Romance is her Forte
A Suitable Boy
by Vikram Seth
This book is set in the decade of my parent’s romance – the fifties. So I found it supremely fascinating. There are dialogues like ‘sit if you want to, India is a free country’ that projects pride and poignancy of the first decade of independence.
I love the way the book it carries along so many different people, all from very different walks of life – very intimately, thoroughly, and affectionately.
I read somewhere that Seth described it as the ‘novel that gouged out my thirties’ and I can totally see that.
by Joseph Heller
It is black, absurd, hilarious and tragic. I love the elegance of the catch, as John Yossarian says admiringly ‘It’s some catch - that catch 22.’ I love Yossarian’s simple, honest selfishness, the wavering faith of the chaplin, the naked ambition of the generals, the sycophantic colonels, the greed of Milo Minderbinder, and the true horror of the death of Snowden.
This book is so rich in characters, I can dip into it any time, and get immediately transported to the island of Pianosa.
Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
This is a brilliant first person narrative. Sometimes they can become irritating and self-indulgent, but not with Holden’s voice. He’s been linked to angst, alienation, shooting and the assasination of John Lennon, but I really don’t see all that in the book. I find him hypnotic, and I find myself agreeing with almost everything Holden says. He is gentle, and that throws into sharp perspective the city he’s navigating all along for three days. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t shoot anybody. He’d just go home and worry about the little kids.
by Meg Cabot
This is my perfect romance novel. It captures the high of first love brilliantly – and everybody’s so noble and strong and fighting for a larger cause and that’s just the way I like romance to be.
The Wheel of Fortune
by Susan Howatch
I love Susan Howatch. I love property disputes and hoary family skeletons. She’s wry and witty and caustic and bawdy. I like how she takes regular families and makes them relive the lives of famous English royal families - The Plantagenets, in this case. And I love the way she tells the same story five times, and each time, there’s a whole new angle to it, because the person narrating the tale is different.