Seattle Reads 2011: If You Like Chris Cleave's "Little Bee"
Annotation:Insightful essays, illuminating historical and contemporary relationships that shaped Nigeria and its people, reveal the complexity of language and identity.
Annotation:War wrought its terrible transformation on a boy and the only world he knew. Girded by a tradition of village storytelling, Ishmael retraces the harrowing path of his past.
Annotation:Two narrators tell a heartbreaking, heartwarming story about how their lives are forever changed, and linked, when they meet one fateful day on a beach in Nigeria: Little Bee, a young Nigerian refugee in the UK, and Sarah, posh British magazine editor and mother of four-year-old Charlie, who refuses to take off his Batman costume.
Annotation:An intriguing theory presented through maps measures the impact, from culture to geologic risk, of birthplace on the quality of an individual's life.
Annotation:Four Jewish women meet in a British-run detention camp in Palestine following their escape from post-WWII Europe, and create a bond through the sharing of their ordeals and hopes for the future.
Annotation:A single lie by a little girl in 1935 sets up a series of events that changes the lives of her upper middle class English family and their servants throughout the rest of the 20th century.
Annotation:Ethiopian emigre Sepha Stephanos, who owns a small store in a gentrifying area in Washington DC, narrates a story of the immigrant experience. This 2008 Seattle Reads selection explores themes of race and class relations, what it means to lose family and country, and what it takes to create a new home.
Annotation:Rebecca Schwart, whose parents fled Nazi Germany, tries to suppress memories of a horrific act committed by her father. Themes of social injustice, sudden male violence and shattered identity make this a fitting complement to "Little Bee."
Annotation:How do you describe such precarious lives except to trace the brutal cost of oil from camp to corporation?
Annotation:This story of modern day class differences between pretentious Hollywood families and their immigrant domestic workers is told in alternating chapters by Claire and Lola, the nanny, who oversteps her boundaries by developing a close relationship with the little boy she cares for.
Annotation:The Joads, Oklahoma tenant farmers whose farm has blown away, become refugees in their own country, struggling westward toward the promised land of California on a road freighted with human misery and the imperishable will to survive.
Annotation:Searching for his own identity, a young writer becomes fascinated by Sophie, a woman whose enigmatic beauty has been forever stamped by a terrible bargain in her tragic past.