The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel by Margaret Atwood
In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.
Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now....
Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.
The Road (Paperback) McCarthy, Cormac
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food--and each other.
The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.
On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel (Paperback) Cohan, Tony
In the mid-1980s, Tony Cohan and his artist wife, Masako, decided they had had enough of the hectic pace and inherent insecurities of life in Los Angeles and made tracks for the historic town of San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico. At first they rented rooms in a hotel. Then, when the hotel became less appealing, they graduated to renting an apartment. Almost inevitably, they eventually found themselves buying a 250-year-old hacienda on the verge of collapse, with wonderfully elegant Spanish colonial architecture and a garden brimming with papayas, avocados, and custard apples.
What followed was a love affair with a country and its people that has endured. On Mexican Time is a lyrical attempt to capture the Mexican magic that bewitched the two of them. Cohan introduces us to a quirky cast of Mexicans and expats, including murderers, idealists, philanderers, and writers. Spanning 15 years, the book conveys something of the curiously intangible passage of time, as we watch girls become mothers, marriages drift apart, and friends come and go. The text is rich with sensuous details, and Cohan is excellent at conveying the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of a country that he clearly adores.
On Mexican Time is much less of a glib chronicle than other books of the "charming new life in paradise" genre. Although he is not averse to the odd moment of portentousness, Cohan makes a gentle and elegant guide through the experiences of expat life in San Miguel. --Toby Green
Please vote for your favourite!
We look forward to 'virtually' meeting at Yolanda's at the end of April!