Hello, readers! Welcome to another #5OnMyTBR update. The rule is relatively simple. I just have to pick five books from my to-be-read pile that fit the week’s theme.
This week’s theme: Halloween Freebie
This week is a Halloween Freebie. I was thinking of featuring horror stories that are on my to-be-read list but I already made one for a Top Ten Tuesday update. As such, I will be featuring books written by Nobel Laureates in literature. While I have written the works of several of the laureates, this list is exclusively for books written by laureates whose works I have not read before. Without more ado, here are books on my TBR list.
5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!
Title: A Bend in the River
Author: V.S. Naipaul
Year Awarded: 2001
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 1980
No. of Pages: 287
Synopsis: “’A Bend in the River is more than a true and powerful book about Africa. It is… one of those books that make you question many assumptions about the world today.’ ~ Richard West in the Spectator
In the “brilliant novel” (The New York Times) V.S. Naipaul takes us deeply into the life of one man—an Indian who, uprooted by the bloody tides of Third World history, has come to live in an isolated town at the bend of a great river in a newly independent African nation. Naipaul gives us the most convincing and disturbing vision yet of what happens in a place caught between the dangerously alluring modern world and its own tenacious past and traditions. (Source: Goodreads)
Title: Wandering Star
Author: Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio
Year Awarded: 2008
Translator (from French): C. Dickson
Publisher: Curbstone Press
Publishing Date: 2009
No. of Pages: 316
Synopsis: Bearing witness to the boundless strength of the spirit, and based on his own experience as a child in World War II, J.M.G. Le Clézio chronicles the saga of two young women, one uprooted by the Holocaust and the other by the founding of the state of Israel. Esther, a young Jewish girl who travels to Jerusalem after World War II, crosses paths with Nejma, a Palestinian girl, whose story of life in the camps balances Esther’s own tale of suffering and survival. They never meet again, but in their respective exiles, they are forever haunted by the memory of one another. Wandering Star is a powerful coming-of-age story and, as Le Figaro notes, truly a luminous lesson in humanity.
Title: The Magic Mountain
Author: Thomas Mann
Year Awarded: 1929
Translator: H.T. Lowe-Porter
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 1960
No. of Pages: 716
Synopsis: A spectacular novel of ideas, The Magic Mountain is one of Germany’s most formative contributions to modern European literature, both for the themes it discusses and for its highly sophisticated structure.
Young, naive, and impressionable, Hans Castorp arrives at a sanatorium high in the Swiss Alps to find himself surrounded by exponents of widely differing political and philosophical attitudes. Amid sickness and decay he is forced to explore both the meaning of love and death and the relationship of one to the other. As he does so, the pattern that emerges from his discussions with his companions, and from his own musings, becomes a symbol of the forces below – forces that would culminate in the First World War and the destruction of pre-1914 civilization.
Title: The Last Gift
Author: Abdulrazak Gurnah
Year Awarded: 2021
Publishing Date: May 2012
No. of Pages: 279
Synopsis: Abbas has never told anyone about his past – before he was a sailor on the high seas, before he met his wife Maryam in Exeter, before they settled into a quiet life in Norwich with their children, Jamal and Hanna. Now, at the age of sixty-three, he suffers a collapse that renders him bedbound and unable to speak about things he thought he would one day have to.
Jamal and Hanna have grown up and gone out into the world, yet while they were both born in England, they cannot shake a sense of apartness. When Abbas falls ill, they return home reluctantly to confront the dark silences of their father and the secret he has been hiding from them all.
Title: Red Sorghum
Author: Mo Yan
Year Awarded: 2012
Translator: Howard Goldblatt
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publishing Date: 1993
No. of Pages: 359
Synopsis: Spanning three generations, this novel of family and myth is told through a series of flashbacks that depict events of staggering horror set against a landscape of gemlike beauty, as the Chinese battle both Japanese invaders and each other in the turbulent 1930s.
A legend in China, where it won major literary awards and inspired an Oscar-nominated film, Red Sorghum is a book in which fable and history collide to produce fiction that is entirely new – and unforgettable.
Title: The Black Notebook
Author: Patrick Modiano
Year Awarded: 2014
Translator (from French): Mark Polizzotti
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publishing Date: 2016
No. of Pages: 131
Synopsis: Paris in the 1960s was a city rife with suspicion and barely suppressed violence. Amid this tension, Jean, a young writer adrift, met and fell for Dannie, an enigmatic woman fleeing a troubled past. A half century later, with his old black notebook as a guide, he retraces this fateful period in his life, recounting how, through Dannie, he became mixed up with a group of unsavory characters connected by a shadowy crime. Soon Jean, too, was a person of interest to the detective pursing their case – a detective who would finally provide the key to Dannie’s darkest secret.
The Black Notebook bears all the hallmarks of this literary master’s unsettling and intensely atmospheric style. Patric Modiano invites us into his unique world, a Paris infused with melancholy, uncertain danger, and the fading echoes of lost love.
Title: Rites of Passage
Author: William Golding
Year Awarded: 1983
Publisher: Faber and Faber Limited
Publishing Date: 1981
No. of Pages: 278
Synopsis: An ancient ship of the line converted to general purposes is making her way from the South of England to Australia. She carries a few guns, some cargo, some animals, some seamen, some soldiers, some emigrants and a few ladies and gentlemen. There is a clergyman of the Church of England. There is Wilmot Brocklebank, lithographer, marine artist and portrait painter. There is a young army officer.
Representing the higher echelons of administration is young Mr Talbot, setting out with utmost confidence towards a distinguished career. But the voyage teaches him some unexpected things. It affords him more opportunities for observing the ceremonies that mark a progress through life – more chances for a mixture of acute observation and sheer misjudgment – than he could possibly record in his journal; though, for his godfather’s entertainment, he tries his best. Though Talbot is mistaken in Deverel, instructed by Mr Summers, seduced by Miss Brocklebank, and shocked by Miss Graham, he finds it unnecessary in the event to keep an eye on Mr Prettiman. But it is a sadder and more responsible man who learns from the Reverend Robert James Colley what a bitter taste there is to remorse when it is unavailing.