A little late this week, so it's more the weekend ahead. This time, I'm going with two books that are part of the Writers Centre Norwich Summer Reads '12 program.
Down The Rabbit Hole - Juan Pablo Villalobos
Tochtli lives in a palace. He loves hats, samurai, guillotines and dictionaries, and what he wants more than anything right now is a new pet for his private zoo: a pygmy hippopotamus from Liberia. But Tochtli is a child whose father is a drug baron on the verge of taking over a powerful drug cartel, and Tochtli is growing up in a luxury hideout that he shares with hit men, prostitutes, dealers, servants and the odd corrupt politician or two.
Open City - Teju Cole
Along the streets of Manhattan, a young Nigerian doctor wanders aimlessly. Walking meets a need for Julius: it releases him from the tightly regulated mental environment of work, and gives him the opportunity to process his relationships, his recent break-up with his girlfriend, his present, his past. He is navigating the busy parts of town, but the impression of countless faces does nothing to assuage his feelings of isolation.
It is not only a physical landscape he covers; Julius crisscrosses social territory as well, encountering people from different cultures and classes who will provide insight on his journey - a journey which will take him to Brussels, to the Nigeria of his youth, and into the most unrecognisable facets of his own soul.