Ta-Nehisi Coates has won the National Book Award for non-fiction for Between the World and Me, a book he wrote for his 14-year-old son, part explanation, part warning, about the unique dangers he would face for one reason alone – his black skin.”I’m on a mission that Dreamers say is impossible. But…
2014 has been another wonderful year for literature, a classic case of so many books, so little time. I ended the year having read 80 books, predominantly fiction novels, but including one play (Mike Bartlett’s perceptive and witty King Charles 111, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories.
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine (Text)
The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol (W.W.Norton)
The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez (Bloomsbury)
Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami (Alfred A Knopf)
Thank you For Your Service by David Finkle (Text)
Beyond the Beautiful Forever by Katherine Boo (Random House)
The Golden Age by Joan London (Random House Australia)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Allen & Unwin)
A Winter’s Book by Tove Jansson (A Sort of Book)
His Own Man by Ribeiro Edgard (Text):
The gender division was 66-44 per cent to the blokes, the authors came from
Tsukuru Tazaki is part of a close quintet of middle-class, suburban students four of whom, by chance, have a surname associated with colour. Tazaki is delighted but slightly bewildered by the intensity of the bond, not least because he is “the only one in the group without anything special about him… there was not one single quality he possessed that was worth bragging about or showing off to others. At least that was how he viewed himself.” Conscious of his lack of “colour” he is content to stay on the edges of the group, an observer of his vibrant friends rather than an active contributor.
Unlike the others he leaves his home town to go to university in Tokyo but keeps in touch, returning often, easily picking up the relationship. Then one day, without warning or explanation, he finds himself expelled from the group and ostracised. Something terrible has happened which they cannot forgive. Efforts to discover what, are futile. The feedback, when he can get any, is that “he knows”.
Mystified, Tazaki is strangely acquiescent to his new fate as an outsider. Apparently