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International Literature: Lush Landscapes, Hazy Memories

New books from Kevin Jared Hosein, Pilar Quintana, Nona Fernández and Patrick Modiano. Kevin Jared Hosein’s novel HUNGRY GHOSTS (327 pp., Ecco, $30) takes place on a sugar estate in 1940s Trinidad and the language is as lush, moody and thrilling as the landscape. On the hill is the house of Dalton and Marlee Changoor, sprawling and baroque; below, the “forsaken jumble of wood and zinc,” where five families squeeze together in squalor, including the Saroops: Hans, Shweta, and their 13-year-old son, Krishna. “These barracks were scattered like half-buried bones across the plain, strewn from their colonial corpse,” Hosein writes. “In their marrow, the ghosts of the indentured. And the offspring of those ghosts.” Almost every family in the barracks has suffered loss (a list of main characters includes the deceased as well as the living). Hans and Shweta are still tormented by the “hungry ghost” of their infant daughter who died some years ago. But when Dalton disappears — has he been kidnapped or murdered? — Marlee turns to Hans to protect her from potential intruders. He is spellbound by Marlee and the promise of another world, “his posture almost phototropic as he angled towards her.” Hosein’s electrifying novel is shrouded in drama and mystery, as Hans and Marlee orbit each other, Krishna struggles to assert himself, and the country itself undergoes great changes. The land, ultimately, is haunted and divided: “On one side, the belief of bush and burlap and sohari and jute and rattan and […] From: John Gall

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