The End of Manners

Heartbroken after the demise of her relationship, Italian photographer Maria Galante has stopped taking chances. But she surprises herself by accepting a risky assignment: travel to Afghanistan to photograph women refusing to enter arranged marriages. In Kabul, Maria gently describes her surroundings as ?brown,? but her companion, Imogen Glass, the journalist writing the article, is more outspoken, calling the city "the place where all good manners have come to an end." Accompanied by Hanif, a local ?fixer? paid what is to him an enormous sum to act as their guide, Maria concedes that no matter how long one has been in the country, no foreigner is entirely aware of what?s going on. Her task -- to capture ?a strong image of a beautiful, suffering woman? -- appears impossible in the face of the custom that burqas should only be removed for husbands. After taking the perfect photo, of Hanif?s ailing wife, Maria realizes with horror that she had been ?holding the lens so close to Leyla?s face, I hadn?t even checked to see whether she was breathing.? With the acute and subtle poignancy that ran through her first novel, Rules of the Wild, Francesca Marciano raises questions about global politics and romance, and the role that risk plays in both. Maria doesn?t fall in love with a man but with Afghanistan. Still, in the messy, sweeping manner of all great affairs, her passion catches her off guard and also saves her life.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.