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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Dave Eggers and Kelly Link, an exhilarating collection of stories that explores the mysterious, often dangerous forces that shape our lives - from censorship and terrorism to technology and online dating.

Spanning centuries, continents, and a diverse set of characters, these alluringly strange stories are united by each character's struggle with fate. In a secret, subterranean world beneath the prairie of the Old West, a homesteader risks her life in search of a safe haven. A workman in Andrew Carnegie's steel mills is turned into a medical oddity by the brutal power of the furnaces - and is eventually revitalized by his condition. A young woman created through genetic manipulation is destroyed by the same force that gave her life.

With her distinctive blend of magical realism, science, and poetic prose, Anjali Sachdeva demonstrates a preternatural ability to laser in on our fears, our hopes, and our longings in order to point out intrinsic truths about society and humanity. "Killer of Kings" starts with John Milton writing Paradise Lost and questions the very nature of power - and the ability to see any hero as a tyrant with just a change in perspective. The title story presents a stirring imagining of the aftermath of the kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram that leaves us pondering what is lost when we survive the unsurvivable.

Like many of us, the characters in this collection are in pursuit of the sublime, and find themselves looking not just to divinity but to science, nature, psychology, and industry, forgetting that their new, logical deities are no more trustworthy than the tempestuous gods of the olden days. Along the way, they walk the knife-edge between wonder and terror, salvation and destruction. All the Names They Used for God is an entrancing work of speculative fiction that heralds Anjali Sachdeva as an invigorating, incomparable new voice.

Audiobook Table of Contents:

"The World by Night", read by Cassandra Campbell

"Glass-Lung", read by Cassandra Campbell

"Logging Lake", read by Cassandra Campbell

"Killer of Kings", read by Cassandra Campbell

"All the Names for God", read by Zainab Jah

"Robert Greenman and the Mermaid", read by Cassandra Campbell

"Anything You Might Want", read by Cassandra Campbell

"Manus", read by Will Damron

"Pleiades", read by Jorjeana Marie and MacLeod Andrews

©2018 Anjali Sachdeva (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"What an outstanding short story collection. I knew nothing about this book going in and was thrilled by each story. There is so much range here, and there is a nice fabulist edge to nearly all the stories. The writer wields so much confidence and control in her prose and, my goodness, what imagination, what passion there is in this work. From one story to the next I felt like the writer knows everything about everything." (Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Hunger)

"Fuses science, myth, and imagination into a dark and gorgeous series of questions about our current predicaments." (Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See)

"Delightfully unexpected... The strange and wonderful stories that make up Sachdeva's debut begin on this side of reality and slip to the other - often so gracefully, and with such a precise rendering of the fantastical, that we become inadvertent believers.... The brilliance of these stories - beyond the cool, precise artistry of their prose - is their embrace of both the known and the unknown, in a combination that feels truly original." (The New York Times Book Review)

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  • Dana
  • Springdale, AR, United States
  • 07-20-18

Astoundingly fresh and just so GOOD

I can’t remember the last time I encountered a writer who so effectively breaks new ground. Saying it is a ‘fresh voice’ is somewhat cliche— but so it is. I enjoyed these stories immensely. I particularly appreciate depictions of women and girls of very diverse backgrounds that are entirely without stereotype.