V. S. Naipaul - In a Free State
No writer has rendered our boundariless, post-colonial world more acutely or prophetically than V. S. Naipaul, or given its upheavals such a hauntingly human face. A perfect case in point is this riveting novel, a masterful and stylishly rendered narrative of emigration, dislocation, and dread, accompanied by four supporting narratives. In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people--Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and Linda, a supercilious compound wife-- are driving back to their enclave after a stay in the capital. But in between lies the landscape of an unnamed country whose squalor and ethnic bloodletting suggest Idi Amin's Uganda. And the farther Naipaul's protagonists travel into it, the more they find themselves crossing the line that separates privileged outsiders from horrified victims. Alongside this Conradian tour de force are four incisive portraits of men seeking liberation far from home. By turns funny and terrifying, sorrowful and unsparing, In A Free State is Naipaul at his best.
Alessandro Baricco - City (angol)
The author of the international bestseller Silk now delivers a ravishing and wildly inventive novel about friendship, genius and its discontents, and the redemptive power of narrative. Somewhere in America lives a brilliant boy named Gould, an intellectual guided missile aimed at the Nobel Prize. His only companions are an imaginary giant and an imaginary mute. Improbably—and yet with impeccable logic--he falls into the care of Shatzy Shell, a young woman whose life up till that point has been equally devoid of human connection . Theirs is a relationship of stories and of stories within stories: of Gould’s evolving saga of an underdog boxer and the violent Western that Shatzy has been dictating into a tape recorder since the age of six. Out of these stories, Alessandro Baricco creates a masterpiece of metaphysical pulp fiction that recalls both Scheherazade and Italo Calvino. By turns exhilarating and deeply moving, City is irresistible.
Douglas Coupland - JPod
Already dubbed Microserfs 2.0 by some pundits--a winking allusion to Douglas Coupland's previous novel Microserfs, which similarly chronicled pop-culture-damaged twentysomething misfits flailing, foundering, and occasionally succeeding in the high-tech sector--JPod is, like all of Coupland's novels, a byproduct of its era and yet strangely detached from it. Only this time with a bold and very crafty narrative device: Douglas Coupland, novelist, is a character in Douglas Coupland's novel. Which, when you think about it, makes sense since the type of people Coupland depicts are precisely the type of people who consume Coupland novels. As the once-great comedian Dennis Miller might holler, "Stop him before he sub-references again!" Readers familiar with Coupland's oeuvre know what to expect with the characterizations here. They also know that Coupland on a roll is both savagely observant and laugh-out-loud funny: "Bree was showing someone photos of her recent holiday visiting Korean animation sweathshops. She was bummed because she couldn't get into North Korea: too much legal juju. [She said] 'I just wanted to know what it's like to be in a society with no technology except for three dial telephones and a TV camera they won from Fidel Castro in a game of rock paper scissors.'" Much of the book is like that, built on granular and meandering exchanges between characters about . . . stuff. While JPod's flow is hobbled by some preposterous twists and character traits and by random words, phrases, and numbers splattered gratuitously across successive pages in oversized typeface, it's hard to imagine Coupland fans walking away disappointed. --Kim Hughes --
Douglas Coupland - Generation X
Andy, Dag and Claire have been handed a society beyond their means. Twenty-somethings, brought up with divorce, Watergate and Three Mile Island, and scarred by the 80s fallout of yuppies, recession, crack and Ronald Reagan, they represent the new generation - Generation X. Fiercely suspicious of being lumped together as an advertiser's target market, they have quit dreary careers and cut themselves adrift in the California desert. Unsure of their futures, they immerse themselves in a regime of heavy drinking and working in no future McJobs in the service industry. Underemployed, overeducated and intensely private and unpredicatable, they have nowhere to direct their anger, no one to assuage their fears, and no culture to replace their anomie. So they tell stories: disturbingly funny tales that reveal their barricaded inner world. A world populated with dead TV shows, 'Elvis moments' and semi-disposible Swedish furniture.
Anna Gavalda - I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere
'I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere' explores how a life can be changed irrevocably in just one fateful moment. A pregnant mother's plans for the future unravel at the hospital; a travelling salesman learns the concequences of an almost-missed exit on the motorway in the newapaper the next morning; while a perfect date is spoilt by a single act oh thoughtlessness. In those crucial moments Gavalda demostrates her almost magical skill in conveying love, lust, longing and loneliness. 'Someone I Loved' is a h hauntingly intimate look at the intolerably painful, yet sometimes valuable effects that adultery can have on a marriage and the individuals involved. A simple tale, yet long in substance, 'Someove I Loved' ends like most great love affairs, forever leaving you waiting just one more moment.
Daniel Keyes - The Minds of Billy Milligan
Nominated by The Mystery Writers of America for the "Edgar Award" in the Best True Crime Category. Billy Milligan can be anyone he wants to be... except himself. Out of control of his own actions, Billy Milligan was a man tormented by twenty-four distinct personalities battling for supremacy over his body -- a battle that culminated when he awoke in jail, arrested for the kidnap and rape of three women. In a landmark trial, Billy was acquitted of his crimes by reason of insanity caused by multiple personality --the first such decision in history-- bringing to public light the most remarkable and harrowing case of multiple personality ever recorded. Twenty-four people live inside Billy Milligan. Philip, a petty criminal; Kevin, who dealt drugs and masterminded a drugstore robbery; April whose only ambition was to kill Billy's stepfather; Adalana, the shy, lonely, affection-starved lesbian who "used" Billy's body in the rapes that led to his arrest; David, the eight-year-old "keeper of pain"; Arthur, the Englishman; Ragen, the "keeper of Rage" who possessed incredible strength; Allen, the con man; Tommy, the escape-artist, and all of the others, including men, women, several children, both boys and girls, and the Teacher, the only one who can put them all together. Each of these "people" play a distinct role in this often shocking true story.
Agatha Christie - Poirot Investigates
First there was the mystery of the film star and the diamond ... then came the 'suicide' that was murder ... the mystery of the absurdly cheap flat ... a suspicious death in a locked gun-room ... a million dollar bond robbery ... the curse of a pharoah's tomb ... a jewel robbery by the sea ... the abduction of a Prime Minister ... the disappearance of a banker ... a phone call from a dying man ... and, finally, the mystery of the missing will. What links these fascinating cases? Only the brilliant deductive powers of Hercule Poirot! 'A capital collection ... ingeniously constructed, and told with an engaging lightness of style.' Literary Review
Margaret Atwood - The Edible Woman
Ever since her engagement, the strangest thing has been happening to Marian McAlpin: she can't eat. First meat, then eggs, vegetables, cake, pumpkin seeds -- everything! Worse yet, she has the crazy feeling she's being eaten. She really ought to feel consumed with passion. But she just feels...consumed. A brilliant and powerful work rich in irony and metaphor, The Edible Woman is an unforgettable masterpiece by a true master of contemporary literary fiction.
Douglas Coupland - Hey Nostradamus!
GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE GOD IS NOWHERE GOD IS NOW HERE Cheryl Anway is 'no longer a part of the world and still not yet a part of what follows'. She was pregnant, but she isn't any longer. The morning she went into school to tell her boyfriend -- well, secret husband, in fact -- Jason that they were going to have a baby was the last morning she spent alive. It was a beautiful day in Vancouver, and the world had seemed 'unbearably pretty' to Cheryl. She was sitting with her girlfriends in the school cafeteria as the gunfire started, and watched the three malcontents, students who had dressed up like duck-hunters, give death to their schoolmates one lunch-hour. Ten years on, Jason is the kind of guy you sometimes see, sitting in his car, staring out in silence at nothing in particular -- with, sometimes, a dog at hand to indicate his ability to sustain a relationship. Meanwhile Jason's father loves what God loves, hates what God hates; while his mother is lost to drink. And Jason moves between black-outs and all-too-clear memories of the school shootings and their aftermath. As Jason moves in and out of his own life, between body and soul, he allows the inimitable Douglas Coupland to give us in Hey Nostradamus! perhaps his most soulful and searching story yet.
Irvin D. Yalom - When Nietzsche Wept
From the bestselling author of _Love's Executioner_ comes a riveting blend of fact and fiction, a drama of love, fate, and will, played out against the intellectual ferment of nineteenth century Vienna on the eve of the birth of psychoanalysis. Friedrich Nietzsche, Europe's greatest philosopher... Josef Breuer, one of the founding fathers of psychoanalysis... a secret pact... a young medical intern named Sigmund Freud: these are the elements that combine to create the unforgettable saga of an imagined relationship between an extraordinary patient and a gifted healer. As this compelling novel opens, the unattainable Lou Salome begs Breuer to help treat Nietzsche's suicidal despair using his experimental “talking cure.” As the eminent physician reluctantly accepts the task, he makes a powerful discovery. Only through facing up to his own inner demons can he begin to help his patient. In this compelling novel, two brilliant and enigmatic men plumb the depths of their own romantic obsessions and discover the redemptive power of friendship.
Cecelia Ahern - A Place Called Here
Since Sandy Shortt’s childhood classmate disappeared twenty years ago, Sandy has been obsessed with missing things. Finding becomes her goal- whether it’s the sock that vanished in the washing machine, the car keys she misplaced or the graver issue of finding the people who vanish from their lives. Sandy dedicates her life to finding these missing people, offering devastated families a flicker of hope. Jack Ruttle is one of those desperate people. It’s been a year since his brother Donal vanished into thin air. Thinking Sandy Shortt could well be the answer to his prayers, he embarks on a quest to find her. But when Sandy goes missing too, she stumbles upon the place - and people - she’s been looking for all her life. A world away from her loved ones and the home she ran from for so long, Sandy soon resorts to her old habit again, searching. Though this time, she is desperately trying to find her way home…
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.
Jane Austen - Emma (angol)
Jane Austen teased readers with the idea of a 'heroine whom no one but myself will much like', but Emma is irresistible. 'Handsome, clever, and rich', Emma is also an 'imaginist', 'on fire with speculation and foresight'. She sees the signs of romance all around her, but thinks she will never be married. Her matchmaking maps out relationships that Jane Austen ironically tweaks into a clearer perspective. Judgement and imagination are matched in games the reader too can enjoy, and the end is a triumph of understanding.
Marian Keyes - The Other Side of the Story
Laced with sparkling wit and compassionate insight nobody does it quite like Marian Keyes. Jojo Harvey is a literary agent whose star is on the rise. In love with both her married boss and her burgeoning career, not much distracts her. Until she finds herself representing two women who used to be best friends. Used to be. One of them, Gemma, has suddenly found herself from a broken home at the age of thirty-two. Meanwhile, Lily the woman Gemma has always blamed for stealing her one chance of happiness is enjoying the overnight success of her debut novel. Set in the world of publishing, The Other Side of the Story is about love, loyalty, glass ceilings and survival tactics - and what to do when you get your chance for revenge.
Anthony Burgess - A Clockwork Orange
Fifteen-year-old Alex and his three friends start an evening's mayhem by hitting an old man, tearing up his books and stripping him of money and clothes. Or rather Alex and his three droogs tolchock an old veck, razrez his books, pull off his outer platties and take a malenky bit of cutter. For Alex's confessions are written in 'nadsat' - a teenage argot of a not-too-distant future. Because of his delinquent excesses, Alex is jailed and made subject to 'Ludovico's Technique', a chilling experiment in Reclamation Treatment... Horror farce? Social Prophecy? Penetrating study of human choice between good and evil? A Clockwork Orange is all three, dazzling proof of Anthony Burgess's vast talents.
Quinn Loftis - Just One Drop
Jennifer Adams, best friend to Jacque Pierce and Sally Morgan, spicy, out spoken, a little crazy and human...or so she thought. Jen has just found out that human DNA is not the only thing that resides in her veins, she happens to share that little pesky werewolf gene, although it isn't more than just a drop. Now that she and her friends are living in Romania with Fane's pack, she is also oh so conveniently stuck with the object of her affection, the fur ball Decebel. Drawn to each other by something they don't understand Jen finds herself frustrated by the lack of mating signs between her and said fur ball. Not only is she dealing with that not so un-frustrating problem, she now has been informed that because of that little drop of werewolf blood in her she is now required to attended a multi-pack gathering for un-mated wolves. This type of gathering hasn't taken place in over a century but with a shortage of females among the werewolf population the males are getting worried they won't ever find their true mates. Meanwhile Decebel struggles with the emotions he is feeling towards Jen. He tries to keep his distance but there is just something about the mouthy blonde that keeps him coming back for more of her verbal abuse that he just can't seem to get enough of...go figure.
James Morrow - The Last Witchfinder
Jennet is the daughter of the Witchfinder of Mercia and East Anglia. Whilst her father roams the countryside in search of heretics, Jennet is left behind to be schooled by her aunt Isobel in the New Philosophy principally expounded by Isaac Newton. But her aunt's style of scientific enquiry soon attracts the attention of the witchfinders. To save her aunt, Jennet travels to Cambridge to seek the help of Newton himself. Isobel is burned at the stake but in her dying moments, begs Jennet to devote her life to overturning the Parliamentary Witchcraft Act. This is a huge rollercoaster of a novel as Jennet travels to America and witnesses the Salem witch trials; is abducted by Indians; begins an affair with Benjamin Franklin; travels back to England and finally meets the real Newton; is shipwrecked; then ends up back in America where her brother is now the Witchfinder Royal. In a great final showdown between old superstition and new science, Jennet decides to have herself accused of witchcraft in order to disprove its existence.
Maureen F. McHugh - China Mountain Zhang
Winner of the James Tiptree, Jr. Memorial Award, the Lambda Literary Award, the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and a Hugo and Nebula Award nominee. With this groundbreaking novel, Maureen F. McHugh established herself as one of the decade's best science fiction writers. In its pages, we enter a postrevolution America, moving from the hyperurbanized eastern seaboard to the Arctic bleakness of Baffin Island; from the new Imperial City to an agricultural commune on Mars. The overlapping lives of cyberkite fliers, lonely colonists, illicit neural-pressball players, and organic engineers blend into a powerful, taut story of a young man's journey of discovery. This is a macroscopic world of microscopic intensity, one of the most brilliant visions of modern SF.
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter
America’s first psychological novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a dark tale of love, crime, and revenge set in colonial New England. It revolves around a single, forbidden act of passion that forever alters the lives of three members of a small Puritan community: Hester Prynne, an ardent and fierce woman whobears the punishment of her sin in humble silence; the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a respected public figure who is inwardly tormented by long-hidden guilt; and the malevolent Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband—a man who seethes with an Ahab-like lust for vengeance. The landscape of this classic novel is uniquely American, but the themes it explores are universal—the nature of sin, guilt, and penitence, the clash between our private and public selves, and the spiritual and psychological cost of living outside society. Constructed with the elegance of a Greek tragedy, The Scarlet Letter brilliantly illuminates the truth that lies deep within the human heart.