Behold the Dreamers

“Behold the Dreamers” by Imbolo Mbue (Cameroon) Review An easy read was the overarching first impression of this book. Readers agreed that the story flowed well and they had no difficulty finishing it. They warmed quickly to most of the protagonists and liked the fact that they were all flawed on some level. Readers felt that the way the author portrayed the immigrant experience rang … Continue reading Behold the Dreamers

Shantytown

“Shantytown” by César Aira (Argentina) Review There were mixed reactions to this novella-length story with some readers finding it charming and magical, while others described it as strange or unusual, and one reader liked it the least of all the books she’d read so far in the book club. At 160 pages, everyone agreed it was a quick and easy read. They loved the descriptions … Continue reading Shantytown

Lyrics Alley

“Lyrics Alley” by Leila Aboulela (Sudan) Review Readers enjoyed this well-told story, finding it engaging and easy to read. They felt it was more of a love story than a political novel as the historical setting remains mostly in the background. Readers liked the style of writing and said it played a large part in their enjoyment of the book. They warmed to all the … Continue reading Lyrics Alley

Into the Beautiful North

“Into the Beautiful North” by Luis Alberto Urrea (Mexico) Review Describing it as a charming story, readers said they enjoyed this book. They liked the descriptions of place especially the ones the protagonists pass through on their way north. They loved the easy language and weren’t bothered by the use of Spanish phrases scattered throughout the dialogues. Readers loved the different characters finding some quirky … Continue reading Into the Beautiful North

Human Acts

“Human Acts” by Han Kang (South Korea) Review Readers described this book as a lyrically written account of a horrendous event and its aftermath. They felt that the descriptions swayed from hard and heavy – with the passages on decomposing corpses and torture – to ethereal – with the ghost reflecting on what happens after death and the survivors’ memories. Readers found the linked stories … Continue reading Human Acts

Embers

“Embers” by Sandor Marai (Hungary) Review Readers enjoyed this book a lot, finding it a really easy read. They thought the writing was beautiful and evocative, and liked how it flowed. They loved the descriptions of the different places: from the Hungarian castle and grounds, to the Viennese apartment and the Tropics. Readers found the General a fascinating character and liked how he slowly brings … Continue reading Embers

The Golden Legend

“The Golden Legend” by Nadeem Aslam (Pakistan) Review Distinctly historical fiction or with a clear taste of history both past and present, the four shortlisted books for this year’s Summer Reading Group were all of excellent calibre making it tough to settle on just one favourite. Our readers also noticed a recurrent theme in all four of violence and hardship and regretted that the summer … Continue reading The Golden Legend

The Chosen Maiden

“The Chosen Maiden” by Eva Stachniak (Poland) Review “The Chosen Maiden” by Eva Stachniak (Poland), a close runner-up, was chosen as the Summer Reading Group’s Coup de Cœur Summer 2017. It was the longest of the four books, and masterly mixes fact and fiction to tell the story of the Nijinsky siblings from the point of view of the sister, Bronia. Readers loved their story, … Continue reading The Chosen Maiden