Keuzelijst Engels, aanvulling 2020-2021


Klik hier voor de printversie van de keuzelijst.

Betekenis symbolen: het aantal boekjes (1, 2 of 3) duidt op de moeilijkheidsgraad van de boeken.


The Silence of the Girls

Pat Barker
E20-01
2018, 291 p.

This book comprises a retelling of the Trojan War, this time from the point of view of a young woman. A Greek army led by Achilles attacks a small city, killing the men and abducting the women, including Briseis, the childless wife of the king. When the women are given to the leaders, Briseis is awarded to the nearly-invincible Achilles. Serving unveiled at Achilles table, Briseis eventually realises why he wants her to be seen by his comrades. The following events - Achilles refusal to join the fighting and the deaths of Patroclus, Hector and, finally, Achilles himself - lead to the fall of Troy and are told from the perspective of a womans experience of war and its lack of glamour. This memorable book presents a different view on the way stories about the brutality of the war are usually told, both in the past and in the present. In The Iliad, Briseis plays a minor role, but in this book she tells her own story.

The Immortalists

Chloe Benjamin
E20-02
2018, 352 p.

The book is set in New York in 1969, when four siblings in the Jewish Gold family are given a fortune tellers predictions of their dates of death. The next forty years of each of the childrens lives are consecutively followed as "the day" comes nearer. They all lead full lives: Simon escapes, searching for love, to the West Coast, while Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, Daniel seeks security as an army doctor, and Varya dedicates herself to science. Do the predictions come true for one or all of them? How did the predictions work out? Did the fortune teller have a special gift? Was it just coincidence? Or were the outcomes caused by the children themselves? The Immortalists is a very entertaining, well-written family novel, occasionally mysterious and occasionally thrilling. It is about the bonds between siblings, but also about religion and science, destiny and free choice, and reality and illusion. A very good read.

Middle England

Jonathan Coe
E20-03
2018, 432 p.

In this State of the Nation novel we meet characters from Coe's earlier books The Rotters' Club and The Closed Circle. Working around main character Benjamin Trotter Coe presents the reader with a sometimes harsh, sometimes kind description of people from various classes during the period in which the British had to cope with the outcome of the referendum on leaving, or staying in the EU, causing deep rifts between all kinds of Britons, also between families. Nostalgic memories of what England once was and will never be again, along with downright racism, opportunism and ruthless politicians rushing forward to a break from Europe of which no one really understands the political and especially the economical impact. Coe is a sublime creator of "Brex-Lit". While exposing the various bewildering situations around Brexit and people's feelings and reactions he maintains a benign attitude towards the "Middle Englanders".

Girl, Woman, Other

Bernardine Evaristo
E20-04
2019, 452 p.

It is the opening night of The Last Amazon of Dahomey, a play written by Amma, a black woman in her fifties, who is a free spirit, a lesbian and a feminist. In the audience is Shirley, Ammas oldest friend, a school teacher who has become disappointed in a school system that no longer takes childrens fluctuating needs into account. Shirley is surprised to see Carole again, one of her former pupils, who is now an investment banker and whose mother, Bummi, feels that her daughter has rejected her Nigerian culture by marrying a white English man. Meanwhile, Morgan, who used to be Megan, is there to review the play for the one million followers on her Twitter account, which was initially set up to describe her journey to a gender-free identity. Evaristo, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2019, describes the lives of twelve very different (black) women, who are all trying to become their true selves in spite of societys gender- and race-based expectations

Elizabeth is missing

Emma Healey
E20-05
2014, 275 p.

Maud, in her eighties and the narrator of this novel, suffers from dementia. She asks the same questions over and over again and no longer likes reading because she can never remember where she left off. Sometimes she doesnt even recognize her daughter and granddaughter. All over her house are bits of paper telling her what she should or shouldnt do. One of these notes says that her friend Elizabeth is missing. Maud is determined to find out what happened to her. Mauds search triggers memories about the time Sukey, her older sister, disappeared, just after the Second World War, and was never found. Being constantly inside Mauds mind gives us a clear picture of what aging feels like. Despite the descriptions of the frustration and anger that dementia causes, the tone of the novel is warm and funny rather than sombre.

A Different Drummer

William Melvin Kelley
E20-06
1962, 294 p.

One day in the late nineteen-fifties, a young African-American farmer Tucker Caliban throws salt on his field, shoots his horse and cow and burns his house to the ground. He leaves the fictional town of Sutton, in the south of the US, taking his wife and baby with him. Black inhabitants of Sutton followed suit. When asked where they are going the answer is: North. White people discuss Tuckers possible motive but cannot come to a satisfying conclusion. The story unfolds in eleven chapters told from the perspective of different white people, among them Tuckers employer. The governors statement on the black exodus is: We never needed them, never wanted them, and well get along fine without them. But there is a lot more to the story. Fifty-six years after its first publication a literary jewel is rediscovered.

The Wall

John Lanchester
E20-07
2019, 276 p.

After a climatic development called the Change, an island very similar to Great Britain has built the Wall - a massive defence structure around its entire coastline. Joseph Kavanagh, the storys narrator, has to serve two years on the Wall as a Defender, staring out to sea, keeping watch and making sure the Others dont get in. For every Other who makes it across the Wall, a Defender will be banished from the country and is put out to sea on a boat. Just as Joseph is growing closer to Hifa, one of the other defenders, something happens that changes everything. John Lanchester presents us with a disturbing vision of the possibly not-too-distant future, based on present trends such as climate change, anti-refugee sentiment and post-Brexit shortages. The result is a story that grips the readers attention from the start, with an ominous sense of danger pervading the entire novel.

Lost Children Archive

Valeria Luiselli
E20-08
2019, 350 p.

A woman and her husband, both audio documentary makers, are driving from New York to Arizona with her five-year-old daughter and his ten-year-old son. The man is interested in the Apache leaders who were the last to surrender and wants to make "an inventory of echoes", while the woman is planning to work on an audio project about the many refugee children who go missing when trying to enter America. During the road trip, presented through the eyes of the woman and the boy, it becomes clear the family is slowly drifting apart. The two children then decide to run away in the hope of making things better for them all because "If we too were lost children, we would have to be found again." To the main story line, the author has added another layer addressing the various ways of telling a story. The use of references and quotes from a variety of books, documents, films and poems results in a clever and interesting novel.

The Dutch House

Ann Patchett
E20-09
2019, 336 p.

In this novel a mansion provides the basis for the Conroys. Its called The Dutch House by locals because the first owners were of Dutch origin: the Van Hoebeek dynasty. Self-made property magnate, Cyril Conroy buys the mansion from the bank including the furnishings and personal belongings from the former owners. Cyrils wife Elna doesnt feel comfortable in the house and leaves her husband and their two children, Maeve and Danny. Cyril then marries Andrea, a young widow with two daughters. When Cyril dies Andrea disinherits Maeve and Danny. Its touching to read about the unconditional love between brother and sister; how they park their car in front of the mansion time and again and talk about the life they had together in the Dutch House. Ann Patchett shows herself to be a master in portraying characters. The reader gets to know them all well and understands why they make certain decisions whether they are wise or not.

10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World

Elif Shafak
E20-10
2019, 312 p.

After Tequila Leilas death her mind continues working: for 10 minutes and 38 seconds to be precise, during which time she remembers the important events in her life that shaped her into the woman she became. In these memories, the reader is introduced, in turn, to Leilas five best friends, all of whom are desperately trying to find her. This is a unique novel, which tells not only the story of Leilas life, but also that of her friends. It is about being different in an unforgiving world, while also providing interesting insight into civil turmoil in 1970s Istanbul and growing up in a mostly Muslim environment.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong
E20-11
2019, 242 p.

This novel tells the story of Little Dog, the son of Vietnamese immigrant parents in the US. This is done in the form of a letter addressed to his illiterate mother. Dear Ma, I am writing to reach you even if each word I put down is one word further from where you are. The writing is a mix of a shared past with his traumatised mother and a schizophrenic grandmother as well as his own thoughts and feelings. He is lonely and discriminated against because of the colour of his skin. He finds a friend in Trevor and growing up they discover their teenage sexual love for each other. The letter to his mother is at the same time a search for his own identity. This debut novel contains autobiographical elements and is written in a precise, poetic style about the strong will power of a man who has to overcome many difficulties.

The Salt Path

Raynor Winn
E20-12
2018, 288 p.

The Salt Path is the story of author Raynor Winns remarkable journey walking the South-West Coast Path with her husband Moth. Just as their home and livelihood are taken away from them, the couple find out that Moth is suffering from an incurable illness. Against all advice, and with all their belongings in their backpacks, they start their journey from Somerset to Cornwall, trying to survive with barely any money. Even though this book is non-fiction, it is written in a way that reads like a novel. Knowing that these are real-life events makes the story intriguing and heartbreaking, and at the same time inspirational and empowering. It gives a beautiful insight into the way every person deals differently with hardships they encounter.

Frankissstein: A Love Story

Jeanette Winterson
E20-13
2019, 346 p.

Frankissstein consists of two stories, told alternately. One is set in present-day Britain and America and tells the story of the young transgender doctor Ry and his lover, Victor Stein. Stein is a professor with great ambitions in the field of artificial intelligence. The other part is set during the life of the author Mary Shelley and tells the story of what led her to write her novel Frankenstein and her life after its publication. What will happen when homo sapiens is no longer the most intelligent being on the planet? In this book Winterson creates a background to and future perspective of the classic Frankenstein. Filled with humour, this book examines not only artificial intelligence, but also modern sexual relationships and even bringing people back to life. A unique approach to both Frankenstein and artificial intelligence.