Recently distracted by the arrival of her and Jamie's second son, Magnus, Isabel Dalhousie - philanthropic editor of the Review of Applied Ethics - is anxious. The next issue of the Review is far from ready, her eldest, Charlie, is jealous, and their housekeeper, Grace, has an officious approach to childcare. With some relief, Isabel returns to helping out at her niece Cat's delicatessen, where surely the most taxing duty is the preparation of sandwiches.
It's not long before Isabel's helpful, philosophical nature draws her into customers' problems, specifically that of ambitious, self-proclaimed matchmaker, Bea Shandon. Bea has staged a potentially dangerous liaison involving enigmatic plastic surgeon, Tony MacUspaig, who may not be quite who he claims to be - and Isabel's help is required in getting to the truth of the matter.
Good-hearted Isabel proceeds with her usual thorough attention to task, and on Bea's advice talks to her friend Rob, a trustworthy regular on Bea's dinner party circuit, and known to have deep suspicions about MacUspaig. It becomes clear, however, that Rob has an agenda of his own and Isabel is now contending with that, along with a mysterious medical condition of Jamie's and some frustrating dead ends when it comes to Bea's predicament.
When the truth finally reveals itself, Isabel must conclude that along with MacUspaig, Bea, Jamie - and even Cat - she herself is not immune to misunderstandings, or the neurotic fantasies that arise from keeping secrets . . .
A charmingly subversive novel about a library in 1950s England, by the acclaimed author of The Cleaner of Chartres Sylvia Blackwell, a young woman in her twenties, moves to East Mole, a quaint market town in middle England, to start a new job as a children's librarian. But the apparently pleasant town is not all it seems. Sylvia falls in love with an older man - but it's her connectionto his precocious young daughter and her neighbours' son which will change her life and put them, the library and her job under threat.
How does the library alter the young children's lives and how do the children fare as a result of the books Sylvia introduces them to?
When powerful real-estate tycoon Nero Golden immigrates to the States under mysterious circumstances, he and his three adult children assume new identities, taking 'Roman' names, and move into a grand mansion in downtown Manhattan. Arriving shortly after the inauguration of Barack Obama, he and his sons, each extraordinary in his own right, quickly establish themselves at the apex of New York society.
The story of the Golden family is told from the point of view of their Manhattanite neighbour and confidant, RenU, an aspiring filmmaker who finds in the Goldens the perfect subject. RenU chronicles the undoing of the house of Golden- the high life of money, of art and fashion, a sibling quarrel, an unexpected metamorphosis, the arrival of a beautiful woman, betrayal and murder, and far away, in their abandoned homeland, some decent intelligence work.
Invoking literature, pop culture, and the cinema, Rushdie spins the story of the American zeitgeist over the last eight years, hitting every beat- the rise of the birther movement, the Tea Party, Gamergate and identity politics; the backlash against political correctness; the ascendency of the superhero movie, and, of course, the insurgence of a ruthlessly ambitious, narcissistic, media-savvy villain wearing make-up and with coloured hair.
In a new world order of alternative truths, Salman Rushdie has written the ultimate novel about identity, truth, terror and lies. A brilliant, heartbreaking realist novel that is not only uncannily prescient but shows one of the world's greatest storytellers working at the height of his powers.
'One of the funniest, most riotously inventive and enjoyable novels you'll read this year' - Observer Roland Barthes is knocked down in a Paris street by a laundry van. It's February 1980 and he has just come from lunch with Francois Mitterrand. Barthes dies soon afterwards. History tells us it was an accident.
But what if it were an assassination? What if Barthes was carrying a document of unbelievable, global importance? A document explaining the seventh function of language - an idea so powerful it gives whoever masters it the ability to convince anyone, in any situation, to do anything.
Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a chase that takes them from the corridors of power to backstreet saunas and midnight meetings. What they discover is a worldwide conspiracy involving the President, murderous Bulgarians and a secret international debating society.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon delivers another literary masterpiece: a novel of truth and lies, family legends and existential adventure - and the forces that work to destroy us.
In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother's home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon's grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten.
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as my grandfather. It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact - and the creative power - of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow ranges from the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to New York's Wallkill Prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of 'the American Century'. Collapsing an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week, Moonglow is a lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir.
Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring, his most moving, his most Chabonesque.
A breathtaking debut about love and war, and the battle to save a precious legacy.
Each lace shawl begins and ends the same way – with a circle. Everything is connected with a thread as fine as gossamer, each life affected by what has come before it and what will come after.
1941, Estonia. As Stalin’s brutal Red Army crushes everything in its path, Katarina and her family survive only because their precious farm produce is needed to feed the occupying forces.
Fiercely partisan, Katarina battles to protect her grandmother’s precious legacy – the weaving of gossamer lace shawls stitched with intricate patterns that tell the stories passed down through generations.
While Katarina struggles to survive the daily oppression, another young woman is suffocating in her prison of privilege in Moscow. Yearning for freedom and to discover her beloved mother’s Baltic heritage, Lydia escapes to Estonia.
Facing the threat of invasion by Hitler’s encroaching Third Reich, Katarina and Lydia and two idealistic young soldiers, insurgents in the battle for their homeland, find themselves in a fight for life, liberty and love.
The great novel of 1920s Berlin life, in a new translation by Michael Hofmann, translator of Alone in Berlin Franz Biberkopf is back on the streets of Berlin. Determined to go straight after a stint in prison, he finds himself thwarted by an unpredictable external agency that looks an awful lot like fate. Cheated, humiliated, thrown from a moving car; embroiled in an underworld of pimps, thugs, drunks and prostitutes, Franz picks himself up over and over again - until one day he is struck a monstrous blow which might just prove his final downfall.
A dazzling collage of newspaper reports, Biblical stories, drinking songs and urban slang, Berlin Alexanderplatz is the great novel of Berlin life: inventing, styling and recreating the city as reality and dream; mimicking its movements and rhythms; immortalizing its pubs, abattoirs, apartments and chaotic streets. From the gutter to the stars, this is the whole picture of the city.
Berlin Alexanderplatz brought fame in 1929 to its author Alfred Doeblin, until then an impecunious writer and doctor in a working-class neighbourhood in the east of Berlin. Success at home was short-lived, however; Doblin, a Jew, left Germany the day after the Reichstag Fire in 1933, and did not return until 1945. This landmark translation by Michael Hofmann is the first to do justice to Berlin Alexanderplatz in English, brilliantly capturing the energy, prodigality and inventiveness of Doeblin's masterpiece.
For readers of The Lives of Others and The Reader, and based on a true story, No Live Files Remain is a beautiful and moving novel of family, lies, betrayal and forgiveness.
He wanted to understand the past. Now he must live with the truth.
Thirty years after the fall of communism in Hungary, as acclaimed writer, translator, dramatist and visual artist Andras Forgach investigated his family's past he uncovered a horrifying truth. His mother, whom he deeply loved, had been an informant for the Kadar regime. She had informed not only on acquaintances but on family, friends and even her children.
In the eagerly anticipated No Live Files Remain, with rights sold around the world, Forgach gives voice to his deceased mother, holding her responsible for her deeds while defending the memories he cherished of her as a son, and imagining her response.
'Mother wasn't lacking in evocativeness, no, no, I can affirm that. She was the firmament, the high sky, and she still is, even covered in heavy clouds.' Andras Forgach
Eighty-year-old Herra Bjornsson lives alone in a garage with her laptop, an oxygen tank and her father's old hand grenade. Neglected by her family, she spends her days spying on her children by hacking their emails and preparing to lose the race against the ticking time bomb of lung cancer, even making an appointment for her own cremation. As she counts down her final days, Herra looks back at her own remarkable life. Her happy childhood in Iceland was disrupted by the outbreak of war and her father's fervent love of Hitler. Shipped off to supposed safety, Herra spent the war trekking alone across war-torn Europe in a desperate bid to survive.
Based on the first Icelandic president's real-life granddaughter, Hallgrímur Helgason's highly unusual and captivating tale spans the twentieth century in a way that is as hilarious as it is heart-breaking, taking readers on a whirlwind tour of Europe and South America before eventually returning home to Iceland where the final pieces of this haunting puzzle fall into place.
Eleanor Oliphant has learned how to survive - but not how to live Eleanor Oliphant leads a simple life. She wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend.
Eleanor Oliphant is happy. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted - while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she's avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than... fine?
An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness
The perfect read for fans of Daphne du Maurier and Patricia Highsmith, set in 1950s Morocco, Tangerine is a gripping psychological literary thriller.
The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the horrific accident at Bennington, the two friends - once inseparable roommates - haven't spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right.
Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy, always fearless and independent, helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice - she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice's husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
Tangerine is an extraordinary debut, so tightly wound, so evocative of 1950s Tangier, and so cleverly plotted that it will leave you absolutely breathless.
The new novel from the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun tells the story of four American women who become unexpected friends when they move to a beautiful villa in Tuscany.
She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home?
Kit Raine, an American writer living in the small Italian town of San Rocco, is working on a biography of her close friend, the novelist Margaret Merrill.
But her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women - Julia, Camille and Susan - all of whom have recently formed a friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. For Susan, the most fearless of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of a staid retirement in the States by taking on the lease of a big, beautiful house in Tuscany . . .
Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a spirited lust for life, and a fierce determination to thrive.
With Kit's friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten - with drastic and unforeseeable results.
The beloved Frances Mayes seems to own the Italian sun. Her first Italian-set novel is a lovely and intimate journey of friendship, loss, and hope set in the eternal beauty of Tuscan countryside Adriana Trigiani
The sweetest, most uplifting, lovely book about courage, friendship, love ... It'll be huge; it deserves to be Marian Keyes, author of The Break London, 1940. Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance - but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman's Friend magazine.
Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. Emmy finds herself dismissing problems from lovelorn, grief-stricken and morally conflicted readers in favour of those who fear their ankles are unsightly or have trouble untangling lengths of wool. But soon the thought of desperate women going unanswered becomes too much to bear and Emmy decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back . . .
Irresistibly funny and enormously moving, Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce is a love letter to female friendship, Blitz spirit, the kindness of strangers and the art of letter-writing itself.
When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.
What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
Small Great Things is about that which divides and unites us. It is about opening your eyes.
'A gripping courtroom drama ... Given the current political climate it is quite prescient ... This is a writer who understands her characters inside and out.' - Roxane Gay, The New York Times Book Review
Some days Nora Nolan thinks that she and her husband, Charlie, lead a charmed life - except when there’s a crisis at work, a leak in the roof at home, or a problem with their twins at college. And why not? New York City was once Nora’s dream destination, and her clannish dead-end block has become a safe harbor, a tranquil village amid the urban craziness. Then one morning she returns from her run to discover that a terrible incident has shaken the neighborhood, and the fault lines begin to open: on the block, at her job, especially in her marriage. With humor, understanding, an acute eye, and a warm heart, Anna Quindlen explores what it means to be a mother, a wife, and a woman at a moment of reckoning.
Conceived while his larger-than-life father, Bear Bavinsky, cavorted around Rome in the 1950s, the young Pinch learns that his father's genius trumps everything else. After Bear abandons his family, Pinch strives to make himself worthy - first as a painter, and then as his father's biographer, before settling, disillusioned, into a job teaching Italian in London.
And when Bear dies, Pinch hatches a scheme to secure his father's legacy.
What makes an artist? With his signature compassion and humour, Tom Rachman conjures a life lived in the shadow of greatness. The Italian Teacher is a masterly novel about a son striving to make his own mark on the world.
The beloved, life-affirming international bestseller which has sold over half a million copies worldwide - now a major film coming in April 2018, starring Lily James, Matthew Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Tom Courtenay and Penelope Wilton.
It's 1946. The war is over, and Juliet Ashton has writer's block. But when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey - a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name written in a second hand book - she enters into a correspondence with him, and in time with all the members of the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Through their letters, the society tell Juliet about life on the island, their love of books - and the long shadow cast by their time living under German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for the island, changing her life forever.
'I can't remember the last time I discovered a novel as smart and delightful as this one. Treat yourself to this book, please - I can't recommend it highly enough.' Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the international bestsellers Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things.
From the Nobel Laureate comes a politically charged detective novel weaving through the underbelly of Peruvian privilege. In the 1990s, during the turbulent and deeply corrupt years of Alberto Fujimori's presidency, two wealthy couples of Lima's high society become embroiled in a disturbing vortex of erotic adventures and politically driven blackmail.
One day Enrique, a high-profile businessman, receives a visit from Rolando Garro, the editor of a notorious magazine that specializes in salacious exposes. Garro presents Enrique with lewd pictures from an old business trip and demands that he invest in the magazine. Enrique refuses, and the next day the pictures are on the front page. Meanwhile, Enrique's wife is in the midst of a passionate and secret affair with the wife of Enrique's lawyer and best friend. When Garro shows up murdered, the two couples are thrown into a whirlwind of navigating Peru's unspoken laws and customs, while the staff of the magazine embark on their greatest expose yet.
Ironic and sensual, provocative and redemptive, the novel swirls into the kind of restless realism that has become Mario Vargas Llosa's signature style. A twisting, unpredictable tale, The Neighborhood is at once a scathing indictment of Fujimori's regime and a crime thriller that evokes the vulgarity of freedom in a corrupt system.
A story about love, loss and finding hope-against all odds.
Rob Coates can't believe his luck. There is Anna, his incredible wife, and most precious of all, Jack, their son, who makes every day an extraordinary adventure. Rob feels like he's won the lottery of life. Or rather-he did. Until the day it all changes when Anna becomes convinced there is something wrong with Jack.
Now Rob sleepwalks through his days, unable to bridge the gulf that separates him from his wife, his son and the business of living. But he's determined to come to terms with what's happened-and find a way back to life, and forgiveness.
We Own the Sky will resonate with anyone who has ever suffered loss or experienced great love. Luke Allnutt shows that the journey from hope to despair and back is never as simple as we think, and that even the most thoroughly broken heart can learn to beat again.
Author of the bestselling Clifton Chronicles, Jeffrey Archer, gives us fifteen gripping and rewarding short stories for readers to return to time and again.
Find out what happens to the hapless young detective from Naples who travels to an Italian hillside town to solve a murder and the pretentious schoolboy whose discovery of the origins of his father's wealth changes his life forever. Follow the stories of the woman who dares to challenge the men at her Ivy League university during the 1930s, and another young woman who thumbs a lift and has an encounter of a lifetime.
From the master of the short story, the refreshingly original stories in Tell Tale prove why Archer has been described by the Mail on Sunday as `probably the greatest storyteller of our age'.
Can we ever be wholly free? In this book of breathtaking imaginary leaps that conjure dystopias and magical islands, Margaret Atwood holds a mirror up to our own world. The reflection we are faced with, of men and women in prisons literal and metaphorical, is frightening, but it is also a call to arms to speak and to act to preserve our freedom while we still can. And in that, there is hope.
Selected from The Handmaid's Tale and Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood.
VINTAGE MINIS- GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS.
A series of short books by the world's greatest writers on the experiences that make us human
When a widower receives notice from a doctor that he doesn't have long to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult son - a son whom he fiercely loves, a son with Down syndrome. With no recourse in mind, and with a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census-taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son.
What does it take to make a family? And what does it take to break it?
Why do you love your child? Is it because they're a straight A student, a talented footballer? Or is it simply because they're yours?
Sarah and Phil love both their children, James and Lauren. The couple have the same hopes and aspirations as any parent. But their expectations are shattered when they discover that their perfect baby daughter has been born with a flaw; a tiny, but life-changing glitch that is destined to shape her future, and theirs, irrevocably.
Over time the family learn to adapt and even thrive. Then one day a blood test casts doubt on the very basis of their family. Lauren is not Phil's child. Suddenly, their precious family is on the brink of destruction.
But the truth they face is far more complex and challenging than simple infidelity. It tests their capacity to love, each other and their children, and it raises the question of what makes - and what breaks - a family.
A beautiful lost classic of nature writing which sits alongside Tarka the Otter, Watership Down, War Horse and The Story of a Red Deer.
This is the story of Wulfgar, the dark-furred fox of Dartmoor, and of his nemesis, Scoble the trapper, in the seasons leading up to the pitiless winter of 1947. As breathtaking in its descriptions of the natural world as it is perceptive its portrayal of damaged humanity, it is both a portrait of place and a gripping story of survival.
Uniquely straddling the worlds of animals and men, Brian Carter's A Black Fox Running is a masterpiece: lyrical, unforgiving and unforgettable.
A gritty and gorgeous debut inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza made famous by the seminal documentary Paris Is Burning.
It's 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city's glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ballroom scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, and has a yearning to help create a family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the ballroom circuit.
Into the house come Venus, a whip-smart trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus' life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences.
Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness, and fierce yearning, The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family, and the dynamism of the human spirit.
Arriving at his fourth school in six years, diplomat's son Osei knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day - so he's lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can't stand to witness this budding relationship- Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players - teachers and pupils alike - will never be the same again.
The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington schoolyard in Tracy Chevalier's powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal.
‘As the train pressed on, I realised that my life was in the process of taking a different direction, plotted according to a new constellation. Because, although I didn't know it yet, I was about to meet Ben and nothing would ever be the same again.’
Martin Gilmour is an outsider. When he wins a scholarship to Burtonbury School, he doesn’t wear the right clothes or speak with the right kind of accent. But then he meets the dazzling, popular and wealthy Ben Fitzmaurice, and gains admission to an exclusive world. Soon Martin is enjoying tennis parties and Easter egg hunts at the Fitzmaurice family’s estate, as Ben becomes the brother he never had.
But Martin has a secret. He knows something about Ben, something he will never tell. It is a secret that will bind the two of them together for the best part of 25 years.
At Ben’s 40th birthday party, the great and the good of British society are gathering to celebrate in a haze of champagne, drugs and glamour. Amid the hundreds of guests – the politicians, the celebrities, the old-money and newly rich – Martin once again feels that disturbing pang of not-quite belonging. His wife, Lucy, has her reservations too. There is disquiet in the air. But Ben wouldn’t do anything to damage their friendship.
A heart-wrenching love story from the internationally bestselling author of My Name Is Leon Mona is a young Irish girl in the big city, with the thrill of a new job and a room of her own in a busy boarding house. On her first night out in 1970s Birmingham, she meets William, a charming Irish boy with an easy smile and an open face. They embark upon a passionate affair, a whirlwind marriage - before a sudden tragedy tears them apart.
Decades later, Mona pieces together the memories of the years that separate them. But can she ever learn to love again?
The Trick to Time is an unforgettable tale of grief, longing, and a love that lasts a lifetime.
Julius Levy has grown up in a peasant family in a village on the banks of the Seine. A quick-witted urchin caught up in the Franco-Prussian War, he is soon forced by tragedy to escape to Algeria.
Once there, he learns the ease of swindling, the rewards of love affairs, and the value of secrecy. Before he's twenty, he's in London, where his empire-building begins in earnest.
As Julius claws his way to wealth, he cares for no one - until Gabriel is born. The dark passions she inspires in her father will eventually destroy them both...
American War creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America... El Akkad has written a novel that not only maps the harrowing effects of violence on one woman and her family, but also becomes a disturbing parable about the ruinous consequences of war on ordinary civilians.'
Michiko Kakutani, New York TimesSarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war.
Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war - part of the Miraculous Generation - now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, his family's role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.
On the shortlist for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize
As night falls over Vienna, Franz Ritter, an insomniac musicologist, takes to his sickbed with an unspecified illness and spends a restless night drifting between dreams and memories, revisiting the important chapters of his life: his ongoing fascination with the Middle East and his numerous travels to Istanbul, Aleppo, Damascus, and Tehran, as well as the various writers, artists, musicians, academics, orientalists, and explorers who populate this vast dreamscape. At the center of these memories is his elusive, unrequited love, Sarah, a fiercely intelligent French scholar caught in the intricate tension between Europe and the Middle East.
With exhilarating prose and sweeping erudition, Mathias Enard pulls astonishing elements from disparate sources-nineteenth-century composers and esoteric orientalists, Balzac and Agatha Christie-and binds them together in a most magical way.
'He reflected in future retrospect on the evening and foretold every gesture, every word. I can't do it, he said. I can predict everything that will happen from the moment they arrive to the little kiss on the cheek goodbye and I just can't goddamn do it. '
The Dinner Party immerses us in the comic and strange realities of modern life, as we journey through the lives of the unlovable, the unloved, and those who love too much: Jack, who nervously tries to befriend the surly removal man by buying him a latte and a croissant; Sarah, who endlessly imagines how her evening would have been better had she only chosen a different restaurant; Joe, who spends a night alone at the office and surreptitiously starts to rearrange his colleagues' belongings.
These are stories about the infinite possibilities of a person's life, from an agonizingly funny and original writer.
Will opening the door lead to love and happy endings?
Romance, humour and happy-ever-after endings, the delicious romantic new novel from the Sunday Times number one bestselling author of A Vintage Wedding and A Summer at Sea.
'Modern-day Austen. Great fun' Red 'Top-drawer romantic escapism' Daily Mail 'Deliciously enjoyable' Red 'Warm, brilliant and full of love' Heat Lorna and her friend Philly work together in the grounds of a beautiful manor house in the Cotswolds.
But even though they are surrounded by family and friends, the door to true love remains resolutely closed.
Could their discovery of a secret garden mean this is about to change?
From the bestselling author of Still Alice comes a powerful and heartbreakingly moving exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom – and what it means to be alive.
An accomplished concert pianist, Richard’s inspired performances received standing ovations from audiences all over the world. Every one of his fingers was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.
Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralysed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce – his divorce.
Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralysed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.
When Richard is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.
Will every treasured possession find its perfect home?
Nora's world has been turned upside-down. Escaping heart-break in London, she returns to her childhood home in Dublin where her grandmother's beloved house is being sold. Nora has been left with an inheritance of treasured belongings, but no home of her own in which to keep them.
Unable to bear auctioning them off, Nora resolves to stay in Dublin and open The Memory Shop, a very special business which matches each gorgeous object with a perfect new owner. It's not long before these objects begin to transform the lives of those they touch, creating new stories and new chances at happiness.
As Nora lets go of a lifetime of treasures, she unlocks tantalising clues to her grandmother's mysterious past. But can she finally let go of her own...?
An uplifting novel set in a charming Irish community, about love, family and finding your way. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan, Emma Hannigan and Carole Matthews.
At Heathrow airport, Amar, an Iraqi-American economist en route to Kurdistan, finds himself detained for the weekend. What draws these characters together, and how do their lives connect?
Playful and inventive, tender and humane, Asymmetry is a novel which illuminates the power plays and imbalances of contemporary life - between young and old, West and Middle East, fairness and injustice, talent and luck, and the personal and the political. It introduces a major new literary talent, writing about the world today with astonishing versatility, acuity and daring.
By the bestselling author of Winter's Tale and A Soldier of the Great War, Mark Helprin's powerful new novel is set in Paris caught between violent unrest and its well-known, inescapable glories. Seventy-four-year-old Jules Lacour a matre at Paris-Sorbonne, cellist, widower, veteran of the war in Algeria, and child of the Holocaust must find a balance between his strong obligations to the past and the attractions and beauties of life and love in the present.
In the midst of what should be an effulgent time of life days bright with music, family, rowing on the Seine Jules is confronted headlong and all at once by a series of challenges to his principles, livelihood, and home, forcing him to grapple with his complex past and to find a way forward. He risks fraud to save his terminally ill infant grandson, matches wits with a renegade insurance investigator, is drawn into an act of savage violence, and falls deeply, excitingly in love with a young cellist a third his age. Against the backdrop of an exquisite and knowing vision of Paris and the way it can uniquely shape a life, Helprin forges a denouement that is staggering in its humanity, elegance, and truth.
In the exhilarating beauty of its prose and evocative storytelling, Helprin 's Paris in the Present Tense is a soaring achievement; a deep, dizzying look at a life through the purifying lenses of art and memory.
Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone in feeling discontent, harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress...
Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.
The deliciously witty, irresistible new novel from the top ten Sunday Times bestselling author of Not Quite Nice follows the exploits of two women on an Atlantic cruise ship The phone hasn't rung for months. Suzy Marshall is discovering that work can be sluggish for an actress over sixty - even for the former star of a 1980s TV series. So when she's offered the plum role of Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest in Zurich, it seems like a godsend. Until, that is, the play is abruptly cancelled in suspicious circumstances, and Suzy is forced to take a job on a cruise ship to get home.
Meanwhile Amanda Herbert finds herself homeless in rainy Clapham. Her flat purchase has fallen through, and her children are absorbed in their own dramas. Then she spots an advertisement for an Atlantic cruise, and realises a few weeks on-board would tide her over - and save her money - until the crisis is solved.
As the two women set sail on a new adventure, neither can possibly predict the strange characters and dodgy dealings they will encounter - nor the unexpected rewards they will reap.
Vividly evoking the old-world glamour of a cruise ship - and the complex politics of its staff quarters - Sail Away is at once a hilarious romp and a thrilling tale of intrigue, from the acclaimed pen of Celia Imrie.
London, 1926: Henry Twist's heavily pregnant wife leaves home to meet a friend. On the way, she is hit by a bus and killed, though miraculously the baby survives. Henry is left with nothing but his new daughter - a single father in a world without single fathers. He hurries the baby home, terrified that she'll be taken from him. Racked with guilt and fear, he stays away from prying eyes, walking her through the streets at night, under cover of darkness.
But one evening, a strange man steps out of the shadows and addresses Henry by name. The man says that he has lost his memory, but that his name is Jack. Henry is both afraid of and drawn to Jack, and the more time they spend together, the more Henry sees that this man has echoes of his dead wife. His mannerisms, some things he says ... And so Henry wonders, has his wife returned to him? Has he conjured Jack himself from thin air? Or is he in the grip of a sophisticated con man? Who really sent him?
Set in a postwar London where the Bright Young Things dance into dawn at garden parties hosted by generous old Monty, The Haunting of Henry Twist is a novel about the limits and potential of love and of grief. It is about the lengths we will go to to hold on to what is precious to us, what we will forgive of those we love, and what we will sacrifice for the sake of our own happiness.
A warm, funny, and whip-smart debut novel about rebellious youth, inconceivable motherhood, and the complications of belonging to a city, a culture, and a family-when none of them can quite contain who you really are.
All of us were refugees of the nuclear family ... Twenty-three-year-old artist Andrea Morales has escaped her Midwestern Catholic childhood-and the closet-to create a home and life for herself within the thriving but insular lesbian underground of Portland, Oregon. But one drunken night, reeling from a bad breakup and a friend's betrayal, she recklessly crosses enemy lines and hooks up with a man. To her utter shock, Andrea soon discovers she's pregnant-and despite the concerns of her astonished circle of gay friends, she decides to have the baby. A decade later, when her precocious daughter, Lucia, starts asking questions about the father she's never known, Andrea is forced to reconcile the past she hoped to leave behind with the life she's worked so hard to build. A thoroughly modern and original antiromantic comedy, Stray City is an unabashedly entertaining literary debut about the families we're born into and the families we choose, about finding yourself by breaking the rules and making bad decisions for all the right reasons.
From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry- ' A beautiful novel, a tonic for the soul and a complete joy to read.' Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep.
1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk - as long as it's vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need.
Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.
Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind ...
'Hits all the right notes...a love story that's as much about the silences between words as what is said - the spaces between people that can be filled with mystery, confusion and misunderstanding as well as hope. Observer A BBC RADIO 4 'BOOK AT BEDTIME'.
A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: it's time for them to separate. For the moment it's a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, alone, she gets word that her ex-husband has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged southern Peloponnese. Reluctantly she agrees to go and search for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart, she's not even sure if she wants to find him. Adrift in the wild and barren landscape, she traces the failure of their relationship, and finds that she understands less than she thought about the man she used to love.
A story of intimacy, infidelity and compassion, A Separation is about the gulf that divides us from the lives of others and the narratives we create to mask our true emotions. As the narrator reflects upon her love for a man who may never have been what he appeared, Kitamura propels us into the experience of a woman on the brink of catastrophe. A Separation is a riveting masterpiece of absence and presence that will leave the reader astonished, and transfixed.
This is a story of something like survival.
Sal planned it for almost a year before they ran. She nicked an Ordnance Survey map from the school library. She bought a compass, a Bear Grylls knife, waterproofs and a first aid kit from Amazon using credit cards she'd robbed. She read the SAS Survival Handbook and watched loads of YouTube videos.
And now Sal knows a lot of stuff. Like how to build a shelter and start a fire. How to estimate distances, snare rabbits and shoot an airgun. And how to protect her sister, Peppa. Because Peppa is ten, which is how old Sal was when Robert started on her.
Told in Sal's distinctive voice, and filled with the silent, dizzying beauty of rural Scotland, Sal is a disturbing, uplifting story of survival, of the kindness of strangers, and the irrepressible power of sisterly love; a love that can lead us to do extraordinary and unimaginable things.
Alexandra Boyd has travelled to Bulgaria hoping to salve the wounds left by the loss of her beloved brother. But a luggage mix-up soon after she arrives finds her holding an urn filled with human ashes. As Alexandra sets out to return the precious item to its owners she finds ever more obstacles in her path, even as her determination grows greater - and the mystery behind the significance of the urn deepens. Soon she will realise that this object is tied to the very darkest moments in the nation's history, and that the stakes behind seeing it safely returned are higher than she could ever have imagined.
Elizabeth Kostova's novel is a tale of immense scope that delves into the horrors of a century and traverses the culture and landscape of this mysterious country. Suspenseful and beautifully written, it explores the power of stories and the hope and meaning that can sometimes be found in the aftermath of loss.
How much will a young Parisian seamstress sacrifice to make her mark in the male-dominated world of 1940s New York fashion? From the bestselling author of A KISS FROM MR FITZGERALD and HER MOTHER'S SECRET.
1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.
2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother's work - one of the world's leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother's past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets - and the sacrifices made for love.
Crossing generations, society's boundaries and international turmoil, THE PARIS SEAMSTRESS is the beguiling, transporting story of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter as they attempt to heal the heartache of the past.
Pages of a weathered original sonata manuscript - the gift of a Czech immigrant living in Queens - come into the hands of Meta Taverner, a young musicologist whose concert piano career was cut short by an injury. The gift comes with the request that Meta find the manuscript's true owner - a Prague friend the old woman has not heard from since the Second World War forced them apart - and to make the three-part sonata whole again.
Leaving New York behind for the land of Dvorak and Kafka, Meta sets out on an unforgettable search to locate the remaining movements of the sonata and uncover a story that has influenced the course of many lives, even as it becomes clear that she isn't the only one seeking the music's secrets.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017
Daniel is heading north. He is looking for someone. The simplicity of his early life with Daddy and Cathy has turned menacing and fearful. They lived apart in the house that Daddy built for them in the woods with his bare hands. They foraged and hunted.
Cathy was more like their father: fierce and full of simmering anger. Daniel was more like their mother: gentle and kind. Sometimes, their father disappeared, and would return with a rage in his eyes. But when he was at home, he was at peace. He told them that the little copse in Elmet was theirs alone. But that wasn't true. Local men, greedy and watchful, began to circle like vultures. All the while, the terrible violence in Daddy grew.
Brutal and beautiful in equal measure, Elmet is a compelling portrayal of a family living on the fringes of contemporary society, as well as a gripping exploration of the disturbing actions people are capable of when pushed to their limits.
Iris was once everything to her granddaughter. But now she's losing her grip on her precious memories, and it's too late for Tess to ask for the advice she needs now more than ever.
Tess is stunned to discover she's pregnant - but in spite of her relationship breakdown she knows she wants the surprise baby. Alone and uncertain, she turns to Gigi, a kindly stranger at Iris's nursing home.
Gigi is bearing her own secret sadness. Whilst her family thrives, she hasn't been happy for years. Should she leave her husband and find a new life just for her?
Then Tess discovers a case filled with Iris's secret letters. The missing pieces of her life could hold the answers she and Gigi need ...
Fearlessly frank and funny, the debut adult novel from Dawn O'Porter is the book that everybody needs to read right now.
A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.
Three women. A whole world of judgement.
Tara, Cam and Stella are very different women. Yet in a society that sets the agenda, there's something about being a woman that ties invisible bonds between us.
When one extraordinary event rockets Tara to online infamy, their three worlds collide in ways they could never imagine – and they discover that one woman's catastrophe might just be another's inspiration.
Through friendship and conflict, difference and likeness, they'll learn to find their own voices.
Because sometimes it's OK not to follow the herd.
The year is 1984, and life in Oceania is ruled by the Party. Under the gaze of Big Brother, Winston Smith yearns for intimacy and love - othought crimeso that, if uncovered, would mean imprisonment, or death. But Winston is not alone in his defiance, and an illicit affair will draw him into the mysterious Brotherhood and the realities of resistance.
Nineteen Eighty-Four has been described as chilling, absorbing, satirical, momentous, prophetic and terrifying. It is all these things, and more.
'It's not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book.' Margaret Atwood A monumental novel about trees and people by one of our most 'prodigiously talented' (The New York Times Book Review) novelists.
The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers - each summoned in different ways by trees - are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest.
There is a world alongside ours - vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.
She looked like someone who has had a hard life and no money to take care of herself, like a broken woman at the end of the world, dead on her feet, skin slapped over her bones like white paint, old white paint, slightly yellow. Her shoulders and collarbones were sticking out of her skin like ... like nothing. There is nothing I know that is as awful as her bones poking out of her dirty yellow chicken-skin.
Chelsea doesn't attend school much any more. She is carer for her mother who is sinking further into depression after a trauma, and her Grandad who has slipped into full-blown dementia. Her father is long gone; others are shadowy memories - intangible like dreams. Barely known ghosts make for strange company. Then a parcel arrives, and in it are questions-about her mother and her past self, their shared histories, and the people and place from which they've run.
The Earth Does Not Get Fat is a powerful and gut-wrenching debut about intense suffering and love-fierce, searing love.
When you're the outsider, who do you trust?
For decades, Penhallow Hall has stood frozen in time, protecting the secrets of its isolated inhabitants. But the far corners of England are no shelter from the war, and Penhallow must finally open its doors to strangers.
Three newcomers arrive, each looking to escape their past. They adjust easily to the routine - nightly blackouts, the threat of invasion - but tensions mount and secrets are forced into the open. For one of them is not there by choice. And then, in the hushed hours of deepest night, a young woman is taken by the sea.
Was it simply a tragic accident? Or should the inhabitants of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?
Ruth Pennistan is a farmer's daughter, born and brought up in Kent. But her dark hair and eyes belie a forgotten ancestry - a Spanish gypsy grandmother and a passionate inheritance. Malory, the rather strait-laced guest of the family, falls head over heels in love, even whilst Ruth becomes trapped against her will in a drama of love and tragedy with another man. Vita Sackville-West's first heroine echoes the passions and contradictions of the author's own life.
Evelyn, aged thirty-nine, is an attractive widow living an irreproachable life. Then she meets Miles, fifteen years her junior, and falls passionately in love. But both lovers have strong personalities and passion does not equal happiness. Evelyn, deeply jealous and conventional is shocked at her lover's casual ways and his insistence on working all day. Miles's love for Evelyn is real but he cannot devote himself wholly to her whims. Vita Sackville-West collides attitudes to work, sex and society in the changing world of the early 1930s.
A contemporary Berlin fairy tale that bristles with urban truths - the first novel of Germany's best-known contemporary playwright One clear, ice-cold January morning shortly after dawn, a wolf crosses the border between Poland and Germany. His trail leads all the way to Berlin, connecting the lives of disparate individuals whose paths intersect and diverge.
On an icy motorway eighty kilometres outside the city, a fuel tanker jack-knifes and explodes. The lone wolf is glimpsed on the hard shoulder and photographed by Tomasz, a Polish construction worker who cannot survive in Germany without his girlfriend. Elisabeth and Micha run away through the snow from their home village, crossing the wolf's tracks on their way to the city. A woman burns her mother's diaries on a Berlin balcony. And Elisabeth's father, a famous sculptor, observes the vast skeleton of a whale in his studio and asks: What am I doing here? And why?
Experiences and encounters flicker past with a raw, visual power, like frames in a black and white film. Those who catch sight of the wolf see their own lives reflected, and find themselves searching for a different path in a cold time. This first novel of Germany's most celebrated contemporary playwright is written in prose of tremendous power and precision.
Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch
Tara has a thousand good reasons not to return to the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Yet with her life doing a major crash-and-burn, anywhere away from her unfulfilled dreams and sexy ex-husband will do. As Tara helps her two sisters get their newly renovated inn up and running, she finally has a chance to get things under control and come up with a new plan for her life.
But a certain tanned, green-eyed sailor has his own ideas, such as keeping Tara hot, bothered... and in his bed. And when her ex wants Tara back, three is a crowd she can't control-especially when her deepest secret reappears out of the blue. Now Tara must confront her past and discover what she really wants. If she's lucky, she might just find that everything her heart desires is right here in Lucky Harbor.
What is the secret to true friendship? Is it really love's quieter relation or something stronger and more profound? And where does the line between the two lie? Rose Tremain looks at two unlikely lifelong friendships, which - though tested - prove unbreakable. Thought-provoking and life-affirming, this is at once an examination and a celebration of friendship in all its glorious complexity.
Selected from the books Restoration and The Gustav Sonata by Rose Tremain VINTAGE MINIS- GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS.
A series of short books by the world's greatest writers on the experiences that make us human Also in the Vintage Minis series- Love by Jeanette Winterson Language by Xiaolu Guo Desire by Haruki Murakami Freedom by Margaret Atwood
Mark Renton is finally a success. An international jet-setter, he now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with his life. He's then rocked by a chance encounter with Frank Begbie, from whom he'd been hiding for years after a terrible betrayal and the resulting debt. But the psychotic Begbie appears to have reinvented himself as a celebrated artist and - much to Mark's astonishment - doesn't seem interested in revenge.
Sick Boy and Spud, who have agendas of their own, are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, but when they enter the bleak world of organ-harvesting, things start to go so badly wrong. Lurching from crisis to crisis, the four men circle each other, driven by their personal histories and addictions, confused, angry - so desperate that even Hibs winning the Scottish Cup doesn't really help. One of these four will not survive to the end of this book. Which one of them is wearing Dead Men's Trousers?
Fast and furious, scabrously funny and weirdly moving, this is a spectacular return of the crew from Trainspotting.