Scenes From Early Life : a novel by Philip Hensher
PR6058.E554 S34 2012
Philip Hensher’s husband, Zaved Mahmood, was born in late 1970 in Dacca, then a regional capital of Pakistan. In the months following his birth, the eastern part of the country split from the western side in a war of independence of savage violence. In December 1971, after the deaths of millions of innocent victims in the civil war, a new country was declared: Bangladesh, the home of the Bengalis.
Scenes from Early Life is the story of one upper-middle-class Bengali family, told in the form of a memoir narrated by Zaved. It is an autobiography, a novel, and, in part, a history of one of the most ferocious of twentieth-century civil wars. Despite the violence and upheaval, this is also a book about love and the way that stories bind people together.
Umbrella by Will Self
PR6069.E3654 U53 2012
Maverick psychiatrist Zack Busner arrives at Friern Hospital, a vast Victorian mental asylum in North London, under a professional and a marital cloud. He has every intention of avoiding controversy, but then he encounters Audrey Dearth, a working-class girl from Fulham born in 1890 who has been immured in Friern for decades. A socialist, a feminist and a munitions worker at the Woolwich Arsenal, Audrey fell victim to the encephalitis lethargica sleeping sickness epidemic at the end of the First World War and, like one of the subjects in Oliver Sacks’ Awakenings, has been in a coma ever since. Realising that Audrey is just one of a number of post-encephalitics scattered throughout the asylum, Busner becomes involved in an attempt to bring them back to life – with wholly unforeseen consequences.