Shelf Life Blog
London Below is a dangerous, magical place. In Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Scotsman Richard Mayhew had just settled in with the upwardly-mobile routines of London Above. He had an office job that might be going places and a stunning if toffee-nosed girlfriend who was perhaps rather too keen on gallery-hopping for his taste. His lovely Jessica had plans for Richard’s life that did not include helping the bloody and broken young lady who lay across their path.
Princesses do not run. They also don’t hide their frilly, pink dresses in a broom closet, slide down secret chutes, or jump over castle walls. And princesses definitely do not wear black. But Princess Magnolia is no ordinary princess… she’s a monster-fighting superhero in disguise, The Princess in Black!
In her first novel, The Murder Farm, Andrea Maria Schenkel presents a fresh, new twist to the mystery genre.
City of Women, by David R. Gillham, is set in 1943, Berlin, which has indeed become a city of women as most of the men have gone off to fight in World War II.
It’s not her fault they call her Bloody Jack. Well, not exactly, though I suppose in her way she earned it. ‘Twasn’t always like that, though. She came from a nice if poor family in London, Mary did, before the pestilence came and took their lives, and horrible Muck came with his wheelbarrow for their bodies to give to the doctors to cut up. Set out on the curb, crying as a small girl will, old Muck tried to cheer Mary by assuring he’d be back for her before too long.
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A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry: "A portrait of India featuring four characters. Two are tailors who are forcibly sterilized, one is a student who emigrates, and the fourth is a widowed seamstress who decides to hang on." (Book description).
Animal’s People by Indra Sinha
Ever since That Night, the residents of Khaufpur have lived a perilous existence. Their world is poisoned. Nobody has received compensation or help for the chemical leak, least of all Animal, as he is known, whose spine twisted at a young age, leaving him to walk on all fours. (catalog description)
A Breath of Fresh Air by Amulya Malladi
In December of 1984 in Bhopal, India, Anjali survives a catastrophic gas leak but her marriage to her army officer husband does not. Years later, she is remarried with an ill son when her first husband suddenly reappears in her life. She is forced to reconcile her roles of wife, ex-wife, working woman, and mother. (catalog description)
Birds of a feather may flock together in Telephone, by Mac Barnett, but that does not mean they understand each other. Taking place on an actual telephone wire, the story begins with Peter the pigeon's mother asking a friend to tell him to fly home for dinner. Anyone who has played a game of telephone before will know what happens next.
Set in small fishing village in Haiti, Claire of the Sea Light weaves its net of interlocked stories from loss, love, and hope.
Like most small towns, Ville Rose has wealthy people who believe themselves to be important and others who just scrape by, barely making a living. Nozias the fisherman loves his little daughter Claire Limyè Lanmè – Claire of the Sea Light. But they are so very poor and his job is so dangerous that he worries what will happen to her if one day he does not return.
The Final Silence starts with a locked door.
Middle-aged Rea Carlisle, daughter of a prominent Northern Ireland politician, has inherited her Uncle Raymond’s unusual house after his suicide. It takes little time to deal with her uncle’s few possessions, and every room (besides one) has been sorted and cleaned. The remaining locked door leads to what seems to have been Uncle Raymond’s upstairs office, and Rea can’t figure out why it’s sealed off. Once she pries open the door, she immediately realizes the answer to that daunting question.