|200 × 130 × 20 mm
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Travels with Chinaski is the lonely lurch into lunacy, anarchy, the drunken fall into disassociation, the paralytic collapse into alienation – the utter, utter headlong, bar-storming leap into the liberation of madness. Chinaski: the freedom, the fuck death, to fuck your only friend’s girl, to fuck over rat-infested bed-sit-land, to fuck your kidneys, your liver, your numerous court appearances and then to fucking care about your beautiful beat-up neighbour as she cries in the night. Chinaski walks into your life, side-stepping last night’s cold sick on the floor, he kicks you out of bed, he’s back from the dead and he is going to make you dance, rage and drink with sheer life. Chinaski is there for you like a hangover that’s moved in to stay.
Madness Can Set You Free
“Daithidh MacEochaidh’s words are delightfully wordy, swimming in the deep end of the language baths… I’m rereading Kerouac for ‘The Big Read’, and it seems to me that MacEochaidh shares some of his linguistic exuberance. More power to him!” – Ian McMillan
“Prose as raw as a manhir, designed to skin your knuckles” – Dai Vaughan