Annal: 2006 Kiriyama Prize for Fiction

Results of the Kiriyama Prize in the year 2006.

Book:The Hummingbird's Daughter

The Hummingbird's Daughter: A Novel

Luis Alberto Urrea

Teresita is not an ordinary girl. Born of an illiterate, poor Indian mother, she knows little about her past or her future. She has no idea that her father is Don Tomas Urrea, the wild and rich owner of a vast ranch in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. She has no idea that Huila, the elderly healer who takes Teresita under her wing, knows secrets about her destiny. And she has no idea that soon all of Mexico will rise in revolution, crying out her name.

When Teresita is but a teenager, learning from Huila the way plants can cure the sick and prayer can move the earth, she discovers an even greater gift: she has the power to heal. Her touch, like warm honey, melts pain and suffering. But such a gift can be a burden, too. Before long, the Urrea ranch is crowded with pilgrims and with agents of a Mexican government wary of anything that might threaten its power. …[more]

Book:The Hungry Tide

The Hungry Tide: A Novel

Amitav Ghosh

The Hungry Tide is a very contemporary story of adventure and unlikely love, identity and history, set in one of the most fascinating regions on the earth. Off the easternmost coast of India, in the Bay of Bengal, lies the immense labyrinth of tiny islands known as the Sundarbans. For settlers here, life is extremely precarious. Attacks by deadly tigers are common. Unrest and eviction are constant threats. Without warning, at any time, tidal floods rise and surge over the land, leaving devastation in their wake.

In this place of vengeful beauty, the lives of three people from different worlds collide. Piya Roy is a young marine biologist, of Indian descent but stubbornly American, in search of a rare, endangered river dolphin. Her journey begins with a disaster, when she is thrown from a boat into crocodile-infested waters. Rescue comes in the form of a young, illiterate fisherman, Fokir.…[more]

Book:The Lizard Cage

The Lizard Cage: A Novel

Karen Connelly

The much-anticipated debut novel from the remarkable Karen Connelly, award-winning poet and non-fiction writer, is a hymn to human resilience, love and humour — a potent act of empathy and witness.

Inside his solitary confinement cell, Teza, who once electrified the people of Burma with his protest songs against the dictatorship, now applies his acute intelligence and Buddhist patience to finding meaning in the interminable days. Arrested by the Burmese secret police, cut off from his family for the first seven years of a twenty-year sentence, Teza painstakingly unrolls the newspaper filters of his rationed cheroots to seek news of the outside world.

But even in isolation, he has a profound influence on the people around him. His integrity and humour inspire the conscience-ridden senior jailer to radical change. His very existence challenges the brutal authority of the junior jailer, perversely…[more]

Book:A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories

Yiyun Li

Brilliant and original, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers introduces a remarkable new writer whose breathtaking stories are set in China and among Chinese Americans in the United States. In this rich, astonishing collection, Yiyun Li illuminates how mythology, politics, history, and culture intersect with personality to create fate. From the bustling heart of Beijing, to a fast-food restaurant in Chicago, to the barren expanse of Inner Mongolia, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers reveals worlds both foreign and familiar, with heartbreaking honesty and in beautiful prose.

“Immortality,” winner of The Paris Review’s Plimpton Prize for new writers, tells the story of a young man who bears a striking resemblance to a dictator and so finds a calling to immortality. In “The Princess of Nebraska,” a man and a woman who were both in love with a young actor in China meet again in America and try to reconcile the lost love with their new lives. …[more]

Book:The Train to Lo Wu

The Train to Lo Wu: Stories

Jess Row

The characters in Jess Row’s remarkable fiction inhabit “a city that can be like a mirage, hovering above the ground: skyscrapers built on mountainsides, islands swallowed in fog for days.” This is Hong Kong, where a Chinese girl and her American teacher explore the “blindness” of bats in an effort to locate the ghost of her suicidal mother; an American graduate student provokes a masseur into reliving the traumatic experience of the Cultural Revolution; a businessman falls in love with a prim bar hostess across the border, in Shenzhen, and finds himself helpless to dissolve the boundaries between them; a stock analyst obsessed with work drives her husband to attend a Zen retreat, where he must come to terms with his failing marriage.

Scrupulously imagined and psychologically penetrating, these seven stories shed light on the many nuances of race, sex, religion, and culture in this most mysterious of cities, even as they illuminate the most universal of human experiences.

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