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CULTURE | 03.11.2016

Fresh Pages for Avid Readers: 9 Books Recommended by the Allude Team

While in summer we write our own, sometimes even quite novel-worthy, stories — about the sundowner at Cap Ferret, of festival nights danced away, or the sudden downpour which soaked your thin summer dress – autumn puts a sudden end to storytelling. After all, we spend most of our time warm and snug in the lounge or home office. What helps to ward off the so-called after-sun syndrome? Plenty of hand-picked reading matter, with which we can dream ourselves into strange lives and worlds.

The Allude team has come together for a book club session and presents here its favourite new autumn releases. And don’t worry: starting in spring, by May at the latest, we’ll of course – hopefully – write our own stories again!

Du sagst es (“You Said It”) von Connie Palmen

When Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes first met, she bit his cheek, hard enough to draw blood. The years following their marriage were similarly tumultuous, before the author took her own life when she was only 30 years old. Ted Hughes was long considered the culprit. With the fictitious autobiography Du sagst es, author Connie Palmen now portrays the tragic love story from the perspective of the man. A provocative, thought-provoking reading pleasure.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

Until recently nobody really knew who was hiding behind the pseudonym “Elena Ferrante”. Now the secret is out: The author, who published her first bestsellers in 1992, is called Anita Raja. Her latest novel, My Brilliant Friend, has similar potential. At the centre of the story is the friendship of two women, Lina and Elena, who grew up in 1950s Naples. One of them is allowed to go to university, the other starts working in her father’s shoemaker’s workshop. Despite their different paths, they remain close. Until one of them disappears without a trace …

Göttin und Held (“Goddess and Hero”) by Gustaaf Peek

How complicated the relationship between a man and a woman can be is a subject that can fill volumes, as almost all of us can attest to. With Göttin und Held, the Dutch author Gustaaf Peek has devoted his new book to the phenomenon: Tessa and Marius have known each other forever and have been through a lot together, such as countless stages of relationship, ranging from being separate to closely united and from romance to affair. The reader is involved from the first meeting to the last word and will experience a déjà-vu on many occasions.

Komm her und lass dich küssen (“Come here and let me kiss you”) by Griet Op de Beeck

When Mona’s mother is killed in a car accident, the girl is just nine years old. A stroke of fate that seems to put an abrupt end to her carefree childhood. From then on, she has to take care of her little brother, putting her own needs aside. Komm her und lass dich küssen follows Mona into adulthood and demonstrates that, despite the dark abysses in our biography, we should not forget to live our lives. And to love.

I hate the Internet by Jarett Kobek

The Internet is both a curse and a blessing. For the American author Jarett Kobek it is rather the latter, as the title of his debut novel emphasises. In it Kobek describes how the digital, completely networked culture of our time eventually leads to the downfall of a group of friends from San Francisco. There is Adeline, who has to go through a shitstorm after a thoughtless utterance, and Ellen, who, while surfing the Internet, suddenly finds a picture of herself in the nude. On an entertaining 368 pages Kobek’s protagonists face great challenges, both of a technical and psychological nature.

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan

Women can make life very difficult for each other — a problem that faces also the shy Delphine, the author’s alter ego. At a party she meets the charismatic ghostwriter L., with whom she is immediately taken. After a short time she tells her (supposed) new friend about her idea for a book – a fatal mistake that ends in a bad case of writer’s block for Delphine. Only L. can help her overcome it.

The Restless Dead by Simon Beckett

After a five-year break, forensics expert David Hunter is hunting for clues once again. This time in the Backwaters in Essex, where the 31-year-old Leo Villiers has been missing for over a month. When a heavily decayed male body is found at the mouth of a river, everyone assumes it must be Leo. Hunter, however, has doubts about the identity of the dead man, for now there is also a single foot floating in the water, which definitely belongs to another body.

Und die Nacht prahlt mit Kometen (“And the night boasts with comets”) by Ela Angerer

When the young Viennese Valerie meets the considerably older Bojan in her early twenties, she falls in love with him at once. Her youthful naïveté not only leads her to put up with his ruthless, criminal and self-indulgent character — but also with the violence he inflicts on her time and again during their two-year relationship. Thirty years later Valerie leads a regular life. Until she receives a contact request that confronts her

Dear Mr. You by Mary-Louise Parker

Die Männer meines Lebens features not only the exes of the American actress and author Mary-Louise Parker (Weeds, Fried Green Tomatoes). In the thirty-two letters printed in the book, close friends as well as complete strangers — both autobiographical and fictitious — encounter each other. For example, the fire fighter, into whose arms she falls in New York on September 11th; her deceased father, whom she painfully misses; or the grandfather she never knew. A wonderfully melancholic reminder to pick up pen and paper yourself every now and then.

Photo (teaser): iStock.com/takoburito

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