The Past Never Sleeps

Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are partners in the Community Policing Section of the Canadian Police, theunquietdeada special division that handles cases that might affect minority communities. They are surprised when they are called to a beautiful lake-side home where a man appears to have simply fallen to his death.

As the case builds, Esa and Rachel realize there is nothing simple about this crime, or about the way we deal with the past. With flashbacks to Bosnia during genocide, this book is a deep look at revenge, forgiveness, community, and family.

Ausma Zehanat Khan has created complex characters and a gritty, multi-layered mystery that spans the globe and time. A wonderful debut, this the first in a series of three mysteries with Esa and Rachel. The third novel in this series will be available February 14, 2017.

Ausma graciously agreed to answer some questions for me here at Book Club Advisor.

You’ve mentioned this in other interviews, but do you mind briefly telling my readers about the inspiration for this book?

The Unquiet Dead arose out of research I had done for my dissertation on military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans. I’d studied the Bosnian genocide for many years, and I felt the tragedy of it was slipping away without any of its lessons being learned. I wanted to tell a story that reflected the criminality of the genocide, and the unimaginable loss. There’s a line in The Unquiet Dead: “how quickly the violent ideals of ultra-nationalism led to hate, how quickly hate to blood.” I think that’s a lesson for us now. Continue reading “The Past Never Sleeps”

The Drug of Amnesia

the-angel-of-history“AIDS was a river with no bed that ran soundlessly and inexorably through my life, flooded everything, drowned all I knew, soaked my soul, but then a soaking, a drenching, was not dying, and I swam, floated when I could, and I though I had triumphed, only to discover years later that the river’s persistence, its restlessness, trickled into tiny rivulets that reach every remote corner of my being…” p. 182 Continue reading “The Drug of Amnesia”

Fierce Friendship

myatibbsMya Tibbs is a nine-year-old full of sprit, which is good because it’s almost Spirit Week, and she and her popular best friend Naomi are ready to win the week full of competition.

But what happens when Mya and Naomi don’t get to be partners? Instead Mya is stuck with Mean Connie Tate, the biggest bully at her school. Will she sneak information to Naomi and her partner to help them win? Or will she learn there might be more to Connie Tate than meets the eye?

A touching, rollicking look at friendship in elementary school. Sometimes the person we think is being mean isn’t. And sometimes when we don’t intend to, we become the mean one. And what do you do then? Fast-paced with a satisfying ending, including someone getting lassoed in the hall, The Magnificent Mya Tibbs will leave you smiling and thinking. Mya’s creator, Crystal Allen, talks with me about Mya, friendship, and her own experiences in elementary school.

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Christine at Book Club Advisor: Thanks for talking with us today, Crystal! Mya Tibbs loves having Naomi as a new best friend. What did you know about Naomi when you began to write her?

Crystal Allen: I knew that Naomi was a beautiful, but bratty, nine-year-old girl.  The more she developed in my mind, the more I began to see her as a child who was the product of beauty pageants that emphasized outward beauty. Continue reading “Fierce Friendship”

Life in Four Directions

crazybraveJoy Harjo’s Crazy Brave is part history, part memoir, and part poetry. A recounting of a life from inside the soul that encompasses the way history impacts our lives at every turn.

Joy Harjo barely survived a rough childhood by running. Not running away, but finding a place where she was known. At an arts boarding high school she learned ways to express what her stepfather and life had told to be quiet and to bury. Turned on to the arts, her soul began to fly again. But even the sky has storms. Continue reading “Life in Four Directions”

My Family is Ruining My Life!

great-wall-of-lucy-wuAt least that’s what Lucy Wu thinks when her family springs the news on her, days from the beginning of sixth grade. Sixth grade was going to be perfect. Her older sister was leaving for college, meaning Lucy was going to get her own room! Basketball on weekends and a great best friend meant a great year-until her parents dropped the news. She would not be getting her own room, yet. Her grandmother had a sister in China who no one knew about. Now that sister is coming to stay with her family, in her room! Lucy uses her furniture to build a wall between her and her great-aunt’s side of the room. They can let her come visit, but Lucy isn’t going to make it easy. To make it worse, she may have to quit basketball so she can go to Chinese School on the weekends with the most annoying girl in school. Laugh and cry along with Lucy as she discovers that sometimes everything going wrong can lead to everything turning out right. A funny, lovely, candid take on life as a sixth grader, when nothing is in your control, and everything is a big deal.

Study Guide from Scholastic

Catch up with author Wendy Shang on her website

If you love Lucy, check out Wendy’s other great middle grade novel:

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Balancing on the Edge

eowyn-iveyEowyn Ivey’s new novel is a journey and adventure into the wilderness of Alaska and the depths of the human heart. When Sophie Forrester agrees to marry an army man in the 1800s she thinks she is going on his mapping expedition to Alaska with him. When she is told she will have to stay behind they are both devastated. Wife and husband will take separate journeys in an effort to explore the unknown while trying to find their way back to each other.

Sophie and Allen are introduced to us through their own journals and letters of descendants who want to make sure their story is preserved for history. The relationship between the relative and the museum curator, husband and wife, army captain and team, and Alaskan explorers and First Peoples are mixed together with historical excerpts from books, photographs, and artifact descriptions. This novel is a museum within two covers of a particular time and place, and the heartaches and struggles that transcend both. Continue reading “Balancing on the Edge”

Your child is not your own…

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“In English there was a word for every object. In Ojibwe there was a word for every action.” LaRose

What would you do if you accidentally killed a child? And not a stranger, not a family you would never see again, but the child of your friend, the child of your family.

A modern mutigenerational masterpiece from Louise Erdrich-Two families are torn apart by a horrible hunting accident. One family’s patriarch accidentally kills the son of his friend, next door neighbor and family by marriage. LaRose is the best friend of the little boy who was killed. His parents decide that to make things right, they have to give LaRose to the family who lost their child. Continue reading “Your child is not your own…”