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Esi Edugyan's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Esi Edugyan recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Esi Edugyan's favorite book recommendations of all time.


Let the Great World Spin

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER • Colum McCann’s beloved novel inspired by Philippe Petit’s daring high-wire stunt, which is also depicted in the film The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in bestselling novelist Colum McCann’s...
Recommended by Esi Edugyan, and 1 others.

Esi EdugyanI have read it a few times now, and I’m still trying to puzzle out how he fit those strands together so beautifully. It is a miracle of a novel. (Source)

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In a Free State

No writer has rendered our boundariless, post-colonial world more acutely or prophetically than V. S. Naipaul, or given its upheavals such a hauntingly human face. A perfect case in point is this riveting novel, a masterful and stylishly rendered narrative of emigration, dislocation, and dread, accompanied by four supporting narratives.
In the beginning it is just a car trip through Africa. Two English people--Bobby, a civil servant with a guilty appetite for African boys, and Linda, a supercilious compound wife -- are driving back to their enclave after a stay in the capital. But in...
Recommended by Esi Edugyan, and 1 others.

Esi EdugyanThis was the first book of his I came to, and it remains for me his most shocking and blistering. (Source)

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Esi EdugyanI was in my early twenties and hungry for long, character-driven narratives. Dorothea Brooke was a wonder to me—Tolstoyan in her richness, truly good without a forced or irritating saintliness. (Source)

Rebecca GoldsteinMany people will be familiar with this book. The main story concerns a young woman named Dorothea who is hungry for an intellectually and spiritually expansive life but not sure how to secure it. Given the time she lives in, the early nineteenth century, her first thought is to marry the man who can teach her the most, and this leads her to an unfortunate marriage with the dry pedant Mr.... (Source)

Robert McCrumEliot was absolutely determined to paint a serious, detailed picture of provincial life. (Source)

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An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "wild west." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennesseean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.

Publisher's Note: The 25th Anniversary Edition has been reset, causing the text to reflow. Page references...

Jocko WillinkThe other book that I've read multiple times is Blood Meridian [by Cormac McCarthy]. (Source)

Esi EdugyanA difficult read that I savour for its wondrous prose and stark vision of humanity. (Source)

Robert MacfarlaneIt’s wild in the astonishing indifference of the desert landscape to human practice – McCarthy evokes this more purely than any other writer. (Source)

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Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement...

Esi EdugyanI was shocked by the blunt force of its subject matter and its exquisitely torqued prose. It remains one of my most adored novels. (Source)

Bianca Belair@ylc130 I went to the library when I was in the 3rd grade and read Beloved... I remember being so confused and my Mama having to explain it to me... I later read it as an adult and it hit me completely different. GREAT BOOK! (Source)

Farah Jasmine GriffinBeloved was Morrison’s fifth novel. It’s a gripping story, inspired by a famous abolitionist case, the true story of a woman who runs away from slavery with her children, but when the slave catchers catch up with her, she kills one of her own and tries to kill the others, rather than returning them to slavery. (Source)

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