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House Mother Normal is an experimental novel that at first seems to answer the question of what people are really thinking, though the author’s skilful use of format conceals more than it reveals.
‘In the middle of the journey of our life / I found myself in a dark wood, / for I had lost the right path.’
Best-known for his electrifying first novel Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates then went on to write the same story, just as beautifully, several times over- sometimes making it longer (Young Hearts Crying) shorter (Cold Spring Harbour) or with two female protagonists (Easter Parade).
There’s something about this book that breaks down the wall of fiction and leaves the reader feeling viscerally overwhelmed by what they‘ve just read.
The Giver is a children's novel which follows the life of Jonas, in his 12th year of life. He lives in what seems to be a utopia, until he goes into his apprenticeship and finds out what his society is missing, and how dystopian it actually is.
Yasujiro Ozu's film follows an elderly couple, Shukichi and Tomi Hirayama, as they visit their apparently disinterested children. It is only when they are in the company of their widowed daughter-in-law, Noriko, that they are shown any consideration or respect.
Published in 1997, written by Mitch Albom, with the leadership and guidance of his college professor, Morrie Schwartz, this under 200 page volume is full of simple answers to existential questions regarding the importance of human existence.