Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with James Collins of The Writer's Block in Las Vegas.
James Collins is a big fan of Chinese literature. Sometimes, however, he thinks the genre trends toward despair.
"There's a pattern in Chinese literature of all the books being really sad," Collins said. That's why he's excited to recommend Ge Fei's "The Invisibility Cloak": The novel is a comedy.
It follows a middle-aged man with nothing good going on in his life, until his friend offers him a mysterious job.
"It's a really accurate depiction of modern Beijing," Collins explained.
Collins visits China at least once a year, and one thing that always impresses him is how rapidly the country changes. "The Invisibility Cloak" taps into that.
The book explores "how China has changed since the 1990s," he said.
While Ge Fei may not be a widely known name in the U.S., his book is an ideal read for anyone who likes Haruki Murakami, J.D. Salinger, Paul Auster or George Saunders.
Collins is also excited about "Ancient Tillage," by Raduan Nassar, which will be published in January. It tells the story of a young man growing up on an isolated farm in Brazil with his deeply religious family.