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Seven pants-peeingly funny stories featuring seven evil characters you can't help but love: Douglas Coupland's stories are illustrated with dark charm by Graham Roumieu in a collaboration that brings together two of Canada's wittiest creators for the first time. Put your therapist on speed dial and read them with pleasure.
A cast of unlovable miscreants who unleash their dark, unruly and antisocial desires on every page: They are Donald, the Incredibly Hostile Juice Box; Kevin, the Hobo Minivan with Extremely Low Morals; Brandon, the Action Figure with Issues; Sandra, the Truly Dreadful Babysitter; Hans, the Weird Exchange Student;Cindy, the Terrible Role Model; and Mr. Fraser, the Undead Substitute Teacher.
A lot of laughs-of the evil, twisted kind: Definitely inappropriate for young people.
In Beverley Hills in 1998, British celebrity interviewer Lottie meets Patty Belle, a minor Hollywood actress. In the scorching heat, as she drinks her Virgin Mary and her companion sips champagne, Lottie immediately recognises and responds to Patty Belle's magnetic appeal. But they are not to meet again until many months later back in London, when they become flatmates.
Patty is in love with being in love. Strikingly beautiful, she both knows, and at some level is entirely unaware of, the impact she has on men. As she falls for one after another of Lottie's male friends, destroying relationships and marriages, she can only say 'But we couldn't help ourselves!'. Eventually Patty manages to destroy even her friendship with Lottie as with everyone else she has ever been close to, except those most damaging to her. A Marilyn for 90s London, she is lovable, infuriating, and naive as a child.
Patty is a girl about town with the unforgettable charm of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sally Bowles in Goodbye to Berlin and Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Set against the London of the dotcom boom and the USA of Clinton's impeachment, The Lotus Eaters is a stunning and deceptively sophisticated novel.
Published: 1 Mar 2007
SHORTLISTED FOR THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2017
A GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR
‘When I finished Sara Baume’s new novel I immediately felt sad that I could not send it in the post to the late John Berger. He, too, would have loved it and found great joy in its honesty, its agility, its beauty, its invention. Baume is a writer of outstanding grace and style. She writes beyond the time we live in.’ Colum McCann
Struggling to cope with urban life – and with life in general – Frankie, a twenty-something artist, retreats to the rural bungalow on ‘turbine hill’ that has been vacant since her grandmother’s death three years earlier. It is in this space, surrounded by nature, that she hopes to regain her footing in art and life. She spends her days pretending to read, half-listening to the radio, failing to muster the energy needed to leave the safety of her haven. Her family come and go, until they don’t and she is left alone to contemplate the path that led her here, and the smell of the carpet that started it all.
Finding little comfort in human interaction, Frankie turns her camera lens on the natural world and its reassuring cycle of life and death. What emerges is a profound meditation on the interconnectedness of wilderness, art and individual experience, and a powerful exploration of human frailty.
When important information is leaked from inside the Venetian Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti is entrusted with the task of uncovering which of his colleagues is responsible. But before Brunetti can begin his investigation, he is surprised by the appearance in his office of a friend of his wife’s, who is fearful that her son is using drugs. A few weeks later, Tullio Gasparini, the woman’s husband, is found unconscious with a serious head injury at the foot of a bridge, and Brunetti is drawn to pursue a possible connection to the boy’s behaviour. But the truth is not straightforward.
Following various contradictory leads, Brunetti navigates his way through a world of mysterious informants, underground deals and secret longstanding scam networks, all the while growing ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario, Claudia Griffoni, and by the endless resourcefulness of Signorina Elettra, Vice-Questore Patta’s secretary and gate-keeper.
With Gasparini’s condition showing no signs of improvement, and his investigations leading nowhere, Brunetti is steadied by the embrace of his own family and by his passion for the classics. He turns to Sophocles’s Antigone in an attempt to understand the true purpose of justice, and, in its light, he is forced to consider the terrible consequences to which the actions of a tender heart can lead.
'It’s not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book.' Margaret Atwood
A monumental novel about trees and people by one of our most 'prodigiously talented' (The New York Times Book Review) novelists.
The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers – each summoned in different ways by trees – are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.
There is a world alongside ours – vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.
An addictive literary puzzle that introduces an unforgettable young heroine plunged into the twisted world of a secret society with a dark agenda.
Lee Cuddy is seventeen years old and on the run, alone on the streets of Philadelphia.
A fugitive with no money, no home and nowhere to go, Lee finds refuge in a deserted building known as the Crystal Castle. But the Castle conceals a sinister agenda, one master-minded by a society of fanatical men set on decoding a series of powerful secrets hidden in plain sight. And they believe Lee holds the key to it all.
Aided by Tomi, a mysterious young hacker, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city. But the deeper she goes underground, the more tightly she finds herself bound in the strange web of the men she’s trying to elude. Aware that the lives of those she cares for are in increasing danger, it is only when Lee steps from the shadows to confront who is chasing her that she discovers what they’re really after, and why.
Part literary detective novel, part art history, part conspiracy thriller, The Readymade Thief introduces a singular, indomitable heroine and the arrival of a spellbinding and original new talent in fiction.
Two quirky detective stories from Britain's best sci-fi writer and author of The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Douglas Adams.
Dirk Gently is a detective - well, a sort of detective. There is a long and honourable tradition of great detectives and Dirk Gently does not belong to it. Dirk Gently calls himself a 'holistic detective' and above all, he believes in 'the interconnectedness of all things'. Sherlock Holmes observed that once you have eliminated the impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Dirk Gently, however, does not like to eliminate the impossible.
In Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency a simple search for a missing cat reveals two ghosts, a dodo, an Electric Monk, the devastating secret that lies behind the whole of human history and threatens to bring it to a premature close, and, finally, the utterly terrifying reason why Richard MacDuff has had a sofa stuck on his stairs for three weeks.
As The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul opens, a passenger check-in desk at Heathrow Airport shoots up through the roof engulfed in a ball of orange flames. The usual people try to claim responsibility. However, no rational cause can be found for the explosion - it was simply designated an act of God. But, thinks Dirk Gently, which God? And why? What God would be hanging around Terminal Two of Heathrow Airport trying to catch the 15.37 to Oslo?
In these two delightfully odd detective stories, Adams explores once again the realm of the unknown, in the style of science fiction that brought him fame with The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Published: 2 Aug 2001
J.D. Salinger, author of the classic Catcher in the Rye (1951), wrote the stories Franny and Zooey for publication in the New Yorker magazine in 1955 and 1957 respectively. Both stories were part of a series centred around a family of settlers in New York, the Glasses, particularly the children of Les and Bessie Glass, a Jewish-Irish theatrical act. All are brilliant former radio actors. Their eldest child, Seymour, a genius, commits suicide in his thirties. The repercussions to the family of this act provide the unifying theme to the stories.
In Franny and Zooey the youngest member of the family, Franny, has a religious and nervous breakdown. She attempts to ward off the meaninglessness of college life by the obsessive repetition of a Jesus prayer. Her brother Zachary (Zooey) rests at nothing in his attempts to restore her sanity.
J.D. Salinger wrote the Glass stories, 'It is a long-term project, patently an ambitious one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose, that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in ly own methods, locutions and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill.'
Published: 4 Jun 1962
When a bookshop patron commits suicide, it’s his favorite store clerk who must unravel the puzzle he left behind in this fiendishly clever debut novel.
Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves.
But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has inherited his meagre worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?
As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long-buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left. Bedazzling, addictive, and wildly clever, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a heart-pounding mystery that perfectly captures the intellect and eccentricity of the bookstore milieu.
*WINNER OF THE GOLDSMITHS PRIZE 2017*
A GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR
A TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR
AN IDEPENDENT BOOK OF THE YEAR
From the internationally acclaimed, Man Booker-shortlisted Nicola Barker comes a new novel, a post-post apocalyptic story that overflows with pure creative talent.
Imagine a perfect world where everything is known, where everything is open, where there can be no doubt, no hatred, no poverty, no greed. Imagine a System which both nurtures and protects. A Community which nourishes and sustains. An infinite world. A world without sickness, without death. A world without God. A world without fear.
Could you...might you be happy there?
H(A)PPY is a post-post apocalyptic Alice in Wonderland, a story which tells itself and then consumes itself. It's a place where language glows, where words buzz and sparkle and finally implode. It's a novel which twists and writhes with all the terrifying precision of a tiny fish in an Escher lithograph – a book where the mere telling of a story is the end of certainty.
What do you do when the homeless man on the street you’ve just given money to thanks you by name and turns out to be one of your ‘closest’ friends, one you haven’t seen for over twenty years? Take him for a hot meal and see him on his way? Give him a lot more money than you usually would? Or take him in and try to get him back on his feet? For Alan, there’s no question – only natural that he’d want to see his old mate Craig off the streets, even if only for a few nights, and into some clean clothes. But what if the successful life you’ve made for yourself – good job, happy marriage, lovely kids, grand Victorian house (you did well out of the property boom, thank you very much) – is one that that your old pal would quite like to have too? Even if it means taking it from you? Gradually, inevitably, mayhem ensues as Craig turns Alan’s orderly household upside down, threatening to wreck Alan’s life for good.
Following the divergent lives of two childhood friends, No Good Deed is a funny and painful examination of friendship; of the strange currents of ambition, loathing, pity and affection that flow between people over the decades; and of men getting older as they fail and succeed.
The Donnybrook is a three-day bare-knuckle tournament held on a thousand-acre plot out in the sticks of southern Indiana. Twenty fighters. One wire-fence ring. Fight until only one man is left standing while a rowdy festival of onlookers – drunk and high on whatever’s on offer – bet on the outcome.
Jarhead is a desperate man who’d do just about anything to feed his children. He’s also the toughest fighter in southeastern Kentucky, and he’s convinced that his ticket to a better life is one last fight with a cash prize so big it’ll solve all his problems. Meanwhile, there’s Chainsaw Angus – an undefeated master fighter who isn’t too keen on getting his face punched anymore, so he and his sister, Liz, have started cooking meth. And they get in deep. So deep that Liz wants it all for herself, and she might just be ready to kill her brother for it.
As we travel through the backwoods on the way to the Donnybrook, we meet a cast of nasty, ruined characters driven to all sorts of evil, all in the name of getting their fix – drugs, violence, sex, money, honour. Donnybrook is exactly the fearless, explosive, amphetamine-fuelled journey you’d expect from Frank Bill’s first novel . . . and then some.
A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR
A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.
A hectic, funny sexual affair between two best friends. A World War II veteran dealing with his emotional and physical scars. A second-rate actor plunged into sudden stardom and a whirlwind press junket. A small-town newspaper columnist with old-fashioned views of the modern world. A woman adjusting to life in a new neighborhood after her divorce. Four friends going to the moon and back in a rocket ship constructed in the backyard. A teenage surfer stumbling into his father’s secret life.
These are just some of the people and situations that Tom Hanks explores in his first work of fiction, a collection of stories that dissects, with great affection, humour and insight, the human condition and all its foibles. The stories are linked by one thing: in each of them, a typewriter plays a part, sometimes minor, sometimes central. To many, typewriters represent a level of craftsmanship, beauty and individuality that is harder and harder to find in the modern world. In his stories, Mr Hanks gracefully reaches that typewriter-worthy level.
Known for his honesty and sensitivity as an actor, Mr Hanks brings both those characteristics to his writing. Alternatingly whimsical, moving and occasionally melancholy, Uncommon Type is a book that will delight as well as surprise his millions of fans. It also establishes him as a welcome and wonderful new voice in contemporary fiction, a voice that perceptively delves beneath the surface of friendships, families, love and normal, everyday behaviour.
The long-awaited sequel to Kill Your Friends by John Niven, a decade after his cult debut hit, Kill Your Friends.
It is 2017 – the time of Trump and Brexit. The time for the return of Steven Stelfox – exactly twenty years on from his Britpop heyday. Now forty-six, and rich beyond the dreams of avarice, he works only occasionally as a music industry ‘consultant’. A fixer. A problem solver. He’s had a call from his old friend James Trellick, who is now president of Unigram, one of the largest record companies in America. Trellick has a huge headache on his hands in the shape of...
Lucius Du Pre. The biggest pop star on earth. Well, he was the biggest pop star on earth. Now he’s a helpless junkie and a prolific, unrepentant paedophile. Through a programme of debt restructuring so complex even Trellick can barely understand it, Du Pre is also now massively in hock to the record company. The only way he can possibly pay it off is to embark on an enormous comeback tour he’s in no shape to do.
The picture is further complicated when the parents of one of Du Pre’s ‘special friends’ begin blackmailing him. If their video gets out, Du Pre’s brand will be utterly toxic, taking Unigram down with it.
With stealth and cunning Stelfox begins to chart a road out of the nightmare. Needless to say, the body count on this road will be high.
When Tempe is called to the scene of an autoerotic death, she has little idea of the tangled chain of events that will follow. Because the man whose body she is examining apparently died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam 40 years before. So who is buried in the soldier's grave?
Tempe's investigations take her to Honolulu where she is caught up not only in the mystery of the unidentified body in the soldier's grave, but also dragged into investigating who, or what, killed the young men whose body parts have floated up onto a popular Hawaiian beach. And as Tempe gradually unravels the tangled threads of the mystery, it becomes clear that there are some who would rather the past stays dead and buried. And when Tempe proves difficult to frighten, they turn their attention to the person who means more to her than anyone else in the world.
An epic tale of family, love, and politics spanning the twentieth century, told with humour, tenderness and insight by one of Britain’s most promising young writers.
Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize
If you’ve approached Bains Stores recently, you’d be forgiven for hesitating on doing so. A prominent window advert for a discontinued chocolate bar suggests the shop may have closed in 1994. The security shutters are stuck a quarter-open, adding to the general air of dilapidation. A push or kick of the door triggers something which is more grating car alarm than charming shop bell.
To Arjan Banga, returning to the Black Country after the unexpected death of his father, his family’s corner shop represents everything he has tried to leave behind – a lethargic pace of life, insular rituals and ways of thinking. But when his mother insists on keeping the shop open, he finds himself being dragged back, forced into big decisions about his imminent marriage back in London and uncovering the history of his broken family – the elopement and mixed-race marriage of his aunt Surinder, the betrayals and loyalties, loves and regrets that have played out in the shop over more than fifty years.
Taking inspiration from Arnold Bennett’s classic novel The Old Wives’ Tale, Marriage Material tells the story of three generations of a family through the prism of a Wolverhampton corner shop – itself a microcosm of the South Asian experience in the country: a symbol of independence and integration, but also of darker realities.
This is an epic tale of family, love, and politics, spanning the second half of the twentieth century, and the start of the twenty-first. Told with humour, tenderness and insight, it manages to be both a unique and urgent survey of modern Britain by one of Britain’s most promising young writers, and an ingenious reimagining of a classic work of fiction.
Introduced by Richard Dawkins and Nick Harkaway
First a legendary radio series, then a sequence of bestselling books, and most recently a blockbuster movie, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is one of the greatest fictional enterprises of the twentieth century. Reissued in time for the first novel’s thirty-fifth anniversary, this hardback omnibus edition includes all five parts of the trilogy, along with a wealth of extra material prefaced and contextualised by Jem Roberts, the official biographer of Douglas Adams, to complete the canon.
This unique hardback edition is indispensable for any would-be galactic traveller, and a must-read for all Douglas Adams fans.
Published: 25 Sep 2014
In Repatriated the world is a dangerous place and the bomb is ticking - at home and abroad.
In a seaside town in the Netherlands, Mr Java - a war damaged ex-colonial - drills his son for the future, drawing him deeper and deeper into his delusionary world. As the radio broadcasts news of H bomb tests, Mr Java writes letters of complaint to the authorities, dreams of horses, and stands at the front window, on the look out for special security spies and nuclear holocaust. His wife and her three daughters from a previous marriage in Indonesia form a sort of Greek chorus, providing a sceptical commentary as his obsessions build towards a dark, absurdist climax.
Repatriated is an inventive, blackly funny novel that shows an adolescent boy trying to break free from his parents and finding he cannot escape their past.
Published: 7 Mar 2016
J D Salinger (Author)Commonly mislabeled the worst of the Glass family saga, and of J.D. Salinger's work in general, Raise High the Roofbeam Carpenters, and Seymour, an Introduction, deserves much praise. Salinger takes a lot of care and thought in writing these two short stories. Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters features Buddy Glass attending his brother, Seymour's wedding. Seymour never physically appears in this story, but Buddy narrates so much about him that he is very much a main character. Seymour, an Introduction is a more difficult read. What at first appears incessant ramblings of a grief stricken sibling, at second glance becomes a well crafted work of genuis.
Published: 31 Mar 1994
The fully restored fiftieth anniversary edition
Foreword by Martin Amis
First published by William Heinemann in 1962, A Clockwork Orange is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century. This special edition, compiled and edited by Andrew Biswell, Burgess's biographer, restores the text of the novel as Burgess originally wrote it, and includes a selection of interviews, articles, reviews and other previously unpublished material.
Published: 6 Sep 2012