My crystal ball of Kindle availability proved right for last week. Room by Emma Donahue (Canada) was announced the winner of her group and will be going to Sydney for the big winner party. In the discussion we agreed that this book was the last on our list to read. I even had it in my hand as it is on the shelf at Target. But I put it back. So here is Room's second chance. If you are into second chances.
Now on to the next group of 12 books. This week they are from South Asia and Europe. But the subjects are not limited to that geography only the authors. I made an effort to link to the author's web site. Some I couldn't find. I think it is important to get a web site if you are writing before someone snaps up your name and makes you pay for the domain name.
The links make this next group is more like a shopping trip. Most links have pictures of the author and the cover of the book.
South Asia and Europe Best Book:
Lyrics Alley was inspired by the life of the poet Hassan Awad Aboulela. It is a work of fiction, filled with imaginary characters and situations and not intended as an accurate biography. My father often spoke to me about his cousin Hassan, who passed away before I was born. from author's web site Leila Aboulela
Leningrad in 1952, a city recovering from war. Andrei, a hospital doctor, and Anna, a nursery teacher, are forging a life together. They try to avoid coming to the attention of the authorities, but their private happiness is precarious. Stalin is still in power, and when Andrei has to treat the seriously-ill child of a senior secret police officer, he and Anna are caught in a web of betrayal. from author's web site Helen Dunmore
Set in atmospheric coastal Japan, this epic story centers on an earnest young clerk, Jacob de Zoet, who arrives in the summer of 1799 to make his fortune and return to Holland to wed his fiancée. But Jacob's plans are shaken when he meets the daughter of a Samurai. from author's web site David Mitchell
At a conference in London, several years ago, the topic for discussion was the legacy of slavery. A young woman stood up to ask a heartfelt question of the panel: How could she be proud of her Jamaican roots, she wanted to know, when her ancestors had been slaves? from author's essay on the writing of this novel on the author's web site Andrea Levy
For all its fluidity, the story stands on the granite of a complex moral and emotional realism. This is especially apparent when the action moves to South Africa, Trapido's own birthplace. Here, Trapido demonstrates an insider's off-hand fearlessness. She does justice to the Shakespearean transformations of post-apartheid South Africa, to claims of birthright, revelations of terrible losses and gains and to the "loud, non-stop screaming that rises above the shrill hum of the crickets". from a review by Helen Dunmore --- Barbara Trapido talking about Frankie and Stankie another book of hers.
video of Adam Haslett discussing this book. This might be 30 minutes long. I didn't get through all of it. Working on this diary and household chaos.
At the heart of Union Atlantic lies a test of wills between a young banker, Doug Fanning, and a retired schoolteacher, Charlotte Graves, whose two dogs have begun to speak to her. When Doug builds an ostentatious mansion on land that Charlotte's grandfather donated to the town of Finden, Massachusetts, she determines to oust him in court. from the author's web site Adam Haslett
South Asia and Europe Best First Book:
Excerpt from the author's web site Manu Joseph "AYYAN MANI'S THICK black hair was combed sideways and parted by a careless broken line,like the borders the British used to draw between two hostile neighbours. His eyes were keen and knowing. A healthy moustache sheltered a perpetual smile. A dark tidy man, but somehow inexpensive. "
Check out he journalism tab on his website. You may be there for a while. He has written some excellent and readable essays.
youtube interview of Anjali Joseph
The novel is set in Bombay, but concentrates on quieter aspects of the city, namely a banyan tree in Fort and the characters surrounding it. I’ve come across banyan trees in various works of Indian literature before, they often appear as focal points – so it’s interesting to observe how their significance unfolds in relation to the plot of the respective novel. In this case, the novel centres on the characters Mohan, his wife Lakshmi and their newly arrived nephew Ashish. Harper Collins writes that ‘As Saraswati Park unfolds, the lives of each of the three characters are thrown into sharp relief by the comical frustrations of family life: annoying relatives, unspoken yearnings and unheard grievances.’ from the interview by Sandeep Sandhu
THE HOUSE WITH BLUE SHUTTERS. A place that has witnessed the horrors of wartime, the petty concerns of peacetime, and the secrets that bind past and present. A place where history echoes off every wall… --- from the Atlantic Books Catalogue
Max Schaefer's debut has wonderful material: Britain's gay neo-Nazis in the 70s and early 80s. Haunted by the politically and sexually ambiguous image of the braced and booted skinhead, it is filled with brilliant evocations of period atmosphere. reviewed by James Hawes
Mostly, in the outer world, she doesn't speak at all. Whole stretches of dialogue pass, even though she's present, without a word from her. When they're putting on The Little Mermaid for the Briar's Christmas play, Grace longs to be the mermaid: she knows she could do it, she knows all the mermaid's lines off by heart. But it has to be someone who's "dry, and who could be relied on not to improvise". Grace makes noises, but they're not the right ones. "Stop improvising, please, Grace." Another year, she's allowed to be Sleeping Beauty – but only for half the play, while Beauty's asleep. from the review by Tessa Hadley
"It's Hiller's evocation of the war through a teenager's eyes that gives this novel both depth and gravitas."
Literary Review from the author's web site Mischa Hiller (the first chapter is available to read here)
The winners have been announced
The Memory of Love
Happiness is a Four-Letter Word
Canada and Caribbean,
Bird Eat Bird
South Asia and Europe,
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
South East Asia and Pacific.
That Deadman Dance
A Man Melting