Best-selling American author Alice Hoffman's latest novel, The Marriage of Opposites, is a fictionalised retelling of how the artist Camille Pissarro - born Jacob Abraham Camille on the Caribbean island of St Thomas - became one of the most influential Impressionists and Post-Impressionists.
Meet at the Ark at Eight, Noah's dove tells the two penguins. But they can't abandon their friend, penguin number three. So these anarchic little creatures - deceptively cute in Jorg Muhle's illustrations - knock their pal unconscious and smuggle him on board. And suddenly they are having a theological debate. Does God exist? If so, why did He make penguins look like birds but smell like fish?
Sir Michael Moritz is fiddling with his knitted tie, eyes nervously darting this way and that. Contemplating my first question about the effects of his parents being refugees from the Nazis building a new life in Cardiff, he tightens his lips, leans back, crossing and re-crossing his legs, easing the bottoms of his feet out of his well-worn slip-ons so that they swing on his arched toes.
It would be hard to write an original and moving account of the tortured 20th-century history of Germany. But, in The House by the Lake, Thomas Harding succeeds remarkably. His narrative device is a small, wooden house in a village called Gross Glienicke.