Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars, #1) by Sara ShepardThree years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back? A strong launch for a suspenseful series.
End of Days
Welcome sign in sign up. Each time she dies, the author brings her back, to be harried along again between the high walls of her historical circumstances until her final incarnation is allowed to die of old age. By current reckoning, at under pages The End of Days is a fairly short novel, especially considering that its scope is a century and a continent, but Erpenbeck dispenses with the heaps of clutter with which many fiction writers simulate weight and distills the horrors of the times into an intoxicating, bitter essence. Erpenbeck was born in East Berlin in —a circumstance that would likely permit no escape from a confrontation with recent and extreme deformations of humanity. So much the worse for everyone; while the East Germans suffered under Soviet domination and its particular debasements, much Nazi memorabilia was stowed carefully away in attics, to be cherished nostalgically in secret. And as the world now knows very well, residents of the GDR—unlike contemporary Americans, who, thanks to Google and our iPhones, spy on ourselves efficiently and cheerfully for the NSA while shopping, working, and flirting—had to drudge away for the Stasi, spying on one another.
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It also taps into some of the key motifs of our post-modern, relativistic age. The novel is constructed around the character of a Jewish woman born in a small Galician town in the early 20th century. This is not fundamentally an original conceit: there is a touch of David Mitchell here, among others. At every stage we witness a possible death and are thus confronted continually by both mortality and hope. Indeed, what Erpenbeck captures perfectly in The End of Days is the urgency by which our lives are pushed forward, yet on the other hand the transitory, perhaps futile, nature of human existence.
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