|Dimensions||198 × 128 × 23 mm|
Beyond the Orchid House
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.
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This is a book that lives in two parts – one set in the Ottoman empire of the 16th century, and the other in our own 21st century reality. Here we have the story of two friends, both taken as children from their homes and inducted into the Turkish Sultan’s private guard: Sokollu Mehmed Pasha, the Serbian shepherd boy who rose to the position of Grand Vizier and Koca Mimar Sinan, the ‘Michelangelo of the East’. Between them they represent both destruction and creation, while at the same time providing us with a harrowing insight into the heart of religion and identity. Back in our own time, we hear the voice of the author, sharing with us his experiences in the modern world, and his musings on faith, identity and nation. This is a truly ambitious book that rewards the reader with insights into some of the great questions of our time.
A young man is found lying unconscious on the outskirts of Bucharest. No one knows who he is and everyone has a different theory about how he got there. Within the pages of this charming book, the stories of a variety of characters unfold, each closely interwoven with the next, and outlining the features of what ultimately turns out to be the most important and most powerful character of all: the city of Bucharest itself. The plot of Life Begins on Friday takes place during the last 13 days of 1897 and culminates in a beautiful tableau of the future as imagined by the characters we have come to know and love. We might even say that it is we who inhabit their future, and so too does Dan Creţu, alias Dan Kretzu, the present-day journalist hurled back in time by some mysterious process for just long enough to allow us a wonderful glimpse into a remote, almost forgotten world. Parvulescus’ book is a magical tale full of enchanting characters who can carry the reader to another time
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.
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.