Friday, December 10, 2010

Noir, New Yorker, and Scotland

The Gordian Knot by Bernhard Schlink
Georg Polger ekes out a lonely living as a freelance translator in the south of France, until he is approached by a certain Mr. Bulnakov, who has an intriguing proposition: Georg is to take over a local translation agency and finish a project left by the previous owner, who died in a mysterious accident. The money is right and then there is the matter of Bulnakov's secretary Francoise, with whom Georg has fallen hopelessly in love.

20 Under 40: Stories from the New Yorker edited by Deborah Treisman
This book presents twenty young writers, chosen by The New Yorker, whose work will help define the future of American letters. The range of voices assembled here is extraordinary: from lyrical realism to satirical comedy, from sociopolitical narratives of immigration and identity to genre-bending metaphysical fantasies.

Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King
Shipwrecked on the Scottish coast, a young Saxon princess and her family--including the outlawed Edgar of England--ask sanctuary of the warrior-king Malcolm Canmore, who shrewdly sees the political advantage. He promises to aid Edgar and the Saxon cause in return for the hand of Edgar's sister, Margaret in marriage. A foreign queen in a strange land, Margaret adapts to life among the barbarian Scots, bears princes, and shapes the fierce warrior Malcolm into a sophisticated ruler. Yet even as the king and queen build a passionate and tempestuous partnership, the Scots distrust her. When her husband brings Eva, a Celtic bard, to court as a hostage for the good behavior of the formidable Lady MacBeth, Margaret expects trouble. Instead, an unlikely friendship grows between the queen and her bard.

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