Hend is an Egyptian mother whose marriage has ended and who has wound up in Brooklyn with her son, where she has hopes of establishing herself as a writer. Al-Tahawy's lyrical prose captures Hend's sense of loneliness and alienation well, along with the hope she encounters in a country that has just elected Obama.
The End of Politics by Douglas Carswell (Biteback Publishing, £12.99)
Carswell was once Conservative candidate against Tony Blair in Sedgefield, and he argues here that the Internet will do away with "bloated" Big Government that has Got Us All Into This Mess, to return power to individuals. He dresses up this "individualised" argument, rather hilariously, as welcome anarchy, a "collectivism without the State".
The Black Lake by Hella S Haasse (Portobello, £9.99)
A small slice of perfection, this beautifully written novella from 1948, now published in English, from the pen of Jakarta-born Dutch writer Haasse, traces the friendship in Java between the son of a Dutch plantation owner and the son of a servant. It's a touching read, all the more when one knows it can only end badly.
Granta: The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists (Granta, £12.99)
Not all the stories here explore the relationship between protagonist and homeland, but those that do are among the best, like Tatiana Salem Levy's Blazing Sun ("The people of Rio don't accept sadness. They don't know how to live with pain") or Julian Fuks' The Dinner. An astonishingly young group of writers, often influenced by literary theory.