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If you like a good, broad range of fiction...

Hello! Since you read a wide variety of authors - Haruki Murakami,
Gail Tsukiyama, Amy Tan, Alexander McCall Smith, John Irving, and Anne Tyler - I have recommended a broad range of authors and titles for your enjoyment:

"Kangaroo Notebook" by Kobo Abe

"In the last novel written before his death in 1993, one of Japan's most
distinguished novelists proffered a surreal vision of Japanese society
that manages to be simultaneously fearful and jarringly funny. The
narrator wakes one morning to discover that his legs are growing radish
sprouts, an ailment that repulses his doctor but provides the patient
with the unusual ability to snack on himself. In short order, Kobo Abe's
unraveling protagonist finds himself hurtling in a hospital bed to the
very shores of hell. Abe has assembled a cast of oddities into a
coherent novel, one imbued with unexpected meaning" - summary from the
catalog



"Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides

"In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls'
school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking,
strawberry blond classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that
furtively develops between them--along with Callie's failure to
develop--leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In
fact, she is not really a girl at all. The explanation for this shocking
state of affairs takes us out of suburbia- back before the Detroit race
riots of 1967, before the rise of the Motor City and Prohibition, to
1922, when the Turks sacked Smyrna and Callie's grandparents fled for
their lives. Back to a tiny village in Asia Minor where two lovers, and
one rare genetic mutation, set in motion the metamorphosis that will
turn Callie into a being both mythical and perfectly real: a
hermaphrodite. Spanning eight decades--and one unusually awkward
adolescence- Jeffrey Eugenides's long-awaited second novel is a grand,
utterly original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender,
and the deep, untidy promptings of desire." - summary from the catalog.




"Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson

"In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a
letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames
is the son of an Iowa preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a
young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west
to Kansas to fight for abolition: He "preached men into the Civil War,"
then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his
right eye in battle. Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension
between his father - an ardent pacifist - and his grandfather, whose
pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics
from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted
to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of
the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his
tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton,
his best friend's wayward son." "This is also the tale of another
remarkable vision - not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life
as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in
Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through
generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten." -
summary from the book jacket



"The Muse Asylum" by David Czuchlewski

"In this breath-snatching first novel of love, madness, and artistic
identity, a young genius's obsession with a reclusive writer consumes
those around him, as they begin to learn the truths that lurk beneath
the surface." - summary from the Fantastic Fiction web site
(http://www.ffbooks.co.uk/n12/n62996.htm)


"The Orchard on Fire" by Shena Mackay

"Set in the small English village of Stonebridge in the Fifties, this is
the story of eight-year-old April Harlency's coming of age in a place
where the charm of the local landscape contrasts sharply with the
prejudices, vicious gossip, and vagaries of what we would now call child
abuse. As the Harlency family moves from their rented rooms to run the
Copper Kettle Tearoom (poorly), their ex-landlord hangs a notice on the
window: "No Blacks. No Irish. No Pets". April befriends the red-headed,
energetic Ruby who lives above her parents' butcher shop where, as April
says, "I learned the fate of Pansy Pig and all her pink litter and burst
into tears". The two girls form an immediate and fast friendship. April
also befriends the lonely Mr. Greenridge who presses his unwanted sexual
advances on her. To escape the pressures of daily life, April and Ruby
find a hideaway in the middle of an orchard where, together, they build
the "camp of our dreams"." - summary from the catalog



"The Raphael Affair" by Iain Pears

"Thrills and excitement enter this first novel when a British art dealer
discovers a Raphael portrait. After an astounding auction, the painting
finds its way to a national museum in Rome, where its acquisition
solidifies the director's reputation. Taddeo Bottando and his favorite
assistant Flavia, both of the national art theft squad, become
suspicious when a vagrant art student's story of fraud and the jottings
of a famous forger come to their attention. Clever research, museum
politics, and foreign setting add to the story's interest, especially
for those who enjoy art and art history." - summary from Library Journal
(copyright 1992 by Cahners Business Information, Inc.)



"A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening" by Mario de Carvalho

"Winner of the 1996 Pegasus Prize for Literature, this fiction presents
a fascinating tale of political rivalries, war, religion, philosophy,
and social unrest in the twilight of the Roman Empire. It is a timeless
tale of a good man struggling to maintain sense and order in his public
and private lives and to uphold justice as he understands it." - summary
from the catalog



"Purple Hibiscus" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

"In the city of Enugu, Nigeria, fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older
brother, Jaja, lead a privileged life. Their Papa is a wealthy and
respected businessman; they live in a beautiful house; and they attend
an exclusive missionary school. But, as Kambili reveals in her
tender-voiced account, their home life is anything but harmonious. Her
father, a fanatically religious man, has impossible expectations of his
children and wife, and severely punishes them if they're less than
perfect. Home is silent and suffocating." "When Kambili's loving and
outspoken Aunty Ifeoma persuades her brother that the children should
visit her in Nsukka, Kambili and Jaja take their first trip away from
home. Once inside their Aunty Ifeoma's flat, they discover a whole new
world. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and
their cousins' laughter rings throughout the house. Jaja learns to
garden and work with his hands, and Kambili secretly falls in love with
a young charismatic priest." "When a military coup threatens to destroy
the country and Kambili and Jaja return home changed by their newfound
freedom, tension within the family escalates. And Kambili must find the
strength to keep her loved ones together after her mother commits a
desperate act."--BOOK JACKET.



"The Final Solution: a Story of Detection" by Michael Chabon

"In deep retirement in the English country-side, an eighty-nine-year-old
man, vaguely recollected by locals as a once-famous detective, is more
concerned with his beekeeping than with his fellow man. Into his life
wanders Linus Steinman, nine years old and mute, who has escaped from
Nazi Germany with his sole companion: an African gray parrot. What is
the meaning of the mysterious strings of German numbers the bird spews
out -- a top-secret SS code? The keys to a series of Swiss bank accounts
perhaps? Or something more sinister? Is the solution to this last case
-- the real explanation of the mysterious boy and his parrot -- beyond
even the reach of the once-famed sleuth? Subtle revelations lead the
reader to a wrenching resolution. This brilliant homage, which won the
2004 Aga Khan Prize for fiction, is the work of a master storyteller at
the height of his powers." - summary from the catalog



"Charms for the Easy Life" by Kaye Gibbons

"Related with the simple, tart economy of a folktale, the narrative
brims with wisdom and superstition, with Southern manners and insights
into human nature. ... indomitable country doctor Charlie Kate and her
daughter, Sophia, have been disappointed by men. Supported by Charlie
Kate's homeopathic medical practice, which she pursues without the
benefit of a degree but with the respect of the community of Raleigh,
N.C., they live with Margaret, Sophia's daughter (the novel's narrator),
in a relatively harmonious if decidedly eccentric household. All are
feminists before the word was coined; all are avid readers ... and all
are capable of defying conventions when urgency dictates. Gibbons'
picture of the South during the Depression and WW II is satisfyingly
full of period references. But her triumph is the character of Charlie
Kate: strong-minded, arbitrary and opinionated, a crusader for the
underdog, and the grumpy but benign ruler of her offspring's lives." -
review from Publisher Weekly (Copyright 1993 Cahners Business
Information, Inc.)



"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini

"Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and
Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds; Amir is the son of a
prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir's father's
servant, is a Hazara, member of a shunned ethnic minority. Their
intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the
world around them. When the Soviets invade [Afghanistan] and Amir and
his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks
that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave the memory of
Hassan behind him." "The Kite Runner is a novel about friendship,
betrayal, and the price of loyalty. It is about the bonds between
fathers and sons, and the power of fathers over sons - their love, their
sacrifices, and their lies. Written against a backdrop of history that
has not been told in fiction before. The Kite Runner describes the rich
culture and beauty of a land in the process of being destroyed. But with
the devastation, Khaled Hosseini also gives us hope: through the novel's
faith in the power of reading and storytelling, and in the possibilities
he shows for redemption." - summary from the book jacket

If these do not appeal to you, please let us know. Let us know if we
can do anything else for you.

Yours,
Mary M. Buck