by Shola von Reinhold
The winner of a prestigious James Tait Black Prize, the U.K.’s oldest literary awards, Shola von Reinhold’s Lote follows Mathilda, a young woman who constantly reinvents herself, each time hoping to escape her tedious reality and pursue a life of decadence.
While working in London’s National Portrait Gallery, Mathilda discovers a photo of the fictional Hermia Druitt, a Black modernist who rubbed shoulders with historical icons, including Bright Young Thing and provocative aristocrat Stephen Tennant and Bloomsbury Group member Virginia Woolf. Captivated by Hermia and determined to uncover her life and work, Mathilda grifts her way into a secretive and pretentious arts residency in Dun, a town Hermia once called home. But excavating Hermia’s forgotten legacy is hardly straightforward and brings Mathilda into the orbit of strange and memorable characters, including ascetic art scholars, theorists with cult-like followings, and the dazzling Erskine-Lily, a fellow lover of luxury and reinvention.
Lote delights in satirizing contemporary arts culture and carving out a Black, queer perspective. Witty, gorgeous, and at times Gothic, it questions the lines between fantasy and obsession—and the boundaries of escapism.
Edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang
Following the explosive popularity of works like Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem, Chinese science fiction and fantasy have garnered more and more international attention. The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories: A Collection of Chinese Science Fiction and Fantasy in Translation From a Visionary Team of Female and Nonbinary Creators is a brilliant and expansive survey of Chinese science fiction and fantasy in translation. Children raise stars in their backyards; an alien sifts through inherited memories, untangling histories of climate collapse and betrayal; a shapeshifting fox must serve a cruel thunder god; and a boy is guided through the ocean on the back of a giant fish as he learns how to change the seasons.
The collection is complemented by essays from the translators, which reflect the technical challenges and quirks of translating Chinese to English and sketch a loose historical context for the work, enriching a reader’s understanding of this compelling project.
Together the 22 stories and essays make for perfect summer reading, offering a vast sample of new worlds, imaginative concepts, and thought-provoking twists.