Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie, translated by Ina Rilke
In this enchanting tale about the magic of reading and the wonder of romantic awakening, two hapless city boys are exiled to a remote mountain village for re-education during China’s infamous Cultural Revolution. There they meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress and secretly devour these banned works, they find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined.
The Amazing Racist – Chhimi Tenduf-La
Eddie Trusted, an English school teacher in Colombo, wants to spend his life with Menaka Rupasinghe, a vibrant Sri Lankan beauty, but as with all matters of the heart, there’s an obstacle. If Eddie wants to wed Menaka, it is Thilak Rupasinghe, her orthodox terror of a father, whom he must woo and whose farts he must kiss – Thilak wants his daughter to marry someone of the same race, religion and caste, and if possible from the same locality.
In a desperate bid to make his dream a reality, Eddie tries to connect with Thilak in other ways – eating curries that make him bleed spice and breathe fire, driving drunk through red lights, threatening co-workers with violence, and sleeping with snakes. But will Eddie ever be good enough for a man who hates the colour of his skin?
The Love Knot – Elizabeth Chadwick
In the summer of 1140, Oliver Pascal returns home from a long pilgrimage to discover England ravaged by civil war and his family lands forfeit to the conflict between Henry I’s daughter Mathilda, and her cousin Stephen of Blois, who has seized the crown at her expense. Riding to the Earl of Gloucester’s keep at Bristol, Oliver stumbles upon the aftermath of a mercenary attack on an isolated village. Among the survivors are Richard, an illegitimate royal son and half-brother to the Earl himself, and the boy’s young nurse Catrin. Widowed, stubborn and proud, she has much in common with Oliver, a man still grieving for a wife lost in childbirth.
At Bristol, Catrin meets Ethel, a wise woman and midwife, who begins to train her in the healing arts and is instrumental in bringing Oliver and Catrin together as lovers. But the endurance of that love is threatened by the perils of injury in battle, the danger of childbirth, the upheaval of continuing civil war, and the risk of loving in exchange for nothing but heartbreak. In the end, Catrin must decide where her true loyalties lie.
The Far Pavilions – M.M. Kaye
The Far Pavilions is a story about an Englishman- Ashton Pelham-Martyn -brought up as a Hindu. It is the story of his passionate, but dangerous love for Juli, an Indian princess. It is the story of divided loyalties, of friendship that endures till death, of high adventure and of the clash between East and West.
Grey Mask – Patricia Wentworth
After Charles was jilted at the altar by Margaret, he discovers that she is mixed up in a vicious kidnapping plot masterminded by a sinister figure in a grey mask. Charles turns to Miss Silver to uncover the strange truth behind Margaret’s complicity, and the identity of the terrifying and mysterious individual behind the grey mask.
…A good book resting in its slot on a shelf….is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper….
When in doubt, go to the library!
LOL! My expression when I have to do housework….
Yeah! Tell me about this!
A Trick I Learned from Dead Men – Kitty Aldridge
After the disappearance of their father and the sudden death of their mother, Lee Hart and his deaf brother, Ned, imagine all is lost until Lee lands a traineeship at their local funeral home and discovers there is life after death. Here, in the company of a crooning ex-publican, a closet pole vaulter, a terminally-ill hearse driver, and the dead of their local town, old wounds begin to heal and love arrives as a beautiful florist aboard a ‘Fleurtations’ delivery van.
But death is closer than Lee Hart thinks. Somewhere among the quiet lanes and sleepy farms, something else is waiting. And it is closing in. Don’t bring your work home with you, that’s what they say. Too late.