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Hello everyone,

I came across this in Guardian and thought I should share. I haven't read any of these books but those of you who can, have a nice reading.

  1. Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela

In 1950s Sudan, the business empire of the Abuzied dynasty is booming. But when son and heir Nur suffers a near-fatal accident, his hopes of a glittering future are dashed. Patriarch Mahmoud’s first wife is confined to her open-air kitchen, while his second, a modern Egyptian woman, is intent on dividing the household. It is in this fraught set-up that Nur must rebuild his life, and confront the future.

Leila Aboulela was born in Cairo and grew up in Khartoum. Both her previous novels, The Translator and Minaret, were longlisted for the Orange Prize. Shje's a winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. She divides her time between Doha and

  1. Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

The year is 1857. Jaffy Brown is running along a street in London's east end when he comes face to face with an escaped circus tiger. He is plucked from the jaws of death by Mr Jamrach - explorer, entrepreneur and collector of the world's strangest creatures - who takes him on as an apprentice. Soon, Jaffy finds himself on board a ship bound for the Dutch East Indies, on an unusual commission - to catch a dragon. His journey - if he survives it - will push faith, love and friendship to their limits.

Carol Birch is the author of nine previous novels, including Scapegallows and Turn Again Home, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. She has won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and the David Higham Award. She lives in Lancashire.

  1. Room by Emma Donoghue

Jack is a five-year-old who lives with his Main Room, 11ft by 11ft. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but nothing is real to him beyond Room's locked door. Until the day Ma admits that there is a world outside, and he's going to have to face it alone.

Born in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish writer who lives in Canada. Her fiction includes the bestselling Slammerkin. Room, her seventh novel, was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and was Hughes and Hughes Irish Novel of the Year.

  1. The Pleasure Seekers by Tishani Doshi

In August 1968, Babo flies off to further his education in London, thus becoming the first member of the Patel family to leave his home in Madras. His father's premonition on the morning of the departure is borne out when Babo ends up in a flat off the Finchley Road, making love to a cream-skinned Welsh girl with whom he fell in love at the first twirl of the red ribbon in her hair. Their mixed-up love affair will change their two families for ever.

Tishani Doshi is a poet, journalist and dancer based in Chennai, India. Her poetry collection, Countries of the Body, won the Forward Poetry Prize for best first collection in 2006, and the opening poem, The Day We Went To The Sea, won the All India Poetry Competition in 2005.

  1. Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty

After Laura's nine-year-old daughter Betty is killed by a car, she decides to take the law into her own hands and track down the man responsible. Laura's grief reopens old wounds, throwing her back to the story of her passionate love affair with the man who was to become Betty's father. Haunted by her past and driven by her need to discover the truth, Laura discovers just how far she is prepared to go for love, desire and retribution.

Louise Doughty is the author of five previous novels and one book of non-fiction. Whatever You Love was shortlisted for the 2010 Costa award for fiction. Doughty lives in London.

  1. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Bennie Salazar is an ageing music mogul whose career takes him from Africa to Naples, New York to San Francisco, encountering record producers and genocidal generals along the way. Jennifer Egan tracks his life, and that of his young PA Sasha, from the 1970s to a not-too-distant future, observing the ebb and flow of thier fortunes through childhood, careers and love affairs.

Egan's previous novels include Invisible Circus, which became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz in 2001. Her short stories have been widely published and her nonfiction appears frequently in the New York Times Magazine. She lives with her husband and sons in Brooklyn.

  1. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna

Psychologist Adrian Lockheart leaves his life in England for in Freetown in the wake of civil war. Struggling with the heat and dust, he finds unexpected friendship in a young surgeon at the hospital, the charismatic Kai, and begins to build a new life just as Kai makes plans to leave.

Aminatta Forna was born in Scotland and raised in west Africa. Her first book, The Devil that Danced on the Water, was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize 2003. Her novel Ancestor Stones was winner of the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Liberaturpreis in Germany, and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

  1. The London Train by Tessa Hadley

On a London train, a man and a woman meet. Paul, who lives in the Welsh countryside, is in search of a missing daughter in London. Cora is moving back to the Cardiff house she has inherited from her parents. Both are at turning-points in their lives, and their chance meeting has far-reaching consequences for themselves and their families.

Tessa Hadley's first novel, Accidents in the Home, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. She has written two others novels and a short story collection, and her stories have been published in the New Yorker, and Granta. She lives in Cardiff and teaches literature and creative writing at Bath Spa University.

  1. Grace Williams Says It Loud by Emma Henderson

Consigned to the Briar Mental Institute at the age of 11, Grace meets Daniel, an epileptic who can type with his feet. He sees someone very different from the little girl dismissed by a nurse as "disgusting": someone with whom he can share his secrets. Daniel in turn seems exotic to Grace, filling her head with tales from Paris and the world beyond.

Emma Henderson was born in 1958 and studied Modern Languages at Oxford and Yale. She taught English for more than a decade in London comprehensive schools and colleges, then worked in France for several years, running a ski and snowboard lodge. She returned to London in 2005 where she still lives, and in 2006 gained an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck.

  1. The Seas by Samantha Hunt

Living in a remote, alcoholic, cruel seaside town, a girl falls in love with a tormented war veteran 13 years her senior. Told by her dead father that she "came from the water", and flooded with strange words and phrases by her grandfather, she is haunted by myths about the doomed nature of love between mortals and mermaids. What she does to ease the pain of growing up lands her in prison. What she does to get out is the stuff of legend.

Samantha Hunt’s first novel, The Invention of Everything Else, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and won of the Bard Fiction Prize. Her second novel, The Seas, won a National Book Foundation award for writers under 35. Her fiction has been published in the New Yorker and McSweeney’s. She lives in New York.

  1. The Birth of Love by Joanna Kavenna

Weaving between a Viennese lunatic asylum in 1865, where a doctor is locked up for claiming that his colleagues' dirty hands are responsible for deaths in childbed, a Norwegian breeding centre in 2153, and London in 2009, where an author has just published a novel after years of rejection, this is a story of science, morality and birth.

Joanna Kavenna's first book, The Ice Museum, was about her travels in search of the True North. Her second book, Inglorious, won the Orange Award for New Writers. She currently lives in the Duddon Valley, Cumbria.

  1. Great House by Nicole Krauss

During the winter of 1972, a woman spends a night with a Chilean poet before he leaves New York, abandoning his desk to her. Two years later, he is arrested by Pinochet’s secret police, never to be seen again. In London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers a lock of hair among her papers that leads him to a terrible secret. In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer who has spent a lifetime reassembling his father’s study, plundered by the Nazis in 1944, has only one item left to find - a desk of many drawers.

Nicole Krauss is the author of two previous novels, Man Walks into a Room and The History of Love. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

  1. The Road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone

A boom town on China's border with Burma is a magnet for outcasts and opportunists. Also the desperate, like Na Ga, who has been thrown out by her American lover with a dollar in the bank and a one-way ticket back to her birthplace, Burma. Caught in a cycle of yearning and betrayal, she finds herself sucked ineluctably towards her homeland.

Wendy Law-Yone was born in Mandalay, Burma, and grew up in Rangoon, where her father founded the leading English-language paper, The Nation. Wendy was exiled to the US where she published two novels, The Coffin Tree and Irrawaddy Tango, before moving to the UK to take up a creative writing fellowship at the University of East Anglia. She lives in London and Kent.

  1. The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht

As a young doctor struggles to make sense of her grandfather’s death in a Balkan country still scarred by war, she is drawn to a tattered copy of The Jungle Book, and from there to the tale of the Deathless Man, and the extraordinary story of the Tiger’s Wife.

Téa Obreht is the youngest of the New Yorker’s top 20 writers under 40, and the only one who had yet to be published. She was born in 1985, in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, and now lives in New York.

  1. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

A young architecture student arrives in Paris from Budapest in 1937 with a scholarship, a single suitcase and a mysterious letter he has promised to deliver. As he becomes drawn into the secret life of the letter’s recipient, his elder brother takes up medical studies in Modena and their younger brother leaves school for the stage. Europe’s unfolding tragedy throws them all into terrifying uncertainty.

Julie Orringer was born in 1973 and grew up in New Orleans and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her short story collection How to Breathe Underwater was a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in Brooklyn.

  1. Repeat It Today With Tears by Anne Peile

Susanna is a secretive child, obsessed with the father she has never known and determined that one day she will find him. As an adolescent she becomes increasingly distanced from her mother and sister. When she finally discovers her father’s address and seeks him out, in the free and unconventional atmosphere of 1970s Chelsea, she conceals her identity, beginning an illicit affair that can only end in disaster.

Anne Peile was born in London; she has lived in the south-west and Belfast and has worked as a cook, writing emails for the BBC and in educational support. She lives on a houseboat and works for Foyle’s, in London.

  1. Swamplandia by Karen Russell

The Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty is in decline and Swamplandia!, their gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades, is being upstaged by a sophisticated competitor known as The World of Darkness. Ava, a resourceful but terrified 12-year-old, must manage 70 gators and the vast, inscrutable landscape of her own grief after the death of her mother, Swamplandia!’s legendary and beautiful star attraction. To save the rest of her eccentric family, Ava must travel alone to a perilous part of the swamp called the Underworld.

Karen Russell's work appeared in the New Yorker’s debut fiction issue. She was one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelistsin 2007 and was recently named one of the 20 under 40 by the New Yorker. Her short story collection, St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, was longlisted for the Guardian first book award in 2007. She lives in New York.

18.The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin

To the dismay of her ambitious mother, Bolanle marries into a polygamous family, where she is the fourth wife of a rich, rotund patriarch, Baba Segi. She is a graduate and therefore a great prize, but even graduates must produce children and her husband’s persistent bellyache is a sign that things are not as they should be.

Lola Shoneyin has published three collections of poems. Having lived in London and the south-east for several years, she has recently moved to Abuja, Nigeria, where she teaches drama and English at a local school

19.The Swimmer by Roma Tearne

In the small Suffolk village of Orford, the sun blazes down on Ria, a solitary middle-aged poet, and Ben, a young Sri Lankan doctor languishing in the no-man’s land of asylum application. Despite the 18 years between them, they become friends. But hatred rears its ugly head in the their rural idyll, bringing repercussions no-one could predict.

Roma Tearne fled Sri Lanka at the age of 10, travelling to Britain where she has spent most of her life. She is the author of Mosquito, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, and two other novels. She is married with three children and lives in Oxford.

20.Annabel by Kathleen Winter

In the beautiful, spare environment of Labrador, in 1968, a baby is born who appears to be both a girl and a boy. He is Wayne, and raised as a boy in the hyper-male hunting culture of his father, but his shadow-self – a girl he thinks of as ‘Annabel’ – is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life. As Wayne approaches adulthood, and its emotional and physical demands, the woman inside him begins to cry out.

Kathleen Winter has written for Sesame Street and CBC Television. Her first collection of short stories, boYs, was the winner of both the Winterset Award and the Metcalf-Rooke Award. A long-time resident of St John’s, Newfoundland, she now lives in Montreal.

South and Central Asia
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