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ENGLISH PATIENT (MICHAEL ONDDAATJE)

Highlights:

THE ENGLISH PATIENT: BOOKER PRIZE WINNER 1992 WAS WRITTEN BY POPULAR CANADIAN WRITER, MICHAEL ONDAATJE. THE STORY OF THIS POETIC NOVEL IS SET IN AN ITALIAN VILLA WHERE FOUR DIVERSE AND EMOTIONALLY SCARRED PEOPLE ARE BROUGHT TOGETHER AT THE END OF WORLD WAR II. THESE CHARACTERS INCLUDE A CANADIAN THIEF CALLED CARAVAGGIO WHOSE HANDS ARE DAMAGED, A SIKH BRITISH-ARMY SAPPER, A BADLY BURNT ENGLISHMAN, AND HIS CANADIAN NURSE, HANNAH.

SHUGGIE BAIN: LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020

Highlights:

IT IS 1981. GLASGOW IS DYING AND GOOD FAMILIES MUST GRIFT TO SURVIVE. AGNES BAIN HAS ALWAYS EXPECTED MORE FROM LIFE. SHE DREAMS OF GREATER THINGS: A HOUSE WITH ITS OWN FRONT DOOR AND A LIFE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR OUTRIGHT (LIKE HER PERFECT, BUT FALSE, TEETH). BUT AGNES IS ABANDONED BY HER PHILANDERING HUSBAND, AND SOON SHE AND HER THREE CHILDREN FIND THEMSELVES TRAPPED IN A DECIMATED MINING TOWN. AS SHE DESCENDS DEEPER INTO DRINK, THE CHILDREN TRY THEIR BEST TO SAVE HER, YET ONE BY ONE THEY MUST ABANDON HER TO SAVE THEMSELVES. IT IS HER SON SHUGGIE WHO HOLDS OUT HOPE THE LONGEST.

BEFORE THE COFFEE GETS COLD

Highlights:

IN BEFORE THE COFFEE GETS COLD, WE MEET FOUR VISITORS, EACH OF WHOM IS HOPING TO MAKE USE OF THE CAFÉ’S TIME-TRAVELLING OFFER, IN ORDER TO: CONFRONT THE MAN WHO LEFT THEM, RECEIVE A LETTER FROM THEIR HUSBAND WHOSE MEMORY HAS BEEN TAKEN BY EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER’S, TO SEE THEIR SISTER ONE LAST TIME, AND TO MEET THE DAUGHTER THEY NEVER GOT THE CHANCE TO KNOW.

UPON A SLEEPLESS ISLE

Highlights:

DENSE GREEN FORESTS IN YALA, WHITE-SAND COASTS IN TRINCOMALEE, AZURE WATERS OFF THE SOUTH COAST, ANURADHAPURA’S ANCIENT TEMPLES, AND CRICKET. CIVIL WAR, POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS, INTERNALLY DISPLACED COMMUNITIES, INDUSTRIAL-SCALE CORRUPTION. ALL ARE SRI LANKA. AS ARE SMUG BUREAUCRATS, NOSY NEIGHBOURS, AND STRAY DOGS WITH SERIOUS AXES TO GRIND. THROUGH THE EYES OF ANDREW FIDEL FERNANDO, CRICKET WRITER PAR EXCELLENCE, BOTH A LOCAL AND A TOURIST IN HIS HOME COUNTRY, SRI LANKA COMES ALIVE AS HE HURTLES DOWN HILLS IN KANDY.

BAD BLOOD

Highlights:

IN 2014, THERANOS FOUNDER AND CEO ELIZABETH HOLMES WAS WIDELY SEEN AS THE FEMALE STEVE JOBS: A BRILLIANT STANFORD DROPOUT WHOSE STARTUP “UNICORN” PROMISED TO REVOLUTIONIZE THE MEDICAL INDUSTRY WITH A MACHINE THAT WOULD MAKE BLOOD TESTING SIGNIFICANTLY FASTER AND EASIER. BACKED BY INVESTORS SUCH AS LARRY ELLISON AND TIM DRAPER, THERANOS SOLD SHARES IN A FUNDRAISING ROUND THAT VALUED THE COMPANY AT MORE THAN $9 BILLION, PUTTING HOLMES’S WORTH AT AN ESTIMATED $4.7 BILLION. THERE WAS JUST ONE PROBLEM: THE TECHNOLOGY DIDN’T WORK.

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