Multcolib Research Picks: Epic novels and stand-alone sagas
Annotation:An epic tale set at the end of World War I follows the experiences of a family whose lives mirror the political unrest of an America caught between its well-patterned past and an unpredictable future.
Annotation:"Roy's impressive American debut covers multiple generations of an Indian family from the turn of the 20th century to India's partition." Publisher’s Weekly
Annotation:This sprawling and often brutal novel, set in the rich farmlands of California's Salinas Valley, follows the intertwined destinies of two families--the Trasks and the Hamiltons--whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.
Annotation:As this absorbing saga of a modern English family opens, 64-year-old Penelope Keeling is returning to her country house following a heart attack, and her three adult children have varying reactions to the news. The narrative is actually a series of deftly interwoven vignettes that shift back and forth in time; each chapter centers on one of the principal players in the family's history.
Annotation:"Allende, niece of the Chilean president slain in the military coup of 1973, has written a compelling family chronicle that continues a long tradition in Latin American literature. Allende's portrait of the Trueba clan and her picture of an unnamed country's political history brim with the atmospheric specifics of a real world. " Booklist
Annotation:Sharing a family life in the 1930s near the legendary Palisades Amusement Park, a family of dreamers explores ambitions and cultural boundaries that are challenged by the realities of the Great Depression, multiple wars, and the park's eventual closing in 1971.
Annotation:The Thorn Birds is a robust, romantic saga of a singular family, the Clearys. It begins in the early 1900s when Paddy Cleary moves his wife, Fiona, and their seven children to the vast Australian sheep station of Drogheda, and it ends more than half a century later with the only survivor of the third generation, the brilliant actress Justine O'Neill.
Annotation:It begins in 1750 in an African village and ends seven generations later in Arkansas; between those two chronological points, the entire pageant of slaveholding and repression of blacks during the long course of American history is played out.
Annotation:Set in Mexico and Texas from the 1820s to the 1920s and based partly on Blake's own family, this brawling, high-spirited, and superbly realized family saga chronicles three generations of the Wolfe family, beginning with family patriarch Roger Blake Wolfe, a pirate captured and executed by Mexican authorities in 1828.
Annotation:One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family.
Annotation:The story of the development of Poland since the 1200s is told from a small village on the Vistula River, with information on the Lubonski, Bukowski, and the Buk families.
Annotation:"The 3,000-year-old Sanskrit epic poem Ramayana, which provides role models for both boys and girls in India, is interpreted here with gorgeous, vibrant illustrations in the style of Patua scroll paintings that are often oriented on the page in comic-book-like arrangements." Booklist
Annotation:This sweeping tale captures the essence of Texas on a staggering scale as it chronicles the life and times of cattleman Jordan "Bick" Benedict, his naive young society wife, Leslie, and three generations of land-rich sons. A sensational story of power, love, cattle barons, and oil tycoons, Giant was the basis of the classic film starring James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson.
Annotation:The youngest son of a Welsh coal-mining family recalls the tender and tragic experiences of his youth, at the turn of the twentieth century, with his courageous and loving parents and brothers and sisters.
Annotation:The 1919 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel portrays the decline of the superrich Amberson family, who act as a metaphor for the old society that crumbled after the Industrial Revolution.
Annotation:"Hawthorne's tale about the brooding hold of the past over the present is a complex one, twisting and turning its way back through many generations of a venerable New England family, one of whose members was accused of witchcraft in 17th century Salem. " School Library Journal
Annotation:Rutherfurd's sweeping saga of the area surrounding Stonehenge and Salisbury, England, covers 10,000 years and includes many generations of five families.
Annotation:A massive, exquisitely crafted recreation of the Arthurian legend as seen through the eyes of Morgaine and Viviane, King Arthur's sister and aunt, respectively, and Arthur's wife, Guinevere.
Annotation:Epic novel of post-revolutionary Russia focuses on the torments and dreams of a doctor-poet who attempts to avoid the struggles of his turbulent era.
Annotation:A tale of star-crossed love, political turmoil, and the dangers of seeking freedom in a new world, Black Flower is an epic story based on a little-known moment in history.
Annotation:After Nicholas Nickleby's father dies bankrupt, Nicholas becomes the unhappy ward of his uncle, a moneylender, and survives many adventures before finding happiness.