India 1857 – George Fleury is in Krishnapur to find a suitable match and hopefully be cured of his Romantic inclinations, in a period when the British empire is slowly losing its grip on the colonies. What begins as just news of general unrest in areas far away becomes a troubling reality when the rebellion reaches Krishnapur and Fleury finds himself trapped in a besieged compound together with his fellow English citizens, hoping to hold out long enough for reinforcements to come to the rescue.
G. is the story of a modern Don Juan, an account of a young man’s sexual career during the first years of the last century, on the backdrop of a turbulent period in Italian history. Through each woman he seduces, G. reveals the truth of the libertine’s condition: his impossibility to find contentedness, and his growing loneliness.
A nameless traveller who faces human cruelty on his way to Egypt; an Indian immigrant searching for freedom in Washington; a West Indian man sacrificing everything for his little brother; and two English people travelling through an unnamed African country on the cusp of revolution.
In a Free State is a cynic exploration of the meaning of freedom, belonging, alienation, and the prize of colonialism.
“How incredibly Irish it all is!” thought the Major wonderingly. “The family seems to be completely mad.”
Major Brendan Archer has survived the Great War and he believes it’s now time to meet Angela Spencer again, the young woman who wrote him letters every single week and signed herself as his “loving fiancee” in every one of them. Determined to understand the truth of the situation, he finds himself in front of the Majestic Hotel in Kilnalough, a once-grand building that is now slowly collapsing on itself. The Major soon realises that Angela is not the person he remembers, but he gets entangled in the hotel’s life nonetheless: the guests obsessed with gossip and games of cards, the herds of cats who have taken over the upper floors, the wild plants that threaten to take complete control of whole rooms, inside and out. At the same time, he starts falling for the beautiful and bitter Sarah Devlin, while outside unrest threatens the rule of the British Empire: Ireland is ready for independence, and the troubles are brewing.
No, he would not open his eyes. If they were still there, he could rely on them to stay. He pulled the pillow over his ears. He didn’t want to hear them either. Yet he wanted to check that they were still there. He dreaded their presence, but their sudden absence would have terrified him more. They were the only witnesses to his sanity.
Norman Zweck was a child prodigy. At twelve he spoke seven languages, and right after law school he was already an acclaimed barrister. But that was before.
Now, forty-one and still living with his father and younger sister, he lies in bed most of the day to keep track of them. He’s the only one who sees them, and his family believes him to be going mad. But he knows they are there, and his only relief is taking the white pills he keeps hidden under a board in the floor. When his father finally takes the decision to hospitalise him for treatment, they all start exploring their memories in search of the cause of his problems. His father, his sisters – the one that lives with them, but also the one who is estranged from the family – and Norman himself are all guilty to some extent. But only talking and coming to terms with their failings will allow them to heal as a family.
Since apparently my to-be-read pile is not high enough, I’ve decided to take on a new personal challenge: reading all of the winners of the Booker Prize, from 1969 to present. I want to venture out of my favourite genres and read some things that are considered “good literature”, just to see what the fuss is about; I also want to read some backlist titles that I might never know about otherwise, and since these books won a pretty famous award, it looks like a good place to start. Maybe I’ll find new favourites, or maybe I’ll hate all of them. Who knows?