Book 5: Annabel

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Author: Kathleen Winter

Nationality: born in the UK, based in Canada

Pages: 461

Awards:

The Scotia Giller Prize (2010), finalist

The Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (2010), finalist

The Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction (2010), finalist

Orange Prize for Fiction (2011), finalist

Thomas Head Raddall Award (2010), winner

Blurbs by: Joseph O’Connor and A.L. Kennedy

 

In a distant by-the-sea town, a child was born, neither completely a boy nor completely a girl. The child was both, gifted with two genders. No one knows this secret except the parents – father Treadway and mother Jacinta, and the midwife Thomasina. His father raised him as a boy named Wayne. While her mother, with Thomasina, nurtured, though quietly, her female side, which she calls Annabel. When this child grew up and left the sea town and moved to a city where no one knew either Wayne or Annabel, this person was given the liberty to tackle his/her dual identity.

This fantastic debut novel urges us to ask ourselves who we are, and also, who we really are inside as a function of the people around us.

 

This book though, as any other book, is not flawless. There are some issues on intersexuality that are very nicely discussed in this review.

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

 

 

 

 

Book 4: Evening is the Whole Day

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Author: Preeta Samarasan

Nationality: Malaysian

Pages: 340

Awards:  Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Best First Book Award, nominated (2009); longlisted, Orange Prize for Fiction; winner, Hopwood Novel Award

Blurbs by: Ali Smith, Tash Aw, Peter Ho Davies

 

Set in Malaysia, this spellbinding novel is the story of the wealthy Malaysian Indian Rajasekharan family and its dark secrets which are one by one unraveled as the novel progresses. A servant girl was dismissed – her crimes unknown. What did Chellam do to cause her banishment? This mystery, among many others, made this novel engrossing and very rich.

Samarasan’s clever inventive use of Tamil lexicon (untranslated) and Bahasa Melayu grammar in the novel reminds us of the writings of Zimbabwean author NoViolet Bulawayo, who in We Need New Names, wrote African words, un-italicized.

Read a review here: Lotus Reads

Book 3: The Quantity Theory of Insanity

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Author: Will Self

Nationality: British

Pages: 224

Awards: Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, 1993

Blurbs by: Martin Amis

 

Some say the stories of Will Self are hit or miss. That is, some of his stories are really ‘ridiculously’ good, and there are some which are not worthy of one’s time. Many greats praises his writing, including Salman Rushdie and Nobel winner Doris Lessing. His 2012 novel Umbrella was nominated for the Booker prize. Yet, go to Goodreads and you’ll see readers bashing his work, dismissing his satirical fiction as unfunny.

In 1991, the publication of this collection of short stories brought Self to fame. Loosely connected, the stories offer a glimpse of the bizarre lives of the characters that peopled the stories and give us heaps of really good sentences.

 

Read a review here: Partial Magic

 

 

Book 2: Thousand Cranes

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Author: Yasunari Kawabata (川端 康成)

Nationality: Japanese

Pages: 144

Awards: The Nobel Committee awarded the 1968 prize for literature to Kawabata citing this novel and two others.

A quick read, this novel is a story where meanings are multi-layered.  Kawabata, in his economy of words, masterfully crafted a fiction that revolves and draw symbolisms from the quiet tea ceremony.

A deceased father and a son – two halves of the same pear. Here we get a glimpse of the life of Kikuji, the son, as he interacted with world peopled by the women his father had loved. We see parallels in their lives but more importantly, we see how the son was different from the father.

Read a review here: Japan Kaleidoskop

Book 1: Point Omega

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Author: Don DeLillo

Nationality: American

Pages: 117

Awards: IMPAC Award Longlist

Blurbs by: Jonathan Franzen and Colum McMann

This very short novel is about a man named Richard Elster, 70 + years old, this documentarist Jim Finley who wish to  write about the life of Elster as a war advisor who help the military ‘conceptualize the war’and Jessica, or Jessie, Elster, the daughter of Richard. This novel is about them and their intimate but queer bond, and a peek in the soul of this thinking man Richard, his musings and ideas about the world and specifically about life, and time. This is a timely novel in a world where news of war and terrorism are as common as apples in winter.

Omega – in the Greek alphabet, the last letter; the end of any sequence

Read a review here: Biblioklept