Thursday, 17 November 2011


Arthur C. Clarke  
2001 A Space Odyssey
Science fiction's best novel. Complex, edgy and visionary. He wrote it before man landed on the Moon and he was so spot on on many of the dynamics of space travel. Spawned from a short novel, The Sentinel, it describes the finding of a beacon of sorts on the Moon. From there it's man against Machine against understanding... an endless quest.
Ronan Bennett   
The Catastrophist
Love, adventure, politics, philosophy. An Irishman goes to the Congo to be with his Italian lover. He has no interest though in the deepening independence crisis of that country led by Patrice Lumumba. His business is love.
Ahdaf Soueif
The Map of Love
Egypt, 1900. a British lady, Anna, falls in love with an Egyptian Nationalist, Sharif. 100 years later an American descendant of the two goes to Egypt and in a family trunk she discovers notebooks and journals which reveal Anna and Sharif's secret.
Amitav Ghosh
The Glass Palace
An epic story going through three generations, spanning across Malaya, India, America and Burma before it became a closed country. Love, family and the timber trade across East Asia.
Luther Blissett
Set in 16th century Europe, this novel deals with the struggle between social injustice, religious power, growing markets. Merchants, farmers, bankers, prostitutes, mercenaries, heretics, clergymen. A startling glimpse into the proletariat struggle centuries before socialism and unions. The greed of the Powers (Church and State) against the frustrations of the masses. 
Siba Shakib
Afghanistan, where God only comes to weep
Life in Afghanistan in 1979 under the Taliban regime and Russian invasion. Shirin-Gol is forced to marry in order to pay for her brother's debts. It is the story of many Afghan women, with no education or jobs for them. Her husband's opium addiction, rape, prostitution, attempted suicide. It is a moving story of courage, kindness and determination.
Paul Hoffman
The Wisdom of Crocodiles
This book is a feast of events and characters. Steven saves a woman's attempt to jump in front of a train. They fall in love. One day she disappears and events in reality and in Steven's mind spiral out of control, mixing modern economics, pornography, mystery, financial fraud. The endless stream of characters each have a depth of presence which makes the novel flow in the narrative.
Stephen Fry
Making History
We've all toyed with the idea of turning back time and get rid of Hitler. How do these students achieve this and what are the consequences? Not only a gripping story but Fry's wit and skill are incomparable.
David Nicholls
One Day
Ok this is no literary masterpiece but I simply couldn't put it down. So many similar situations have popped up in my experiences. From university to marriage and life in between. The storytelling is cleverly done through events happening on the same day each year. The film was dire and not to be mixed with this novel.
William Golding
The Inheritors
I don't think Golding uses the same words twice in this novel! A who's who of the English language. Short story about the overlap of Neanderthal man and Homo Sapiens. The struggle between these two very distinct worlds trapped in the same environment.

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