Television’s most popular car show presenter lives his life in the shadow of his career and his persona. He has the perfect job. He doesn’t have the perfect family. His wife retches in the bathrooms of exclusive restaurants; his daughter’s obsession with a friend is consuming her; his son lives a double life selling pornography by day and gaming on-line by night. The presenter views his family from the outside and watches as they slowly disintegrate in front of him, unable to control anything that is not scripted. Socrates Adams perfectly mirrors what magazines sell to their readers in a bleak, satirical look at what modern families might think they want to be.
Lupita and Genesis have just wasted a drug dealer, stolen his stash and hit the open road with a suitcase full of dirty money. Little do they know that their road trip will set them on a collision course with a side of America darker and weirder than any of them have ever known.
Gabriel Bell is a grumpy 44-year-old web journalist irritated by the accumulating disappointments of life. He and his girlfriend Ellie want to start a family but Gabriel has so few sperm he can name them and knit them flippers. So it’s IVF, which is expensive. If losing his job was bad enough getting run over and waking up to find himself in a therapy group run by Angels just beneath heaven really annoys him. And it doesn’t do much for Ellie either. Gabriel is joined therapy by Kevin a professional killer, Yvonne, Kevin’s last victim, a rarely sober but successful businesswoman and Julie, an art teacher who was driving the car that put Gabriel in a coma. In a rural therapeutic community set in an eternal September the group struggles with the therapy. If they do well they may be allowed to go back to earth to finish their lives, or pass into heaven. If they don’t it’s Hell or worse: lots more therapy.
GABRIEL’S ANGEL was the Guardian readers’ book of the year 2011.
Honest features all of Scott Tyrrell’s warmth, wit and frank openness delivered with the bittersweet edge of a middle-aged creative who may be having a mid-life crisis or an existential revelation. With dad jokes and badgers. And buttons.
Long Listed for The Asian Man Literature Prize when published in India as THE LAST PRETENCE. When Malika loses her longed-for daughter at birth, it is not the only loss in the family: the surviving twin -a boy – loses the love of his mother. He grows up needing to be the daughter his mother wants, the son his scientist father accepts, and more, with the guilt of being the one who survived. In a recently independent India, haunted by its colonial past and striving to find its identity, he struggles to find his own self. Sarayu Srivatsa has created a moving family portrait, richly-coloured by the vibrant culture and landscape of India, where history, religion and gender collide in a family scarred by the past and struggling with the future.
Under the intense summer sun on the Essex coast a gull falls from the sky and strikes an unassuming local council worker sitting on the beach below. From that moment on he is obsessed, a crazed visionary repeatedly depicting the scene and the unknown figure within it who filled his view at the moment of impact. The mysterious beauty of his creations draw others to him, but can they lay hold of that which possesses him? And what of his anonymous muse? MAN WITH A SEAGULL ON HIS HEAD is an insightful exploration of art, love and creativity. We follow Ray Eccles and his unlikely muse, their lives becoming intertwined with others as they advance on their bizarre journey through the London art scene. We meet Grace Zoob, an insecure heiress in search of meaning, validation and love; Amanda Parsons, an ambitious girl from the suburbs who suspects there’s more to life than marriage and children but finds herself consumed by both; and Grace’s daughter, Mira, a beautiful, damaged young woman. Five very different lives, linked by a common thread, for all have experienced the true and extraordinary beauty of life, bursting through the veil of daily existence, only to disappear again before it can be fully grasped.
John-John wants to escape his past. But the legacy of brutality left by his bare-knuckle boxer father, King of the Gypsies, Mac Wisdom, overshadows his life. His new job as an ice cream man should offer freedom, but instead pulls him into the dark recesses of a northern town where his family name is mud. When he attempts to trade prejudice, parole officers and local gangs for his green cathedral’ – the rural landscape in which he seeks solace – Mac’s rise and bloody downfall threatens to engulf John-John’s present. Pig Iron is the story of a traveller who hasn’t travelled; a young man fighting for his surname and his very survival.
Malka Sabbatto is a young woman who flees the confines of her traditional family in Jerusalem, followed by Moshe, a Russian immigrant and her father’s top student. After falling in with a sinister cult in Safed she escapes to Jaffa, where she starts to build a new life under the wing of an Arab chef. When she feels she has finally found contentment, a family tragedy forces her to return to Jerusalem. RAISING SPARKS reveals the hidden worlds, shared histories and unknown stories of the modern Middle East.
Ten startling short stories. Vivid glimpses of lives and landscapes from the North West Coastline of England. Edited by Jenn Ashworth. Authors: Louise Ayre, Carys Bray, Bethan Ellis, Andrew Michael Hurley, Pete Kalu, Paul Kingsnorth, Kirsty Logan, Anita Sethi, MelissaWan and Lucy Wilkinson Yates.
When award-winning journalist Marcus Murray’s latest story involves a corrupt alliance between a UK bank, the arms trade and the government, it seems he has triumphed again in his quest for the truth. But he is accused of fabrication and nothing in his life makes sense any more, including the disappearance twenty years ago of his best friend, Melanie. Why did she vanish, and who is the body recently discovered in a Kent orchard? A timeless story of how love and enduring friendship shape who we are, the novel exposes the fault lines in our own reality and who and what we believe to be true, including ourselves.
An England divided. From his remote moorland home, David Hartley assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a criminal enterprise that will capsize the economy and become the biggest fraud in British history. They are the Cragg Vale Coiners and their business is ‘clipping’ – the forging of coins, a treasonous offence punishable by death. A charismatic leader, Hartley cares for the poor and uses violence and intimidation against his opponents. He is also prone to self-delusion and strange visions of mythical creatures. When excise officer William Deighton vows to bring down the Coiners and one of their own becomes turncoat, Hartley’s empire begins to crumble. With the industrial age set to change the face of England forever, the fate of his empire is under threat. Forensically assembled from historical accounts and legal documents, The Gallows Pole is a true story of resistance that combines poetry, landscape, crime and historical fiction, whose themes continue to resonate. Here is a rarely-told alternative history of the North.
Mukesh Agarwal sits alone in the Black Eagle pub unaware that a riot is brewing or that Billy, his youngest son, is still out on his bike…. A mile away in the family home in Church Street, Anila, the youngest of the three Agarwal girls, is reading Smash Hits and listening to Radio One as she sprawls across the bottom bunk unaware of the tragic loss that is about to hit the family…. It is 1981, factories are closing, unemployment is high, the NF are marching and the neglected inner cities are ablaze as riots breakout across Thatcher’s fractured Britain. The Agarwals are facing their own personal nightmare but their pain is eased by family, friendships and a community that refuses to disappear. THE HANDSWORTH TIMES is abook about loss, friendship and working together because there is such a thing as society.
After becoming the first man to conquer the highest peak on each of the seven continents at the first attempt, Alistair’s hardest climb was surviving a brain haemorrhage. Foreword by Sir Chris Bonington. The book is fascinating and inspiring, and contains some stunning photographs from Dr. Sutcliffe’s climbing expeditions. His wife Clare also makes personal contributions at the end of each chapter.
THE LESS THAN PERFECT LEGEND OF DONNA CREOSOTE is a modern fairy tale from the inner city, where the mundane becomes fantastical and the everyday ethereal, but where living happily ever after is often easier read than done. Donna Crick-Oakley walks on six inches of stories every day. She may live on the top floor of a tower block but she still pads her walls and floor with books to shut the real world further out. Or do they only shut her in? Armed with her myths and medieval adventures, Donna sets out to escape her isolation and change her home town to better suit her dreams.
How did the girl who once dreamed of being a Charlie’s Angel become such a cowed and submissive woman? Marion’s life appears perfectly fine but she is controlled and bullied by her husband, her only respite a once a week trip to the local swimming pool. A chance meeting with an old school-friend develops into a secret relationship. She could leave her abusive and unfaithful husband. But is it too late?
Cora has everything a woman is supposed to want – a career, a caring husband, children, and a stylish home. Desperate for release and burdened with guilt she falls into a pattern of ever increasing violence and sexual degradation till a one night stand tips her over the edge and she finds herself in a Dominatrix’s dungeon. Wounding explores a woman’s search for redemption, identity and truth.