Monday, September 29, 2008

En France, s'il vous plait

If you like to read books taking place in the locale where you are travelling or you have returned to our fair city, but your mind lingers elsewhere . . . you are in luck. Fiction in the library catalog is assigned subject headings that identify the subject of the work and often, its geographic location. Three titles which will tell you where I spent my summer vacation this year and which served as prelude, theme and variation, and finale for me include:

Leaving Home by Anita Brookner was good preparation for the journey as it tells the tale of a traveller, both reluctant and eager in her quest. Emma Roberts, age 26 and forced by circumstances from the secure nest of her mother's home, comes and goes across the Channel between London and Paris, never quite at home, always seeking, but ever-enchanted by her chosen cities and her less-surely-chosen dreams.

Giovanni's Room is a tale with haunting language as compelling as Paris. This story of liaisons, and violence is set in the Paris of American expatriates in the 1950's. A young man finding himself caught between desire and conventional morality, moves in a world of yearning and betrayal. "James Baldwin's brilliant narrative delves into the mystery of loving with a sharp, probing imagination, and he creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the heart."

Daughters of the House is the narrative of the remembrances of Therese and Leoni, cousins who came of age in the rolling, haunted Normandy landscape just after the German occupation during World War II. Innocence and darkness, love and loathing, ecstatic vision and sexual tension meet in this hypnotic tale of love and shame. This Booker Prize finalist by Michele Roberts brings forth visions of places known and events always just beyond knowing.

If you would like assistance in locating books with a specific geographic location or subject, ask a reference librarian at either of our two desk locations.

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