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Someone lost in a book is not an uncommon sight on the Tube. The next time you want to take a ten minute break from the rest of the world, why not give one of these five stories a go, compiled by our friends at Woolfson & Tay bookshop:
Easter Parade follows the lives of two very different sisters over a period of forty years. Sarah and Emily Grimes enter adulthood during World War II. Sarah is the more conventional of the two; she marries early, has children and settles in the countryside. Emily on the other hand is more independent, choosing to have several relationships and live in the city. Despite their different paths through life, both sisters struggle to find happiness.
Anatomy of a Disappearance explores the theme of loss, particularly the loss of a parent. Nuri is eight when his mother dies. Six years later, he is living in an apartment in Cairo with his father. Restless and lonely, Nuri’s relationship with his father changes with the arrival of an English woman called Mona. Despite Nuri’s infatuation with her, it is his father who eventually takes her hand in marriage. Nuri is sent to a boarding school in England but when his father disappears, he and Mona are thrown together.
This is the story of Harry Chapman, an elderly writer who is in hospital with a stomach tumour. With a bit of help from morphine, he hallucinates meetings with deceased friends and family members. There are also fantastical meetings with the likes of Fred Astaire and characters from Chapman’s favourite novels. During the day, he converses with the nurses and recites poems he has memorised over a lifetime of reading.
Despite this being a book for children, Totto-chan is a lovely read, beautifully illustrated and the short length makes it perfect for the tube. Told through the eyes of a child, the story follows Totto-chan’s time at Tomoe Gakuen, a school where freedom of expression is encouraged. The story begins with Totto-chan being expelled from public school. Her mother takes her to meet the headmaster of Tomoe Gakuen and the two form an instant friendship. When WW2 starts, the children are unaware of what is happening elsewhere in the world. This changes when the school is bombed and Tomoe Gakuen is no more.
A Wild Sheep Chase is both detective mystery and fantasy novel. A young advertising executive, upon receiving a postcard featuring a picture of a sheep with a star on its back, uses the image for an advertisement. Suddenly, his company is told to halt all further publications. The protagonist is instructed to find the sheep, taking him on a journey around Tokyo and the rest of Japan.