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Maria says . . ."This skinny little novella could easily be ignored because of its
slightly juvenile title but it is packed with so many thought-provoking
messages - I was really glad I picked it up and read it. Motherhood,
independence, sacrifice and determination are just a few of the
universal themes. It's been a multi-million best seller in Korea, soon
to be made into a film. This is one of those thoughtful little books
that would make a perfect gift for all ages."
Maria says . . . "Things are all but perfect in the Hemming's household after 10 year-old Byron tries to protect his mother from the aftereffects of a seemingly terrible accident. I stayed up half Sunday night finishing this wonderful novel (I even forgot to watch "Downton Abbey") and felt incredible sadness and hope for Byron, his school mate James, his mother Diane (trapped in a deadly-boring middle class 1970's British marriage) and last but not least Jim (the protagonist in a current day parallel story) who cleans tables in a cafe and lives in a van after years spent in a now closed mental hospital. I think Perfect is a darker, more compelling read than Joyce's first novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry but still written in her wonderful distinct empathetic style."
Maria says . . . "And yet another one set in England! Don't be put off by this title,
it's not at all as soppy as it sounds. It is in fact a fabulous debut
novel that alternates between the self-narrated stories of two
characters - Alice and Daniel. Alice returns to London from her travels
in Mongolia (joining her two older sisters) because her father is dying
from cancer; and Daniel, a homeless man wanders the streets of London in
search of his daughter. Their stories come together gently,
skillfully, and a little surprisingly, and leave you thinking about the
power of love, loss and secrets."
Maria says . . ."The second of Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels that tell the story of Elena and Lila and their lifelong friendship. Now adults, the choices that they have made are becoming more complex. Love affairs, illegitimate children, fraught emotions, it sounds like a soap opera. But the fineness of Ferrante's writing deepens and enriches the story. I would love to be able to read this in the Italian original. I wonder what changes to tone and to mood the translator inevitably makes."
Maria says . . ."Ten years after Jeannie's husband George leaves her bed -- though not their marriage -- she is still at loose ends emotionally. When she falls passionately in love with a new man, Jeannie must decide whether she should leave her husband for passion or honor the committment of her marriage. Passion or safety? Drama or honor? This is a great choice for book group discussion."