In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a cafe which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the cafe's time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer's, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the cafe, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold ...
Toshikazu Kawaguchi's beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?
'Oh, what a book this is! Hoffman's exploration of the world of good and evil, and the constant contest between them, is unflinching; and the humanity she brings to us - it is a glorious experience. The book builds and builds, as she weaves together, seamlessly, the stories of people in the most desperate of circumstances - and then it delivers with a tremendous punch. It opens up the world ... in a way that is absolutely unique. By the end you may be weeping' Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge In Berlin in 1941 during humanity's darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice Hoffman.
In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it's his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.
Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she's destined to be.
What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending.
Praise for Alice Hoffman: 'A major contribution to twenty-first century literature' Toni Morrisonon The Museum of Extraordinary Things 'A great atmospheric storyteller... Her books are a real pleasure' Kate Atkinson 'Hoffman reminds us with every sentence that words have the power to transport us to alternate worlds, to heal a broken heart, and to tie us irrevocably to the people we love' Jodi Picoult 'Miss Hoffman heals wounds with the gentle touch of an angel' Joseph Heller 'Hoffman... writes with heartbreaking clarity' The Times 'Alice Hoffman is simply brilliant' Daily Mail 'Hoffman knows how to tell a good story' Sunday Times 'Monumental... magical, moving... beautifully written... A genuine masterpiece' Daily Mail on The Dovekeepers 'One of the finest writers of her generation' Newsweek
THE MOST IMPORTANT FRENCH BOOK OF THE YEAR
'One cannot be said to be keeping abreast of contemporary literature without reading Houellebecq's work.' Karl Ove Knausgaard, New York Times Dissatisfied and discontent, Florent-Claude Labrouste begrudgingly works as an engineer for the Ministry of Agriculture, and is in a self-imposed dysfunctional relationship with a younger woman. When he discovers her ongoing infidelity, he decides to abandon his life in Paris and return to the Normandy countryside of his youth. There he contemplates lost loves and past happiness as he struggles to embed himself in a world that no longer holds any joy for him.
His only relief comes in the form of a pill - white, oval, small. Captorix is a new brand of anti-depressant, recently released for public consumption, which works by altering the brain's release of serotonin. With social unrest intensifying around him, and his own depression deepening, Florent-Claude turns to this new medication in the hope that he will find something to live for.
Written by one of the most provocative and prophetic novelists of his generation, Serotonin is at once a devastating story of solitude, longing and individual suffering, and a powerful criticism of modern life.
Kafka meets The Thick Of It in a bitingly funny new political satire from Ian McEwan
That morning, Jim Sams, clever but by no means profound, woke from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed into a gigantic creature.
Jim Sams has undergone a metamorphosis. In his previous life he was ignored or loathed, but in his new incarnation he is the most powerful man in Britain - and it is his mission to carry out the will of the people. Nothing must get in his way: not the opposition, nor the dissenters within his own party. Not even the rules of parliamentary democracy.
With trademark intelligence, insight and scabrous humour, Ian McEwan pays tribute to Franz Kafka's most famous work to engage with a world turned on its head.
The long-awaited sequel to the international bestseller PS, I Love You!
It's been seven years since Holly Kennedy's husband died - six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.
She's proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry's letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.
Reluctantly, Holly begins a relationship with the club, even as their friendship threatens to destroy the peace she believes she has achieved. As each of these people calls upon Holly to help them leave something meaningful behind for their loved ones, Holly will embark on a remarkable journey - one that will challenge her to ask whether embracing the future means betraying the past, and what it means to love someone forever...
You can talk about living in the Mallee. And you can talk about a Mallee tree. And you can talk about the Mallee itself: a land and a place full of red sand and short stubby trees. Silent skies. The undulating scorch of summer plains. Quiet, on the surface of things.
But Elise wasn't from the Mallee, and she knew nothing of its ways.
Discover the world of a small homestead perched on the sunburnt farmland of northern Victoria. Meet Elise, whose urbane 1950s glamour is rudely transplanted to the pragmatic red soil of the Mallee when her husband returns to work the family farm. But you cannot uproot a plant and expect it to thrive. And so it is with Elise. Her meringues don't impress the shearers, the locals scoff at her Paris fashions, her husband works all day in the back paddock, and the drought kills everything but the geraniums she despises.
As their mother withdraws more and more into herself, her spirited, tearaway daughters, Marjorie and Ruby, wild as weeds, are left to raise themselves as best they can. Until tragedy strikes, and Marjorie flees to the city determined to leave her family behind. And there she stays, leading a very different life, until the boy she loves draws her back to the land she can't forget...
'In the same vein as Rosalie Ham, Brinsden weaves a compelling story of country Australia with all its stigma, controversy and beauty.' Fleur McDonald
'I ADORE cold-war novels and I live for love stories - The Museum of Broken Promises is a perfect combination of both. It's a gem of a book ... beautiful, elegant.' Marian Keyes 'Intricately plotted and beautifully written, the characters and the setting stay with you and leave you yearning for Paris.' Katie Fforde, author of A Vintage Wedding Paris, today. The Museum of Broken Promises is a place of wonder and sadness, hope and loss. Every object in the museum has been donated - a cake tin, a wedding veil, a baby's shoe. And each represent a moment of grief or terrible betrayal. The museum is a place where people come to speak to the ghosts of the past and, sometimes, to lay them to rest. Laure, the owner and curator, has also hidden artefacts from her own painful youth amongst the objects on display.
Prague, 1985. Recovering from the sudden death of her father, Laure flees to Prague. But life behind the Iron Curtain is a complex thing: drab and grey yet charged with danger. Laure cannot begin to comprehend the dark, political currents that run beneath the surface of this communist city. Until, that is, she meets a young dissident musician. Her love for him will have terrible and unforeseen consequences.
It is only years later, having created the museum, that Laure can finally face up to her past and celebrate the passionate love which has directed her life.
The sensational new novel from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse.
One winter's afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of strange dreams and swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But whilst Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of this new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.
Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie's imposing house in search of a confession ...
From the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse, this is a luminous, powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves.
PRAISE FOR THE CONFESSION 'Dazzlingly good. The Confession is that rare thing: an utterly engrossing novel which asks big questions without ever once losing sight of the storyteller's need to entertain and move. I turned the final pages in tears and I know already I shall return to it again and again. Without doubt one of the best novels of recent years.' Elizabeth Day, author of The Party and How To Fail 'I haven't enjoyed a book so much in a long time . . . I lost myself in the story, not wanting to come up for air. A bold, intelligent, wonderful novel' Sarah Winman, author of Tin Man 'Burton is asking important questions in The Confession - questions about motherhood, art and creativity, love, friendship - and in doing this, she has created three utterly fascinating characters. Connie, Elise, and Rose are complicated; complex in ways that women are so rarely allowed to be in literature, demanding that their stories be heard. This is a beautiful novel and one that will stay with me for a very long time' Louise O'Neill, author of Only Ever Yours 'an absorbing, intelligent piece of storytelling' Guardian
A Dog's Promise is the heart-warming and uplifting story about one dog who fulfils his promise and helps a family who needs him the most.
The dog who thinks of himself as 'Bailey' knows one thing for sure: all dogs go to heaven after they have fulfilled their purpose on earth. But Bailey's work on earth is far from finished, there are still so many more humans that need a dog's talent for unconditional love.
There is one family in particular that needs Bailey's help, a family that is on the verge of breaking apart. But if Bailey helps this family he won't remember his previous lives, the connections he's made, and the humans he's met and loved. Bailey must decide whether to sacrifice everything to heal this one, desperate family.
A Dog's Promise is a deeply emotional, beautifully told tale that will speak to dog lovers all over the world who wonder, could this dog have been sent to us specifically, for a reason? A Dog's Promise provides the answer to that eternal question with a resounding, and uplifting, 'Yes!'
A jewel of modern Norwegian literature now hailed as Lars Saabye Christensen's crowning achievement - an intricate and utterly compelling narrative.
Christensen is one of Scandinavia's finest and most celebrated storytellers, who has devoted the best part of his career to writing about the city of his birth. As Oslo slowly emerges from a period of crippling austerity, ECHOES OF THE CITY shows how small, almost imperceptible acts of kindness and compassion, and tiny shifts in fortune, can change the lives of many.
At the centre of the novel are Maj and Ewald Kristoffersen and their son Jesper, their lives closely entwined and overlapping with their neighbours' on Kirkeveien. When the butcher's son Jostein is knocked down in a traffic accident and loses his hearing, Jesper promises to be his ears in the world. The arrival of a long-awaited telephone is a major event for Maj and Ewald, and meanwhile their neighbour, recently widowed Fru Vik, tentatively takes up with the owner of the bookshop near the cemetery. The bar at Hotel Bristol becomes a meeting place for all of them - for Ewald and his advertising colleagues, for Fru Vik and her suitor, to the piano playing of hapless Enzo Zanetti, an immigrant down on his luck, who enables Jesper to discover his true passion.
The minutes of the local Red Cross meetings give an architecture to the narrative of so many lives and tell a story in themselves, bearing witness to the steady recovery of the community. ECHOES OF THE CITY is a remarkably tender observation of the rhythms and passions of a city, and a particular salute to the resilience of its women.
Translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett
From the New York Times bestselling novelist Meg Waite Clayton comes a powerful novel, set in the pre-World War II era, based on the true story of the Kindertransport rescue of ten thousand children from Nazi-occupied Europe-and of one brave woman who helped them escape.
In 1936, the Nazis are little more than brutish boors to fifteen-year-old Stephan Neuman, a budding playwright and the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family in Vienna, Austria. Stephan's best friend and companion is the brilliant Zofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents' carefree innocence is shattered when Hitler's forces advance.
There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a childless Dutchwoman, risks her life to smuggle children out of Nazi-occupied lands to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous as countries across Europe close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape after the Anschluss, Hitler's annexation of Austria.
Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in young refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the Final Solution to the Jewish Question. Truus then sets off in a race against time to lead hundreds of children on a perilous journey to freedom.
Every slave plantation is a house of spies and intrigue. No slave walks a straight line or has a single story - deep within their hearts is betrayal and insurrection. But against whom?
Hiram Walker is a man with a gift and a curse. He was born between worlds- his father a white plantation master, his mother a black slave. And he was born with a secret, special power. Sold to a new mistress as punishment for trying to escape, Hiram discovers her home is a secret hub of the underground railroad- a training ground for its agents. With his special power, Hiram fast becomes a highly skilled agent, retrieving the enslaved from the most dangerous circumstances - but betrayals lurk everywhere. And eventually Hiram must risk everything to return to his father's plantation and free the friends he left there.
After The Childhood of Jesus and The Schooldays of Jesus, J. M. Coetzee completes his trilogy with a new masterwork, The Death of Jesus.
David has grown to be a tall ten-year-old. He is a natural at soccer, and loves kicking a ball around with his friends. His father Sim n and Bolivar the dog usually watch. His mother Ines works in a fashion boutique.
David still asks lots of questions. In dancing class at the Academy of Music he dances as he chooses. He refuses to do sums and will not read any books except Don Quixote.
One day Julio Fabricante, the director of a nearby orphanage, invites David and his friends to form a proper soccer team. David decides he will leave Sim n and Ines to live with Julio. Before long he succumbs to a mysterious illness.
In The Death of Jesus, J. M. Coetzee continues to explore the meaning of a world empty of memory but brimming with questions.
Thirty-four year old Luke O'Brien has left the city to live a quiet, bookish life on the River Sullane in County Waterford. Alone in his big house, he longs for a return to his family's heyday and turns to books-especially Ulysses-for solace and sublimation. One morning a young woman arrives at his door and enters his life, with profound consequences.
A novel that pays glorious homage to Joyce, The River Capture tells of a man's phenomenal descent into near madness when love is lost. It is about humanity's capacity for good and evil and what happens when Nature is thwarted. More than anything, it is a book about the life of the mind and the redemptive powers of art.
In Orko's world, things aren't what they seem - the streets are lined with houses that watch him through their slatted windows; a rusty old car is willed into existence by an absent-minded conjurer; on a sunny afternoon, the Titanic sinks in the waters of the Dhakuria Lake. When he was little, Orko thought that he was going to grow up to be exactly like his mother.
Urmi is Orko's best friend. She is his classmate, and he has known her since they were babies. He envies her, and he prays to Ma Lokkhi to turn him into a girl, so that he, too, can wear earrings like Urmi's. His wish isn't granted, and Orko grows up nursing a growing jealousy. To spite Urmi he attends a football camp he's signed up for by his father, and things begin to go terribly wrong.
In the pages of his mother's notebooks lives a little girl, with a butterfly's wing. When Orko is on the verge of implosion, she goads him into action, with visions of a future that might be his, if only he had the wherewithal to claim it for himself.
A tragedy of manners from the Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Sisters Brothers `My favourite book of his yet' Maria Semple, author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette 'Pure joy' Mail on Sunday 'Buoyantly insane' New Yorker Frances Price is in dire straits. Scandals swirl around the recently widowed New York socialite, and her adult-aged, toddler-brained son Malcolm is no help.
Cutting their losses, they grab their cat, Small Frank, and head for the exit. Paris becomes the backdrop for a giddy drive to self-destruction, helped along by a cast of singularly curious characters.
Brimming with pathos, warmth and wit, French Exit is a riotous send-up of high society and a moving story of mothers and sons.
Noah Selvaggio is a retired chemistry professor and widower living on the Upper West Side, but born in the South of France. He is days away from his long-awaited first trip back to Nice, but he receives a call from social services: Noah is the closest available relative of his eleven-year-old great-nephew and he urgently needs someone to take him in.
Plagued by guilt and a feeling of duty to his dead sister, Noah agrees to foster the kid 'just for couple of weeks' and takes him along on his visit to Nice. This unlikely duo, both feeling adrift in their lives and suffering from culture shock, argue about everything from steak frites to Snapchat.
Noah is disappointed by how much Nice has changed since he left. When sharp-eyed Michael identifies the historic Hotel Excelsior in one of Noah's photographs, they decide to check in - but once inside their luxury suite, Noah's perception of his ancestral heritage starts to crack.
Shocking stories of the Nazi occupation surface: a hotel re-purposed for torture, a secret resistance movement, and Noah's mysterious mother on the front lines of history. As dark truths about this famous tourist mecca come to light, Noah learns to appreciate Michael's street-smart wit and ease with technology. He finally grasps the great risks people in all ages have taken for their kin.
A compelling and poignant search for identity through perfume.
Granny Seren told me I had a natural talent for perfume making, and I believed her because she seemed to know what she was talking about and she never lied. It was Seren who introduced me to the idea of a signature scent.
As a university lecturer, Si n didn't need a signature scent to know who she was. But, prompted by her job loss following restructuring of the humanities - and the effect this has on her identity - she begins to construct a perfume of herself. Note by perfume note, referencing scent memories and recent events, she rebuilds herself, Scented.
A GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR `A thrilling, razor-sharp critique of US foreign policy ... Red Birds is an incisive, unsparing critique of war and of America's role in the destruction of the Middle East. It combines modern and ancient farcical traditions in thrilling way` Guardian American pilot Major Ellie has crashed his plane in the middle of a desert. Lucky for him there's room for him at the very refugee camp he was supposed to bomb.
Teenage Momo doesn't see it that way: the camp is a trap, not a refuge. His brother's missing, his parents are in a rage, and an aid worker won't stop trying to interview him for her book on the Teenage Muslim Mind.
Savage, irreverent and deliciously dark, Red Birds is a masterful unravelling of intertwined fates in a forgotten war-scape - and a brilliant satire about satire about the absurdity of war and the impossibility of peace.
'That night Stasia took an oath, swearing to learn the recipe by heart and destroy the paper. And when she was lying in her bed again, recalling the taste with all her senses, she was sure that this secret recipe could heal wounds, avert catastrophes, and bring people happiness. But she was wrong.' At the start of the twentieth century, on the edge of the Russian empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a delicious chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. A caution which is justified- this is a recipe for ecstasy that carries a very bitter aftertaste . . .
Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband, Simon, to his posting at the centre of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg. Stasia's is only the first of a symphony of grand but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century.
Tumbling down the years, and across vast expanses of longing and loss, generation after generation of this compelling family hears echoes and sees reflections. Great characters and greater relationships come and go and come again; the world shakes, and shakes some more, and the reader rejoices to have found at last one of those glorious old books in which you can live and learn, be lost and found, and make indelible new friends.
'The Eighth Life is the saga of a Georgian family - its intricate, interconnected lives, its losses, triumphs, sadnesses, and great loves, set against the sweep of Russian history across the twentieth century ... an unforgettable, rich and textured piece of literature.' -Georgia Brough, Readings 'The novel of the year.' -Der Spiegel 'Not only in its length does this novel resemble the work of Boris Pasternak. You will not want to put it down. The red century devours a family, and history comes with a pinch of chocolate - Like Water for Chocolate, even.' -Brigitte
'CORREGIDORA is the most brutally honest and painful revelation of what has occurred, and is occurring, in the souls of Black men and women' JAMES BALDWIN 'No novel about any black woman could ever be the same after this' TONI MORRISON Upon publication in 1975, CORREGIDORA was hailed as a masterpiece, winning acclaim from writers including James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and John Updike. Exploring themes such as race, sexuality and the long repercussions of slavery, this powerful novel paved the way for BELOVED and THE COLOUR PURPLE. Now, this lost classic is published for a new generation of readers.
Blues singer Ursa is consumed by her hatred of Corregidora, a nineteenth-century slave master who fathered both her mother and grandmother. Charged with 'making generations' to bear witness to the abuse embodied in the family name, Ursa Corregidora finds herself unable to keep alive this legacy when she is made sterile in a violent fight with her husband. Haunted by the ghosts of a Brazilian plantation, pained by a present of lovelessness and despair, Ursa slowly and firmly strikes her own terms with womanhood.
AS HEARD ON THE BACKLISTED PODCAST Also new to the VMC list: EVA'S MAN and THE HEALING by Gayl Jones.
'An American writer with a powerful sense of vital inheritance, of history in the blood' JOHN UPDIKE 'Gayl Jones's first novel, CORREGIDORA (1975), was both shocking and ground-breaking in its probing of the psychological legacy of slavery and sexual ownership through the life of a Kentucky blues singer ... it predated Alice Walker's THE COLOR PURPLE and Toni Morrison's BELOVED, revealing an unfinished emancipation and the power of historical memory to shape lives. It also marked a shift in African-American literature that made women, and relationships between black people, central' MAYA JAGGI, Guardian 'CORREGIDORA's survey of trauma and overcoming has become even better and more relevant with the passage of time. It remains an indispensable point of entry into the tradition of African American writing that Gayl Jones reshaped and enriched' PAUL GILROY
Freya Abalone has a big, messy, wonderful family, a fantastic career, and a new house.
But that's on the outside.
On the inside, she's got Mildred - the name she's given to that nagging inner critic who tells us all we're not good enough.
And now Freya's beloved blended family is under threat. Dan's first wife Elisa, the glamorous, manipulative woman who happily abandoned her daughter to Freya and Dan's care and left the country, has elbowed her way back into their lives.
But Freya knows that when life gives you lemons, you throw them right back.
Can Freya put her family - and herself - back together? Find out in Cathy Kelly's warmest, wisest and funniest book yet...
Everyone loves Cathy Kelly:
'Honest, funny, clever, it sparkles with witty, wry observations on modern life. I loved it' Marian Keyes
'This book is full of joy - and I devoured every page of it gladly' Milly Johnson 'Filled with nuggets of wisdom, compassion and humour, Cathy Kelly proves, yet again, that she knows everything there is to know about women' Patricia Scanlan 'Packed with Cathy's usual magical warmth' Sheila O'Flanagan 'A lovely story of life and change' Prima 'Comforting and feel-good, the perfect treat read' Good Housekeeping
'Accomplished...a strangely mesmerising effect...absolutely excellent' New Statesman New York, 1980s Alice Burns - a young book editor - is deep into a manuscript about the morass of family life. The observations within resonate, perhaps, because she has just watched her own family implode.
As she reads she wonders- When did the sadness start? And could it be that unhappiness is a choice?
Thus begins a great American epic which follows Alice as she navigates high school, first love and sexism at an elite college, a spell in 1970s Ireland, and a tragedy that sends her stateside as the US embraces a cowboy actor named Reagan.
But it is also the tale of her endlessly complex parents and brothers - how their destinies are written by the lies they tell themselves and others.
The Great Wide Open is an immensely ambitious and compulsive saga; a novel which will speak volumes to anyone who has marvelled at that pain that can only be caused by family itself.
Winner of the Sapir Prize 2019.
A man is bribed to step into a courtroom to call an unknown defendant a murderer. A rich, lonely man hits on the idea of buying up people's birthdays so he'll always have friends calling. A writer agrees to write a story starring his friend so said friend can get a girl into bed. A father and son spot a stranger standing on the edge of a building, and the son shouts encouragement- fly already!
In these 22 short stories, wild capers reveal painful emotional truths, and the bizarre is just another name for the familiar. Wickedly funny and thrillingly smart, Fly Already is a collage of absurdity, despair, and love, from a master of the genre.
'Brilliantly edgy, unsettling, Kafkaesque and often very funny.' -Joyce Carol Oates 'Etgar Keret, the writer of absurd, sad, funny and very short stories, grows up ... These sardonic and very short fables are the next instalment in the series of strange scenarios cooked up in Keret's brain ... They are absurd stories your stoned friend might unfold while giggling, but the best of them land at some insight into the human condition, all economy and charm. This new collection, though, plumbs darker depths.' -Gal Beckerman, The New York Times 'Keret at his best - tender and inventive, not giving too much away ... Keret shines when he's gentle and when he gives himself room to explore his characters ... 'Pineapple Crush' is a lovely, understated story about the human need for connection, and Keret approaches it subtly, portraying the narrator's loneliness without resorting to pity. He doesn't overplay his hand or feel the need to wax whimsical; he's content to consider the human condition in a compassionate, unshowy way. The story is nearly perfect.' -Michael Schaub, NPR
Celebrate Christmas with the ultimate Shopaholic!
The brilliant laugh-out-loud festive novel from the Number One bestselling author.
Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) adores Christmas. It's always the same - Mum and Dad hosting, carols playing, Mum pretending she made the Christmas pudding, and the next-door neighbours coming round for sherry in their terrible festive jumpers.
And now it's even easier with online bargain-shopping sites - if you spend enough you even get free delivery. Sorted!
But this year looks set to be different. Unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocado, Becky's parents are moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch and have asked Becky if she'll host Christmas this year. What could possibly go wrong?
With sister Jess demanding a vegan turkey, husband Luke determined that he just wants aftershave again, and little Minnie insisting on a very specific picnic hamper - surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old boyfriend and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear . . .
Will chaos ensue, or will Becky manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas?
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW
VERYBODY LOVES SOPHIE KINSELLA
'A gem of a novel' JODI PICOULT 'Funny, fast and farcical. I loved it' JOJO MOYES 'Life doesn't get much better than a new Sophie Kinsella novel' RED
In January 1949 on an otherwise unremarkable day in an unremarkable Barcelona neighbourhood cinema, a prostitute is murdered in cold blood in the projection booth by the assistant projectionist, one Fermin Sicart.
More than thirty years later, a screenwriter resolves to determine the truth behind her murder, and seeks out Fermin, who has served his time. But though Fermin remembers killing his victim, and exactly how he did it, he cannot for the life of him recall why.
THE SNARES OF MEMORY, by one of the great Spanish men of letters, is at once an investigation of memory, motive and murder and a pointed dig at the Spanish film industry of the second half of the twentieth century.
'Part mystery, part war story, part romance, The Winter Soldier is a dream of a novel' Anthony Doerr, author of All The Light We Cannot See From the bestselling author of The Piano Tuner, comes Daniel Mason's The Winter Soldier, a story of love and medicine through the devastation of the First World War.
Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War One explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single, mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains.
But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon's scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal, makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient and nurse forever.
From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and, finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.
In 1942 Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.
After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a desolate, brutal prison camp in Siberia known as Vorkuta, inside the Arctic Circle.
Innocent and imprisoned once again, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar. When she makes an impression on a female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under unimaginable conditions. Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she confronts death and faces terror, each day a battle for survival. And when she nurses a man called Aleksandr, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.
Based on what is known of Cilka's time in Auschwitz, and on the experience of women in Siberian prison camps, Cilka's Journey is the breathtaking sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. A powerful testament to the triumph of the human will in adversity, Cilka's Journey will make you weep, but it will also leave you with the remarkable story of one woman's fierce determination to survive, against all odds.
'She was the bravest person I ever met' - Lale Sokolov, The Tattooist of Auschwitz
Inspired by a remarkable true story, the unforgettable journey of five extraordinary women living in extraordinary and perilous times.
Alice Wright has travelled halfway across the world to escape her stifling life in England. Handsome American businessman Bennett Van Cleve represents a fresh start. But she soon realises that swapping the twitching curtains of suburbia for newlywed life in the wild mountains of Kentucky isn't the answer to her prayers. But maybe meeting Margery O'Hara is. The heart and backbone of the small community of Salt Lick, a woman who isn't afraid of anything or anyone, Margery is on a mission.
Enlisting Alice, along with three other women, all from very different backgrounds, to join her, the band of unlikely sisters battle the elements and unforgiving terrain - as well as brave all manner of dangers and social disapproval - to ride hundreds of miles a week to deliver books to isolated families. Transforming the lives of so many is all the impetus they need to take such risks.
And for Alice, her new job and blossoming friendships become an unexpected lifeline, providing her with the courage she needs to make some tough decisions about her marriage. Then a body is found in the mountains, rocking the close-knit community and tearing the women apart as one of them becomes the prime suspect. Can they pull together to overcome their greatest challenge yet?
A love letter to the power of books and literature and their ability to bring us together and deliver the truth, as well as a tribute to female friendship, The Giver of Stars is the book that Jojo Moyes was born to write.
'Beguiling... Murakami is brilliant at folding the humdrum alongside the supernatural; finding the magic that's nested in life's quotidian details' Guardian When a thirty-something portrait painter is abandoned by his wife, he holes up in the mountain home of a famous artist. The days drift by, spent painting, listening to music and drinking whiskey in the evenings. But then he discovers a strange painting in the attic and unintentionally begins a strange journey of self-discovery that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt and a haunted underworld.
A stunning work of imagination, Killing Commendatore is a surreal tale of love and loneliness, war and art.
`What a radical thing, these days, to have written a book so full of warmth and kindness ... Gorgeous' Max Porter, author of Lanny A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Pick A BBC Radio 4 'Book at Bedtime' An Observer Pick for 2019 One summer following the Second World War, Robert Appleyard sets out on foot from his Durham village. Sixteen and the son of a coal miner, he makes his way across the northern countryside until he reaches the former smuggling village of Robin Hood's Bay. There he meets Dulcie, an eccentric, worldly, older woman who lives in a ramshackle cottage facing out to sea.
Staying with Dulcie, Robert's life opens into one of rich food, sea-swimming, sunburn and poetry. The two come from different worlds, yet as the summer months pass, they form an unlikely friendship that will profoundly alter their futures.
'By an extraordinary act of the imagination we are transported into the inner world of a girl who, after brutal abuse as a slave to Nigerian jihadis, escapes and with dogged persistence begins to rebuild her shattered life. Girl is a courageous book about a courageous spirit.' - J.M. Coetzee Captured, abducted and married into Boko Haram, the narrator of this story witnesses and suffers the horrors of a community of men governed by a brutal code of violence. Barely more than a girl herself, she must soon learn how to survive as a woman with a child of her own. Just as the world around her seems entirely consumed by madness, bound for hell, she is offered an escape of sorts - but only into another landscape of trials and terrors amidst the unforgiving wilds of northeastern Nigeria, through the forest and beyond; a place where her traumas are met with the blinkered judgement of a society in denial. How do we love in a world that has lost its moorings? How can we comprehend the barbarism of our enemies, and learn forgiveness for atrocities committed in the name of ideology?
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- I'm a real fan of Ann Patchett's writing, but this book is going right to the top as my favourite one of hers! As I was reading it, I resented time away from the tale, and when I'd finished it, I wished it had been longer and I didn't have to leave. It's what she does best, a family story told back and forth over a stretch of time, full of believable characters acting as people do, from love and hatred and incomprehension, written in glowing and effortless-seeming prose.
Maeve and Danny Conroy grow up in the Dutch House, a Pennsylvanian mansion their father bought for their mother. Who absolutely hates it, and eventually disappears from her family's life, leaving the children to be brought up by the housekeeper and maid, and a father who has no idea how to interact with them. Maeve is much older than Danny, who goes through his early life in a state of typical boyish self-absorption. He's a good kid who does what he's told, but being caught up in his own concerns doesn't always recognise what is going on around him.
When their father brings home Mrs Smith, who soon becomes Mrs Conroy, Maeve and Danny are in effect exiled from their beloved home. But as years go by, they return regularly, to stare at it from the road and conjecture on what is happening inside… A multi-layered story of love and revenge, of taking the easy way or resisting it, of how locations shape life as much as the people around you, and how the people closest to you can also be the most distant.
An unforgettably powerful new novel of the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go - from the Number One New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto 'The book of the autumn. The American author of Commonwealth (brilliant) and Bel Canto (even better) releases perhaps her finest novel yet' - Sunday Times `The buzz around The Dutch House is totally justified. Her best yet, which is saying something' - John Boyne 'Do you think it's possible to ever see the past as it actually was?' I asked my sister. We were sitting in her car, parked in front of the Dutch House in the broad daylight of early summer.
Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house's former owners in the frames of their oil paintings.
Then one day their father brings Andrea home. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve's lives. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother's: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known.
Told with Ann Patchett's inimitable blend of humour, rage and heartbreak, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale and story of a paradise lost; of the powerful bonds of place and time that magnetize and repel us for our whole lives.
Some say the river drowned her...
Some say it brought her back to life
On a dark midwinter's night in an ancient inn on the Thames, the regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open and in steps an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a child.
Hours later, the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.
Is it a miracle?
Is it magic?
And who does the little girl belong to?
An exquisitely crafted multi-layered mystery brimming with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield's bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.
Diane's masterful storytelling draws you in to a beguiling tale, full of twists and turns like the river at its heart, and just as rich and intriguing. (M L Stedman, bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans) Swift and entrancing, profound and beautiful. Give yourself a treat and read it! (Madeline Miller, Orange Prize-winning author of The Song of Achilles and Circe)
'Infused with the spirit of Jane Eyre, Rebecca and The Woman in White' - Independent
'I was completely spellbound' - Ruth Hogan
'A delight... I devoured it' - Jo Baker
'Truly extraordinary' -Dinah Jeffries
In the summer of 1959, an Antiguan immigrant in north west London lives the last day of his life.
A mother looks back on her early forays into matters of the human heart, considering the ways in which desire is always an act of negotiation, destruction, and self-invention.
A disgraced cop stands amid the broken shards of his life, unable to move forward into a future that holds no place for him.
A teenage scion of the technocratic elite chases spectres through a premium virtual reality, trailed by a little girl with a runny nose and no surviving family.
We all take a much-needed break from this mess, on a package holiday where the pool's electric blue is ceaselessly replenished, while political and environmental collapse happen far away, to someone else.
Interleaving ten completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Zadie Smith presents a sharply alert and slyly prescient collection about time and place, identity and rebirth, the persistent legacies that haunt our present selves and the uncanny futures that rush up to meet us.
The long-awaited new book from the author of Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth and Building Stories.
Now, twenty years later, Ware is publishing Rusty Brown in book form. It is, he says, `a fully interactive, full-colour articulation of the time-space interrelationships of six complete consciousnesses on a single Midwestern American day and the tiny piece of human grit about which they involuntarily orbit.' The six characters are Rusty Brown himself, a shy schoolkid obsessed with superheroes, his father `Woody' Brown, an eccentric teacher at Rusty's school, Chalky White, another schoolboy, Alison White, Chalky's sister, Jason Lint, an older boy who bullies Rusty and Chalky and fancies Alison, and the boys' teacher, Joanne Cole. Ware tells each of their stories in minute detail (or as he puts it, `From childhood to old age, no frozen plotline is left unthawed'), producing another masterwork of the comics form that is at once achingly beautiful, heartbreakingly sad and painfully funny.
`The week after I finished the last page of Jimmy Corrigan I immediately started a new long story based on characters who had originated as parodies, but whom now I wanted to humanize... amidst a setting of memories of my Omaha childhood and Nebraska upbringing.' (Chris Ware, Monograph)