Birds of America by Mary McCarthy
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.
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Sometimes life is like a bad waiter – it serves you exactly what you don’t want. The women of Freesia Court have come together at life’s table, fully convinced that there is nothing that good coffee, delectable desserts and a strong shoulder can’t fix. Laughter is the glue that holds them together – the foundation of a book group they call AHEB (Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons) – an unofficial club that becomes a lifeline. The five women each have a story to tell. There’s Faith, the newcomer, a housewife and mother who harbors a terrible secret; big, beautiful Audrey, the resident sex queen who knows that with good posture and attitude you can get away with anything; Merit, the shy doctor’s wife with the face of an angel and the private hell of an abusive husband; Kari, a wise woman with a wonderful laugh who knows that the greatest gifts appear after life’s fiercest storms; and finally, Slip, activist and adventurer, a tiny spitfire who looks trouble straight in the eye and challenges it to arm wrestle. Holding on through forty eventful years – through the swinging Sixties, the turbulent Seventies, the anything-goes Eighties, the nothing’s-impossible Nineties, to the present day – they take the plunge into the chaos that inevitably comes to those with the temerity to stay alive and kicking.
“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.
The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family on a mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. The carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it – from garden seeds to Scripture – is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. The novel is set against one of the most dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium, the murder of its first elected Prime Minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Taking its place alongside the classic works of postcolonial literature, this ambitious novel establishes Kingsolver as one of the most thoughtful and daring and modern writers.
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.