Interpreter of Maladies
by Jhumpa Lahiri
Although I read this book many years ago, it stays fresh in my mind. With some stories set in India and others in America, the author weaves elaborate tales that centre around the protagonist, Mr. Kapasi. He is an interpreter to a doctor, and he also drives tourists to local sites of interest. Mr. Kapasi relays complicating, traumatic experiences and situations that are ailing the patients—there’s the young couple Shoba and Shukumar whose marriage is crumbling in the wake of a stillborn child; Miranda who is involved in a love affair with a married man and Mrs. Das, whose pain and illness stem from matters of the heart. Adding to that are his own personal struggles. As a reader, I was drawn into the journeys of these characters, their emotional pain and their fight (or lack thereof) to see through their personal trials. It is in the emotional and physical plight of finding a cure for what plagues the characters that makes me realise we all have to work with the cards that life has dealt us.
The Stranger’s Child
by Alan Hollinghurst
It`s 1913, and George Sawle has brought a friend home from school in Cambridge—a handsome young poet named Cecil Valance who has come to stay for the summer. Cecil has George mesmerised, but he`s not the only one; George`s 16-year old sister, Daphne, is equally enchanted by Cecil and the tales he spins about his aristocratic roots and stately estate. The turning point, however, comes with the lines Cecil scribbles in Daphne` autograph book: a poem that, after Cecil is killed in the war, becomes the kind of legendary work that gets recited in schools all over the country— the kind of work that changes the lives of their families forever. And even as the years pass and secrets bury themselves deeper and deeper, an intrepid autobiographer threatens to expose it all. Spanning centuries, this richly lyrical, haunting, saga leaves no stone unturned in its exploration of love, family, the making of legends, and how memories shape the past.
The Language of Flowers
by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Abandoned at birth, Victoria Jones had seen the insides of over 30 foster homes by the time she turned 18. When she was nine, she was fostered by Elizabeth, whose nephew she got involved with as an adult. The Language of Flowers is Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s mesmerising, moving and elegantly written debut novel, beautifully weaving the past with the present, creating a vivid portrait of a young woman whose love of flowers helps her overcome her troubled past whilst changing the lives of others.
by Charles Frazier
A suspense novel set in small-town North Carolina in the early 1960s, Luce is a young woman who inherits her murdered sister’s troubled twins, Frank and Dolores. Previously content with her life of solitude, the twins change everything. Shortly after Luce’s former teenage sweetheart sets out to woo her, a strange man shows up. With a bad guy in the midst stalking the twins, the author weaves an elaborate story of an almost-family learning to heal and love.