Anita Shreve is the award-winning author of Sea Glass, Fortune’s Rocks, and The Last Time They Met. Her most recent novel, All He Ever Wanted (Little, Brown, $25.95), was published in April.
Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard (Viking, $14). A wonderfully complex and beautifully written novel about star-crossed lovers. Anatole Broyard once called it “an almost perfect novel.” I reread it often and would recommend it to any serious reader.
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton (Signet, $5). I remember well the first time I read this: I was a junior in high school and had to read it one snowy January Sunday. The weather outside perfectly complemented the bleak and spare tale and worked a chemistry on me that has never gone away. I’ve read the novel many times and have taught it often—and I guess the fact that I still love it speaks volumes to its enduring qualities.
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Lies of Silence by Brian Moore (out of print). A sparely written short novel about a Belfast hotel owner who is captured by the IRA and forced to decide between saving his wife, from whom he is nearly estranged, and the lives of innocent diners at his hotel.
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan (Anchor, $14). A novel about the disintegration and reunion of a couple whose young child is stolen in a supermarket. It’s worth reading for the astonishing opening chapter alone.
Cal by Bernard McLaverty (Norton, $14). Another short novel about the IRA, this one having to do with a young Catholic man drawn into a plot to kill a Protestant policeman. That he falls in love with the policeman’s wife and cannot tell her of his part in her husband’s death only makes his moral dilemma more anguishing.
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