The Buried Giant

Kazuo Ishiguro (Vintage Books)

Set in post-Arthurian England, The Buried Giant is a tale of adventure, mystery, and magic featuring an elderly couple who set out on a dangerous journey to visit their long-lost son. Their chief problem is that they can’t recall most of the details of their shared past—and their forgetfulness seems less like the result of old age and more like purposeful enchantment. A story of fidelity, loss, and the power of forgiveness, the novel reads like a fairy tale but tackles deep moral and philosophical questions while affirming the power of love.

These Nameless Things

Shawn Smucker (Revell)

Written as a mirror to Dante’s Inferno, These Nameless Things is an atmospheric story about what it’s like to live under the weight of personal guilt. The main character, Dan, finds himself among a motley crew of escapees from a mountain they associate with horror and torture. Though he no longer suffers at the hands of his captors, Dan hasn’t found peace, since he’s vaguely aware that he’s guilty of crimes he can’t quite remember. The story, though dystopian in flavor, is ultimately deeply hopeful and reminds us of the beauty of forgiveness.

And the Mountains Echoed

Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead Books)

Set in Afghanistan, And the Mountains Echoedweaves several seemingly disconnected stories together, moving back and forth in time from 1952 to 2010 to paint a picture of a conflicted and beautiful country. The book pierces straight to the heart with tender prose, allowing readers a glimpse into what it means to be both an Afghani native and an expatriate living in the United States. All of Hosseini’s novels offer Western readers a more nuanced understanding of Afghanistan, and this one is no exception. Warm but unflinching, it portrays the ways in which humans are essentially the same all over the world.

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