APRIL / GOOD READS
THE OLD DRIFT
If a book is described as "sweeping" or "multi-generational" - you can guarantee it's on my reading list. I picked up The Old Drift on it's publication date with very little info other than the two words/phrases just mentioned. This narrative starts in the 1800s, when the British, lead by "explorer" Cecil Rhodes, began to set up shop in Mashonaland (now northern Zimbabwe) to exploit their mineral wealth.
THE TEA GIRL OF HUMMINGBIRD LANE
Lisa See novels almost exclusively Chinese/South Asian in theme, character and setting and this is no exception. This narrative traces the life of a young Akah woman growing up in the mountain tea village near Xishuangbanna. Bound
THE SWAN THIEVES
I've been a fan of Elizabeth Kostova since The Historian, and The Swan Thieves is another great historical fiction narrative. When renowned artist Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art, he's hospitalized in the care of Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe. Spanning several months of mostly silence from Oliver, Marlowe goes on a personal quest to discover Oliver's motivation, his deep history wth the portrait he "attacked" and questions his own life. It's long, but it's worth it.
Dave Eggers is one of those authors who fall into the love him or hate him camp and over the course of several novels, I've always found myself somewhat ambivalent. The Parade is a slim novel about two unnamed, unbranded workers in a postapocalyptic-esque desert with the single task of paving a road. It's Four's job to pave and Nine's job to clear the way. I liked the easy narrative, the tension between the two workers as one plays by the rules while the other does everything he can do defy them.
This is basically a novella in parts chronicalling the rise and ultimate lifelong meander of a cook.
THE SHADOW LAND
Another Elizabeth Kostova book I'd missed, and another one I loved. This narrative takes place in Bulgaria, where a young American woman is teaching for several months in the place she and her late brother always imagined traveling to. No sooner does she arrive in Sofia, than she finds herself accidentally in posession of an urn. Her adventure to return it takes her all across the country and through it's tragic history.