I spoke about this book when it won the Desmond Elliot prize but I've only just got round to reading it. It was just a great, very unsettling read. Narrated by a ten year old girl whose father is a member of a religious group who believe in the coming Armagedon, she tells of her isolation and bullying at school and her belief in her own power to perform miracles. Odd and well recommended.
Dream of Ding Village-Yan Lianke
The first thing about this extraordinary book is that the author is one of China's most controversial novels and had his previous novel banned. This novel too was banned and all this one of their most established writers who has won many prizes. The controversy here is the 'factional' basis of the story, villagers in China infected with Aids and dying after selling their blood. All the more difficult to read after googling it and reading the news stories in The Guardian etc. Another interesting and recommended book.
I haven't finished this yet but it's a very unusual story. The main protagonist is an Israeli Secret Service Agent who gains information through torture. Sounds grim eh? We are witness to the disintegration of his marriage and the parallel story of his official befriending an artist friend to get to the father of a wanted terrorist leader. Quite spare in its language it quickly draws you in, bringing you closer to the complications of modern day Israeli society. It was on the shortlist for the IMPAC prize this year.
Whisper of Nemesis-Anne Zouroudi
I've only just discovered this novel series with the Greek detective Hermes Diaktoros , but this is the fifth one. It's set on a small Greek island where the remains of a body are being dug up in line with Greek Orthodox belief to see if the bones are white sybolising a pure life. But the bones have been transformed to those of a pig and from here the mystery builds. Gentle, entertaining and satisfying.