TOP 5 BOOKS FOR YOUR WEEK-END
Here are the latest titles added on my Goodreads TBR,
I suggest them as the top 5 books for your week-end.
The Paris Enigma: A Novel
In the tradition of Caleb Carr’s “The Alienist” and Eric Larsen’s “The Devil in the White City” comes a gripping tale of murder and the art of crime solving, atmospherically set during the 1889 Paris World’s Fair.
It is 1889, and the entire world breathlessly anticipates the Paris World’s Fair and the opening of Monsieur Eiffel’s iconic tower. The Twelve Detectives–a society of the twelve most famous, compelling, and dazzling detectives from around the world–have been asked to discuss the secrets of their trade as part of the fair’s lineup of events. The Twelve travel to Paris to convene as a single body for the first time, but also, if some whispers are to be believed, to debate the very philosophy that underlies their pursuit of the world’s most wanted criminals.
But one detective is conspicuously absent: the legendary founding member of The Twelve, Renato Craig, will not attend. In his place he sends his novice assistant, Sigmundo Salvatrio–son of a shoemaker, a lifelong detective-arts devotee, and the only remaining student of Craig’s famed Academy for Detectives in Buenos Aires. Salvatrio arrives in Paris, carrying a secret message meant only for Craig’s best friend and cofounder of The Twelve, the brilliant, brooding, and fiercely competitive Viktor Arzaky.
When a member of The Twelve is discovered dead at the foot of the gleaming Eiffel Tower, the first in what turns into a series of grisly murders, Arzaky and Salvatrio find themselves in a race against time around glorious fin de siecle Paris, encountering all manner of secret societies, solving philosophical puzzles, while also trying to save a dangerously beautiful woman.
The pair soon realizes that the stakes involved are unimaginably high; they must not only catch the stalking murderer but also alter the fate of their precious brotherhood.
Written in a strikingly original voice, and poignantly evoking a world about to lose its innocence forever, The Paris Enigma opens a window onto crime solving’s early days, when wit, common sense, and intelligence were the only tools a detective could rely on.
Blooms of Darkness: A Novel
A new novel from the award-winning, internationally acclaimed Israeli writer (“One of the greatest writers of the age”—The Guardian), a haunting, heartbreaking story of love and loss.
The ghetto in which the Jews have been confined is being liquidated by the Nazis, and eleven-year-old Hugo is brought by his mother to the local brothel, where one of the prostitutes has agreed to hide him. Mariana is a bitterly unhappy woman who hates what she has done to her life, and night after night Hugo sits in her closet and listens uncomprehendingly as she rages at the Nazi soldiers who come and go. When she’s not mired in self-loathing, Mariana is fiercely protective of the bewildered, painfully polite young boy. And Hugo becomes protective of Mariana, too, trying to make her laugh when she is depressed, soothing her physical and mental agony with cold compresses. As the memories of his family and friends grow dim, Hugo falls in love with Mariana. And as her life spirals downward, Mariana reaches out for consolation to the adoring boy who is on the cusp of manhood.
The arrival of the Russian army sends the prostitutes fleeing. But Mariana is too well known, and she is arrested as a Nazi collaborator for having slept with the Germans. As the novel moves toward its heartrending conclusion, Aharon Appelfeld once again crafts out of the depths of unfathomable tragedy a renewal of life and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human.
The Names of Things
“The writing in The Names of Things is beautiful, hypnotic, and exacting; this is a book to be read slowly, to be savored and absorbed as each piece of the story falls into place.”
– Nina Sankovitch, Read All Day, Huffington Post
“At once a love story, an ethnography, an adventure novel, and a meditation on grief, … Wood’s novel has a compelling, cumulative power that comes by way of language as clear and fresh as water, and a profound, keenly humane watchfulness that well serves both the book’s nameless anthropologist, and Wood, its author.”
– Katherine Min, author of Secondhand World
“Wood … dwells deeply in an exotic African culture, evokes its humanity along with its customs and rituals, and weaves a tale of adventure that uses the fine texture of his prose to envelop us and make us feel we are there. Rarely if ever has the experience of fieldwork been transmuted into such a good story.”
– Melvin Konner, author of The Tangled Wing and The Evolution of Childhood
“As much spiritual journey as it is physical adventure, this gripping novel is about an anthropologist who sheds his self-conscious role as a studier of man and becomes, almost in spite of himself, a man himself…. Wood is an anthropologist of the human heart.”
– Tommy Hays, author of The Pleasure Was Mine.
And There Was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran: Blind Hero of the French Resistance
This astonishing autobiography tells the gripping, heroic story of the early life of Jacques Lusseyran, an inspiring individual who overcame the limitations of physical blindness by attending — literally — to the light within his own mind. Through faith in the connection between vivid inner sight and outer events, he became a leader in the French Resistance and survived the horrors at Buchenwald.
Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light
Swapping his native San Francisco for the City of Light, travel writer David Downie arrived in Paris in 1986 on a one-way ticket, his head full of romantic notions. Curiosity and the legs of a cross-country runner propelled him daily from an unheated, seventh-floor walk-up garret near the Champs-Elysées to the old Montmartre haunts of the doomed painter Modigliani, the tombs of Père-Lachaise cemetery, the luxuriant alleys of the Luxembourg Gardens and the aristocratic Île Saint-Louis midstream in the Seine.
Downie wound up living in the chic Marais district, married to the Paris-born American photographer Alison Harris, an equally incurable walker and chronicler. Ten books and a quarter-century later, he still spends several hours every day rambling through Paris, and writing about the city he loves. An irreverent, witty romp featuring thirty-one short prose sketches of people, places and daily life, Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light ranges from the glamorous to the least-known corners and characters of the world’s favorite city.
Photographs by Alison Harris.
“I loved his collection of essays and anyone who’s visited Paris in the past, or plans to visit in the future, will be equally charmed as well.” —David Lebovitz, author of The Sweet Life in Paris
“[A] quirky, personal, independent view of the city, its history and its people”—Mavis Gallant
“Gives fresh poetic insight into the city… a voyage into ‘the bends and recesses, the jagged edges, the secret interiors’ [of Paris].”— Departures(less)
HAVE YOU CHOSEN WHAT YOU WILL READ THIS WEEK-END?