Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann
This is the 3rd book I've read from the 2020 Man Booker International shortlist so far. I really enjoy reading books from this book prize, and this book is no exception.
Tyll is about a jester, comedian, rogue, that wanders around Europe during the 30 year war. His story is intertwined with many notable people of the era. Life is hard for him, and for all people during this long, drawn out war. Every chapter is a key moment in his life, or another person in this time. The first chapter is incredible in setting up the cruel, brutish time they are living in. Chapters are long, and take time to build up momentum. Sometimes you will be wondering what it is building up to, but then you get to that point and find it was all worth it.
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar
A magical journey of one family through the turbulent times in Iran right after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. I've read lots of history, and historical fiction from Iran, and they had such a rich culture of poetry, music, and writing. It has been through a lot with outside forces coming in and imposing their will on the people.
This book was incredible but you really have to let go and let it take you. There are mermaids, ghosts, and other magical occurrences that don't 'make sense' but they actually do. This was a beautiful book about life, death, politics, and history if you have the patience for magical realism in your stories.
The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa
What if the government decided that what you could remember? What if they enforced people forgetting certain things? Memory is at the center of this dystopian story set on an island. At seemingly random intervals, people wake up and feel a loss of something. They feel something at the edge of their memory is gone. For example, one day they wake up, wander outside, and then struggle to remember what those winged creatures flying in the sky are called. If they have any books, or other references to that 'disappeared' thing, they have to quickly eradicate it before the Memory Police finds it. Not all citizens on the island are affected by the disappearances though; some people can go on remembering the things others have forgotten, but nobody knows why. The Memory Police is focused on trying to root out those people.