Even before opening it, I knew this was a special book. Its cover design and physical weight, though slim, suggested the beauty I would find inside. It is a family memoir, a history of a Jewish family during the Belle Époque, and a tribute to a son who died in the First World War. It is also a portrait of a street and a museum some of you may have visited in Paris: the Musée Nissim de Camondo on rue de Monceau. The structure of the book is so creative and intelligent; it is a series of 58 letters written to Moïse Camondo from de Waal. Of course they never met but their families lived on the same street, and much of their histories are parallel. The Camondo family originated from Constantinople, and de Waal’s from Galicia. If I had just a few words to describe de Waal as a writer, they would be elegant and curious. This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.
I didn’t quite know what I expected when I picked up this book. The title intrigued me and I thought that it was perhaps science fiction. What a shock, and what a fantastic book! Nine-year-old Jai watches too many reality cop shows and thinks he's smarter than his friends. Then a boy from the neighborhood goes missing and Jai decides to use the crime-solving skills he has picked up from episodes of Police Patrol to find him. With his friends by his side, Jai travels throughout his dangerous, sprawling Indian city: the bazaar at night, and even the railway station at the end of the Purple Line. Your stomach will clench at what this young boy sees and knows. His knowledge of the city is endless and completely enthralling. However, even with all their efforts, children continue to vanish, and the friends have to manage the terrified parents of the missing children, a completely uncaring police force, and of course, the "soul snatching djinn" at the heart of the matter. A great, completely immersive read and an impressive debut novel.
This lovely book imagines a talk between Charles Darwin and his daughter Etty as they walk around Darwin’s real-life “thinking track." Their conversation reminds us that keeping an open mind is one of the most important things any person or scientist can do! For ages 4 to 8.
Copyright © 2020 Bibliophile - All Rights Reserved.