As we begin another academic year and say goodbye to summer, Rachel Wachman ’24, a double major in English and French from Massachusetts, takes over the review of books written by alumni and offers a selection for those looking for their next great read. . The volumes, submitted by the alumni authors, are sent to the Olin Library as gifts to the University’s collection and made available to the Wesleyan community.
steve Almond ’88, all the secrets of the world (Zando, 2022)
When Lorena Saenz and Jenny Stallworth, two girls from very different backgrounds, are paired up by their teacher for a school science fair project, a series of events unfolds that will change the lives of the girls and their families. As the girls’ unlikely friendship develops, Lorena, who shares a small apartment with her immigrant mother on the outskirts of the district, finds herself drawn into Jenny’s bright suburban world and her family. But the disappearance of Jenny’s father and the subsequent guilt of Lorena’s older brother shatter the illusion of tranquility that hangs over Jenny’s seemingly perfect family.
Almond’s final novel, set in 1981 Sacramento, explores the corrupting influence of money, politics and the media, as well as exposing the brokenness of the criminal justice system. Lorena embarks on a search for the truth in the midst of all the lies and abuses of power that surround her, especially those of the Stallworth family. Now being adapted into a limited series by 20th TV, this highly researched social novel grips readers to the end, offering an intricate and critical look at American social, racial, and class structures during Reagan’s rise.
Steve Almond ’88 is a short story writer and the author of a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction, including William Stoner and the battle for the inner lifeY bad stories. Almond also co-hosted the New York Times podcast dear sugars for four years and has published his own DIY books.
Maya Sonenberg ’82, P’25, Bad mothers, bad daughters (Notre Dame Press, 2022)
Sonenberg’s impressive collection of 23 short stories follows the women and their family ties, exploring the question, “What happens when the urge to get rid of your family outweighs the desire to love them?” In this winner of the Richard Sullivan Award for Short Fiction, mothers and daughters navigate their obligations to their families and their explorations of themselves amid societal constraints and across multiple generations.
Bad mothers, bad daughters She draws inspiration from fairy tales, realism, and experimental forms that include scholarly papers, newspaper articles, and letters adapted by Sonenberg into the fictions she weaves. These stories feed on raw emotions and show the often complicated forms that love can take. From a grown daughter abandoning her aging mother to a mother who finds herself loving one child more than the others, the characters in this collection provide a startlingly truthful take on the inherent messiness of life and the rarely discussed complexities of life. to be a woman. From parent-child relationships to sibling connections to marital dynamics, this book’s insightful prose doesn’t shy away from describing life as it can sometimes be.
Maya Sonenberg ’82, P’25 is a Professor of English in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Washington. Your collection of stories maps won the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature. She also wrote the collection. Voices of the Blue Hotelin addition to other works of fiction and non-fiction that have been published in fairy tale review, web conjunctionsand many other places.
Paul Vidich ’72, P’00, ’03, The Matchmaker: A Spy in Berlin (Pegasus Crime, 2022)
In 1989 Berlin, American translator Anne Simpson believes her husband is just another East Berlin man until he disappears and is believed to be dead. Anne is approached by the CIA and West German intelligence, who learns that her husband was a spy for Matchmaker, an East German counterintelligence officer who runs a network of Stasi “Romeo agents” who marry women. in West Berlin as a cover. The CIA needs Anne to help them find the Matchmaker, but the Berlin Wall is about to fall and chaos will consume Germany.
the matchmaker, Vidich’s fifth novel, takes readers on a chilling Cold War quest that forces Anne to question everything she knows about her world and her husband, who may not be dead after all. Named one of the most anticipated crime novels of 2022 by CrimeReads, The Matchmaker weaves a web of intrigue intertwined with history through one woman’s determination to uncover the truth. Readers reading this book won’t be able to put it down, with Vidich’s carefully twisted spy story captivating them to the last word.
Paul Vidich ’72, P’00, ’03 is the author of five crime novels. Before switching careers to writing, he worked in the media and music industries. Now, Vidich lives in lower Manhattan. In addition to writing mysteries, he serves on the boards of several arts foundations, including Poets & Writers.