Starting this week, we’ll tell you what books we’ve picked out of a growing pile to read all the way. Here are five we’ve started on, and we fully expect there to be more. Click here to tell us what you are reading, or plan to read, or have just finished reading.
The Man Who Played With Fire: Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin, Jan Stocklassa, translated by Tara F Chace, Amazon Crossing.
Had Stieg Larsson, the world-famous author of the Millennium trilogy featuring Lisbeth Salander and Alexander Zalachenko not died suddenly at the age of 50, he might have gone on to be known as the man who solved the mystery of the assassination of former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme, who was shot – supposedly by an alcoholic named Christer Pettersson – outside a full theatre in full view of people on February 28, 1986.
Larsson, who was also a relentless campaigner against right-wing extremism, had been amassing evidence linking this phenomenon to Palme’s assassination. His early death prevented him from closing in on the real culprit, but he left behind a mass of documents and tapes that hold all that he had ferreted out from his investigations.
Now, former Swedish diplomat and businessman Jan Stocklassa has converted these records into a work of creative non-fiction written like a thriller, getting ever closer to unravelling the conspiracy by the end of this rivetting book.
The Memory Police, Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder, Harvill Secker
Yoko Ogawa has won every major Japanese award for fiction, and each book of hers comes with great promise and a new way to look at her country and the people there. In her latest book, set on an unnamed island off the coast off an unnamed country find that objects are disappearing from everyone’s lives - and, along with the objects, also the memories about them.
I sometimes wonder what was disappeared first – among all the things that have vanished from the island.
“Long ago, before you were born, there were many more things here,” my mother used to tell me when I was still a child. “Transparent things, fragrant things . . . fluttery ones, bright ones . . . wonderful things you can’t possibly imagine...”
Behind this is the memory police, who now have their eye on an editor, whom a writer decides to hide beneath the floorboards. This is a dystopian novel of surveillance, while at the same time delving into the intricacies of memory and loss.
What you are reading, or plan to read, or have just finished reading
Akin, Emma Donoghue, Picador
The author of the acclaimed Room is back with her first novel since then set in contemporary times. Once again, she explores an intense relationship in a confined space – of sorts – between an adult and a child – in this case, an adolescent. A man takes his grand nephew to the south of France where a potentially fractious time between two completely unmatched individuals turning into something quite different, and extraordinary.
The God Who Loved Motorbikes, Murli K Menon
What might happen when an agnostic deity with rather strong views on the men and women of the Kerala village where he has been installed has a not so secret passion for motorcycles? No zen here, he simply zooms off on any motorbike that he can lay his hands on. But what he is really seeking is a one-of-a-kind prototype of a very specific motorcycle. Magic realism or wicked humour or both, take your pick.
Guts, Raina Telgemeir
Raina is a teenager who has all the problems of a schoolgoing adolescent. But the sudden stomach-ache she developes isn’t one of them. And it just won’t go away. In YA prose, this book might not have amounted to anything memorable, but as a work of graphic fiction, it takes the reader so deep into Raina’s world that it makes for a deeply immersive experience – even for adults.
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