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A deeply affecting novel of the Holocaust(0)

February 27, 2017

The German Girl: A Novel, by Armando Lucas Correa @@@@ (4 out of 5) In a moving first novel, Armando Lucas Correa tells the story of The German Girl, a tale of the Holocaust loosely based on historical fact. The “German girl” is Hannah Rosenthal, the blonde, blue-eyed, 11-year-old daughter of a wealthy and prominent… Read More ›

Classic science fiction with a timely message

The Parable of the Talents (Parable #2 of 2), by Octavia E. Butler @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Read Octavia E. Butler‘s two-book Parable series or the five-volume Xenogenesis cycle, and you’ll understand why she won a MacArthur Foundation genius grant as well as multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. The Parable of the Talents, the… Read More ›

An outstanding sci-fi series

Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga #1), by Lois McMaster Bujold @@@@@ (5 out of 5) For some time I’ve known that Lois McMaster Bujold is one of best of the contemporary science fiction writers. She’s won the Hugo Award five times and the Nebula three times. Somehow, though, I’ve managed not to read any of her… Read More ›

A superb dystopian novel

The Parable of the Sower (Parable #1 of 2), by Octavia E. Butler @@@@@ (5 out of 5) 15-year-old Lauren Olamina is the daughter of a Baptist minister and the eldest of his five children. Both Reverend Olamina and his second wife, Lauren’s stepmother, are African-American, and both hold Ph.Ds. Lauren’s father reaches at a… Read More ›

Is the U.S. on the road to totalitarianism?

1984, by George Orwell @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Ten days ago Donald Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States. The actions he’s already taken confirm the widespread suspicions about his authoritarian personality that so many remarked upon during his campaign. Many observers saw him as the heir to Adolf Hitler or Benito… Read More ›

The human cost of World War II

Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, by Chris Cleave @@@@@ (5 out of 5) Here is Britain’s World War II as viewed through the perspective of five young people. Their varied and often cruel experiences stand in for the evil and disruption of the war that comes to upend all their lives. The action unfolds month by… Read More ›

An Indian novelist celebrates cricket

Selection Day: A Novel, by Aravind Adiga @@@ (3 out of 5) Aravind Adiga entered the literary world with a splash in 2008 when he won the Booker Prize for his debut novel, The White Tiger. Although I frequently find Booker Prize-winning books to be unreadable, I picked up The White Tiger, anyway. My interest… Read More ›

Keeping a secret in Victorian England

Belgravia, by Julian Fellowes @@@ (3 out of 5) In all six seasons of Downton Abbey on PBS, I don’t recall a single upper-class character who could fairly be described as nasty. Julian Fellowes, who created and wrote all of the series, served up aristocratic characters who most reasonable people would call “nice.” However, perhaps… Read More ›

An entertaining if puzzling sci-fi novel

Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1 of 2), by Sylvain Neuvel @@@@ (4 out of 5) Every once in a while you come across a work of fiction so puzzling that you simply can’t put it down. No matter that the story seems not just farfetched but downright silly. The narrative drive, the sheer suspense, keep… Read More ›

Roman gods in the 30th Century?

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1), by Pierce Brown @@ (2 out of 5) Red Rising, and its two sequels in the trilogy of the same name, have been hailed as the equal of the Hunger Games Trilogy. The series’ hero, Darrow, has been likened to Ender Wiggin of Orson Scott Card’s classic four-book science… Read More ›