The Author, Séamas O'Reilly
BOOK THREAD. Can you give me your favourite novels which build a picture of a single place - city, town or community - through multiple characters, families, even eras?
Book mentions in this thread
One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel García MárquezGabriel García Márquez's first novel One Hundred Years of Solitude was a sensation when first published in 1967. Translated into thirty-seven languages and selling over thirty million copies, it has become one of the key novels of the twentieth century - to be read, studied, emulated, enjoyed and loved over and over again. One Hundred Years of Solitude helped its author to the Nobel Prize for Literature and put Latin American literature firmly on the map. It also saw the world fall in love with an author whose every subsequent book was greeted by legions of devoted fans. Telling the story of the rise and fall of the town of Macondo and the generations of the Buendia family who found and then become trapped in it, One Hundred Years of Solitude is both tragic and comic, intimate and epic. 'A masterpiece and one of the undeniable classics of the century.' TES 'Enormously kaleidoscopically, mysteriously alive . . . reality and fantasy are indistinguishable.' Guardian
The Shadow of the Wind
by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe international bestseller and modern classic - over 20 million copies sold worldwide 'Shadow is the real deal, a novel full of cheesy splendour and creaking trapdoors, a novel where even the subplots have subplots. One gorgeous read' STEPHEN KING 'An instant classic' DAILY TELEGRAPH The Shadow of the Wind is a stunning literary thriller in which the discovery of a forgotten book leads to a hunt for an elusive author who may or may not still be alive... Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'Cemetery of Lost Books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles that have long gone out of print. To this library, a man brings his 10-year-old son Daniel one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book from the shelves and pulls out 'The Shadow of the Wind' by Julian Carax. But as he grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. Then, one night, as he is wandering the old streets once more, Daniel is approached by a figure who reminds him of a character from the book, a character who turns out to be the devil. This man is tracking down every last copy of Carax's work in order to burn them. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind... A SUNDAY TIMES bestseller and Richard & Judy book club choice.
by Douglas StuartWinner of the Booker Prize 2020 Shortlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction 2020 The Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2020 'Douglas Stuart has written a first novel of rare and lasting beauty.' – Observer It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from life. She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town. As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest. Shuggie is different. Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother’s sense of snobbish propriety. The miners' children pick on him and adults condemn him as no’ right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place. Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain lays bare the ruthlessness of poverty, the limits of love, and the hollowness of pride. A counterpart to the privileged Thatcher-era London of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty, it also recalls the work of Édouard Louis, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, a blistering debut by a brilliant writer with a powerful and important story to tell. 'We were bowled over by this first novel, which creates an amazingly intimate, compassionate, gripping portrait of addiction, courage and love.' – The judges of the Booker Prize
by Susanna ClarkeFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality. Piranesi's house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house. There is one other person in the house-a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known. For readers of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller's Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.
by J.R.R. TolkienThis lavish gift edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic features cover art, illustrations, and watercolor paintings by the artist Alan Lee. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Bilbo reluctantly joins their quest, unaware that on his journey to the Lonely Mountain he will encounter both a magic ring and a frightening creature known as Gollum. Written for J.R.R. Tolkien's own children, The Hobbit has sold many millions of copies worldwide and established itself as a modern classic.
by Marilynne RobinsonAs the Reverend John Ames approaches the hour of his own death, he writes a letter to his son chronicling three previous generations of his family, a story that stretches back to the Civil War and reveals uncomfortable secrets about the family of preachers. Reader's Guide available. Reprint.
My Name Is Red
by Orhan PamukThe Sultan secretly commissions a great book: a celebration of his life and the Ottoman Empire, to be illuminated by the best artists of the day - in the European manner. In Istanbul at a time of violent fundamentalism, however, this is a dangerous proposition. Even the illustrious circle of artists are not allowed to know for whom they are working. But when one of the miniaturists is murdered, their Master has to seek outside help. Did the dead painter fall victim to professional rivalry, romantic jealousy or religious terror? With the Sultan demanding an answer within three days, perhaps the clue lies somewhere in the half-finished pictures . . . From Turkey's winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Istanbul and The Museum of Innocence, this novel is a thrilling murder mystery set amid the splendour of Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire. Part fantasy and part philosophical puzzle, My Name is Red is also a stunning meditation on love, artistic devotion and the tensions between East and West.
The Cultural Revolution
by Frank DikötterThe concluding volume--following Mao's Great Famine and The Tragedy of Liberation--in Frank Dikötter's award-winning trilogy chronicling the Communist revolution in China. After the economic disaster of the Great Leap Forward that claimed tens of millions of lives from 1958–1962, an aging Mao Zedong launched an ambitious scheme to shore up his reputation and eliminate those he viewed as a threat to his legacy. The Cultural Revolution's goal was to purge the country of bourgeois, capitalistic elements he claimed were threatening genuine communist ideology. Young students formed the Red Guards, vowing to defend the Chairman to the death, but soon rival factions started fighting each other in the streets with semiautomatic weapons in the name of revolutionary purity. As the country descended into chaos, the military intervened, turning China into a garrison state marked by bloody purges that crushed as many as one in fifty people. The Cultural Revolution: A People's History, 1962–1976 draws for the first time on hundreds of previously classified party documents, from secret police reports to unexpurgated versions of leadership speeches. After the army itself fell victim to the Cultural Revolution, ordinary people used the political chaos to resurrect the market and hollow out the party's ideology. By showing how economic reform from below was an unintended consequence of a decade of violent purges and entrenched fear, The Cultural Revolution casts China's most tumultuous era in a wholly new light.
by Julia PhillipsONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST One August afternoon, two sisters--Sophia, eight, and Alyona, eleven--go missing from a beach on the far-flung Kamchatka Peninsula in northeastern Russia. Taking us through the year that follows, Disappearing Earth enters the lives of women and girls in this tightly knit community who are connected by the crime: a witness, a neighbor, a detective, a mother. We are transported to vistas of rugged beauty--open expanses of tundra, soaring volcanoes, dense forests, the glassy seas that border Japan and Alaska--and into a region as complex as it is alluring, where social and ethnic tensions have long simmered, and where outsiders are often the first to be accused. In a story as propulsive as it is emotionally engaging, Julia Phillips's powerful novel brings us to a new understanding of the intricate bonds of family and community, in a Russia unlike any we have seen before.
A Gentleman in Moscow
by Amor TowlesThe mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series "The novel buzzes with the energy of numerous adventures, love affairs, [and] twists of fate." --The Wall Street Journal He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to. From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility--a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel's doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
by Gregory David RobertsHaving escaped an Australian maximum security prison, a disillusioned man loses himself in the slums of Bombay, where he works for a drug mafia kingpin, smuggles arms for a crime lord, forges bonds with fellow exiles, and finds love with an elusive woman. A first novel. Reprint.
The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail BulgakovPresents a satirical drama about Satan's visit to Moscow, where he learns that the citizens no longer believe in God. He decides to teach them a lesson by perpetrating a series of horrific tricks. Combines two distinct yet interwoven parts, one set in contemporary Moscow, the other in ancient Jerusalem.
A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara"A little life, follows four college classmates --broke, adrift, and bouyed only by their friendship and ambition--as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. A hymn to brotherly bonds and a masterful depiction of love in the twenty-first century, Hanya Yanagihara's stunning novel is about the families we are born into, and those that we make for ourselves." --Back cover
Cutting for Stone
by Abraham VergheseMarion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance and bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution. Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
by Milan KunderaA young woman is in love with a successful surgeon, a man torn between his love for her and his incorrigible womanizing. His mistress, a free-spirited artist, lives her life as a series of betrayals—while her other lover, earnest, faithful, and good, stands to lose everything because of his noble qualities. In a world where lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and fortuitous events, and everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence we feel “the unbearable lightness of being.” A major achievement from one of the world’s truly great writers, Milan Kundera’s magnificent novel of passion and politics, infidelity and ideas, encompasses the extremes of comedy and tragedy, illuminating all aspects of human existence.
The City We Became
by N. K. Jemisin'A glorious fantasy, set in that most imaginary of cities, New York' Neil Gaiman on THE CITY WE BECAME 'The most celebrated science fiction and fantasy writer of her generation... Jemisin seems able to do just about everything' NEW YORK TIMES 'Jemisin is now a pillar of speculative fiction, breathtakingly imaginative and narratively bold' ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Five New Yorkers must band together to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and New York Times bestselling author N. K. Jemisin. Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She's got five. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all. 'The most critically acclaimed author in contemporary science fiction and fantasy' GQ 'N. K. Jemisin is a powerhouse of speculative fiction' BUSTLE
QueenieTHE NUMBER TWO SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Hilarious, compelling, painful, enlightening, honest. I loved it.' - Dolly Alderton 'Brilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking' - Jojo Moyes 'A vital, often very funny novel' - The Sunday Times 'Inspirational, funny and wise' - Kit de Waal 'Perfect for anyone who loves Fleabag' - Mail on Sunday Queenie Jenkins can't cut a break. Well, apart from the one from her long term boyfriend, Tom. That's definitely just a break though. Definitely not a break up. Then there's her boss who doesn't seem to see her and her Caribbean family who don't seem to listen (if it's not Jesus or water rates, they're not interested). She's trying to fit in two worlds that don't really understand her. It's no wonder she's struggling. She was named to be queen of everything. So why is she finding it so hard to rule her own life? A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on life, love, race and family, QUEENIE will have you nodding in recognition, crying in solidarity, and rooting for this unforgettable character every step of the way. Perfect for fans of Dolly Alderton, Elizabeth Day, Sally Rooney and Diana Evans, and anyone who loved Fleabag. ******** Praise for QUEENIE: 'I was engrossed and loved Queenie - her humour, her pain, her politics, her friends, her family.' - Diana Evans 'Candice gives so generously with her joy, pain and humour, that we cannot help but become fully immersed in the life of Queenie - a beautiful and compelling book.' - Afua Hirsch *This book has been printed with three different colour cover designs. We are unable to accept requests for a specific cover. The different covers will be assigned to orders at random*