Posts Tagged ‘exotic setting’

The Bungalow

February 22, 2012

Author: Sarah Jio

Title: The Bungalow

Genre: Romantic suspense

Publication Date: 2011

Number of Pages: 320

Geographical Setting: Washington and Bora Bora

Time Period: World War II and present day

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary: A granddaughter’s discovery of old photos leads an elderly Anne Calloway to reminisce over the events of her life during and after World War II. Anne and Kitty are best friends heading in very different directions. Anne is newly engaged to the very respectable Gerard and Kitty has enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps and is about to be sent to the South Pacific. Surprising her family and her fiancé, Anne decides to join her best friend, and the two set off to Bora Bora, where their lives change in ways they couldn’t have imagined. Kitty’s tumultuous romances and their results pull the friendship apart, and Anne finds herself drawn to a soldier named Westry. The two discover a small abandoned bungalow in the tropical forest, and it’s there that they fall in love, encounter a mystery about an artist and also witness a murder. As their time in Bora Bora draws to a close their future together is uncertain, and real life threatens to destroy their new love.

Subject Headings: * Older women — Fiction.
* Reminiscing in old age — Fiction.
* United States. — Army Nurse Corps — Fiction.
* World War, 1939-1945 — Fiction.
* Americans — French Polynesia — Fiction.
* Bora-Bora (French Polynesia) — Fiction.
* Life change events — Fiction.
* Washington (State) — Fiction.

Appeal: romantic, suspenseful, unpretentious, flawed characters, historical details, straightforward, exotic setting, evocative, emotionally charged, compelling, poignant, vivid

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: romantic, emotionally charged, historical details

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):
3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Laura Hillenbrand—The same time period, and it focuses on one man’s compelling personal experiences during the war.

Gauguin Tahiti, George Shackleford—Guguin’s work plays a large part is the story of The Bungalow, and this exhibition catalog examines his years in Tahiti, his work and Polynesian society and culture, with high quality illustrations and examples of his work.
Aphrodite’s Island: The European Discovery of Tahiti, Anne Salmond—History of Tahiti, focusing on how European influence has shaped the island’s history.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors
The Good German, Joseph Kanon—This is a historical mystery set during World War II, with a romantic storyline. It’s compelling and descriptive.
The Diplomat’s Wife, Pam Jenoff—This romantic suspense story involves lost love, is set during World War II and is thrilling and suspenseful.
The Lost Wife, Alyson Richmond—The storyline involves two lovers separated for decades due to Nazi invasion. While not particularly suspenseful, this book has a similar time period and romance storylines.
Name: Amanda

Running in the Family, by Michael Ondaatje

March 30, 2011

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Author: Michael Ondaatje

Title: Running in the Family

Genre: Memoir, literary nonfiction

Publication Date: 1982

Number of Pages: 182

Geographical Setting: Sri Lanka

Time Period: Contemporary to writing

Series (If applicable): N/A

Plot Summary:

Canadian poet and novelist Michael Ondaatje journeys from the chill of a Toronto winter to exotic Sri Lanka, the homeland he left at eleven.  The trip is a launching point for Ondaatje to revisit his family history; he describes many of his family members, such as his eccentric and memorable grandmother Lalla, and his father Mervyn, whom he lovingly describes as both a mischievous young man and an alchoholic father.  Woven in with Ondaatje’s family history are poetic interludes (a highlight is his poem “The Cinnamon Peeler’s Wife”) and sensory-rich descriptions of Sri Lanka.  This slim and stylistically complex work gently draws readers’ imaginations into Ondaatje’s beloved homeland and his equally beloved but eccentric family.

Subject Headings: Alcoholism; Eccentric Families; Family Histories; Homecomings; Ondaatje, Michael, 1943 -; Sri Lanka; Travel

Appeal: descriptive, complex structure, lyrical, humorous, relaxed, literary, eccentric characters, contemplative, humorous, family-centered, exotic setting, lush

3 terms that best describe this book: lyrical, exotic setting, family history,

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Relative Merits: A Personal Memoir of the Bandaranaike Family of Sri Lanka, by Yasmine Gooneratne – Written around the same time as Running in the Family, this memoir of an aristocratic Sinhalese family gives another glimpse into life in Sri Lanka.

New Wind in a Dry Land, by Margaret Laurence – Another famous Canadian author’s memoir, this one also occurs in an exotic setting and has lush, atmospheric writing.

Living to Tell the Tale, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – another literary, stylistically complex memoir with lyrical writing.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Reef, by Romesh Gunesekera – those who like Booker Prize-winning novels (Ondaatje’s The English Patient received this award) may appreciate this novel, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Like Running in the Family, Reef is set in Sri Lanka and characterized by poetic, sensual language.

Who Occupies this House, by Kathleen Hill – This literary novel is a moving family saga with lyrical writing.

Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray – a funny, moving, stylistically complex literary novel dealing with family relationships, among other things.

-Noelle Nightingale