James McBride “Song Yet Sung”

February 12th, 2008

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A runaway slave in pre-Civil War Maryland is caught, imprisoned, then escapes again in James McBride‘s novel “Song Yet Sung.” Liz Spocott has suffered a head injury which gives her the ability to see the future, which, in turn, eventually leaves her to doubt the promise of the underground railroad.

James  McBrideMcBride

We watch, too, as slavery stains everyone it touches, even those who are essentially good people.

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Andrea Barrett “The Air We Breathe”

October 18th, 2007

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As the U.S. teeters on the brink of entry into the first World War, a motley group of tuberculosis patients in upstate New York is about to experience world politics on its own little scale, in Andrea Barrett‘s novel “The Air We Breathe.”

Andrea  BarrettBarrett

Poor immigrants are thrown into the same closed community as wealthy businessmen. One of them tries an ambitious social experiment. But soon the fevers of xenophobia and prejudice turn the community into its own brand of battlefield.

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Amy Bloom “Away”

October 17th, 2007

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Russian Jewish immigrant Lillian Leyb has “endured the murder of her family, the loss of her daughter, an ocean crossing like a death march, intimate life with strangers in her cousin’s two rooms, smelling of men and urine and fried food and uncertainty and need.” And all of this by the age of 22.

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But in Amy Bloom‘s second novel “Away,” Lillian faces her most difficult test yet: a journey across 1920s America, for the reunion with her daughter she longs for above everything else.

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Diana Gabaldon “Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade”

September 8th, 2007

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Diana  GabaldonGabaldon

Lord John Grey is an English aristocrat, soldier, and gentleman, fighting in the Seven Years’ war in the mid-18th century in Europe. He is also gay.

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And in the new Diana Gabaldon novel “Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade,” there is a truth to be uncovered: the real story behind the death of Lord John’s father 17 years ago. Oh, and did we mention that Lord John also has a new love interest? One who could put his very life in danger?

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Robert Harris “Imperium”

September 20th, 2006

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Perhaps no one in ancient Rome was a better orator than Marcus Cicero, the statesman whose powerful rhetoric earned him great acclaim but which also eventually led to his assassination. Now novelist Robert Harris traces Cicero’s rise to power, telling the story in the voice of Cicero’s confidential secretary Tiro. Harris’ novel is called “Imperium.”

Listen to Robert Harris

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