No Man’s Land

“No Man’s Land” by Duong Thu Huong (Vietnam) Synopsis Set in a hamlet in the countryside of central Vietnam immediately following the end of the war in 1975, the novel’s plot is set in motion when a young woman, happily married to a successful farmer, comes home one day to find a throng of villagers…

Three Day Road

“Three Day Road” by Joseph Boyden (Canada) Synopsis It is 1919 and Niska, the last Canadian medicine woman to live off the land, has received word that one of the two boys she saw off to the Great War has returned. Xavier Bird, her sole living relative, is gravely wounded and addicted to the army’s…

One Hundred Years of Solitude

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia) Synopsis Equally tragic, joyful and comical, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” inhabits a strange dream-like space where very little makes real sense, but everything is mysteriously and vividly alive nonetheless. Blending fantasy and reality seamlessly, the characters struggle hopelessly against a merciless backdrop of madness,…

Wizard of the Crow

“Wizard of the Crow” by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (Kenya) Synopsis In exile for more than twenty years, Ngugi wa Thiong’o has become one of the most widely read African writers of our time, the power and scope of his work garnering him international attention and praise. His aim in “Wizard of the Crow” is, in…

I Am A Cat

“I Am A Cat” by Soseki Natsume (Japan) Synopsis ‘I am a cat. As yet I have no name.’ So begins one of the most original and unforgettable works in Japanese literature. Richly allegorical and delightfully readable, “I Am A Cat” is the chronicle of an unloved, unwanted, wandering kitten who spends all his time…

Burnt Shadows

“Burnt Shadows” by Kamila Shamsie (Pakistan) Favourite Extract War is like disease. Until you’ve had it, you don’t know it. But no. That’s a bad comparison. At least with disease everyone thinks it might happen to them one day. You have a pain here, swelling there, a cold which stays and stays. You start to…

Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon

“Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon” by Jorge Amado (Brazil) Favourite Quote Life was good, one had only to live it. To warm oneself in the sun, then take a cold bath; to eat guavas and mangoes, to chew peppercorn, to walk through the streets, to sing songs, to sleep with a young man. And to dream…

Too Loud a Solitude

“Too Loud a Solitude” by Bohumil Hrabal (Czech Republic) One of Nicola’s 100 best books for inspiration in the 21st century! Extract and Comment … I pick up a book, and my eyes open panic-stricken on a world other than my own, because when I start reading I’m somewhere completely different, I’m in the text,…