March has ended and a new month has started. Flashing back to the month that was, here is the first part of my March 2021 book haul. Happy reading everyone and have a great weekend ahead. Always keep safe, too.
Title: Man Tiger
Author: Eka Kurniawan
Translator: Labodalih Sembiring
Publishing Date: 2015
No. of Pages: 172
Synopsis: “A wry, affecting tale set in a small town on the Indonesian coast, Man Tiger tells the story of two interlinked and tormented families and of Margio, a young man ordinary in all particulars except that he conceals within himself a supernatural female white tiger. the inequities and betrayals of family life coalesce around and torment this magical being. An explosive act of violence follows, and its myserious cause is unraveled as events progress towards a heartbreaking revelation.
Lyrical and bawdy, experimental and political, this extraordinary novel announces the arrival of a powerful new voice on the global literary stage
Title: The Spellbinder’s Gift
Author: Og Mandino
Publisher: Fawcett Books
Publishing Date: August 1996
No. of Pages: 197
Synopsis: “Retired from his long, successful career as an agent to many of the most famous and dynamic motivational speakers in the world, Bart Manning was happily enjoying his newfound freedom with his lovely wife, Mary. So why, one morning, did he find himself headed back tot the little office that he had never give up? He didn’t know. But as he sat at his dusty desk, he decided to go back into business. If God had sent him there, Bart told himself, he would wait for His plan to unfold.
Then, at the crowded convention, he found his answer in the person of a handsome young man named Patrick Donne, whose deep, commanding voice spoke words of profound wisdom that electrified the audience. With the thrill of discovery, Bart recognized Donne’s short speech as the best inspirational talk he had ever heard. Bat was soon caught up in the extraordinary realm that was Patrick’s ordinary world, where even tragedy and sorrow became transforming experiences and remarkable things happened…”
Title: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Author: Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Publisher: The Dial Press
Publishing Date: August 2008
No. of Pages: 274
Synopsis: “January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’d never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis. He’d come across her name on the flyleaf of a secondhand volume by Charles Lamb. Perhaps she could tell him where he might find more books by this author.
As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, she is drawn into the world of this man and his friends, all members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a unique book club formed in a unique, spur-of-the-moment way: as an alibi to protect his members from arrest by the Germans.
Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the Society’s charming, deeply human members, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all. Through their letters she learns about their island, their taste in books, and the powerful, transformative impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds there will change her forever.
Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.”
Title: My Grandmother Sends her Regards and Apologises
Author: Fredrik Backman
Translator: Henning Koch
Publishing Date: 2016
No. of Pages: 340
Synopsis: “To most people, seven-year-old Elsa’s granny is eccentric, if not crazy.
To Elsa, she’s a superhero. One with a superpower like no other: storytelling.
When Granny leaves Elsa a mysterious series of letters apologising to those she has wronged, her stories come to life in ways Elsa could never have imagined, sending her on a breathtaking adventure of her own…”
Title: The Intuitionist
Author: Colson Whitehead
Publisher: Anchor Books
Publishing Date: January 2000
No. of Pages: 255
Synopsis: “Two warring factions in the Department of Elevator Inspectors in a bustling metropolis vie for dominance: the Empiricists, who go by the book and rigorously check every structural and mechanical detail, and the Intuitionists, whose observational methods involve meditation and instinct. Lila Mae Watson, the city’s first black female inspector and a devout Intuitionist with the highest accuracy rate in the department, is at the center of the turmoil. An elevator in a new municipal building has crashed on Lila Mae’s watch, fanning the flames of the Empiricist-Intuitionist feud and compelling Lila Mae to go underground to investigate. As she endeavors to clear her name, she becomes entangled in a web of intrigue that leads her to a secret that will change her life forever.
A dead-serious and seriously funny feat of the imagination, The Intuitionist conjures a parallel universe in which latent ironies in matters of morality, politics, and race come to light, and stands as the celebrated debut of an important American writer.”
Title: The Push
Author: Ashley Audrain
Publishing Date: 2021
No. of Pages: 303
Synopsis: “Blythe is determined to be the warm, comforting mother to her new baby, Violet, that she herself never had.
But soon, Blythe becomes convinced that something is wrong with her daughter – she doesn’t behave like most children do. Or is it all in Blythe’s head? The more her husband dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity.
Then their son, Sam, is born – and with him, Blythe has the blissful connection she’d always imagined with her child. But when their lives are changed in an instant, Blythe must face the truth.
The Push is a tour de force you will read in a sitting, an immersive novel that will challenge everything you think you know about motherhood and what happens when women are not believed.”
Title: Soledad’s Sister
Author: Jose Dalisay
Publisher: Anvil Publishing, Inc.
Publishing Date: 2018
No. of Pages: 198
Synopsis: “A casket arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, bearing the body of a woman manifested as “Aurora V. Cabahug” – one of over 600 overseas Filipino workers who return as corpses to this airport every year. The real Aurora, however, is very much alive, a karaoke-bar singer in the distant town of Paez; the woman in the box must be her sister Soledad who used Rory’s identity to secure a job in Saudi Arabia. No one knows for sure how this woman died; the body bears signs of foul play and abuse, and now waits to be claimed at the airport.
A Paez policeman, Walter, is assigned to drive out to Manila to pick up the body, accompanied by Rory. Both Walter and Rory, who vaguely know each other, find their own lives redefined by the sudden return of the dead: Walter has been left by his wife and son for a new life in England; Rory fells herself standing on the brink of great prospects, ambitions that her sister never achieved. Somewhere on its long way home, the body gets stolen, and things get ever more confused than ever.”
Title: The Last Days
Author: Raymond Queneau
Translator: Barbara Wright
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
Publishing Date: 1996
No. of Pages: 231
Synopsis: “The Last Days is Raymond Queneau’s autobiographical novel of Parisian student life in the 1920s: Vincent Tuquedenne tries to reconcile his love for reading with the sterility of studying as he hopes to study his way out of the bourgeoisie to which he belongs. Vincent and his generation are contrasted with an older generation of retired teachers and petty crooks, and both generations come under the bemused gaze of the waiter Alfred, whose infallible method of predicting the future mocks prevailing scientific models. Similarly, Queneau’s literary universe operates under its own laws, joining rigorous artistry with a warm evocation of the last days of a bygone world.”
Title: Three Daughters of Eve
Author: Elif Shafak
Publishing Date: 2017
No. of Pages: 367
Synopsis: “They were the most unlikely of friends. Three young women with utterly different worldviews. They were the Sinner, the Believer and the Confused.
Peri, a married, wealthy, beautiful Turkish woman, is on her way to a dinner party at a seaside mansion in Istanbul when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground – an old Polaroid of three young women and their university professor. A relic from a past – and a love – Peri has tried desperately to forget.
Three Daughters of Eve is set over an evening in contemporary Istanbul, as Peri arrives at the party and navigates the tensions that simmer in this crossroads country between East and West, religious and secular, rich and poor. Over the course of the dinner, and amidst an opulence that is surely ill begotten, terrorist attacks occur across the city. Competing in Peri’s mins, however, are the memories invoked by her almost-lost Polaroid, of the time years earlier when she was send abroad for the first time to attend Oxford University. As a young woman there, she had become friends with the charming, adventurous Shirin, a fully assimilated Iranian girl, and Mona, a devout Egyptian American. Their arguments about Islam and feminism find focus in the charismatic but controversial Professor Azur, who teaches divinity but in unorthodox ways. As the terrorist attacks come ever closer, Peri is moved to recall the scandal that tore them all apart.
Elif Shafak is a bestselling novelist in her native Turkey, and her work is translated and celebrated around the world. In Three Daughters of Eve, she has given us a rich and moving story that humanizes and personalizes one of the most profound sea changes of the modern world.”
Title: Where the Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publishing Date: 2018
No. of Pages: 368
Synopsis: “For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl.
But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when years to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.”
Title: Beasts of No Nation
Author: Uzodinma Iweala
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publishing Date: 2005
No. of Pages: 142
Synopsis: “In this stunning debut novel, Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African nation, is recruited into a unit of guerilla fighters as civil war engulfs his country. Haunted by his father’s own death at the hands of militants, Agu is vulnerable to the dangerous yet paternal nature of his new commander. While the war rages on, Agu becomes increasingly divorced from the life he had known before the conflict started – a life of school friends, church services, and time with his family still intact.
In a powerful, strikingly original voice that vividly captures Agu’s youth and confusion, Uzodinma Iweala has produced a harrowing, inventive, and deeply affecting novel.”
Title: The Baron in the Trees
Author: Italo Calvino
Translator: Ann Goldstein
Publishing Date: 2019
No. of Pages: 288
Synopsis: “From the age of twelve, the Baron Cosimo Piovasco di Rondo makes his home among ash, ,elm, magnolia, plum and almond. He walks through paths made from the twisted branches of olive, sleeps in a holly oak, bathes in a fountain hewn from poplar bark. An aerial library holds the books with which he educates himself in philosophy and mathematics. Suspended among the leaves, the Baron adventures with bandits and pirates, conducts a passionate love affair, and watches the Age of Enlightenment pass by beneath him.”