She was ten years old, but knew enough to wipe clean the handle of the bloody kitchen knife. The night was stifling; the windows were closed, sealing in the chaos. A table upturned, shattered crockery. Her distraught mother, bare shoulders raw with welts, knelt beside her motionless father. The child snatched up her backpack, and ran…
London sweats in the height of summer. The parched city has slowed to a claustrophobic shuffle and there’s no end in sight. Heroin-addicted investigator Catherine Berlin hides her scars from prying eyes while working on the worst of all cases: matrimonial.
The capital’s junkies suffer from a drought of a different kind. A strung-out ghost from Berlin’s past turns up on her doorstep with a desperate plea for help: her ten-year-old daughter is missing. Reminded of a debt owed, Berlin agrees to help, but the search becomes far deadlier than she could ever imagine, drawing her deep into an underworld of corrupt detectives, ruthless drug dealers, and a child killer…
A Bitter Taste is the thrilling second instalment in the magnificent crime series featuring civilian investigator Catherine Berlin, whose long-standing heroin addiction is only part of her story.
Love is in the air in the little village of Barton-in-the-Dale. Anyone can see that Ashley Underwood and Emmet O’Malley are made for each other. They’ve just got to admit it to themselves . . . But as the saying goes, the course of true love never did run smooth.
While romance blossoms on one side of the village, an angry young boy struggles to believe in love. But when tragedy strikes, he learns that comfort and care can come from the most unexpected of places.
Meanwhile, head teacher Elisabeth Stirling faces a new challenge for the start of the school year. An eccentric teacher joins the staff, and there’s also a worrying case of potential negligence to answer. In the village too, a puritanical new vicar stirs up trouble. But as always, mixed in with the drama there’s plenty of gossip, laughter, friendship – and love – in Barton-in-the-Dale.
The bustle of an English seaside resort gives way to the unreal calm of a coastal community in southern Sri Lanka as Savi and Renu, two cousins separated by civil war, are reunited just weeks before the tsunami strikes. Renu is struggling to find evidence that will bring political killers to justice; Savi is struggling to heal the damage wrought by a broken childhood. They are just catching up with the secrets of the past when the past catches up with them.
This haunting and richly textured novel of intersecting lives, memory and loss confronts the twin tragedies of a brutal civil war and the Boxing Day tsunami, revealing the intimate connections between silence and violence, displacement and desire.
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.
Frances Howard has beauty and a powerful family – and is the most unhappy creature in the world.
Anne Turner has wit and talent – but no stage on which to display them. Little stands between her and the abyss of destitution.
When these two very different women meet in the strangest of circumstances, a powerful friendship is sparked. Frankie sweeps Anne into a world of splendour that exceeds all she imagined: a Court whose foreign king is a stranger to his own subjects; where ancient families fight for power, and where the sovereign’s favourite may rise and rise – so long as he remains in favour.
With the marriage of their talents, Anne and Frankie enter this extravagant, savage hunting ground, seeking a little happiness for themselves. But as they gain notice, they also gain enemies; what began as a search for love and safety leads to desperate acts that could cost them everything.
Based on the true scandal that rocked the court of James I, A Net for Small Fishes is the most gripping novel you’ll read this year: an exhilarating dive into the pitch-dark waters of the Jacobean court.
Born into a Roma family in 1960s’ Yugoslavia, Janek Hudorovec has grown up with a terrible secret. Given the opportunity to ‘make something of himself’, he abandons the familiar wild and tactile world of nature and enters the controlled, rational life of university and the city. Here Janek proves himself to be not a conscious rebel but a spontaneous one; under the influences of impulses he cannot control. While his teachers try to understand and categorize him, it is only his fellow student, Daria, who seems able to provide a rational insight into the causes of his behaviour and offer him true affection. Yet the battle that Janek must fight with his past leads him back to the gypsy village, and a terrible denouement. This tragic story of self-punishment explores the idea that man and nature, if they are to survive, together and separately, must forever remain in conflict. Flisar’s ability to describe Janek’s inner states through juxtaposition with the outer world create a mesmerizing claustrophobia, as the reader is pulled inexorably into the nightmarish world of a man in anguish. A Swarm of Dust is widely considered to be one of Flisar’s finest works of fiction, questioning the very notion of objective truth and subverting the norms of Judeo-Christian morality.
“And I struggle to find my place in this dark novel. I yearn for passion and despair for that is what makes good literature while Ishwari seeks a life of joy for herself and her son.”
A powerful novel about a woman who runs away from home, seeking to free herself from the shackles of society and familial attachments, and instead devote her attentions to writing a novel. When she realises that her five year old son Roo has followed her, Ishwari struggles with her identity as a mother and the responsibilities that brings, versus the guilty knowledge that she cannot want her own child when his existence requires her to suppress her own dreams.
Ishwari and Roo wander the streets at night, looking for a place to stay, until an elderly caretaker takes pity on them and offers them an empty room on the terrace of a guest house. Ishwari gets work as a caregiver to the handsome gentleman who lives next door, while Roo, who is lame, spends all day locked up in the room on the roof. Pulsating with raw energy, Abandon gives voice to the perpetual conflict between life and art.
Outcast, mute, a lone twin cut from a drunk mother in a shack full of junk, Euchrid Eucrow of Ukulore inhabits a nightmarish Southern valley of preachers and prophets, incest and ignorance. When the God-fearing folk of the town declare a foundling child to be chosen by the Almighty, Euchrid is disturbed. He sees her very differently and his conviction, and increasing isolation and insanity, may have terrible consequences for them both.
Writing stories that are extravagant and fanciful, fifteen-year old Angel retreats to a world of romance, escaping the drabness of provincial life. She knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted authoress, owner of great riches and of Paradise House . . .
After reading The Lady Irania, publishers Brace and Gilchrist are certain the novel will be a success, in spite of – perhaps because of – its overblown style. But they are curious as to who could have written such a book – an elderly lady, romanticising behind lace curtains? A mustachioed rogue?
They were not expecting it to be the pale, serious teenage girl, sitting before them without a hint of irony in her soul.
It is summer…a heat wave…tense, uneasy days in the city. There are ominous signs of political turbulence in the dying years of the twentieth century. Welfare benefits are under attack, but women are fighting back, using unorthodox weapons. Lynn Byers does not accept the government’s demand for a return to ‘womanly duties’. As desperate politicians use increasingly savage methods of control, she can no longer stand aside to watch. A classic of women’s fiction.
First published in 1979 by Virago, Benefits is a feminist dystopia in which a patriarchal state uses the social security system to impose repressive lifestyles on women. It was nominated for the Philip K Dick Award for science fiction, and the Hawthornden Prize for imaginative literature. It has been published throughout the world, and adapted for the stage at the Albany Empire in Deptford, London.
Sisters of the Quantock Hills is the compelling saga of the lives and loves of four sisters – Frances, Julia, Gwen and Sarah Purcell – and their neighbours, the Mackenzies. Set during the early part of the last century, the series encompasses two World Wars, and the sisters’ individual stories are told against the backdrop of major historical events happening at the time.
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.
The inner monologue of a woman haunted by German composer Arnold Schoenberg’s portrait, following a complex romantic encounter with an American-German pianist-composer in Berlin. As the irresistible, impossible narrator flies home she unpicks her social failures while the pianist reaches towards a musical self-portrait with all the resonance of Schoenberg’s passionate, chilling blue. A contemporary novel of angst and high farce, Blue Self-Portrait unfolds among Berlin’s cultural institutions but is more truly located in the mid-air flux between contrary impulses to remember and to ignore. In Blue Self-Portrait Noemi Lefebvre shows how music continues to work on and through us, addressing past trauma while reaching for possible futures.
An astounding literary accomplishment, Bring Up the Bodies is the story of this most terrifying moment of history, by one of our greatest living novelists. Bring Up the Bodies unlocks the darkly glittering court of Henry VIII, where Thomas Cromwell is now chief minister. With Henry captivated by plain Jane Seymour and rumours of Anne Boleyn’s faithlessness whispered by all, Cromwell knows what he must do to secure his position.
But the bloody theatre of the queen’s final days will leave no one unscathed.
‘A great novel of dark and dirty passions, public and private. A truly great story’ Financial Times ‘In another league.
This ongoing story of Henry VIII’s right-hand man is the finest piece of historical fiction I have ever read’ Sunday Telegraph
Byron and the Beauty is loosely based on Byron’s biography and takes place during two weeks of October 1809, during his now famous sojourn in the Balkans. Besides being a great love story, this is also a novel about East and West, about Europe and the Balkans, about travel and friendship and cruelty. Bazdulj marvellously combines facts with imagination, history and romance, resulting in an exceptionally beautiful novel. The author’s style has something of the subtle lyricism and chronicle-like tranquillity of his countryman Ivo Andric, but also a touch of the oriental baroque richness associated with Orhan Pamuk, making this a book which is both erudite and innovative, with a daring sense of humour.
passed are not.
When childhood friends meet again to reminisce and compare scars a fresh wound waits just around the corner. One rainy night at the wrong end of town, and a pub crawl along Memory Lane takes a hard right down a dark dead end in Barney Farmer’s second novel, Coketown.
Gripping, tense, twisty and full of emotional insight, COME AND FIND ME is Sarah Hilary’s Marnie Rome 5 book, for fans of Mick Herron or Clare Mackintosh.
‘Hilary belts out a corker of a story, all wrapped up in her vivid, effortless prose. If you’re not reading this series of London-set police procedurals then you need to start right away’ Observer
On the surface, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have nothing in common, other than their infatuation with Michael Vokey. Each is writing to a sadistic inmate, sharing her secrets, whispering her worst fears, craving his attention.
DI Marnie Rome understands obsession. She’s finding it hard to give up her own addiction to a dangerous man: her foster brother, Stephen Keele. She wasn’t able to save her parents from Stephen. She lives with that guilt every day.
As the hunt for Vokey gathers pace, Marnie fears one of the women may have found him – and is about to pay the ultimate price.
Hammer accompanies a politician to Moscow, where he is arrested by the KGB and imprisoned. He quickly escapes, but back in the States, the government is none too happy. Russia demands his return to stand charges, and various government agencies are following him. A question dogs Hammer: Why does Russia want him back, and why was sent to Russia with the senator in the first place?
Born into slavery on a U.S. plantation in 1759, Daniel has no experience of life beyond the boundaries of his masters’ land until an event occurs which changes his life forever. Daniel is cast out of the plantation into a hostile world. He embarks on a journey which will span continents, test his courage and endurance to the limit and expose him to the horror of the slave trade.
Daniel’s experience as a crew member of a slave ship is so profound that he becomes determiend to campaign for the abolition of the UK slave trade. In doing so, he adds his voice to those of the great reformers of the age, inclduing Thomas Clarkson and the great William Wilberforce.
Daniel’s story is testimony to the resilience of the human spirit and how one man can make a difference. As we approach the anniversary of the abolition of slavery act, Daniel’s story reminds us of the determination and fortitude of those who brought about that change and continue to inspire us.
“Friday’s children would be fattening like seals across the sand, on their way to class. Black liquorice teeth. Loving and giving under the whalefeed of the clouds. He had to teach.”
Friday 17th June 1904. Stephen Dedalus wakes up in a Dublin Martello tower, hungover but with winnings in the pocket of his borrowed trousers. Dedalus goes about his day. Settling scores and debts. Pursued by the ghosts of his mother, Hamlet, and now a man called Leopold Bloom who has woken up with plans for him. The young poet weaves hopes and ideas into burning wings of ambition. Can he elude death in the passages of books?
McCabe’s iconoclastic tribute to James Joyce’s masterpiece gives right-of-reply to his self-portrait, Stephen Dedalus. Stephen and Bloom, cut from Joyce’s ego, become cultural types pasted into Digital Age storytelling.
Reese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn’t hate. She’d scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child.
Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men. When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued. After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina.
Now Katrina’s pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family – and raise the baby together?
The short-sighted adolescent is a poor schoolboy who is in love with literature, and tries to emulate the lives and works of the writers he most admires. He is also fascinated by science and history, and stays up all night reading. At the age of 17 he decides to write a novel to prove to his teachers that he is not as mediocre as his fellow pupils, and is prepared to give up everything in order to do so. The novel is written in a series of notebooks – the ‘diary’ of the title – but instead of achieving fame as an author, the myopic protagonist fails his exams and has to repeat the school year. From the perspective of a schoolboy’s diary of everyday life in Bucharest in the early 20th century, – his teachers, his classmates’ academic and amorous rivalries, his first sexual experiences – we are introduced to the themes of religion, self-knowledge, erotic sensibility, artistic creation and otherness, subjects that would preoccupy Mircea Eliade, one of Romania’s most prominent intellectuals, until the end of his life. Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent was written when he was the same age as the book’s adolescent hero, and remained unpublished until it was found in an attic in Bucharest after the author’s death in 1986. As such it provides a unique insight into the early career of a great novelist and religious philosopher whose work has been neglected in the English language for too long.
In a forgotten patch of French countryside, a woman is battling her demons embracing exclusion yet wanting to belong, craving freedom whilst feeling trapped, yearning for family life but at the same time wanting to burn the entire house down. Given surprising leeway by her family for her increasingly erratic behaviour, she nevertheless feels ever more stifled and repressed. Motherhood, womanhood, the banality of love, the terrors of desire, the inexplicable brutality of another person carrying your heart forever Die, My Love faces all this with a raw intensity. It s not a question of if a breaking point will be reached, but rather when and how violent a form will it take?
This is a brutal, wild book it s impossible to come out from reading Ariana Harwicz unscathed. The language of Die, My Love cuts like a scalpel even as it attains a kind of cinematic splendour, evoking the likes of John Cassavetes, David Lynch, Lars von Trier and John Ford. In a text that explores the destabilising effects of passion and its absence, immersed in the psyche of a female protagonist always on the verge of madness, in the tradition of Sylvia Plath and Clarice Lispector, Harwicz moulds language, submitting it to her will in irreverent prose. Bruising and confrontational, yet anchored in an unapologetic beauty and lyricism, Die, My Love is a unique reading experience that quickly becomes addictive.
Doom 94 is Jonevs’ debut novel, published first as Jelgava 94 in Latvia in 2013 and was quickly proved to be a big hit and bestseller. Translated into 11 languages already, it is here for the first time in English.
The story is set in the 1990s in the Latvian city of Jelgava and looks at the burgeoning craze during this decade for the alternative culture of heavy metal music. Jonevs takes the reader deep inside the world of music, combining the intimate diary of a youngster trying to find himself by joining a subculture, as well as a skilful, detailed, and almost documentary-like depiction of the beginnings of the second independence of Latvia–where Jonevs is the first writer to stir up memories of this period through a fully-fledged literary depiction.
Doom 94 is a portrait of a generation searching for their identity and up against the world, trying not to become ‘one of them’. But is it for real? Can any adult keep the promise made as a child?
Double Take tells how to rob Heathrow Airport and get away with it.
An ‘Italian Job’ for the 21st century, with swearing in several languages – some of it translated – chillis as offensive weapons, but no Minis. Double Take deconstructs one of Agatha Christie’s most audacious plots.
Characters born into the celebrated Viz comic strip, ‘Drunken Bakers’, are here for the first time immortalised in a book. A day in the life: the decline of the independent bakery, and the steeper decline of the independent bakers within it (cake and bargain booze included). A harsh reality displayed without apology, elbowing its way into our comfort zone bringing laughter and the smell of stale beer.
At Wrecking Ball Press we wait in great anticipation for stuff like Drunken Baker by Barney Farmer to drop through the letter box. It’s what we do… A fisherman waits for a fish to bite. A hypochondriac waits for death. Vladimir and Estragon wait for Godot. Bob waited in vain. We wait for the barman to catch our eye. We count the minutes before it’s time to go. The prisoner waits for sentence. I’m waiting on a call. We’re all waiting to be seen. We all watch the news, hold our breath and wait for sense. We play the waiting game. All publishers wait for the next great book. We’ve been waiting 21 years and it’s finally arrived.
Gabriela Babnik’s novel Dry Season breaks the mould of what we usually expect from a writer from a small, Central European nation. With a global perspective, Babnik takes on the themes of racism, the role of women in modern society and the loneliness of the human condition. Dry Season is a record of an unusual love affair. Anna is a 62-year-old designer from Slovenia and Ismael is a 27-year-old from Burkina Faso who was brought up on the street, where he was often the victim of abuse. What unites them is the loneliness of their bodies, a tragic childhood and the dry hamartan season, during which neither nature nor love is able to flourish. She soon realizes that the emptiness between them is not really caused by their skin colour and age difference, but predominantly by her belonging to the Western culture in which she has lost or abandoned all the preordained roles of daughter, wife and mother. Sex does not outstrip the loneliness and repressed secrets from the past surface into a world she sees as much crueller and, at the same time, more innocent than her own. Cleverly written as an alternating narrative of both sides in the relationship, the novel is interlaced with magic realism.
A fire rages through a sleepy West London square, engulfing a small convent hidden away among the residential houses. When DI Jack Carrigan and DS Geneva Miller arrive at the scene they discover eleven bodies, yet there were only supposed to be ten nuns in residence.
It’s eleven days before Christmas, and despite their superiors wanting the case solved before the holidays, Carrigan and Miller start to suspect that the nuns were not who they were made out to be. Why did they make no move to escape the fire? Who is the eleventh victim, whose body was found separate to the others? And where is the convent’s priest, the one man who can answer their questions?
Fighting both internal politics and the church hierarchy, Carrigan and Miller unravel the threads of a case which reaches back to the early 1970s, and the upsurge of radical Liberation Theology in South America – with echoes of the Shining Path, and contemporary battles over oil, land and welfare. Meanwhile, closer to home, there’s a new threat in the air, one the police are entirely unprepared for…
Spanning four decades and two continents, Eleven Days finds Carrigan and Miller up against time as they face a new kind of criminal future.
“Eve out of Her Ruins” is a heartbreaking look at the dark corners of the island nation of Mauritius that tourists never see, and a poignant exploration of lives at the margins of society. Published in the UK for the first time, this celebrated novel won the 2006 Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie.
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.
Gaudeamus (Let us Rejoice) is the second autobiographical novel written by the author about his university years, and follows on from his Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent, described by the Guardian’s Nick Lezard as ‘Romania’s Adrian Mole’. In this exuberant and touching portrait of youth, Eliade recounts the fictional version of his university years in late 1920’s Bucharest. Marked by a burgeoning desire to ‘suck out all the marrow of life’, the protagonist throws himself into his studies; engaging his professors and peers in philosophical discourse, becoming one of the founding members of the Student’s Union, and opening-up the attic refuge of his isolated teenage years as a hotspot for political debate and romantic exploration. Readers will recognize in these pages the joy of a life about to blossom, of the search for knowledge and the desire for true love. Already an accomplished writer as a young man, this follow-up to his Diary of a Short-Sighted Adolescent reveals a keen observer of human behaviour, a seeker of truth and spiritual fulfilment whose path would eventually lead him to become the ultimate historian of 20th-century religions.