Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis (2003)
If you like memoirs and /or graphic novels, give Persepolis a try. Satrapi provides readers with her own memories of being a child during the Iranian Revolution, and she brings the story to life with black and white comics, which are alternately funny and sad. Once you’ve read the first installment of Satrapi’s autobiography, you’ll want to read the sequel, which covers her teenage years in exile in Austria and then her return to Iran as a young woman.
Anita Rau Badami’s The Hero’s Walk (2002)
Sripathi Rao is dissatisfied with his life, working as a copywriter and contending with his large dysfunctional family. His stale existence is soon interrupted by a tragedy–the news his estranged daughter, who had left their native India for Canada, has died and left behind a seven year old daughter. Though he is tortured with guilt over never reconciling with his daughter and has never met his granddaughter and his granddaughter has never been to India, he welcomes her back home to join the rest of his family. Initially, his granddaughter is silent, unsure of her place among these unfamiliar relatives, but slowly everyone in Sripathi’s family is able to move toward some sense of healing. In addition to being lauded for its sweetness and humor, this book also won a lot of rave reviews for the beauty of Badami’s prose.
Haruki Murakami’s South of the Border, West of the Sun (1992)
Haruki Murakami is not an author whose name immediately comes to mind when discussing romances, but that’s exactly what South of the Border, West of the Sun is. 30-something Hajime is a successful businessman who unexpectedly reconnects with his childhood friend Shimamoto. Though Hajime is, for the most part, happy in his adult life, he is deeply attracted to his longtime friend and senses she is harboring secrets, and their rekindled relationship forces him to re-evaluate his life and exactly what he wants from it.