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Frontlist/Backlist: Steven Nightingale, "Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God"; Charlie LeDuff, "Detroit: An American Autopsy"


Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God by Steven Nightingale

New nonfiction from Counterpoint Press, February 10, 2015

Steven Nightingale has made a name for himself as a sonneteer and novelist.  His latest book, Granada: A Pomegranate in the Hand of God, is his first foray into the world of nonfiction prose.  The book follows Nightingale and his family as they settle in Granada in 2002, immersing themselves in the rich cultural and religious history of the land.  The book weaves aspects of memoir, history, and meditation.  The reader feels as though Nightingale is taking him by the hand, showing him the parts of Granada that he finds marvelous and curious, from the gardens in the local carmens to the ease and grace with which his neighbors welcome him to their city. 

The strength of the book is, indeed, the powerful intellect and ceaseless curiosity of Nightingale himself.  And the central question Nightingale investigates is: How can people with such divergent religious and historical views of the world—and themselves—live so peaceably together? 

The book meditates on this question, following the various threads of history—from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim influences in the past and the present and back again—until they knot.  When these histories knot up, Nightingale carefully and empathetically unties those knots, investigating how the various threads came together and—perhaps most importantly—why.

Though history and religion’s role in shaping it are key aspects of Granada, the beating heart of the book is the voice of Nightingale.  The book offers a lens of viewing the world that is uniquely his, causing the reader to feel both the strength and comfort of Nightingale’s vision of the world. 


Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

Nonfiction from Penguin Press, February 7, 2013

From the sun-soaked gardens of Granada, a place thriving with life and harmony, I offer the yang to Nightingale’s yin: the quasi-gonzo journalistic exploration of the death of a city, Detroit: An American Autopsy, by Charlie LeDuff.  Whereas Nightingale looks into the past to see how a place has managed to rise from its struggles to become successful and harmonious, LeDuff looks into the past of a torn city to see why its people have not been able to make their lives—and their city—work.

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