Recommended books

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The Independent Culture
Edgar A Poe by Kenneth Silverman, Weidenfeld pounds 25. An exemplary study of the morbid genius of American literature. Review by Scott Bradfield, 9 May.

Wild Swans by Jung Chang, Harper Collins pounds 17.50. A dignified and compelling history of three generations of Chinese women. Winner of the NCR Award for non- fiction. Review by Lucy Hughes-Hallett, 7 March.

The Fugitive by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Penguin pounds 6.99. Remarkable allegory about modern Indonesian history by a banned writer. Review by Ziauddin Sardar, 30 May.

The Silent Duchess by Dacia Maraini (Peter Owen pounds 14.99) tr. Dick Kitto & Elspeth Spottiswood. An education of the senses in 18th-century Sicily. Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Award for June.

Quartered Safe Out Here by George MacDonald Fraser (Harvill pounds 16). Strong and sprightly memoirs of wartime Burma. Review by Michael Fathers, 30 June.