ABBEY'S CHOICE MAY 2016 -----
Anders has a bit of a problem when alcohol mixes with anger and or drugs, which is why he has spent most of his life in gaol. Per Persson has a bit of a problem making an impression on anyone (including his mother). Johanna has a bit of a problem with her job - she never believed in God but due to familial pressure had to become a priest. When these three disparate (and desperate) people come together in a seedy hotel, their problems are going to be solved. Per and Johanna are going to make their fortune renting Anders out as a hitman, and are going to find happiness with each other and Anders is going to find respect and enough pocket money to keep his simple wants satisfied . And so it might have been, if Anders didn't go and find the faith that Johanna never had... A madcap adventure with the twists and turns you expect from the author of The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared - entertaining and slightly anarchic. Lindy
Hitman Anders is fresh out of prison and trying to keep his head down when he meets a female Protestant vicar (who happens to be an atheist), and a receptionist at a 1-star hotel (who happens to be currently homeless). Together they cook up an idea for a very unusual business that's going to make them all a fortune - but then all of a sudden, and to everyone's surprise, Anders finds Jesus... Anders' sudden interest in religion might be good for his soul but it's not good for business, and the vicar and the receptionist have to find a new plan, quick. As wildly funny and unexpected as The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared and The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, this is a madcap, feel-good adventure about belief, the media - and the fact that it's never too late to start again.
ABBEY'S CHOICE MAY 2016 -----
What does it mean to live happily ever after?
At dinner parties and over coffee, Rabih and Kirsten's friends always ask them the same question: how did you meet? The answer comes easily - it's a happy story, one they both love to tell. But there is a second part to this story, the answer to a question their friends never ask: what happened next?
Rabih and Kirsten find each other, fall in love, get married. Society tells us this is the end of the story. In fact, it is only the beginning.
From the first thrill of lust, to the joys and fears of real commitment, to the deep problems that surface slowly over two shared lifetimes, this is the story of a marriage. It is the story of modern relationships and how to survive them. Playful, wise and profoundly moving, The Course of Love is a delightful return to the novel by Alain de Botton, twenty years after his debut Essays in Love.
From internationally bestselling author Isabel Allende comes an exquisitely crafted love story and multi generational epic that sweeps from present-day San Francisco to Poland and the United States during WWII.
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis and the world goes to war, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There she meets Ichimei Fukuda, the son of the family's Japanese gardener, and between them a tender love blossoms. Following Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart when Ichimei and his family - like thousands of Japanese Americans - are declared enemies by the US government and relocated to internment camps. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love they are forever forced to hide from the world. Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the older woman and her grandson, Seth, at Lark House nursing home.
As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, and learn about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK -----
From the author of the best-selling A Man Called Ove comes another entertaining novel about a character who can be kindly called difficult, or unkindly, a pain! Britt-Marie is in her early 60s and finds herself in need of a job and a place to live. Her marriage has broken up, and her talents as a homemaker aren't much in demand in an area suffering from the GFC. But a harried social worker manages to find her a job as a caretaker in a tiny backwater of a town, and Britt-Marie sets about making an independent life for herself - as long as everyone does just what they're supposed to, it will all be okay - won't it? Britt-Marie is a difficult and unpleasant woman on the surface, but she has more than enough reason to be the way she is, and the reader ends up with a sneaking sympathy for the strength of character she exhibits. Heart-warming and delightful! Lindy
For as long as anyone can remember, Britt-Marie has been an acquired taste. It's not that she's judgemental, or fussy, or difficult - she just expects things to be done in a certain way. A cutlery drawer should be arranged in the right order, for example (forks, knives, then spoons). We're not animals, are we? But behind the passive-aggressive, socially awkward, absurdly pedantic busybody is a woman who has more imagination, bigger dreams and a warmer heart than anyone around her realizes. So when Britt-Marie finds herself unemployed, separated from her husband of 20 years, left to fend for herself in the miserable provincial backwater that is Borg - of which the kindest thing one can say is that it has a road going through it - and somehow tasked with running the local football team, she is a little unprepared. But she will learn that life may have more to offer her that she's ever realised, and love might be found in the most unexpected of places.
On a tiny island off the coast of Italy, Amedeo Esposito, a foundling from Florence, thinks he has found a place where, finally, he can belong.
Intrigued by a building the locals believe to be cursed, Amedeo restores the crumbling walls, replaces sagging doors and sweeps floors before proudly opening the bar he names the ‘House at the Edge of Night'. Surrounded by the sound of the sea and the scent of bougainvillea, he and the beautiful, fiercely intelligent Pina begin their lives together.
Home to the spirited, chaotic Esposito family for generations, the island withstands a century of turmoil – transformed in ways both big and small by war, tourism and recession. It's a place alive with stories, legends and, sometimes, miracles. And while regimes change, betrayals are discovered and unexpected friendships nurtured, The House at the Edge of Night remains: the backdrop for long-running feuds and the stage for great love affairs.
It's late 1938. Thomas Heiselberg has built a career in Berlin as a market researcher for an American advertising company. In Leningrad, twenty-two-year-old Sasha Weissberg has grown up eavesdropping on the intellectual conversations in her parents' literary salon.They each have grand plans for their lives. Neither of them thinks about politics too much, but after catastrophe strikes they will have no choice. Thomas puts his research skills to work elaborating Nazi propaganda. Sasha persuades herself that working as a literary editor of confessions for Stalin's secret police is the only way to save her family. When destiny brings them together, they will have to face the consequences of the decisions they have made. Nir Baram's Good People has been showered with praise in many countries. With its acute awareness of the individual amid towering historical landscapes, it is a tour de force: sparkling, erudite, a glimpse into the abyss.
The breathtaking new novel from the multi-award-winning author of The Other Hand.
When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss - until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she'd be a marvelous spy.
When she is - bewilderingly - made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary. And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams. In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War - daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.
Against the backdrop of the Great War, Rosie must choose between two men who have loved her since they were childhood friends together.
In the brief golden years of King Edward VII's reign, Rosie McCosh and her three very different sisters are growing up in an eccentric household in Kent, with their neighbours the Pitt boys on one side and the Pendennis boys on the other. But their days of childhood adventure are shadowed by the approach of war that will engulf them on the cusp of adulthood.
When the boys end up scattered along the Western Front, Rosie faces the challenges of life for those left behind. Confused by her love for two young men - one an infantry soldier and one a flying ace - she has to navigate her way through extraordinary times. Can she, and her sisters, build new lives out of the opportunities and devastations that follow the Great War?
Louis de Bernières' magnificent and moving novel follows the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters as they strike out to seek what happiness can be built from the ruins of the old world.
Set at the very end of the last century, the novel follows the fate of LaRose, a young boy, whose life is transformed when his father shoots and kills a neighbour's son whilst hunting deer. LAROSE explores justice, retribution, and the reparation of the human heart. An unforgettable, dazzling tour de force from one of America's foremost literary talents.
Late summer in North Dakota, 1999: Landreaux Iron stalks a deer along the edge of the property bordering his own. He shoots with easy confidence but only when he staggers closer does he realise he has killed his neighbour's son.
Dusty Ravich, the deceased boy, was best friends with Landreaux's five-year-old son, LaRose. The two families have been close for years and their children played together despite going to different schools. Landreaux is horrified at what he's done; fighting off his longstanding alcoholism, he ensconces himself in a sweat lodge and prays for guidance. And there he discovers an old way of delivering justice for the wrong he's done. The next day he and his wife Emmaline deliver LaRose to the bereaved Ravich parents. Standing on the threshold of the Ravich home, they say, 'Our son will be your son now'.
LaRose is quickly absorbed into his new family. Gradually he's allowed visits with his birth family, whose grief for the son and brother they gave away mirrors that of the Raviches. The years pass and LaRose becomes the linchpin that links both families. As the Irons and the Raviches grow ever more entwined, their pain begins to subside. But when a man who nurses a grudge against Landreaux fixates on the idea that there was a cover-up the day Landreaux killed Dusty - and decides to expose this secret - he threatens the fragile peace between the two families...
An expedition to Mars goes terribly wrong. A seaside pier collapses. A thirty-stone man is confined to his living room. One woman is abandoned on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. Another woman is saved from drowning. Two boys discover a gun in a shoebox. A group of explorers find a cave of unimaginable size deep in the Amazon jungle. A man shoots a stranger in the chest on Christmas Eve.
In this first collection of stories by the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon demonstrates two things: first that he is a master of the short form (several of the stories have been longlisted for prizes), second that his imagination is even darker than we had thought.
Addie Moore's husband died years ago, so did Louis Waters' wife, and, as neighbours in Holt, Colorado they have naturally long been aware of each other. With their children now far away both live alone in houses empty of family. The nights are terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk to. Then one evening Addie pays Louis an unexpected visit. Their brave adventures-their pleasures and their difficulties-form the beating heart of Our Souls at Night. Kent Haruf's final novel is an exquisite and moving story about love and growing old with grace. It is a lasting tribute to the extraordinary author who wrote it.
By the author of A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar, an LA Times bestseller: a beautiful and gripping story of love and betrayal, set in 1920s Jerusalem and 1930s Sussex.
In 1920s Jerusalem, civic advisor Charles Ashton has an ambitious project to redesign the Holy City by importing English parks to the desert and knocking down Ottoman minarets. He employs William Harrington, a young British pilot, to take aerial photographs of the city. Palestine, under British administration, is a surprisingly peaceful place where British colonials, exiled Armenians, and Greek, Arab, and Jewish officials rub elbows and sip cocktails together at the Hotel Fast.
But times are changing and there are glimmers of trouble ahead, and Ashton's young pilot is keeping two important secrets: the first that his war-time experiences have left him too terrified to fly, and the second that he has come to Jerusalem to track down his childhood love, Eleanora. Eleanora is now the wife of a famous Jerusalem photographer and Willie's unlooked for arrival threatens her marriage and the life she has built for herself, particularly when he discovers that her husband is part of an underground nationalist group intent on removing the British.
Years later, in 1937, Ashton's daughter Prue is an artist living a reclusive life with her son in Shoreham, Sussex, having escaped the pressures of the London art world and a damaging marriage. When Harrington pays her a visit what he reveals unravels her world. Prue must follow the threads that lead her back to secrets long-ago buried in Jerusalem and the unwitting consequences of her childhood actions.
If you loved The Paris Wife and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, you will devour this deliciously evocative love story of a small-town girl with big ambitions in 1920s New York.
It's the roaring twenties in the Manhattan of gin, jazz and prosperity. Women wear makeup and hitched hemlines and enjoy a new freedom to vote and work. Not so for Evelyn Lockhart, who is forbidden from pursuing her passion to become one of the first female doctors. Chasing her dream will mean turning her back on her family: her competitive sister, Viola; her conservative parents; and the childhood best friend she is expected to marry, Charlie.
In a desperate attempt to support herself through Columbia University's medical school, Evie auditions for the infamous late-night Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway. But if she gets the part, what will it mean for her fledgling relationship with Upper East Side banker Thomas Whitman - a man Evie thinks she could fall in love with, if only she lived a life less scandalous . . .
Captivating, romantic and tragic, A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald follows a young woman ahead of her time amid the fragile hearts and glamour of Jazz Age New York.
Sofia and her mother, Rose, arrive on the Spanish coast seeking help. Rose is the victim of a biological conspiracy - her legs have stopped working and no one can tell her why. Sofia has been wrestling with this mystery single-handed for years and she's desperate enough to call for back-up. But waiting in Almeria are many more questions than answers.
Who is Ingrid Bauer, the seamstress, the seductress, the big bad sister? Why is someone vandalising the walls of the town with gaudy love letters? And what part must Sofia play in all this? Floating on the dusk tide among numberless ghostly jellyfish, she feels everything inside herself shattering apart in slow motion. It is the best thing that ever happened to her.
Almeria is a place caught between the desert and the deep blue sea. It's a place of shifting mirages, watched over by the famous Dr Gomez and his glamorous assistant, Nurse Sunshine. Sofia and Rose have come seeking solutions - but the answers they find are always to questions they had not thought to ask.
Under the unblinking glare of the desert sun, mother and daughter strain at the ragged boundaries of their relationship, testing the bonds of kinship to breaking point. Intoxicating and compulsively readable, Hot Milk unspools a hypnotic tale of female rage and sexuality, of myths and timeless monsters.
Hellsmouth, a wilful thoroughbred filly, has the legacy of a family riding on her. The Forges: one of the oldest and proudest families in Kentucky; descended from the first settlers to brave the Wilderness Road; as mythic as the history of the South itself – and now, first-time horse breeders. Through an act of naked ambition, Henry Forge is attempting to blaze this new path on the family's crop farm. His daughter, Henrietta, becomes his partner in the endeavour but has desires of her own.
When Allmon Shaughnessy, an African American man fresh from prison, comes to work in the stables, the ugliness of the farm's history rears its head. Together through sheer will, the three stubbornly try to create a new future – one that isn't determined by Kentucky's bloody past – while they mould Hellsmouth into a champion. The Sport of Kings has the force of an epic. A majestic story of speed and hunger, racism and justice, this novel is an astonishment from start to finish.
In a place where everyone is keeping secrets all the time, how do you know who you can trust?
On a delayed train, deep in the English countryside, two strangers meet. It is 1942 and they are both men of fighting age, though neither is in uniform. As strangers do in these days of war, they pass the time by sharing their stories. But walls have ears and careless talk costs lives... At Bletchley Park, Honey Deschamps spends her days at a type-x machine in Hut 6, transcribing decrypted signals from the German Army.
One winter's night, as she walks home in the blackout, she meets a stranger in the shadows. He tells her his name is Felix, and he has a package for her. The parcel, containing a small piece of amber, postmarked from Russia and branded with two censor's stamps, is just the first of several. Someone is trying to get a message to her, but who?
As a dangerous web weaves ever tighter around her, can Honey uncover who is sending these mysterious packages and why before it's too late...?
It is 2029. The Mandibles have been counting on a sizable fortune filtering down when their 97-year-old patriarch dies. Yet America's soaring national debt has grown so enormous that it can never be repaid. Under siege from an upstart international currency, the dollar is in meltdown. A bloodless world war will wipe out the savings of millions of American families. Their inheritance turned to ash, each family member must contend with disappointment, but also - as the effects of the downturn start to hit - the challenge of sheer survival.
Recently affluent Avery is petulant that she can't buy olive oil, while her sister Florence is forced to absorb strays into her increasingly cramped household. As their father Carter fumes at having to care for his demented stepmother now that a nursing home is too expensive, his sister Nollie, an expat author, returns from abroad at 73 to a country that's unrecognizable. Perhaps only Florence's oddball teenage son Willing, an economics autodidact, can save this formerly august American family from the streets.
This is not science fiction. This is a frightening, fascinating, scabrously funny glimpse into the decline that may await the United States all too soon, from the pen of perhaps the most consistently perceptive and topical author of our times.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK -----
Chip Bingley is rich, handsome, single, a doctor and the answer to any mother-of-unwed-daughters' dreams. He is also a reality TV show celebrity. Jane and Liz Bennet fled their Cinnicinati family home for New York, where Jane runs a yoga studio and is trying to conceive through IVF, and Liz is a successful magazine journalist. When they are summoned back home in an attempt to sort out their father's health issues, deal with their social-climbing mother's retail addiction, and generally try to persuade their younger sisters to pull their own weight for a change, the last thing they think they need is the complication of relationships. But at the Lucas family's barbeque, Jane meets Chip, Liz meets Chip's snobby friend Darcy, and sparks fly… Part of the Austen Project, where Jane Austen's beloved novels are updated with contemporary settings. I will admit to approaching this with trepidation, much as I've enjoyed the previous novels (Sense & Sensibility by Joanne Trollope, Emma by Alexander McCall Smith, Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid). I wasn't sure about shifting the setting to America, but this version of Pride & Prejudice just proves once again that human nature has not materially changed since Jane Austen took up her quill two centuries ago! Lindy
The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City. Liz and Jane are good daughters. They've come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.
Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family's BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men...
Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he's a reality TV star too. But Chip's friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father's mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn't only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.
But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK -----
This multi-layered novel weaves three strands together to create a mesmerising tale of loss, fraud and creation. Sarah de Vos is the first woman admitted to the Dutch guild of master painters in 1631. In the late 1950s only one painting of hers is known, and is held by a wealthy New Yorker. In Sydney of 2000, a woman contemplates her ruin as she organises and curates an exhibition of Dutch Golden Age female painters. Ellie is a world-renowned expert on the subject, but what only she and maybe only two others know, is that in her youth she painted a near-perfect forgery of de Vos's haunting and enigmatic masterpiece - and both the forgery and the original are being lent to the exhibition. Worse still, the owner is delivering his version in person, and he is one of the people who both knows Ellie's secret, and is someone she never wants to meet again... A very satisfying read and definitely recommended. Lindy
A dazzling and mesmerising story that charts the collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the golden age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth. A literary novel of breathtaking scope, ambition and achievement.
This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can't shake them, even long after the reading's done. In this extraordinary novel, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, US-based Australian writer Dominic Smith brilliantly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the Golden Age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated Australian art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.
In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke in Holland, the first woman to be so honoured. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain-a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the Manhattan bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive.
As the three threads intersect with increasing and exquisite suspense, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerises while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.
Berlin, on the eve of war. As soldiers muster on the streets, spies circle in the shadows and Lotti Franke, a young woman from the Faith and Beauty Society - the elite finishing school for Nazi girls - is found in a shallow grave. Clara Vine, Anglo-German actress and spy, has been offered the most ambitious part she has ever played. And in her more secret life, British Intelligence has recalled her to London to probe reports that the Nazis and the Soviet Union are planning to make a pact. Then Clara hears of Lotti's death, and is determined to discover what happened to her. But what she uncovers is something of infinite value to the Nazi regime - the object that led to Lotti's murder - and now she herself is in danger. In a drama which traverses Berlin, Paris, Vienna and London, Clara Vine tries to keep her friends close, but finds her enemies are even closer.
Rebecca Wilding, an archaeology professor, makes sense of the past for a living. But suddenly, truth and certainty are turning against her. Rebecca is accused of serious fraud, and worse, she suspects - she knows - that her husband, Stephen, is having an affair. Desperate to find answers, Rebecca leaves with Stephen for Greece, Italy and Paris, where she can uncover the conspiracy against her, and hopefully win Stephen back to her side, where he belongs. There's too much at stake - her love, her family, her work. But on the idyllic Amalfi Coast, Stephen disappears. In a swirling daze of panic and fear, Rebecca is dealt with fresh allegations. And with time against her, she finds help in the most unlikely of places, and uncovers the secrets that stand between her and Stephen - and the deceit that has chased her halfway around the world. Sometimes marriage is a lonely place.
Iraqi Kurdistan at the turn of the twenty-first century is a territory ruled by strongmen, revolutionaries, fixers, bureaucrats and the Barons, who control everything from livestock and land to Kurdish cultural life.
Defying the absolute power wielded by the Barons, a band of friends led by a poet embarks on an odyssey to find the bodies of two lovers killed unjustly by the authorities. The Barons respond by attempting to crush these would-be avengers, though their real war is waged against the imagination itself - despite the fact that imagination in its myriad forms is a prized, elusive commodity for which intellectuals, merchants, political elites and humble workers all search in one way or another. The stark realities of a rapidly changing yet still traumatised society are woven through with elements of the fantastic: a boy is born with a poem etched into his chest; a wild-eyed mystic consummates his love for a married woman in the spirit world; a political assassin discovers compassion and can no longer kill; a Hollywood film buff leads a cluster of blind children on an imaginary sea journey.
Bakhtiyar Ali's visionary novel is a soulful meditation on both political and poetic power. It is a phantasmagoric, lyrical interpretation of contemporary Kurdistan, so much in the news nowadays but otherwise so little known. Told by several unreliable narrators in a kaleidoscope of fragments that all eventually cohere, the author manages the neat trick of dipping the reader into a mesmerising fantasia just long enough before wrenching her or him back to hard, cold real life.
Paris, 1939: the pavement rumbles with the footfall of marching Nazi soldiers along the Champs-Elysees. A young writer, recently arrived from Ireland to make his mark, smokes a last cigarette with his lover before the city they know is torn apart. As war takes hold, he will put his own life and that of his loved ones in mortal danger by joining the Resistance... With a tale of spies and artists, deprivation, danger and passion, this is a story of life at the edges of human experience, and how one man came to translate it all into art.
Important Notice - This title is not available for shipping into India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore or UAE. Sales of this title to customers with billing addresses or shipping addresses in these territories (collectively termed the ‘Prohibited Territories’ for legal reasons surrounding this title) is expressly prohibited by the publisher.
To the world he is Sri Ramakrishna - godly avatar, esteemed spiritual master, beloved guru.
To Rani Rashmoni, he is the Brahmin fated to defy tradition.
But to Hriday, his nephew and long-time caretaker, he is just Uncle - maddening, bewildering Uncle, prone to entering trances at the most inconvenient of times, known to form dangerous acts of self-effacement, who must be vigilantly safeguarded not only against jealous enemies but also against that most treasured yet insidious of sulphur-rich vegetables: the cauliflower.
Rather than puzzling the shards of history and legend together, Barker shatters the mirror again and rearranges the pieces. The result is a biographical novel viewed through a kaleidoscope.
Of all the glamorous stars of New York high society, none blazes brighter than Babe Paley. Her flawless face regularly graces the pages of Vogue, and she is celebrated and adored for her ineffable style and exquisite taste, especially among her friends - the alluring socialite Swans Slim Keith, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, and Pamela Churchill. By all appearances, Babe has it all: money, beauty, glamour, jewels, influential friends, a high-profile husband, and gorgeous homes. But beneath this elegantly composed exterior dwells a passionate woman - a woman desperately longing for true love and connection.
Enter Truman Capote. This diminutive golden-haired genius with a larger-than-life personality explodes onto the scene, setting Babe and her circle of Swans aflutter. Through Babe, Truman gains an unlikely entrée into the enviable lives of Manhattan's elite, along with unparalleled access to the scandal and gossip of Babe's powerful circle. Sure of the loyalty of the man she calls "True Heart", Babe never imagines the destruction Truman will leave in his wake. But once a storyteller, always a storyteller - even when the stories aren't his to tell.
Truman's fame is at its peak when such notable celebrities as Frank and Mia Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, and Rose Kennedy converge on his glittering Black and White Ball. But all too soon, he'll ignite a literary scandal whose repercussions echo through the years. The Swans of Fifth Avenue will seduce and startle readers as it opens the door onto one of America's most sumptuous eras.
Starving after a harsh winter, the bears descend from the mountains in search of food and invade the valley below, where they face fierce opposition from the army of the Grand Duke of Sicily. After many battles, scrapes and dangers, the bears' reign is established over the land, but their victory comes at a price: having lost their innocence, they abandon themselves to a life of sin and debauchery. At once a timeless fable and a philosophical allegory, Buzzati's famous children's story - here presented in a brand-new translation by Stephen Parkin - is a triumph of poetical imagination and a cautionary tale against human excess.
A heartbreaking novel, inspired by a true story, about a Somali girl who is willing to sacrifice everything to fulfill her dream of becoming a champion runner. Little Warrior is based on the life of Samia Omar, a girl who grows up in war-torn Somalia determined to be a world-class sprinter. She sleeps with a photo of Mo Farah by her bed, trains hard despite the violence and prejudice around her, and makes the national team. But with the war encroaching on their family, her sister is forced to make the treacherous journey to Europe by boat. Samia, scared for her life and for her dreams, decides to join her, which means putting her life in the hands of traffickers...Winner of the Premio Strega Giovani Prize in Italy and sold in over a dozen languages around the world, Little Warrior is a timely, inspiring and moving story about war, family and hope, for readers of The Kite Runner, Persepolis and The Other Hand. Translated by Anne Milano Appel.
The French title of Men plays on a quote by Marguerite Duras: 'We have to love men a lot. A lot, a lot. Love them a lot in order to love them. Otherwise it's impossible, we couldn't bear them.' With her characteristic intensity, edginess and humour, Marie Darrieussecq explores female desire, what it means to be a woman. Solange was a provincial teenager in All the Way; now in her thirties, she's not a great mother, is a mediocre actress, but in Hollywood she falls for a charismatic actor, Kouhouesso, who wants to direct a movie of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness - in Africa. He's black; she's white - what's the difference when it comes to love, she wonders? Solange follows her man to Africa, determined to play a main role in both his film and his affections. But nothing goes to plan in this brilliantly droll examination of romance, movie-making and cliches about race relations. After all, there's no guarantee you'll be loved by the one you love. Personal and political, passionate and engaged, Men is a novel that will make you see things differently.
A darkly glinting novel set on Ireland's Atlantic coast, The Green Road is a story of fracture and family, selfishness and compassion - a book about the gaps in the human heart and how we learn to fill them. The children of Rosaleen Madigan leave the west of Ireland for lives they never could have imagined in Dublin, New York and various third-world towns. In her early old age their difficult, wonderful mother announces that she's decided to sell the house and divide the proceeds. Her adult children come back for a last Christmas, with the feeling that their childhoods are being erased, their personal history bought and sold. Anne Enright is addicted to the truth of things. Sentence by sentence, there are few writers alive who can invest the language with such torque and gleam, such wit and longing - who can write dialogue that speaks itself aloud, who can show us the million splinters of her characters' lives then pull them back up together again, into a perfect glass.
A vintage wedding, romance, and a happy-ever-after ending - what more could you want from the 'modern-day Jane Austen'. In a small Cotswold country town, Beth, Lindy and Rachel are looking for new beginnings. So they set up in business, organising stylish and perfectly affordable vintage weddings. Soon they are busy arranging other people's Big Days. What none of them know is that their own romances lie waiting, just around the corner...
An ordinary day. An ordinary bank. An ordinary street in an ordinary town. Nothing ever happens, until, one day, a shocking robbery turns life upside down for five people: Cillian, a police detective, Martha, the woman he thought was the life of his life, Tobias, who came to Ireland after WWII and now lies in a coma, shot in the bank robbery, Roman, the young Polish teenager who is suspected of pulling the trigger and his mother Rosa, the cleaner, who dreamed of a better life for herself and her son ...and things will never be ordinary again. Ciara Geraghty's writing has that rare ability to make you laugh out loud as well as cry. She combines tangled human relationships with humour, romance and warmth to create something truly special.
Aged 105, Rose has endured more than her fair share of hardships - the Armenian genocide, the Nazi regime, and the delirium of Maoism. Yet somehow, despite all the suffering, Rose never loses her joie de vivre. Quirky and eccentric, Himmler's Cook is a hilarious picaresque tale of survival, as Giesbert depicts Rose's unique life experiences - cook for Himmler, confidante to Hitler, and friend of Simone de Beauvoir. The novel tells the epic tale of an inspiring, resilient Marseillaise chef who embodies the sentiment of what doesn t kill you only makes you stronger.
Best friends Isla and Sophie made each other a promise a long time ago: to never let life pass them by. Years later, Isla is in love, living abroad and fulfilling her dreams. But for Sophie, things haven't turned out the way she was expecting and she hasn't achieved any of the things she and Isla talked about.
And then, in one sudden moment, life irrevocably changes for both women.
Isla and Sophie have hard decisions to make but above all else they must face up to the uncertainty that lies ahead. It's only when they realise that this is easier together, two friends standing side by side, that each woman can embrace whatever the future holds for them.
Emotional, poignant and uplifting, The Little Pieces Of You And Me is a story about old friends, new beginnings and what happens when being strong is your only choice. It will take your breath away.
On an unseasonably warm autumn day, an American teacher walks down a staircase beneath Sofia's National Palace of Culture, looking for sex. Among the stalls of a public bathroom he encounters Mitko, a charismatic young hustler. He returns to Mitko again and again over the next few months, and their trysts grow increasingly intimate and unnerving as the enigma of this young man becomes inseparable from that of his homeland, Bulgaria, a country with a difficult past and an uncertain future.
Garth Greenwell's What Belongs to You is a stunning debut about an American expat struggling with his own complicated inheritance while navigating a foreign culture. Lyrical and intense, it tells the story of a man caught between longing and resentment, unable to separate desire from danger, and faced with the impossibility of understanding those he most longs to know.
1943, in the ruins of Blitzed London... Stella Thorne and Dan Rosinski meet by chance and fall in love by accident. Theirs is a reluctant, unstoppable affair in which all the odds are stacked against them: she is newly married, and he is an American bomber pilot whose chance of survival is just one in five... He promised to love her forever Seventy years later Dan makes one final attempt to find the girl he has never forgotten, and sends a letter to the house where they shared a brief yet perfect happiness. But Stella has gone, and the letter is opened by Jess, a young girl hiding from problems of her own. And as Jess reads Dan's words, she is captivated by the story of a love affair that burned so bright and dimmed too soon. Can she help Dan find Stella before it is too late? Now forever is finally running out.
1944: After a high-society New Year's Eve party, at which Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, disgrace themselves, they are cut off financially by his father who already is ashamed of a son not in uniform. In a misguided effort to regain the Colonel's favour, Ellis and his best friend, Hank, convince Maddie to follow them across the Atlantic on a wild scheme, with little thought of the devastation of World War II raging in Europe...The trio arrive amid tragedy and privation in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. Maddie, left on her own for much of the time, gradually builds friendships with the villagers who show her a larger world than she knew existed. As she embraces a fuller sense of who she might be, Maddie becomes aware not only of the dark forces around her, but of the beauty and surprising possibilities of life.
Blood Brothers is the only known novel by German social worker and journalist Ernst Haffner, of whom nearly all traces were lost during the course of the Second World War. Told in stark, unsparing detail, Haffner's story delves into the illicit underworld of Berlin on the eve of Hitler's rise to power, describing how these blood brothers move from one petty crime to the next, spending their nights in underground bars and makeshift hostels, struggling together to survive the harsh realities of gang life, and finding in one another the legitimacy denied them by society.
The memory of war will stay with a man longer than anything else. Dawn, mist clearing over the rice fields, a burning Vietnamese village, and a young war photographer gets the shot that might make his career. The image, of a staring soldier in the midst of mayhem, will become one of the great photographs of the war. But what he has seen in that village is more than he can bear, and he flees. Jonathan drifts on to Japan, to lose himself in the vastness of Tokyo, where there are different kinds of pictures to be taken: peacetime pictures of crowds and subways and cherry blossom. And pictures of a girl with whom he is no longer lost: innumerable pictures of Kumiko, on the streets and in the rain and in the heat of the summer. Yet even here in this alien city, his history will catch up with him: that photograph and his responsibility in taking it; his responsibility as a witness to war, and as a witness to other events buried far deeper in his past. The Gun Room is a powerful exploration of image and memory, and of the moral complexity and emotional consequences of the experience of war.
A young mother surrenders her daughters. A loving family quickly adopts one while the other spends her turbulent youth in foster care. What happens when the sisters reunite thirty-five years later to find the woman who abandoned them? Amy Hatvany fearlessly explores complex family issues in her gripping, provocative new novel.
Natalie Clark knew never to ask her sensitive adoptive mother questions about her past. She doesn't even know her birth mother's name-only that the young woman signed parental rights over to the state when Natalie was a baby. Now Natalie's own daughter must complete a family tree project for school, and Natalie is determined to unearth the truth about her roots.
Brooke Walker doesn't have a family. At least, that's what she tells herself after being separated from her mother and her little sister at age four. Having grown up in a state facility and countless foster homes, Brooke survives the only way she knows how, by relying on herself. So when she discovers she's pregnant, Brooke faces a heart-wrenching decision: give up her baby or raise the child completely on her own. Scared and confused, she feels lost until a surprise encounter gives her hope for the future.
How do our early experiences-the subtle and the traumatic-define us as adults? How do we build relationships when we've been deprived of real connection? Critically acclaimed author Amy Hatvany considers controversial and complicated questions about childhood through the lens of her finely crafted characters in this astute novel about mending wounds by diving into the truth of what first tore us apart.
Ten daring stories from 'a writer who seems capable of anything' (Guardian), the Booker Prize-shortlisted Philip Hensher Backdrops vary in this collection of stories from the author of The Northern Clemency - from turmoil in Sudan following the death of a politician in a plane crash, to southern India where a Soho hedonist starts to envisage the crump and soar of munitions. Each story, regardless of location, reveals a great writer at the peak of his powers.
Kim Hooper's stunning debut novel sucks you in from the first page and doesn't let you go. Colleen Oakley, author of Before I Go People who knew me think I'm dead. Emily Morris got her happily-ever-after earlier than most. Married at a young age to a man she loves passionately, she is building the life she always wanted. That is, until her husband's business fails and her mother-in-law becomes chronically ill, causing cracks to appear in her marriage. To cope, Emily throws herself into her work. That's when she falls in love with her boss. That's when she gets pregnant. Just when Emily is finally ready to make the choice between the two men, 9/11 splits her world apart. Amid this terrible tragedy, Emily sees an opportunity to remake herself. But fourteen years later, a life-threatening diagnosis forces her to deal with the legacy of what she left behind. Told in alternating time periods, People Who Knew Me is a riveting debut about a woman who must confront the past in order to secure the future.
Where love is your only escape...1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors, where men and women are kept apart by high walls and barred windows, there is a ballroom vast and beautiful. For one bright evening every week they come together and dance. When John and Ella meet, it is a dance that will change two lives forever. Set over the heatwave summer of 1911, the end of the Edwardian era, the Ballroom is a tale of unlikely love and dangerous obsession, of madness and sanity, and of who gets to decide which is which.
Historian Lia Carrer has finally returned to southwestern France, determined to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. But instead of finding solace in the region's quiet hills and medieval ruins, she falls in love with Raoul, a man whose very existence challenges everything she knows about life-and about her husband's death. Steeped in the rich history and romantic landscape of rural France, In Another Life is a story of love that conquers time, and the lost loves that haunt us all.
Jeannie is nineteen when the world changes, Kip only fourteen. The sudden accident that robs them of their mother leaves them adrift, with only their father to guide them. Jeannie seeks escape in work and later marriage to a man whose social connections propel her into an unfamiliar world of wealth and politics. Ill-equipped and unprepared, Jeannie finds comfort where she can. Meanwhile Kip's descent into a life of petty crime is halted only when he volunteers for the Marines.
By 1968, the conflict in Vietnam is at its height, and with the anti-war movement raging at home, Jeannie and Kip will find themselves swept along by events larger than themselves, driven by disillusionment to commit unforgiveable acts of betrayal that will leave permanent scars.
The Outside Lands is the story of people caught in the slipstream of history, how we struggle in the face of loss to build our world, and how easily and with sudden violence it can be swept away. With extraordinary skill and accuracy, Hannah Kohler takes us from 1960s California to Vietnam, capturing what it means to live through historic times. This powerful debut novel announces Kohler as a remarkable new literary talent.
Renowned playwright and author Larry Kramer's stunning work of imagination and courage reimagines American history from John Wilkes Booth to Joseph McCarthy in this long-awaited, devastating satire
Forty years in the making, The American People sets forth Larry Kramer's vision of his homeland. As the founder of ACT UP and the author ofFaggots and The Normal Heart, Kramer has decisively affected American lives and letters. Here he reimagines our history. This is the story of one nation under a plague, contaminated by greed, hate, and disease and host to transcendent acts of courage and kindness.
In this first volume, which runs up to the 1950s, we meet prehistoric monkeys who spread a peculiar virus, a Native American shaman whose sexual explorations mutate into occult visions, and early English settlers who establish loving same-sex couples only to fall prey to the forces of bigotry. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton revel in unexpected intimacies, and John Wilkes Booth's motives for assassinating Abraham Lincoln are thoroughly revised. In the twentieth century, the nightmare of history deepens as a religious sect conspires with eugenicists, McCarthyites, and Ivy Leaguers to exterminate homosexuals, and the AIDS virus begins to spread. Against all this, Kramer sets the intimate heartfelt story of a middle-class family outside Washington, D.C., trying to cope with the darkest of times.
The American People is a work of ribald satire, prophetic outrage, and dazzling imagination. It is an encyclopedic indictment, written with outrageous love.
A wickedly funny new novel of social climbing, secret emails, art-world scandal, lovesick billionaires, and the outrageous story of what happens when Rachel Chu, engaged to marry Asia's most eligible bachelor, discovers her birthfather. From the bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians.
Kevin Kwan, bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians, is back with a wickedly funny new novel of social climbing, secret emails, art-world scandal, lovesick billionaires, and the outrageous story of what happens when Rachel Chu, engaged to marry Asia's most eligible bachelor, discovers her birth father.
On the eve of her wedding to Nicholas Young, heir to one of the greatest fortunes in Asia, Rachel should be over the moon. She has a flawless Asscher-cut diamond from JAR, a wedding dress she loves more than anything found in the salons of Paris and a fiance willing to sacrifice his entire inheritance in order to marry her. But Rachel still mourns the fact that her birth father, a man she never knew, won't be able to walk her down the aisle. Until: a shocking revelation draws Rachel into a world of Shanghai splendour beyond anything she has ever imagined.
Here we meet Carlton, a Ferrari-crashing bad boy known for Prince Harry-like antics; Colette, a celebrity girlfriend chased by fevered paparazzi; and the man Rachel has spent her entire life waiting to meet: her father. Meanwhile, Singapore's It Girl, Astrid Leong, is shocked to discover that there is a downside to having a newly minted tech billionaire husband. A romp through Asia's most exclusive clubs, auction houses and estates, China Rich Girlfriend brings us into the elite circles of Mainland China, introducing a captivating cast of characters and offering an inside glimpse at what it's like to be gloriously, crazily, China-rich.
A beguiling and disarming novel about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor. In a sprawling estate, willfully secluded, lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden. One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free rein of the mansion he shares with his housekeeper, Engel. Then more children start to show up.
'The Children's Home' is an inversion of a modern day fairy tale. Lambert writes from the perspective of the visited, weaving elements of psychological suspense, abandonment, isolation, and the grotesque - as well as the glimmers of goodness - buried deep within the soul.
On the isle of Mauritius at the turn of the century the young Alexis L'Etang enjoys an idyllic existence with his parents and beloved sister - sampling the pleasures of privilege, exploring the constellations and tropical flora, and dreaming of treasure buried long ago by the Unknown Corsair. But with his father's death, Alexis must leave his childhood paradise and enter the harsh world of privation and shame... Years later, Alexis has become obsessed with the idea of finding the Corsair's treasure; and through it, the lost magic and opulence of his youth. He abandons job and family, setting off on a quest that will take him from the remote tropical islands to the hell of the First World War, and from a love affair with the mysterious Ouma to a momentous confrontation with the search that has consumed his life...
North London in the twenty-first century: a place where a son will swiftly adopt an old lady and take her home from hospital to impersonate his dear departed mother, rather than lose the council flat.
A time of golden job opportunities, though you might have to dress up as a coffee bean or work as an intern at an undertaker or put up with champagne and posh French dinners while your boss hits on you.
A place rich in language - whether it's Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian, Swahili or buxom housing officers talking managementese.
A place where husbands go absent without leave and councillors sacrifice cherry orchards at the altar of new builds.
In the ninety-ninth district of a sprawling labour camp, the Author, Musician, Scholar, Theologian and Technician - and hundreds just like them - are undergoing Re-education, to restore their revolutionary zeal and credentials. In charge of this process is the Child, who delights in draconian rules, monitoring behaviour and confiscating treasured books. But when bad weather arrives, followed by the 'three bitter years', the intellectuals are abandoned by the regime and left on their own to survive. Divided into four narratives, the Four Books tells the story of the Great Famine, one of China's most devastating and controversial periods. This book was the winner of The Franz Kafka Prize 2014. It was nominated For Czech Award Magnesia Litera 2014; Hua Zhong World Chinese Literature Prize 2013; Finalist for the Man Booker International Prize 2013; Winner of The Hua Zhong World Chinese Literature Prize 2013; shortlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2012; shortlisted for the Prix Femina Etranger 2012; shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2011; Winner of the Lao She Literature Award 2004; and winner of the Lu Xun Award 1997.
In a small village in the Balou Mountains, Fourth Wife You despairs of what the future holds for her four mentally-impaired children.a A cure for the family curse appears, but it will extract a price so primal and complete that no one can be expected to make it except, perhaps, for a mother.a A chilling and relentless tale of family responsibility and a mother's sacrifice, Marrow is Yan Lianke at his best. Translated from the original Chinese by Carlos Rojas
Welcome to the Palladium, Brickley. Once the grandest music-hall south of the river, now its peeling foyer is home to stale popcorn, a depressed manager, and a cast of disparate picture goers who touch and shape each other's destinies. Amongst them is Mark, the cynical intellectual who seeks sensuality and finds spirituality; Clare, his girlfriend, who loses faith and discovers passion; Father Kipling, the scandalized priest; and Harry, the sexually frustrated Teddy boy. In his astutely observed first novel, David Lodge ushers in a congregation of characters whose hopes, confusions and foibles play out alongside the celluloid fantasies of the silver screen.
Jay adores his small daughter, Bonnie, and nothing matters more to him than being a good father. But Bonnie's traumatic birth puts an unbearable strain on his marriage with Shauna and the couple eventually separate. Despite this, London is the place to be: New Labour is in power and the city is buzzing with optimism. Jay is slowly putting his life back together, snagging a job on a TV documentary about the Millennium Dome and, crucially, spending time with his beloved three-year-old daughter, Bonnie. Indeed, things might have even begun to look up. Until, that is, the arrival of The Clappers. Six foot tall, all muscle and plenty of heart, she insists on making the world right for Jay. But, inevitably, she makes it wrong...
Samuel Browne's wife has left him suddenly after just three years of marriage. She invites him to 'go live a better life without me'. He must start again, and alone.
And so it is that Sam finds himself deep in the English countryside in a cold but characterful old house, remote and encircled by hills, in the employment and company of an older, wiser man, a man as fond of mystery as he is of enlightenment. What is the purpose of the seemingly hopeless task set for Sam in the house's ancient library? What is the secret of the unused room? And where does a life lose its way or gain its meaning?
The combe is home to a truth born of fraud, a building made of light, and a family wrecked by recklessness: loss and love reverberate around the house and around the novel, providing pleasure, pain and purpose. Combe Hall is a house designed to honour and to enthral. And this very fine debut novel does exactly the same things.
As a young man, Juan de Vere takes a job that will haunt him for the rest of his life. Spain is just beginning to recover from Franco's long rule; its people are still struggling to free themselves from the snares of old secrets, lies and betrayals. Juan, too young to have known the worst of these years, finds himself drawn first by obligation and then by desire into the melancholy and unforgiving world of his employer, Eduardo Muriel.
Muriel is an urbane, celebrated filmmaker; his wife Beatriz a woman who slips through her husband's home like an unwanted ghost, finding solace in other beds. And on the periphery of this unhappy marriage stands Dr Jorge Van Vechten, a shadowy family friend implicated in unsavoury rumours that Muriel cannot bear to pursue, yet asks his new assistant, Juan, to investigate instead.
Juan is determined to satisfy Muriel's curiosity but soon has questions of his own - ones his employer has not asked and would prefer not to answer. Why does Muriel hate Beatriz? How did Beatriz meet Van Vechten? And what took place in those dark years after the Civil War? As he learns more about those he serves, Juan begins to understand the conflicting pulls of desire, power and guilt that govern all their lives - and his own.
Thus Bad Begins is a hypnotising study of the infinitely permeable boundaries between private and public selves, between observer and participant, between the deceptions we suffer from others and those we enact upon ourselves. In this portrait of a marriage and a nation haunted by guilt, Javier Marias captures all the shifting moral uncertainties that move beneath the surface of strangers' lives, under 'the somnolent, half-open eye of the cold, sentinel moon'.
What's the one thing you do at a wedding? Kiss your groom. What's the one thing you DON'T do at a wedding? Kiss someone else's groom. When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues' wedding, all the blame falls on her - turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Ostracised by everyone she knows, shamed online, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical. He has the perfect project to fill it - ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. All she has to do is keep her head down and get on with the star. Easy, right? Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a celebrity megabrat of epic proportions but also facing the ghosts of her past as she moves back in with her widowed father and layabout sister. As she questions the woman she has become, Edie realises that turning to look at her past is not just painful - it could potentially change her future.
Anna Metcalfe's stories are about communication and miscommunication - between characters and across cultures. Whether about a blithely entitled English teacher in a poor Beijing school, an immigrant female taxi driver in Paris, or a young Chinese girl spouting made-up Confucian phrases to please tourists, the stories examine the assumptions we make about other people, and about ourselves. Blind Water Pass is an auspicious debut by a superb young writer.
This is from the bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 'Nobody in the world knows our secret...that I've ruined Bev's life, and she's ruined mine.' Petra's love life is a bit of a car-crash, even in her sixties. But then she falls for Jeremy, an old chum, visiting from abroad. The catch? Jeremy is her best friend's husband. And just as Petra is beginning to relax guiltily into her happy ever after, she finds herself catapulted to West Africa, and to Bev, her best friend who she's been betraying so spectacularly. It turns out that no matter where you are in the world, everyone has something to hide. Can Bev - can anyone - be trusted?
The new novel from the author of Beloved The past has a hold like no other...Sweetness wants to love her child, Bride, but she struggles to love her as a mother should. Bride, now glamorous, grown up, ebony-black and panther-like, wants to love her man, Booker, but she finds herself betrayed by a moment in her past, a moment borne of a desperate burn for the love of her mother. Booker cannot fathom Bride's depths, with his own love-lorn past bending him out of shape. Can they find a way through the damage wrought on their blameless childhood souls, to light and happiness, free from pain? Toni Morrison's fierce and provocative new novel exposes the damage adults wreak on children, and how this echoes through the generations.
Wind / Pinball includes Haruki Murakami's first two novels, published back-to-back, available for the first time in English outside Japan. With a new introduction by the author.
'If you're the sort of guy who raids the refrigerators of silent kitchens at three o'clock in the morning, you can only write accordingly.
That's who I am.'
Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 are Haruki Murakami's earliest novels. They follow the fortunes of the narrator and his friend, known only by his nickname, the Rat. In Hear the Wind Sing the narrator is home from college on his summer break. He spends his time drinking beer and smoking in J's Bar with the Rat, listening to the radio, thinking about writing and the women he has slept with, and pursuing a relationship with a girl with nine fingers.
Three years later, in Pinball, 1973, he has moved to Tokyo to work as a translator and live with indistinguishable twin girls, but the Rat has remained behind, despite his efforts to leave both the town and his girlfriend. The narrator finds himself haunted by memories of his own doomed relationship but also, more bizarrely, by his short-lived obsession with playing pinball in J's Bar. This sends him on a quest to find the exact model of pinball machine he had enjoyed playing years earlier: the three-flipper Spaceship.
'Yes, bastard, you're the one I love'. A pair of lovers - a young female journalist and an older man who owns an isolated farm in the Brazilian outback - spend the night together. The next day they proceed to destroy each other. Amid vitriolic insults, cruelty and warring egos, their sexual adventure turns into a savage power game. This intense, erotic cult novel by one of Brazil's most infamous modernist writers explores alienation, the desire to dominate and the wish to be dominated. Thus is a new translation by Stefan Tobler.
Claire Flannery has quit her job in order to discover her true vocation - only to realize she has no idea how to go about finding it. Whilst everyone around her seems to have their lives entirely under control, Claire finds herself sinking under pressure and wondering where her own fell apart. 'It's fine,' her grandmother says. 'I remember what being your age was like - of course, I had four children under eight then, but modern life is different, you've got an awful lot on.' Sharp, tender and funny, Lisa Owen's brilliantly observed debut Not Working is the story of a life unravelling and a novel that asks the questions we've never dared to say out loud.
New York, 1895. It's late on a warm city night when Sylvan Threadgill, a young night soiler who cleans out the privies behind the tenement houses, pulls a terrible secret out from the filthy hollows: an abandoned newborn baby. An orphan himself, Sylvan was raised by a kindly Italian family and can't bring himself to leave the baby in the slop. He tucks her into his chest, resolving to find out where she belongs.
Odile Church is the girl-on-the-wheel, a second-fiddle act in a show that has long since lost its magic. Odile and her sister Belle were raised in the curtained halls of their mother's spectacular Coney Island sideshow: The Church of Marvels. Belle was always the star-the sword swallower-light, nimble, a true human marvel. But now the sideshow has burnt to the ground, their mother dead in the ashes, and Belle has escaped to the city.
Alphie wakes up groggy and confused in Blackwell's Lunatic Asylum. The last thing she remembers is a dark stain on the floor, her mother-in-law screaming. She had once walked the streets as an escort and a penny-Rembrandt, cleaning up men after their drunken brawls. Now she is married; a lady in a reputable home. She is sure that her imprisonment is a ruse by her husband's vile mother. But then a young woman is committed alongside her, and when she coughs up a pair of scissors from the depths of her agile throat, Alphie knows she harbors a dangerous secret that will alter the course of both of their lives...
On a single night, these strangers' lives will become irrevocably entwined, as secrets come to light and outsiders struggle for acceptance. From the Coney Island seashore to the tenement-studded streets of the Lower East Side, a spectacular sideshow to a desolate asylum, Leslie Parry makes turn-of-the-century New York feel alive, vivid, and magical in this luminous debut. In prose as magnetic and lucid as it is detailed, she offers a richly atmospheric vision of the past marked by astonishing feats of narrative that will leave you breathless.
Granta 135 is a snapshot of contemporary Ireland, which shows where one of the world's most distinguished and independent literary traditions is today. Here international stars rub shoulders with a new generation of talent from a country which keeps producing exceptional writers. This issue features Kevin Barry on Cork, 'as intimate and homicidal as a little Marseille'; Lucy Caldwell imagining forbidden first love in Belfast; an exclusive extract of Colm Toibin's next novel, about growing up in the shadow of a famous father; fiction from Emma Donoghue about Victorian Ireland's miraculous fasting girls; and Sara Baume describing the wild allure and threat of the rural landscape. Also featuring fiction from Colin Barrett, John Connell, Mary O'Donoghue, Roddy Doyle, Siobhan Mannion, Belinda McKeon, Sally Rooney, Donal Ryan and William Wall; poetry from Tara Bergin, Leontia Flynn and Stephen Sexton; photography by Doug DuBois, Stephen Dock and Birte Kaufmann; with original portraits of the authors in their environment by acclaimed street photographer Eamonn Doyle.
From the detention centre on Ellis Island, Ludwig Somner looks across a small stretch of water to the glittering towers of New York, which whisper seductively of freedom after so many years of wandering through a perlious, suffering Europe. Remarque's final novel, left unfinished at his death, tells of the precarious life of the refugee - life lived in hotel lobbies, on false passports, the strange, ill-assorted refugee community held together by an unspeakable past. For Somner, each new luxury - ice cream served in drug stores, bright shop windows, art, a new suit, a new romance - has a bitter sweet edge. Memories of war and inhumanity continue to resurface even in this peaceful promised land. A haunting snapshot of a unique time, place and predicament, this is another powerful comment from Remarque on the devastating effects of war.
During the torrid Summer of 1919, in a small French town, a war hero is imprisoned in a disused barracks, accused of a grave act of provocation towards the French nation and its army. The magistrate in charge is an aristocrat and veteran of the battle of the Somme, whose values have been deeply shaken by war. As a heatwave crushes the town, the magistrate strives to understand the war hero's motivation. Will he be able to piece together the story of the war hero and his inseparable companion, a loyal dog?
Few stories are as widely read and as universally cherished by children and adults alike as The Little Prince. Richard Howard's translation of the beloved classic beautifully reflects Saint-Exupery's unique and gifted style. Howard, an acclaimed poet and one of the preeminent translators of our time, has excelled in bringing the English text as close as possible to the French, in language, style, and most important, spirit. The artwork in this edition has been restored to match in detail and in color Saint-Exupery's original artwork. Combining Richard Howard's translation with restored original art, this definitive English-language edition of The Little Prince will capture the hearts of readers of all ages. This title has been selected as a Common Core Text Exemplar (Grades 4-5, Stories).
In 1994, Marko Novak's world is torn apart by the death of his best friend. Kemal Lekic, a young soldier in the darkest days of the Bosnian war, is killed in the shelling of their home town. But his body is never recovered. After the funeral, Marko flees to England, hoping to put his broken homeland, and the part he played in the loss of his friend, behind him. In 2004, human rights researcher Anya Teal is following a tenuous lead in the hunt for a Bosnian man with blood on his hands. She is also clinging to the fragile hope that she can rebuild a relationship with her first love, William Howell. When Anya invites Will to join her on a Christmas holiday in the Thai beach resort of Kao Lak, her motives are not entirely pure. She hopes the holiday will offer them the chance to unpick the mistakes of their past, but Kao Lak may also be home to the man Anya is looking for-a man with a much darker history. What no-one can know, is that a disaster as destructive as a war is approaching, detonated in the sea-bed of the Indian Ocean. It is a disaster that will connect the fates of Marko, William and Anya, across the years and continents. In its wake, everything Marko thought he knew, will be overturned.
Jayne Marks is questioning the choices she has made in the years since college she is struggling to pay her bills in Manhattan when she is given the opportunity to move to Paris with her wealthy lover and benefactor, Laurent Moller, who owns and operates two art galleries: one in New York, the other in Paris. He offers her the time and financial support she needs to begin her career as a painter and also challenges her to see who and what she will become if she meets her artistic potential. Laurent, however, seems to have other women in his life and Jayne, too, has an ex-boyfriend, much closer to her own age, whom she still has feelings for. Bringing Paris gloriously to life, Paris, He Said is a novel about desire, beauty and its appreciation, and of finding yourself presented with the things you believe you've always wanted, only to wonder where true happiness lies.
In The Finishing School Muriel Spark is once again at her biting, satirical best. On the edge of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, a struggling would-be novelist and his wife run a finishing school of questionable reputation to keep the funds flowing. When a seventeen-year-old student's writing career begins to show great promise, tensions begin to run high. A keen portrait of devouring regret, psychological unravelling and the glittering promise of youth, The Finishing School is the perfect natural partner to Muriel Spark's most famous novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
Travelling to Italy on their honeymoon, Erszi and Mihaly are ready to take in all the beauties and pleasures of the country. But when they reach Venice, it is clear that Mihaly prefers to roam around the back alleys and the canals on his own, and as they continue their journey through the Bel Paese there is a growing sense of unrest between them, until Mihaly misses the train to Rome they were due to take together. Wandering alone from city to city, with his marriage rapidly falling apart, Mihaly must confront the ghosts of his past and try to find a sense of purpose.Originally written in 1937, and here presented in a brilliant new translation by Peter V. Czipott, Antal Szerb's gently humorous and psychologically subtle exploration into the workings of a budding bourgeois marriage has been hailed as one of the great rediscovered classics of the twentieth century.
The Shore. A collection of small islands sticking out from the coast of Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean that has been home to generations of fierce and resilient women. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it's a place they've inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a brave girl's determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, to a lesson in summoning storm clouds to help end a drought, these women struggle against domestic violence, savage wilderness, and the corrosive effects of poverty and addiction to secure a sense of well-being for themselves and for those they love.
Their interconnecting stories form a deeply affecting legacy of two island families, illuminating the small miracles and miseries of a community of outsiders, and the bonds of blood and fate that connect them all.
Dreamlike and yet impossibly real, profound and playful, The Shore is a richly unique, breathtakingly ambitious and accomplished debut novel by a young writer of astonishing gifts.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD 2015
SHORTLISTED FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES/PETERS FRASER & DUNLOP YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD
LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2015
Andrew Landford is driving home one night, along a dark country lane, when a barn owl flies into his windscreen. It is an accident, nothing more. However Andrew is in line to be the country's next prime minister. And he has recently been appointed to a parliamentary committee concerned with the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Barn Owls are protected species, and it is a crime to kill one. If Andrew acknowledges that he has killed the owl, he could be risking his political career. With Andrew in the car is his old Oxford friend and political adviser, Charles Fryerne. An expert in communications, Charles has just joined the team that is masterminding Andrew's route to the Tory Party leadership, and from there to No 10 Downing Street. He has spent many years quietly building up a very successful career as a strategist. But the death of the owl threatens to destroy not only Andrew's career, but everything that Charles has worked for too. Should they come clean, or hide the story and hope it goes away?
Max is turning forty. All he wants for his birthday is for his six oldest friends to come to France to eat, dance, drink and laugh for one weekend. And to finally declare his secret, undying love for his best friend, Helen.
Juliette gave up her dream of owning an acclaimed Parisian restaurant to return to her tiny coastal village and nurse her aging parents. But she finds her home much changed, even the boulangerie where she first learned to love baking has fallen upon hard times. Now, as she tries to find her way to a new future, Max's birthday weekend may just provide the new beginning Juliette is wishing for... but at whose cost?
A French Wedding is a novel filled with love, lies, fights, friendship and feasts, which reads like a love triangle between The Big Chill, Chocolat and Les Petits Mouchoirs ("Little White Lies") that will become your favourite ensemble cast love story.
Eli is an ordinary boy with an extraordinary gift. He has a rare vision of mortality that will set him apart from the world and tragically shape the course of his whole life.
Eli is not the only loner. Sarah Palliser, taking refuge in an isolated country hamlet, finds unexpected solace in the haunted graveyard outside her window. Young Prince Mamillius, son of the King of Sicily, watches horrified as his father loses his mind. Cool-sighted artist Nan Maitland becomes obsessed by a mysterious wolf roaming loose in Windsor Great Park. And Eleanor Bishop, attending the funeral of an old friend, discovers how little she has understood their shared intimacy.
Salley Vickers is a master of the uncanny and the unexpected. In this collection of stories she explores bereavement and betrayal, closely guarded secrets and common gossip, unforeseen endings and decidedly odd beginnings.
The Boy Who Could See Death pierces the veneer of ordinary lives, discerning the strange and contradictory elements that make up human nature. Ambitious, lyrical, witty and disconcerting, these stories take a forensic look into the unconscious that will dazzle and enthrall.
Martha is lost. She's been lost since she was a baby, abandoned in a suitcase on the train from Paris. Ever since, she's waited in station lost property for someone to claim her. It's been sixteen years, but she's still hopeful. In the meantime, there are mysteries to solve: secret tunnels under the station, a suitcase that may have belonged to the Beatles, the roman soldier who appears at the same time every day with his packed lunch. Not to mention the stuffed monkey that someone keeps misplacing. But there is one mystery Martha cannot solve. And now the authorities have found out about the girl in lost property. Time is running out - if Martha can't discover who she really is, she will lose everything...
Joan Seabrook, a fledgling archaeologist, has fulfilled a lifelong dream to visit Arabia by travelling from England to the ancient city of Muscat with her fianc , Rory. Desperate to escape the pain of a personal tragedy, she longs to explore the desert fort of Jabrin, and unearth the treasures it is said to conceal.
But Oman is a land lost in time - hard, secretive, and in the midst of a violent upheaval - and gaining permission to explore Jabrin could prove impossible. Joan's disappointment is only alleviated by the thrill of meeting her childhood heroine, pioneering explorer Maude Vickery, and hearing first-hand the stories that captured her imagination and fuelled her ambition as a child.
Joan's encounter with the extraordinary and reclusive Maude will change everything. Both women have things that they want, and secrets they must keep. As their friendship grows, Joan is seduced by Maude's stories, and the thrill of the adventure they hold, and only too late does she begin to question her actions - actions that will spark a wild, and potentially disastrous, chain of events.
Will the girl that left England for this beautiful but dangerous land ever find her way back?
1938. Hitler's expansionist policies are arousing both anger and admiration, not least in Helsinki's Wednesday Club. The members of this relaxed gentleman's club are old friends of lawyer Claes Thune. But this year it is apparent that the political unrest in Europe is having an effect on the cohesion of the group. Thune has recently divorced and is at something of a loss, running his law practice with no great enthusiasm. Luckily he has the assistance of an efficient new secretary, Matilda Wiik. But behind her polished exterior Mrs Wiik is tormented by memories of the Finnish Civil War, when she experienced horrors she has been trying to forget ever since. And one evening, with the Wednesday Club gathered in Thune's office, she hears a voice she hoped she would never hear again. She is suddenly plunged back into the past. But this time she is no longer a helpless victim...
A novel that touches the heart for the children left behind.
During the Cultural Revolution over fourteen million Chinese high school graduates were sent from the cities to live and work in the countryside. They were known as zhiqing – ‘educated youth’. They fell in love, married, had children. In the late 1970s the policy changed and they were allowed to return, but not their families. Many jumped at the opportunity, leaving spouses and children behind. Ten years later the children, now teenagers, began to turn up in the cities, looking for their parents.
Educated Youth follows five such children, who have travelled across China from a province in the south west to Shanghai in the east, only to discover that their mothers and fathers have remarried, and have new families, in which there is no room for them. Their reappearance brings out the worst in the parents – their duplicity, greed and self-interest – and the best too, as they struggle to come to terms with their sense of love and duty.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK —— Written in the nineties and only now available to the English language reader, this classic Chinese novel provides yet another example of grand social engineering undertaken by governments, only to be dismantled in years to come, by which time their policies have left a trail of broken families and abandoned children.
This is a warm and rewarding novel with insights into Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution and how the edicts were received and observed (or not) by those it sought to control. A novel that touches the heart for the children left behind. Craig Kirchner
‘With a mix of popular storytelling, psychological insight and startling candour about his generation, Ye Xin turns a slice of recent Shanghai life into an entertaining, touching novel. It’s great to have a fine English version of this Chinese modern classic.’ Nicholas Jose
Meet author Ye Xin
appearing with translator Jing Han
for the launch of Educated Youth
Wednesday 18 May
6 for 6.30 PM
131 York street, Sydney
to reserve your copy and avoid the queue.
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Ye Xin was born in Shanghai in October 1949. He was sent to Guizhou Province as a zhiqing in 1969 and worked on the construction of the Hunan-Guizhou railway. His novels include High Sierra in Miaoling, The Ages of Idling Away, Family Education, Love Has No Choice and Shanghai Diary. He has won many awards including the October Prize and the National Prize for Best Novel. He is vice-chairman of the Writers’ Association of China and the Writers’ Association of Shanghai, and director of the Institute of Literature of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.
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Dr Jing Han is the translator of Educated Youth by Ye Xin and she received her PhD degree in English literature from University of Sydney in 1995 and her MA in English and American Literatures from Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1986. Dr Han joined SBS TV in 1996 and she is now the head of SBS Subtitling Department. Over the last 19 years, she has subtitled more than 300 Chinese films and TV programs for the Australian audience including the currently showing TV series If You Are The One. Dr Han also lectures at Western Sydney University, teaching translation studies including audiovisual translation, literary translation and accreditation studies.