Book choice for February 2009

Never Let Me Go [suggested by Paula Hyder]

front cover

Kathy, Ruth and Tommy were pupils at Hailsham - an idyllic establishment situated deep in the English countryside.  The children there were tenderly sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe they were special, and that their personal welfare was crucial.  But for what reason were they really there?  It is only years later that Kathy, now aged 31, finally allows herself to yield to the pull of memory.  What unfolds is the haunting story of how Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, slowly come to face the truth about their seemingly happy childhoods - and about their futures.  Never Let Me Go is a uniquely moving novel, charged throughout with a sense of the fragility of our lives.

The novel has its own Wikipedia entry.

About the Author

Kazuo Ishiguro is the hugely acclaimed author of five previous novels: A Pale View of Hills, An Artist of the Floating World, The Remains of the Day (1989 Winner of the Booker Prize), The Unconsoled (1995 Winner of the Cheltenham Prize) and When We Were Orphans (2000, shortlisted for the Booker Prize).  He received an OBE for Services to Literature in 1995, and the French decoration of the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Letters in 1998.

He has a Wikipedia entry.


Shortlisted for this month

The nominator can bring one, two, or three books to be chosen by the group (or mandated in the case of only one book being selected).  This month, Paula also brought the following interesting selections:

The Tortilla Curtain

The Tortilla Curtain

When Delaney Mossbacher knocks down a Mexican pedestrian, he neither reports the accident nor takes his victim to hospital.  Instead the man accepts $20 and limps back to poverty and his pregnant 17-year-old wife, leaving Delaney to return to his privileged life in California.  But these two men are fated against each other, as Delaney attempts to clear the land of the illegal immigrants who he thinks are turning his state park into a ghetto, and a boiling pot of racism and prejudice threatens to spill over.

Another novel with its own Wikipedia entry.

About the Author

T. Coraghessan Boyle is the author of twenty books of fiction, including, most recently, After the Plague (2001), Drop City (2003), The Inner Circle (2004), Tooth and Claw (2005), The Human Fly (2005), Talk Talk (2006), and The Women (2009).  He received a Ph.D. degree in Nineteenth Century British Literature from the University of Iowa in 1977, his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1974, and his B.A. in English and History from SUNY Potsdam in 1968.  He has been a member of the English Department at the University of Southern California since 1978.  His work has been translated into more than two dozen foreign languages, including German, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese, Danish, Swedish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Finnish and Farsi.  His stories have appeared in most of the major American magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, The Paris Review, GQ, Antaeus, Granta and McSweeney's, and he has been the recipient of a number of literary awards.  He currently lives near Santa Barbara with his wife and three children.

Boyle has both a Wikipedia entry and a website, where you will find a more extensive biog.

The Road

The Road

A father and his son walk alone through burned America, heading through the ravaged landscape to the coast.  This is the profoundly moving story of their journey.  "The Road" boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which two people, 'each the other's world entire', are sustained by love.  Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.  'The first great masterpiece of the globally warmed generation.  Here is an American classic which, at a stroke, makes McCarthy a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature ...An absolutely wonderful book that people will be reading for generations' - Andrew O'Hagan.  'A work of such terrible beauty that you will struggle to look away' - Tom Gatti, "The Times".  'So good that it will devour you, in parts.  It is incandescent' - Niall Griffiths, "Daily Telegraph".  'You will read on, absolutely convinced, thrilled, mesmerised.  All the modern novel can do is done here' - Alan Warner, "Guardian".

Wikipedia entry.

About the Author

Cormac McCarthy, born Charles McCarthy (born July 20, 1933 in Providence, Rhode Island), is an American novelist and playwright.  He has written ten novels in the Southern Gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres, and has also written plays and screenplays.  He received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for The Road, and his 2005 novel No Country for Old Men was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  He received a National Book Award in 1992 for All the Pretty Horses.

His earlier Blood Meridian (1985) was among Time Magazine's poll of 100 best English-language books published between 1925 and 2005 and he placed joint runner-up for a similar title in a poll taken in 2006 by The New York Times of the best American fiction published in the last 25 years.  Literary critic Harold Bloom named him as one of the four major American novelists of his time, along with Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo and Philip Roth.  He is frequently compared by modern reviewers to William Faulkner.

McCarthy too has both a Wikipedia entry (from which the above is borrowed) and a website.


Previous Months' Book Choices

January 2009
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006