In the Land of Armadillos

NEWSFLASH!!! Barnes & Noble has selected IN THE LAND OF ARMADILLOS as a spring Discover Great New Writers book!

Scribner-Armadillos-rev LR

I’m THRILLED to announce my new book, IN THE LAND OF ARMADILLOS, which will be published by Scribner on February 2, 2016! Stay tuned for more news!
From the flap:

A radiant debut collection of linked stories set in a German-occupied town in Poland, where tales of myth and folklore meet the real-life monsters of the Nazi invasion.

1942. With the Nazi Party at the height of its power, the occupying army empties Poland’s towns and cities of their Jewish populations. As neighbor turns on neighbor and survival often demands unthinkable choices, Poland has become a moral quagmire—a place of shifting truths and blinding ambiguities.

Blending folklore and fact, Helen Maryles Shankman shows us the people of Wlodawa, a remote Polish town at a crossroads: we meet a cold-blooded SS officer dedicated to rescuing the creator of his son’s favorite picture book, even as he helps exterminate the artist’s friends and family; a Messiah who appears in a little boy’s bedroom to announce that he is quitting; a young Jewish girl who is hidden by the town’s most outspoken anti-Semite—and his talking dog. And walking among these tales are two unforgettable figures: the enigmatic and silver-tongued Willy Reinhart, Commandant of the forced labor camp who has grand schemes to protect “his” Jews, and Soroka, the Jewish saddlemaker and his family, struggling to survive. Wlodawa in 1942 is a town torn apart, but Shankman shows how even in midst of this unfathomable calamity, the people of Wlodawa—oppressors and oppressed alike—continue to grapple with the eternal human dilemmas of love and envy, freedom and responsibility, faith and doubt.

Channeling the mythic magic of classic storytellers like Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer and the psychological acuity of modern-day masters like Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander, In the Land of Armadillos is a testament to the persistence of humanity in the most inhuman conditions.

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Kind Things People Have Said

The Color of Light trade paperback

So, THE COLOR OF LIGHT has been out for a while now, and lots of people are reading it and saying very nice things about it. Four bloggers put it on their Best of 2013 lists, which was incredibly kind of them. There are dozens of four and five star reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. Here are some of the things they’ve been saying:

“One of the most arresting novels I have read this year. Vampires use thrall to put people under their spell, and this book did the same to me. Rafe Sinclair is the type of character that readers are going to love, hate, and feel all spectrum of emotions for, but the end result will be that he fascinates them, regardless of how they feel.” —Great Imaginations

“Geez, this book. Y’all I’m going to be completely honest here, this book had me from the start and pulled me along for the ride! It’s a cliche, I know, but I could not put it down! It seriously pained me to have to DO THINGS other than read this book.”
—Must Read Faster

“It’s haunting, it’s lonely, it’s romantic, it’s wistful, it makes your heart feel. I cannot even tell you how much I loved this book. I literally couldn’t put this book down.” —Sara’s Organized Chaos

“Shankman swept me up with the tender melancholy of her story. Combining a vampire novel and a book about the Holocaust was a brave move on Shankman’s part; however, she treated the subject matter with the sensitivity and care it deserved. She used the vampire story to actually highlight the lasting pain the Holocaust caused. Shankman writes beautifully using artistic imagery. The relationships between light, dark and color are explored through the strengths and failures of the characters.
THE COLOR OF LIGHT is an ambitious novel, combining art, vampires, and one of the darkest chapters in our history. It’s a book unlike any I’ve read and I highly recommend it.”
—Book-alicious Mama

“In the end, the story itself is a work of art, and what we come away with is a complete portrait, so haunting, we can scarcely pull our eyes away.” —The Jewish Week

“Achingly romantic. The story swept me up in it’s tender melancholy. I’d recommend reading it for the intelligent take on a vampire love story.” — A Bookish Whimsy

“THE COLOR OF LIGHT is a poignant love story that brings us into the lives of Manhattan art students, Holocaust victims, and vampires. That Shankman can blend fact and fiction and make it all ring true is a testament to her fine writing.”
—The Jewish Standard

“Her writing is atmospheric, lively, and engaging. Her descriptions about art, and an artist’s passion for creation is incredible. This is a book that made me want to be a struggling artist in 1990’s NYC. As someone with little to no artistic inclination, that is a hallmark of strong writing to my mind. I would never have expected so much from a novel that is about Nazis and vampires, but Helen Maryles Shankman has created a must-read here with THE COLOR OF LIGHT.”
—Ageless Pages Reviews

“Shankman’s writing is beautiful, and filled with artistic imagery. The complex relationships between light, dark, and color are explored in the strengths and failures of each of the characters and the way they relate to each other. THE COLOR OF LIGHT is an impressive and ambitious novel combining art, vampires, and one of the most painful chapters in human history. It is unlike anything else I’ve ever read, and I would highly recommend it.” —Books Without Any Pictures

“I don’t have enough words to describe the luminosity of this novel.” —Svetlana’s Reads and Views

“THE COLOR OF LIGHT by Helen Maryles Shankman is an easy to read, compelling novel which is both deep and engaging. Ms. Shankman uses her writing skills, as well as her considerable knowledge of the art world, to bring us a story which is flowing and interesting.” —Man of La Book

#140 on Kindle

You can buy the book here.