“If you want to get at the molten heart of contemporary fiction, Abani is the starting point.” —Dave Eggers
With prose as visceral and gritty as the desert landscape, The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin) (On-sale: January 7, 2014), the third novel from PEN/Hemingway award-winner Chris Abani, flashes an unwavering light into the dark seam of Sin City’s ever-present past. At the core of this propulsive literary thriller are Fire and Water, the deformed conjoined twins who are members of a sideshow called the Carnival of Lost Souls, and Salazar, the brutish detective trying to solve a gruesome spate of murders. The New York Times Book Review called Abani “an ambitious writer with an original perspective,” and here, the author undoubtedly lives up to the praise. Imbued with reverence, mythical storytelling, and striking compassion for its sideshow characters, The Secret History of Las Vegas will bruise you on one page and heal you on the next.
It’s Halloween night in Las Vegas when detective Salazar encounters a set of conjoined twins wading in Lake Meade, who upon questioning can’t explain the drum of blood near their pickup. Positive he’s apprehended the killers responsible for a series of murders of Las Vegas’s homeless—which has haunted him for years—Salazar enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. But unknown to Salazar, Singh has been conducting a series of violent experiments on human behavior at a local institute, linking him to the killings.
Over the course of three days, as Singh simultaneously tries to psychoanalyze the twins and ward off Salazar, the implications of his study grow darker and it becomes clear that he has his own demons to reckon with. Endlessly distressed by his betrayal of loved ones back home during the apartheid, he seeks solace in the love of Asia, a prostitute with hopes of escaping that life. But Sunil’s own troubled past is hard on his heels in the form of a would-be assassin.
Chris Abani is the acclaimed author of GraceLand and The Virgin of Flames. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Hemingway/PEN Prize, the PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the Hurston Wright Award, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship, among many honors. Born in Nigeria, he is currently a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University. He lives in Chicago.
Out of the barren desert, Chris Abani has conjured a garish world where the lines of good and evil are blurred together in the dirt—a world whose “good guys” are more haunted and lost than the outcasts they chase. Suspenseful until its final pages, The Secret History of Las Vegas is arguably Abani’s most accomplished work to date. ~~~ At turns heartbreaking, uplifting, fiercely romantic, and riotously funny, Queen of America tells the unforgettable story of a young woman coming of age and finding her place in a new world. Beginning where Luis Alberto Urrea's bestselling The Hummingbird's Daughter left off, Queen of America finds young Teresita Urrea, beloved healer and "Saint of Cabora," with her father in 1892 Arizona. But, besieged by pilgrims in desperate need of her healing powers, and pursued by assassins, she has no choice but to flee the borderlands and embark on an extraordinary journey into the heart of turn-of-the-century America.
Teresita's passage will take her to New York, San Francisco, and St. Louis, where she will encounter European royalty, Cuban poets, beauty queens, anxious immigrants and grand tycoons-and, among them, a man who will force Teresita to finally ask herself the ultimate question: is a saint allowed to fall in love?
Luis Alberto Urrea is the author of, among other books, The Devil's Highway, The Hummingbird's Daughter, and Into the Beautiful North. Winner of a Lannan Literary Award and Christopher Award, he is also the recipient of an American Book Award, the Kiriyama Prize, the National Hispanic Cultural Center's Literary Award, a Western States Book Award, a Colorado Book Award, an Edgar Award and a citation of excellence from the American Library Association. He is a member of the Latino Literary Hall of Fame.
"A gritty, bold, and much-anticipated sequel to The Hummingbird's Daughter... Fiercely romantic and at times heartbreaking but also full of humor, Urrea's latest novel blends fairy tale, Western adventure, folk tale, and historical drama. Fans of Hummingbird and readers new to Urrea's work will surely enjoy this magnificent, epic novel." —Library Journal
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