Honor roll: Drama books

Each of these Drama books has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:Snowdrops

Snowdrops: A Novel

A.D. Miller

An intense psychological drama that echoes sophisticated entertainments like Gorky Park and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Nick Platt is a British lawyer working in Moscow in the early 2000s—a place where the cascade of oil money, the tightening grip of the government, the jostling of the oligarchs, and the loosening of Soviet social mores have led to a culture where corruption, decadence, violence, and betrayal define everyday life. Nick doesn’t ask too many questions about the shady deals he works on—he’s too busy enjoying the exotic, surreally sinful nightlife Moscow has to offer.

One day in the subway, he rescues two willowy sisters, Masha and Katya, from a would-be purse snatcher. Soon Nick, the seductive Masha, and long-limbed Katya are cruising the seamy glamour spots of the city. Nick begins to feel something for Masha…[more]

Book:The Child Garden

The Child Garden

Geoff Ryman

London has flooded. Britain is tropical. And people photosynthesize.

In a semi-tropical London, surrounded by paddyfields, the people photosynthesize. The Consensus, a vast DNA unit, controls the country. Children are raised in Child Gardens and educated by virus. Viruses control their behaviour; nonconformism is treated by the Consensus. Information, culture, law and politics are now biological functions.

This is the story of Lucy, the immortal tumor, Joseph the Postman, whose mind is an information storehouse for others, and Milena, an incredible musician who has a secret, lost even to herself. She is resistant to viruses. It makes her alienated in an enclosing world. It will make her one of the most extraordinary women of her age. The secret is lost in memory. It is hidden somewhere—in the Child Garden.

Book:G

G: A Novel

John Berger

In this luminous novel—winner of Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize—John Berger relates the story of “G.,” a young man forging an energetic sexual career in Europe during the early years of this century. With profound compassion, Berger explores the hearts and minds of both men and women, and what happens during sex, to reveal the conditions of the Don Juan’s success: his essential loneliness, the quiet cumulation in each of his sexual experiences of all of those that precede it, the tenderness that infuses even the briefest of his encounters, and the way women experience their own extraordinariness through their moments with him. All of this Berger sets against the turbulent backdrop of Garibaldi and the failed revolution of Milanese workers in 1898, the Boer War, and the first flight across the Alps, making G. a brilliant novel about the search for intimacy in history’s private moments.

Book:Headlong

Headlong: A Novel

Michael Frayn

An unlikely con man wagers wife, wealth, and sanity in pursuit of an elusive Old Master.

Invited to dinner by the boorish local landowner, Martin Clay, an easily distracted philosopher, and his art-historian wife are asked to assess three dusty paintings blocking the draught from the chimney. But hiding beneath the soot is nothing less-Martin believes-than a lost work by Bruegel. So begins a hilarious trail of lies and concealments, desperate schemes and soaring hopes as Martin, betting all that he owns and much that he doesn’t, embarks on a quest to prove his hunch, win his wife over, and separate the painting from its owner.

In Headlong, Michael Frayn, “the master of what is seriously funny” (Anthony Burgess), offers a procession of superbly realized characters, from the country squire gone to seed to his giddy, oversexed young wife. All are burdened by human…[more]

Book:The Bone Orchard

The Bone Orchard

D. Daniel Judson

A Town Getting Away With Murder

Beneath the glamour of a trendy Hamptons summer town lies another world–one of dark lives and desperate secrets. And when Labor Day arrives and the beautiful people depart, locals like Declan MacManus are left behind to make a living out of just surviving. A sometime P.I., MacManus is an expert at self-defense and a master of self-destruction, but nothing he’s seen of the dark side of fortune can prepare him for what he is about to discover.

On a dark, deserted road Mac witnesses a bizarre, single-car wreck, but he knows that what he saw was murder. Following a trail of clues to a chilling conspiracy, Mac is running out of time, out of chances, and out of luck. He is about to become part of a secret no one is willing to talk about…

Book:Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human

Harold Bloom

Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human is the culmination of Harold Bloom’s life’s work in reading, writing about, and teaching Shakespeare. It is his passionate and convincing analysis of the way in which Shakespeare not merely represented human nature as we know it today, but actually created it: before Shakespeare, there was characterization; after Shakespeare, there was character, men and women with highly individual personalities—Hamlet, Falstaff, Iago, Cleopatra, Macbeth, Rosalind, and Lear, among them. In making his argument, Bloom leads us through a brilliant and comprehensive reading of every one of Shakespeare’s plays.

According to a New York Times report on Shakespeare last year, “more people are watching him, reading him, and studying him than ever before.” Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human is a landmark contribution, a book that will be…[more]

Book:The Coal House

The Coal House

Andrew Taylor

Alison is thirteen. Her mother has recently died; her Dad has just bought a house in the North 300 miles away from the world she knows. She is determined to dislike the rambling old Coal House. There is a disturbing presence around the house. When Alison and her father discover the secret of the stalker in the woods, they become a link in an unsolved mystery and become more closely bound to Coal House and to each other.

Book:Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett: A Biography

Deirdre Bair

Samuel Beckett has become the standard work on the enigmatic, controversial, and Nobel Prize-winning creator of such contributions to 20th-century theater as Waiting for Godot and Endgame.

Book:Three Pieces

Three Pieces

Ntozake Shange

In these three plays, the author brilliantly recasts traditional traditional forms to capture the essence of the lives of black people.

Book:No End to Yesterday

No End to Yesterday

Shelagh MacDonald

This beautifully poised novel chronicles the extraordinary upbringing and early adulthood of Marjory Bell in the 1920s and ‘30s, in a rambling South London house teeming with eccentric uncles and aunts and their hangers-on. By turns harsh, kind, immoral, hypocritical, hilarious and spiteful, they are all dominated by the baleful presence of Marjory’s unrepentantly Victorian grandmother.

Marjory is motherless, her father a remote, weekend visitor to ’Gran’s house’, where Marjory belongs, but is isolated. Gran would crush her individuality, or crush her entirely: and Marjory has to bring all her intelligence, tenacity and humour into play to survive. As she remarks at one point, ‘Some of the animals in our family are nicer than some of the people.’ But she does survive. Glimpses of her adult life tell us the price she pays—but how she also never loses her wit, integrity and spark…[more]

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