© 2015 by Five Directions Press. Five Directions Press logo © Colleen Kelley.

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Books We Loved, Feb. 2016

February 15, 2016

 

 

Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale (St. Martin’s Press, 2015)

The Nightingale, Kristin Hannah’s moving story of the French Resistance during World War II, for me was ultimately about choice. Two sisters with conflicting natures shaped by childhood traumas continually impact one another. Each sister takes a different tack; each is profoundly brave. The story ends with a secret unrevealed, coming down strongly for making the loving choice. The vividness of rural France resonated with my own experience. I could not put down this book until it was done.—AA

 

 

 

 

Elena Ferrante, Neopolitan Novels 1–4 (Europa Editions, 2012–15)

Brava, “Elena Ferrante,” whoever you are! Her much reviewed, internationally acclaimed novels—My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child—are set largely in the ghettos of Naples, Italy, from the end of World War II to the present. Ferrante accomplishes the astounding feat of interweaving the modern battles of woman against the limits imposed by society, family, history, and men into a story of friendship. The result is a true epic. The books are powerfully emotional; your heart breaks for all the characters, so vivid they are impossible to accept as fiction.—AA

 

 

 

Lauren Owen, The Quick (Random House, 2015)

Even those who claim to be tired of vampires will enjoy this old-fashioned horror story set in Victorian London. Classically Gothic in every sense of the word—John William Polidori would be proud.—CJH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Marra, The Tsar of Love and Techno (Hogarth, 2015)

Interlocking stories that range from the height of Soviet power to Putin, from the Arctic Circle to Chechnya, with characters at once believable, sympathetic, emotionally damaged, and morally flawed. Not always comfortable, but compelling, with writing both stark and lyrical.—CPL

 

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