I’ve never claimed to be a patient person. I know it’s a virtue, but it’s a virtue I just don’t possess. So you understand my difficulty with waiting 100 years for my favorite authors to write their next books. (In addition to lacking patience, I’m also prone to hyperbole.) I realize it’s no small feat to bash out a masterpiece, but come on, writers. Put pen to paper and give the people what they want already.
In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only Thomas Cromwell dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power. Wolf Hall re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death.
“At New Year’s he had given Anne a present of silver forks. . . . He hopes she will use them to eat with, not to stick in people.” —Hilary Mantel
Claire: “What should we server the Walkers?”
Claire: “I’m saving that for dessert. . . .”
I thought my first exposure to Jhumpa Lahiri’s masterful take on the experiences of Indian immigrants was in college, but I should have known better. The Gilmores pay tribute to Lahiri through a mention of her powerful story about the Ganguli family as they travel from their traditional life in Calcutta to their fraught transformation into Americans.
In a Balkan country mending from war, Natalia, a young doctor, is compelled to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death. Searching for clues, she turns to his worn copy of The Jungle Book and the stories he told her of his encounters over the years with “the deathless man.” But most extraordinary of all is the story her grandfather never told her—the legend of the tiger’s wife.
This powerful story of race and gender is centered on Ifemelu, a brilliant and self-assured young woman who departs military-ruled Nigeria for an American university where, for the first time, she is forced to grapple with her identity as a black woman. Ifemelu faces difficult choices and challenges, suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, and eventually achieves success as the writer of an eye-opening blog about race in America. Fearless and gripping, Americanah is a richly told story set in today’s globalized world.
Hailed by critics, loved by readers of literary and historical fiction, and featuring what is arguably one of the most iconic covers of recent years, Beautiful Ruins is the story of an almost-love affair that begins on a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline in 1962. Funny and romantic, the beauty and wisdom of Jess Walter’s writing in the last chapter alone will leave musical lines of prose engraved in your memory.
Toni Morrison’s first novel to be set in our current moment, this is a spare and unsparing tale about how the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult. Toni Morrison was awarded in 2012.