|Dimensions||198 × 131 × 13 mm|
How can we narrate grief? Can we really rationalise death? Pain cannot be told in the present, only in the past; however, Mella chooses to narrate it in the future, as if everything bad is about to happen further down the line, until something reminds him that the future actually arrived a long time ago.
During the summer of 2014, on one of the stormiest days on record to hit the coast of Uruguay, 31-year old Alejandro, lifeguard and younger brother of our protagonist, dies after being hit by lightning. Combining memoir and fiction, this novel is the urgent exploration of the brotherly bond, and the effects that death has on our inner circles. An exploration that takes the author back into his past, and right into the centre of his obsessions.
‘If I can t be free in my writing, I cannot be free anywhere else’, admits the narrator towards the end of this fascinating book that interweaves fiction with brotherhood and grief at the centre of family relations.
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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.
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.
An epic, homourous and quite unique historical novel which looks at Central Europe in the 16th century – a territory plagued by ceaseless battles for supremacy between the Protestant political elite and the ruling Catholic Habsburg Monarchy, as well as the ongoing battle between the sexes. In Kumerdej’s wonderful saga, history and fiction intertwine in wavelike fashion, producing a colourful portrait of the Renaissance; permeated by humanist attempts to resurrect antiquity through art, new scientific findings, and spirited philosophical and theological debates.
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.