Carolyn Crocker

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The Last Bus to Wisdom

Summary: 
This last novel by a beloved writer is a fitting farewell. The eleven year-old boy in terror of the orphanage and poor farm is dispatched from Montana to unknown relatives in Wisconsin. What follows is pure Western wish-fulfillment, after struggles and heartache, a mid-20th century road trip, adventures, mishaps, a bildungsroman packed with all sorts of characters.

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Quicksand

Summary: 
A bright, conflicted teenage girl is on trial, the surviving perp of a school shooting. Her thoughts, memories, confused hopes and regrets form a narrative that blazes through nearly 500 pages, questioning her guilt or innocence and indicting her Swedish society-- and ours. The translation is pitch perfect.

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Farthing

Summary: 
In alternating chapters a young aristocrat newly married to her Jewish truelove and a Scotland Yard inspector strive to solve a country house murder. The twist is: it happens in an alternative 1949 England that had appeased Hitler, shored up its own moneyed powerful elite and begun an all-too-plausible descent into fascism, while the Reich held Europe, and Charles Lindbergh was the sympatico president of a racist and mercenary USA. Chilling, but so good! Can't wait to get on with the rest of the Small Change trilogy!

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HHhH

Summary: 
A page-turner that is as much about the struggle to turn history into an "infranovel" as about a true heroic act of Resistance in WWII Prague, both of which are riveting. The assassination of Reinhard Heydrich led to unexpected tragic results, but also "Hitler will suffer his most devastating defeat in a domain he once mastered...the international propaganda war ...irredeemably lost." p.296

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Exit West

Summary: 
An astonishing portrait of migrants in the world of the not-too-distant future-- and their impact. Through an at-first puzzling, and then powerful, metaphor of "doors" Hamid minimizes physical distances crossed and emphasizes connection and the trauma of displacement. Nadia and Saeed are both fully drawn characters we grow to understand and love and also Everymigrant whose story we can only glimpse. A masterful and ultimately hopeful parable that is a heartbreaking enchantment.

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It’s What I Do

Summary: 
Intrepid Addario, who stumbled into photography without training and found her life's purpose, tells the stories of women, soldiers, and others who would otherwise be unknown, to us. And she is forthright about her own journey through her thirties in combat zones, love affairs, and family life. Her honest voice and her devotion to her life's work make this an inspiring odyssey.

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The Girl in Green

Summary: 
Miller brings the same keen wit, intelligence, empathy and profound wisdom to all involved in Iraq and Syria as in Europe in Norwegian by Night. Pvt. Arwood Hobbes and photojournalist Benton and UN worker Marta all suffer for their actions and inactions, but persevere with their eyes wide open. A timely, illuminating thriller. And laugh-out-loud funny at times.

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Before the Fall

Summary: 
When a tragedy strikes, the search for meaning begins, most intensely for the survivor. In this case, an artist whose life has stalled, along with the 4-year-old he saves, is plunged into the maelstrom of 21st century media, politics, global finance and the motivations of strangers when he swims away from the downed private jet. A beautifully written, propulsive read.

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The Summer Guest

Summary: 
A diary falls into the hands of a London publisher in need of a miracle and a translator adrift in Switzerland, documenting the summers when a family of three intellectual sisters and a musical brother hosted the Chekhov family on their Ukrainian estate. The result is a fascinating novel about the life-sustaining power of fiction.

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The Unquiet Dead

Summary: 
#1 in a Canadian mystery series, this novel provides a fascinating entree into the difficult political and cultural issues of our time. Hockey-playing Sgt. Rachel Getty and her Muslim boss Esa Khattak solve crimes and prevent social unrest in the Community Policing Section in multi-ethnic Toronto. When a relatively unknown newcomer falls to his death from the Bluffs in a wealthy neighborhood, his and many others’ secrets, buried in the tragedy of Bosnia, come to light.

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