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Drowntown

Jim Murray (Author) , Robbie Morrison (Author)

‘Just had a romantic Waterloo sunset spoiled by the sight of a corpse being dredged from the Thames? Welcome to Drowntown…

‘The name's Noiret, Leo Noiret. I'm a Minder, which means people hire me to protect them, figuring that my beer belly and monumental streak of bad luck are big enough to intercept any blades, bullets or bad feelings heading their way.

‘Staying alive isn’t easy, though, when everyone who’s anyone in Drowntown wants your new client dead in the water. I’m going to need a bigger belly…’

The world has changed forever, ravaged by climatic upheaval. The flooded metropolis of London has adapted to the rising sea levels, remaining a centre for international commerce and a magnet for environmental refugees. The elite gaze out over the ever-expanding Thames from their ivory towers, while the denizens of submerged pubs peer into the sunken streets like specimens in an aquarium.

Hired by notorious underworld figure Alexandra Bastet, Leo Noiret uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that stretches from the depths of Drowntown to the highest echelons of power and influence.

Struggling aqua-courier Gina Cassel learns that young love can be a dangerous game when she becomes romantically involved with the heir to the Drakenberg Corporation, which aims to control both the environment and the future of human evolution.

There’s a storm brewing in Drowntown, with Gina and Noiret at its heart…

Two More Pints

Roddy Doyle (Author)

Two men meet for a pint – or two – in a Dublin pub. They chew the fat, set the world to rights, curse the ref, say a last farewell… In this second collection of comic dialogues Doyle’s drinkers ponder:
- a topless Kate Middleton
- Barack and Michelle Obama (‘fuckin’ gorgeous’)
- David Beckham (‘Would you tattoo your kids’ names on the back of your neck?’ ‘They wouldn’t fit’)
- Jimmy Savile (‘a gobshite’)
- the financial crisis (again)
- abortion (again)
- and horsemeat in your burger…

Once again, those we have lost troop through their thoughts - Lou Reed, Seamus Heaney, Reg Presley, Nelson Mandela (‘he should never have left the Four Tops’), Phil Everly, Margaret Thatcher, Shirley Temple - and they still have that unerring ability to ask the really fundamental questions like ‘Would you take penalty points for your missis?’

The Fruit Of Stone

Mark Spragg (Author)

Set in Wyoming, in cattle country, The Fruit of Stone is the story of two men and one woman. McEban, a rancher, has loved Gretchen Reilly all his life; and all his life Bennett, Gretchen's husband, has been his best friend. When Gretchen leaves Bennett, the two men follow her trail on a strange, fateful journey across Wyoming to Nebraska.

Spragg's characters are unforgettable, his prose is at once tender and muscular, his portrait of the harsh but beautiful landscape breathtaking. With this remarkable novel he takes his place beside Cormac McCarthy, Thomas McGuane and Kent Haruf as one of the great contemporary chroniclers of the American West.

If

Steve Bell (Author)

In his daily cartoon for the Guardian and his long-running strip, IF, in the same paper, Steve Bell has proved that he is without equal in Britain as political cartoonist. Savage, funny, rude, constantly transgressing the rules of good taste, and of course beautifully drawn his cartoons are hated by those they lampoon and loved by everyone who likes to see authority subverted. In his new collection he covers the years of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government, 2010-2015, fertile ground for Bell’s genius. From George Osborne in his bondage gear, the ‘Quiet Man’ zombie Ian Duncan Smith, Cable the elephant, Cameron the talking condom and Clegg the butler to Kipling and the IF penguins, every awful moment of the coalition years is re-run before your eyes … but Steve Bell style: ‘outrageous, anarchic, brilliant, sometimes inexplicable and a bit mad (not really)’ to quote John Pilger.

Peter Duck

Arthur Ransome (Author)

‘Why do they call him Black Jake? Is it because of his hair?’ Titty asked.
‘Because of his heart’ said Peter Duck

The Swallows and Amazons, as well as Captain Flint and the ancient able seaman Peter Duck, set sail on the Wild Cat bound for the Channel. But they are shadowed by the Viper, manned by none other than Black Jake - a beastly pirate with a dark plan. Can the children race ahead and uncover the buried treasure before the pirate? Can they survive storms, earthquakes, crabs and even a waterspout and make it home?

An Alphabet of Aunts

C. M. Dawnay (Author) , Mungo McCosh (Author)

Aunts have not had their due recognition - until now. But here, in the simple tasks and pleasures of her ordinary life, the aunt is portrayed with wonder and affection. Starting with the Ambulant, walking her dogs past G.F.Watts' statue of Physical Energy in Kensington Gardens, this book describes her in twenty-six beautifully observed portraits, one for each letter of the alphabet. Here is the Elegant on the catwalk; the Hydrant, watering her garden; the Indignant, watching those same plants being dug up by the ubiquitous canines who are so much a part of her life; the Mendicant, begging outside Daunt's bookshop; the Osculant, indulging in the pastime that aunts do best; the Ruminant, eating salad in her lonely cafe, not to forget the Truant, shamelessly sporting SEMPER ABSUM on her school blazer.


Each picture, meticulously drawn by Mungo McCosh, is followed on its subsequent page by the name of the aunt the picture describes. Beautiful and aptly chosen lettering tells us who she is - in case we can't guess for ourselves.

A book of wit and wisdom, for nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, everywhere.

Footnotes in Gaza

Joe Sacco (Author)

Rafah, a town at the southernmost tip of the Gaza Strip, is a squalid place. Raw concrete buildings front rubbish-strewn alleys. The narrow streets are crowded with young children and unemployed men. Situated on the border with Egypt, swaths of Rafah have been reduced to rubble. Rafah is today and has always been a notorious flashpoint in this most bitter of conflicts.

Buried deep in the archives is one bloody incident, in 1956, that left 111 Palestinian refugees dead, shot by Israeli soldiers. Seemingly a footnote to a long history of killing, that day in Rafah - coldblooded massacre or dreadful mistake - reveals the competing truths that have come to define an intractable war. In a quest to get to the heart of what happened, Joe Sacco arrives in Gaza and, immersing himself in daily life, uncovers Rafah, past and present. Spanning fifty years, moving fluidly between one war and the next, alive with the voices of fugitives and schoolchildren, widows and sheikhs, Footnotes in Gaza captures the essence of a tragedy.

As in Palestine and Safe Area Goražde, Joe Sacco's unique visual journalism has rendered a contested landscape in brilliant, meticulous detail. Footnotes in Gaza, his most ambitious work to date, transforms a critical conflict of our age into intimate and immediate experience.

Aya

Marguerite Abouet (Author) , Clément Oubrerie (Illustrator)

For the residents of Yopougon, everyday life is good. It is the early 1970s, a golden time - work is plentiful, hospitals are clean and well equipped, and school is obligatory. The Ivory Coast is as an island of relative wealth and stability in West Africa. For the teenagers of the town, though, worries are plentiful, and life in Yop City is far from simple.

Aya tells the story of its nineteen-year-old heroine, the clear-sighted and bookish Aya, and her carefree and fun-loving friends Adjoua and Bintou. Navigating meddling relatives and neighbours, the girls spend a last summer of their childhood on the sun-warmed streets of Yop City - sneaking out for dancing at open-air bars, strong solibra beer, chicken in peanut sauce and avoiding at all costs the scandal pages of the Calamity Morning....

Aya is a captivating, colourful and hugely entertaining portrayal of an Africa we rarely see, spirited and resilient, and full of the sounds, sights and smells of a prosperous town and its varied inhabitants.

Black Hole

Charles Burns (Author)

And you thought your adolescence was scary.

Suburban Seattle, the mid-1970s. We learn from the outset that a strange plague has descended upon the area's teenagers, transmitted by sexual contact. The disease is manifested any number of ways - from the hideously grotesque to the subtle (and concealable) - but once you've got it, that's it. There's no turning back.

As we inhabit the heads of several key characters - some kids who have it, some who don't, some who are about to get it - what unfolds isn't the expected battle to fight the plague, or bring heightened awareness of it, or even to treat it. What we become witness to instead is a fascinating and eerie portrait of the nature of high-school alienation itself - the savagery, the cruelty, the relentless anxiety and ennui, the longing for escape.

And then the murders start.

As hypnotically beautiful as it is horrifying (and, believe it or not, autobiographical), Black Hole transcends its genre by deftly exploring a specific American cultural moment in flux and the kids who are caught in it - back when it wasn't exactly cool to be a hippie any more, but Bowie was still just a little too weird.

To say nothing of sprouting horns and moulting your skin . . .

Fluffy

Simone Lia (Author)

Fluffy is story of unanswerable questions, love, despair, adventure and happiness. Fluffy is a baby rabbit who is being looked after by an anxious, single man called Michael Pulcino. Michael tries to make it clear to Fluffy that he is not his daddy, but Fluffy appears to be in denial. Michael is being pursued by Fluffy's nursery school teacher, and partly to escape her, he and Fluffy set off to visit his family in Sicily.

Will Michael escape her? Will Fluffy come to terms with the reality that he is not a human being? All is at least partly resolved in Simone Lia's utterly irresistible graphic novel.

The Wrong Place

Brecht Evens (Author)

Rendered in vivid watercolour where parquet floors and patterned dresses morph together, The Wrong Place revolves around oft-absent Robbie, a charismatic lothario of mysterious celebrity who has the run of a city as chaotic as it is resplendent.

Robbie's sexual energy captivates the attention of men and women alike; his literal and figurative brightness is a startling foil to the dreariness of his childhood friend, Francis. With a hand as sensitive as it is exuberant, Angoulême-winner Brecht Evens's first English graphic novel captures the strange chemistry of social interaction. The Wrong Place contrasts life as it is, angst-ridden and awkward, with life as it can be: spontaneous, uninhibited, and free.

George Sprott

Seth (Author)

Seth's graphic novel tells the story of George Sprott, the host of a long-running and unaccountably popular Canadian television programme, Northern Hi-Lights, in which he shows old films of the Arctic, while 'rambling on in a monotone voice about Eskimos or seal hunts or snowstorms' and often falling asleep on-air.

On the surface George seems a charming, foolish, old man, but as we come to know him, piece by piece, in a series of'interviews', flashbacks and personal reminiscences a more complex picture emerges.

Another small masterpiece by the author of It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken and Wimbledon Green, George Sprott is a story about time, identity, loss and the persistence of memory. It's beautifully drawn and often very funny.

Smile

Roddy Doyle (Author)

A Guardian / Irish Times Book of the Year

Smile has all the features for which Roddy Doyle has become famous: the razor-sharp dialogue, the humour, the superb evocation of childhood – but this is a novel unlike any he has written before. When you finish the last page you will have been challenged to re-evaluate everything you think you remember so clearly.

Just moved in to a new apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnelly’s pub for a pint, a slow one.

One evening his drink is interrupted. A man in shorts and pink shirt brings over his pint and sits down. He seems to know Victor’s name and to remember him from school. Says his name is Fitzpatrick.

Victor dislikes him on sight, dislikes too the memories that Fitzpatrick stirs up of five years being taught by the Christian Brothers.

He prompts other memories too – of Rachel, his beautiful wife who became a celebrity, and of Victor’s own small claim to fame, as the man who says the unsayable on the radio.

But it’s the memories of school, and of one particular Brother, that he cannot control and which eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.

99 Ways to Tell a Story

Matt Madden (Author)

Matt Madden's 99 Ways to Tell a Story is a series of one-page comics that tell the same story in a variety of ways. Inspired by Raymond Queneau's 1947 work of the same title, which told a simple story in ninety-nine different styles and genres - haiku, sonnet, book jacket blurb - Madden does the same but in different styles of comics - Marvel superhero, R. Crumb, Hergé, even as a map or the Bayeux Tapestry. Or he uses varying points of view, visual and verbal parodies, even radical reshuffling of the elements of the story. The result is funny, inspiring, and genuinely clever.

Taking Pictures

Anne Enright (Author)

The stories in Taking Pictures are snapshots of the body in trouble: in denial, in extremis, in love. Mapping the messy connections between people - and their failures to connect - the characters are captured in the grainy texture of real life: freshly palpable, sensuous and deeply flawed.

From Dublin to Venice, from an American college dorm to a holiday caravan in France, these are stories about women stirred, bothered, or fascinated by men they cannot understand, or understand too well. Enright's women are haunted by children, and by the ghosts of the lives they might have led - lit by new flames, old flames, and flames that are guttering out.A woman's one night stand is illuminated by dreams of a young boy on a cliff road, another's is thwarted by an swarm of somnolent bees. A pregnant woman is stuck in a slow lift with a tactile American stranger, a naked mother changes a nappy in a hotel bedroom, and waits for her husband to come back from the bar. These are sharp, vivid stories of loss and yearning, of surrender to responsibilities or to unexpected delight; all share the unsettling, dislocated reality, the subversive wit and awkward tenderness that have marked Anne Enright as one of our most thrillingly gifted writers.

The Property

Rutu Modan (Author) , Jessica Cohen (Translator)

After the death of her son, Regina Segal takes her granddaughter Mica to Warsaw, hoping to reclaim a family property lost during World War II. As they get to know modern Warsaw, Regina is forced to recall difficult things about her past, and Mica begins to wonder if maybe their reasons for coming aren't a little different than her grandmother led her to believe.

Rutu Modan offers up a world populated by prickly seniors, officious public servants, and stubborn women – a world whose realism is expressed alternately in the absurdity of people’s behaviour, and in the complex consequences of their sacrifices. Modan’s ever-present wit is articulated perfectly in her clear-line style, while a subtle, almost muted colour palette complements the true-to-life nuances of her characterisation. Savvy and insightful, elegant and subtle, The Property is a triumph of storytelling and fine lines. Modan’s first full-length graphic novel, Exit Wounds, made a huge splash for this signature combination of wit, style and realism; The Property cements Modan’s status as one of the foremost cartoonists working today.

Winner of the 2014 Eisner Comic Industry Award

So Happy It Hurts

Anneliese Mackintosh (Author)

'I want to be a good person. And I want to be happy. So happy it hurts. I need you to help me with that.’

Ottila McGregor is thirty years old and has decided it’s time to sort her life out. She’s going to quit drinking, stop cheating and finally find true happiness. Easy, right?

Of course not.

For a start, there’s Grace, her best friend, who believes self-improvement is for people in their forties. Next there’s Mina, her sister, who is mentally ill, and it might be Ottila’s fault. And then there’s Thales, the Greek guy who works in the hospital cafeteria. He's probably the best, most dangerous person Ottila’s ever met.

To make sense of it all, Ottila keeps a scrapbook of everything: emails, receipts, tickets, letters, her therapy transcripts, a boyfriend's note rescued from the bin... The result is an infectious one-off of a novel that makes you wince and laugh in equal measure, and which asks the question: what does it take to be so happy it hurts?

**Shortlisted for the DIVA Rising Star Literary Award**

3"

Marc-Antoine Mathieu (Author)

This is a detective mystery.

It lasts only 3 seconds.

Which is enough time for a particle of light to travel 900,000 kilometres.

And as you follow it on its journey - through scenes of deadly drama and seeming innocence, as far as deep space and back - look into the blind spots and corners. There are clues there: connections between the characters, motives, intrigues, crimes and plots.

You are the detective.

Find the solution.

In Between Days

Andrew Porter (Author)

The Hardings are teetering on the brink. Elson – once one of Houston’s most promising architects, who never quite lived up to expectations – is recently divorced from his wife of thirty years, Cadence. Their grown son, Richard, is still living at home: driving his mother’s minivan, working at a local coffee shop, resisting the career as a writer that beckons him. But when Chloe Harding gets kicked out of her East Coast college, for reasons she can’t explain to either her parents or her older brother, the Hardings’ lives start to unravel. Chloe returns to Houston, but the dangers set in motion back at school prove inescapable. Told with piercing insight, taut psychological suspense, and the wisdom of a true master of character, this is a novel about the vagaries of love and family, about betrayal and forgiveness, about the possibility and impossibility of coming home.

Bumf

Joe Sacco (Author)

Joe Sacco is renowned for his non-fiction books of comics journalism like Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde and Footnotes in Gaza. Now in Bumf he returns to his early days as a satirist and underground cartoonist. In the vein of the old underground comix like ZAP or Weirdo, Bumf will be puerile, disgusting, and beyond redemption. It will go where it wants to go, and do what it wants to do. It will also be very funny.

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