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This past year, like no year before, reminded us of the importance of family. This month, we are getting back to the roots, I’d love to share some of my favorite family sagas in literature. In these page-turners, you’ll find some drama, some love, and a tiny bit of magic – just like you would find in your own family.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

This book is one of the most iconic family sagas in literature. Set in the fictional town of Macondo, it follows the life of the Buendía family. As the title suggests, we get to observe the life of several generations as 100 years pass.

One Hundred Years of Solitude will be a real treat to all magic realism lovers. In the story, the most mundane everyday situations have that little sprinkle of magic. There are no fairies and witches – the magic is introduced in the most natural way. As if it is a normal part of our day to day life.

On top of that, it is an excellent read to understand some of the social and political circumstances in Latin America, and particularly Colombia.

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

This one is not your traditional family saga. The Buddha in the Attic follows a generation of Japanese women who came to the US over a century ago. These so-called picture brides transferred to the US to meet their future husbands, whom they only saw in the photographs.

Just like on today’s Tinder, in most cases, those photos weren’t real. And not in a good way.

This story portrays what it is like to be a woman in a male-dominated society and an immigrant in a completely alien culture. Moreover, the readers get to experience the hardships of mastering a new language and adopting a new way of being.

When I was reading the book, I felt I was watching a play in the theatre. The story was so captivating because it was told from a “we” instead of an “I” perspective. To fully get what I mean, you MUST read the book.

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

Fancy a literary trip to Australia? I’ve got you covered. The Thorn Birds will guide you through the life of the Cleary family, set in the last century. What is more, you’ll get a chance to experience the beauty and, in some cases, the cruelty of Australian nature and land.

The story captures the joys, the sorrows, and the tragedies of one family. It is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time.

Dina’s Book by Herbjørg Wassmo

As harsh as Norwegian winter, Dina’s Book is a real gem for literary gourmets.

Set in Norway in the mid-nineteenth century, the book follows a story of an eccentric heroine whose life had been marked by a tragic accident in her childhood.

The story is the best fit for those who enjoy reading about strong and independent females. It’s one of those books where you feel what the main character is feeling: love, pain, terror, fear, and anything in between.

The best part is that the story has two sequels. So if you love the story, you won’t be left empty-handed.

On my wishlist

There are so many family sagas that I haven’t had a chance to read yet, but I would love to do so in the future.

Below are some books that I included in my to-read list. All of them are praised as attention-grabbing and thought-provoking picks. I cannot wait to add them to my shelf:

  1. The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Like probably so many of you, I watched (and loved) the movies. Therefore, I cannot wait to re-discover the story in paper form.
  2. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. From what I’ve heard, it is an ultimate family saga to include in your reading list. If upper-middle-class English family stories are your thing, make sure to check this one out.
  3. Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley. The book tells the story of seven generations descending from a young Gambian man sold as a slave at seventeen. The book and its TV series adaptation, released in the 70s, became a massive success in the US.
  4. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. If you’re someone who lives and breathes Korean culture, give Pachinko a try. The story follows one Korean family who immigrates to Japan and faces multiple challenges, including stereotypes and racism.
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