Seattle Picks: World Classics
Annotation:In this hauntingly beautiful tale, Niki Jumpei, a scientist in search of a rare beetle, stumbles upon a strange village where the inhabitants live in sandpits, and becomes imprisoned with an outcast widow.
Annotation:The dramatic, turbulent history of Latin America told through four generations of the Trueba family up until the 1973 assassination of Chilean president Allende, the author's uncle.
Annotation:In this disturbing dystopian vision, subjugated "handmaid" Offred tries to escape from the totalitarian misogynistic Republic of Gilead, formerly the United States.
Annotation:In this delightful, dreamlike satire, banned for 30 years, the Devil and his talking cat come to Stalinist Moscow to strike a Faustian bargain, while Pilate tries to wash his hands of the matter.
Annotation:Dunstan Ramsay recounts his life and the one moment in the past that has linked him forever to the fates of his friend and enemy, Boy Staunton, the village trollop, Mrs. Dempsey, and her magician son.
Annotation:After reading one too many adventures, Don Quixote ventures forth on a swaybacked mare with his faithful squire Sancho, to fight for the honor of an unattainable damsel, in a land that's forgotten how to dream.
Annotation:When wicked and debauched landowner Fyodor Karamozov is murdered, his three radically different sons each seek and find where guilt lies. This epic saga of evil and redemption is a profound and gripping read.
Annotation:Edmond Dante, separated from his beloved fiancé, betrayed by his friend, and unjustly imprisoned for 15 years, returns from exile to exact magnificent revenge at the point of a sword.
Annotation:Frenchwoman Emma Rouault indulges in a scandalous and desperate affair to escape her confining provincial life and dreary marriage, seeking the romance she has read about in books - but not books like this one!
Annotation:Sybylla Melvyn, a passionate and rebellious young woman growing up in the Australian Outback in the 1890's, relates her offbeat life during a time of social expectations and political upheaval.
Annotation:In this wry dark comedy, a newcomer to an unnamed Russian village hatches an unusual plan to better his station in life by purchasing the souls of dead peasants.
Annotation:Oskar Matzerath, a boy who chooses to remain a child physically and renounce the madness of the adult world, provides a distinctly different view of the rise of Nazi Germany.
Annotation:Half-man and half-gargoyle, Quasimodo falls hard for the beguiling Esmerelda; but in a world as cruel and ugly as medieval Paris, will she sense the bell-ringer's beautiful soul?
Annotation:Set in post-WWI Egypt, this first installment of the sweeping Cairo Trilogy introduces wealthy merchant Ahmad Abd al-Jawad who imprisons the women in his family while he indulges in Cairo's seedy nightlife.
Annotation:Hans Castorp's convalescence in a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients mirrors the disintegration and decay of a Europe teetering on the brink of war.
Annotation:In turn-of-the-century Tokyo, love and death unite as Satoko falls in love with a young man from an elite provincial family, despite her betrothal to an imperial prince.
Annotation:This is the notorious tale of Humbert Humbert's obsessive love for his wife's pre-adolescent daughter, and the destruction brought about by his extravagant and doomed desire.
Annotation:When his son is accused of murdering a white man, a Zulu minister travels from rural South Africa to Johannesburg on a nearly hopeless quest to save him, or his soul.
Annotation:In this sweeping epic of the Russian people, physician and poet Zhivago is orphaned young, marries his caretaker's daughter, and then falls passionately and tragically in love with the enigmatic Lara.
Annotation:In this lush novel of reverie and reflection - first in a cycle of six - the writer looks back on his childhood in 19th century France, and recounts Swann's passionate affair with the elusive Odette.
Annotation:The tests and horrors of war are told with raw intensity from the perspective of a group of German boys struggling for survival in the trenches during the Great War.
Annotation:Life and love in medieval Japan are captured in the spare and beautiful prose translation of this eleventh century author's tale of the Shining Prince, Genji.
Annotation:Of low birth, Julien Sorel is determined to succeed in the upper echelons of 19th century French society despite obstacles in this witty yet tragic satire.
Annotation:In this tour-de-force of 19th century Russian manners and society, Anna risks everything for the great passion of her life, the dashing Count Vronsky.
Annotation:Set in 14th century Norway, this saga of one woman's life, from birth to old age, richly depicts medieval hardships and the strength of character needed to survive as a woman in a man's world.