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A Country Road, A Tree

A fictionalised version of Irish author Samuel Becket's time spent in France during WW2 and his activities with the Resistance. The writing is very quiet and powerful with minimal emphasis on the action which seems to mirror Becket's character perfectly. Some horrific scenes of the devastation and retribution of war – but at the same time, beautifully atmospheric. I loved it.

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The Winterlings

Graphic, gothic and often gruesome – this has the timeless feel of a folk tale. A rural village in Galicia is the setting for the return from exile of two sisters after the Spanish civil war. Superstition and intrigue hint at a violent and sinister past among the local cast of eccentrics and grotesques, adding to the air of unease and foreboding. Though reminiscent of a Brothers Grimm story, this surreal tragicomedy is one for adults only.

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The Last of Us

At first glance this apocalyptic story seems like many others of its genre, but is told from the perspective of a young girl. One of only five children left alive, Rona struggles to make sense of what has happened. The remote island setting intensifies the feeling of isolation and the shifting dynamics of the small group of survivors is very realistically portrayed. Visually chilling, this book would also appeal to young adult readers.

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Sudden Death

Blackly, brutally funny take on sixteenth century Europe. Art and power epitomised in Cortez's conquests and the Counter-Reformation, as imagined through a game of tennis. It sounds mad but is really gripping stuff - unless you hate magical realism.

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