40+ Awesome Asian-authored Novels - Brilliant Books You Need to Read from Across This Epic 48-country Continent

A dazzling magic realist debut that dances with Vietnamese folklore. A fresh and funny feminist-infused page-turner about Singaporean Sarong Party Girls. An intimate family journey through a turbulent time in Taiwan’s history. A whimsical murder mystery set in modern Mumbai. Since a stack of our recent favourite reads were written by Asian authors, we thought we’d create this collection to highlight these newly-published gems (alongside older treasures by writers from this vast 48-country continent).

Among the recently published books we’ve loved, mention must go to The Far Field in which a privileged Bangalorean woman travels to a remote region of Kashmir to find the man who meant much to her deceased mother - it’s magnetic, moving and majestically-written. For funny modern fiction with feisty bite, try Hana Khan Carries On and Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin, a brilliantly witty writer who was born in Toronto to South Asian immigrants. And I have to share my love of Dragonfly Eyes, a dazzling crossover novel with the power to grip all ages as its celebrated Chinese author, Cao Wenxuan, takes readers on an exhilarating journey from 1920s France, to post-war Shanghai, to rural Cultural Revolution China. I adored every word of this beautifully-written book in the charming company of young Ah Mei and her beloved grandmother.

Turning now to books published further back in time, Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable (1935) is an undisputed classic that explores India’s caste system through a day in the life story of a sweeper and toilet-cleaner. Staying in India, Vikram Seth’s epic love story, A Suitable Boy (1993), is a sumptuous reading experience that deftly marries love and romance with politics - of both the societal and familial kind. Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies is a beaut too, an epic saga set just before the Opium Wars that sees a hotchpotch of sailors, stowaways and convicts aboard an old slaving-ship undertake a turbulent voyage across the Indian Ocean.

Switching continents, if you haven’t yet read Wild Swans, here’s your friendly reminder that this global bestseller sweeps readers through 20th-century Chinese history across three generations of women in illuminating style. Then there’s Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, a folklore-flavoured classic set during the Chinese revolution that offers unique personal insights into life as an immigrant in America. Alternatively, Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Change serves up sumptuous, seductive stories of love, longing and the shifting tides of family life.

Like we said at the start, the continent is vast, and so too are the reading experiences that await in this collection of awesome Asian-authored novels - enjoy.

A Suitable Boy - Special Limited Edition

A Suitable Boy - Special Limited Edition

Author: Vikram Seth Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/07/2009

Vikram Seth's novel is at its core a love story, the tale of Lata - and her mother's attempts to find her a suitable husband, through love or through exacting maternal appraisal.

Sarong Party Girls

Sarong Party Girls

Author: Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2019

Written in Singlish - “a tossed salad of the different languages and Chinese dialects that the country’s multiethnic population speaks” - this exhilarating novel follows brazen Jazzy’s mission to marry a wealthy “ang moh” (white) man. Almost 27, she warns her friends that ”if we don’t get married, engaged or even nail down a boyfriend soon—my god, we might as well go ahead and book a room at Singapore Casket… But luckily for us, we still have one big hope: ang moh guys”, because “if you wear a tight tight dress or short short skirt, these ang mohs will still steam over you”. To this end, Jazzy’s life is an intense cycle of spending her days working for a newspaper editor who likes to “rubba rubba” his employees, followed by long nights at fancy clubs. Through her predatory attitude and enduring of a whole lot of objectification, this novel is razor-sharp on male entitlement, inequality, racial stereotypes and global capitalism. Indeed, Jazzy wasn’t always a Sarong Party Girl herself: “I would see women who are so obviously going after guys just for status and really look down on them. What kind of woman is so pathetic to chase after a husband just for the kind of handbag, car or condo they can buy them?” And then one night, it seems that enough is enough. Jazzy has an epiphany at dawn after a one hell of a wake-up call night out. What a fresh, funny and wildly acerbic treat this is. Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Debut Books of the Month
Build Your House Around My Body

Build Your House Around My Body

Author: Violet Kupersmith Format: Hardback Release Date: 08/07/2021

Though complex, subtle, and rich in history and myth, Violet Kupersmith's Build Your House Around My Body makes an instantly potent impression. Her writing is at once measured and vivid, infused with the elemental power of Vietnamese folklore, and with the histories, fates and desires of its protagonists. Following the lives of two fearless women who both went missing (though decades apart - one in 1986, the other in 2011), and who both seek revenge, Build Your House Around My Body is hauntingly poetic, playful, and a puzzle, of sorts. A multi-layered Russian doll of a story with magic realist elements - ghosts, time travel, snake monsters. Indeed, the whole novel might be described as a coiled serpent that spirals and springs when you least expect it. Despite their very different backgrounds, the women are bound by the past, and by ancestors and ghosts. It’s a mystery, a mythic epic, a slippery history that defies classification, and I loved it.

Star Books
Dragonfly Eyes

Dragonfly Eyes

Author: Cao Wenxuan Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/01/2021

Taking in five decades, three generations and the tender love between a girl and her grandmother, Dragonfly Eyes is an exquisitely-written novel set against a backdrop of unrest and change in 1960s Shanghai. With celebrated Chinese author Cao Wenxuan at the helm, readers are taken on an enthralling journey from a Golden Age in 1920s France, to poverty in post-war Shanghai, to rural Cultural Revolution China, in the beguiling company of Ah Mei and her French grandmother, Nainai.

Star Books
Ayesha at Last

Ayesha at Last

Author: Uzma Jalaluddin Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2019

Forthright, funny Ayesha harbours dreams of being a poet and occasionally performs at a literary lounge, but her ambitions are somewhat hampered by her new teaching job and familial pressure to get married, a pressure that’s intensified by her stunning younger cousin’s countless marriage proposals. But Ayesha is adamant that she doesn’t want an arranged marriage, even if it means she might be doomed to spinsterhood. Then, courtesy of her best friend and a conference at her mosque, a few twists of fate throw Ayesha into contact with hyper-critical, conservative Khalid, who dresses like a time-traveller from several centuries ago and is utterly under his wealthy mother’s control.  Cue much friction, farcical funniness and genuine soul-searching as Ayesha and Khalid embark on complex, intersecting journeys of discovery.  Alongside serving up a sparkling love story, this debut also tackles meaty issues, from the rampant islamophobia of Khaled’s abhorrent boss, to the sexism Ayesha stands up to. Indeed, the criss-crossing sub-plots - both gritty and comic - keep the pages turning, and make this a treat for fans of romance with extra bite.

Debut Books of the Month
Hana Khan Carries on

Hana Khan Carries on

Author: Uzma Jalaluddin Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

Wearing its warm heart and uplifting messages on its sleeve, Uzma Jalaluddin’s Hana Khan Carries On is a highly readable romance about staying true to your principles - even when that means risking your future. Riffing on You’ve Got Mail, and exuding the same feel-good vibe of forging a positive path through hardship as the author’s debut, Ayesha at Last, this is a cute and charismatic read with a powerful portrayal of a community rallying round to stand up to racists. Twenty-four-year-old Hana Khan is a Toronto-born, South Asian Muslim who interns at a radio station, helps out in her family’s dwindling restaurant on the Golden Crescent and hosts a podcast “to ask questions, without worrying who might be listening and judging”. Through her podcast Hana strikes up an adorable anonymous friendship with one of her listeners, to whom she turns for advice about her worries, particularity those around her family’s restaurant when a flashy competitor rocks up and threatens to put them out of business. While Hana’s family is at the heart of her life, she’s chosen to follow her own path, not unlike her charismatic aunt, “a woman ahead of her time” who “hadn’t been afraid to make bold decisions and carry them out.” Evoking her aunt’s spirit comes to the fore when Hana’s put in an impossible situation at her radio station - an exciting opportunity to work on a show with a fellow intern sours when they’re pushed into “perpetuating harmful stereotypes about Brown people and Muslims”. To handle this, Hana must heed her aunt’s advice: “Find your principles and see your story through to the end, no matter what.” Alongside worries about work and the restaurant, Hana is attacked by racists before a baseball game, and then comes a hate-fuelled attack on the Golden Crescent. Throughout, the sense of unity and generosity in her community is a joy - it serves as such a wonderful support network. Hana is persistent, tenacious and, as the title states, “carries on” to forge a bright future - on her own terms, according to her principles, with an unexpected someone at her side. Fun and thought-provoking, this serves up a sweet slice of romance with a side of real-life grit.

Books of the Month
Untouchable

Untouchable

Author: Mulk Raj Anand Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/01/2014

Mulk Raj Anand's extraordinarily powerful story of an Untouchable in India's caste system, with a new introduction by Ramachandra Guha, author of Gandhi Bakha is a proud and attractive young man, yet none the less he is an Untouchable - an outcast in India's caste system. It is a system that is even now only slowly changing and was then as cruel and debilitating as that of apartheid. Into this vivid re-creation of one day in the life of Bakha, sweeper and toilet-cleaner, Anand pours a vitality, fire and richness of detail that earn his place as one of the twentieth century's most important Indian writers. 'One of the most eloquent and imaginative works to deal with this difficult and emotive subject' Martin Seymour-Smith 'It recalled to me very vividly the occasions I have walked 'the wrong way' in an Indian city, and it is a way down which no novelist has yet taken me' E. M. Forster

Love in a Fallen City

Love in a Fallen City

Author: Eileen Chang Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/12/2007

Eileen Chang is one of the great writers of twentieth-century China, where she enjoys a passionate following both on the mainland and in Taiwan. At the heart of Chang's achievement is her short fiction-tales of love, longing, and the shifting and endlessly treacherous shoals of family life. Written when she was still in her twenties, these extraordinary stories combine an unsettled, probing, utterly contemporary sensibility, keenly alert to sexual politics and psychological ambiguity, with an intense lyricism that echoes the classics of Chinese literature. Love in a Fallen City, the first collection in English of this dazzling body of work, introduces readers to the stark and glamorous vision of a modern master.

Land of Big Numbers

Land of Big Numbers

Author: Te-Ping Chen Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/03/2021

A dazzling debut collection which, deftly and urgently, tells the stories of those living in the biggest and most complicated country on earth. A brother competes for gaming glory while his twin sister exposes the dark side of the Communist government on her underground blog; a worker at a government call centre is alarmed one day to find herself speaking to a former lover; a delicious new fruit arrives at the neighbourhood market and the locals find it starts to affect their lives in ways they could never have imagined; and a young woman's dreams of making it big in Shanghai are stalled when she finds herself working as a florist. These are just some of the myriad lives to be evoked in The Land of Big Numbers, a collection of stories which - sometimes playfully, sometimes darkly - draws back the curtain on the realities of modern China and unveils a cast of characters as rich and complicated as any in world literature. With virtuosic brilliance, Te-ping Chen sheds light on a country much talked about but little understood and announces the birth of a bright new star in the literary firmament. 

Audiobooks of the Month
Dial A For Aunties

Dial A For Aunties

Author: Jesse Sutanto Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/04/2021

Packed with pace, crazy farce and outlandish one-liners, Jesse Sutanto’s Dial A for Aunties is a laugh-every-few-lines black comedy, driven by undying family support, and a simmering “will-they-won’t-they?” love story. Photography student Meddy has been set-up on a date by her well-meaning, larger-than-life mum and Chinese Indonesian aunties. Despite still holding a torch for her college sweetheart, she agrees, but pretty soon things go wrong. Very wrong. When her arrogant date makes a move and won’t take no for an answer, Meddy winds up murdering him in self-defence. It’s an accident, but murder is murder. Naturally Meddy turns to her family for help, and naturally they step in to help her hide the body. But with their family wedding business due to work on the wedding of the year, and the body proving problematic to deal with, a fabulous female-fronted farce ensues, replete with mad twists, a hilariously hapless sheriff, and a sweet love story to boot.    

Crying in H Mart

Crying in H Mart

Author: Michelle Zauner Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/08/2021

From the indie rockstar Japanese Breakfast, an unflinching, powerful, deeply moving memoir about growing up mixed-race, Korean food, losing her Korean mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humour and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band - and meeting the man who would become her husband - her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread.

Anna K

Anna K

Author: Jenny Lee Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/03/2020

Welcome to New York's Upper East Side: where privilege, partying and scandal rules. Anna K is the golden girl of New York high society. She's beautiful, she's kind, she's unbelievably rich, and she has the perfect boyfriend. Until she meets Alexi Vronsky. He's a notorious playboy, totally gorgeous, and he only has eyes for Anna. Despite everyone who matters in New York talking about her, Anna still just can't resist Vronsky. Even if it means her carefully crafted life could come crashing down. Perfect for fans of Crazy Rich Asians and Gossip Girl this is an addictive and subversive reimagining of Leo Tolstoy's timeless love story Anna Karenina.

The Stolen Bicycle

The Stolen Bicycle

Author: Ming-Yi Wu Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/10/2017

November 2017 Book of the Month A beautifully written, rather special novel, detailing the highly personal journey of a family through turbulent times in Taiwan’s history. A stolen bicycle sits centre stage in this story, in fact the bicycles of Taiwan are hugely important, which sounds rather quirky, but as I read, the more I understood, and it felt… just right. The first few sentences spoke to me, the beauty of the thoughts and the description immediately shone through, by the end of the first chapter though, a chill settled over me. I felt as though I was wandering through a mind of treasured memories, some harsh, upsetting, others light as a breeze. Wu Ming-Yi is an award winning novelist, and I can see why for this is a story that meanders, transporting you through time and place.  He quite literally paints with words. The translation is seamless, I felt connected, yet completely aware of the differences in front of me. ‘The Stolen Bicycle’ is an intimate tale that sweeps through history, it’s a truly fascinating, unusual read that I adored - highly recommended. ~ Liz Robinson

We That Are Young

We That Are Young

Author: Preti Taneja Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/08/2017

Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 A darkly mesmerising and fascinating epic of a tale based in India, one that is all-consuming and fiercely beautiful. A family descends into a hellish nightmare when power, greed, and corruption begin to prowl through their lives. After his mother dies, Jivan returns home to his family and arrives to chaos. The first paragraph gently took hold of my thoughts, setting the departing view in my minds eye, setting my feet on the journey to India. I sank quickly and deeply into the page, Preti Taneja allows the words to sing, to explain, to show the world that Jivan is entering. I remained on edge, apprehensive, sometimes having to peek between my fingers as love and hate began a heady, swirling, burning dance, wrapping around one another until they became one. As a retelling of King Lear, it stands resolutely on its on merit and I almost didn’t want to mention the connection. ‘We That Are Young’ shocks, provokes, pushes and pulls at thoughts and feelings, it is also a ravishingly descriptive work of art. Featured in Episode 4 of the LoveReading Podcast

eBooks of the Month
Tokyo Ever After

Tokyo Ever After

Author: Emiko Jean Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club YA Pick! A hilarious and heartfelt novel perfect for fans of To All the Boys I've Loved Before and The Princess Diaries Izumi Tanaka has lived an uneventful seventeen years in her small town, keenly aware of all the ways in which her family is different from most of her classmates'. But then Izumi discovers a clue to her previously unknown father's identity . . . and he's none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Soon she's traveling overseas to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she's only dreamed of. But being a princess isn't all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight. Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself-back home, she was never American enough, and in Japan, she must prove she's Japanese enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?

The Strange Library

The Strange Library

Author: Haruki Murakami Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/12/2014

This is a strange little book indeed; soulful, sorrowful and yet curiously engaging and charming. Translated from Japanese and including wonderful illustrations, drawings and photos, this quirky tale draws you into it’s deep dark secrets from the moment you turn the very first page. The illustrations have been beautifully considered and hold hands with the tale as it slinks and skulks along. Even though this is narrated by a schoolboy, with fairly simple language, this is anything but simplistic and childish. Sheep and doughnuts have appeared before in this author’s works - make of that what you will! As a word of warning, reading this may leave you wanting to run in the opposite direction from any little old men who happen to approach you in the library, especially if it has a basement, but it’s well worth that particular affliction.

eBooks of the Month
When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife

When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife

Author: Meena Kandasamy Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2018

Set in modern India, this remarkable novel lays bare potent – and harrowing – universal truths about toxic masculinity and the physical and psychological abuse of women that’s often silenced, ignored or unnoticed. “I am the woman who asked for tenderness and was raped in return. I am the woman who has done her sentence. I am the woman who still believes, broken-heartedly in love”, so states the unnamed protagonist, an educated young woman whose every freedom is curtailed when she marries a university professor. Her silencing begins immediately, when they move to “a strange town that does not speak any of her mother tongues” and he begins to control every aspect of her life. “Come off Facebook”, he orders. When she dares question him, the punch line is dealt: if she loves him, she will do as he asks. Soon after, he takes control of her email account too, and she makes herself blank, plain, for plainness “will prevent arguments”. She tells her parents, but the shame of a broken marriage must be avoided above all else, even though he rapes to disable her, even though her abuse and isolation is all consuming. But, while he ridicules her writing, and accuses her of being mad, she writes in secret as an act of defiance, and she has a hidden weapon in her arsenal. Stylistically, at times this put me in mind of the brilliant Jean Rhys. The writing is precise, intense, brutally honest, and analytical, and the unforgettable narrator reveals truths that need to be told, gives voice to thousands of women who need to be heard. Courageous and clever, this offers incomparably powerful insights into the manifold means by which men abuse women, and the complex dynamics of abusive relationships.  Visit our 'Women's Words - 60+ works of feminist-minded fiction' to explore our collection of feminist-minded fiction from around the world, and across centuries.

Star Books
Afternoon Raag

Afternoon Raag

Author: Amit Chaudhuri Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/02/2015

Skilfull and delicate writing where the commonplace is described in such a way, you feel as though you are seeing it for the first time. Chaudhuri takes a peek at an everyday normality and describes it with such simplicity, compassion and beauty that it becomes a little shaft of pure sunlight. It almost feels as though you have stepped into someone's mind and danced through their innermost thoughts as they whimsically drift from Oxford to India. It is perhaps India that stands out as a highlight, with it’s exotic yet homely reflections creating memories to live for. A quite lovely and enchanting little book. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra

Author: Vaseem Khan Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/08/2015

One of our Books of the Year 2015. August 2015 Debut of the Month. Prepare to be completely and utterly charmed in this whimsical and touching tale that enfolds you in the mystery of India. Inspector Chopra (retired), is likable, dependable and steadfast; in his case, once a policeman, always a policeman rings very true. Vaseem Khan writes with an undeniably light touch, yet he doesn't shy away from the more sinister side of life in the city of Mumbai. A vibrantly colourful India sings and on occasion bellows from the pages. While a suspicious death leads Chopra to begin an investigation, it’s the descriptions of everyday life that really bring this fascinating novel to life. The baby elephant Ganesha is a star in the making and ‘The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra’ is a delightfully engaging start to a new series. ~ Liz Robinson

eBooks of the Month
The Heartsick Diaspora, and other stories

The Heartsick Diaspora, and other stories

Author: Elaine Chiew Format: Paperback Release Date: 23/01/2020

This debut collection of fourteen fascinating and diverse stories plays out in different countries around the world. At the centre of each story sits the very nature of what it is to be an expatriate or migrant in a different country, and the sense of torn values and feelings between cultures. Author Elaine Chiew was born in Malaysia, graduated from Stanford Law School and worked as a lawyer in New York before studying in London. She now lives in Singapore. Her writing ranges from thoughtful to provocative, pithy and vibrant observations bring these short stories to life. She has the ability to transfer emotions from the page, straight into my heart and mind. You can either throw yourself in from the beginning or take a pick and mix approach. The Heartsick Diaspora is a wonderful, thought provoking collection of stories, I can highly recommend.

Debut Books of the Month
The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseini Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/09/2011

Voted 2nd in the Books of the Decade by Lovereading readers. Voted as the Penguin/Orange Reading Group Book of the Year 2006 and 2007. This book seemed to come out of nowhere.  It was the first Afghan novel to be written in English and it became a word-of-mouth bestseller in no time at all.  Telling a tragic story of childhood jealousy and fear, it covers a bitter part of Afghan history in a painful tale that truly pulls at the heartstrings.  A brilliant book.  ~ Sarah Broadhurst   Richard Charkin, Executive Director of Publisher Bloomsbury, said: “We’re delighted that The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini has been selected by Lovereading as the number two title of the last Decade. We’re so pleased it continues to resonate with today’s readers and hope it will continue to do so for many decades to come.”

eBooks of the Month
Wild Swans

Wild Swans

Author: Jung Chang Format: Paperback (b Format) Release Date: 05/02/2007

Breathtaking in its scope, unforgettable in its descriptions, this is a masterpiece which is extraordinary in every way.

eBooks of the Month
The Far Field

The Far Field

Author: Madhuri Vijay Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/01/2020

Thirty-year-old Shalini has lived a privileged life, but one beset by uncertainty. She was her erratic mother’s “little beast” and is struggling to come to terms with her tragic death. Adrift from work and the wider world, Shalini journeys to find Bashir, a travelling salesman she and her mother befriended through her childhood, tentatively hoping this will provide some understanding of her mother’s death. As Shalini’s journey unfolds in the present, a second narrative reveals her past with raw poignancy. On the road, Shalini’s faltering need to belong somewhere is revealed through her romantic imaginings of being part of a stranger’s family. And then, in Bashir’s remote Himalayan village, she becomes caught in a complex political situation, with the tangled conflict between her heart and conscience made powerfully palpable. While she feels “I had chosen this place, these people, this life, with its secrets and its violence, it’s hardness and its beauty”, Shalini recognises that she’s thrown Bashir’s family “into disarray with my invasion and my probing questions”. The writing is so exquisitely magnetic that I struggled to draw myself away from it, especially as Shalini’s story rose to an unexpected, pulse-quickening climax. This is the rare kind of novel that lingers long in the heart and mind, like a dream one feels compelled to return to. 

Star Books
Kafka on the Shore

Kafka on the Shore

Author: Haruki Murakami Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/10/2005

Ten books down the line and suddenly the critics are taking note of this exceptional writer.  Surreal, highly imaginative and gloriously inventive, this follows the very strange journeys of two remarkable characters.  You’ve got to read him to appreciate there is little I can say except … you’ve got to read him.Comparison: Audrey Niffenegger, David Mitchell, Yann Martel.Similar this month: None but try Terry Pratchett.

eBooks of the Month
Life of Pi

Life of Pi

Author: Yann Martel Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2012

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2002. Pi’s family is moving their zoo when the boat sinks and 16-year old Pi is left afloat in a lifeboat with four animals that includes a tiger.  Up to that point the book is slow to get into but persevere for this unique work is stunning.  It’s brutal, hopeful, humorous, philosophical, almost implausible and yet strangely believable.  A tale that will remain with you for a very long time and deserves another read. Comparison: Mark Haddon (The Curious Case of the Dog in the Night-Time), Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler’s Wife), Aravind Adiga (The White Tiger).   The Life of Pi is now a major motion picture from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee and opens in the UK on 20 December 2012.

eBooks of the Month
The White Tiger

The White Tiger

Author: Aravind Adiga Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2009

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2008   Winner of the Galaxy Author of the Year award 2009. Aravind Adiga's winning debut novel The White Tiger is described as a ‘compelling, angry and darkly humorous' novel about a man's journey from Indian village life to entrepreneurial success. It was described by one reviewer as an ‘unadorned portrait' of India seen ‘from the bottom of the heap'.

eBooks of the Month
Afterparties

Afterparties

Author: Anthony Veasna So Format: Hardback Release Date: 19/08/2021

Anthony Veasna So’s Afterparties is a box of fireworks that crackles with characterful portraits of California’s Cambodian immigrant community, and with bittersweet, universally resonant observations and truths. Perfectly-formed, with wham-bam impact, each and every short story in this anthology gets to the heart of what makes us strive to live our version of a good life through its sharp exposition of distinct - and distinctly memorable - characters and circumstances. The stories typically teeter on that heady hi-wire between the absurd and the poignant, as in Superking Son Scores Again in which a grocery store owner and badminton coach experiences a downfall to rival that of any Shakespearean tragicomic hero. Then there are characters grappling with their identities as the children of Cambodian refugees, and with the weighty legacy of the Khmer Rouge genocide. By turns gritty and wildly funny, poignant and thought-provoking (and often all of these at once), Afterparties is an exceptional collection.

eBooks of the Month
Sea of Poppies

Sea of Poppies

Author: Amitav Ghosh Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/04/2009

The first in the breathtaking trilogy on the history of the opium wars.  This starts just before in a time of colonial upheaval, the 1830s.  Full of minutiae, strong characters and vivid images, this sweeps you through a fascinating period peopled with some very alive characters indeed, a motley bunch on an old slaving ship, the Ibis.  Some Indian, some European, rich, poor, needy and independent with plenty of stories to tell, plenty of lives to become entangled in and totally bewitching.  A rich and absorbing novel which has developed in to an addictive, moving trilogy not to be missed. ~ Sarah Broadhurst   Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008.   The Ibis Trilogy:1. Sea of Poppies2. River of Smoke3. Flood of Fire              

eBooks of the Month
River of Smoke

River of Smoke

Author: Amitav Ghosh Format: Paperback Release Date: 10/05/2012

You really should read the first in this trilogy, The Sea of Poppies, before embarking upon this huge, sprawling epic history for, although not all the characters of that first book are followed here, you will appreciate this so much more if you have an idea of who is whom.  It covers the opium trade when Hong Kong was empty and Mauritius prosperous, when rich British and American merchants put profit above everything else and opium smuggling in Canton was rife.  It is a full of fascinating detail and rich in history.  Dense and totally absorbing, it is a must read. ~ Sarah Broadhurst   The Ibis Trilogy:1. Sea of Poppies2. River of Smoke3. Flood of Fire              

eBooks of the Month
Flood of Fire

Flood of Fire

Author: Amitav Ghosh Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/05/2015

June 2015 Book of the Month. A thrillingly realised and richly populated novel, imbued with a wealth of historical detail, suffused with the magic of place and plotted with verve.  It is difficult to know if this huge, sprawling novel would have quite the same appeal if you had not read the first two but I suspect you could probably dive into this as a complex historical adventure of India and China in the middle of the 19th century when the East India Company had great power.  It mostly revolves round opium.  Here four main characters relate the tale in different voices creating their own individual atmosphere, for the fans let me tell you they are Bhyro Singh’s secretary, his wife, his assistant and a soldier, Kesri Singh.  The story jumps from one strand to another for the first half of the book with some truly lovely cameo pieces, a joy.  It is also a beautiful novel in its own right, and a compelling conclusion to an epic and sweeping story - the bestselling Ibis trilogy from the author of Booker-shortlisted Sea of Poppies - it is nothing short of a masterpiece. ~ Sarah BroadhurstThe Ibis Trilogy:1. Sea of Poppies2. River of Smoke3. Flood of Fire              

eBooks of the Month
Saving Fish From Drowning

Saving Fish From Drowning

Author: Amy Tan Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/11/2005

A masterful novel as one would expect from the author of The Joy Luck Club. 11 Americans on an art expedition in Burma disappear and through twists of fate, curses and just plain human error find themselves lost and deep in the jungle where they encounter a tribe awaiting the return of their leader. Her storytelling will seduce you into the world of the jungle, of Buddhist illusions, of magic tricks and of morality.  Comparison: Barbara Kingsolver, David Guterson.

eBooks of the Month
The Valley of Amazement

The Valley of Amazement

Author: Amy Tan Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/07/2014

Violet is half-American, half-Chinese, and in the turn of the century Shanghai, as the revolution looms, she is separated from her mother and becomes a courtesan.  We follow both women through turbulent lives.  Amy Tan is an expert at recreating the period, the tension, the colour, and the fear.  It’s a wonderful insight into the world of the courtesan, a long, absorbing book of love and survival.

eBooks of the Month
AZADI

AZADI

Author: Arundhati Roy Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2020

The perfect gift for the activists, rebels and freedom fighters in your life... The chant of 'Azadi!' - Urdu for 'Freedom!' - is the slogan of the freedom struggle in Kashmir against what Kashmiris see as the Indian Occupation. Ironically, it also became the chant of millions on the streets of India against the project of Hindu Nationalism. Even as Arundhati Roy began to ask what lay between these two calls for Freedom - a chasm or a bridge? - the streets fell silent. Not only in India, but all over the world. The Coronavirus brought with it another, more terrible understanding of Azadi, making a nonsense of international borders, incarcerating whole populations, and bringing the modern world to a halt like nothing else ever could. In this series of electrifying essays, Arundhati Roy challenges us to reflect on the meaning of freedom in a world of growing authoritarianism. The essays include meditations on language, public as well as private, and on the role of fiction and alternative imaginations in these disturbing times. The pandemic, she says, is a portal between one world and another. For all the illness and devastation it has left in its wake, it is an invitation to the human race, an opportunity, to imagine another world.

My Seditious Heart

My Seditious Heart

Author: Arundhati Roy Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/06/2019

Twenty years, a thousand pages, and now a single beautiful edition of Arundhati Roy's complete non-fiction.   My Seditious Heart collects the work of a two-decade period when Arundhati Roy devoted herself to the political essay as a way of opening up space for justice, rights and freedoms in an increasingly hostile environment. Taken together, these essays trace her twenty year journey from the Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things to the extraordinary The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: a journey marked by compassion, clarity and courage. Radical and readable, they speak always in defence of the collective, of the individual and of the land, in the face of the destructive logic of financial, social, religious, military and governmental elites. In constant conversation with the themes and settings of her novels, the essays form a near-unbroken memoir of Arundhati Roy's journey as both a writer and a citizen, of both India and the world, from 'The End of Imagination', which begins this book, to 'My Seditious Heart', with which it ends.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Author: Arundhati Roy Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/06/2017

A richly moving new novel -- the first since the author's Booker-Prize winning, internationally celebrated debut, The God of Small Things, went on to become a beloved best seller and enduring classic. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey across the Indian subcontinent - from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi and the glittering malls of the burgeoning new metropolis to the snowy mountains and valleys of Kashmir, where war is peace and peace is war, and from time to time 'normalcy' is declared. Anjum unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard that she calls home. We encounter the incorrigible Saddam Hussain, the unforgettable Tilo and the three men who loved her - including Musa whose fate as tightly entwined with hers as their arms always used to be. Tilo's landlord, another former suitor, is now an Intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then there are the two Miss Jebeens: the first born in Srinagar and buried, aged four, in its overcrowded Martyrs' Graveyard; the second found at midnight, in a crib of litter, on the concrete pavement of New Delhi.

eBooks of the Month
Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard

Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard

Author: Kiran Desai Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2012

Sampath Chawla was born in a time of drought that ended with a vengeance the night of his birth. All signs being auspicious, the villagers triumphantly assured Sampath's proud parents that their son was destined for greatness. Twenty years of failure later, that unfortunately does not appear to be the case. A sullen government worker, Sampath is inspired only when in search of a quiet place to take his nap. But the world is round, his grandmother says. Wait and see! Even if it appears he is going downhill, he will come up the other side. Yes, on top of the world. He is just taking a longer route. No one believes her until, one day, Sampath climbs into a guava tree and becomes unintentionally famous as a holy man, setting off a series of events that spin increasingly out of control. A delightfully sweet comic novel that ends in a raucous bang, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard is as surprising and entertaining as it is beautifully wrought.

The Noodle Maker

The Noodle Maker

Author: Ma Jian Format: Paperback Release Date: 05/05/2005

Every week, a writer of political propaganda and a professional blood donor meet for dinner. They are unlikely friends - one of them tortured by his 'art', the other fat and wealthy from the earthy business of providing spare blood for the citizens of China. Over the course of one especially gastronomic evening, the writer starts to complain about his latest Party commission: the story of an ordinary soldier who sacrifices his life to the revolutionary cause. This is not the novel he wants to write, he tells his friend. Inside his head lives an unwritten book about the people he knows or sees everyday on the streets - people who lives are far more representative of the world in which he lives...

The Woman Warrior

The Woman Warrior

Author: Maxine Hong Kingston Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/01/2015

With an introduction by Xiaolu Guo A classic memoir set during the Chinese revolution of the 1940s and inspired by folklore, providing a unique insight into the life of an immigrant in America. When we Chinese girls listened to the adults talking-story, we learned that we failed if we grew up to be but wives or slaves. We could be heroines, swordswomen. Throughout her childhood, Maxine Hong Kingston listened to her mother's mesmerizing tales of a China where girls are worthless, tradition is exalted and only a strong, wily woman can scratch her way upwards. Growing up in a changing America, surrounded by Chinese myth and memory, this is her story of two cultures and one trenchant, lyrical journey into womanhood. Complex and beautiful, angry and adoring, Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior is a seminal piece of writing about emigration and identity. It won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1976 and is widely hailed as a feminist classic.

Lemon

Lemon

Author: Kwon Yeo-sun Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

Taking in the absurdities of life, misfortune and tragedy, Kwon Yeo-sun’s Lemon is an engaging, read-in-one-sitting novella of remarkable intensity. In some regards, it’s a crime novel, but one that turns the genre on its head to create an enigmatic emotional puzzle in which a woman warped by grief engages with the person she believes killed her sister. Back in 2002, nineteen-year-old Kim Hae-on was murdered in what became called the High School Beauty Murder. There were only ever two suspects, one of whom had an alibi, while no evidence was found to convict the second, so the case was never solved. Seventeen years later, Kim Hae-on’s younger sister, Da-on, remains utterly eaten up by the murder. Her life is on hold, her mind trapped in twisted stasis. Fixated on finding out what happened to her sister, she discovers unexpected truths that strike her to the core. Told from multiple perspectives and times, the story sparks with descriptive perfection, such as this evocation of the victim: “She was very pretty, but not in a typical way. How could I describe it? Her beauty was urgent, precarious, like the piercing wail of a speeding ambulance. I could not look away”.  It also swirls with powerful undercurrents of raw emotion - desperation, regret, longing, guilt, the brutal ripples of grief. Presented in all their ludicrous complexities, such raw states are overlaid with the mundanities of everyday life. Though short, this is an intensely gripping and profound reading experience. As Lemon ponders: “Couldn’t each moment we’re living now be the meaning of life?”

Debut Books of the Month

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