From Voltaire to today: Debra ripp is from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Position:Readers recommend their favourite books - Novels

SEIZE THE DAY

By Saul Bellow

Tommy Wilhelm is in serious decline. Separated from his wife and children, he is unemployed, broke, and bears the grim disapproval of his father for the direction his life has taken. Over the span of one seemingly endless day, Tommy reviews the shape of his past, plots his future, and experiences one very valuable moment of insight.

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WORLD'S END

By T. C. Boyle

* PEN/FAULKNER AWARD, 1988

In a search for his roots, the main character researches his ancestors from the late 1960s back to the 17th-century Hudson River valley to find a link to his peculiar accident-prone life. This comic, quirky, and at times deeply magical examination of soul searching includes many surly characters.

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THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA

By Philip Roth

What would our country be like if Charles Lindbergh had been elected president back in the 1930s? In this dark and gripping novel, Roth examines this question and its consequences for Jews in America from the viewpoint of his seven-year-old self. (EXCELLENT Nov/Dec 2004)

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HEIR TO THE GLIMMERING WORLD

By Cynthia Ozick

Rose Meadows, a shy 18-year-old orphan, is hired by the Mitwissers to work as a nanny and secretary in their mansion in New York City in the 1930s. The family has recently escaped Nazi-occupied Berlin and relies heavily on the sporadic support of James A'Bair, millionaire heir to the "Bear Boy" books and a sort of pre-Christopher Robin. Nearly all the characters are exiles of one sort or another, adding a thematic layer to this richly plotted novel. (EXCELLENT Nov/Dec 2004)

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THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER

By Ann Packer

Carrie Bell's stable life includes plans to marry her longtime fiance--until he is involved in an accident that paralyzes him for life. This excellent novel asks questions and offers insights about responsibility, loyalty, and dreams of independence and freedom.

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A MAP OF THE WORLD

By Jane Hamilton

A dark tale of accusation, suspicion, and small minds, Map of the World is a tense and gripping novel whose characters possess real feelings, frailties, and foibles that threaten to ruin them in the end.

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THE HISTORY OF LOVE

By Nicole Krauss

Leo Gursky, an old man...

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