Set in the mid-1970s in India, A Fine Balance tells the story of four unlikely people whose lives come together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a ‘State of Internal Emergency’. Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances – and their fates – become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen. Written with compassion, humor and insight, A Fine Balance is a vivid, richly textured and powerful novel by one of the most gifted writers of our time.
With the elegant economy of scenes glimpsed from a moving train, this extraordinary novel portrays one woman’s trajectory through life in episodes as haunting as dreams remembered. A single image – fine leather gloves strewn across the landscape by Nazi soldiers – speaks to us as powerfully as the more sweeping events of Anna’s life. Not since D. M. Thomas’s The White Hotel has there been a novel of such elegiac, heart stirring beauty. It is a portrait with all the richness and exactitude of a Vermeer and the resonance of Anna’s own music.
The first novel from the author of Writing Down the Bones. Nell Schwartz, a Brooklyn-born Jewish girl who moves to the Taos of communes and sweet cedar smoke, transforms herself into Banana Rose (because she’s “bananas”), falls in love with a horn player named Gaughin, and believes they can stop time if they just love hard enough. Subtly hilarious and achingly raw, this is the story of Nell’s long, strange trip from her beloved New Mexico to the alien Midwest and back again. As she struggles with the demands of canvas and paint, with her family and faith, and with her own wild heart, she discovers the one secret power that sustains her through it all.
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.
Birds of America is a witty and tender Bildungsroman. The reader will like Peter and his family and the other migratory birds he meets along his flyway, some of them his friends. They are seen by Mary McCarthy with a warm, though hardly moist, eye.
It’s been almost thirteen years since we last saw Cannie Shapiro, the heroine of Good in Bed, whose journey towards happy-ever-after made millions of women the world over laugh, cry and recognise themselves. The last decade of Cannie’s life has brought some surprises. Her life story, in fictional form, became an unexpected bestseller, and Cannie has since retreated from fame’s fallout, writing science-fiction under a pen name and praying that all her daughter inherited from her father, Cannie’s ex-boyfriend Bruce Guberman, are her curls and her eye-colour, and not his predilection for smoking pot. Meanwhile Cannie’s best friend, Samantha, is looking for love in all the wrong places, and Cannie’s husband, Peter, has decided that he’d like to have a baby, and the family’s first choice for a surrogate is none other than Cannie’s flamboyant kid sister …
Those memorable days of push lawn mowers, corner grocery stores, big-band music, burning leaves and filling stations that check the oil and wash the windshield. On this nostalgic canvas, Stanley West has set his riveting and heartwarming novel, the devastating story of young Sandy Meyer. Bright and outgoing, having grown up through the Great Depression and the World War II year, she is suddenly give one perplexing clue to her past that sets her on an incredible and harrowing journey in search of her lost family. A pilgrimage that brings her face to face with nerve-shattering suspense, unbearable terror and the magnificent capacity of the human heart. Surrounded by juicy and wacky characters, and without the knowledge of her adoptive parents, her devil-may-care friends or the boy she desperately loves, she summons the courage to doggedly follow where the faint trail leads. When she stumbles upon the buried past and long-hidden treachery, she is confronted by and evil that knows her by name and drawn into a darkness she never knew existed. Tenaciously refusing to quit, she discovers a heart-breaking heroism and an extraordinary triumph that changes her life forever.
In this riveting novel of almost unbearable suspense, three fragile yet determined people become dangerously entangled in a relentlessly escalating crisis. Colonel Behrani, once a wealthy man in Iran, is now a struggling immigrant willing to bet everything he has to restore his family’s dignity. Kathy Nicolo is a troubled young woman whose house is all she has left, and who refuses to let her hard-won stability slip away from her. Sheriff Lester Burdon, a married man who finds himself falling in love with Kathy, becomes obsessed with helping her fight for justice. Drawn by their competing desires to the same small house in the California hills and doomed by their tragic inability to understand one another, the three converge in an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog marks the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction.
In Paradise – her first novel since she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature – Toni Morrison gives us a bravura performance. As the book begins deep in Oklahoma early one morning in 1976, nine men from Ruby (pop. 360), in defense of “the one all black town worth the pain,” assault the nearby Convent and the women in it. From the town’s ancestral origins in 1890 to the fateful day of the assault, Paradise tells the story of a people ever mindful of the relationship between their spectacular history and a void “Out There . . . where random and organized evil erupted when and where it chose.” Richly imagined and elegantly composed, Paradise weaves a powerful mystery.
“Last Night I Dreamt I Went To Manderley Again.” So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past ther beeches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten…her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant — the sinister Mrs. Danvers — still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca…for the secrets of Manderley.
Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, a novel of large beauty and power, creates a magical world out of four generations of black life in America, a world we enter on the day of the birth of Macon Dead, Jr. (known as Milkman), son of the richest black family in a mid-western town; the day on which the lonely insurance man, Robert Smith, poised in blue silk wings, attempts to fly from a steeple of the hospital, a black Icarus looking homeward… We see Milkman growing up in his father’s money-haunted, death-haunted house with his silent sisters and strangely passive mother, beginning to move outward–through his profound love and combat with his friend Guitar…through Guitar’s mad and loving commitment to the secret avengers called the Seven Days…through Milkman’s exotic, imprisoning affair with his love-blind cousin, Hagar…and through his unconscious apprenticeship to his mystical Aunt Pilate, who saved his life before he was born. And we follow him as he strikes out alone; moving first toward adventure and then–as the unspoken truth about his family and his own buried heritage announces itself–toward an adventurous and crucial embrace of life. This is a novel that expresses, with passion, tenderness, and a magnificence of language, the mysterious primal essence of family bond and conflict, the feelings and experience of all people wanting, and striving, to be alive.
The Great Gatsby captures all the romance and glitter of the Jazz Age in its portrayal of a young man and his tragic search for love and success. It is a rare combination: a literary masterpiece – and one of the most popular novels of our time.