Escape to Another Time
Our favorite hand-held time machines, from the epic battles of
ancient history to the political intrigues of the not-so-distant past.
This book was written in the stars...or at least with the stars in mind. Each character in this New Zealand gold rush epic corresponds to an astrological sign, and the plot is directly informed by planetary movements on 12 days in 1865. While built on certain cliches - the Taurus is a banker and as a Taurus I say: *eye roll* - style and plot are not victims of the contrived structure. Expect seances, opium dens, murder, shipwrecks, star-crossed lovers, and plenty of secrets.
A comic novel about a group of British citizens in an outpost on the Gangetic plain of India in 1857, the year of the Great Mutiny. They are holed up in the local administrator's fortified residence, under siege by mutinous, British-trained Indian soldiers, quickly dying off from bullets, disease and starvation. Their philosophies, their justifications, their bigotries and their skewed colonist moralities are similarly under siege, and begin to fester as if in a warm, damp container, some disintegrating, others flaring up like eruptions of mold. Very funny, very engrossing, and very interesting.
I'll admit, I'm a bit of a sucker for sprawling historical novels (although this only spans about twenty years), but I'm not exaggerating in saying that it's one of the best I've ever read. Whether you're a sucker for historical fiction like me, or are a lover of decadent, thoughtful prose and characters, whatever the topic may be. But the topic is yet another point in favor of this wonderful book: it's about Palestine and its people during the British mandate era, and this Palestinian perspective on history is sorely underrepresented in English. Hammad is a ridiculously talented writer, and this is definitely a debut not to be missed.
- Jacob R.
Epic and complete, A Brief History of Seven Killings feels like something new. It has relatives, like The Savage Detectives, but it’s an only child. If you’re wondering if contemporary fiction can still surprise you, here’s your book. (Rated R.)
Despite half of the book taking place at the bottoms of various wells it will grab you, kind of in a weird way that you're not really sure you like and then you adjust to it and are like, "You know this isn't bad and maybe I want 400 more pages of Murakami reaching inside his characters and tugging out the weirdest, most wriggly bits."
The most beautiful love story I have ever read. Ondaatje weaves together maps, deserts, World War II, colonialism and the human body in language which just kills me.
I swear it is worth every one of its five-hundred-something-thousand words. Seth draws his characters with such conviction, generosity and empathy that one sinks into the details of their lives with pleasure. Truly engrossing and delightful, an elegantly crafted soap-operatic presentation of personal and political complications in a newly post-independence, post-partition India. By Seth's own suggestion, you may physically rip the book into sections if it seems easier to ingest that way (only, please buy it first).