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

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 some found the subject matter too hard to handle for … Continue reading The Underground Railroad

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 a light relief compared to the other three. They liked … Continue reading The Woman Next Door

The Discreet Hero

“The Discreet Hero” by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru) Review Once confusion with the alternating narratives in the novel had passed, readers became very involved with both stories. They found them compelling, and liked the combination of intrigue and entertainment that are played out by a rich cast of characters. They didn’t particularly warm to the two protagonists but felt that they grabbed their sympathy, while … Continue reading The Discreet Hero

The Yacoubian Building

“The Yacoubian Building” by Alaa Al Aswany (Egypt) Review Readers loved this book! They warmed to the different characters who they described as vivid and well developed. They liked how each one evolved throughout the story as either their situation improved or deteriorated. They also liked the contrasts between the secular and religious lifestyles of the characters. Readers loved the setting of the building with … Continue reading The Yacoubian Building

The Joy Luck Club

“The Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan (United States) Review For a couple of readers it was the second time they had read this book and they remembered liking it more the first time around. Everyone agreed that it was an enjoyable read but they said that the alternating stories from the eight protagonists caused them confusion: they had difficulty remembering who was who as … Continue reading The Joy Luck Club