Celebrating Women in Literature

What better way to celebrate mothers all over the world for Mother’s Day than to remember some of our favourite female protagonists and heroines? Reserve and pick up of one of our suggestions from your local Hampshire Library!

    1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race.

2. Salvage the bones by Jesmyn Ward

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch’s father is growing concerned. He’s a hard drinker, largely absent, and it isn’t often he worries about the family. Esch and her three brothers are stocking up on food, but there isn’t much to save. Lately, Esch can’t keep down what food she gets; at fifteen, she has just realized that she’s pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pit bull’s new litter, dying one by one. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child’s play and short on parenting.As the twelve days that make up the novel’s framework yield to a dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family – motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protectingand nurturing where love is scarce – pulls itself up to face another day.

3. Three strong women by Marie Ndiaye

Three women who almost had it all… Norah thinks she has made it when she qualifies as a lawyer in Paris; Fanta works her way into a prestigious teaching job in her home city; Khady runs a cafe with her loving husband – now all she wants is a child. But family ties, broken or reasserted, will force each woman to face a journey from France to Africa or from Africa to France that will take the future out of their hands and change their lives forever. Domineering fathers, weak lovers, the perilous road of the refugee – they will need all their courage and inner strength if they are to overcome.

4. The handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

5. The hunger games, Suzanne Collins

Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her younger sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

6. The Paris wife, Paula McLain

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a shy twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness when she meets Ernest Hemingway and is captivated by his energy, intensity and burning ambition to write. After a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for France. But glamorous Jazz Age Paris, full of artists and writers, fuelled by alcohol and gossip, is no place for family life and fidelity. Ernest and Hadley’s marriage begins to founder, and the birth of a beloved son serves only to drive them further apart. Then, at last, Ernest’s ferocious literary endeavours begin to bring him recognition – not least from a woman intent on making him her own . . .

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