What the books are about
The Witch of Portobello
Paulo Coelho, one of the world’s best loved storytellers, is back with a rivetting new novel set in London. This is the story of Athena, or Sherine, to give her the name she was baptised with. Her life is pieced together through a series of recorded interviews with those people who knew her well or hardly at all — parents, colleagues, teachers, friends, acquaintances, her ex-husband. The novel unravels Athena’s mysterious beginnings via an orphanage in Romania, to a childhood in Beirut. When war breaks out, her adoptive family move with her to London, where a dramatic turn of events occurs! Athena, who has been dubbed ‘the Witch of Portobello’ for her seeming powers of prophecy, disappears dramatically, leaving those who knew her to solve the mystery of her life and abrupt departure. This gripping new novel is filled with the themes Paulo fans know and love — spirituality, relationships, destiny, freedom.
The Reluctant ...
At a cafe table in Lahore, a Pakistani man begins the tale that has led to his fateful meeting with an uneasy American stranger... Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. He thrives on the energy of New York, his work at an elite firm, and his budding relationship. For a time, it seems that nothing will stand in the way of his meteoric rise to success. But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his relationship crumbling and his exalted status overturned. Allegiances are subsequently unearthed, proving themselves more fundamental than money, power and maybe even love.
Ludmila’s Broken English
DBC Pierre’s second novel charts the unlikely meeting between East and West that follows Ludmila Derev’s appearance on a Russian brides website. Determined to save her family from starvation in the face of marauding Gnez troops, Ludmila’s journey into the world and womanhood is an odyssey of sour wit, even sourer vodka, and a Soviet tractor probably running on goat’s piss. Thousands of miles to the West, the Heath twins are separated after 33 years conjoined at the abdomen. Released for the first time from an institution rumoured to have been founded for an illegitimate child of Charles II, they are suddenly plunged into a round-the-clock world churning with opportunity, rowdy with the chatter of freedom, democracy, self-empowerment and sex. A wild and raucous picaresque dripping with flavours of British bacon and nasty Russian vodka, Ludmila’s Broken English is a tale of tango-ing twins on a journey into the unknown. A ride so outrageously improbable it just may happen, DBC Pierre’s second novel confirms his place in the ranks of today’s most original storytellers.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s ...
Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is the seminal novel of the 1960s that has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Here is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome powers that keep them all imprisoned.
Blue Shoes and Happiness
Now that she is finally and happily married to her long-term suitor Mr JLB Matekoni, Mma Ramotswe of the No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency of Botswana, might have expected life to grow more sedate. But the many problems that lead customers to Mma Ramotswe’s door seem, if anything, to have multiplied, and no sooner has she settled her traditionally built person into the married state than she finds herself looking into several troublesome matters at once. There is, to begin with, a disturbing case of blackmail and theft from the Government catering college. Then, while on an errand for her husband to the Mokolodi Game Reserve Mma Ramotswe is seconded to investigate an unpleasant atmosphere that may be down to witchcraft, or something worse. There are sinister
goings-on at a health clinic to be looked into, not to mention any number of small wrongs to be righted along the path to detective triumph. And all the time Mma Ramotswe has weighty questions of a philosophical nature to consider, such as whether it is right to find happiness in small things, such as a new pair of blue shoes, a slice of cake, or a red sunset over the Kalahari.