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…

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…

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…

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…

The Underground Railroad

“The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead (U.S.) Review “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead (U.S.) is set in the pre-Civil war era in the southern states of America and tells the story of a slave’s journey to freedom using the eponymous route. There were mixed reactions to this book with most readers liking it whereas…

The Woman Next Door

“The Woman Next Door” by Yewande Omotoso (South Africa) Review “The Woman Next Door” by Yewande Omotoso (South Africa) is set in modern-day Cape Town and is about the strained relationship between two elderly neighbours, one black and one white. Readers found this an easy story to get into, and to some extent it was…

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…