My Favourite Contemporary​ books


  1. “Crossing The Mangroves” by Maryse Condé (1989)


“There was no denying the fact that the death of sugarcane was sounding the knell for something else in the country.

About: A handsome-looking outsider, admired by some, loathed by others – is found dead outside “Riviere au Sel”; a small village in Guadeloupe. No one is able to figure out the name of the murder – but as the villagers come to pay their respects in his funeral, they each–either in a speech to the mourners or in an internal monologue–reveal another piece of the mystery behind Sancher’s life and death. 

Why? It’s extremely intriguing from start to finish. All you want to know is “Who killed Sancher?” – a question which seems to repeat itself again and again throughout the novel. Will the mystery unlock itself in the end, or will it stay a puzzle? Read the book and you’ll see for yourself. 

Dice (1-6): 5


2. “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)


“It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.”

About: I can’t say much, otherwise I’ll reveal the whole point of the book. BUT – I can say this: It’s an intense and gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and, on the whole – a criticism on human arrogance and how we treat the vulnerable and the different in our society.  

Why: It’s so so sad. And if you’re like me – if you enjoy swimming in all the sadness of the world from time to time (because misery is just SO incredibly beautiful! I don’t blame you…) then this is the perfect book for you. I should also add – it’s not always sad. It has its funny moments and it has its rays of sunshine too – even if they’re small! 

Dice (1-6): 5


3. “The Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)


“After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?”

About: The narrator, Stevens; An English butler at an old mansion, recalls his life in the form of a diary; his experiences with the staff and with his work in the mid-1930s through to the present. From his memories, we get to know about his complicated relationship with the housekeeper, Miss Kenton; What went wrong, what he did do, what he didn’t do and what could have been, but wasn’t. 

Why? This one is also very sad, as it focuses on nostalgia and the melancholia which comes with reminiscing about the past. I think we’ve all been in this situation before, and we’ve all felt the pain of not having done something in the right moment, at the right time – because of fear. So, again – if you’re one of those people who like to experience an overflow of dramatic, internal emotions – read this book. You won’t regret it. 

Dice (1-6): 6!


4. “Call Me by Your Name” by André Aciman (2007)


“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!”

About: An intense romantic relationship between an intellectually precocious and curious 17-year-old Jewish boy named Elio Perlman and a visiting 24-year-old American scholar named Oliver in 1980s Italy. 

Why? It’s very well written, it takes you right inside the head of Elio and it’s also extremely intriguing. Does Oliver feel the same? Is this a good or a bad thing? Is it love or lust or just platonic? Read the book and you’ll find out! –If you want to know more, I’ve written a long analysis on this novel in one of my former articles → HERE

Dice (1-6): 5

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Aftur S. Nerdrum 

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