Sanjena Sathian is a 2019 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She has worked as a reporter in Mumbai and San Francisco, with nonfiction bylines for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Food & Wine, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more.
Genres: Literary Fiction
Sanjena Sathian recommends
"Michelle Huneven's Search is immersive, inviting, occasionally wry, and often warm. It's a front row seat to a juicy in-fight that's all too familiar to anyone who's ever tried to get something done by committee. Huneven generously portrays the emotional questing that brings people into spiritual communities while also chronicling the rivalry, pettiness, and basic human failings that manifest in those communities. The narrator of Search reflects that ministry--especially for the secular--is about asking, 'How do we live in this world?', and this novel suggests many possible answers, as it touches on friendships, food, charisma, gossip, the notion of home, and the challenge of making all those things meaningful."
Keya Das's Second Act (2022)
"Sopan Deb's Keya Das's Second Act is full of heart. It's a sincere reflection on love, grief, forgiveness, blood family, and chosen family. This is a novel of real tragedy, but it's also imbued with a persistent hope. What begins as a story of regret becomes one of faith in other people, and in narrative itself. The book ultimately takes joy in the many ways we reinvent ourselves -- a self destructive drummer becomes a devoted boyfriend; a cold father takes up therapy and improv; and a community tries to move forward."
All This Could Be Different (2022)
Sarah Thankam Mathews
"Sarah Thankam Mathews' All This Could Be Different is an exquisite debut. Mathews' is a completely original voice that is, by turns, fierce, witty, musical, poignant, and, yes, deeply sexy. Simultaneously a tender portrait of chosen family, a stunningly rendered queer romance, and a keen reflection on work in a monstrous economy, this novel also thrums with a persistent, private hope for another, better world. It is the kind of book one should read not only to be entertained or impressed, but also to feel less alone."
American Fever (2022)
Dur e Aziz Amna
"American Fever is a fresh, fierce bildungsroman - a story of homesickness and adolescent ache, not to mention a biting meta-commentary on what we expect from immigrant narratives. It's a relief to witness America as Hira does, seeing it clearly as an absurd, flawed nation that is all too often, as Hira says, a concept on whose behalf immigrants are unreasonably asked to testify."
A Map for the Missing (2022)
Belinda Huijuan Tang
"Belinda Huijuan Tang has delivered a polymathic, ambitious, and assured debut. All at once, A Map for the Missing manages to be a haunting intergenerational mystery, a poetic rumination on loss, and an epic tale of love disappeared and rediscovered. With propulsive yet patient prose, Tang nimbly examines the way grand historical tides converge with small turns of chance to add up to a life. This novel invites us to think anew about language, education, regret, migration, and the myriad ways political change-winds upend our best-laid plans. A Map for the Missing does not read like a first novel - it's a mature and wise feat of realism from a writer already in total control of her craft."
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