52 results 1-20
Dora and Luka are inseparable: ever since he fainted at the sight of her - walking into the classroom with her new schoolbag - and she woke him with a chaste kiss, it has been love at first sight. 'There's something in the air when the two of them are together. You can't call it calm, you can't call it storm.' Theirs is a friendship made of chocolate and mandarin oranges; of shape-shifting clouds and coloured canvases; and, as Dora's family leave Croatia for Paris, of farewells and memories.
It is not until years later, when a promising artist faints at the familiar sight of a young actress entering a Parisian gallery on his opening night, that Luka and Dora are reunited. But just as chance brings them together, fateful choices and forces bigger than themselves conspire to keep the couple apart. Will they ever truly be able to find or forget one another?
Bursting with drama and ardour, at turns heartbreaking and exhilarating, and told with the same overwhelming intensity as the bond it describes, this is a dazzling tour de force of a very special love affair.
Kneller's Happy Campers is a strange, dark but funny tale set in a world very much like our own but it's an afterlife populated by people who have killed themselves - many of them are young, and most of them bear the marks of their death... bullet wounds, broken necks...(those who have over-dosed are known as 'Juliets').
When Mordy, our hero, discovers that his girlfriend from his life before has also 'offed' herself, he sets out to find her, and so follows a strange adventure...
Full of the weird and wonderful characters, and the slightly surreal twist of events that we've come to expect from Etgar Keret, this novella is full of humour and comic flashes, but it is also wistful, longing for a better world and perfect love.
From the acclaimed and prizewinning author of The Right Hand of Sleep ("Brilliant . . . A truly arresting work"-The New York Times Book Review),an explosive allegorical novel set on the eve of the Civil War, about a gang of men hunted by both the Union and the Confederacy for dealing in stolen slaves.
Geburah Plantation, 1863: in a crumbling estate on the banks of the Mississippi, eight survivors of the notorious Island 37 Gang wait for the war, or the Pinkerton Detective Agency, to claim them. Their leader, a bizarre charismatic known only as "the Redeemer," has already been brought to justice, and each day brings the battling armies closer. The hatred these men feel for one another is surpassed only by their fear of their many pursuers. Into this hell comes a mysterious force, an "avenging angel" that compels them, one by one, to a reckoning of their many sins.
Canaan's Tongue isrooted in the criminal world of John Murrell, as infamous in his day as Jesse James or Al Capone. It tells the story of his reluctant protégé, Virgil Ball, who derives riches, sexual privilege, and power from the commerce in stolen slaves, known only as "the Trade"-and discovers, when he finally decides to free himself from the Redeemer's yoke, that the force he is challenging is far more formidable than he imagined. It is as old as the river, as vast as the country itself, and it is with us to this day.
Published: 3 Apr 2003
Bella Wallis is a glamorous widow with a secret identity: in an office buried deep within the dodgy backstreets of Victorian London, she writes sensationalist novels exposing the scoundrels that litter high society under the pen name Henry Ellis Margam. With dodgy deals, scheming aristocrats and stolen kisses behind closed doors, prize-winning author Brian Thompson conjures up an irresistible quartet filled top to toe with seedy Dickensian glamour.
We start with The Widow's Secret, an effervescent romp to Paris on the trail of the owner of a mysterious cigar case; then The Sailor's Ransom, a tale of pearls and swine, set on the Cornish coast and the high seas; and The Player's Curse, where kidnap, cricket and cross-dressing coincide in a riotous mystery. We end with the previously unpublished The Whole Story, in which Bella is caught up in an anarchist bomb attack at her favourite restaurant, Fracatelli's on the Strand... and only just survives to tell the tale.
Hill Farm tells the story of what appears to be a perfectly ordinary farming family living in a perfect village in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It feels like a place that will never change. Its fields have been cultivated since medieval times, its farmhouse is crumbling and the same bric-a-brac has been circulating the village jumble sales for decades.
But change does come, that summer. It comes in different guises: a handsome farm-hand, a death-watch beetle, a lavender-scented bosom, a lost hedgerow, a disused water tank. But finally it comes in the shape of an explosive argument in the tractor shed, after which nothing will ever be the same again.
With gentle wit and sharp intelligence, Miranda France takes the rural idyll and shakes it right up. She finds there's quite another side to the Hill Farm story.
Published: 7 Apr 2011
The Young Visiters or Mr Salteena's Plan is a comic masterpiece that has delighted generations of readers since it was first published in 1919. A classic story of life and love in later Victorian England as seen from the nursery window, it was written in 1890 by nine-year-old Daisy Ashford.
It all starts when Alfred Salteena, who is 'not quite the right side of the blanket', takes young Ethel Montacue to stay with his friend Bernard Clarke... Daisy Ashford has an exquisite eye for matchmaking and manners in English society, and her tale, with its hilarious observation and idiosyncratic spelling, is as irresistible today as it ever was.
This edition of The Young Visiters is illustrated with drawings by Posy Simmonds which are as enchanting and witty as the story. The text has been transcribed from the original manuscript and includes J.M. Barrie's famous preface to the first edition. The BBC1 adaptation of the novel, starring Jim Broadbent as Mr Salteena, was originally broadcast in 2003.
Published: 1 Jan 1988
Real life and fiction meet as Angelica Garnett vividly evokes what it is to grow up in the shadow of artists. Her family appear in different guises in the stories, but at the centre of each one is Garnett herself. She is naïve and foolish as Bettina, desperately seeking acceptance into the grown-ups circle ('When All the Leaves Were Green, My Love'); shy and cautious, but finally disloyal, as Agnes ('Aurore'); a hesitant, uncomfortable Emily ('The Birthday Party'); and a contemplative, even witty older woman, full of appetite and guilt, as Helen ('Friendship'). Spanning an entire life, each story reveals a figure trying to understand her place not only within the polished circle of her family, but in an ever-changing world.
Sharply observing a colourful social milieu and the vibrant characters that populate it, these are stories about family and friendships, yet also curdled relationships and small betrayals. A fictional counterpoint to her acclaimed memoir, Deceived with Kindness, here is a portrait of a woman seeking an understanding and acceptance of her past.
Where sex is a currency, or a weapon.
Where power ends in corruption, or violence.
Where the worst thing to happen is for the best, sometimes.
Where love is power, or something like that.
In these nine blistering stories cavort jealous husbands, kissing cousins, teenage internet hustlers, democratic bus rides, home exorcisms and bowls of dubious catfish peppersoup: this is a searing, savage portrait of an utterly modern Nigeria.
Dark yet disarming, in prose that is tough, vigorous and immediately distinctive, Love is Power, Or Something Like That is a phenomenal short story collection from a palpably talented new writer.
Published: 5 Jun 2003
Written from the perspective of Filth's wife, Betty, this is a story which will make the reader weep for the missed opportunities, while laughing aloud for the joy and the wit.
Filth (Failed In London Try Hong Kong) is a successful lawyer when he marries Elisabeth in Hong Kong soon after the War. Reserved, immaculate and courteous, Filth finds it hard to demonstrate his emotions. But Elisabeth is different - a free spirit. She was brought up in the Japanese Internment Camps, which killed both her parents, but left her with a lust for survival and an affinity with the Far East. No wonder she is attracted to Filth's hated rival at the Bar - the brash, forceful Veneering. Veneering has a Chinese wife and an adored son - and no difficulty whatsoever in demonstrating his emotions ....
How Elisabeth turns into Betty, and whether she remains loyal to stolid Filth or swept up by caddish Veneering, make for a page-turning plot, in a lovely novel which is full of surprises and revelations, as well as the humour and eccentricities for which Jane Gardam's writing is famous.
Published: 3 Sep 2009
Grace Hammer lives a sweet enough life with her four children in London's dank and dirty East End, dipping the pockets of wealthy strangers foolish enough to venture there. She keeps a clean house and a tight hold on her magpie nature, restricting her interests to wallets and pocket watches, which are bread and butter - at night she dreams of shiny things. Unbeknown to Grace, her most audacious crime is about to leap seventeen years and come knocking.
Out in the dark countryside Mr Blunt rocks in his chair, grinding his teeth, vowing furious retribution. He has never forgotten his scarlet treasure, or the harlot that stole it from him. At night he dreams of slitting her lily-white throat...
Published: 5 Mar 2009
**Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature**
Spanning her last five collections and bringing together her finest work from the past fifteen years, this new selection of Alice Munro's stories infuses everyday lives with a wealth of nuance and insight.
Written with emotion and empathy, beautifully observed and remarkably crafted, these stories are nothing short of perfection. A masterclass in the genre, from an author who deservedly lays claim to being one of the 'major fiction writers of our time'.
'Intelligent, insightful, enlightening and gripping' ML Stedman, author of The Light Between Oceans
When fire devastates Turney House, London’s finest stately home, the immaculate Lady Alexandra Marchant demands that everything be restored exactly as it was ‘the day before the fire’. Every charred remnant must be salvaged. Even the famous chandelier will be pieced back together into a flawless reconstruction.
But is it possible, or even desirable, to resurrect the past? And why do we care so much about it? Critics say the restored Turney can never be more than an elegant fake; Lady Alexandra Marchant says Turney’s doors, its café and gift shop, must be re-opened to the paying public as soon as possible.
Ros Freeman is called in as part of the effort, to Turney’s tented village of carvers, gilders, plasterers and stonemasons. Ros loves her work as a paper restorer. She considers herself an expert in uncovering the past, layer by layer, to bring out the truth. And yet in her personal life there are corners, shadows, ghosts, she fails to see. Until a discovery in Turney’s Rose Room challenges her to look again.
Published: 9 Sep 2004
Celebrated as one of the greatest writers of his generation, Javier Marías is best known for his spy trilogy, Your Face Tomorrow, which has been compared to Proust and hailed as one of the great modern European novels. In his first short story collection for fifteen years, beautifully translated by Margaret Jull Costa, he brings together tales which span his entire writing career from the 1960s to the present.
Marías' characters are slippery, and they live on the edges of society: a tramp, a butler, a bodyguard, a ghost. They threaten the everyday, rational world, and, compelled by desperation, are driven to perverse acts of obsession. In the title story an obscenely fat man fixated with his much younger lover endlessly videotapes her every move, and, in a chance midnight rendezvous, confides his shocking plans for her to a stranger; in 'The Resignation Letter of Señor of Santiesteban' a ghost is condemned to repeatedly resign from his job; and, in perhaps the most perfectly conceived story, when a man of impeccable taste and refinement meets his doppelgänger at a work dinner ('it was like dining opposite mirror made flesh'), he starts changing his dress and behaviour, in ways he previously would have abhorred, to mark the difference, only to find, at the next work convention, that his ghoulish twin has done exactly the same.
Mesmerising, unexpected and disturbing, these creepy, haunting stories inspire the reader to look at the normal things of life aslant.
Published: 4 Mar 2004
In Jerusalem, two Arabs are on the hunt for the same identity. The first is a wealthy lawyer with a thriving practice, a large house, a Mercedes and a beautiful family. With a sophisticated image to uphold, he decides one evening to buy a second-hand Tolstoy novel recommended by his wife – but inside it he finds a love letter, in Arabic, undeniably in her handwriting. Consumed with jealous rage, the lawyer vows to take his revenge on the book’s previous owner.
Elsewhere in the city, a young social worker is struggling to make ends meet. In desperation he takes an unenviable job as the night-time carer of a comatose young Jew. Over the long, dark nights that follow, he pieces together the story of his enigmatic patient, and finds that the barriers that ought to separate their lives are more permeable than he could ever have imagined.
As they venture further into deception, dredging up secrets and ghosts both real and imagined, the lawyer and the carer uncover the dangerous complexities of identity – as their lies bring them ever closer together.
Jane Gardam's delightful short stories range from the Lake District to Dorset; from Wimbledon, where an old Victorian mansion has been converted into a home for unmarried mothers, to wartime London, where a hospital is the scene of a job interview in the middle of the Blitz. In 'Pangbourne' (not, in this instance, the place, but the name of an ape), a lonely woman allows herself tenderly to fall in love with a gorilla; 'Snap' is about a loveless one-night stand - and its ironic punishment. Two of the stories are ghost stories; and fans of Gardam's most recent novel, the bestselling Old Filth, will be overjoyed to encounter Filth himself and his ancient enemy and sparring partner, Veneering, among the umbrellas at a luncheon party on a soaking wet day.
Jane Gardam is a writer at the height of her powers, well-known for her caustic wit, free-wheeling imagination, love of humanity and wicked powers of observation - as well as the hint of the bizarre and the surreal that she brings to her fiction. Her new collection of short stories is a delicious treat.
Published: 1 Nov 2007
‘In the Coffey house, there was always a list taped to the refrigerator. At the top, it was titled: THINGS WE NEED. The title was always capped and underlined, as if to stress that yes, this is important, these aren’t just things we want, these are things we need.’
Will and Weezy Coffey thought they’d prepared their three children for the challenges and hurdles of adult life. But being a grown-up isn’t easy.
Claire’s engagement has been called off and she’s hiding from her debts. Martha’s in a career crisis and even her sympathetic therapist is losing patience. And Max, the baby of the family in his final year at college, has got himself into a serious girlfriend fiasco.
Things We Need tells a story we all recognise, only a wittier, wiser version. Jennifer Close turns her gimlet eye and deadpan humour on the messiness of family life. A story about modern life and the place we return to when things go drastically awry: home.