Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
I think Jasper Fforde is one of the most creative and clever writers I have ever read. His Thursday Next series in which the characters take literal leaps into literature is one of my all-time favorites, and now he does it again with a different kind of story.
In this novel, the world, for as long as anyone can remember, is ruled by a Colortocracy. A person’s standing in society is based on his/her color perception, and people of complimentary colors are not allowed to marry. Underground feed pipes keep municipal parks green, and there are healers who use colors to cure illnesses and addicts who use forbidden colors to get high.
Eddie Russett wants to move up in society. With his better-than-average red perception, he has a half promise of marriage to Constance Oxblood, a wealthy family looking to add as much red as possible to strengthen their hue. However, when Eddie and his father, a healer, are relocated to the fringe town of East Carmine, his plans are soon put in disarray by the nasty and spoiled Violet deMauve, a corrupt group of ruling Yellows, and an intriguing Grey named Jane, who opens his eyes to the truth behind the brightly painted facade in which he has always believed.
This is Fforde at his cleverest, and I can’t wait to read his next installment. If you liked Nick Harkaway’s The Gone-Away World, then this is the book for you.
The Red Thread by Ann Hood
This is a novel about a woman named Maya Lange who opened an adoption agency called The Red Thread after losing her own baby in a freak accident. She finds comfort in placing babies from China with American couples who want to adopt. Because of the reproduction laws in China which limit families to one or two children, and because boy babies are preferred, the orphanages are filled with abandoned female infants. The author deftly weaves the stories of six couples who want to adopt with those of the Chinese birth mothers and families who must give up their children. Their stories, including that of Maya herself, are moving and unforgettable. Quick access to a box of tissues is recommended when reading this one.
"Where is the fountain that throws up these flowers in a ceaseless outbreak of ecstasy?"