Welcome to our book club
Please note this bookclub is only for East Dulwich W.I. members
Bookclub venue The Plough, 381 Lordship Lane, SE22 8JJ (opposite Dulwich Library), from 7:30 pm,
Frequency of book club meetings roughly every 6- 8 weeks
23rd September 2013
The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore
28th October 2013
Deborah Rodriguez: The little Coffee Shop of Kabul
In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together. SUNNY, the proud proprietor, who needs an ingenious plan - and fast - to keep her cafe and customers safe. YAZMINA, a young pregnant woman stolen from her remote village and now abandoned on Kabul's violent streets. CANDACE, a wealthy American who has finally left her husband for her Afghan lover, the enigmatic Wakil. ISABEL, a determined journalist with a secret that might keep her from the biggest story of her life. And HALAJAN, the sixty-year-old den mother, whose long-hidden love affair breaks all the rules. As these five women discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will for ever change their lives and the lives of many others.
PAST BOOK CLUB READS
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan Chip told us not to go out. Said, don't you boys tempt the devil. But it been one brawl of a night, I tell you.The aftermath of the fall of Paris, 1940. Hieronymous Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, was arrested in a cafe and never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black.Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero's bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin. Persuaded by his old friend Chip, Sid discovers there's more to the journey than he thought when Chip shares a mysterious letter, bringing to the surface secrets buried since Hiero's fate was settled. In Half Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan weaves the horror of betrayal, the burden of loyalty and the possibility that, if you don't tell your story, someone else might tell it for you. And they just might tell it wrong ...
The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else's life.
The Lady of Sorrows by Anne Zouroudi Hermes Diaktoros visits a remote island which is home to an ancient icon famed for its miraculous powers. But something about the Virgin troubles him, and Hermes calls on an old fried to confirm his suspicions that the icon is a fake. Ready to hand the matter over to the authorities, Hermes intends to leave - until the island's icon painter is found dead at sea. Did he die of natural causes or by a wrathful hand? What secret is a dishonest gypsy keeping? And what haunts the ancient catacombs beneath the bishop's house? In the fourth Mystery of the Greek Detective, the eccentric and mysterious investigator finds himself unravelling forgery, betrayal and superstition, and the consequences of all-consuming rage.
A Death in Tuscany by Michele Giuttari In the picturesque Tuscan hill town of Scandicci, the body of a girl is discovered. Scantily dressed, she is lying by the edge of the woods. The local police investigate the case - but after a week, they still haven't even identified her, let alone got to the bottom of how she died. Frustrated by the lack of progress, Chief Superintendent Michele Ferrara, head of Florence's elite Squadra Mobile, decides to step in. Because toxins were discovered in the girl's body, many assumed that she died of a self-inflicted drugs overdose. But Ferrara quickly realises that the truth is darker than that: he believes that the girl was murdered. And when he delves deeper, there are many aspects to the case that convince Ferrara that the girl's death is part of a sinister conspiracy - a conspiracy that has its roots in the very foundations of Tuscan society
The Vintage Tea club by Vanessa Greene At a car boot sale in Sussex, three very different women meet and fall for the same vintage teaset. They decide to share it - and form a friendship that changes their lives ...Jenny can't wait to marry Dan. Then, after years of silence, she hears from the woman who could shatter her dreams. Maggie has put her broken heart behind her and is gearing up for the biggest event of her career - until she's forced to confront the past once more. Alison seems to have it all: married to her childhood sweetheart, with two gorgeous daughters. But as tensions mount, she is pushed to breaking point. Dealing with friendship and families, relationships and careers, highs and lows, The Vintage Teacup Club is heart-warming storytelling at its very best.
The Sunday Times bestseller Vienna, 1913. It is a fine day in August when Lysander Rief, a young English actor, walks through the city to his first appointment with the eminent psychiatrist Dr Bensimon. Sitting in the waiting room he is anxiously pondering the particularly intimate nature of his neurosis when a young woman enters. She is clearly in distress, but Lysander is immediately drawn to her strange, hazel eyes and her unusual, intense beauty. Her name is Hettie Bull. They begin a passionate love affair and life in Vienna becomes tinged with a powerful frisson of excitement for Lysander. He meets Sigmund Freud in a cafe, begins to write a journal, enjoys secret trysts with Hettie and appears - miraculously - to have been cured. Back in London, 1914. War is imminent, and events in Vienna have caught up with Lysander in the most damaging way. Unable to live an ordinary life, he is plunged into the dangerous theatre of wartime intelligence - a world of sex, scandal and spies, where lines of truth and deception blur with every waking day. Lysander must now discover the key to a secret code which is threatening Britain's safety, and use all his skills to keep the murky world of suspicion and betrayal from invading every corner of his life. Moving from Vienna to London's West End, from the battlefields of France to hotel rooms in Geneva, Waiting for Sunrise is a feverish and mesmerising journey into the human psyche, a beautifully observed portrait of wartime Europe, a plot-twisting thriller and a literary tour de force from the bestselling author of Any Human Heart, Restless and Ordinary Thunderstorms.
The Summer of the bear by Bella Pollen In the summer of 1979, a tamed grizzly bear is tempted by the lure of freedom and the wild open sea ...Meanwhile, the sudden death of British diplomat Nicky Fleming has left his wife closed down with shock. Relocated from Cold-War-riven Germany to a remote Hebridean island, Letty Fleming is haunted by the unthinkable was it an accident, murder or suicide? And how can she ever begin to explain to her three children that their father may have betrayed his country? Struggling to find solace in a place she loves, Letty begins to unravel the mystery of Nicky's death, but her determination to protect the children from the truth blinds her to the demons they are already battling. As the family's secrets threaten to tear them apart, it is only the strange but brilliant Jamie who manages to hold on to the one thing he knows for sure: his father has promised to return, and Nicky Fleming was a man who never broke a promise ...
The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan A stunning reissue of the international bestseller, from the much-loved author of The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter's Daughter. Pearl Louie Brandt has a terrible secret which she tries desperately to keep from her mother, Winne Louie. And Winnie has long kept her own secrets -- about her past and the confusing circumstances of Pearl's birth. Fate intervenes in the form of Helen Kwong, Winnie's so-called sister-in-law, who believes she is dying and must unburden herself of all falsehoods before she flies off to heaven. But, unfortunately, the truth comes in many guises, depending on who is telling the tale! Thus begins a story that takes us back to Shanghai in the 1920s, through World War II, and the harrowing events that led to Winnie's arrival in America in 1949. The story is one of innocence and its loss, tragedy and survival and, most of all, the enduring qualities of hope, love and friendship.
The Long Song by Andrea Levy Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and longlisted for the Orange Prize, THE LONG SONG is breathtaking, hauntingly beautiful, heartbreaking and unputdownable You do not know me yet. My son Thomas, who is publishing this book, tells me, it is customary at this place in a novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed.Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and longlisted for the Orange Prize, THE LONG SONG is breathtaking, hauntingly beautiful, heartbreaking and unputdownable You do not know me yet. My son Thomas, who is publishing this book, tells me, it is customary at this place in a novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed.
A secret kept, by Tatiana the Rosnay, published by Pan books It all began with a simple seaside vacation, a brother and sister recapturing their childhood. Antoine Rey thought he had the perfect surprise for his sister Mélanie's birthday: a weekend by the sea at Noirmoutier Island, where the pair spent many happy childhood summers playing on the beach. It had been too long, Antoine thought, since they'd returned to the island-over thirty years, since their mother died and the family holidays ceased. But the island's haunting beauty triggers more than happy memories; it reminds Mélanie of something unexpected and deeply disturbing about their last island summer. When, on the drive home to Paris, she finally summons the courage to reveal what she knows to Antoine, her emotions overcome her and she loses control of the car.
Recovering from the accident in a nearby hospital, Mélanie tries to recall what caused her to crash. Antoine encounters an unexpected ally: sexy, streetwise Angèle, a mortician who will teach him new meanings for the words life, love and death. Suddenly, however, the past comes swinging back at both siblings, burdened with a dark truth about their mother, Clarisse.
Trapped in the wake of a shocking family secret shrouded by taboo, Antoine must confront his past and also his troubled relationships with his own children. How well does he really know his mother, his children, even himself? Suddenly fragile on all fronts as a son, a husband, a brother and a father, Antoine Rey will learn the truth about his family and himself the hard way. By turns thrilling, seductive and destructive, with a lingering effect that is bittersweet and redeeming, A Secret Kept is the story of a modern family, the invisible ties that hold it together, and the impact it has throughout life.
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England George instantly takes to their new life, but Sabine feels isolated, heat-fatigued, and ill at ease with the racial segregation and the imminent dawning of a new era. Her only solace is her growing fixation with Eric Williams, the charismatic leader of Trinidad's new national party, to whom she pours out all her hopes and fears for the future in letters that she never brings herself to send. As the years progress, George and Sabine's marriage endures for better or worse. When George discovers Sabine's cache of letters, he realises just how many secrets she's kept from him - and he from her - over the decades. And he is seized by an urgent, desperate need to prove his love for her, with tragic consequences...
The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie Agatha Christie's world-famous Miss Marple mystery. It's seven in the morning. The Bantrys wake to find the body of a young woman in their library. She is wearing evening dress and heavy make-up, which is now smeared across her cheeks. But who is she? How did she get there? And what is the connection with another dead girl, whose charred remains are later discovered in an abandoned quarry? The respectable Bantrys invite Miss Marple to solve the mystery! before tongues start to wag.
Stolen by Lesley Pearse When a beautiful blonde girl is found half-drowned on a beach, she has no memory of who she is or what horrors have left her there.But an article about her in a Brighton newspaper rings alarm bells for beautician Dale, who shows the police photographs of Lotte Wainright. The girls met working on a cruise ship and their friendship blossomed as they sailed the seas of South America, until Lotte fell under the sinister influence of an older American couple. To her regret, Dale hasn't seen Lotte since leaving the ship months earlier ... but the girl on the beach - although badly bruised - is indeed her much missed friend.Their reunion only marks the beginning of a dangerous tidal wave of secrets, lies and nightmares. Where has Lotte been? Who is the man who seems to want to kill her? And what has become of the baby she's recently given birth to?
Dale and Lotte must dig deep and find the strength to hold on against the odds if they are to rebuild their friendship and survive Lotte's stolen - and deadly - past ...
The Sewing Circles of Herat by Christina Lamb A gold-inscribed invitation to a wedding in Pakistan led Christina Lamb to leave suburban England for Peshawar - a town perched on the frontier of the Afghan war - at the age of just 21. Captivated by the Afghans she met, for two years she tracked the final stages of the mujaheddin victory over the Soviets as Afghan friends smuggled her in and out of their country in a variety of guises - from burqa-clad wife to Kandahari boy - travelling by foot, on donkeys, or hidden under the floor of an ambulance. Long haunted by her experiences in Afghanistan, Lamb returned there after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre to find out what had become of the people and places that had marked her life as a young graduate. This time seeing the land through the eyes of a mother and experienced foreign correspondent, Lamb's journey brings her in touch with the people no one else is writing about: the abandoned victims of almost a quarter century of war. Among them are the brave women writers of Herat who carried on the literary tradition of this ancient Persian city under the guise of sewing circles; those persecuted by the Taliban such as Kabul's leading kite-maker, imprisoned for making the colourful paper kites that fly from the rooftops of the city; and Khalil Ahmed Hassani, a former Taliban torturer who admits to breaking the spines of men, then making them stand on their heads. This text is a poignant memoir of her love affair with the country and its people.
One Day by David Nicholls 'I can imagine you at forty,' she said, a hint of malice in her voice. 'I can picture it right now.' He smiled without opening his eyes. 'Go on then.' 15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY. From the author of the massive bestseller STARTER FOR TEN.
The Other Hand by Chris Cleave We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn't. And it's what happens afterwards that is most important. Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.
The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson's case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. Unable to cope with his grief, Freddie has spent much of the time since in a sanatorium. In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees - another region that has seen too much bloodshed over the years. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. Shaken, he stumbles into the woods, emerging by a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful local woman, also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories of remembrance and loss. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries. By turns thrilling, poignant and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage.
Never let me go by Kazu Ishiguro In one of the most acclaimed and strange novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewered version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now 31, "Never Let Me Go" hauntingly dramatises her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School, and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world. A story of love, friendship and memory, "Never Let Me Go" is charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of life.
Rani Manicka: The Rice Mother A compelling glimpse into a captivatingly exotic world of myth and magic. Beguiled by promises of wealth, fourteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her native Ceylon for Malaya and marriage to a man many years her senior. But Ayah has lied to her and her family about his circumstances and in fact he lives in poverty. A woman of formidable energy and intelligence, Lakshmi provides security, if not luxury, for her family, though at a considerable emotional cost. Then the Japanese army invades during WWII. On the eve of peace, her beloved eldest daughter is raped and killed by the occupying army. The family bears deep scars and inflicts those wounds on the next generation. But in Nisha, Lakshmi's great-granddaughter, it is as if Fate has come full circle and the novel ends on a note of reconciliation and hope.
Isabelle Allende: Portrait in Sepia Best selling international author, Isabel Allende tackles her homeland head-on in this staggering, epic romance. 'Portrait in Sepia' is both a magnificent historical novel set at the end of the nineteenth century in Chile and a marvellous family saga peopled by characters from 'Daughter of Fortune' and 'The House of the Spirits', two of Allende's most celebrated novels. As a young girl, Aurora del Valle suffered a brutal trauma that has shaped her character and erased from her mind all recollection of the first five years of her life. Raised by her ambitious grandmother, the regal and commanding Paulina del Valle, she grows up in a privileged environment, free of the limitations that circumscribe the lives of women at that time, but tormented by terrible nightmares. When she finds herself alone at the end of an unhappy love affair, she decides to explore the mystery of her past, to discover what it was, exactly, all those years ago, that had such a devastating effect on her young life. Richly detailed, epic in scope, this engrossing story of the dark power of hidden secrets is intimate in its probing of human character, and thrilling in the way it illuminates the complexity of family ties.
A.S. Byatt: The Children's book Olive Wellwood is a famous writer, interviewed with her children gathered at her knee. For each of them she writes a separate private book, bound in different colours and placed on a shelf. In their rambling house near Romney Marsh they play in a story-book world - but their lives, and those of their rich cousins, children of a city stockbroker, and their friends, the son and daughter of a curator at the new Victoria and Albert Museum, are already inscribed with mystery. Each family carries their own secrets. Into their world comes a young stranger, a working-class boy from the potteries, drawn by the beauty of the Museum's treasures. And in midsummer a German puppeteer arrives, bringing dark dramas. The world seems full of promise but the calm is already rocked by political differences, by Fabian arguments about class and free love , by the idealism of anarchists from Russia and Germany. The sons rebel against their parents' plans; the girls dream of independent futures, becoming doctors or fighting for the vote. This vivid, rich and moving saga is played out against the great, rippling tides of the day, taking us from the Kent marshes to Paris and Munich and the trenches of the Somme. Born at the end of the Victorian era, growing up in the golden summers of Edwardian times, a whole generation grew up unaware of the darkness ahead. In their innocence, they were betrayed unintentionally by the adults who loved them. In a profound sense, this novel is indeed the children's book.
Dylan Thomas: A Child's Christmas in Wales In print for fifty years, this gem of lyric prose has enchanted both young and old from its very first edition
Douglas Kennedy: Leaving the world On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents - she would never get married and she would never have children. But life, as Jane discovers, is a profoundly random business. Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then she falls pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise - but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world. Just when Jane has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision - stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth. Like Kennedy's previous highly acclaimed novels, "Leaving the World", speaks volumes about the dilemmas we face in trying to navigate our way through all that fate throws in our path.
Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows: The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Pie Society It's 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can't think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - by chance, he's acquired a book that once belonged to her - and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it's not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realises that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.
Night train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier Raimund Gregorius is a mild-mannered, middle-aged professor of ancient languages. One morning, as he is teaching, he is seized by a restlessness that drives him to abandon his classroom then and there - shocking his students, and surprising even himself. His unusual impulsiveness is driven by two chance encounters - with a mysterious Portuguese woman in a red coat; and with a book he finds hidden in a dusty corner of a second-hand bookshop, the journal of an enigmatic Portuguese aristocrat, Amadeu de Prado.With the book as his talisman, Raimund boards the night train to Lisbon on a journey to find out more about Prado, whose words haunt and compel him. Gradually, a picture of an extraordinary man emerges: a difficult, brilliant, charismatic figure, a doctor and a poet, and a rebel against Salazar's dictatorship. And as Prado's story comes to light so, too, Gregorius himself begins his life anew. Hurtling through the dark, "Night Train to Lisbon" is a rich tale, wonderfully told, propelled by the mystery at its heart.another.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver...
There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.
Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell...
Miss Pedigrew lives for a day by Winifred Watson Miss Pettigrew is about a governess sent by an employment agency to the wrong address, where she encounters a glamorous night-club singer, Miss LaFosse. 'The sheer fun, the light-heartedness' in this wonderful 1938 book 'feels closer to a Fred Astaire film than anything else' comments the Preface-writer Henrietta Twycross-Martin, who found Miss Pettigrew for Persephone Books. The Guardian asked: 'Why has it taken more than half a century for this wonderful flight of humour to be rediscovered?' while the Daily Mail liked the book's message - 'that everyone, no matter how poor or prim or neglected, has a second chance to blossom in the world.' Maureen Lipman wrote in 'Books of the Year' in the Guardian: 'Perhaps the most pleasure has come from Persephone's enchanting reprints, particularly Miss Pettigrew, a fairy story set in 1930s London'; and she herself entertained R4 listeners with her five-part reading. And in The Shops India Knight called Miss Pettigrew 'the sweetest grown-up book in the world'.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark When an unbridled schoolmistress with advanced ideas is in her prime the classroom can take on a new identity and no one can predict what will happen. Jean Brodie is a teacher whose unconventional ideas put her at odds with the other members of staff at the Marcia Blaine School in Edinburgh, as she endeavours to shape the lives of the select group of girls who form her "set".
The Irresistible Inheritance of Wilberforce by Paul Torday Late one summer evening, Wilberforce - rich, young, and work-obsessed - makes a detour on his way home to the vast undercroft of Caerlyon Hall, and the domain of Francis Black, a place where wine, hospitality and affection flow freely. Through Francis, Wilberforce is initiated into a life rich in the promise of friendship and adventure, where, through his new set of friends, the possibility of finding acceptance, and even falling in love, seems finally to be within his reach. Wilberforce becomes a willing pupil to Francis, and in the cellars of Caerlyon he nurtures a new-found passion for wine. But even the finest wine can leave a bitter aftertaste, and Wilberforce will learn the undercroft's unpalatable secrets, and that passion comes at a price ...
The Catcher in the Rye The Catcher in Rye" is the ultimate novel for disaffected youth, but it's relevant to all ages. The story is told by Holden Caulfield, a seventeen- year-old dropout who has just been kicked out of his fourth school. Throughout, Holden dissects the 'phony' aspects of society, and the 'phonies' themselves: the headmaster whose affability depends on the wealth of the parents, his roommate who scores with girls using sickly-sweet affection. Lazy in style, full of slang and swear words, it's a novel whose interest and appeal comes from its observations rather than its plot intrigues (in conventional terms, there is hardly any plot at all). Salinger's style creates an effect of conversation, it is as though Holden is speaking to you personally, as though you too have seen through the pretences of the American Dream and are growing pening dramatically with the horrors of the 2005 London bombings, this is the profoundly moving story of a country on the brink of civil war and a child's struggle to come to terms with loss. London. On a bright July morning a series of bombs brings the capital to a halt. Simon Swann, a medic from one of the large teaching hospitals, is searching frantically amongst the chaos and the rubble. All around police sirens and ambulances are screaming but Simon does not hear. He is out of breath because he has been running, and he is distraught. But who is he looking for? To find out we have first to go back thirty years to a small island in the Indian Ocean where a little girl named Alice Fonseka is learning to ride a bicycle on the beach. The island is Sri Lanka, and its community is on the brink of civil war. Alice's life is about to change forever. Soon she will have to leave for England, abandoning her beloved grandfather, and accompanied by her mother Sita, a woman broken by a series of terrible events. In London, Alice grows into womanhood. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she has a son. Slowly she fulfils her grandfather's prophecy and becomes an artist. Eventually she finds true love. But London in the twenty-first century is a mass of migration and suspicion. The war on terror has begun and everyone, even Simon Swann, middle class, rational, medic that he is, will be caught up in this war in the most unexpected and terrible way.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd The book centers on Lily's search for a connection to her mother who died in a tragic accident when she was a toddler. Taking place in South Carolina in the 1960s, The Secret Life of Bees explores race, love and the idea of home in turbulent times. It is a lovingly written drama that keeps the pages turning.
All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman All Tom's friends really are superheroes. There's the Ear, the Spooner, the Impossible Man. Tom even married a superhero, the Perfectionist. But at their wedding, the Perfectionist was hypnotised to believe that Tom is invisible. Nothing he does can make her see him. Six months later, she's sure that Tom has abandoned her. So she's moving to Vancouver. She'll use her superpower to make Vancouver perfect and leave all the heartbreak in Toronto. With no idea Tom's beside her, she boards an airplane. Tom has until the wheels touch the ground in Vancouver to convince her he's there, or he loses her forever.
A funny, sweet story, All My Friends Are Superheroes will remind you the greatest superpower of all is love. A truly funny book.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. The novel was a success de scandale and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895. It has lost none of its power to fascinate and disturb.
Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan In the early 1900s polite Chicago society was rocked by terrible scandal as renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, ran off with Mamah Cheney, a client's wife. Abandoning their families and reputations, the lovers fled to Europe and exile. Mamah's actions branded her an unnatural mother and society relished her persecution. For the rest of her life Mamah paid an extraordinary price for moving outside society's rules, in a time that was unforgiving of a woman's quest for fulfilment and personal happiness. Headstrong and honest, her love for Frank was unstoppable. This portrait of her life as his muse and soulmate is a moving, passionate and timeless love story.
Engleby, by Sebastian Faulks Mike Engleby says things that others dare not even think. When the novel opens in the 1970s, he is a university student, having survived a 'traditional' school. A man devoid of scruple or self-pity, Engleby provides a disarmingly frank account of English education.
Yet beneath the disturbing surface of his observations lies an unfolding mystery of gripping power. One of his contemporaries unaccountably disappears, and as we follow Engleby's career, which brings us up to the present day, the reader has to ask: is Engleby capable of telling the whole truth?
The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton Summer 1924: On the eve of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.
Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts awaken and memories, long-consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge; something history has forgotten but Grace never could. A thrilling mystery and a compelling love story.
The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai's Desai takes us to the northeastern Himalayas where a rising insurgency challenges the old way of life. In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge who wants to retire in peace when his orphaned granddaughter Sai arrives on his doorstep. The judge's chatty cook watches over her, but his thoughts are mostly with his son, Biju, hopscotching from one New York restaurant job to another, trying to stay a step ahead of the INS, forced to consider his country's place in the world. When a Nepalese insurgency in the mountains threatens Sai's new-sprung romance with her handsome Nepali tutor and causes their lives to descend into chaos, they, too, are forced to confront their colliding interests. The nation fights itself. The cook witnesses the hierarchy being overturned and discarded. The judge must revisit his past, his own role in this grasping world of conflicting desires-every moment holding out the possibility for hope or betrayal.
Notes from an Exhibition by Patrick Gale Renowned Canadian artist Rachel Kelly - now of Penzance - has buried her past and married a gentle and loving Cornish man. Her life has been a sacrifice to both her extraordinary art and her debilitating manic depression. When troubled artist Rachel Kelly dies painting obsessively in her attic studio in Penzance, her saintly husband and adult children have more than the usual mess to clear up. She leaves behind an extraordinary and acclaimed body of work - but she also leaves a legacy of secrets and emotional damage it will take months to unravel. A wondrous, monstrous creature, she exerts a power that outlives her. To her children she is both curse and blessing, though they all in one way or another reap her whirlwind, inheriting her waywardness, her power of loving - and her demons! Only their father's Quaker gifts of stillness and resilience give them any chance of withstanding her destructive influence and the suspicion that they came a poor second to the creation of her art.The reader becomes a detective, piecing together the clues of a life - as artist, lover, mother, wife and patient - which takes them from contemporary Penzance to 1960s Toronto to St Ives in the 1970s. What emerges is a story of enduring love, and of a family which weathers tragedy, mental illness and the intolerable strain of living with genius.
The We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris They spend their days - and too many of their nights - at work. Away from friends and family, they share a stretch of stained carpet with a group of strangers they call colleagues. There's Chris Yop, clinging to his ergonomic chair; Lynn Mason, the boss, whose breast cancer everyone pretends not to talk about; Carl Garbedian, secretly taking someone else's medication; Marcia Dwyer, whose hair is stuck in the eighties; and Benny, who's just - well, just Benny. Amidst the boredom, redundancies, water cooler moments, meetings, flirtations and pure rage, life is happening, to their great surprise, all around them. Then We Came to the End is about sitting all morning next to someone you cross the road to avoid at lunch. It's the story of your life and mine.
The Memory Keepers Daugther by Kim Edwards The story begins on a snowy night in 1964 when a doctor delivers his own twins and discovers that one of them, the daughter, has been born with Downs Syndrome. In a hasty decision, he gives the daughter to a nurse to take to an institution and tells his wife the baby died. The nurse raises the daughter as her own. The Memory Keeper's Daughter moves through the years, showing how one decision affected every part of two families' lives.