Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Every Place Noir ("Akashic Noir Series" short story mystery anthologies)

Ever wonder about what's going on beneath the surface in your town. Now you can get the best of underworld drama going on pretty much wherever with indie publisher Akashic's highly successful Noir series, each book an anthology comprised of thrilling mystery and crime fiction shorts set in prominent cities and locales from around the world. Beginning with it's award-winning 2004 book Brooklyn Noir, the series has promptly put out over 40 subsequent original noir mystery anthologies. Each book is comprised of brand new crime shorts, each one set in a distinct neighborhood or location within each city, country or region with places ranging from Portland, Ore. to Moscow and from Mumbai (India) to Haiti. Orange County (CA) & Indian Country, USA are just some of the latest places to be showcased within the currently available collection with many more on the way. Don't forget to checkout for Lone Star Noir set to debut this fall.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, A Jew, and The Heart of the Middle East / by Sandy Tolan

The Lemon Tree tells many stories. It is the story of Bashir Al-Khairi, a Palestinian Arab born in Ramla (West Bank, Israel) just before the termination of the British Mandate, and who, throughout his life, devotes himself to the cause of a free Palestine for Palestinians only to wind up permanently maimed in battle, detained and torchered by occupying forces, imprisoned for over half his adult life and ultimately made a refugee in exile, forbidden ever to return to his homeland. It is the story of Dalia Eshkenazi, a Bulgarian Jew and Holocaust survivor who, while still a child in 1948, resettles in Israel with her family during the UN Partition Plan in the same Ramlah home Bashir and his own family were forced out of. It is the story of millions of people displaced by war and politics and of millions more divided by partisan causes. Ultimately though, it is the story of an age-old, still-simmering and unlikely-to-cease conflict, of a war which has waged for centuries between Jews and Arabs, Judaism and Islam, Israelis and Palestinians, though it has really only been infused into the global conscious for the last half century.
While the Arab-Israeli conflict is a complicated one, embittered with hate and recrimination, Bashir and Dalia's lifelong friendship, linked by coincidence but proliferated through trust and love, is an enlightened union. The pair's unlikely friendship is one which endures despite the maddeningly stubborn socio-political debacle defining their age, the constant wars and violence causing many sad and troubling times of grief, isolation and despair, not to mention each's unchanging personal convictions. Tolan, a UC-Berkely professor and NPR syndicated journalist has written a compelling book on a very touchy, very saddening and very volatile situation of our time. (956.9405 TOLAN)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History / by Penny Le Coeur & Jay Burreson

In 1812, Napoleon and his Grande Armée boldly, albeit naievely embarked on the most illustrious, most daunting and most elongated military expedition the European continent had ever seen. The campaign proved a disastrous failure as the stark, bitter elements of the Russian winter decimated much of the emperor's army. But what if something else, something smaller indirectly contributed to the deaths of so many soldiers and, subsequently, the demise of the French Empire? Say, like the buttons on the greatcoats worn by all members of the army, buttons made of tin, which is now known to be comprised of properties which disintegrate in extremely low temperatures. It's no mystery that the French soldiers were noticeably worse off than their conquered counterparts, many of them serfs or peasants who'd never worn any kind of buttoned apparel yet were more adapted to the elements dressed more layered, better fastened garments of wool and sheepskin.
Authors Le Couteur and Burreson, both chemists, not only believe in the seemingly somewhat far-flung correlation, but back up their hypothesis with hard scientific evidence, highlighting certain key groups of molecular compounds, particularly several very suspect alkaloids, which did the most damage. But 1812 wasn't the only time or place where molecules may have largely determined some pretty fascinating events. The book takes a very up-close look at some instances like the unlikely synthesis of heroin from Bayer Aspirin, or the inception of rubber used for tires from a combination of sulfur atoms and nitric acid, as well as numerous other interesting historical anecdotes. With short manageable sections, it involves chemistry at a practical level. So for people who may shrivel at the thought of having to learn any hard facts, it's not quite as foreboding. Uniquely, it shows, both visually and narratively, how a change as small as the position of an atom can lead to enormous alterations in the properties of a substance--which, in turn, can influence and even change dramatically the course of history. (540.9 LECOUTEU)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Neil Gaiman weighs in on genre fiction vs. literary fiction

For those of you interested in Neil Gaiman's take on writing and literature, take a look at the introduction he wrote for the short story anthology Stories, which Gaiman edited along with Al Sarrantonio. As David Barnett points out in his entry in the Guardian's book blog (click here for the link), the collection includes stories from many authors who work outside Gaiman's usual SF parameters -- including Walter Mosley, Jodi Picoult, and Roddy Doyle. Lots of big names in this volume, for a nice cross-genre smattering of summer reading. You can find it shelved in our Short Story Collection (SSC).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Insomnia / by Stephen King

Something is definitely wrong with Ralph Roberts. He keeps waking up earlier and earlier, unable to fall back asleep. He first noticed he'd get up around 5:30, progressively finding himself awake at an earlier time until he now routinely stops sleeping anywhere between 2 and 4 AM. The clinical term is insomnia, or, in some of the books premature waking. Whatever it's called, it keeps getting worse for Ralph, a retired widower who's lived all his life in Derry, Maine. The constant wakefulness isn't the only oddity in Ralph's life. There's something strange going on with his neighbors, specifically Ed Deepneau, a once endearing, mild-mannered soul whose pretty wife and young daughter had been such a comfort to Ralph's late wife Martha during the last months of her cancer. But now Ed is someone entirely different. The gentle-hearted Ed has turned into a ranting, raving hate-monger, a man who's become enraged with malevolence at the new abortion clinic in town and has, on a recent occasion (though it's likely not the only time), beaten his wife nearly to death, something Ralph still can't get over.
Still not sleeping, Ralph becomes aware of some even stranger occurrences like eerie sounds at night accompanied by an odd, unexplained glow hovering near certain people and places. It's evident that there's something wicked and inhuman concentrated in Derry. When the situation with Ed reaches a climax, an event sparking a tirade of violence and destruction, Ralph knows that it's only a matter of time before the evil presence inhabiting Derry dooms everyone. He also knows that he, along with his loyal friend Lois Chasse, another neighbor (and widow), are the only ones who can, and must find a way to stop the horror overtaking the town.
King returns to Derry in this admirable novel of good vs. evil. The setting of such other of his works as It, Bag of Bones and The Tommynockers, Derry is one place in King's universe where you can always count on a good tale. Characterization is the real draw with King's novels and Ralph represents another of the author's most fully developed characters, a man preselected for doing battle with the forces of evil. Recurring themes of dualism and moral relativism are prevalent and readers will recognize many of the same conditions existing in King's previous horror classics are present here. (FIC KING)

Friday, June 18, 2010

High Fidelity / by Nick Hornby

Rob Fleming sees things in fives. For anything and (nearly) everything, he's got his top-five lists: his top five girlfriends, top five most memorable breakups, top five bands, top five bands for each genre, top five songs of each top five band, top five dream jobs (including several choice gigs set in bygone eras), top five songs to play at a wedding, " " at a funeral, etc. and so on. A London record store owner/manager, Rob's definitely a connoisseur of all things popular music, and he's never ashamed to set someone straight about, say, The Kinks top five greatest concerts or which song on the Beatles White album is the most euphonic. Though, being a proprietor, he tries to maintain a somewhat professional demeanor. He's not quite as fanatical or finicky an aficionado (read: snob) as Dick and Barry, his two nerd-extraordinaire store clerks who each possess an unhealthy excess of opinionated verbage.
After breaking up with his longtime girlfriend Laura (who he's always considered his soulmate despite the fact that her record collection is, incidentally, intolerably incompatible with his own), Rob employs various diversions to comfort his broken heart and dissatisfied worldview. In addition to rearranging his music into the order in which he bought each album, Rob tries to reconnect with many of his previous girlfriends (some of them top fivers and some not), each encounter odd in its own way. He also forms an interesting relationship with a troubador-esque American named Maria de Salle, whose free-flowing, less pretentious outlook on life offers Rob a different outlet for his constant, perpetually neurotic ruminations.
Hornby, author of bestsellers Fever Pitch and About a Boy as well as recent YA favorite Slam!, has been one fiction's most readable novelists for the past two decades and most people, especially Gen X'ers, are easily able to tap into his upbeat style and plethora of cultural references. In High Fidelity, his second major novel, published in 1995, Hornby excels at characterizing the cult of "musical elitism", a trendy, satirical term for describing the ambiguous, often over-the-top world of pop music criticism. Hornby is a fun writer and this is a fun book, entertaining and comedic but with a nominal serious streak and reflective aura. (FIC HORNBY)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tsotsi (2005) DVD / a film by Gavin Wood; starring Presley Chenewagae & Jerry Mofokeng; based on the novel by Athol Fugard

Tsotsi has never known a real home, a real family or even a real name (Tsotsi is a nickname roughly translated as "thief"). An orphan in the Johannesburg townships all his life, much of it spent sleeping at an abandoned construction site, he and his likewise-situated friends get by as common thieves, mugging and robbing (and sometimes murdering) their randomly selected targets. On a solo job one rainy night, Tsotsi burglarizes a woman arriving at her gated home. Acting recklessly, he forces the woman from her car at gunpoint, ultimately shooting her in the stomach before speeding off in the stolen vehicle.
The amateurish carjacking has netted more than an expensive auto however as only afterwards does Tsotsi realize what else he's escaped with--the woman's infant son. At a loss for what to do, Tsotsi bides his time in hiding, meanwhile discovering just what it means to be responsible for another human being. As the child's unlikely surrogate caretaker, he does his best to keep it nourished, an act involving the coercion of a wet nurse (also at gunpoint). Tsotsi also does his utmost to keep out of sight of hypervigilant authorities--the baby's father is a wealthy, high-ranking city official--who will not only treat him violently if caught, but will help ensure he receives, if not the death penalty, then the severest of sentences. But he knows he can't hide for long, and soon must make the biggest decision of his young life.
Tsotsi won the oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of 2005, and deservedly so. It exposes the vividly contrasting lifestyles in post-Apartheid South Africa where wealth and poverty make strange, often tragic bedfellows. Even with an overhaul of improvements to the infrastructure of the country, conditions remain devastatingly bad for millions of disadvantaged squalor camp residents, many of whom have AIDS and/or are stuck without a chance. Yet where there is love, there is hope and Tsotsi offers a vision of the kind of redemption available in even the most dire of circumstances. (DVD TSOTSI)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Infinities / by John Banville

Once a renowned mathematician, Old Adam Godley now lies on his deathbed where family and friends have gathered round for his final days. In addition to his much-younger second wife Ursula, there's his desultory son Young Adam, who's never gotten out from beneath the shadow of his father, and his beautiful but flighty wife Helen, a once much sought after actress who's grown colder with age. Nineteen-year-old Petra, daughter to Old Adam, may or may not be insane (like her mother who killed herself) and Petra's wierd little boyfriend Roddy, an aspiring mathematician who seems more attached to dying Old Adam than Petra, are also present. This awkward combination of individuals in the house aren't quite alone though. Gods of the Greek myths, who've "always been here . . . ", mysteriously occupy the atmosphere and the consciousness of the scene around them. Pan (god of nature) wanders in on the crowd taking on the human form of Benny, a family acquaintance of bygone days, while Zeus, who's set his sights on the lovely Helen, maneuvers his way toward a series of "illicit amours". Meanwhile, monitoring the proceedings is Hermes, messenger god and son of Zeus, who's inhabited the body of a nearby farmer and fancifully interprets all that goes on.
Banville, who won the Man Booker prize for his darker, more realist novel The Sea, displays just why he's called one of the greatest stylists of the English language alive today*. No one can quite mesh prose and poetry like he does. His story is more a forum for characterization than a plot with a beginning, middle and end. It's genius all the same. With lyrically adept personal emotions, thoughts and even subconscious ephemera all beautifully articulated, Banville is one of those authors who just seems more comfortable whispering thoughts than vocalizing dialogue (of which there is almost none here). So fluent is he at narrating the life of the mind, at evoking the substance of the soul that virtually no action is necessary. (FIC BANVILLE)
*"Banville shines with profound rendering of a parallel universe" by Val Nolan". The Sunday Business Post. September 6, 2009.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Every Last One: A Novel / by Anna Quindlen

"Always is such a very long time." (p.186)
Mary Beth Latham enjoys a good life. Residing in the same pleasant New England town she grew up in, she's a loving wife to all-around good guy husband Glynn, devoted mother and successful entrepeneur who strives to maintain quality business ethics. By all accounts she's faired a great deal better than her older sister Alice who's latest brainstorm netted a test tube baby and a disproportionate amount of stress and paranoia. The same goes for most of her friends, many of whom she's known all her life and are frequently divorced, cruelly discarded or otherwise tagged as "a mess", and always clamoring to Mary Beth for support.
Though her time and attention are heavily in demand, things are more concentrated on her kids' lives (and her kids' friends) at the moment, each a teenager and embattled with their own dilemmas. 17-year-old Ruby is (for the most part) an all-around great kid, so much so that Kiernan, her sensitive, emotionally damaged and pathetically clingy boyfriend, is decimated by Ruby's honest and dignified decision to dump him. As the aftermath of the young couple's breakup gets ugly, Mary Beth's already strained emotional stamina becomes taxed while meanwhile twins Max and Alex, an alarmingly different pair, are both 14 and enduring their own complicated trials of youth. Max, the unathletic, indoor type, is seriously depressed enough for Mary Beth to engage the use of a therapist and Alex, though visibly the more well-adjusted, is actually the one growing more distant with each passing day. So it goes for Mary Beth (who wouldn't trade it all for the world) until the day everything changes.
Quindlen is very good. Intuitive and substance-driven, she's tapped into the far less intact and far more amiss world of everyday lives, emotions, personalities and problems. It's the facile, gentle nature of her writing which most engages. Her stories are easy: easy to read, easy to follow, easy to identify with and, most importantly, easy to believe. As dramatic as the story gets (and it gets pretty intense), readers sincerely buy into the concepts and situations elicited. Everything's really a tradeoff in Quindlen's world; every life has its perks and pitfalls, peaks and valleys. People are often ill-equipped for failures and disappointments, are often marred by tragedy beyond repair. At the same time these same souls are realized as complete human beings, fitted with stronger attributes and capable of overcoming the many sad and troubling times though it's never guaranteed they will. (FIC QUINDLEN)

New Historical Fiction

NPR recently did a story reviewing new historical fiction for your summer reading pleasure. Click here for the full story.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spring Break: A Novel / by Kayla Perrin

A week in The Bahamas with her BFF's is just what 21-year-old Chanetelle needs after a long, cold two months at their Pennsylvania college. More importantly, it's a chance for her to put some necessary space between her and former boyfriend Carl, who had the audacity to break up with her just because he wanted to spend more time with his friends. Sun-drenched beaches, all-day shopping sprees and nonstop party-hopping is what Chanetelle, the sultry Erica and stunning Ashley have in mind upon arrival. That's pretty much how things start out with all three girls never at a loss for a free drink from an available, willing male patron.
But terror strikes suddenly when Ashley mysteriously disappears without a trace (kidnapped?). Chanetelle and Erica find themselves in shock, distraught with confusion and disbelief until a few subtle hints lead the pair to find some important clues, and, ultimately some seedy characters who may be the answer to their friend's whereabouts. Without much help from anyone else and not knowing who to trust, the pair embark on the trail to find their friend, negotiating some treacherous twists and turns along the way. Perrin's latest thrill ride is engrossing and fans won't be disappointed. Things move fast but the author stays on top of things with Chanatelle's thorough narrative which helps the reader understand the characters and keep in touch with the vital parts of the story. (FIC PERRIN)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's World Cup Time

The ESPN World Cup Companion: Everything You Need To Know About The Planet's Biggest Sports Event / by David Hirshey and Roger Bennett
An abundance of World Cup photographs, country profiles, legendary players and the greatest matches are presented in this brand new book published just in time for the June event in South Africa. Whether you support El Tri, Mannschaft, Azzurri, Les Bleus, Bafana or even if you're merely a non-partisan casual soccer fan and would just like to learn a bit more about the world's most epic sporting event, this is one of the best, most up-to-date resources around. (796.33466 HIRSHEY)
Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, And Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Japan, Turkey--And Even Iraq--Are Destined To Become The King's Of The World's Most Popular Sport / by Simon Kuper
Inevitably, the title of this book will catch some people off guard. But for readers who do pick it up, it can be quite entertaining and revealing. With it's intriguing, if largely speculative evaluation of international 'football', it investigates the financial side of the world's biggest game, detailing many intricate and often contradictory economic factors which the author believes dooms certain national teams to consistent failure, aids others who seem destined for perennial glory and facilitates the potential success of certain dark horses. (796.334 KUPER)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Boomsday / by Christopher Buckley

18-year-old Cassandra Cohane is more than a little peeved when her father blows her college tuition money (and all the family's savings) on his own startup company. Her dreams of Yale now ruined, Cassandra enlists in the Army, soon finding herself stuck in a European combat zone where life resembles anything but ivy-hewn sophistication. Things don't stay so dismal for very long though. One day Cassandra finds herself chauffering US Senator Randy Jepperson whose blunt manners and roguish behavior soon land the pair in a mine field of trouble after their hummer (the freewheeling senator having commandeered the vehicle for some joyriding) literally lands in, well, a mine field. This quite uncalled for accident holds some fortuitous karma for Cassandra. She's abruptly discharged in very hush-hush fashion and whisked off to Washington where she becomes part of Senator Jepperson's political staff, an opportunity finally allowing her the platform to promote her own radical, but no less serious, ambitions for social justice.
Ten years later, Cassandra Devine (her permanent name-change enacted out of still-strong bitterness towards her father) is a prominent PR rep involved in Jepperson's campaign for the presidency. Having observed how the government's rapidly inflating deficit, which coupled with the demographic shift of baby boomers into retirement, has plunged the country into a catastrophic economic crisis, depriving her own generation of basically everything, Cassandra has become a vigilant advocate of "voluntary transitioning" for senior citizens--her own tongue-in-cheek term for euthanasia. Things are so strained economically, with so much backlash politically (i.e., daily attacks on Florida retirees who've bankrupted the country with their Social Security pensions and government benefits), that Cassandra's seemingly insane plan is actually being taken seriously. Things in Washington inevitably go haywire as both proponents and opponents fiercely lobby over the seemingly inconceivable, but at the same time feasible, solution to the country's desperate problem.

Buckley's follow-up to his rollicking debut Thank You For Smoking shares the same over-the-top, zany concept as its predecessor. Boomsday stays relevant even with its outrageous ideas and frivolous, somehwhat reckless storyline. Most will recognize the book as just plain good humor, and yet will be able to understand the broader, ironically pandered ideas casually intended--enhancing awareness of the country's self-imploding financial crisis and promoting brainstorming about fiscal solvency. Not everyone will be able to appreciate, or understand Buckley's high-strung, lightning-paced and, yes, frequently absurd method of storytelling and readers needing a more fundamentally grounded style to their political satire may find the story fizzles out a bit in the second half. (FIC BUCKLEY)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. This is his sixth novel, and a weighty one. It concerns a member of the Turkish society elite, Kemal, who has a comfortable position in his father’s firm, a devoted circle of friends and family – wealth, health and possessions – and is engaged to a lovely girl from the same social class. Kemal, however, meets a girl distantly related to him, a shop girl, with whom he starts to have an affair. The girl, Fusun, is aware of his impending marriage and yet gives herself wholeheartedly to this alliance. As Kemal grows increasingly infatuated with Fusun, he is torn between losing her and wrecking his engagement. Ironically, he ends up doing both. Fusun, broken-hearted at his engagement party, is taken away by her father to start a new life. Kemal attempts to continue with his fiancé, but his pain and distraction effectively destroy her faith in him, and she breaks off the engagement.
What makes the novel monumental is that in each encounter with Fusun, in a family-owned vacant apartment, Kemal becomes attached to some objects that Fusun handled or had contact with. A glass, a spoon, a lost earring – all of these objects help Kemal to recreate her presence when she is not with him. When Fusun finally returns to Istanbul, to her parents’ house, she is married, yet Kemal is welcome in their home. Fusun’s husband, a young aspiring film maker (who has no inkling of their previous attachment) sees Kemal as a potential backer for his film. Years pass, with Kemal living out his love for Fusun as a nightly dinner guest and as an extra in family excursions out and around Istanbul. His collection of objects from Fusun’s environment, pocketed unobtrusively, swell to unimagined proportions, including 4.213 cigarette stubs. While the minutia of detailed objects is staggering, what the novel builds is its own “collection” of objects for our perusal. This includes the summer house where Kemal spun out the end of his tortured engagement, the gardens where he watches endless Turkish films with Fusun and her husband (doing film “research”),and the dining room where he surreptitiously watches Fusun during the family meal. All of the storylines and the reasons for doing things become inconsequential, in light of the weight of the things, their glow, their place in the environment where the encounter takes place. Why is the museum, this place where all the objects rest, a museum of “innocence”? Perhaps it may be that Pamuk is hinting at a world that transcends our experience - a setting that witnessed all our emotions, all of our tragedies, yet remains serene.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cry, The Beloved Country / by Alan Paton

"Cry, the beloved country,
for the unborn child
that is the inheritor of our fear.
Let him not love the earth too deeply.
Let him not laugh too gladly
when the water runs through his fingers,
nor stand too silent when the setting sun
makes red the veld with fire.
Let him not be too moved
when the birds of his land are singing,
nor give too much of his heart
to a mountain or a valley.
For fear will rob him of all
if he gives too much." (p. 102)
"The truth is, our civilization is not Christian; it is a tragic compound of great ideal and fearful practice, of loving charity and fearful clutching of possessions." (p. 187)
The Reverend Stephen Kumalo is a farmer and lay minister in the South African province of Natal when he one day receives a letter requesting his presence in Johannesburg. The message informs Kumalo of the whereabouts and ill condition of his sister Gertrude who, along with Kumalo's son Absalom (who'd originally been sent to search for Gertrude), have neither returned home nor contacted Kumalo and his wife since their departure ("When people go to Johannesburg, they do not come back" p. 38). Kumalo arrives in the capital to discover that Gertrude has taken up a life of prostitution and is now drinking heavily, having dissipated herself to the point of bedrest to the neglect of her young son. After convincing his sister to return home with her child, Kumalo begins to search for his son with the aid of Msimangu, an Anglican priest, first encountering his estranged brother John, a carpenter who's become involved in city politics, before catching on to Absalom's trail. Kumalo and Msimangu learn that Absalom has, among other things, been in a reformatory recently, that he's impregnated a young girl and is now under arrest for the murder (during a botched burglary) of Arthur Jarvis, a white anti-apartheid journalist and social activist who is also, coincidentally, the son of Kumalo's Natal neighbor James Jarvis.
Paton's impassioned novel, published at the inception of Apartheid, is tremendous. A moving masterpiece to be sure, it is at the same time a universal fable of redemption, an ageless treatise on race, an anthemic paragon and indispensable treasure of world literature. Cry, The Beloved Country is among the most compelling of human stories, as breathtakingly poetic as it is stunningly captivating. Kumalo’s journey is the journey of one man and yet it is every man’s life. The gambit of emotion, the encumbrance of the human condition and reality of man’s coarse and conflicted nature unfolds with every encounter. Fear and joy, anger and love, selfishness and generosity, deceit and friendship, suffering and compassion are all envived in the context, capturing the reality of Paton’s South Africa and illuminating the problematic verisimilitude of the world at large. Historically, the book portrays the devastating effects of Apartheid on all South Africans, its blatant discrimination, internal destruction, and lasting impact as well as the resilient determination on behalf of a proud few to overcome their national blight. The author unveils human nature as a stubborn beast, but there is hope for South Africa. Man is an ignoble creature, but capable of compassion; imperfect and severely limited, but rich in hope and potential. It’s this truth which gives the novel its deft value, revealing life at its ugliest and its most redeeming, from degradation to transcendence, desolation to abundance, and wretchedness to beauty. (FIC PATON)

Literature of South Africa (RSA)

Blood Safari / by Deon Meyer; trans. from Afrikaans by K.L. Seegers
Emma Le Roux must hire a private bodyguard after her brother, still missing and presumed dead, is named a suspect in a string of murders. When Emma herself is linked to one of the murders, her situation becomes even more hair-raising at every turn..
Other Lives: A Novel in Three Parts / by André Brink
Brink’s tripartite novel looks into the lives of three Cape Town men, all artists who vaguely know each other and who are preoccupied with their own problems, but whose lives are, never the less, peculiarly headed in the same direction, literally and figuratively..
Summertime / by J.M. Coetzee
Coetzee, the 2003 Nobel Laureate, is a world-renowned author and scholar hailing from Cape Town, RSA, and has recently published his third in a series of self-fictionalized memoirs. Summertime is a complex novel of self-examination and reflection, exploring the life of a recently deceased author whose somewhat prominent literary career is being researched by a young journalist.

Beethoven Was One-sixteenth Black: And Other Stories / by Nadine Gordimer
South African Nobel prize-winner Gordimer involves all aspects of her homeland in this compilation, including a British social activist whose South African lineage includes both blacks and whites, a Johannesburg woman searching for her dead husband’s lover, and a young Hungarian couple who’ve just emigrated to Cape Town.