The nursery gate is a good place for parents to meet one another. As the mother of two small children, Isabel finds herself enlarging her circle of friends to include other parents. She meets Patricia, an Irishwoman, a musician and the single mother of a small boy called Basil Phelps. Isabel hears from her husband, Jamie, that this child is allegedly the unacknowledged son of a well-known Edinburgh organist, Basil Phelps.
Patricia takes to Isabel, but Isabel is suspicious - there is something about Patricia that she does not quite like, but, with her usual attention to moral obligation, she does her best to be civil and supportive. That is until she sees Patricia with a mysterious, freckled man. Isabel gets it into her head that this is Patricia's lover, and that he must be the real father of young Basil. When further discoveries are made, everything is turned on its head.
Despite Jamie's discouragement, Isabel decides that she is going to get to the bottom things. Yet, when the truth is finally revealed, it seems that Isabel has misjudged Patricia; in fact, she has misjudged just about everybody.
SIGNED COPIES SHIPPING NOW!
An utterly wonderful novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane's violent working class suburban fringe - from one of Australia's most exciting new writers.
Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer.
But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.
A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.
In October 1940, the handsome young David Sparsholt arrives in Oxford. A keen athlete and oarsman, he at first seems unaware of the effect he has on others - particularly on the lonely and romantic Evert Dax, son of a celebrated novelist and destined to become a writer himself. While the Blitz rages in London, Oxford exists at a strange remove: an ephemeral, uncertain place, in which nightly blackouts conceal secret liaisons. Over the course of one momentous term, David and Evert forge an unlikely friendship that will colour their lives for decades to come...
Alan Hollinghurst's masterly new novel evokes the intimate relationships of a group of friends bound together by art, literature and love across three generations. It explores the social and sexual revolutions of the most pivotal years of the past century, whose life-changing consequences are still being played out to this day. Richly observed, disarmingly witty and emotionally charged, The Sparsholt Affair is an unmissable achievement from one of our finest writers.
They told him everything.
He told everyone else.
Over countless martini-soaked Manhattan lunches, they shared their deepest secrets and greatest fears. On exclusive yachts sailing the Mediterranean, on private jets streaming towards Jamaica, on YucatBn beaches in secluded bays, they gossiped about sex, power, money, love and fame. They never imagined he would betray them so absolutely.
In the autumn of 1975, after two decades of intimate friendships, Truman Capote detonated a literary grenade, forever rupturing the elite circle he'd worked so hard to infiltrate. Why did he do it, knowing what he stood to lose? Was it to punish them? To make them pay for their manners, money and celebrated names? Or did he simply refuse to believe that they could ever stop loving him? Whatever the motive, one thing remains indisputable- nine years after achieving wild success with In Cold Blood, Capote committed an act of professional and social suicide with his most lethal of weapons... Words.
A dazzling debut about the line between gossip and slander, self-creation and self-preservation, SWAN SONG is the tragic story of the literary icon of his age and the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women he called his Swans.
'Writers write. And one can't be surprised if they write what they know.'
The bestselling, Booker Prize-winning author of Atonement brilliantly illuminates the collision of sexual longing, deep-seated fears, and romantic fantasy on a young couple's wedding night. It is 1962, and Florence and Edward are celebrating their wedding in a hotel on the Dorset coast. Yet as they dine, the expectation of their marital duties become overwhelming. Unbeknownst to them both, the decisions they make this night will resonate throughout their lives. With exquisite prose, Ian McEwan creates in On Chesil Beach a story of lives transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken.
A rediscovered German classic novel from 1942, The Seventh Cross is both a gripping escape story and a powerful novel of resistance.
'At once a suspenseful manhunt story and a knowing portrait of the perils of ordinary life in Hitler's Germany, The Seventh Cross is not only an important novel, but an important historical document. This new, unabridged translation is a genuine publishing event' JOSEPH KANON, author of The Good German and Leaving Berlin 'It was [Seghers] who taught my generation and anyone who had an ear to listen after that not-to-be-forgotten war to distinguish right from wrong. The Seventh Cross shaped me; it sharpened my vision' Gunter Grass 'A masterpiece. Written in the midst of terror, but with such clarity, such acuity; Seghers is a writer of rare insight' Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in Winter Seven prisoners escape from Westhofen concentration camp. Seven crosses are erected in the grounds and the commandant vows to capture the fugitives within a week. Six men are caught quickly, but George Heisler slips through his pursuers' fingers and it becomes a matter of pride to track him down, at whatever cost.
Who can George trust? Who will betray him? The years of fear have changed those he knew best: his brother is now an SS officer; his lover turns him away. Hunted, injured and desperate, time is running out for George, and whoever is caught aiding his escape will pay with their life.
The Seventh Cross powerfully documents the insidious rise of a fascist regime - the seething paranoia, the sudden arrests, the silence and fear.
'A fascinating insight into life in pre-war Nazi Germany just as the horrors of the Nazi regime were beginning to unfold. This is an important novel, as much for its picture of German society as for its insight into the psyche of ordinary people confronting their personal fears and mixed loyalties' Simon Mawer, author of The Glass Room The Seventh Cross was written by one of the most important German writers of the twentieth century. Her aim was to write, 'A tale that makes it possible to get to know the many layers of fascist Germany through the fortunes of a single man.' She had four copies of the manuscript: one was destroyed in an air raid; a friend lost the second copy while fleeing the Nazis; another was found by the Gestapo; only the fourth copy survived, which, fortunately, she sent to her publisher in America just before she escaped Nazi-occupied France. Published in 1942, The Seventh Cross was an immediate bestseller and was the basis for an MGM film starring Spencer Tracy in 1944. It has been translated into more than 40 languages.
A philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs - seeking only passionate kisses as a substitute. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. A couple chart the journey of their five year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24-year old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful and tentative self-discovery.
The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface; the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life; and the endless hesitations and loss-of-nerve that wickedly complicate it. These funny, surprising and moving stories are a resounding confirmation of Boyd's powers as one of our most original and compelling storytellers.
Arthur Less is a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the post: it is from an ex-boyfriend of nine years who is engaged to someone else. Arthur can't say yes - it would be too awkward; he can't say no - it would look like defeat. So, he begins to accept the invitations on his desk to half-baked literary events around the world.
From France to India, Germany to Japan, Arthur almost falls in love, almost falls to his death, and puts miles between him and the plight he refuses to face. Less is a novel about mishaps, misunderstandings and the depths of the human heart.
Nour has lost her father. She has also lost the place she was born in and now lives in the Syrian town of Homs, along with her sisters and mother. And so, by the fig tree in the garden, Nour whispers the stories her Baba once told her, so that the roots of the tree will carry those stories back to where her father is buried and he won't feel so alone. Her favourite is the story of Rawiya, a young girl from the twelfth century who left her home in search of adventure, dressed as a boy.
But Syria is changing and it isn't long before protests and shelling destroy the peace of the quiet city. As Nour begins her own journey as a refugee, she draws strength and inspiration from the voyage of Rawiya, who became apprenticed to the famous mapmaker, Al Idrisi, and who battled mythical creatures and endured epic battles in the attempt to compile the most accurate map of the world ever made.
THE MAP OF SALT AND STARS is a breathtakingly beautiful novel that illuminates the story of a country in turmoil, a tale of human resilience and the power of stories to transform.
A sweeping, romantic, and profoundly moving novel, set in Europe in the aftermath of World War I and Los Angeles in the 1950s, about a lonely young man, a beautiful widow, and the amnesiac soldier whose puzzling case binds them together even as it tears them apart.
In 1920, two young Americans meet in Verdun, the city in France where one of the most devastating battles of the war was waged. Tom is an orphan from Chicago, a former ambulance driver now gathering bones from the battlefield; Sarah is an expatriate from Boston searching for the husband who wandered off from his division and hasn't been seen since. Quickly, the two fall into a complicated affair against the ghostly backdrop of the ruined city. Months later, Sarah and Tom meet again at the psychiatric ward of an Italian hospital, drawn there by the appearance of a mysterious patient the doctors call Douglas Fairbanks (after the silent film actor) - a shell-shocked soldier with no memory of who he is. At the hospital, Tom and Sarah are joined by Paul, an Austrian journalist with his own interest in the amnesiac.
Each is keeping a secret; each has been shaken by the horrors of war. Decades later, Tom, now a successful screenwriter, encounters Paul by chance in LA, still grappling with the questions raised by this gorgeous and incisive novel: How to begin again after unfathomable trauma? How to love after so much loss? And who, in the end, was Douglas Fairbanks?
From the bone-strewn fields of Verdun to the bombed-out cafes of Paris, from the riot-torn streets of Bologna to the riotous parties of 1950s Hollywood, The Verdun Affair is a riveting tale of romance, grief and the far-reaching consequences of a single lie.
A small city in western France,. The early twentieth century. Suzanne Malherbe, a shy 17-year-old with a rare talent for drawing, is entranced by the brilliant but troubled Lucie Schwob, the daughter of a Jewish newspaper magnate, and the two young women embark on a clandestine love affair.
Stifled by provincial convention and a society that is overtly patriarchal, they reinvent themselves as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore and move to Paris, where they are swept up in the most glamorous social circles, meeting everyone from Hemingway and Dali to Andre Breton, and produce photographic work of great originality and strangeness.
As World War Two looms, they leave for Jersey, and it is here that they confront their destiny, dreaming up a campaign of propaganda against Hitler's occupying forces.
From one of our most celebrated writers, Never Anyone But You explores the gripping true story of two extraordinary women who challenged gender boundaries, and ultimately risked their lives in the fight against oppression. Theirs is a story that has been hidden in the margins of history - until now...
In Ghosts, a group of immigrant workers and their families are squatting on the haunted construction site of a luxury condominium building. One teenage girl's interest in the ghosts on the site becomes so intense that her mother realizes her life is in the balance. An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter tells of a point in the life of German painter Johann Moritz Rugendas, when he visits Latin America to paint its spectacular landscapes. And in The Literary Conference, a young translator called Cesar Aira travels to a literary conference, intent on world domination . . .
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR ARABIC FICTION 2018.
For fans of The Kite Runner comes this remarkable debut, the number one bestselling title in Iraq, Dubai and the UAE.
It's 1991 and the Gulf War is raging. Two girls, hiding in an air raid shelter, tell stories to keep the fear and the darkness at bay, and a deep friendship is born. And while the city collapses around them, the sanctions bite and friends begin to flee, life goes on. People tend their gardens, go dancing and celebrate weddings, and the girls share their dreams, desires, school routines and first loves.
In her brilliant debut novel, Shahad Al Rawi takes readers beyond the familiar images in the news to show the everyday struggle of Baghdad's people, revealing the reality of growing up in a war-torn city that's slowly disappearing in front of your eyes.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 Selin, a tall, highly strung Turkish-American from New Jersey turns up at Harvard and finds herself dangerously overwhelmed by the challenges and possibilities of adulthood. She studies linguistics and literature, and spends a lot of time thinking about what language - and languages - can and cannot do. Along the way she befriends Svetlana, a cosmopolitan Serb, and obsesses over Ivan, a mathematician from Hungary.
Selin ponders profound questions about how culture and language shape who we are, how difficult it is to be a failed writer, and how baffling love is. At once clever and clueless, Batuman's heroine shows us with perfect hilarity and soulful inquisitiveness just how messy it can be to forge a self.
Kenji Tanabe finds maps easier to read than people. At the elite Tokyo gallery where he works, he sells antique maps by selling the stories that he sees within their traces: their contribution to progress, their dramatic illustrations, their exquisite compasses. But no compass or cartography can guide him through the events that will follow the sudden and unexpected offer of a job in America.
There, Theodora Appel runs a company that is more like a family. Brilliantly successful, beguilingly secretive, she gradually initiates Kenji into her rarefied world. Only someone like him - quiet, intensely committed and discreet - could be allowed to see beneath the surface to what his employer is hiding. Theodora has never recovered from the death of her lover, and her obsession to reclaim the past threatens them all.
Moving across countries and cultures, The Consolation of Maps charts an attempt to understand the tide of history, the geography of people and the boundless territory of loss.
Set in an un-named city but with an astonishing, breath-shorteningly palpable sense of time and place, Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. The story of inaction with enormous consequences and decisions that are never made, but for which people are judged and punished.
Middle sister is our protagonist. She is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her nearly-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with milkman (which she herself for the life of her cannot work out how it came about). But when first brother-in-law, who of course had sniffed it out, told his wife, her first sister, to tell her mother to come and have a talk with her, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.
Milkman is a searingly honest novel told in prose that is as precise and unsentimental as it is devastating and brutal. A novel that is at once unlocated and profoundly tethered to place is surely a novel for our times.
Maggie Jacobson has a bright future ahead of her, with a handsome boyfriend and a promising career, until an accident on what should be one of the happiest days of her life takes it all away. In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing family secrets, heartbreak, and the possibility that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.
In the heatwave of 1959, four sisters arrive at Applecote Manor to relive their memories of hazy Cotswolds summers.
They find their uncle and aunt still reeling from the disappearance of their only daughter, five years before.
An undercurrent of dread runs through the house. Why did Audrey vanish? Who is keeping her fate secret?
As the sisters are lured into the mystery of their missing cousin, the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn.
One which will leave blood on their hands, and put another girl in danger decades later...
'One of the most enthralling novelists of the moment' Lisa Jewell
'Exquisite and evocative - the pace and suspense are handled expertly' Sarah Vaughan
'An enthralling story of secrets, sisters and an unsolved mystery' Kate Morton
'Evocative and filled with intrigue' Clare Mackintosh
Twenty new titles in the much-loved and hugely successful Penguin English Library series.
'The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamouring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude...'
When The Awakening was first published in 1899, charges of sordidness and immorality seemed to consign it into obscurity and irreparably damage its author's reputation. But a century after her death, it is widely regarded as Kate Chopin's great achievement. Through careful, subtle changes of style, Chopin shows the transformation of Edna Pontellier, a young wife and mother, who - with tragic consequences - refuses to be caged by married and domestic life, and claims for herself moral and erotic freedom.
The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.
'A word of advice: don't start reading this page-turner at bedtime, or you'll be staying up all night.' Psychologies, France Werner Zilch was adopted as an infant, and knows nothing of his biological family. But when, in 1970s New York, he meets the family of Rebecca, the woman he has fallen in love with, a mysterious link means he must uncover the truth of his past, or run the risk of losing her.
Spanning 1945 Dresden, the Bavarian Alps and uncovering Operation Paperclip, this is a riveting novel of family and love.
'Adelaide de Clermont-Tonnerre weaves an enigmatic, funny, sensuous web, crossed by characters which we will struggle to forget' Le Figaro
Nobel Laureate and two-time Booker prize-winning author of Disgrace, J. M. Coetzee tells the remarkable story of a nation gripped in brutal apartheid in Age of Iron.
In Cape Town, South Africa, an elderly classics professor writes a letter to her distant daughter, recounting the strange and disturbing events of her dying days. She has been opposed to the lies and the brutality of apartheid all her life, but now she finds herself coming face to face with its true horrors: the hounding by the police of her servant's son, the burning of a nearby black township, the murder by security forces of a teenage activist who seeks refuge in her house. Through it all, her only companion, the only person to whom she can confess her mounting anger and despair, is a homeless man who one day appears on her doorstep.
In Age of Iron, J. M. Coetzee brings his searing insight and masterful control of language to bear on one of the darkest episodes of our times.
'Quite simply a magnificent and unforgettable work' Daily Telegraph 'A superbly realized novel whose truth cuts to the bone' The New York Times 'A remarkable work by a brilliant writer' Wall Street Journal
Lerena Dost is a dominant and successful woman until she and her psychoanalyst Suano Botilecue cross an ethical boundary and are disgraced, after their sexual relationship is made known. Both lose everything.
Then, a chance encounter with a mysterious woman in an elevator plants a number in Lerena’s mind, which she plays in the lottery and wins. She decides that she will not touch her new fortune until she can reward her benefactor, who turns out to be none other than Dona Munava, the famed leader of a spiritual cult hidden away in the countryside far from the city.
Lerena and Suano set out on a road trip to find her, travelling across the Panoramic Delta, a futuristic world strangely like our own, but with its details, its settings, and even its language altered in unexpected ways.
The author’s musical and inventive style, brilliantly translated by Chris Andrews, creates a hallucinatory atmosphere, in which the one-time lovers relive their relationship, and confront its consequences.
Sometimes getting it wrong is the only way to get it right...
Frances Pilgrim's father went missing when she was five, and ever since all sorts of things have been going astray: car keys, promotions, a series of underwhelming and unsuitable boyfriends... Now here she is, thirty-bloody-nine, teaching Shakespeare to rowdy sixth formers and still losing things.
But she has a much more pressing problem. Her mother, whose odd behaviour Frances has long put down to eccentricity, is slowly yielding to Alzheimer's, leaving Frances with some disturbing questions about her father's disappearance, and the family history she's always believed in. Frances could really do with someone to talk to. Ideally Jackson: fellow teacher, dedicated hedonist, erstwhile best friend. Only they haven't spoken since that night last summer when things got complicated...
As the new school year begins, and her mother's behaviour becomes more and more erratic, Frances realises that she might just have a chance to find something for once. But will it be what she's looking for?
A woman writer visits a Europe in flux, where questions of personal and political identity are rising to the surface and the trauma of change is opening up new possibilities of loss and renewal. Within the rituals of literary culture, Faye finds the human story in disarray amid differing attitudes toward the public enactment of the creative persona, and she begins to identify among the people she meets a tension between truth and representation that causes her to consider questions of acclaim, justice, and the ultimate value of suffering.
The third in the trilogy that began with Outline, Rachel Cusk's Kudos takes as its theme the relationship between pain and honour, and investigates the moral nature of success as a precept of both art and living.
A whimsical, moving novel about a retirement home for literary legends who spar, conjure up new stories, and almost magically change the lives of the people around them.
Alfonse Carducci was a literary giant who lived his life to excess-lovers, alcohol, parties, and literary rivalries. But now he's come to the Bar Harbor Home for the Elderly to spend the remainder of his days among kindred spirits: the publishing industry's nearly gone but never forgotten greats. Only now, at the end of his life, does he comprehend the price of appeasing every desire, and the consequences of forsaking love to pursue greatness. For Alfonse has an unshakeable case of writer's block that distresses him much more than his precarious health.
Set on the water in one of New England's most beautiful locales, the Bar Harbor Home was established specifically for elderly writers needing a place to live out their golden years - or final days - in understated luxury and surrounded by congenial literary company. A faithful staff of nurses and orderlies surround the writers, and are drawn into their orbit, as they are forced to reckon with their own life stories. Among them are Cecibel Bringer, a young woman who knows first-hand the cost of chasing excess. A terrible accident destroyed her face and her sister in a split-second decision that Cecibel can never forgive, though she has tried to forget. Living quietly as an orderly, refusing to risk again the cost of love, Cecibel never anticipated the impact of meeting her favorite writer, Alfonse Carducci - or the effect he would have on her existence. In Cecibel, Alfonse finds a muse who returns him to the passion he thought he lost. As the words flow from him, weaving a tale taken up by the other residents of the Pen, Cecibel is reawakened to the idea of love and forgiveness.
As the edges between story and reality blur, a world within a world is created. It's a place where the old are made young, the damaged are made whole, and anything is possible...
'Think of two parallel lines. One is the life of Lee H. Oswald. One is the conspiracy to kill the President. What bridges the space between them? What makes a connection inevitable? There is a third line. It comes out of dreams, visions, intuitions, prayers, out of the deepest levels of the self.' A troubled adolescent endlessly riding New York's subway cars, Lee Harvey Oswald enters adulthood believing himself to be an agent of history. This makes him fair game to a pair of discontented CIA operatives convinced that a failed attempt on the life of the US president will force the nation to tackle the threat of communism head on.
Libra is a gripping, masterful blend of fact and fiction, laying bare the wounded American psyche and the dark events that still torment it.
'An audacious blend of fiction and fact' The Times
WINNER OF THE 2015 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR FICTION
A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.' For Marie-Laure, blind since the age of six, the world is full of mazes. The miniature of a Paris neighbourhood, made by her father to teach her the way home. The microscopic layers within the invaluable diamond that her father guards in the Museum of Natural History. The walled city by the sea, where father and daughter take refuge when the Nazis invade Paris. And a future which draws her ever closer to Werner, a German orphan, destined to labour in the mines until a broken radio fills his life with possibility and brings him to the notice of the Hitler Youth.
In this magnificent, deeply moving novel, the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner illuminate the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
Just moved into a new apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnelly's pub for a pint, a slow one.
One evening his drink is interrupted. A man in shorts and a pink shirt brings over his pint and sits down. He seems to know Victor's name and to remember him from school. Says his name is Fitzpatrick.
Victor dislikes him on sight, dislikes too the memories that Fitzpatrick stirs up of five years being taught by the Christian Brothers.
He prompts other memories too - of Rachel, his beautiful wife who became a celebrity, and of Victor's own small claim to fame, as the man who says the unsayable on the radio.
But it's the memories of school, and of one particular Brother, that he cannot control - and which eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.
Haunting, uplifting, beautiful- the final work from Helen Dunmore Helen Dunmore passed away in June 2017, leaving behind this remarkable collection of short stories. With her trademark imagination and gift for making history human, she explores the fragile ties between passion, love, family, friendship and grief, often through people facing turning points in their lives- A girl alone, stretching her meagre budget to feed herself, becomes aware that the young man who has come to see her may not be as friendly as he seems.
Two women from very different backgrounds enjoy an unusual night out, finding solace in laughter and an unexpected friendship.
A young man picks up his infant son and goes outside into a starlit night as he makes a decision that will inform the rest of his life.
A woman imprisoned for her religion examines her faith in a seemingly literal and quietly original way.
This brilliant collection of Helen Dunmore's short fiction, replete with her penetrating insight into the human condition, is certain to delight and move all her readers.
A soldier falls asleep on duty and is threatened with being court-martialled. An officer lies in mud, fighting for his life and the life of his men. A young man walks across Waterloo Bridge, explosives in his rucksack, heart pounding. In this powerfully moving book, Faulks shows us the true face of war. These are stories of death and survival, of hope and despair, and of ordinary people whose lives will never be the same again.
Selected from the books Birdsong, A Possible Life and A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks 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- Home by Salman Rushdie Fatherhood by Karl Ove Knausgaard Work by Joseph Heller Dreams by Sigmund Freud
‘There was music from my neighbour’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.’
Enigmatic, intriguing and fabulously wealthy, Jay Gatsby throws lavish parties at his West Egg mansion to impress Daisy Buchanan, the object of his obsession, now married to bullish Tom Buchanan. Over a Long Island summer, his neighbour Nick Carraway, a writer and a cousin to Daisy, looks on as Gatsby and Daisy’s affair deepens. Tragedy looms in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s masterpiece third novel, frequently named among the best novels of the twentieth century.
A breathtaking novel from Orange Prize-shortlisted and Commonwealth Writers' Prize-winning author Aminatta Forna Waterloo Bridge, London. Two strangers collide. Attila, a Ghanaian psychiatrist, and Jean, an American studying the habits of urban foxes. From this chance encounter in the midst of the rush of a great city, numerous moments of connections span out and interweave, bringing disparate lives together.
Attila has arrived in London with two tasks: to deliver a keynote speech on trauma and to check up on the daughter of friends, his `niece', Ama, who hasn't called home in a while. It soon emerges that she has been swept up in an immigration crackdown - and now her young son Tano is missing.
When, by chance, Attila bumps into Jean again, she joins him in his search for Tano, mobilizing into action the network she has built up, mainly from the many West African immigrants working London's myriad streets, of volunteer fox-spotters: security guards, hotel doormen, traffic wardens. All unite to help and as the search continues, a deepening friendship between Attila and Jean unfolds.
In this delicate yet powerful novel of loves lost and new, of past griefs and of the hidden side of a teeming metropolis, Aminatta Forna asks us to consider the values of the society we live in, our co-existence with one another and all living creatures - and the true nature of happiness.
Whose stories deserve to be told? And whose words should do the telling?
In Felix Culpa, Jeremy Gavron conjures up a work of extraordinary literary alchemy- a novel made out of lines taken from a hundred great works of literature.
It follows a writer on the trail of a boy recently released from prison, who has been discovered dead in the cold north, frozen and alone. But in searching for the boy's story, will he lose his own?
Magical and moving, Felix Culpa is a living demonstration of how storytelling works, by sound and by rhythm, by elision and by omission, as well as by reference and by allusion. It asks what happens when we lose the narrative of our own life, and fall into someone else's.
From New York Times-bestselling powerhouse Roxane Gay, Ayiti is a powerful collection exploring the Haitian diaspora experience.
In Ayiti, a married couple seeking boat passage to America prepares to leave their homeland. A young woman procures a voodoo love potion to ensnare a childhood classmate. A mother takes a foreign soldier into her home as a boarder, and into her bed. And a woman conceives a daughter on the bank of a river while fleeing a horrific massacre, a daughter who later moves to America for a new life but is perpetually haunted by the mysterious scent of blood.
Originally published by a small press, this edition will make Gay's debut widely available for the first time, including several new stories.
'These early stories showcase Gay's prowess as one of the voices of our age' (National Post, Canada).
`A gloriously dark tale, packed with heat and glamour' LIZA KLAUSSMANN, author of Tigers in Red Weather Sweeping, evocative and sumptuously told, The Hunters is a dramatic coming-of-age story, a complex portrayal of first love and family loyalty and a passionate reimagining of the Happy Valley set in all their glory and notoriety.
Theo Miller is fourteen years old, bright and ambitious, when he steps off the train into the simmering heat and uproar of 1920s Nairobi. Neither he, nor his earnest younger sister Maud, is prepared for the turbulent mix of joy and pain their new life in Kenya will bring.
Their father is Director of Kenyan Railways, a role it is assumed Theo will inherit. But when he meets enchanting American heiress Sylvie de Croy and her charismatic, reckless companion, Freddie Hamilton, his aspirations turn in an instant.
Sylvie and Freddie's charm is magnetic and Theo is welcomed into the heart of their inner circle: rich, glamourous expatriates, infamous for their hedonistic lifestyles. Yet behind their intoxicating allure lies a more powerful cocktail of lust, betrayal, deceit and violence that he realises he cannot avoid. As dark clouds gather over Kenya's future and his own, he must find a way back to his family - to Maud - before it is too late.
One invitation. A lifetime of regrets.
Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah – a good girl with excellent grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, movies and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?
But things do go wrong, and Hannah’s party quickly turns into the stuff of nightmares. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s life begins to unravel. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are exposed, and the truth about Hannah is revealed.
The Party takes us behind the facade of the ideal family, exposing the betrayals and moral lapses that occur behind closed doors – and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and one another.
Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs Alice Drablow, the sole inhabitant of Eel Marsh House. The house stands at the end of a causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but it is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman, dressed all in black, at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold, a feeling deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black - and her terrible purpose.
Stella Lane thinks mathematics is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases?a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with and far less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice?with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. Gorgeous and conflicted, Michael can't afford to turn down Stella's offer and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan, from foreplay to more-than-missionary position.
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses but to crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic . . .
A haunting, lyrical tale about a fading town and a boy who would do anything to save his family There was nothing to do but tell stories. Tell this story. And then? Asked Cora. And then everything, said Finn.
Newfoundland, Canada, 1992. When all the fish vanish from the waters, and the cod industry abruptly collapses, it's not long before the people begin to disappear from the town of Big Running as well. As residents are forced to leave the island in search of work, 10-year-old Finn Connor suddenly finds himself living in a ghost town. There's no school, no friends and whole rows of houses stand abandoned. And then Finn's parents announce that they too must separate if their family is to survive.
But Finn still has his sister, Cora, with whom he counts the dwindling boats on the coast at night, and Mrs Callaghan, who teaches him the strange and ancient melodies of their native Ireland. That is until his sister disappears, and Finn must find a way of calling home the family and the life he has lost.
Isaac and Thea were once close, but they've grown apart.
Thea works tirelessly, convinced she can prove everyone around her wrong - convinced she can prove that time travel is possible. But when one of her attempts goes wrong, she finds herself picking up the phone and calling her old friend.
Isaac is in New York - it's the middle of the night, but when he sees who's calling him, he cannot ignore his phone. At Thea's request, he travels home, determined to help her in her hour of need.
But neither of them are prepared for what they will discover when he gets there.
The Light Between Us is a story of unrequited love and second chances. It begs the dangerous question that we all ask ourselves - what could have been?
Ruth is thirty and her life is falling apart: she and her fiance are moving house, but he's moving out to live with another woman; her career is going nowhere; and then she learns that her father, a history professor beloved by his students, has Alzheimer's. At Christmas, her mother begs her to stay on and help. For a year.
Goodbye, Vitamin is the wry, beautifully observed story of a woman at a crossroads, as Ruth and her friends attempt to shore up her father's career; she and her mother obsess over the ambiguous health benefits - in the absence of a cure - of dried jellyfish supplements and vitamin pills; and they all try to forge a new relationship with the brilliant, childlike, irascible man her father has become.
'A beautifully written debut, dreamy and funny ... flawless' Independent
'Like a chain of fairy lights in the darkness' Financial Times
'One of the funniest elegiac novels I have ever read' David Leavitt, author of The Lost Language of Cranes
A daring, compulsively readable novel that journeys into the dark history of modern America.
New Yorkers Carter and Seth are music producers, obsessed with the sounds of the past. They are young, hungry and talented. But one day they stumble on an old blues song - an undiscovered gem just waiting to be found - and accidentally summon the ghosts of a brutal past.
Seeking answers, Seth travels deep into the heart of the old South, accompanied by Carter's bewitching sister Leonie. But this is America, where tugging one loose thread can unravel a bloody history of injustice. Yet the closer Seth gets to the haunting truth, the more he feels pursued...
In 1641, the country of England stands divided. London has become a wasps' nest of spies, and under the eyes of the Roundheads those who practice magic are routinely sent to hang.
Living in exile in the Surrey countryside is the Master Astrologer and learned magician William Lilly. Since rumours of occult practice lost him the favour of Parliament, he has not returned to the city. But his talents are well-known, and soon he is called up to London once more, to read the fate of His Majesty the King.
What he sees in the stars will change the course of history.
Only Lilly and a circle of learned astrologers - Cunning Folk - know that London is destined to suffer plague and fire before the decade is through, and must summon angel and demon to sway the political powers from the war the country is heading toward. In doing so, Lilly will influence far greater destinies than his own and encounter great danger. But there will be worse to come . . .
A brilliant tale of the role of magic in the English Civil War, The Magick of Master Lilly is the story of the most influential astrologer in English history.
For fans of Muriel Spark, a dazzling novel about a young woman thrust into in the opulent world of 1940s Hollywood, where dirty dealings, undercover agents and off-camera romances abound.
It is September 1940, and recently widowed Evelyn has been plucked from her humdrum civil service job in Woking and transported to the opulent world of wartime Hollywood. Young, bright and fluent in nine languages, she is to assist the British Colonel Peyton, who has secretly been trying to persuade an Anglo-Hungarian producer to create war propaganda.
However, when Evelyn arrives, Peyton has been called to Bermuda and she finds herself isolated and adrift in new world which is dazzling and baffling in equal measure. Kitted out with an expensive new wardrobe and given a chic hairdo, Evelyn is free to reinvent herself far from the war-ravaged shores of England. But Hollywood, for all its luxury, is a dangerous place for an outsider, and potential threats – both international and personal – lurk around every corner.
Happy Little Bluebirds has all the allure, glamour and intrigue of a golden age Hollywood film. Packed with meticulous historical research which is handled with a light, deft touch, Louise Levene brings her acerbic, whip-smart wit to a glittering period in recent history.
Dreamlike and compulsive, a blazing literary debut about love, violence and survival at any cost.
Once upon a time, damaged women came here to be cured. We took them in, fed them glasses of our clean, good water, let them scream at the waves till their lips split like ripe fruit. Now no one is left but my sisters and me. King died a year ago, quite suddenly. Mother has vanished, no one knows where. And the safe compound they built around us, far away from the toxic world, has finally been breached.
Three men arrived last week, washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent. We remember now what our father taught us. 'If the men come to you, show yourself some mercy. Don't stick around and wait for them to put you out of your misery.'
Eighteenth-century London - the lives of the sisters Fitzgerald, Constance and Verity, become entwined with the nearby Fowler household, charged with providing safe harbour to a mysterious baby from far away.
Camden, London, 2015, December 17th - the lives of the sisters Fitzgerald, Constance and Verity, are consumed by the wait for this boy, who may or may not be dead. There is no way of knowing.
Deep within the savage beauty of Iceland, a hidden pool grants those who drink from it endless life. For those that have, their secret must remain held close for two hundred years, but time is slipping away, and malign forces are gathering.
And for those who have sipped from the pool, they discover all too quickly that immortality is no gift, because in the absence of death, true darkness emerges.
March 1939. Estelle is the headstrong daughter of Fleur, a Resistance legend who disappeared during the Great War, supposedly killed while helping Allied soldiers to escape.
Christa, an only child, longs to break free from the constraints of London suburbia, and fantasises about the ethereal Belgian heroine who saved her father.
When Estelle comes looking for the truth about the mother she believes deserted her, an intense friendship grows between the two young women. Estelle invites Christa to De Eikenhoeve, her family's idyllic country estate. There, Christa encounters Estelle's two brothers - brooding, tempestuous Robbe and dependable, golden-haired Pieter - and during that long hot summer, passions run high. When war breaks out Christa is forced to return home, but not before she has done something she will regret for the rest of her life.
Christa arrives back in England a changed woman, while Estelle decides to follow in her mother's footsteps and join the Resistance. Little do they dream that Fleur was betrayed by someone close to them, and that the legacy of this betrayal will have heartbreaking consequences for them all.
Whatever dreams he was having, Jason knew they had nothing to do with his physical body. His eyes were firmly shut and his consciousness withdrawn from his senses when all this was going on. Yet in his dreams he experienced sights, sounds and even visceral sensations much more intensely than when he was awake.
From this he understood that you didn't need a physical body to see, or smell, or endure any kind of experience with an acuteness that was more real than reality. From an early age he deduced that heaven or hell need not be material places so much as states of mind - and no less glorious or horrifying because of that. There were no limits to mind untethered from form.
oWhat if you could re-live the enchantment of childhood bedtime-but with magic that is real? What if you felt the wonder you once sensed when you believed that anything is possible? Or were inspired to see the world through fresh eyes?
In this compendium of delightful short stories, David Michie draws us into the extraordinary experiences of everyday people as they encounter those tell-tale cracks exposing reality as not quite what it seems. Four female book club members are unexpectedly propelled, by the same black and white photograph, to discover a shared purpose beyond their wildest imaginings. An earnest young seeker finds that drawing aside the veil to an immeasurably more wonderful reality, doesn't depend so much on the arcane books he reads as on a source much closer to home. A cat-crazy woman, who wishes her beloved felines would talk to her, is shaken when she realises what they have been trying to communicate all along.
Through intriguing storylines and revelations, David Michie offers life-enhancing insights with the same heart-warming benevolence that pervades his Dalai Lama's Cat books. How better to gently unwind at the end of the day - and to prepare for the infinite possibilities we may encounter in the realms of our dreams?
'The Forensic Records Society is like Animal Farm but with blokes for pigs, and much better songs' Guardian
Two men with a passion for vinyl create a society for the appreciation of records. Their aim is simple: to elevate the art of listening by doing so in forensic detail. The society enjoys moderate success in the back room of their local pub, The Half Moon, with other enthusiasts drawn to the initial promise of the weekly gathering.
However, as the club gains popularity, its founder's uncompromising dogma results in a schism within the movement and soon a counter group forms. Then the arrival of a young woman called Alice further fractures the unity of the vulnerable society. As rifts are forged and gulfs widen, Magnus Mills examines the surreal nature of ordinary lives. The master of the comic deadpan returns for his ninth novel, a spectacularly disingenuous exploration of power, fanaticism and really, really good records.
A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman's experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature. Our narrator has many of the advantages of life, on the surface. Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance. But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn't just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend. It's the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?
This story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs, designed to heal us from our alienation from this world, shows us how reasonable, even necessary, that alienation sometimes is. Blackly funny, both merciless and compassionate - dangling its legs over the ledge of 9/11 - this novel is a showcase for the gifts of one of America's major young writers working at the height of her powers.
For readers of The Cows, Sweetbitter or Conversations With Friends - as well as for fans of Fleabag or Search Party - Caroline O'Donoghue's debut is a gothic, darkly witty novel about sex, power, work and being a young woman in a man's world .
Jane Peters is an adrift 20-something by day, and a world-weary agony aunt by night. But when an office party goes too far, Jane dissolves into the high-stakes world of being the Other Woman: a role she has the right advice for, but not the smarts to follow through on. What starts out as a drunken mistake quickly unravels as Jane discovers that sex and power go hand-in-hand, and that it's hard to keep your head when you've become someone else's dirty little secret.
A promotion and a pay rise aren't the only changes that Jane's faced with: as her physical and mental stability start to falter, her career, her friendships and even her life are put in jeopardy...
A striking, gothic, witty debut novel about being a young woman in a man's world.
Kate Reddy is counting down the days until she is fifty, but not in a good way. Fifty, in Kate's mind, equals invisibility, and she's caught between her traitorous hormones, unknowable teenage children and ailing parents.
She's back at work after a break, now that her husband Rich has dropped out of the rat race to master the art of mindfulness. But just as Kate is finding a few tricks to get by, her old client and flame Jack reappears - complicated doesn't even begin to cover it...
This novel of extraordinary humanity (Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing) from New York Times bestselling author Vaddey Ratner reveals the endless ways that families can be forged and broken hearts held (Chicago Tribune) as a young woman begins an odyssey to discover the truth about her missing father.
Leaving the safety of America, Teera returns to Cambodia for the first time since her harrowing escape as a child refugee. She carries a letter from a man who mysteriously signs himself as the Old Musician and claims to have known her father in the Khmer Rouge prison where he disappeared twenty-five years ago.
In Phnom Penh, Teera finds a society still in turmoil, where perpetrators and survivors of unfathomable violence live side by side, striving to mend their still beloved country. She meets a young doctor who begins to open her heart, confronts her long-buried memories, and prepares to learn her father's fate.
Meanwhile, the Old Musician, who earns his modest keep playing ceremonial music at a temple, awaits Teera's visit. He will have to confess the bonds he shared with her parents, the passion with which they all embraced the Khmer Rouge's illusory promise of a democratic society, and the truth about her father's end.
A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness, Music of the Ghosts is a sensitive portrait of the inheritance of survival (USA TODAY) and a journey through the embattled geography of the heart where love can be reborn.
'Are you waiting for Monsieur Bellivier, madame?' Helena should of course say no. She doesn't know the man talking to her, she doesn't know Monsieur Bellivier, and she certainly isn't waiting for him. But, bored of life, and sparked by a whim, she says yes.
Mancebo, a Tunisian shopkeeper, lives a quiet life manning his grocery near the Sacre-C÷ur. But one day he is approached by a woman asking whether he will spy on her boyfriend, who lives in the apartment across the street. To his surprise, Mancebo agrees.
As Helena and Mancebo's missions overlap, they realise that the City of Light harbours more secrets in its cafes and courtyards than its inhabitants and visitors could possibly suspect...
The book everyone is talking about for the summer Lorraine Candy, Sunday Times In my childhood, I was known as the boy whose mother had run off with an Englishman - so begins the story of Myshkin and his mother, Gayatri, who is driven to rebel against tradition and follow her artist's instinct for freedom.
Freedom of a different kind is in the air across India. The fight against British rule is reaching a critical turn. The Nazis have come to power in Germany. At this point of crisis, two strangers arrive in Gayatri's town, opening up for her the vision of other possible lives.
What took Myshkin's mother from India to Dutch-held Bali in the 1930s, ripping a knife through his comfortingly familiar environment? Excavating the roots of the world in which he was abandoned, Myshkin comes to understand the connections between anguish at home and a war-torn universe overtaken by patriotism.
Anuradha Roy's enthralling novel is a powerful parable for our times, telling the story of men and women trapped in a dangerous era uncannily similar to the present. Impassioned, elegiac, and gripping, it brims with the same genius that has brought Roy's earlier fiction international renown.
One of India's greatest living authors - O, The Oprah Magazine Roy's writing is a joy - Financial Times
In 1939, five-year-old Jacques Austerlitz is sent to England on a Kindertransport and placed with foster parents. This childless couple promptly erase from the boy all knowledge of his identity and he grows up ignorant of his past. Later in life, after a career as an architectural historian, Austerlitz - having avoided all clues that might point to his origin - finds the past returning to haunt him and he is forced to explore what happened fifty years before.
In a triumphant return to his much-loved Courtney series, Wilbur Smith introduces us to the bravest new member of the famed family, Saffron Courtney.
Saffron grows up on a sprawling Kenyan estate, under the watchful eye of her father, prominent businessman and distinguished war veteran Leon Courtney. Her childhood is idyllic, until a family tragedy forces her to grow up much faster than necessary. As she grows into a spirited teenager, her thirst for knowledge and adventure leads her to England, where she finds herself inevitably drawn into the heart of the gathering storm in the lead-up to World War II.
Gerhard von Meerback is the privileged and idealistic younger brother of Konrad von Meerbach, heir to an industrial fortune, and vocal supporter of the Nazi Party. Gerhard struggles to stay true to his principles in an increasingly cruel world. His friendship with a Jewish man places him in danger, and forces him to take a stand against the forces of evil that have overtaken his country and his family. But, unknown to him, he is caught in a trap that could cost him everything he holds dear.
As the Second World War looms over them all, Saffron and Gerhard's worlds collide - but will there be more to unite them than tear them apart? A love story in the time of heroes, War Cry is the latest breathtaking episode in Wilbur Smith's epic account of one beloved family.
Now a major Sky TV series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
The once illustrious, once wealthy Melroses are in peril, and Patrick Melrose, now a husband and father, is trying to gather together the pieces of his life. Caught up in the turmoil of broken promises, assisted suicide, adultery and - most tender and terrifying of all - fatherhood, Patrick is still a long way from salvation, but even as the family struggles against the pull of its dark past, a new generation promises new light, new hope and - perhaps - the promise of a brighter future.
Searingly funny and deeply humane, Patrick Melrose Volume 1 contains the first three novels in the Patrick Melrose series, Never Mind, Bad News and Some Hope; Patrick Melrose Volume 2, containing the final two novels in the series, Mother's Milk and At Last.
Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.
But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah's diagnosis with a heart condition that both of them know will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen on the brink of adulthood, that time is coming.
With the theatre under threat of closure, Hannah and Tom have more than one fight on their hands to stop the stories ending. But maybe, just maybe, one final day of magic might just save them both.
A tale about growing up, the beauty of a special bond between father and daughter, and finding magic in everyday life, Days of Wonder is the most moving novel you'll read all year.
The international bestseller about friendship, second chances, and a tiny glow-in-the-dark pink elephant What would you do if you woke up to see a living, breathing, tiny, glowing, pink elephant? If you're anything like Schoch, who lives on the streets of Zurich and is decidedly down on his luck, you might well think it's time to put away the bottle before your hallucinations get any stranger, and go back to sleep.
But what if the tiny pink elephant is still there when you wake up? And clearly needs someone to take care of it? And what if you discover that it's been created through genetic engineering, by a group of scientists who just want to use it to get rich and don't care about the elephant's welfare? And that they're in cahoots with a circus and will stop at nothing to get it back?
What if this little elephant is about to change your life?
FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BESTSELLING MOTHERING SUNDAY AND LAST ORDERS, and reissued for the first time on the Scribner list, this is an intensely moving novel about a night that will change one family beyond recognition.
On a June night Paula, a successful art dealer, lies awake, Mike, her husband of twenty-five years, asleep beside her. In nearby rooms their twin teenage children, Nick and Kate, sleep too. The next day, Paula knows, will define all their lives.
As dawn approaches, Paula recalls the years before and after her children were born. Her story is both a celebration of love possessed and a moving acknowledgement of the fear of loss, of the fragilities on which even our most inward sense of who we are can rest.
Graham Swift's apparently most domestic book is that rare thing in fiction, a novel about happiness, though a happiness that is not all that it seems. An intimate and tender tale of a marriage, a family and a home, it begins to embrace big themes: nature and nurture, the illusory and the real.
Shetland: a place of sheep and soil, of harsh weather, close ties and an age-old way of life. A place where David has lived all his life, like his father and grandfather before him, but where he abides only in the present moment. A place where Sandy, a newcomer but already a crofter, may have finally found a home. A place that Alice has fled to after the death of her husband.
But times do change - island inhabitants die, or move away, and David worries that no young families will take over the chain of stories and care that this valley has always needed, while others wonder if it was ever truly theirs to join. In the wind and sun and storms from the Atlantic, these islanders must decide: what is left of us when the day's work is done, the children grown, and all our choices have been made?
The debut novel from one of our most exciting new literary voices, The Valley at the Centre of the World is a story about community and isolation, about what is passed down, and what is lost between the cracks.
'Rock and Roll is Life' is the new novel from the country's leading man of letters, D. J. Taylor.
You may remember the Helium Kids. Back in their late '60s and early '70s heyday they appeared on Top of the Tops on 27 separate occasions, released five Billboard-certified platinum albums, played sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden and were nearly, but not quite, as big as the Beatles and the Stones.
Three decades later, in the big house on the outskirts of Norwich, Nick Du Pont is looking back on the rollercoaster years he spent as their publicist in a world of licensed excess and lurking tragedy.
What follows is not only the story of a rock band at a formative time in musical history, when America was opening up to English music and huge amounts of money and self-gratification were there for the taking. For the tale is also Nick's - the life and times of a war-baby born in a Norwich council house, the son of an absconding GI, whose career is a search for some of the advantages that his birth denied him. It is at once a worm's eye of British pop music's golden age and a bittersweet personal journey, with cameo appearances from everyone from Elvis and Her Majesty the Queen Mother to Andy Warhol.
'Rock and Roll is Life' is a vastly entertaining, picaresque and touching novel inspired by the excess and trajectories of the great '60sand '70s supergroups, and of the tales brought back from the front line by a very special breed of Englishmen who made it big in the States as the alchemists and enablers, as well as the old making way for the new in the era of the baby boomers. At its heart is one man's adventure, and the poignancy of the special relationships that dominate his life.
This is no ordinary love story and Sam is no typical hero...but he is a hero.
Charming, quirky, and absolutely bursting with heart, this is the perfect book club read for fans of The Rosie Project, A Man Called Ove, and Eleanor Oliphant.
Sam Holloway has survived the worst that life can throw at you. But he's not really living. His meticulous routines keep everything nice and safe - with just one exception...
Three nights a week, Sam dons his superhero costume and patrols the streets. It makes him feel invincible - but his unlikely heroics are getting him into some sticky, and increasingly dangerous, situations.
Then a girl comes into his life, and his ordered world is thrown into chaos ... and now Sam needs to decide whether he can be brave enough to finally take off the mask.
Both hilarious and heart-warming, this is a story about love, loneliness, grief, and the life-changing power of kindness.
Find out what readers are saying about Sam Holloway:
'A hilarious, laugh-out-loud story which also manages to be deadly serious, proving that it takes incredible courage to overcome the pain of grief. It will cut you to the heart and remind you of what's most important in life. Read this book - I can't recommend it highly enough' Created To Read book blog 'Sweet, funny, sad and ultimately uplifting, this is a really charming and enjoyable read, with a great character in Sam' NetGalley reviewer 'Highly recommend this book. Emotional and inspirational with a dash of action and romance' Goodreads reader 'What a cracking read. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and empathized with all the characters. An easy, comfortable read, perfect with a pot of tea and tin of biscuits. Loved it' NetGalley reviewer 'A lovely, feel-good book, definitely worth reading' Goodreads reader 'Brilliant book, well written and gripping from page one' Goodreads reader
The last collection of short stories by the master storyteller William Trevor.
For more than half a century William Trevor was widely regarded as the greatest writer of short stories in the English language. In this final collection of ten exquisite stories, Trevor illuminates the lives of ordinary people, and plumbs the depths of the human spirit.
Here we encounter a tutor and his pupil, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when they meet again years later; a young girl who discovers the mother she believed dead is alive and well; and a piano-teacher who accepts her pupil's theft in exchange for his beautiful music.
***As heard on BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour, BBC Breakfast, and BBC Radio 5 Live*** A riveting tale of dislocation, survival, and the power of stories to break or save us Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbours began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Clare, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years wandering through seven African countries, searching for safety-perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive.
When Clemantine was twelve, she and her sister were granted refugee status in the United States, where she embarked on another journey, ultimately graduating from Yale. Yet the years of being treated as less than human, of going hungry and seeing death, could not be erased. She felt at the same time six years old and one hundred years old.
In The Girl Who Smiled Beads, Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of 'victim' and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.
The first novel from two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, a timeless Southern fable of brotherly love and familial conflict Joshua and Christophe are twins, raised by a blind grandmother and a large extended family in a rural town on Mississippi's Gulf Coast. Over the course of a single, life-changing summer, as they struggle to find work and contend with the reappearance of their parents - Cille, who left town for a better job, and Sandman, a dangerous addict - the brothers are forced into a series of decisions that will ultimately damn or save them.
A delicate and closely observed portrait of fraternal love and strife and the bonds that can sustain and torment us, Where the Line Bleeds marks the beginning of Jesmyn Ward's extraordinary career in fiction.
'It would be a dull world if we all thought alike.'
After seven years of marriage, the beautiful Lady Brenda Last is bored with life at Hetton Abbey, the Gothic mansion that is the pride and joy of her husband, Tony. She drifts into an affair with the shallow socialite John Beaver and forsakes Tony for the Belgravia set. Brilliantly combining tragedy, comedy and savage irony, A Handful of Dust captures the irresponsible mood of the 'crazy and sterile generation' between the wars.
The Penguin English Library - collectable general readers' editions of the best fiction in English, from the eighteenth century to the end of the Second World War.
Don't get mad. Get Emily.
Emily Charlton does not do the suburbs. A successful stylist and image consultant to Hollywood stars, she cut her teeth as assistant to legendary fashion editor Miranda Priestly in New York. But with social media-obsessed millennials stealing her clients, Emily needs to get back in the game – and fast.
She holes up at the home of her oldest friend Miriam in the upscale suburb of Greenwich. And when Miriam's friend, model Karolina Hartwell, is publicly dumped by her husband Graham, a senator with presidential ambitions, Emily scents the client of a lifetime.
It's not just Karolina's reputation that's ruined. It's her family. And Miriam and Emily are determined he won't get away with it. First they'll get Karolina's son back. Then they'll help her get her own back.
Because when life gives you lemons, buy tequila...
Vintage Minis bring you the world’s greatest writers on the experiences that make us human – from birth to death and everything in between.
Irvine Welsh, 'poet laureate of the chemical generation', exposes the seamy underbelly of rave’s utopian dream. Lloyd, our permanently pilled-up protagonist, pushes his weekends to breaking point and beyond in this frazzled trip through Scottish clubland. He experiences the vertiginous uppers and downers of the Second Summer of Love, dabbles in a spot of disc jockeying and closes in, gradually, on some kind of redemption...
Selected from Irvine Welsh's novel Ecstasy.
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.
H Is for Hawk meets Grief Is the Thing with Feathers in this evocative debut novel about a pill-popping anesthesiologist and avid birder who embarks on a quest to find one of the world’s rarest species, allowing nothing to get in his way - until he’s forced to confront his obsessions and what they’ve cost him.
Adrian Mandrick seems to have his life in perfect order with an excellent job in a Colorado hospital, a wife and two young children he loves deeply, and a serious passion for birding. His life list comprises 863 species correctly identified and cataloged - it is, in fact, the third longest list in the North American region.
But Adrian holds dark secrets about his childhood - secrets that threaten to consume him after he’s contacted by his estranged mother, and subsequently relapses into an addiction to painkillers. In the midst of his downward spiral, the legendary birder with the region’s second-longest life list dies suddenly, and Adrian receives an anonymous tip that could propel him to the very top: the extremely rare Ivory-billed Woodpecker, spotted deep in the swamplands of Florida’s Panhandle.
Combining sharp, elegant prose with environmental adventure, The Life List of Adrian Mandrick is a poignant, engaging story that heralds the arrival of a new literary talent.
From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Interestings ('one of America's most ingenious and important writers' Sunday Telegraph), a big, warm and immersive novel about ambition, power, women, friendship and finding your place in the world
'The wit, intelligence and deep feeling of Wolitzer's writing are extraordinary.' Jeffrey Eugenides
‘Greer didn’t really know why Faith took an interest. But what she knew for sure, eventually, was that meeting Faith Frank was the thrilling beginning of everything. It would be a very long time before the unspeakable end.’
Greer Kadetsky is a shy college student when she meets the woman who will shape her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant, has been a pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others. Hearing Faith speak for the first time, in a crowded campus chapel, Greer – misunderstood yet full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place – feels herself changed. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites her to make something out of this new sense of purpose, with a career opportunity that leads her down the most exciting and rewarding path as it winds towards and away from her meant-to-be love story with high school sweetheart Cory and the future she had always imagined.
Expansive and wise, compassionate and witty, The Female Persuasion is about the spark we all believe is flickering inside us, waiting to be seen and fanned by the right person at the right time, and the desire within all of us to be pulled into the light.
VINTAGE MINIS - GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS.
How to go on in a world where everything is set against you? With hope? In fear? Or, in violent struggle? In this gripping and disturbing book, Richard Wright weaves his own childhood recollections with those of Bigger Thomas - a young black man trapped in a life of poverty in the slums of Chicago, and unwittingly involved in a wealthy woman's death - to paint a portrait of insurmountable oppression. Through the strange pride Bigger takes in his crime, Wright brings us to confront the systems of justice we blindly assume are always on our side.
Selected from the books Black Boy and Native Son by Richard Wright
A deep and luminous novel of self-discovery and second chances - a heartbreaking celebration of love, life and the surprises it throws at us.
Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are
When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.
When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.
They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet.
Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.
Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.
Can their unexpected friendship survive?