Bumper book guide
FICTION The Little House By Kyoko Nakajima (Darf Publishers)
Taki is an old woman who writes down the memories of her time spent living as a servant for the Hirai family. Her memories, however, are not a compendium of housekeeping tips; they are a glimpse to the period between World War 1 and 2 and the destiny of the Hirai clan – Mr Hirai, who is a toy maker; Mistress Tokiko; and their son, Kyoichi. The Little
House looks at Japanese history from the point of view of a ‘silent’ witness who makes sacrifices for those she loves.
Lanny By Max Porter (Allen & Unwin)
Lanny lives in a small village near London with his mother, who is a writer, and his somewhat absent father. The little boy goes about his days like every other child – he goes to school, imagines new worlds and explores nature. Some village people think Lanny is a bit odd, much like his family. But one day, Lanny doesn’t come home. The police find an obvious culprit in his art teacher. But what really happened to the little boy remains a mystery.
Mother of Pearl By Angela Savage (Transit Lounger)
The lives of three women are intertwined in this book about motherhood, love and loss. Meg wants to have a baby. She and her husband have gone through IVF but haven’t been able to conceive. Meg’s sister Anna is a social worker who has worked in several Asian countries, including Thailand. And Mukda is a young Thai woman who decides to become a surrogate mother to provide for her son.
Mother of Pearl explores the ups and downs of the surrogacy process from three different points of view.
The Testaments By Margaret Atwood (Penguin)
Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale, which Atwood published in 1990 and was later adapted as a TV series starring Elisabeth Moss, finally get a sequel to the patriarchal dystopia of Gilead. The Testaments picks up more than 15 years after Offred, the protagonist of The Handmaid’s Tale, disappears. The book has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Room for a Stranger By Melanie Cheng (Text Publishing)
Meg and her sister Helen have lived in the same house for over 60 years. When Helen dies, Meg opts to find a person to share her home with. But instead of sharing with another woman, perhaps close to her age, Meg finds Andy, a 21-year-old male student who grew up in Hong Kong. The author delves into the unlikely friendship of two humans who have one thing in common – loneliness.
Quichotte By Salman Rushdie (Penguin)
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de La Mancha was written in the early 17th century by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and, besides being considered the first novel written in Spanish, it is one of the world’s most recognised stories. Salman Rushdie, one of modern literature’s most celebrated names, has written a contemporary version of the Quixote. Quichotte features a travelling salesman of Indian origin whose life is dominated by US television. He resolves to win the heart of a beautiful television host and sets off in pursuit. While taking readers on a wild ride, he encounters an America of Trump voters and vicious racism, and a country on the verge of moral and spiritual collapse.