By Andrea Silva, December 22 2022—
With this piece, my intention is to share my favourite books from five different literary genres. From a love story that persists through decades, to a memoir about survival, I believe these novels are the perfect reads for the upcoming winter break. Happy reading!
Historical Fiction: Children of the Stars by Mario Escobar
This book tells the story of Jacob and Moses Stein, two Jewish brothers who live in Nazi-occupied France. The plot follows their journey across Europe and through an entire ocean to reach South America, where they intend to be reunited with their parents. As a reader, I enjoyed learning about Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a small French village that served as a refuge for people who escaped the Nazi regime. Additionally, I think that this novel holds an important message: that even through the darkest times of humanity, people were willing to sacrifice their lives to fight for what was right. Overall, this book is a tribute to the experiences of all those children who were unjustly separated from their parents during the war, a novel about love and resilience.
Mystery: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
To continue a long-sustained tradition, a group of Oxford University friends travel to a remote lodge in the Scottish Highlands to celebrate the New Year together. Two days after their arrival, a dead body is found buried in the snow. Emma, Mark, Miranda, Julien, Nick, Bo, Samira, Giles, Katie, and the two lodge staff members, Heather and Doug, are trapped in a huge snowstorm that prevents them from leaving the property. Through alternating chapters, the readers get a close look at this friend group’s dynamic, as old conflicts remerge, and secrets are revealed, bringing out the worst of the characters. The story is told from five different points of view that uncover who the murderer and the victim are. This is a captivating novel that will engage any reader.
Biography/Memoir: The Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku
This book tells the inspiring story of Eddie Jaku, a survivor of the Holocaust. Eddie was born in 1920, in Leipzig, Germany. In 1938, he was arrested by the Nazis for being a Jew. Eddie faced the unimaginable, surviving the concentration camps of Buchenwald and Auschwitz. To honour those who did not survive, Eddie made a commitment to smile every day and be the happiest man on earth. Overall, this memoir tells the story of a man who decided to share his incredible outlook on life, spread positivity and make sure the horrors of the Holocaust are never forgotten.
Literary Fiction (Classics): Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
This is a popular book that tells the love story of Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza. This novel is a beautifully narrated tale, told over the course of more than 60 years, that revolves around the mad perseverance of frustrated love. It is set in a time when, according to the narrator, the signs of falling in love “could be mistakes for the symptoms of cholera.” In this novel, the Colombian author explores the significance of family, friendships, and of love that challenges the passing of time.
Short Stories: Cuentos by Julio Ramon Ribeyro
This recommendation is a compilation of short stories written by Julio Ramón Ribeyro. My favourite short story of his is “Los gallinazos sin plumas” or “The Featherless Hens” in English. This brief tale is about the brothers Efraín and Enrique, two children exploited by their grandfather, Don Santos, an old man with a wooden leg, who forces them to rummage through Lima’s landfills to find food for his pig, Pascual. Most of Ribeyro’s short stories feature people forgotten by society, these characters are the dying, the frustrated, and those who suffer from deterioration and perishing. His work is a significant contribution to Latin American literature, which is why I recommend any of his short stories.