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Reading the Decades 1980s

It was a decade that began with the election of a former movie cowboy to the White House and ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. In between came Zimbabwean independence, democracy in much of Latin America, Live Aid and the horrors of shoulder pads. It was a fantastic time for fiction: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale presented a classic of dystopian fiction, In Anthills of the Savannah Chinua Achebe exposed the dark heart of new African democracy and Kenzaburo Oe's The Silent Cry questioned the rigidity of Japanese family traditions.

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Money: A Suicide Note
Martin Amis
This is the story of John Self, consumer extraordinaire. Rolling around New York and London, he makes deals, spends wildly and does reckless movie-world business, all the while grabbing everything...
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Nights at the Circus
Angela Carter
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan ...or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of...
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The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Milan Kundera; Michael Henry Heim
 
A novel of irreconcilable loves and infidelities, which embraces all aspects of human existence, and addresses the nature of twentieth-century 'Being'.
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The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses (Paperback)
Salman Rushdie
 
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Oranges are Not the Only Fruit
Jeanette Winterson
 
Jeanette is adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God's elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for...
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Waiting for the Barbarians
J. M. Coetzee
 
For decades the Magistrate has run the affairs of a tiny frontier settlement, ignoring the impending war between the barbarians and the Empire, whose servant he is.
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Waterland
Waterland (Paperback)
Graham Swift
 
Graham Swift's multilayered chronicle set in the Cambridgeshire Fens is widely regarded as one of the finest British novels of the 1980s.
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The Swimming-pool Library
Alan Hollinghurst
 
A tour de force: a darkly erotic work that centres on the friendship of William Beckwith, a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity, and the...
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A Good Man in Africa
William Boyd
 
Morgan Leafy isn't overburdened with worldly success. Actually, he is refreshingly free from it. But then, as a representative of Her Britannic Majesty in tropical Kinjanja, it was not very...
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The Woman in Black
The Woman in Black (Paperback)
Susan Hill
 
Proud and solitary, Eel Marsh House surveys the windswept reaches of the salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway. Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral Mrs...
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The Fifth Child
The Fifth Child (Paperback)
Doris Lessing
 
A classic tale from Doris Lessing, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, of a family torn apart by the arrival of Ben, their feral fifth child.
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A History of the World In 10 1/2...
Julian Barnes
 
Beginning with an unlikely stowaway's account of life on board Noah's Ark, this title presents a surprising and subversive fictional-history of earth told from several kaleidoscopic perspectives.
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Restoration
Restoration (Paperback)
Rose Tremain; Rose Tremain
 
Robert Merivel is a dissolute young medical student when an accident of fate leads him to the attention of King Charles II. Finding favour with the King, Merivel embarks on...
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Schindler's Ark
Schindler's Ark (Paperback)
Thomas Keneally
 
Winner of the Booker Prize and international bestseller
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Moon Tiger
Moon Tiger (Paperback)
Penelope Lively; Anthony Thwaite
 
Claudia Hampton lies dying in hospital. There is Gordon, her adored brother; Jasper, the charming, untrustworthy lover and father of Lisa, her cool, conventional daughter; and Tom, her one great...
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Anthills of the Savannah
Chinua Achebe; Maya Jaggi
 
Chris, Ikem and Beatrice are like-minded friends working under the military regime of His Excellency, the Sandhurst-educated President of Kangan. In the pressurized atmosphere of oppression and intimidation they are...
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