A River Called Time by Courttia Newland

This novel defies easy categorisation. Yes, it is about parallel worlds and astral planes through which our spirits can move. Yes, that makes it speculative fiction but one in which our world is altered at a historical and spiritual level both in the future and in the past – something not many books in the genre attempt to do. 

A River Called Time reimagines our world without the colonialism we know, allowing for a culture that prizes older religions and cultures from Africa, India and China above Christianity, Islam, Judaism. But humans remain humans and our ability to create division and discrimination continues. The Ark, the promised structure created as a haven and saviour from a world crippled by environmental collapse, isn’t all Markriss Denny thought it was promised to be. His journey behind its walls lifts him out of his body and into alternative histories in which the same characters must be met and understood anew.

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How We Are Translated by Jessica Gaitan Johannesson

Kristen is a Swedish young woman living in Edinburgh with a Scottish man of Brazilian heritage. She works in the Castle Museum, the National Museum of Immigration, that celebrates the history of Scotland by providing a living exhibition of all the peoples who have contributed to Scottish history. She is part of the Nordic peoples exhibition, a Norse woman who came with the raiders to find a new place to farm. Her team speak Icelandic, which she doesn’t understand, and Norwegian of which she understands a little. They aren’t allowed to speak English during their shifts, not even with colleagues who don’t understand them.

As the novel opens, Kristen’s partner who is training to be a nurse, has decided to take a break and immerse himself in a new project: learning Swedish. He is so dedicated he refuses to speak English. Though it’s her language, this shuts Kristen out.

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