"The Unconsoled" by Kazuo Ishiguro (1995)
"'I do hope I'm not intruding,' he said, 'But when I saw you just now I simply had to come over and say how excited I am you're here. You see, I'm a pianist myself. On a strictly amateur basis, I mean. And, well, I've always admired you terribly. When father finally got word that you were coming, I was so thrilled.'"
Kazuo Ishiguro is a British novelist born in Japan. His most famous book is probably The Remains of the Day, which was adapted into a movie starring Anthony Hopkins. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature last year.
I got 1/4 of the way through The Unconsoled and had to stop. It seems to be about some guy walking around a city he's unfamiliar with (or is he?), and him having painfully polite conversations with strangers (or are they?). MAYBE this book gets better, but after 100+ pages of NOTHING HAPPENING I'd had enough and it was time to move on to another book.
I can't tell you much more than that, aside from the fact that this novel merits the term "Kafkaesque" and that its "magical realism" reminded me of Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain - another weighty tome I failed to finish.
"A Woman's Place" by Edwina Currie (1996)
"April Fool's Day" by Bryce Courtenay (1993)
"Teacher Man" and "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt (2005 and 1996)
"The Clan of the Cave Bear" by Jean M. Auel (1980)