*Insert defensive mantra and hackneyed excuses I repeatedly mention every time I publish a book haul post* (HAHA!). In October, I managed to purchase 15 books. Here is the list of my October purchase. Happy reading everyone!

Title: Austerlitz
Author: W.G. Sebald
Publisher: Random House
Publishing Date: 2001
No. of Pages: 298

Synopsis: “Over thirty years, in the course of conversations that take place across Europe, a man named Jacques Austerlitz tells a nameless companion of his ongoing struggle with the riddle of his identity. A small child when he immigrates alone to England in the summer of 1939, Austerlitz is told nothing of his real family by the Welsh couple who raise him, and he strains to orient himself in a world whose natural reference points have been obliterated. When he is a much older man, fleeting childhood memories return to him, and he obeys an instinct he only dimly understands and follows their trail back to the vanished world he left behind a half-century before, the void at the heart of twentieth-century Europe.

With this work of devastating beauty and pathos, W.G. Sebald has found a way to give form and substance to the previously unimaginable. Austerlitz is the most magnificent expression to date of an uncanny literary vision whose newness seems less like an invention than like the miraculous return of a forgotten sense.”

Title: Aké: The Years of Childhood
Author: Wole Soyinka
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: October 1989
No. of Pages: 230

Synopsis: “A dazzling memoir of an African childhood from Nobel Prize-winning Nigerian novelist, playwright, and poet Wole Soyinka.

Aké: The Years of Childhood gives us the story of Soyinka’s boyhood before and during World War II in a Yoruba village in western Nigeria called Aké. A relentlessly curious child who loved books and getting into trouble, Soyinka grew up on a parsonage compound, raised by Christian parents and by a grandfather who introduced him to Yoruba spiritual traditions. His vivid evocation of the colorful sights, sounds, and aromas of the world that shaped him is both lyrically beautiful and laced with humor and the sheer delight of a child’s-eye view.

A classic of African autobiography, “Aké” is also a transcendently timeless portrait of the mysteries of childhood. (Source: Goodreads)”

Title: Burger’s Daughter
Author: Nadine Gordimer
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 1980
No. of Pages: 361

Synopsis: “In this brilliantly realized work Nadine Gordimer unfolds the story of a young woman’s evolving identity in the turbulent political environment that has culminated in present-day South Africa. Her Father’s death in prison leaves Rosa Burger alone to explore the intricacies of what it actually means to be Burger’s daughter. Moving through an overwhelming flood of sensuously described memories that will not release her, she arrives at last at a fresh understanding of and commitment to her life. Nadine Gordimer’s subtle, fastidiously crafted prose sweeps this engrossing narrative to a triumphant conclusion.”

Title: Umrao Jan Ada
Author: Mirza Hadi Ruswa
Translator: David Matthews
Publisher: Rupa & Co
Publishing Date: 2007
No. of Pages: 200

Synopsis: “Umrao Jan Ada, published more than a hundred years ago, was the first true novel in Urdu. It tells the story of a Lucknawi courtesan, a woman of great charm with a reputation as a brilliant poet and singer. Documented by a close friend and supposedly dictated by Umrao Jan, the novel weaves the courtesan’s story with interspersions of poetry, exploration of social dynamics, and the author’s radical subtext with regard to patriarchal double standards.

Umrao Jan Ada is perhaps one of the most enigmatic figures in south Asian literature. To date, the question of her existence, her scholarly abilities and her poetic gifts remain a mystery. While the novel offers no twists and turns, it is a remarkable attempt to capture the essence of what it meant to be a courtesan in nineteenth-century India.”

Title: The Wine of Astonishment
Author: Earl Lovelace
Publisher: Aventura
Publishing Date: September 1984
No. of Pages: 146

Synopsis: “Written by one of the pre-eminent literary presences of the Caribbean, The Wine of Astonishment is a deeply affecting and satisfying novel that evokes the humanity and dignity – the triumphs and disappointments – of the people of a small Trinidadian village during and after World War II, as they try to hold on to their identity amid changing times.”

Title: I The Supreme
Author: Augusto Roa Bastos
Translator: Helen Lane
Publisher: Aventura
Publishing Date: May 1987
No. of Pages: 424

Synopsis: “Latin America has seen, time and again, the rise of dictators, Supreme Leaders possessed of the dream of absolute power, who sought to impose their mad visions of Perfect Order on their own peoples. Latin American writers, in turn, have responded with fictional portraits of such figures, and no novel of this genre is as universally esteemed as Augusto Roa Bastos’ I The Supreme, a book that draws on and reimagines the career of the man who was “elected” Supreme Dictator for Life in Paraguay in 1814.”

Title: The House of Power
Author: Sami Bindari
Translator: Sami Bindari and Mona St. Leger
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publishing Date: 1980
No. of Pages: 216

Synopsis: “The House of Power is the first novel of this great Egyptian writer to appear in English. A potent story of love and hate, of violence and ancient faith, it evokes the oppressive quality of village life in Egypt a generation ago.

The novel opens with the symbolic death of village idealist, Saleh’s father. Now Saleh must deal with the petty cruelties of local bureaucrats. As the months pass, Saleh grows tougher and there is an interval of calm. But beneath the calm run strains of long-buried resentments that will tear apart the village society and catapult Saleh into desperate flight across the desert.”

Title: A Burning
Author: Megha Majumdar
Publisher: Knopf
Publishing Date: June 2020
No. of Pages: 289

Synopsis: “Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan’s fall. Lovely–an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor–has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting.”

Title: My Name is Asher Lev
Author: Chaim Potok
Publisher: Anchor
Publishing Date: March 2003
No. of Pages: 369

Synopsis: “Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels even when it leads him to blasphemy. In this stirring and often visionary novel, Chaim Potok traces Asher’s passage between these two identities, the one consecrated to God, the other subject only to the imagination.

Asher Lev grows up in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, a world suffused by ritual and revolving around a charismatic Rebbe. But in time his gift threatens to estrange him from that world and the parents he adores. As it follows his struggle, My Name Is Asher Lev becomes a luminous portrait of the artist, by turns heartbreaking and exultant, a modern classic.”

Title: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
Author: Philip K. Dick
Publisher: Gollancz
Publishing Date: 2003
No. of Pages: 230

Synopsis: “In the overcrowded world and cramped space colonies of the late 21st century, tedium can be endured through the use of the drug Can-D, which enables the user to inhabit a shared illusory world. When industrialist Palmer Eldritch returns from an interstellar trip, he brings with him a new drug, Chew-Z, which is far more potent than Can-D, but threatens to plunge the world into a permanent state of drugged illusion controlled by the mysterious Eldritch.”

Title: The Death of Vivek Oji
Author: Akwaeke Emezi
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publishing Date: September 2020
No. of Pages: 248

Synopsis: “What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.”

Title: A Woman is No Man
Author: Etaf Rum
Publisher: Harper
Publishing Date: March 2019
No. of Pages: 337

Synopsis: “Palestine, 1990. Seventeen-year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Her desires are irrelevant, however – over the course of a week, the naïve and dreamy girl finds herself betrothed, then married, and soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law, Fareeda, and her strange new husband, Adam: a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children – four daughters instead of the sons Isra is expected to bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. At her grandmother’s insistence, eighteen-year-old Deya must meet with potential husbands, though her only desire is to go to college. Her grandmother is firm on the matter, however: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man. But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path that leads her to shocking truths that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her family, the past, and her own future.

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman Is No Man is a story of culture and honor, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and closed cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.”

Title: The Sense of an Ending
Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: May 2012
No. of Pages: 163

Synopsis: “A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single sitting, The Sense of an Ending has the psychological and emotional depth and sophistication of Henry James at his best, and is a stunning new chapter in Julian Barnes’ oeuvre.

This intense novel follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about – until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony thought he left this all behind as he built a life for himself, and his career has provided him with a secure retirement and an amicable relationship with his ex-wife and daughter, who now has a family of her own. But when he is presented with a mysterious legacy, he is forced to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.”

Title: The Black Book
Author: Orhan Pamuk
Translator: Maureen Freely
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: July 2006
No. of Pages: 461

Synopsis: “Galip is a lawyer living in Istanbul. His wife, the detective novel-loving Ruya, has disappeared. Could she have left him for her ex-husband or Celal, a popular newspaper columnist? But Celal, too, seems to have vanished. As Galip investigates, he finds himself assuming the enviable Celal’s identity, wearing his clothes, answering his phone calls, even writing his columns. Galip pursues every conceivable clue, but the nature of the mystery keeps changing, and when he receives a death threat, he begins to fear the most.”

Title: A House in the Country
Author: Jose Donoso
Translator: David Pritchard with Suzanne Jill Levine
Publisher: Aventura
Publishing Date: 1985
No. of Pages: 352

Synopsis: “In this tour de force, whose epoch is the end of the nineteenth century, and whose setting is n extravagant summer retreat in an unnamed South American country, the scandalously wealthy Ventura family, its various lackeys and the latently cannibalistic oppressed natives of the region enact a shocking drama of murder, rape, incest, homosexuality and revolution.”