Darkmans – Nicola Barker

darkmans

READ FOR BOOKERTHON

The reality of English families set over two days in a small town in England, with a hovering jester haunting every page.

“This book was a bit mad but I loved it.  It was a massive commitment during a Bookerthon due to the length but definitely worth it.” – Suzy

“This was an epic read and there was a lot going on, but it was quite different to most novels (right down to the font!) and that made it intriguing. As two families go about their daily business, which is identifiable to us all, there is a ghostly jester who haunts the book, forcing characters to say weird things and moving things about in true supernatural style. You certainly had to be invested in the 800-odd pages to get the most out of it. It was tough to give it the attention it deserved due to time restraints with our Bookerthon reading, so I’d recommend picking up this book when your reading time is ample.” – Rachel

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Published 2007
Fourth Estate
848 pages

Animal’s People – Indra Sinha

Animal's People

READ FOR BOOKERTHON

This book is based on a boy named Animal, who was deformed as a result of the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster.

“This book was so evocative.  Years later, when I think of it I still feel overwhelmed with memories of the noise and colour.” – Suzy

“I had never heard of the Bhopal Disaster before reading this book. And it is so outrageous that even as I read I kept thinking surely this is not real? I loved how Sinha relayed the facts in a fictional style to give them more weight. I also enjoyed how he treated Animal as a normal person – with thoughts and desires, friends, enemies and love interests – despite his severe deformities and homelessness. It’s what made this book affecting and memorable. Not only does it educate people about the disaster but it reminds us that whatever our circumstances and outward presentation we are all the same inside.” – Rachel

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Published 2007
Simon & Schutster
374 pages

The Gathering – Anne Enright

The Gathering

READ FOR BOOKERTHON

Irish woman Veronica takes a closer look at her family’s troubled history while at the funeral of her brother who committed suicide.

“For me, the endless misery in The Gathering put a veil over the whole reading experience, making it impossible to see what distinguished this as a book worthy of Booker nomination. I guess if that’s what she was after, Enright has done well, but I don’t know how that translates into reader appeal.” – Rachel

“And from me …..” – Suzy

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Published 2007
Random House
272 pages

The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid

Reluctant_Fundamentalist

READ FOR BOOKERTHON

Over one night, a Pakistani man tells an American stranger about his love affair with a woman and his forced abandonment of America post 911.

“This is an honest portrayal of a Muslim man living in New York when the towers come down. It offers new insights into the tragedy and offers reactions and consequences that none of us may have considered before. It is therefore an eye-opening and thought-provoking story, written in a personable way, as if the writer is speaking directly to you as the reader. Great characters, great plot, great read.” – Rachel

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Published 2007
Harvest Books

The People’s Act Of Love – James Meek

The P Act of LoveREAD FOR BOOKCLUB

Chosen by Suzy

A renegade Czech army unit is stranded in a community of religious fanatics in a small, remote town in Siberia. 

“I certainly didn’t expect what I found when I first opened the book. A unique setting and idea, bringing together an army unit and religious fanatics in the harshest of climates, so that everything is a daily battle. This is a blindingly forthright story, one which poses many questions about the fragility of the human condition and makes you consider ‘what if’ over and over. The bleak frosty setting is well incorporated into the storylines and is almost a character in itself. I didn’t want to put this down.” – Rachel

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Published 2005

The Red Tent – Anita Diamant

the red tent

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Chosen by Rachel

Dinah, daughter of Jacob and sister of Joseph, is a minor character in the Bible, but the author has broadened her story and given her a voice in The Red Tent.

“I was attracted to this book because I was intrigued about how the author could take this ancient aspect of story telling and turn it into something modern and relevant. I was not disappointed and infact what it did show is as long as there are people involved, there is drama and adventure, excitement and sorrow; there is a story to tell. The Red Tent is plot heavy and tension filled with full bodied characters. A really interesting story.” – Rachel

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Published 1997
St Martin’s Press
321 pages

She’s Come Undone – Wally Lamb

She's come undone

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Chosen by Nadine

The trials and tribulations of Dolores Price from age 4 to age 40 are detailed in this 1992 book with saw wide appeal after being chosen as an Oprah’s Bookclub book.

“Dolores Price has a harrowing life. Born in 1952 and the only daughter of dysfunctional parents she stumbles through the years from one hardship to the next. She is one of those characters who has great intentions and tries hard and you so want to like her, but to be honest in the end it is clear she has more issues than you can handle and she just gets you down.

“But for some reason I wanted to keep reading. She did go on many adventures, which were entertaining. Plus I was sure there had to be some hope for Dolores in the end and I wanted to be there to find the reason for all this suffering and craziness. Maybe there was going to be some dystopian reality that manifests and makes sense of everything. (There is not). But there are a lot of alternative realities inside Dolores’ head and that’s what the meaning of the book is: self awareness, mistakes and learning, coming of age, self betterment. It is a book that relies on emotion to get you through.

“It is not a story for the faint hearted. It covers off may big topics, such as abuse, suicide, death, rape, abortion … but luckily it has a dark and clever humour to it that offsets the grim realities.

“I’m not sure how I would feel about recommending this book.” – Rachel

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Published 1992
Simon & Schuster
368 pages