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Reading in the Dark
by Seamus Deane
Deane shows how "the troubles" in Northern Ireland left no one untouched as ordinary families are forced to choose sides and endure spying and retribution (Random House, $12.95).
Heat and Dust
by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
A woman retraces the steps of her grandmother in India and discovers a scandal that has lived on long after her grandmother’s death (Simon & Schuster, $13).
A Burnt-out Case
by Graham Greene
A world-weary visitor comes to a leper colony in the Belgian Congo to try to live simply. Even in the back woods, he is not left alone, but pursued. Questions about faith and purpose abound as in all of Greene’s books (Penguin, $13).
The Death of Vishnu
by Manil Suri
Containing elements of Indian mythology, slapstick humor, and Bollywood panache, The Death of Vishnu tells the story of the tenants in a Bombay apartment house. The title character, Vishnu, dies in the first chapter, but continues to affect all their lives in the most unexpected ways (Harper Collins, $13.95).
The Bone People
by Keri Hulme
A rich and alluring story set in New Zealand, The Bone People tells the story of a Maori-European artist whose life is changed when she meets a strange speechless boy. The writing is mesmerizing in this singularly original novel (Penguin, $15).
The Danish Girl
by David Ebershoff
A quiet and unassuming portrait of the space between a married couple going through extraordinary changes. Loosely based on the life of Danish artist Einar Wegener, his American wife, and Lili, the woman he becomes (Penguin, $14).
This Earth of Mankind
by Pramoedya Toer
Written during his 14 years as a political prisoner, Toer’s novel about Indonesia during the early 20th century, as new ideas and new technologies offer the promise of a better life, is a strong condemnation of colonial and racially stratified societies (Penguin, $15).
by Michael Ondaatje
Anil, a UN official who investigates human rights violations, returns home to Sri Lanka to discover the root of the many "disappearances" taking place in her war-torn country. There she meets two brothers and an "eye painter" who carry the deep scars of war and who will take her closer to the truth (Random House, $13).
Sister of My Heart
by Chitra Divakaruni
This enchanting novel follows two cousins who were born on the same day and who share a bond that cannot be broken by the men they marry or the oceans that separate them (Random House, $13.95).
The Famished Road
by Ben Okri
This novel of love and survival tells the story of Azaro, a spirit-child who decides to stay in the human world "to make happy the bruised face of the woman who would become my mother." However, his choice to stay means he must evade and outwit the spirits who would like to draw him back into their world (Random House, $15).
by Yasunari Kawabata
Kawabata’s richly textured novel examines quiet, just-beneath-the-surface passions when Kikuji attends a tea party with Mrs. Ota, the rival of his dead father's mistress (Random House, $12).
by Nadine Gordimer
The complex and tense relationships between blacks and whites in 1980s South Africa are vividly portrayed in July’s People as the Smaleses, a white family sympathetic to the cause of black South Africans, must flee their home when revolution erupts (Penguin, $13).
The Glass Palace
by Amitav Ghosh
This epic and inventive novel follows multiple generations as they weave in and out of the tumultuous histories of Burma and Malaya (Random House, $14.95).
The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis
by José Saramago
Returning in 1936 to his native Lisbon after 15 years in Brazil, Ricardo Reis, a doctor, sees patients, registers Europe’s increasingly threatening political climate, and holds conversations with a recently deceased poet who, in a symmetrical reversal of gestation and birth, has nine months gradually to fade away (Harcourt, $14).
by J.M. Coetzee
Set in post-apartheid South Africa, this fast-paced novel features David Lurie, an academic dismissed from his teaching job, and the new relationship he forges with his daughter on her farm. The pair’s contrasting responses to violence open wider questions of justice and retribution (Penguin, $14).
Sunday at the Pool in Kigali
by Gil Courtemanche
Told from the perspective of a Canadian journalist in love with a half-Tutsi/half-Hutu woman, this novel is an unflinching and uncompromising look at Rwanda’s 1994 genocide (Random House, $13.95).
The Poisonwood Bible
by Barbara Kingsolver
In The Poisonwood Bible, Nathan Price, a zealot preacher, moves his wife and four daughters to the Belgian Congo to convert the natives. The story is told by the women in the family as tragedy strikes, the resonances of which carry on for decades (Harper Collins, $14.95).
by Anchee Min
Anchee Min draws on her own experiences as a Red Guard during the Chinese Cultural Revolution to tell the story of the fictional Red Guard Wild Ginger, a young woman who discovers the passion and madness of Mao’s China (Houghton Mifflin, $13).