The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature.
It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove — a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others — who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
Toni Morrison - Beloved
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of 1988, Toni Morrison frees herself from the bonds of traditional narrative and establishes an independent style, just as her characters have freed themselves from the horrors of slavery and escaped from Kentucky to Ohio. Revealing the story of Sethe and her family as they survive the brutality of the farm, only to encounter torments even more punishing than whippings after they escape, Morrison presents scenes in a seemingly random order, each scene revealing some aspect of life for Sethe, her boys, her dead baby Beloved, and the new baby Denver, both in the past and in the present. Moving back and forth, around, and inside out through Sethe's recollections, she gradually reveals Sethe's story to the reader, its horror increasing as the reader makes the connections which turn disconnected scenes into a powerful and harrowing chronology.
Paul Auster - Mr. Vertigo (angol)
Paul Auster's dazzling, picaresque novel is the story of one Walter Claireborne Rawley, renowned nationwide as "Walt the Wonder Boy." It is the late 1920's, the era of Babe Ruth, Charles Lindbergh, and Al Capone, and Walt is a Saint Louis orphan rescued frm the streets by the mysterious Hungarian Master Yehudi, who teaches Walt to walk on air. The vaudeville act that results from Walt's marvelous new abiltiy takes them across a vast and vibrant country, where they meet and fall prey to sinners, thieves, and villains, from the Kansas Ku Klux Klan to the Chicago mob. Walt's rise to fame and fortune mirrors America's own coming of age, and his resilience, like that of the nation, is challenged over and over again. Mr. Vertigo is a bravura celebration of a raucous age, an ambitious and enduringly brilliant tale of trial and triumph.
Jeffrey Eugenides - The Virgin Suicides
First published in 1993, "The Virgin Suicides" announced the arrival of a major new American novelist. In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters--beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys--commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family's fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time. Adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola, "The Virgin Suicides" is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life.
J. D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged. Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America's literary treasures. Salinger's classic coming-of-age story portrays one young man's funny and poignant experiences with life, love, and sex.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
The exemplary novel of the Jazz Age, F. Scott Fitzgeralds' third book, The Great Gatsby (1925), stands as the supreme achievement of his career. T. S. Eliot read it three times and saw it as the "first step" American fiction had taken since Henry James; H. L. Mencken praised "the charm and beauty of the writing," as well as Fitzgerald's sharp social sense; and Thomas Wolfe hailed it as Fitzgerald's "best work" thus far. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when, The New York Times remarked, "gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession," it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s that resonates with the power of myth. A novel of lyrical beauty yet brutal realism, of magic, romance, and mysticism, The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.
Ernest Hemingway - Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises
Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises tells the story of Jake Barnes, an expatriate living in Paris. He was wounded in World War I, and is now a journalist who spends his time drinking with other American expatriates. The group of characters travel from Paris to Pamplona for the running of the bulls.
Jonathan Franzen - The Corrections
The Corrections is a grandly entertaining novel for the new century-a comic, tragic masterpiece about a family breaking down in an age of easy fixes. After almost fifty years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives. The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, despite clear signs to the contrary, that he is not clinically depressed. The middle child, Chip, has lost his seemingly secure academic job and is failing spectacularly at his new line of work. And Denise, the youngest, has escaped a disastrous marriage only to pour her youth and beauty down the drain of an affair with a married man - or so her mother fears. Desperate for some pleasure to look forward to, Enid has set her heart on an elusive goal: bringing her family together for one last Christmas at home. Stretching from the Midwest at midcentury to the Wall Street and Eastern Europe of today, The Corrections brings an old-fashioned world of civic virtue and sexual inhibitions into violent collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental healthcare, and globalized greed. Richly realistic, darkly hilarious, deeply humane, it confirms Jonathan Franzen as one of our most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.
Thomas Pynchon - Gravity's Rainbow
Winner of the 1973 National Book Award, Gravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the twentieth century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first. Its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force.
Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale
A gripping vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale has become one of the most powerful and most widely read novels of our time. Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. Like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid's Tale has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.
Paul Auster - The Book of Illusions
Six months after losing his wife and two young sons in a plane crash, Vermont professor David Zimmer spends his waking hours mired in alcoholic grief and self-pity. Then, watching television one night, he stumbles upon a lost film by the great silent comedian Hector Mann, and finds himself entranced. His growing obsession with the mystery of Mann's true life story will take Zimmer on a strange and intense journey into a shadow-world of lies, illusions and unexpected love...
Yann Martel - Life of Pi
After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, one solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific.The crew of the surviving vessel consists of a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan, a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger and Pi - a 16-year-old Indian boy.The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary pieces of literary fiction of recent years. Yann Martel's Life of Pi is a transformative novel, a dazzling work of imagination that will delight and astound readers in equal measure. It is a triumph of storytelling and a tale that will, as one character puts it, make you believe in God.
E. Annie Proulx - Kikötői hírek
Egy csomó különc alak él egy lehetetlen helyen, mind úgy tesznek, mintha ők volnának a világ közepe, s mire az olvasó befejezi a könyvet, rájön, hogy tényleg ők a világ közepe. A helyszín Új-Fundland, ez az eső, hó, jég, vihar és ár verte sziget, melynek partjainál hajdan még a Titanic is elsüllyedt. Ez a sziget olyan terméketlen, hogy mindent, még az alapvető élelmiszereket is importálnia kell. Annyira az isten háta mögött van, hogy lakóinak napi szórakozása a vérfertőzés, a családtaggyilkolás és az öngyilkosság. A világ híreiből csak arra kíváncsiak, amit a helyi lap riportere recsegő rádióján befog és zanzásítva közöl. Igazából a Kikötői hírek rovatra sincs szükség, mégis ezt bízzák a kétbalkezes Quoyle-ra, a mű antihősére, aki nagynénje rábeszélésére hagyja ott New Yorkot és települ vissza ősei szülőföldjére. Maga a szerencsétlen, zűrös hétköznapi élet nyüzsög, fortyog ebben a páratlanul eredeti regényben, az élet komédiája zajlik harsány színfalak előtt - s az élet szépsége, lényege, maga a hétköznapiság magasztosul fel megrendítően a szemünk láttára.
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies...' A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation. The narrators of _Cloud Atlas_ hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small. In his extraordinary third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity's dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.
Jeffrey Eugenides - Öngyilkos szüzek
Öt lánytestvér, öt rejtélyes, megmagyarázhatatlan öngyilkosság. Pedig a lányok szépek voltak, és még annyi minden állt előttük. Miért pazarolták el feleslegesen az életüket? Miért választották az élet helyett a halált? Mi volt az igazi ok? Korszellem? Predesztináció? A szigorú szülők, akik mindenben a fertőzést látva az egészségeset is elpusztították? A szerző feszült légkörű regényében a lélek sötét zugai tárulnak az olvasó elé, elfojtott vágyak, eltorzult emberi viszonyok, melyek tragédiát szülnek. A 70-es évek amerikai kisvárosában játszódó történet egyszerre hátborzongató, kísérteties, humoros, lebilincselő és összességében mélyen emberi.
Zadie Smith - White Teeth
One of the most talked about fictional debuts of recent years, _White Teeth_ is a funny, generous, big-hearted novel, adored by critics and readers alike. Dealing - among many other things - with friendship, love, war, three cultures and three families over three generations, one brown mouse, and the tricky way the past has of coming back and biting you on the ankle, it is a life-affirming, riotous must-read of a book.
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
'Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.' A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this enchanting classic - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is prickled by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much...
Toni Morrison - Sula
Sula and Nel are two young black girls: clever and poor, they grow up together sharing their secrets, dreams and happiness. Then Sula breaks free from their small-town community in the uplands of Ohio to roam the cities of America. When she returns ten years later much has changed. Including Nel, who now has a husband and three children. The friendship between the two women becomes strained and the whole town grows wary as Sula continues in her wayward, vagabond and uncompromising ways.
Yann Martel - Pi élete
Pi Patel különös fiú. Egyesek szerint (közéjük tartoznak a szülei is) bogaras. Tizenhat évesen elhatározza, hogy nemcsak hindu akar lenni (születésénél fogva az), hanem keresztény és moszlim is. És keresztül is viszi az akaratát: nemcsak hogy megkeresztelkedik, de beszerez egy imaszőnyeget is. Hősünknek már a neve is furcsa: keresztnevét - Piscine Molitor - egy párizsi uszodáról kapta. Iskolatársai persze Pisisnek csúfolják, mire ő lerövidíti a nevét, és a gyengébbek kedvéért felírja a táblára: π=3,14. Az is furcsa, hogy egy állatkertben lakik Pondicherry városában, amelynek apja a tulajdonosa és vezetője. És éppen itt kezdődnek a bajok: az állatkert nem jövedelmező - a család úgy dönt, hogy eladja az állományt, s átköltöznek Kanadába. Az Észak-Amerikába szánt példányok egy része velük utazik a Cimcum nevű teherhajón. A hajó egy éjszaka valahol a Csendes-óceán kellős közepén elsüllyed. Az egyetlen túlélő Pi Patel - valamint egy mentőcsónak-rakományra való állat: egy zebra, egy orangután, egy hiéna - és egy bengáli tigris! Kezdetét veszi a jámbor, vallásos és vegetáriánus Pi több mint kétszáz napos hányódása a végtelen vizeken. Vajon mennyi és miféle leleményességre van szükség ahhoz, hogy egy kamasz gyerek meg egy két és fél mázsás tigris kialakítson valamiféle békés egymás mellett élést? S ha ez sikerül is, honnan és hogyan szereznek ételt-italt ilyen hosszú időn át? Egyáltalán: mivel telhet ilyen hosszú idő a végtelen, de korántsem kihalt tengeren? Milyen kalandok, milyen élmények várnak rájuk? Meg lehet-e úszni ép ésszel az ilyesmit? A Spanyolországban született, Kanadában élő Yann Martel egy csapásra világhírű lett ezzel a lebilincselően izgalmas és fájdalmasan szép könyvvel, amellyel elnyerte a Booker-díjat is.
Toni Morrison - Song of Solomon
This is the story of Macon ''Milkman'' Dead, as he makes a voyage of rediscovery, travelling southwards geographically and inwards spiritually. Through the enlightenment of one man the novel recapitulates the history of slavery and liberation.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Half of a Yellow Sun
Winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2007, this is a heartbreaking, exquisitely written literary masterpiece. This highly anticipated novel from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is set in Nigeria during the 1960s, at the time of a vicious civil war in which a million people died and thousands were massacred in cold blood. The three main characters in the novel are swept up in the violence during these turbulent years. One is a young boy from a poor village who is employed at a university lecturer's house. The other is a young middle-class woman, Olanna, who has to confront the reality of the massacre of her relatives. And the third is a white man, a writer who lives in Nigeria for no clear reason, and who falls in love with Olanna's twin sister, a remote and enigmatic character. As these people's lives intersect, they have to question their own responses to the unfolding political events. This extraordinary novel is about Africa in a wider sense: about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race; and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things.