Books to die for

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    Apr 24, 2017 12:28 PM GMT
    Does anyone like to read here? I am a bibliophile. I feel terrible when I am kept away from books for a long period of time. As one author eloquently summed up my sentiments on books, i.e. - "Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home."

    I want to ask all of you what are some good - if not outright great - books you have read? Let this be a thread for book recommendation. I know there was one that existed years ago but I cannot seem to find it. Hence, the new thread.
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    Apr 24, 2017 12:42 PM GMT
    Let me start off with a few good books that I read in the past year or two that I can recall off my head

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    Baldwin's haunting and controversial second novel is his most sustained treatment of sexuality, and a classic of gay literature. In a 1950s Paris swarming with expatriates and characterized by dangerous liaisons and hidden violence, an American finds himself unable to repress his impulses, despite his determination to live the conventional life he envisions for himself. After meeting and proposing to a young woman, he falls into a lengthy affair with an Italian bartender and is confounded and tortured by his sexual identity as he oscillates between the two.

    Examining the mystery of love and passion in an intensely imagined narrative, Baldwin creates a moving and complex story of death and desire that is revelatory in its insight.

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    Every Thursday morning for two years in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a bold and inspired teacher named Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran, fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, and a blind censor stifled artistic expression, the girls in Azar Nafisi's living room risked removing their veils and immersed themselves in the worlds of Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, and Vladimir Nabokov. In this extraordinary memoir, their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading. Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature.

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    Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

    A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

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    A train stops at a railway station. A young woman jumps off. She has wild hair, sloppy clothes, a distracted air. She looks Indian, yet she is somehow not. The sudden violence of what happens next leaves the other passengers gasping. The train terminates at Jarmuli, a temple town by the sea. Here, among pilgrims, priests and ashrams, three old women disembark only to encounter the girl once again. What is someone like her doing in this remote corner, which attracts only worshippers? Over the next five days, the old women live out their long-planned dream of a holiday together; their temple guide finds ecstasy in forbidden love; and the girl is joined by a photographer battling his own demons. The full force of the evil and violence beneath the serene surface of the town becomes evident when their lives overlap and collide. Unexpected connections are revealed between devotion and violence, friendship and fear as Jarmuli is revealed as a place with a long, dark past that transforms all who encounter it. This is a stark and unflinching novel by a spellbinding storyteller, about religion, love, and violence in the modern world.

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    In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying, but before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.

    Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.

    Full of Ozeki’s signature humour and deeply engaged with the relationship between writer and reader, past and present, fact and fiction, quantum physics, history, and myth, A Tale for the Time Being is a brilliantly inventive, beguiling story of our shared humanity and the search for home

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    A triptych of beautifully crafted novellas make up Anita Desai’s exquisite new book. Set in modern India, but where history still casts a long shadow, the stories move beyond the cities to places still haunted by the past, and to characters who are, each in their own way, masters of self-effacement.

    In ‘The Museum of Final Journeys’ an unnamed government official is called upon to inspect a faded mansion of forgotten treasures, each sent home by the absent, itinerant master. As he is taken through the estate, wondering whether to save these precious relics, he reaches the final – greatest – gift of all, looming out of the shadows.

    In ‘Translator, Translated’, middle-aged Prema meets her successful publisher friend Tara at a school reunion. Tara hires her as a translator, but Prema, buoyed by her work and the sense of purpose it brings, begins deliberately to blur the line between writer and translator, and in so doing risks unravelling her desires and achievements.

    The final story is of Ravi, living hermit-like in the burnt-out shell of his family home high up in the Himalayan mountains. He cultivates not only silence and solitude but a secret hidden away in the woods, concealed from sight. When a film crew from Delhi intrude upon his seclusion, it compels him to withdraw even further until he magically and elusively disappears…

    Rich and evocative, remarkable in their clarity and sensuous in their telling, these stories remind us of the extraordinary yet delicate power of this pre-eminent writer.

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    In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

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    Apr 24, 2017 5:51 PM GMT
    For something different I'd recommend the Temeraire series. Definitely #1 on my top 5 list.
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    Apr 24, 2017 8:13 PM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal saidFor something different I'd recommend the Temeraire series. Definitely #1 on my top 5 list.


    I like that suggestion. I never knew that this author existed.
  • Tawrich

    Posts: 127

    Apr 25, 2017 2:54 AM GMT
    God of small things - ahrundati roy
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    Apr 25, 2017 5:17 AM GMT
    Tawrich saidGod of small things - ahrundati roy


    God of small things is a good book. I read that one a few years ago. Arundhati Roy is releasing her first work of fiction since God of Small Things (1997) this year. It's been two decades. She has also written some non-fiction in the meantime. Have you read any of it?
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    Apr 25, 2017 7:12 AM GMT
    I read a lot back in college and in my 20s, not so much anymore. Well if you consider gay magazines, gq and travel books lol.
    But some of these books stand out, I still love these books.

    ** Amy Tan - Joy Luck Club (About Chinese American women cultural differences)
    ** Dickens - Great Expectations, (Read in 10th grade, still love it)
    ** Michael Ondaajte - The English Patient
    ** V. Woolf - To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway
    ** Hemingway - the Sun Also Rises
    * Sun Tzu - the Art of War
    ** Jane Austen - Emma
    and I recently just read a couple of travel books on Japan, China and France. icon_smile.gif


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    Apr 25, 2017 8:13 AM GMT
    laxwill10 saidI read a lot back in college and in my 20s, not so much anymore. Well if you consider gay magazines, gq and travel books lol.
    But some of these books stand out, I still love these books.

    ** Amy Tan - Joy Luck Club (About Chinese American women cultural differences)
    ** Dickens - Great Expectations, (Read in 10th grade, still love it)
    ** Michael Ondaajte - The English Patient
    ** V. Woolf - To the Lighthouse and Mrs. Dalloway
    ** Hemingway - the Sun Also Rises
    * Sun Tzu - the Art of War
    ** Jane Austen - Emma
    and I recently just read a couple of travel books on Japan, China and France. icon_smile.gif




    Joy Luck Club is full of delight. I really enjoyed it.

    Great Expectations is also nice, if only the end was clumsy and exalted . But it is understandable, given that Dickens wrote the novel in periodicals and had to face a mounted public pressure. Miss Havisham is unforgettable in its characterisation. I prefer Dickens' Bleak House to Great Expectation. I also enjoyed 'A Tale of Two Cities'. You should try Michel Faber's 'Crimson Petal and the White', an extraordinary work with the same Dickensian punch of ludicrous hilarity.

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    I have come close to reading English Patient and Mrs Dalloway but somehow I always end up favouring other books. I did give English Patient a try but I kept falling asleep. I think I tried Ondaajte on one of those days when you have little patience for the book to take its time and warm up to you. Mrs Dalloway, on the hand, I am yet to even touch it but I enjoyed To The Lighthouse. Virginia Woolf reminds me of Anita Desai. I should say the opposite perhaps, given that Virginia Woolf precedes Anita Desai in generation.

    I have read Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea. I m not too high on his work though. Technically, his work is fluent but the collective effect is rather numb. Similarly, I have only read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but I love her work which seems innocent at first but its intelligence begins to surface if you start paying attention to the silence of her characters.

    Sun Tzu's The Art of War has been on my reading list for a long time but I have not been able to get hold of it anywhere.



  • HarborFighter

    Posts: 79

    Apr 25, 2017 10:47 AM GMT
    YUKIO MISHIMA

    The Sea of Fertility Tetralogy, which consists of four books:

    Spring Snow

    Runaway Horses

    The Temple of Dawn

    The Decay of the Angel

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    Apr 25, 2017 6:44 PM GMT
    HarborFighter saidYUKIO MISHIMA

    The Sea of Fertility Tetralogy, which consists of four books:

    Spring Snow

    Runaway Horses

    The Temple of Dawn

    The Decay of the Angel



    I love Yukio Mishima. I don't have much access to the ones you mentioned but I loved reading Confessions of a Mask.
  • Nakedman1969

    Posts: 288

    Apr 25, 2017 7:00 PM GMT
    Anything Dean Koontz or Sue Grafton.
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    Apr 25, 2017 9:08 PM GMT
    ricky1987 said
    HarborFighter saidYUKIO MISHIMA
    The Sea of Fertility Tetralogy, which consists of four books:
    Spring Snow
    Runaway Horses
    The Temple of Dawn
    The Decay of the Angel
    I love Yukio Mishima. I don't have much access to the ones you mentioned but I loved reading Confessions of a Mask.

    I found his books to often be sad and depressing. When I was younger I could read sad stories and feel enriched or something by them, but now that I'm older they're just sad and unenjoyable.
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    Apr 25, 2017 9:51 PM GMT
    Lumpyoatmeal said
    ricky1987 said
    HarborFighter saidYUKIO MISHIMA
    The Sea of Fertility Tetralogy, which consists of four books:
    Spring Snow
    Runaway Horses
    The Temple of Dawn
    The Decay of the Angel
    I love Yukio Mishima. I don't have much access to the ones you mentioned but I loved reading Confessions of a Mask.

    I found his books to often be sad and depressing. When I was younger I could read sad stories and feel enriched or something by them, but now that I'm older they're just sad and unenjoyable.


    I understand where you're coming from. In my teens, I used to read books that were all about entertainment. I found literary works full of dread and morose. In those days Danielle Steel, Sidney Sheldon, Sudha Murthy, Robin Sharma, Khaled Hosseini (I still like his work) and Jeffrey Archer were the writers I enjoyed. The writer who did it for me was Jane Austen. She served as a starting point for more serious literature. I think what a reader should expect out of a good book is not entertainment but engagement. A book has to rise beyond entertainment. We just have to inhale the experience for what it is and the meaning slowly begins to surface (In my case, it is often times when I go outside for a walk, when I cook, when I drive or take a dump icon_razz.gif). Nor fiction has to be about reality and the immediate circumstances of our life that we relate to. As Azar Nafisi said, "What we seek in fiction is not so much the reality but the epiphany of the truth".
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    Apr 25, 2017 10:00 PM GMT
    Nakedman1969 saidAnything Dean Koontz or Sue Grafton.


    I have never come across any work from Sue Grafton but I read Dean Koontz's - Prodigal Son in year 1 of university. I don't remember much of the book but I think I liked it then.
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    Apr 25, 2017 11:19 PM GMT
    Several random good books from my side:

    Arthur C. Clarke: A Space Odyssey - the most absorbing SCI-FI novel I have ever read!
    Dan Simmons: Terror - a British voyage of Arctic exploration led by Captain Sir John Franklin that departed England in 1845 aboard two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. One of the biggest historical riddles captured in a gothic novel.
    Janusz A Zajdl: Limes inferior - a good piece of sociological novel written by a most famous Polish Sci-fi writer.

    Hope you'll like it!
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    Apr 26, 2017 9:11 AM GMT
    Xtro3 saidSeveral random good books from my side:

    Arthur C. Clarke: A Space Odyssey - the most absorbing SCI-FI novel I have ever read!
    Dan Simmons: Terror - a British voyage of Arctic exploration led by Captain Sir John Franklin that departed England in 1845 aboard two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. One of the biggest historical riddles captured in a gothic novel.
    Janusz A Zajdl: Limes inferior - a good piece of sociological novel written by a most famous Polish Sci-fi writer.

    Hope you'll like it!


    Thanks Xtro! Terror sounds very interesting. I will have to look into it.
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    Apr 26, 2017 9:42 AM GMT
    A few more that I think are absolutely fantastic works of literature:

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    Touching and wonderfully funny, In Custody is woven around the yearnings and calamities of a small town scholar in the north of India. An impoverished college lecturer, Deven, sees a way to escape from the meanness of his daily life when he is asked to interview India’s greatest Urdu poet, Nur – a project that can only end in disaster.

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    Set in India's Old Delhi, CLEAR LIGHT OF DAY is Anita Desai's tender, warm, and compassionate novel about family scars, the ability to forgive and forget, and the trials and tribulations of familial love. At the novel's heart are the moving relationships between the members of the Das family, who have grown apart from each other. Bimla is a dissatisfied but ambitious teacher at a women's college who lives in her childhood home, where she cares for her mentally challenged brother, Baba. Tara is her younger, unambitious, estranged sister, married and with children of her own. Raja is their popular, brilliant, and successful brother. When Tara returns for a visit with Bimla and Baba, old memories and tensions resurface and blend into a domestic drama that is intensely beautiful and leads to profound self-understanding

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    A "beautifully written, richly textured, and haunting story" (Chaim Potok), BAUMGARTNER'S BOMBAY is Anita Desai's classic novel of the Holocaust era, a story of profound emotional wounds of war and its exiles. The novel follows Hugo Baumgartner as he flees Nazi Germany -- and his Jewish heritage -- for India, only to be imprisoned as a hostile alien and then released to Bombay at war's end. In this tale of a man who, "like a figure in a Greek tragedy . . . seems to elude his destiny" (NEW LEADER), Desai's "capacious intelligence, her unsentimental compassion" (NEW REPUBLIC) reach their full height.

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    The award-winning translation of Dostoevsky's last and greatest novel.

    The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia, that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia.

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    Bazarov—a gifted, impatient, and caustic young man—has journeyed from school to the home of his friend Arkady Kirsanov. But soon Bazarov’s outspoken rejection of authority and social conventions touches off quarrels, misunderstandings, and romantic entanglements that will utterly transform the Kirsanov household and reflect the changes taking place all across nineteenth-century Russia.

    Fathers and Sons enraged the old and the young, reactionaries, romantics, and radicals alike when it was first published. At the same time, Turgenev won the acclaim of Flaubert, Maupassant, and Henry James for his craftsmanship as a writer and his psychological insight. Fathers and Sons is now considered one of the world’s greatest novels.

    A timeless depiction of generational conflict during social upheaval, it vividly portrays the clash between the older Russian aristocracy and the youthful radicalism that foreshadowed the revolution to come—and offers modern-day readers much to reflect upon as they look around at their own tumultuous, changing world.

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    When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.

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    '"But you do," he went on, not waiting for contradiction. "You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it ..."

    Lucy has her rigid, middle-class life mapped out for her until she visits Florence with her uptight cousin Charlotte, and finds her neatly ordered existence thrown off balance. Her eyes are opened by the unconventional characters she meets at the Pension Bertolini: flamboyant romantic novelist Eleanor Lavish, the Cockney Signora, curious Mr Emerson and, most of all, his passionate son George.

    Lucy finds herself torn between the intensity of life in Italy and the repressed morals of Edwardian England, personified in her terminally dull fiancé Cecil Vyse. Will she ever learn to follow her own heart?

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    The Lamberts – Enid and Alfred and their three grown-up children – are a troubled family living in a troubled age. Alfred is ill and as his condition worsens the whole family must face the failures, secrets and long-buried hurts that haunt them if they are to make the corrections that each desperately needs. Stretching from the Midwest in the mid-century to Wall Street and Eastern Europe in the age of globalised greed, The Corrections brings an old-time America of freight trains and civic duty into wild collision with the era of home surveillance, hands-off parenting, do-it-yourself mental healthcare, and New Economy millionaires. It announces Jonathan Franzen as one of the most brilliant interpreters of American society and the American soul.
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    When Quoyle's two-timing wife meets her just desserts, he retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home on the starkly beautiful Newfoundland coast, where a rich cast of local characters and family members all play a part in Quoyle's struggle to reclaim his life. As Quoyle confronts his private demons--and the unpredictable forces of nature and society--he begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery. A vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary North American family, The Shipping News shows why Annie Proulx is recognized as one of the most gifted and original writers in America today.

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    The incomparable Alice Munro's bestselling and rapturously acclaimed Runaway is a book of extraordinary stories about love and its infinite betrayals and surprises, from the title story about a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband, to three stories about a woman named Juliet and the emotions that complicate the luster of her intimate relationships. In Munro's hands, the people she writes about women of all ages and circumstances, and their friends, lovers, parents, and children become as vivid as our own neighbors. It is her miraculous gift to make these stories as real and unforgettable as our own.

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    To call the families in these 15 stories dysfunctional would be an understatement. Gallant's characters are misplaced even in location--not French, British, or American, they always seem uncomfortable in their surroundings. The tension can be heard in smooth narration, conveying frustration without the contrivance of stilted accents. Gallant (who has lived in Paris since 1951) deftly conveys innocence through the child's or grown child's perspective. The first story, "The Fenton Child," immediately grips the readers, and the rest of the book doesn't release its choke hold.
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    Apr 26, 2017 10:08 AM GMT
    A few more:

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    Haunted by dreams of an unforgettable loss, Rahul, a young man of thirty living in San Francisco, suddenly becomes secretive and withdraws from his partner Andrew. When Andrew discovers that Rahul is still interviewing girls sent by his parents for an arranged marriage, he gives Rahul an ultimatum-stop living a lie, or give up their relationship. In response, Rahul tells Andrew a story. About a boy who lived in a palace. A boy named Rahul. Set in San Francisco today and in India in the early 1970s, My Magical Palace is a sensitive tale about a boy's coming of age, and the many hurdles he must cross to heal and find himself.

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    Tolstoy's epic masterpiece intertwines the lives of private and public individuals during the time of the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion of Russia. The fortunes of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys, of Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, are intimately connected with the national history that is played out in parallel with their lives. Balls and soirees alternate with councils of war and the machinations of statesmen and generals, scenes of violent battles with everyday human passions in a work whose extraordinary imaginative power has never been surpassed.

    The prodigious cast of characters, seem to act and move as if connected by threads of destiny as the novel relentlessly questions ideas of free will, fate, and providence. Yet Tolstoy's portrayal of marital relations and scenes of domesticity is as truthful and poignant as the grand themes that underlie them.

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    This epic tale about the effects of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath on a bourgeois family was not published in the Soviet Union until 1987. One of the results of its publication in the West was Pasternak's complete rejection by Soviet authorities; when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958 he was compelled to decline it. The book quickly became an international best-seller.

    Dr. Yury Zhivago, Pasternak's alter ego, is a poet, philosopher, and physician whose life is disrupted by the war and by his love for Lara, the wife of a revolutionary. His artistic nature makes him vulnerable to the brutality and harshness of the Bolsheviks. The poems he writes constitute some of the most beautiful writing in the novel.

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    Returning to Russia from a sanitarium in Switzerland, the Christ-like epileptic Prince Myshkin finds himself enmeshed in a tangle of love, torn between two women—the notorious kept woman Nastasya and the pure Aglaia—both involved, in turn, with the corrupt, money-hungry Ganya.

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    Ivan Petrovich Belkin left behind a great number of manuscripts.... Most of them, as Ivan Petrovich told me, were true stories heard from various people.

    First published anonymously in 1830, Alexander Pushkin’s Tales of Belkin contains his first prose works. It is comprised of an introductory note and five linked stories, ostensibly collected by the scholar Ivan Belkin. The stories center variously around military figures, the wealthy, and businessmen; this beautiful novella gives a vivid portrait of nineteenth century Russian life.

    It has become, as well, one of the most beloved books in Russian literary history, and symbolic of the popularity of the novella form in Russia. In fact, it has become the namesake for Russia’s most prestigious annual literary prize, the Belkin Prize, given each year to a book voted by judges to be the best novella of the year.

    It is presented here in a sparkling new translation by Josh Billings. Tales of Belkin also highlights the nature of our ongoing Art of the Novella Series—that is, that it specializes in important although albeit lesser-known works by major writers, often in new tranlsations.

    The Art of The Novella Series

    Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time

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    Through the story of the brilliant but conflicted young Raskolnikov and the murder he commits, Fyodor Dostoevsky explores the theme of redemption through suffering. Crime and Punishment put Dostoevsky at the forefront of Russian writers when it appeared in 1866 and is now one of the most famous and influential novels in world literature.

    The poverty-stricken Raskolnikov, a talented student, devises a theory about extraordinary men being above the law, since in their brilliance they think “new thoughts” and so contribute to society. He then sets out to prove his theory by murdering a vile, cynical old pawnbroker and her sister. The act brings Raskolnikov into contact with his own buried conscience and with two characters — the deeply religious Sonia, who has endured great suffering, and Porfiry, the intelligent and discerning official who is charged with investigating the murder — both of whom compel Raskolnikov to feel the split in his nature. Dostoevsky provides readers with a suspenseful, penetrating psychological analysis that goes beyond the crime — which in the course of the novel demands drastic punishment — to reveal something about the human condition: The more we intellectualize, the more imprisoned we become

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    Mikhail Bulgakov's devastating satire of Soviet life was written during the darkest period of Stalin's regime. Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts—one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow—the novel veers from moods of wild theatricality with violent storms, vampire attacks, and a Satanic ball; to such somber scenes as the meeting of Pilate and Yeshua, and the murder of Judas in the moonlit garden of Gethsemane; to the substanceless, circus-like reality of Moscow. Its central characters, Woland (Satan) and his retinue—including the vodka-drinking black cat, Behemoth; the poet, Ivan Homeless; Pontius Pilate; and a writer known only as The Master, and his passionate companion, Margarita—exist in a world that blends fantasy and chilling realism, an artful collage of grotesqueries, dark comedy, and timeless ethical questions.

    Though completed in 1940, "The Master and Margarita" wasn't published in Moscow until 1966, when the first part appeared in the magazine "Moskva." It was an immediate and enduring success: audiences responded with great enthusiasm to its expression of artistic and spiritual freedom.

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    Nobel Prize-winner Yasunari Kawabata's Snow Country is widely considered to be the writer's masterpiece, a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan.

    At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, despite knowing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome. In chronicling the course of this doomed romance, Kawabata has created a story for the ages, a stunning novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.

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    Apr 26, 2017 10:23 AM GMT
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    HILARY MANTEL is one of Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed writers. In these ten bracingly transgressive tales, all her gifts of characterisation and observation are fully engaged, ushering concealed horrors into the light. Childhood cruelty is played out behind the bushes in 'Comma'; nurses clash in 'Harley Street' over something more than professional differences; and in the title story, staying in for the plumber turns into an ambiguous and potentially deadly waiting game.

    Whether set in a claustrophobic Saudi Arabian flat or on a precarious mountain road on a Greek island, these stories share an insight into the darkest recesses of the spirit. Displaying all of Mantel's unmistakable style and wit, they reveal a great writer at the peak of her powers.

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    In a Nigerian town in the mid 1990's, four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family.

    Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers.

    Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fishermen never leaves Akure but the story it tells has enormous universal appeal. Seen through the prism of one family's destiny, this is an essential novel about Africa with all of its contradictions: economic, political, and religious; and with the epic beauty of its own culture.

    With this bold debut, Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the most original new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation's masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose

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    A freshly observed, joyful and wrenching, funny and true new novel from Anne Tyler

    "It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. from Red's father and mother, newly-arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red's grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor.

    Brimming with all the insight, humour, and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of Anne Tyler's work, A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.

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    The demands of human longing contend with the weight of centuries of custom in acclaimed author Ha Jin's Waiting, a novel of unexpected richness and universal resonance. Every summer Lin Kong, a doctor in the Chinese Army, returns to his village to end his loveless marriage with the humble and touchingly loyal Shuyu. But each time Lin must return to the city to tell Manna Wu, the educated, modern nurse he loves, that they will have to postpone their engagement once again. Caught between conflicting claims of these two utterly different women and trapped by a culture in which adultery can ruin lives and careers, Lin has been waiting for eighteen years. This year, he promises, will be different.

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    An exciting literary debut: the unflinching and powerful story of a young girl's journey out of Zimbabwe and to America.

    Darling is only ten years old, and yet she must navigate a fragile and violent world. In Zimbabwe, Darling and her friends steal guavas, try to get the baby out of young Chipo's belly, and grasp at memories of Before. Before their homes were destroyed by paramilitary policemen, before the school closed, before the fathers left for dangerous jobs abroad.


    But Darling has a chance to escape: she has an aunt in America. She travels to this new land in search of America's famous abundance only to find that her options as an immigrant are perilously few. NoViolet Bulawayo's debut calls to mind the great storytellers of displacement and arrival who have come before her-from Junot Diaz to Zadie Smith to J.M. Coetzee-while she tells a vivid, raw story all her own.

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    Anne Enright is a dazzling writer of international stature and one of Ireland’s most singular voices. Now she delivers The Gathering, a moving, evocative portrait of a large Irish family and a shot of fresh blood into the Irish literary tradition, combining the lyricism of the old with the shock of the new. The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him—something that happened in their grandmother’s house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations her distinctive intelligence twists the world a fraction and gives it back to us in a new and unforgettable light. The Gathering is a daring, witty, and insightful family epic, clarified through Anne Enright’s unblinking eye. It is a novel about love and disappointment, about how memories warp and secrets fester, and how fate is written in the body, not in the stars.

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    In this stunning work of historical fiction, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America—a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record.

    In 1527, the conquistador Pánfilo de Narváez sailed from the port of Sanlúcar de Barrameda with a crew of six hundred men and nearly a hundred horses. His goal was to claim what is now the Gulf Coast of the United States for the Spanish crown and, in the process, become as wealthy and famous as Hernán Cortés.

    But from the moment the Narváez expedition landed in Florida, it faced peril—navigational errors, disease, starvation, as well as resistance from indigenous tribes. Within a year there were only four survivors: the expedition’s treasurer, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; a Spanish nobleman named Alonso del Castillo Maldonado; a young explorer named Andrés Dorantes de Carranza; and Dorantes’s Moroccan slave, Mustafa al-Zamori, whom the three Spaniards called Estebanico. These four survivors would go on to make a journey across America that would transform them from proud conquis-tadores to humble servants, from fearful outcasts to faith healers.

    The Moor’s Account brilliantly captures Estebanico’s voice and vision, giving us an alternate narrative for this famed expedition. As the dramatic chronicle unfolds, we come to understand that, contrary to popul
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    Apr 26, 2017 10:24 AM GMT
    Sorry for putting so many books at once. While on this thread, I just had a splash of some good books I have read over the years.
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    Apr 26, 2017 8:28 PM GMT
    It is said not to judge book by its cover , yet you're posting them. You left us no choice!
    Post some back covers, at least we'll know what to expect.
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    Apr 27, 2017 8:38 AM GMT
    Xtro3 saidIt is said not to judge book by its cover , yet you're posting them. You left us no choice!
    Post some back covers, at least we'll know what to expect.


    Ha-ha. I judge books by the covers all the time. When I step into a bookstore, I always pick up the book by its design first (and the author's name: some names are meant to be avoided, while others are to be bought without question) then I look at the back of the cover or inside the front cover to check out its synopsis and read the first 5-6 pages to get a feel of the book.

    These days, I have a certain fascination with book covers. Once I am done reading the book, I like to scrutinise the cover. The cover of a book is art in its own right.

    But yes let me put the synopsis of the books I have mentioned under the cover.
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    Apr 27, 2017 8:57 AM GMT
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    From the 2015 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Svetlana Alexievich, comes the first English translation of her latest work, an oral history of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new Russia.

    Bringing together dozens of voices in her distinctive documentary style, Secondhand Time is a monument to the collapse of the USSR, charting the decline of Soviet culture and speculating on what will rise from the ashes of Communism.

    As in all her books, Alexievich gives voice to women and men whose stories are lost in the official narratives of nation-states, creating a powerful alternative history from the personal and private stories of individuals.

    Svetlana Alexievich was born in the Ukraine in 1948 and grew up in Belarus. As a newspaper journalist, she spent her early career in Minsk compiling first-hand accounts of World War II, the Soviet-Afghan War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Chernobyl meltdown. Her unflinching work—‘the whole of our history…is a huge common grave and a bloodbath’—earned her persecution from the Lukashenko regime and she was forced to emigrate. She lived in Paris, Gothenburg and Berlin before returning to Minsk in 2011. She has won a number of prizes, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Prix Médicis, and the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award. In 2015, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

    Bela Shayevich is a writer, translator and illustrator. Her translations have appeared in journals such as Little Star, St. Petersburg Review, and Calque. She was the editor of n+1 magazine’s translations of the Pussy Riot closing statements. Of Alexievich’s writing, she says it is ‘resounding with nothing but the truth’.

    ‘The force of her work, the source of its power and plausibility, is the choice of a generation (her own) as a major subject and the close attention to its major inflection point, which was the end of the Soviet Union…Her method is the close interrogation of the past through the collection of individual voices; patient in overcoming cliché, attentive to the unexpected, and restrained in the exposition, her writing reaches those far beyond her own experiences and preoccupations, far beyond her generation, and far beyond the lands of the former Soviet Union.’ New York Review of Books

    ‘For the past thirty or forty years she’s been busy mapping the Soviet and post-Soviet individual. But it’s not really a history of events. It’s a history of emotions.’ Sara Danius, Permanent Secretary, Swedish Academy

    ‘Alexievich builds her narratives about Russian national traumas…by interviewing those who lived them, and immersing herself deeply in their testimonies. But her voice is much more than the sum of their voices.’ New Yorker

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    This is the story of Moses Herzog, a great sufferer, joker, mourner, and charmer. Although his life steadily disintegrates around him - he has failed as a writer and teacher, as a father, and has lost the affection of his wife to his best friend - Herzog sees himself as a survivor, both of his private disasters and those of the age. He writes unsent letters to friends and enemies, colleagues and famous people, revealing his wry perception of the world and the innermost secrets of his heart.

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    So begins this irresistible voyage into the dark side of Victorian London. Amongst an unforgettable cast of low-lifes, physicians, businessmen and prostitutes, meet our heroine, Sugar, a young woman trying to drag herself up from the gutter any way she can. Be prepared for a mesmerising tale of passion, intrigue, ambition and revenge.
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    Apr 27, 2017 9:41 AM GMT
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    Twenty-eight-year-old Will, a teacher living in Montreal's gay village, has spent the last few months recovering from a breakup with his first serious boyfriend, Max. He has resumed his search for companionship, but has he truly moved on? Will's mother Katherine - one of the few people, perhaps the only one, who loves him unconditionally - is also in recovery, from a bout with colon cancer that haunts her body and mind with the possibility of relapse. Having experienced heartbreak, and fearful of tragedy, Will must come to terms with the rule of impermanence: to see past lost treasures and unwanted returns, to find hope and solace in the absolute certainty of change. In The Geography of Pluto, Christopher DiRaddo perfectly captures the ebb and flow of life through the insightful, exciting, and often playful story of a young man's day-to-day struggle with uncertainty.

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    The aging patriarch and matriarch of the Ghosh family preside over their large household, made up of their five adult children and their respective children, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. Each set of family members occupies a floor of the home, in accordance to their standing within the family. Poisonous rivalries between sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business threaten to unravel bonds of kinship as social unrest brews in greater Indian society. This is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider. The eldest grandchild, Supratik, compelled by his idealism, becomes dangerously involved in extremist political activism—an action that further catalyzes the decay of the Ghosh home.


    Ambitious, rich, and compassionate, The Lives of Others anatomizes the soul of a nation as it unfolds a family history, at the same time as it questions the nature of political action and the limits of empathy. It is a novel of unflinching power and emotional force.

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    “It was the happiest moment of my life, though I didn’t know it.”

    So begins the new novel, his first since winning the Nobel Prize, from the universally acclaimed author of Snow and My Name Is Red.

    It is 1975, a perfect spring in Istanbul. Kemal, scion of one of the city’s wealthiest families, is about to become engaged to Sibel, daughter of another prominent family, when he encounters Füsun, a beautiful shopgirl and a distant relation. Once the long-lost cousins violate the code of virginity, a rift begins to open between Kemal and the world of the Westernized Istanbul bourgeosie—a world, as he lovingly describes it, with opulent parties and clubs, society gossip, restaurant rituals, picnics, and mansions on the Bosphorus, infused with the melancholy of decay—until finally he breaks off his engagement to Sibel. But his resolve comes too late.

    For eight years Kemal will find excuses to visit another Istanbul, that of the impoverished backstreets where Füsun, her heart now hardened, lives with her parents, and where Kemal discovers the consolations of middle-class life at a dinner table in front of the television. His obsessive love will also take him to the demimonde of Istanbul film circles (where he promises to make Füsun a star), a scene of seedy bars, run-down cheap hotels, and small men with big dreams doomed to bitter failure. In his feckless pursuit, Kemal becomes a compulsive collector of objects that chronicle his lovelorn progress and his afflicted heart’s reactions: anger and impatience, remorse and humiliation, deluded hopes of recovery, and daydreams that transform Istanbul into a cityscape of signs and specters of his beloved, from whom now he can extract only meaningful glances and stolen kisses in cars, movie houses, and shadowy corners of parks. A last change to realize his dream will come to an awful end before Kemal discovers that all he finally can possess, certainly and eternally, is the museum he has created of his collection, this map of a society’s manners and mores, and of one man’s broken heart.

    A stirring exploration of the nature of romantic attachment and of the mysterious allure of collecting, The Museum of Innocence also plumbs the depths of an Istanbul half Western and half traditional—its emergent modernity, its vast cultural history. This is Orhan Pamuk’s greatest achievement.

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    A major work…conscience-ridden and carefully wrought, tonic in its scope, candor, and humor…with suspense at every dimpled vortex." — John Updike, The New Yorker

    Dread, yearning, identity, intrigue, the lethal chemistry between secular doubt and Islamic fanaticism–these are the elements that Orhan Pamuk anneals in this masterful, disquieting novel.

    An exiled poet named Ka returns to Turkey and travels to the forlorn city of Kars. His ostensible purpose is to report on a wave of suicides among religious girls forbidden to wear their head-scarves. But Ka is also drawn by his memories of the radiant Ipek, now recently divorced.

    Amid blanketing snowfall and universal suspicion, Ka finds himself pursued by figures ranging from Ipek’s ex-husband to a charismatic terrorist. A lost gift returns with ecstatic suddenness. A theatrical evening climaxes in a massacre. And finding God may be the prelude to losing everything else.

    Touching, slyly comic, and humming with cerebral suspense, Snow is of immense relevance to our present moment.
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    Apr 27, 2017 9:48 AM GMT
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    From one of Turkey's most acclaimed and outspoken writers, a novel about the tangled histories of two families

    In her second novel written in English, Elif Shafak confronts her country's violent past in a vivid and colorful tale set in both Turkey and the United States. At its center is the "bastard" of the title, Asya, a nineteen-year-old woman who loves Johnny Cash and the French Existentialists, and the four sisters of the Kazancı family who all live together in an extended household in Istanbul: Zehila, the zestful, headstrong youngest sister who runs a tattoo parlor and is Asya's mother; Banu, who has newly discovered herself as a clairvoyant; Cevriye, a widowed high school teacher; and Feride, a hypochondriac obsessed with impending disaster. Their one estranged brother lives in Arizona with his wife and her Armenian daughter, Armanoush. When Armanoush secretly flies to Istanbul in search of her identity, she finds the Kazancı sisters and becomes fast friends with Asya. A secret is uncovered that links the two families and ties them to the 1915 Armenian deportations and massacres. Full of vigorous, unforgettable female characters, The Bastard of Istanbul is a bold, powerful tale that will confirm Shafak as a rising star of international fiction.

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    The Siege by Ismail Kadare, winner of the Man Booker International Prize (2005)

    In the early fifteenth century, as winter falls away, the people of Albania know that their fate is sealed. They have refused to negotiate with the Ottoman Empire, and war is now inevitable. Soon enough dust kicked up by Turkish horses is spotted from a citadel. Brightly coloured banners, hastily constructed minarets and tens of thousands of men fill the plain below. From this moment on, the world is waiting to hear that the fortress has fallen. The Siege tells the enthralling story of the weeks and months that follow – of the exhilaration and despair of the battlefield, the constantly shifting strategies of war, and those whose lives are held in balance, from the Pasha himself to the technicians, artillerymen, astrologer, blind poet and harem of women that accompany him. Brilliantly vivid, as insightful as it is compelling, The Siege>/I> is an unforgettable account of the clash of two great civilisations. As a portrait of war, it resonates across the centuries and confirms Ismail Kadare as one of our most significant writers.

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    Set in post-apartheid South Africa, J. M. Coetzee’s searing novel tells the story of David Lurie, a twice divorced, 52-year-old professor of communications and Romantic Poetry at Cape Technical University. Lurie believes he has created a comfortable, if somewhat passionless, life for himself. He lives within his financial and emotional means. Though his position at the university has been reduced, he teaches his classes dutifully; and while age has diminished his attractiveness, weekly visits to a prostitute satisfy his sexual needs. He considers himself happy. But when Lurie seduces one of his students, he sets in motion a chain of events that will shatter his complacency and leave him utterly disgraced.

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    “In a single year, my father left us twice. The first time, to end his marriage, and the second, when he took his own life. I was ten years old.”

    Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations—those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming’s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to reimagine their artistic and private selves during China’s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences.

    With maturity and sophistication, humor and beauty, Thien has crafted a novel that is at once intimate and grandly political, rooted in the details of life inside China yet transcendent in its universality.