Books Recommended

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The Independent Culture
The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by Jose Saramago tr. Giovanni Pontiero, Harvill pounds 7.99. An enthralling Portuguese drama mixing high seriousness with wit and farce. Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Award for July / August.

The Heather Blazing by Colm Toibin, Picador pounds 14.99. A Dublin judge remembers his past, in a tale told with austere skill. Review by D J Taylor, 3 October.

Poor Things by Alasdair Gray, Bloomsbury pounds 14.99. A rich, involved tale of Victorian passion and fraud. Review by Hugo Barnacle, 12 September.

The Rituals of Dinner by Margaret Visser, Viking pounds 17.99. Minute social history served up with relish and style. Review by Robert Winder, 4 September.

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, Gollancz pounds 13.99. A football fan muses brilliantly on his life and obsession. Review by Pete Davies, 12 September.

Above the River by James Wright, Bloodaxe pounds 9.95. This acute and vulnerable collection is a fine memorial to the late American poet. Review by Lachlan Mackinnon, 11 July.

Praying for Sheetrock by Melissa Fay Greene, Secker & Warburg pounds 9.99. A strong and tender account of life in the American South. Review by Godfrey Hodgson, 1 August.

Omeros by Derek Walcott, Faber, pounds 9.99. Epic version of the Homeric stories, rerouted through St Lucia by the 1992 Nobel laureate.

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