Sometimes we just don’t have the energy to read a 1000 page War and Peace novel, sometimes we just want a quick, fast-paced book, that holds our attention (and is easy to carry around)! So here are just a few of our favourite books at 250 pages or less:
Pew – Catherine Lacey
One Sunday morning, a mysterious silent figure is found sleeping in a church in an unnamed American town. The congregants call this amnesiac ‘Pew’ and seek to uncover who they are: their age; their gender, their race, their intentions.
Are they an orphan, or something worse? What terrible trouble is Pew running from? And why won’t they speak? Unable to agree on how to treat a person they cannot categorize – whether to adopt or imprison, help or harm them – this small town is quickly undone by Pew’s terrifying silence. What remains is a foreboding, provocative, and amorphous fable about the world today: our borders and our boundaries, our fears and our woes.
Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikazu Kawaguchi
What would you change if you could go back in time?
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time. In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the cafe’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.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers – Max Porter
In a London flat, two young boys face the unbearable sadness of their mother’s sudden death. Their father, a Ted Hughes scholar and scruffy romantic, imagines a future of well-meaning visitors and emptiness.
In this moment of despair they are visited by Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. This sentimental bird is drawn to the grieving family and threatens to stay until they no longer need him.
Passing – Nella Larsen
Clare Kendry has severed all ties to her past. Elegant, fair-skinned and ambitious, she is married to a white man who is unaware of her African-American heritage.
But when she renews her acquaintance with her childhood friend Irene, who has not hidden her origins, both women are forced to reassess their marriages, the lies they have told – and to confront the secret fears they have buried within themselves.
Tin Man – Sarah Winman
This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.
It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things. And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael, who are inseparable. And the boys become men, and then Annie walks into their lives, and it changes nothing and everything.
At Night all Blood is Black – David Diop
Alfa and Mademba are two of the many Senegalese soldiers fighting in the Great War. Together they climb dutifully out of their trenches to attack France’s German enemies whenever the whistle blows, until Mademba is wounded, and dies in a shell hole with his belly torn open.
Without his more-than-brother, Alfa is alone and lost amidst the savagery of the conflict. He devotes himself to the war, to violence and death, but soon begins to frighten even his own comrades in arms. How far will Alfa go to make amends to his dead friend?