Search Results for white hunger
It’s time for another Six Degrees of Separation, a meme where a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.
This month’s chain begins with a book I have never heard of let alone read. It’s Like Water for Chocolate, a debut work by the Mexican author Laura Esquivel. Apparently the central character grows up to be a master chef, using cooking to express herself and sharing recipes with readers.
The obvious choice for chocolate lovers like myself would be to the best selling novel Chocolat by Joanne Harris. But I think for my first link I’ll use the location where chefs work rather than the ingredients they use.
In 1929, an aspiring author by the name of Eric Blair arrived in Paris. Whether out of necessity because he had his money stolen, or because he wanted to gather material for a book, he began working as a dishwasher in some of the city’s restaurants. The result was Down and Out in Paris and London, the first full-length work by an author better known as George Orwell.
Paris of course likes to think of itself as the gourmet capital of the world. The recently-published Michelin guide lists 10 restaurants in the city awarded the coveted 3 stars (remarkably however this achievement is outdone by Tokyo with twelve 3-star restaurants). Gourmet restaurants attract gourmands which gives me my next book in the chain.
The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery features Pierre Arthens, the greatest food critic in France. In the final two days of his life he wants to track down the most delicious food he has ever eaten. It’s a flavour he recalls from the years before he was critic though he is not exactly sure if it came from his childhood or his adolescent years. As he digs into his memory, he remembers all the dishes he has relished over the years, like this ” Pan roasted breast of Peking duck rubbed with berbère; grapefruit crumble à la Jamaïque with shallot confit … ”
Before I stopped eating meat I was quite partial to duck though I don’t find the combination of fowl and grapefruit very appealing. But then I’m not a gourmand.
All those descriptions of food do however remind me of another character who thinks he has a refined palette. So for my next link let’s leave France behind and move to the English coast to catch up with Charles Arrowby, the central character in Iris Murdoch’s Booker-prize winning novel The Sea, The Sea. Charles, who considers he has had a highly successful career as a London stage director, retires to a bit of a tumbledown seaside cottage to write his memoirs. In between writing and swimming, he prepares his own meals, some of which sound frankly bizarre.
For lunch, I may say, I ate and greatly enjoyed the following: anchovy paste on hot buttered toast, then baked beans and kidney beans with chopped celery, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil. (Really good olive oil i essential, the kind with a taste, I have brought a supply from London)
I could manage the anchovy paste on toast quite easily but baked beans and kidney beans on the same plate would be a step too far. I’m beginning to think duck and grapefruit wouldn’t be so bad after all….
Charles thinks he is irresistable to women but the protagonist in the novel for my next link would certainly not be one happy to share his lunch table and it’s nothing to do with his after shave.
Marian McAlpin, the protagonist of The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood, has a problem with food. Meat revolts her but so do eggs, carrots and even rice puddings. Soon she is existing on little other than salad leaves. Her revulsion with food is symbolic of her rejection of the kind of behaviour expected of her as a woman. On the eve of her marriage she struggles against the idea that her change of status will mean she can no longer be herself. Atwood’s first novel was considered a landmark when it was published in 1969 because of its themes about gender stereotyping and objectification of women.
Fast forward some forty years and we find in my next link another author using women’s relationship with food to tackle the same issue. The Vegetarian by Han Kang was one of the most extraordinary and disturbing books I’ve read in many years. Yeong-hye is a docile, obedient South Korean wife until the day she decides to stop eating meat. In the eyes of her husband and family this is an act of gross rebellion against their culture so they try to force her to eat. It doesn’t work. She stops eating all together in the belief she is a tree and hence needs sustenance only from the earth.
The starvation both Yeong-hye and Marian McAlpine experience is the product of mental disturbance but for the protagonist in my next, and final link, starvation is thrust upon her by a force over which she has no control.
White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen takes a real life event in his native Finland, a devastating famine in 1867 that resulted from a series of poor harvests. The food shortage co-incided with a particularly harsh winter. In desperation Marja, a peasant farmer’s wife from the north, abandons her dying husband and sets off on foot through waist-high snow with her two young children. They trudge from village to village, sometimes supported by strangers but just as often turned away and denied even a morsel of bread. It’s a bleak book, and not just because of the many descriptions of the barren, inhospitable landscape, but because of what it says about human nature when faced on the doorstep with suffering.
It’s a sombre note on which to end this chain …
The phrase ‘January sales’ has never excited me. You will never find me in those queues of who camp outside shops in the early hours of Boxing Day waiting for the doors to open on the incredible bargains inside. In fact I try not to set foot in shops if I can help it until January is well and truly over.
But I confess that I have been on a bit of a buying spree in the last week. I blame this on the weather. Torrents of rain day after day creating rivers on the road surfaces and lakes in my garden where there is supposed to be grass. Because its been unseasonably warm for the last two months, the daffodils have started to flower way earlier than normal. The poor things must be wondering what’s hit them and shouldn’t they just go back to sleep? Can’t say I blame them. All I want to do is snuggle up in front of the fire. Its at times like this hibernation begins to sound attractive.
To console myself I indulged in some online book shopping. Last year was the first time I’d read anything under the Pereine Press imprint (White Hunger) by Aki Ollikainen. It was a delight to the senses from the minute I saw the tastefully understated cover to the quality of the paper and of course the writing. I started 2016 with a hankering for more. As Pereine say, these are collectors items. Arriving soon I hope will be the first batch from their back catalogue to enrich my reading of literature in translation:
- Portrait of the Mother as a Young Woman by Friedrich Christian Delius. This is the third book published by Pereine in 2010 as part of their Female Voices theme.
- The Blue Room by Hanne Orstavik published in 2014 in the Coming of Age series
- The Murder of Halland by the Danish author Pia Juul. Pereine number 8 came out in 2012
- Stone in a Landslide by Maria Barbal. Published in 2010, this is Pereine number 2 and is the first English translation of a Catalan classic.
- Under The Tripoli Sky by Kamal Ben Hameda, a coming of age novel set in Libya before the Gaddafi era
- Periene number 5 is Tomorrow Pamplona by the Dutch author Jan van Mersbergen
Now you’d think that little haul would be enough to satisfy anyone’s retain therapy needs. But not a bit of it. A few other acquisitions mysteriously made their way into the Booker Talk household this week. Namely The Daughter of Time and The Franchise Affair, both by Josephine Tey. She’s a Scottish author who wrote detective stories from the 1930s to her death in 1952. A new biography of her has just been released and reading to review of that last week convinced me she’s someone I’d like to get to know.
I’m not going to read any of these new purchases until at least May however because having agreed to join the Triple Dog Dare I’m going to spend the first four months of the year just reading what was already on my bookshelves come December 2015. But hey, none of these need more than a cosy shelf to sit on until they’re ready to be taken down and opened.
What have you all been buying lately?
It’s been a long time since I joined in with the Top Ten Tuesday meme but this week’s topic gives me a chance to talk about a topic of particular interest to me.
I realised a few years ago that my reading was rather limited geographically so I made a conscious decision to look for novels written by authors outside of USA and Uk. Since starting my World of Literature project I’ve read books in 36 countries. Though the Top Ten Tuesday topic is strictly speaking about books that take place in another country, I’m taking a liberal approach and going for novels written by authors from 10 different parts of the world.
Belgium: Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb. This slim work from one of Belgium’s leading authors is set in Japan. It gives a fascinating glimpse into the difficulties of navigating the work culture in Japan.
Finland: White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen. I never realised that Finland had suffered a horrendous famine in the 1860s. This is a grim account of a woman walking mile after mile through waist-high snow to prevent her children starving to death.
India: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. A Booker prize-winning novel that will make you laugh and make you think.
Japan: After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima. This was my first venture into Japanese literature. It was enigmatic at times but also a fascinating portrait of a marriage between two people whose interests and perspectives seem diametrically opposed.
Kenya: Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. A savage indictment of the political and government regime in the country post independence.
Nigeria: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Two young people dream of leaving their country to find a new life in America. Only one of them makes it. But it’s not what she expects.
Norway: The Blue Room by Hanne Ørstavik A short psychological novel about a naive young girl and the troubling relationship she as with her mother.
Republic of the Congo: Broken Glass by Alain Mabanckou. A lively novel set in a seedy bar where a rag bag of odd characters hang out.
South Korea: The Vegetarian by Hang Kang. A disturbing novel about a troubled girl who decides to stop eating meat.
Zimbabwe: We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo. A country in the middle of a crisis. Aid workers turn up in their white vans and dish out sweets and toys, take a few photos and then disappear. Some people are lucky enough to leave. But is life elsewhere necessarily better?
Some occasions cry out for a short (ish) book. You may have just finished a 600 pager and want a change of pace. Or you might be about to head off for a weekend break and really don’t want to lug that heavy tome with you. Speaking of weight, the measly baggage allowances set by low cost airlines almost force you down the path of lighter (ie shorter) reading material.
So for those occasions here are some short reading options – I’m reluctant to call them quick reads because that implies lightweight content. In fact these are all novels that should get you thinking…
All the links take you to my reviews.
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata: An enigmatic, rather bleak, tale of a love affair between Shimamura, a wealthy intellectual from Tokyo and Komako, a young geisha.
The Many by Wyl Menmuir: Another enigmatic story, this time set in a fishing village in Cornwall, UK that is contending with heavy pollution by “biological agents and contaminants” that has impacted its fishing grounds.
Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan: This is a touching novella about a young couple of newlyweds who arrive at a coastal hotel. They want their wedding night to be perfect but a problem arises which threatens their future.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: How is it possible for a book of little more than 100 pages to contain so much depth? Yet Steinbeck does it with this parable about people who are life’s losers yet never relinquish their hopes and ambitions for a better life.
The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul: From Denmark comes a crime story that confounds most of the conventions of that genre. Yes it has a murder and a detective but the discovery of the killer’s identity isn’t really the point of this novel. It’s more about the sense of loss and feelings of regret about failed relationships triggered by the murder.
White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen: In a harsh Finnish winter, a mother and her two children try to walk to St Petersburg in search of bread. It’s their only hope of avoiding death through starvation.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa: An odd little tale of a friendship between a Professor of mathematics who has severe memory problems, the woman sent to look after him and her son.
Disgrace by J, M Coetzee: A Booker-award winner set in post-apartheid South Africa that raises questions about sexual predatory behaviour, denouncement and reconciliation.
Fear and Trembling by Amelie Nothomb: A young translator from Belgium falls foul of cultural expectations when she begins working for Yumimoto, a prestigious international corporation run on strictly hierarchical lines.
The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thierault: This is a lightly plotted story of a postman who falls in love with a young teacher in Guadeloupe, a woman he knows only via her letters and poems.
We begin this month’s Six Degrees of Separation chain (#6Degrees) with Fever Pitch, a 1992 debut book by the British author Nick Hornby in which he told the story of his relationship with football, and in particular with one club – Arsenal. The book was a huge success not surprisingly, football being almost a religion for a large part of the British population, and went on to become a successful film.
I’ve never read it. While I’ve watched a few matches in the past and can appreciate the excitement, I have little interest in the niceties of the sport. I despair enough when I hear the amateur pundits in the pub talk about a recent match so the idea of reading a book structured chronologically around specific matches fills me with horror. Definitely not a book that will be on my wishlist.
Moving swiftly on however, the first book in my chain maintains the connection to sport.
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner is a short story by Alan Sillitoe that was published as part of a collection of the same name that came out in 1959. Its protagonist is a teenager who comes from a poor family in a working class area of Nottingham in England. His prospects are bleak. Sentenced to time in a young offenders institute he takes up long-distance running – his prowess brings him to the attention of the institution’s ambitious governor. This is a novel about rebellious youth and a refusal to conform. It’s gritty realism is compelling.
Sillitoe was one of the so-called “angry young men” – a group of mostly working and middle class playwrights and novelists prominent in the 1950s that were united by their disillusionment with traditional British society. Sillitoe disliked the label as did most of the other writers to whom it was applied, such as John Osborne, particularly when their work became more divergent in style and theme.
The angry young men also included John Braine whose novel Room at the Top provides me with my second link. Braine was a Yorkshireman by birth who left school at the age of 16 to work in variously as a shop assistant, factory hand and librarian before turning his hand to writing. Like The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Room at the Top provides a realistic portrayal of life in a working class community. It’s central character is Joe Lampton, an ambitious young man of humble origins who is determined to make something of himself and leave behind former acquaintances who he despises for their lack of life and character. But his complex relationship with two women shows he is a man of dubious morality. By the end of the novel, he is forced to consider the question of his responsibility for a tragic event. This is a novel which deals brilliantly with questions of morality and social mobility.
My third link comes from another writer whose work is characterised by a social ‘edginess’. Stan Barstow wrote A Kind of Loving (1960) as the first part of a trilogy featuring Vic Brown, a young man from Yorkshire who is slowly inching his way up from his working class roots through a white-collar job. Vic finds himself trapped when his girlfriend becomes pregnant and they are forced, by the social rules of the time, into marrying. A housing shortage in northern England means they have to live with Ingrid’s domineering mother which further cramps Vic’s style. This is a novel very much of its time which deals with ambition, consequences and compromises.
Social realism of course was not the exclusive purview of male writers. Almost a century before the angry young men made their mark, Elizabeth Gaskell turned her attention to the brutality of life in the industrialised towns of northern England. My fourth link in the chain is one of her best known novels, North and South. Set in Manchester (Gaskell novel calls it Milton) the novel looks at the troubled relationship between workers and and mill owners as seen through the eyes of one woman, the clergyman’s daughter Margaret Hale. Forced to move north from her childhood home in the leafy south of England, Margaret’s senses and sensibilities are shocked by the poverty and suffering she witnesses. It’s fair to say that Charles Dickens, Gaskell’s contemporary, covered some of the same issues but I preferred the more nuanced approach adopted by Gaskell – while she detailed the social misery experienced in the slum dwellings of the workers, she balanced this by showing that not all mill owners were oblivious to the suffering of their workers. If all you know of Gaskell is her Cranford novels, you may be as surprised by North and South as I was when I read it about five years ago (see my review here).
Let stick with books set in the industrial heartland of the UK as we move onto number 5 in the chain. The Stars Look Down is a 1935 novel by A. J. Cronin which takes place in a coal mining community in Northumberland. It traces various injustices experienced by its inhabitants over a period from just before World War 1 until the 1930s. Cronin conveys his theme through three principal figures who represent different points of view: one is a miner’s son who follows a political career to try and improve the life of people around him , the second is a miner who goes into business but is accused of being a war profiteer, and the third is the son of an unscrupulous colliery owner. Cronin’s story includes a number of pivotal moments which force these people, and the community to question its values. Like Gaskell he doesn’t come down unequivocally on one side or another – broadly you can see his sympathies lie with the workers but he also shows a recognition that some of the mine owners can be decent human beings.
I can’t get to the end of this chain and ignore fiction written about social conditions in my own part of the world – Wales. So for my final choice I’m selecting a novel that was one of the most highly talked about among my parent’s generation. How Green Was My Valley is a 1939 novel by Richard Llewellyn about the Morgan family whose male members all earn their living in the dangerous world of coal mining. It’s a story told by one of of the sons, Huw, whose academic ability sets him apart from his brothers and gives him a chance to build a future away from the mines. This is a family saga so we get the usual quota of thwarted love affairs, sibling rivalry etc but its the background of the harsh working conditions experienced by this family (and their neighbours) and their total dependancy on the mines, that provide the main interest. Cronin claimed he based the book on his personal experience though this was hotly disputed. Nevertheless the world he depicts is one my parents recognised and felt was authentic, from crippling strikes that caused hunger and set father against son, to questions about whether mine owners compromised safety in the interests of cost cutting and, inevitably to a disaster underground. The title of the book is a recognition that while coal mining brought jobs it also turned the green hillsides into black mountains, a situation that lasted well into my adult years.
And there we must end this chain. We’ve come a long way from the terraces of a London football club, travelling via northern England to Wales, encountering social disruption, class warfare and (mercifully) not much sport……I didn’t think I would be able to link book number six in the chain back to Fever Pitch but just as I was about to press ‘publish’ I had one of those light bulb moments. Fever Pitch is set on the terraces of various football clubs. Much of the action of How Green was My Valley takes places within the terraced houses of the South Wales valleys. How about that for a connection???
A complete list of the books reviewed on this blog since 2012. They are listed alphabetically by author’s surname. If you can’t find something just use the search box (on the right of your screen) or search by categories.
Click the links to go to the review.
- Chinua Achebe Things Fall Apart
- Peter Ackroyd: The Clerkenwell Tales
- Chimamanda Adichie The Thing Around Your Neck
- Aravind Adiga The White Tiger
- J.P. Alaux & N.Balen: Late Harvest Havoc
- Louisa M Alcott: Little Women
- Isabel Allende: The Japanese Lover (did not finish)
- Marjorie Allingham: More Work for the Undertaker (did not finish)
- Kingsley Amis: The Old Devils
- Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
- M A Arthofer: Complete Guide to World Fiction
- Margaret Atwood: An Edible Woman
- Joachim Maria Mated de Assis: Dom Casmurro
- Jane Austen: Mansfield Park
- Tash Aw: Five Star Billionaire
- Beryl Bainbridge:
- Honore de Balzac: Old Goriot
- John Banville The Sea
- Muriel Barbery: The Gourmet
- Nicola Barker: In the Approaches
- Laura Barnett The Versions of Us
- Belinda Bauer:
- Nina Bawden:
- Sybille Bedford: A Favourite of the Gods
- Roberto Bolaño: The Third Reich
- Pearl S Buck: The Good Earth
- Jessie Burton: The Miniaturist
- Anita Brookner: Hotel du Lac
- Geraldine Brooks: Year of Wonders
- Tracy Brown and Michael Hanlon: When Safety Rules Don’t Add Up
- NoViolet BulawayoWe Need New Names
- A. S Byatt: Possession
- Anita Brookner: Hotel du Lac
- Andrea Camilleri:
- Don Carpenter: Fridays at Enrico’s
- Eleanor Catton The Luminaries
- Gabriel Chevalier: Fear
- Agatha Christie The Mysterious Affair at Styles
- Bill Clegg: Did You Ever Have a Family
- J, M Coetzee:
- Wilkie Collins: Dead Secret
- Maryse Conde: The Tree of Life
- Jim Crace: Harvest
- Paul Cudahy: Read all About It
- Carys Davies: The Redemption of Galen Pike
- Charles Dickens:
- Isabelle de Rothsay: Sarah’s Key
- Kiran Desai: The Inheritance of Loss
- Evello Rosero Diago: The Armies
- Anthony Doerr: All the Light we Cannot See
- Helen Dunmore:
- Fyodor Doestoevsky: Crime and Punishment
- Emma Donaghue: Room
- Terry Eagleton: How to Read Literature
- Umberto Eco: Numero Zero
- Carson Eddy: Beaded Jewellery Stringing Techniques
- Jennifer Egan: Look at Me
- George Eliot: Adam Bede
- Anne Enright: The Gathering
- Pamela Ewan: An Accidental Life
- Nurradin Farah: From a Crooked Rib
- J G Farrell:
- Erik Faye: Nagasaki
- Nathan Filer The Shock of the Fall
- Sheri Fink: Five Days at Memorial
- Penelope Fitzgerald: Offshore
- Richard Flanagan The Narrow Road to the Deep North
- C. S Forester The Pursued
- Andrew Forrester: The Female Detective
- E.M Forster: A Room with a View
- Michael Frayn: Skios
- Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes The Sleeping World (Did Not Finish)
- Patrick Gale: A Place Called Winter
- Elizabeth Gaskell:
- Amitav Ghosh: The Glass Palace
- William Golding: Rites of Passage
- Jack Grimwood: Moskva
- Graham Greene:
- Joumana Haddad: I Killed Scheherazade
- Mohsin Hamid:
- Jane Harris: Gillespie and I
- Sarah HartleyMrs P’s Journey
- Paula HawkinsThe Girl on the Train
- Emma Healey: Elizabeth is Missing
- Kent Haruf: Benediction
- E Hemmingway: Farewell to Arms
- Mark Henshaw The Snow Kimono
- Susan Hill: Woman in Black
- Antonia Hodgson The Devil in the Marshalsea
- Khaled Hosseini: And the Mountains Echoed
- Katherine Howe The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (Did not Finish)
- Keri Hulme The Bone People
- Arnaldur Indriðason Silence of the Grave
- Will SchwabeEnd of Your Life Book Club
- Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten: Ever Yours: The Essential Letters of Vincent van Gogh
- Henry James:
- Ruth Prawer Jhabvala: Heat and Dust
- Gail Jones: A Guide to Berlin (did not finish)
- Anjali Joseph: Saraswati Park
- Rachel Joyce The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
- Pia Juul The Murder of Halland
- Yasunari Kawabata Snow Country
- Mary Beth Keane: Fever
- Molly Keane: Devoted Ladies
- Thomas Keneally The Daughters of Mars
- John Kenney Truth in Advertising
- Yasmina Khadra The Dictator’s Last Night
- Bernard Knight:
- Herman Koch The Dinner
- László Krasznahorkai Satantango
- Shin Kyung-Sook Please Look After Mom
- John Lancaster: Capital
- Lexi Lane Bloggers Survival Guide
- Antoine Laurain The President’s Hat
- Pierre LeMaitre: Alex
- Yiyun Li: Kinder than Solitude
- Charlotte Link The Other Child
- Penelope Lively: Moon Tiger
- Alain Mabanckou: Broken Glass
- Alison Macleod Unexploded
- Hilary Mantel: Bring up the Bodies
- Diego Marani New Finnish Grammar
- Javier Marías The Infatuations (did not finish)
- Yann Martel: Life of Pi
- Enrique Villa Matas: Dublinesque (did not finish)
- Dalene Matthee: Fiela’s Child
- Daphne du Maurier My Cousin Rachel
- Simon Mawer The Girl who Fell from the Sky
- Anne Mazur Design and Sew the Perfect Bag
- Colum McCann TransAtlantic
- Ian McEwan: Chesil Beach
- Ian McGuire The North Water
- Grace McCleen The Offering
- Rebecca Mead My Life in Middlemarch
- Dinaw Mengestu: All our Names
- Wyl Menmuir The Many
- Stanley Middleton: Holiday
- A D Miller The Snowdrops
- Andrew Miller Pure
- Andy Miller A Year of Reading Dangerously
- Yukio Mishima: After the Banquet
- Rohinton Mistry Such a Long Journey
- Patrick Modiano Paris Nocturne
- Alice Monroe: Dear Life
- Alison Moore The Lighthouse
- V.Y. Mudimbe: Between the Tides
- Neel Mukherjee The Lives of Others
- Huraki Murakami Norwegian Wood
- Iris Murdoch The Sea, The Sea
- Edna O’Brien:
- Chigozie Obioma The Fishermen
- Maggie O’Farrell:
- John O’Farrell The Man Who Forgot His Wife
- Yoko Ogawa The Housekeeper and the Professor
- Andrew O’Hagan The Illuminations
- Simon Okotie Whatever Happened to Harold Absalon
- Aki Ollikainen White Hunger
- Yewande Omotoso The Woman Next Door
- Michael Ondaatje:
- Hanne Ørstavik The Blue Room
- Treachery by S. J Parris
- Ann Patchett: Bel Canto
- Alan Paton: Cry the Beloved Country
- Louise Penny:
- Philip Pulman Northern Lights
- Barbara Pym
- Kwei Quartey Wife of the Gods
- Zia Haider Rahman: In the Light of What we Know (did not finish)
- Ruth Rendell Wolf to the Slaughter
- Phillip Reeve: Mortal Engines
- Monique Roffey: Archipelego
- Charlotte Rogan The Lifeboat
- J. K Rowling: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
- Bernice Rubens The Elected Member
- Salman Rushdie: Midnight’s Children
- Donal Ryan The Spinning Heart
- Atef Abu Saif (ed) : The Book of Gaza
- Dai Saijie: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
- C. J Sansom:
- Dorothy L Sayers Strong Poison
- Paul Scott Staying On
- Mary Ann Shaffer The Guernsey Literary & Potato Pie Society
- Kamila Shamshie: Burnt Shadows
- Akhil Sharma: Family Life
- Qaisra Shahraz The Holy Woman
- Owen Shears Resistance
- Yrsa Sigurdardotti The Silence of the Sea
- Ali Smith: How to Be Both
- Zadie Smith NW
- Muriel Spark The Girls of Slender Means
- Cath Staincliffe: Letters to my Daughter’s Killer
- John Steinbeck:
- R. L Stevenson Treasure Island
- Kathryn Stockett The Help
- David Storey Saville
- Elizabeth Strout My Name is Lucy Barton
- Graham Swift: Last Orders
- David Szalay All That Man Is
- Elizabeth Taylor
- Mildred Taylor Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
- Madeleine Thien: Do Not Say We Have Nothing
- Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Petals of Blood
- Denis Thierault The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Policeman
- Angela Thirkell: High Rising
- Gwyn Thomas
- Lavie Tidhar A Man Lies Dreaming
- Colm Toibin: Brooklyn
- Claire Tomalin The Unequaled Self
- Anthony Trollope:
- Barchester Towers
- The Warden
- Louise Walsh Black River ( did not finish)
- Sarah Water The Paying Guests
- S. J Watson Before I go to Sleep
- William Wells Brown: Clotel: or, The President’s Daughter
- May Witwit, Bee Rowlatt: Talking about Austen in Baghdad
- Naill Williams: History of the Rain
- Christa Wolfe The Search for Christa T
- Virginia Woolf Mrs Dalloway
- Hanya Yanagihara: A Little Life
- Frederick Yamusangie: Full Circle
- David Young Lawrence Will the Real William Shakespeare please Step Forward by
- Carlos Zuin Zafon Shadow of the Wind
- Gabrielle Zafin The Storied Life of A.J.Fitkry
- Emile Zola:
- Norbert Zongo The Parachute Drop