Lost in Africa
Winner of this year’s Man Booker International Prize, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel recreates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s. Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence. As Nigerian troops advance and the three must run for their lives, their ideals are tested, as are their loyalties to one another.
Half of a Yellow Sun: By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Penguin, 448 pages, Rs250.
Far from home
This is a sprawling, semi-biographical novel about the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee living in Atlanta. Two thieves enter his apartment and rob him, and the narrative goes back and forth between Valentino’s present situation and his life as a Kenyan refugee. Before getting to Kenya, the young boy bears witness to innumerable atrocities.
What is the What: By Dave Eggers, McSweeney’s, 475 pages, Rs1,127.
Bourne is back
Jason Bourne has to rescue his only friend in the CIA, Martin Lindros, from Africa. Lindros persuades Bourne to help track the money trail of terrorists buying nuclear material in Odessa. But once there, Bourne wonders: Is the man he saved Lindros? In the second novel by Eric Van Lustbader, continuing Robert Ludlum’s saga of the amnesiac assassin and spy (after 2004’s The Bourne Legacy), Bourne joins the war on terror. Predictable, but gripping enough.
The Bourne Betrayal: By Eric Van Lustbader, Grand Central,446 pages, Rs258.
Combining the historic scope of The Da Vinci Code and edge-of-the-seat thrill of modern action novels, James Rollins’ Black Order is a roller-coaster ride. A sinister fire in a Copenhagen bookstore leads to a hunt across four continents. Arson and murder reveal an insidious plot to steal a Bible that once belonged to Charles Darwin. The story then shifts to Nepal, where a remote monastery is ravaged. The end isn’t startling, but the journey’s worth it.
Black Order:By James Rollins, Orion, 509 pages, Rs226.
Gina Davies, a 26-year-old nightclub pole dancer (called “the Doll”) spends a fortune every month on clothes and is given to the occasional racist rant. After a one-night stand with a man named Tariq, she turns on the TV and learns she’s been pegged as the accomplice in an attempted terrorist attack on Sydney’s Olympic stadium. She is instantly the most wanted woman in Australia in Richard Flanagan’s second novel.
The Unknown Terrorist: By Richard Flanagan,Grove Press, 336 pages, Rs708.
Courtesy: Landmark bookstore