Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, staff from Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins recommend “Who Is Vera Kelly?” “Making Friends with Death” and “Exit West.”
Who is Vera Kelly?
By Rosalie Knecht
Tin House Books
From the publisher: New York City, 1962. Vera Kelly is struggling to make rent and blend into the underground gay scene in Greenwich Village. She’s working night shifts at a radio stationwhen her quick wits, sharp tongue and technical skills get her noticed by a recruiter for the CIA. Next thing she knows she’s in Argentina, tasked with wiretapping a congressman and infiltrating a group of student activists in Buenos Aires. As Vera becomes more and more enmeshed with the young radicals, the fragile local government begins to split at the seams. When a betrayal leaves her stranded in the wake of a coup, Vera learns the Cold War makes for strange and unexpected bedfellows, and she’s forced to take extreme measures to save herself.
From Allison, Bookbuyer: A spy-turned-private detective noir series with a lesbian twist! Tons of fun, great narrative voice. Starts off with Vera as a CIA operative in Argentina. She gets in too deep with a bunch of young radicals planning on overthrowing the government and finds herself abandoned by the CIA after a coup.
Making Friends With Death
By Laura Pritchett
From the publisher: This light-hearted, irreverent exploration of the one thing that is certain in all lives, offers a look at all the uncertainty that precedes this final act. A compelling mix of practical how-to advice and personal narrative, this book encapsulates our greatest quest —to make peace with death.
From Sterling, Bookseller: An essential how-to guide for the final brushstroke in the artwork of life. Death is often viewed as a taboo subject, but as Laura alludes, talking about it won’t make it jump up and bite you. In fact, many of us are scared and confused about the things surrounding death like care arrangements and legal papers and not having access to death resources exacerbates this. With her comforting warmth and humor Pritchett collects for us her research and many people’s perspectives on death into an actionable work book.
By Mohsin Hamid
From the publisher: In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet — sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors — doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . .
From Heather, Bookseller: I’m sitting here at the ending once again almost at the brink of tears but with a warmed soul. What a fantastic, speculative novel about what it means to be unmoored in a world that insists on fictional borders. “Exit West” begins as a love story, but becomes bigger than the two main characters as we learn that mysterious doors are opening up around the world. Some doors become refugee portals, breaking our very constructions of what we call native and migrant. As war breaks out in their place of birth, Nadia and Saeed decide to take a chance on one of those doors. A must read for anyone looking for hope right now.