|Dimensions||200 × 130 × 25 mm|
A Simple Scale
A single piece of music starts a story that takes us from Soviet Russia and McCarthyite Hollywood to post-9/11 New York. A single piece of music, and two composers – one American, the other Soviet – but which of them wrote it? How did their lives cross? How were their fortunes shaped by history, and what were the consequences for those they loved? A young Russian, Pavel Grekov, arrives in New York in the October of 2001, and accuses ageing TV composer Sol Conrad of plagiarising a work by his grandfather, Sergey. Conrad’s young PA Natalie is determined to defend her boss, but as she digs deeper she discovers worlds she barely knew about – the labour camps of Siberia, the “Red Scare” of 1950s Hollywood, government oppression, and the plight of gay men in the USA and USSR of the mid-20th Century. Natalie, Sol and Sergey’s stories range across decades and continents, and A Simple Scale moves through narratives of love, death, deceit, the secret police, atom bombs, Classical music and the last days of Hollywood’s “Golden Age”. In a dramatic conclusion, the past and present catches up with them, as the secrecies and betrayals of Sol and Sergey’s lives inform events in 2001, when history is just about to repeat itself. Rich in detail and atmosphere, David Llewellyn explores the points at which the personal and political meet. Throughout, his depiction of ’30s Leningrad, ’50s California and post-9/11 New York is only too believable.
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Quiet Flows the Una is the story a man trying to overcome the personal trauma caused by the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. Through an induced trance, the main character of the novel takes the reader through three time periods: the hero’s childhood before the war, the battle lines during the war, and his attempt to continue with normal life in a post-conflict society. Through poetic, meditative prose, Šehić attempts to reconstruct the life of a man who is bipolar in nature; being both a veteran and a poet. At times, he manages to pick up the pieces of his life, but at other times it escapes him. With the help of his memories, he uses his mind and strength to look for a way out of the maze in which he is confined, acting as both archivist and chronicler of the past – roles that allow him the opportunity to rebuild everything again. In parallel to this story, the book’s passages on the city next to the river Una take on mythical and dreamlike dimensions. Here, the novel expands into a poetic description of nature, seasons, flora and fauna, as well as childhood memories not yet tainted by all that will happen after 1992. Quiet Flows the Una is a book is dedicated to people who believe in the power and beauty of life in the face of death and mass destruction.
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.
Hair Everywhere is the story of one family and how they manage to cope when the mother is diagnosed with cancer. It is a delicate tale that balances itself between the generations, revealing their strengths and weaknesses in times of trouble. It is also a story about how roles within a family can change when things become challenging, due to sickness or death, allowing some to grow and others to fade. Ultimately, this is a book about life; full of humour and absurdity as well as sadness, and set against an everyday background where the ordinary takes on new significance and colour. Tea Tulic’s debut novel is a brave glance at the human condition.
The City Always Wins is a remarkable novel from the psychological heart of a revolution. From the communal highs of pitched night battles against the police in Cairo to the solitary lows of defeated exile in New York, Omar Robert Hamilton’s debut is a unique immersion into one of the key chapters of the 21st century.
Bringing to life the 2011 Egyptian revolution, The City Always Wins conveys with extraordinary intensity all the stages of that place and that time through the lives of its two main characters Mariam and Khalil, ordinary young people caught up in an extraordinary moment.
Furthermore, The City Always Wins is a novel not just about Egypt’s revolution but about a global generation that tried to change the world.
Reminiscent of the writing of Jeet Thayil, Zia Haider Rahma and Nadeem Aslam, Hamilton’s prose is arrestingly visual, intensely lyrical and uncompromisingly political. A genuinely exciting new writer, he looks set to become a defining voice of his generation.