness of primal passion.

The Elimination: A Survivor of the Khmer Rouge Confronts His Past and the Commandant of the Killing Fields

by John Cullen Christophe Bataille Rithy Panh

From the internationally acclaimed director of S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine, a survivor's autobiography that confronts the evils of the Khmer Rouge dictatorship.Rithy Panh was only thirteen years old when the Khmer Rouge expelled his family from Phnom Penh in 1975. In the months and years that followed, his entire family was executed, starved, or worked to death. Thirty years later, after having become a respected filmmaker, Rithy Panh decides to question one of the men principally responsible for the genocide, Comrade Duch, who's neither an ordinary person nor a demon--he's an educated organizer, a slaughterer who talks, forgets, lies, explains, and works on his legacy. This confrontation unfolds into an exceptional narrative of human history and an examination of the nature of evil. The Elimination stands among the essential works that document the immense tragedies of the twentieth century, with Primo Levi's If This Is a Man and Elie Wiesel's Night.

The Investigation

by Philippe Claudel John Cullen

A wild, Kafka-esque romp through a dystopian landscape, probing thedarkly comic nature of the human condition. The Investigator is a man quite like any other. He is balding, of medium build, dresses conservatively--in short, he is unremarkable in every way. He has been assigned to conduct an Investigation of a series of suicides (twenty-two in the past eighteen months) that have taken place at the Enterprise, a huge, sprawling complex located in an unnamed Town. The Investigator's train is delayed, and when he finally arrives, there's no one to pick him up at the station. It is alternating rain and snow, it's getting late, and there are no taxis to be seen. Off sets the Investigator, alone, into the night, unsure quite how to proceed. So begins the Investigator's series of increasingly frustrating attempts to fulfill his task. In the course of hours of wandering looking for the entrance to The Enterprise, he bumps into a stranger hurrying past and spills open his luggage, soaking his clothes. When he finally reaches the Enterprise, he is told he does not posses the proper authorization documents to enter after regular hours. Asking for directions to a hotel, he is informed "We're not the Tourist Office," and must set off to find one himself. Time and time again, regulations hamstring him, street layouts befuddle him, and all the while he senses someone watching him, recording his every movement. In a highly original work that is both absorbing and fascinating, Claudel undertakes a sweeping critique of the contemporary world through a variety of modes. Like Kafka, Beckett, and Huxley, he has crafted a dark fable that evokes the absurdity and alienation of existence with piercing intelligence and considerable humor.

Medea

by John Cullen Christa Wolf

Medea is among the most notorious women in the canon of Greek tragedy: a woman scorned who sacrifices her own children to her jealous rage. In her gripping new novel, Christa Wolf explodes this myth, revealing a fiercely independent woman ensnared in a brutal political battle. Medea, driven by her conscience to leave her corrupt homeland, arrives in Corinth with her husband, the hero Jason. He is welcomed, but she is branded the outsider-and then she discovers the appalling secret behind the king's claim to power. Unwilling to ignore the horrifying truth about the state, she becomes a threat to the king and his ruthless advisors; abandoned by Jason and made a public scapegoat, she is reviled as a witch and a murderess. Long a sharp-eyed political observer, Christa Wolf transforms this ancient tale into a startlingly relevant commentary on our times. Possessed of the enduring truths so treasured in the classics, and yet with a thoroughly contemporary spin, her Medea is a stunningly perceptive and probingly honest work of fiction. With an Introduction by Margaret Atwood. Translated from the German by John Cullen.

The Swallows of Kabul

by Yasmina Khadra John Cullen

Set in Kabul under the rule of the Taliban, this extraordinary novel takes readers into the lives of two couples: Mohsen, who comes from a family of wealthy shopkeepers whom the Taliban has destroyed; Zunaira, his wife, exceedingly beautiful, who was once a brilliant teacher and is now no longer allowed to leave her home without an escort or covering her face. Intersecting their world is Atiq, a prison keeper, a man who has sincerely adopted the Taliban ideology and struggles to keep his faith, and his wife, Musarrat, who once rescued Atiq and is now dying of sickness and despair. Desperate, exhausted Mohsen wanders through Kabul when he is surrounded by a crowd about to stone an adulterous woman. Numbed by the hysterical atmosphere and drawn into their rage, he too throws stones at the face of the condemned woman buried up to her waist. With this gesture the lives of all four protagonists move toward their destinies.The Swallows of Kabul is a dazzling novel written with compassion and exquisite detail by one of the most lucid writers about the mentality of Islamic fundamentalists and the complexities of the Muslim world. Yasmina Khadra brings readers into the hot, dusty streets of Kabul and offers them an unflinching but compassionate insight into a society that violence and hypocrisy have brought to the edge of despair.From the Trade Paperback edition.

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