Adult International Fiction

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Article in Adult Fiction, Diversity and Location categories.

These are recommended adult novels in locations from all over the world.


In 1992 the Sarajevo Haggadah is rediscovered. Hanna Heath, an Australian rare book expert, is called in to trace the history of the book. In the course of documenting the movements of the book over the centuries from one Jewish community to another around the Mediterranean, she experiences romance and family trauma and the reader meets many fascinating and varied characters.
As varied as the novel's locales are; from dusty, Australian bush towns, to Parisienne bars to the Thai jungle, the main characters remain consistently brilliant, paranoid, bizarre, insightful and overly self-analyzed. Funnier and more original than Dave Eggers. Well written, but with enough material for two books. Unique characters; a hilarious adventure story of self discovery from childhood to death, with father and son leading the way.


Layla, a young woman raised in both the United States and Hyderabad India, is on the eve of her arranged wedding to a young man she has never met, the son of a longtime friend of her mother's family. But Layla has a secret; she is pregnant by her American lover. Her new husband also has a secret and refuses to consummate the marriage. Sensitive writing and luminous prose grace this story about a young woman assimilated as an American, finding herself as a young wife in India, struggling to please her family and new husband, and yet also retain her individuality and personal freedom, in a culture where women's lives are tightly controlled and problems, shrouded in secrecy, cannot be dealt with, as honor of the family must be preserved above all other values.
Set in Calcutta in 1838, this is the first installment of a projected trilogy following a set of likable characters through the Opium Wars. It reads a little like Neal Stephenson's Baroque cycle, with lots of action, humor, historical sidelights, and romance, but Ghosh's emphasis on charity and community are much more emotionally fulfilling.


Iran's large, prosperous, highly educated Jewish community has gradually migrated to Los Angeles and other areas. Dalia Sofer writes of the unjust imprisonment in Iran of Isaac Armin, a wealthy Jewish jeweler. The story of the impact on his daughter Shirin, his wife Farnaz, and his son who is in America as well as his suffering in prison is informative and gripping.


  • The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo by Peter Orner
A really ambitious first novel, the story of a young American's year as a volunteer in a poor rural school in the Namibian desert is told as a series of more than 150 very brief vignettes. The prose is spare, but very evocative, and Orner has a wonderful ear for dialog. I found it unsettling because it uses comic, almost raucous characters to present a tragic view of life and the world in a harsh landscape with a history of oppression and horror. The title character is a mysterious young woman, an ex-guerilla, who arrives at the school, leaves and returns with an unexplained child. All the men and boys are smitten.
"Line gong around Goas: How do you know Mavala Shikongo's war stories are true? Because she never tells any."