After rooting through my shelves of unread books I’ve collected a selection of novellas in preparation for Novellas in November, hosted by Cathy of 746 Books and Rebecca of BookishBeck. I didn’t realise until after I’d listed the books and written the short descriptions that I’d made a very international selection with novellas by authors from Mexico, Argentina, Australia, France and Italy. Do I need to get my passport updated to visit all those countries?
Miss Peabody’s Inheritance . I’d never heard of Elizabeth Jolly until Lisa at ANZLitlovers ran an Elizabeth Jolley reading week in 2018. I bought two books on the strength of her recommendations but so far have read just the one The Sugar Mother. November will be perfect timing to read more of Jolley because it also happens to be Australia Reading Month hosted by Brona.
Signs Preceding The Ends Of The World comes from the Mexican author Yuri Herrera. He tells of a young Mexican woman Makina, who travels across the border illegally in search of her brother. In order to do this she has to deal with various criminal gangs.
Remembering Babylon by David Malouf is another novella I’m earmarking for Australia Reading Month. It was nominated for the Booker Prize in 1993 and sounds a very powerful tale of identity and differences. It takes place in the mid-1840s when a 13 -year-old British cabin boy is cast ashore in the far north of Australia and taken in by Aborigines. Sixteen years later he moves back into the world of Europeans, among hopeful yet terrified settlers who are staking out their small patch of home in an alien place.
The Bluest Eye was the first published long-form work by Toni Morrison, much praised for its poetic language and the boldness with which Morrison tackles her theme. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America.
Dissipatio. H. G by Guido Morselli is another Asymptote book club acquisition. I don’t think I would have chosen this of my own accord since it’s a postapocalyptic narrative about a man who has gone to the mountains to get away from all the struggles and problems of city dwellers but on his return to the capital he finds that the entire human race has evaporated.
Maigret In Court is the 55th title in the Maigret series created by Georges Simenon. I inherited it from my husband who didn’t much care for it finding the court room setting too constrictive. I hope its not entirely based in the court room because one of the things I most enjoy about this series are the snapshots we get of Paris streets and restaurants.
To The Warm Horizon by the Korean author Choi Jin-young is yet another Asymptote selection, this one from May 2021. According to the jacket summary the book shows how in a post-apocalyptic world, humans will still seek purpose, kinship, and even intimacy. Focusing on two young women, Jina and Dori, who find love against all odds, Choi Jin-young creates a dystopia where people are trying to find direction after having their worlds turned upside down. Doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs does it?
A Perfect Cemetery by the Argentinian author Frederico Falco consists of 5 short stories, three of around 45 pages and two shorter ones of less than 20 that reflect on obsessive love, romantic attachment and the strategies we need to cope with death and longing.
Open Water is a debut novel I heard about early this year when it was highlighted by the Sunday Times as a “book to watch for” . It’s about two Black British artists who meet at a pub in south east London and fall in love, but are threatened to be torn apart by fear and violence. It’s described as a love story love story that also examines race and masculinity, and what it means to be a person in a world which only sees you as a Black body.
I know I’m not going to get to all of these in November but it’s still fun to make a list. I’ll aim to read the two Australian titles first and then see where my mood takes me.
Are you planning to join in with Novellas in November? If so what are you planning to read? Find out more about the theme for each week by checking out Cathy’s post .