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Summer reading list

July 18, 2009

This summer’s FICTION soars over time and space, zipping from Syria to New York to Cape Cod to Uruguay, and hopscotching over decades to consider everything from the outset of World War II to today’s war on terror. – Marjorie Kehe, Monitor book editor

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by Colum McCann (Random House, 368 pp., $25)
In the summer of 1974 – as the Nixon administration imploded – French high-wire artist Philippe Petit cavorted on a cable stretched 110 stories high between the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center. Irish novelist McCann (“Zoli”) uses this audacious act to weave together the stories of 10 disparate characters.

The Dark Side of love
by Rafik Schami (Interlink Pub Group, 900 pp., $24)
“Romeo and Juliet” set in 1950s Damascus – that’s the essence of this debut novel by a Syrian author. The story starts with a murder and moves through a tangled web of stories of love and revenge, set against a backdrop of Syrian history and politics.

The Enthusiast by Charlie Haas (Harper, 304 pp., $13.99)
Protagonist Henry Bay writes for special-interest magazines about everything from spelunking to tea cozies. Now it’s time for him to find a passion of his own.

Border Songs
by Jim Lynch (Knopf, 304 pp., $25.95)
Set on the US/Canadian border, this novel imagines the lives of characters who live on the crossing between two great nations and find their individual concerns interwoven with everything from the war on drugs to terrorism to birdwatching.

Shanghai Girls
by Lisa See (Random House, 336 pp., $25)
Two beautiful Chinese sisters survive the Japanese invasion of their country in the 1930s, marry brothers, and eventually make their way to California of the 1950s.

South of Broad
by Pat Conroy (Nan A. Talese, 528 pp., $29.95)
It’s been a long time since Pat Conroy’s last novel (“Beach Music,” 1995), and readers will be eager for the latest from the author of “The Great Santini” and “Prince of Tides.” “South of Broad” tells the story of friendships formed by a group of teens in Charleston, S.C., in the 1960s.

That Old Cape Magic
by Richard Russo (Knopf, 272 pp., $25.95)
Two weddings, both set in New England, bookend this story of a marriage by Pulitzer Prize-winning author (“Empire Falls”) Tony Russo.