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Saturday by Ian McEwan "follows an ordinary man through a Saturday whose high promise gradually turns nightmarish. Henry Perowne-a neurosurgeon, urbane, privileged, deeply in love with his wife and grown-up children-plans to play a game of squash, visit his elderly mother, and cook dinner for his family. But after a minor traffic accident leads to an unsettling confrontation, Perowne must set aside his plans and summon a strength greater than he knew he had in order to preserve the life that is dear to him."
If you liked Saturday, here are several titles you may also enjoy:
Agapé Agape by William Gaddis
"The late William Gaddis wrote four novels during his lifetime, immense and complex books that helped inaugurate a new movement in American letters. Now comes his final work of fiction, a subtle, concentrated culmination of his art and ideas. For more than fifty years Gaddis collected notes for a book about the mechanization of the arts, told via a social history of the player piano in America. In the years before his death in 1998, he distilled the whole mass into a fiction, a dramatic monologue by an elderly man with a terminal illness. This "man in the bed" lies dying, thinking anxiously about the book he still plans to write, grumbling about the deterioration of civilization and trying to explain his obsession to the world before he passes away or goes mad.
Agape- Agape continues Gaddis's career-long reflection via the form of the novel on those aspects of the corporate technological culture that are uniquely destructive of the arts. It is a stunning achievement from one of the indisputable masters of postwar American fiction."-catalog summary
The Amber Photograph by Penelope Stokes
Diedre McAlister's mother is dying. But before she lets go of this life, she givers her daughter an old photograph and these parting words: "Find yourself. Find your truth. Just don't expect it to be what you thought it would be."And Now Diedre's search begins-a quest to find the only person who can provide the missing pieces, the truth. But that search will cost Diedre her naive innocence and expose her family's unknown dark side. It will shake up Diedre's world, threaten lives, bring out the shadow of her past, challenge her faith-and quite possibly save her life.
Atonement also by Ian McEwan
On a summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant. But Briony's incomplete grasp of adult motives and her precocious imagination bring about a crime that will change all their lives, a crime whose repercussions Atonement follows through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century.
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
In this tale by the author of such critically praised works as The Magician's Assistant, a terrorist takeover at an embassy party throws together an American diva and a Japanese CEO who is one of her biggest fans.
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
"If some authors are masters of suspense, others postmodern verbal acrobats, and still others complex-character pointillists, few excel in all three arenas. In his long-awaited third novel, Franzen does. ...
Alfred, once a rigid disciplinarian, flounders against Parkinson's-induced dementia; Enid, his loyal and embittered wife, lusts for the perfect Midwestern Christmas; Denise, their daughter, launches the hippest restaurant in Philly; and Gary, their oldest son, grapples with depression, while Chip, his brother, attempts to shore his eroding self-confidence by joining forces with a self-mocking, Eastern-Bloc politician. As in his other novels, Franzen blends these personal dramas with expert technical cartwheels and savage commentary on larger social issues, such as the imbecility of laissez-faire parenting and the farcical nature of U.S.-Third World relations. The result is a book made of equal parts fury and humor, one that takes a dry-eyed look at our culture, at our pains and insecurities, while offering hope that, occasionally at least, we can reach some kind of understanding. This is, simply, a masterpiece."-catalog summary
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
"In this droll, unsentimental, and occasionally hilarious novel, Richard Russo tells the story of a big-hearted man who becomes the unlikely hero of a small town with a glorious past but a dubious future. The one
(barely) viable business in Empire Falls, Maine, is the diner where Miles Roby has worked for twenty years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter, Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it's Janine, Miles' soon-to-be ex-wife, who's shed fifty pounds and taken up with the noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps (most gallingly) it's the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town -- and believes that includes Miles himself. With Empire Falls Richard Russo cements his reputation as one of America's most compelling and compassionate storytellers."-catalog summary
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
"The story of the tragic decline of an Indian family whose members suffer the terrible consequences of forbidden love, The God of Small Things is set in the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India.
Armed only with the invincible innocence of children, the twins Rahel and Esthappen fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family -- their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu (who loves by night the man her children love by day), their blind grandmother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), their enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grandaunt), and the ghost of an imperial entomologist's moth (with unusually dense dorsal tufts). When their English cousin and her mother arrive on a Christmas visit, the twins learn that Things Can Change in a Day. That lives can twist into new, ugly shapes, even cease forever. The brilliantly plotted story uncoils with an agonizing sense of foreboding and inevitability. Yet nothing prepares you for what lies at the heart of it."-catalog summary
The Homesman by Glendon Swarthout
It was not unheard of in the 1800s that pioneer women would go mad from the strain of work and isolation. When that happened, a "homesman" would shepherd them back East, back to their families. Swarthout's homesman is a nontraditional character who gets the job by process of elimination.
Accompanied by a ne'er-do-well saved from hanging, the homesman gets four mad women back to St. Louis against the wild prairie landscape and against the odds. You'll sit bolt upright during the first seven pages and the best is yet to come.
The Hotel Alleluia by Lucinda Roy
The story of two half-sisters who are separated in childhood and raised continents apart. Joan, the white sister, grows up in North Carolina, while Ursuline, the African sister, is adopted by nuns in West Africa. Joan's quest to find Ursuline following their mother's death sets off a whirlwind of events in Africa as the sisters join forces with Gordon Delacroix, Joan's former lover, and Jeremy Scott, a troubled English writer. The days they spend together in the violence and bloodshed of a disintegrating nation change all four of them forever. Eventually Joan and Ursuline escape to America, where they are forced to reevaluate what is meant by love, faith, and racial identity.
The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini
Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant's son in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan's monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.
Light on Snow by Anita Shreve
When a father and his daughter find an abandoned infant in the snow, the event forever alters the 11-year-old's understanding of the world.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
"Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it. Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it's only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is. Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date."-catalog summary (From School Library Journal)
The Rules of Engagement by Anita Brookner
"Elizabeth and Betsy knew each other as schoolchildren. When they meet again later in life, one is safely married, the other most unsafely partnered. Together, they discover that despite their very disparate lives, they still have in common the capacity for making dangerous choices. Ultimately, their inclination to implement these decisions reveals the fate that was spelled out in their characters from the start."-book jacket summary
The Swallows of Kabul by Khadra Yasmina
In a land dominated by the Taliban, Zunaira's quick trip to the market with her husband ends in a death sentence.