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Africa Junction

Ginny Baily (Author)

Adele is in a mess. On her own with her young son, struggling to cope with her job as a teacher, and stuck in a disastrous affair - her life is unravelling. Her memories of idyllic years as a child in Senegal are fading, but she's haunted by a vision of her childhood friend, Ellena. Africa is in her head.

Ellena's childhood in exile from brutal conflict in Liberia was far removed from the vibrant Senegal Adele remembers, and a careless, heartless act destroyed the girls' friendship and jeopardised Ellena's fragile family. Adele must return to Africa to try and make amends and to attempt to pull together the drifting threads of her life.

A Summer of Drowning

John Burnside (Author)

A young girl, Liv, lives with her mother on a remote island in the Arctic Circle. Her only friend is an old man who beguiles her with tales of trolls, mermaids, and the huldra, a wild spirit who appears as an irresistably beautiful girl, to tempt young men to danger and death. Then two boys drown within weeks of each other under mysterious circumstances, in the still, moonlit waters off the shores of Liv's home.

Were the deaths accidental or were the boys lured to their doom by a malevolent spirit?

Things We Didn't See Coming

Steven Amsterdam (Author)

Opening on the eve of the millennium, when the world as we know it is still recognisable, we meet the nine-year-old narrator as he flees the city with his parents, just ahead of a Y2K breakdown.

Next he is a teenager with a growing criminal record, taking his grandparents for a Sunday drive. In a world transformed by battles over resources, he teaches them how to steal.

In time we see him struggle through strange, horrific and unexpectedly funny terrain as he goes about the no longer simple act of survival. Despite the chaos of his world, he keeps his eyes on the exit door, his heart open and his mind on what he thinks is going to happen next.

Longlisted for the Guardian first book award.

Mrs De Winter

Susan Hill (Author)

Rebecca was Daphne du Maurier's most famous and best-loved novel. Countless readers wondered: what happened next? Out of fire-wracked ruins of Manderley, would love and renewal rise phoenix-like from the ashes of the embittered past?

Married to the sophisticated, wordly-wise Maxim, the second Mrs de Winter's life should be happy and fulfilled. But the vengeful ghost of Rebecca, Maxim's first wife, continues to cast its long shadow over them. Back in England after an absence of over ten years, it seems as if happiness will at last be theirs.

But the de Winters still have to reckon with two hate-consumed figures they once knew - both of whom have very long memories...

Persepolis I & II

Marjane Satrapi (Author)

CHOSEN BY EMMA WATSON FOR 'OUR SHARED SHELF' FEMINIST BOOK CLUB

The Story of a Childhood and The Story of a Return

The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran's last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. This is a beautiful and intimate story full of tragedy and humour - raw, honest and incredibly illuminating.

Satin Island

Tom McCarthy (Author)

U. is a 'corporate anthropologist' who, while working on a giant, epoch-defining project no one really understands, is also tasked with writing the Great Report on our society. But instead, U. spends his days procrastinating, meandering through endless buffer-zones of information and becoming obsessed by the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions.

Is there a secret logic holding all these images together? Once cracked, will it unlock the master-meaning of our era? Might it have something to do with the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not.

The Childhood of Jesus

J M Coetzee (Author)

An astonishing new masterpiece from the Nobel and twice Booker Prize-winning author of Disgrace and Summertime

After crossing oceans, a man and a boy – both strangers to each other – arrive in a new land. David, the boy, has lost his mother and Simón vows to look after him. In this strange new country they are assigned a new name, a new birthday, a new life.

Knowing nothing of their surroundings, nor the language or customs, they are determined to find David’s mother. Though the boy has no memory of her, Simón is certain he will recognize her at first sight. “But after we find her,” David asks, “what are we here for?”

The Childhood of Jesus is a profound, beautiful and continually surprising novel from a very great writer.

After You Die

Eva Dolan (Author)

CAN THEY UNPICK THE TRUTH AND BRING A KILLER TO JUSTICE?

DS Ferreira is back on the force after being severely injured in the line of duty. The first case to land on her desk takes her and DI Zigic to a brutal crime scene where a woman has been stabbed to death and her disabled daughter left to starve upstairs.

The murdered woman is Dawn Prentice – a woman who had come to Ferreira for help when she and her daughter were being subjected to harassment.

As Ferreira battles her demons and Zigic clashes with another officer, the detectives realise that the Prentice case rests on one crucial question – who was the real target of the killer: mother or daughter?

'Elegantly crafted, humane and thought-provoking. She’s top drawer'
Ian Rankin

'Hard-hitting, tragic, compelling and timely'
Daily Express

'A hard-boiled, fast-paced mystery with a tight ring of suspects'
Irish Times

'The authority of Dolan's writing grows from book to book'
Financial Times

Tell No Tales

Eva Dolan (Author)

Two men are kicked to death in brutal attacks.

Caught on CCTV, the murderer hides his face – but raises a Nazi salute.

In a town riddled with racial tension, Detectives Zigic and Ferreira from the Hate Crimes Unit are under pressure to find the killer.

But when a car ploughs into a bus stop early one morning, the Detectives have another case on their hands, and soon the media are hounding them for answers.

Riots break out, the leader of right-wing party steps into the spotlight, and Zigic and Ferreira must act fast – before more violence erupts.

'A rising star of crime fiction'
BBC Radio 4 Front Row

'Powerful'
Sunday Times

'Breathlessly exciting'
Sunday Mirror

'Gritty'
Daily Express

'Everyone should read this'
Sarah Hilary

'Frightening in its believability'
Big Issue

Cain

José Saramago (Author) , Margaret Jull Costa (Translator)

After killing his brother Abel, Cain must wander for ever. He witnesses Noah's ark, the destruction of the Tower of Babel, Moses and the golden calf. He is there in time to save Abraham from sacrificing Isaac when God's angel arrives late after a wing malfunction.

Written in the last years of Saramago's life, Cain wittily tackles many of the moral and logical non sequiturs created by a wilful, authoritarain God, forming part of Saramago's long argument with God and recalling his provocative novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ.

Asunder

Chloe Aridjis (Author)

Marie’s job as a museum guard at the National Gallery in London offers her the life she always wanted, one of invisibility and quiet contemplation. But amid the hushed corridors surge currents of history and violence, paintings whose power belie their own fragility. There also lingers the legacy of her great-grandfather Ted, the warder who slipped and fell moments before reaching the suffragette Mary Richardson as she took a blade to one of the gallery’s masterpieces on the eve of the First World War.

After nine years there, Marie begins to feel the tug of restlessness. A decisive change comes in the form of a winter trip to Paris, where, with the arrival of an uninvited guest and an unexpected encounter, her carefully contained world is torn apart.

Long Way Home

Eva Dolan (Author)

A man is burnt alive in a shed.

No witnesses, no fingerprints - only a positive ID of the victim as an immigrant with a long list of enemies.

Detectives Zigic and Ferreira are called in from the Hate Crimes Unit to track the killer, and are met with silence in a Fenland community ruled by slum racketeers, people-trafficking gangs and fear.

Tensions rise.
The clock is ticking.
But nobody wants to talk.

I Am Forbidden

Anouk Markovits (Author)

I Am Forbidden is a powerful portrayal of family, faith and history which sweeps the reader across continents and generations, from pre-war Transylvania to present-day New York, via Paris and England. Immersive, beautiful, moving, it explores in devastating detail what happens when unwavering love, unyielding law and centuries of tradition collide.

Notwithstanding

Louis de Bernières (Author)

Welcome to the village of Notwithstanding, where a lady dresses in plus fours and shoots squirrels, a retired general gives up wearing clothes altogether, a spiritualist lives in a cottage with the ghost of her husband, and people think it quite natural to confide in a spider that lives in a potting shed. Based on de Bernières' recollections of the village he grew up in, Notwithstanding is a funny and moving depiction of a charming vanished England.

Cambridge

Caryl Phillips (Author)

Cambridge is a powerful and haunting novel set in that uneasy time between the abolition of the slave trade and the emancipation of the slaves. It is the story of Emily Cartwright, a young woman sent from England to visit her father's West Indian plantation, and Cambridge, a plantation slave, educated and Christianised by his first master in England and now struggling to maintain his dignity.

Last Evenings On Earth

Roberto Bolaño (Author)

This is the first collection by the universally acclaimed Chilean author to be published in English and it is an outstanding introduction to Bolaño's writing. Bolaño's narrators are grappling with their own private quests while living in the margins, on the edges, in constant flight from nightmarish threats. His stories are often witty, frequently melancholy and always original.

Sunday Morning At The Centre Of The World

Louis de Bernières (Author)

Taking his inspiration from Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood, Louis de Bernières chose to celebrate his ten years of life in the south London suburb, living above a small shop that had been by turns an outlet for oversized naughty clothes for transvestites, a West Indian hairdressers and a junk shop, by writing of the people that he had known and come to love in his time there.

Brilliantly capturing the myriad voices of modern Britain, with their different rhythms of speech and accents, their humour and their tragedy, jokes and gossip, de Bernières' tour de force takes us to the heart of a community and its spirit - the lives and loves, the tears and the laughter of its people.

Dance Of The Happy Shades

Alice Munro (Author)

**Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature**

Alice Munro's territory is the farms and semi-rural towns of south-western Ontario. In these dazzling stories she deals with the self-discovery of adolescence, the joys and pains of love and the despair and guilt of those caught in a narrow existence. And in sensitively exploring the lives of ordinary men and women, she makes us aware of the universal nature of their fears, sorrows and aspirations.

Look At the Birdie

Kurt Vonnegut (Author)

Look at the Birdie evokes a world in which squabbling couples, high school geniuses, misfit office workers, and small-town Lotharios struggle to adapt to changing technology, moral ambiguity, and unprecedented affluence. In "Confido," a family learns the downside of confiding their deepest secrets into a magical invention. In "Ed Luby's Key Club," a man finds himself in a Kafkaesque world of trouble after he runs afoul of the shady underworld boss who calls the shots in an upstate New York town. In "Look at the Birdie," a quack psychiatrist turned "murder counsellor" concocts a novel new outlet for his paranoid patients. The stories are cautionary they also brim with his trademark humour.

Wry, ironic, satirical and poignant Look at the Birdie reflects the anxieties of the postwar era in which they were written and provides an insight into the development of Vonnegut's early style

Voyage To The End Of The Room

Tibor Fischer (Author)

Oceane, successful computer graphics designer and former dancer, likes to travel, but doesn't like to go out; in fact she never leaves home. Her solution is to bring the world to her South London flat using satellite, the internet and passing foreigners. Her lifestyle suits her until she starts getting letters from an ex - an ex who died ten years ago.

Utilising the services of Audley, failed mercenary and debt collector, Oceane has to start searching the world. Weaving from the sex clubs of Barcelona to the battlefields of Yugoslavia, this is a meditation on a random world, why ketchup is important and why the Audit Commission rated Lambeth Council as one of the worst in the country.

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