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Flaneuse

Lauren Elkin (Author)

Selected as a Book of the Year 2016 by the Financial Times, Guardian, New Statesman, Observer, The Millions and Emerald Street

'Flâneuse [flanne-euhze], noun, from the French. Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities.

That is an imaginary definition.'

If the word flâneur conjures up visions of Baudelaire, boulevards and bohemia – then what exactly is a flâneuse?

In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines her as ‘a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk’. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between the city and creativity through a journey that begins in New York and moves us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring along the way the paths taken by the flâneuses who have lived and walked in those cities.

From nineteenth-century novelist George Sand to artist Sophie Calle, from war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to film-maker Agnes Varda, Flâneuse considers what is at stake when a certain kind of light-footed woman encounters the city and changes her life, one step at a time.

Trials

Isabel Buchanan (Author)

Winner of the Saltire Society First Book Award 2016
An Economist Book of the Year 2016
A Spectator Book of the Year 2016

In 2011, Isabel Buchanan, a twenty-three-year-old Scottish lawyer, moved to Pakistan to work in a new legal chambers in Lahore. The chambers was run by a determined thirty-three-year-old Pakistani lawyer, Sarah Belal, who had finally found her calling in defending inmates on Pakistan’s death row.

Belal and Buchanan struck up an unlikely friendship, forged through working in a system that was instinctively hostile to newcomers – and doubly so if they were female. At Sarah’s side, and with the help of Nasar, the firm’s legendary clerk, Buchanan plunged into the strange and complex world of Pakistan’s justice system. The work was arduous, underfunded, and dangerous. But for a young Scottish lawyer like Buchanan it was an unparalleled education, offering a window onto a much-misunderstood country and culture. Filled with beautifully drawn characters, she creates a narrative brimming with ideas and bursting with humanity. It is a story of Pakistan, but it is also a universal story of the pursuit of justice in an uncertain world.

The Low Voices

Manuel Rivas (Author) , Jonathan Dunne (Translator)

Manuel is growing up in Franco's Spain. He adores his elder sister, María, and they are watched over by their mother, who enjoys reciting poetry, and their father, a construction worker with vertigo. Beyond the walls of the house, he encounters chatty hairdressers and priests, wolf hunters and monstrous carnival effigies.

The community is still haunted by the civil war, yet Manuel's world is changing. Coca-Cola opens a factory nearby and news arrives of men landing on the moon. This is a story about family, memory and the experiences that make us who we are.

The Association of Small Bombs

Karan Mahajan (Author)

A GRANTA BEST YOUNG AMERICAN NOVELIST 2017

When the Khurana boys and their friend Mansoor set out for one of Delhi's markets, disaster strikes without warning. A 'small' bomb detonates, killing the brothers instantly. Mansoor is one of the few survivors.

From India to America, the lives of victims and bystanders, mothers and fathers, comrades and adversaries are changed forever. Even the young bomb maker cannot escape the heat of the blast.

'I can't remember the last time I read a book which conjured a world so rich and so convincing'
MARK HADDON

'Brilliant... Masterful'
KEVIN POWERS

'Unusually wise, tender and generous'
JIM CRACE

'Breathtaking... Unforgettable'
ADELLE WALDMAN

'Packed with small wonders of beauty and heartbreak that are impossible to resist'
DINAW MENGESTU

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS

Farida Khalaf (Author) , Andrea C. Hoffmann (Author)

Our world as it once was

In August 2014, Farida was, like any ordinary teenager, enjoying the last days of summer before her final year at school. However, her peaceful mountain village in northern Iraq was an ISIS target as their genocide against the Yazidi people began.

The catastrophe

ISIS murdered the men and boys in the village, including Farida's father and brother, and took the women hostage. Farida was one of them. She was held in a slave camp, in the homes of ISIS members and finally in a desert training camp. Continually she struggled, resisted and fought against her captors, showing unimaginable strength and bravery.

This is my story

Eventually, Farida managed to plot her escape and fled into the desert with five young girls in her care, but defeating ISIS was just the first step in her journey. In this book she tells her remarkable and inspiring story.

The Adversary

Emmanuel Carrère (Author)

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
WATERSTONES NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH

ON THE SATURDAY MORNING OF JANUARY 9, 1993, WHILE JEAN CLAUDE ROMAND WAS KILLING HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN, I WAS WITH MINE IN A PARENT-TEACHER MEETING...

With these chilling first words, acclaimed master of psychological suspense, Emmanuel Carrère, begins his exploration of the double life of a respectable doctor, eighteen years of lies, five murders, and the extremes to which ordinary people can go.

'As a writer, Carrère is straight berserk; as a storyteller he is so freakishly talented, so unassuming in grace and power that you only realize the hold he's got on you when you attempt to pull away... You say: True crime and literature? I don't believe it. I say: Believe it' Junot Díaz

'Mesmerising' Sunday Telegraph
'Stunning' Evening Standard
'Unputdownable' Washington Post
'A masterpiece' New York Times

This Too Shall Pass

Milena Busquets (Author) , Valerie Miles (Translator)

Forty years old and suddenly motherless, Blanca is left shocked and rudderless by the death of the most important person in her life.

To deal with her dizzying grief and confusion, Blanca turns to her dearest friends, her closest family, a change of scenery, and sex. Leaving Barcelona behind, she returns to her mother’s former home in Cadaqués on the coast, accompanied by her two sons, two ex-husbands, and two best friends, with plans to meet her married lover.

Haunted by both the past and the present, Blanca spends the summer in this impossibly beautiful place alongside those she loves most. In loss she learns to find resilience and hope, and what it means to live, truly and happily, on her own terms.

A Horse Walks into a Bar

David Grossman (Author) , Jessica Cohen (Translator)

WINNER OF THE INTERNATIONAL MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2017

The setting is a comedy club in a small Israeli town. An audience that has come expecting an evening of amusement instead sees a comedian falling apart on stage; an act of disintegration, a man crumbling, as a matter of choice, before their eyes. They could get up and leave, or boo and whistle and drive him from the stage, if they were not so drawn to glimpse his personal hell. Dovaleh G, a veteran stand-up comic – charming, erratic, repellent – exposes a wound he has been living with for years: a fateful and gruesome choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him.

A Horse Walks into a Bar is a shocking and breathtaking read. Betrayals between lovers, the treachery of friends, guilt demanding redress. Flaying alive both himself and the people watching him, Dovaleh G provokes both revulsion and empathy from an audience that doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry – and all this in the presence of a former childhood friend who is trying to understand why he’s been summoned to this performance.

Martin Luther

Lyndal Roper (Author)

SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE 2017
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ELIZABETH LONGFORD PRIZE 2017

A New Statesman, Spectator, History Today, Guardian and Sunday Times Book of the Year

When Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper to the church door of a small university town in 1517, he set off a process that changed the Western world for ever.

Within a few years Luther’s ideas had spread like wildfire. His attempts to reform Christianity by returning it to its biblical roots split the Western Church, divided Europe and polarised people’s beliefs, leading to religious persecution, social unrest and war; and in the long run his ideas would help break the grip of religion on every sphere of life.

Yet Luther was a deeply flawed human being: a fervent believer tormented by spiritual doubts; a prolific writer whose translation of the Bible would shape the German language yet whose attacks on his opponents were vicious and foul-mouthed; a married ex-monk who liberated human sexuality from the stigma of sin but who insisted that women should know their place; a religious fundamentalist, Jew-hater and political reactionary who called ‘for the private and public murder of the peasants’ who had risen against their lords in response to his teaching. And perhaps surprisingly, the man who helped create in the modern world was not modern himself: for him the devil was not a figure of speech but a real, physical presence.

As an acclaimed historian, Lyndal Roper explains how Luther’s impact can only be understood against the background of the times. As a brilliant biographer, she gives us the flesh-and-blood figure. She reveals the often contradictory psychological forces that drove Luther forward and the dynamics they unleashed, which turned a small act of protest into a battle against the power of the Church.

Sacred Country

Rose Tremain (Author)

With an Introduction by Peter Tatchell

We're all something else inside…

1952. Standing in a cold Suffolk field with her family, six-year-old Mary Ward has a revelation: I am not Mary. That is a mistake. I am not a girl. I'm a boy.

So begins Mary’s heroic struggle to change gender. Moving from the claustrophobic rural community of the 1950s to London in the swinging Sixties and beyond to the glitter of America in the Seventies, Sacred Country is the story of a journey to find a place of safety and fulfilment in a savage and confusing world.

Over a million Rose Tremain books sold

‘A writer of exceptional talent ... Tremain is a writer who understands every emotion’ Independent I

‘There are few writers out there with the dexterity or emotional intelligence to rival that of the great Rose Tremain’ Irish Times

‘Tremain has the painterly genius of an Old Master, and she uses it to stunning effect’ The Times

‘Rose Tremain is one of the very finest British novelists’ Salman Rushdie

‘Tremain is a writer of exemplary vision and particularity. The fictional world is rendered with extraordinary vividness’ Marcel Theroux, Guardian

Van Gogh's Ear

Bernadette Murphy (Author)

In December 1888, Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear. It is the most famous story about any artist in history. But what really happened on that dark winter night?

In Van Gogh's Ear, Bernadette Murphy reveals the truth. She takes us on an extraordinary journey from major museums to forgotten archives, vividly reconstructing Van Gogh's world. We meet police inspectors and café patrons, prostitutes and madams, his beloved brother Theo and fellow painter Paul Gauguin.

Why did Van Gogh commit such a brutal act? Who was the mysterious 'Rachel' to whom he presented his macabre gift? Did he really remove his entire ear? Murphy answers these important questions with her groundbreaking discoveries, offering a stunning portrait of an artist edging towards madness in his pursuit of excellence.

BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK
PRIMETIME BBC2 DOCUMENTARY WITH JEREMY PAXMAN

Freya

Anthony Quinn (Author)

Freya Wyley meets Nancy Holdaway amid the wild celebrations of VE Day, the prelude to a devoted and competitive friendship…

Freya, ambitious and outspoken, pursues a career on Fleet Street while Nancy, less self-confident, struggles to get her first novel published. Both friends become entangled with Robert Cosway, a charismatic young man whose own ambition will have a momentous bearing on their lives.

Flitting from war-haunted Oxford to the bright new shallows of the 1960s, Freya plots the unpredictable course of a woman’s life and loves in extraordinary times.

A Climate of Fear

Fred Vargas (Author) , Sian Reynolds (Translator)

THE NEW INSPECTOR ADAMSBERG NOVEL

Shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger 2017

A woman is found dead in her bath. The murder has been disguised as a suicide and a strange symbol is discovered at the scene.

Then the symbol is observed near a second victim, who ten years earlier had also taken part in a doomed expedition to Iceland.

How are these deaths, and rumours of an Icelandic demon, linked to a secretive local society? And what does the mysterious sign mean? Commissaire Adamsberg is about to find out.

Fen

Daisy Johnson (Author)

A FOYLES Fiction Book of the Year 2016

Shortlisted for The Edge Hill Short Story Prize 2017

Longlisted for The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2017

The Fen is a liminal land. Real people live their lives here. They wrestle with sex and desire, with everyday routine. But the wild is always close at hand, ready to erupt.

This is a place where animals and people commingle and fuse, where curious metamorphoses take place, where myth and dark magic still linger. So here a teenager may starve herself into the shape of an eel. A house might fall in love with a girl. A woman might give birth to a, well, what?

A Walk in the Park

Travis Elborough (Author)

'A fascinating, informative, revelatory book' William Boyd, Guardian

Parks are such a familiar part of everyday life, you might be forgiven for thinking they have always been there. In fact, public parks are an invention. From their medieval inception as private hunting grounds through to their modern incarnation as public spaces of rest and relaxation, parks have been fought over by land-grabbing monarchs, reforming Victorian industrialists, hippies, punks, and somewhere along the way, the common folk trying to savour their single day of rest.

In A Walk in the Park, Travis Elborough excavates the history of parks in all their colour and complexity. Loving, funny and impassioned, this is a timely celebration of a small wonder that – in an age of swingeing cuts – we should not take for granted.

The Red Parts

Maggie Nelson (Author)

'Maggie Nelson’s short, singular books feel pretty light in the hand... But in the head and the heart, they seem unfathomably vast, their cleverness and odd beauty lingering on' Observer

In 1969, Jane Mixer, a first-year law student at the University of Michigan, posted a note on a student noticeboard to share a lift back to her hometown of Muskegon for spring break. She never made it: she was brutally murdered, her body found a few miles from campus the following day.

The Red Parts is Maggie Nelson’s singular account of her aunt Jane’s death, and the trial that took place some 35 years afterward. Officially unsolved for decades, the case was reopened in 2004 after a DNA match identified a new suspect, who would soon be arrested and tried. In 2005, Nelson found herself attending the trial, and reflecting with fresh urgency on our relentless obsession with violence, particularly against women.

Resurrecting her interior world during the trial – in all its horror, grief, obsession, recklessness, scepticism and downright confusion – Maggie Nelson has produced a work of profound integrity and, in its subtle indeterminacy, deadly moral precision.

Bridget Jones’s Baby

Helen Fielding (Author)

** The funniest book of the year **
** The new Bridget Jones novel **

8.45 P.M. Realise there have been so many times in my life when have fantasised about going to a scan with Mark or Daniel: just not both at the same time.

Before motherhood, before marriage, Bridget, with biological clock ticking very, very loudly, finds herself unexpectedly pregnant at the eleventh hour: a joyful pregnancy which is dominated, however, by a crucial but terribly awkward question – who is the father? Mark Darcy: honourable, decent, notable human rights lawyer? Or Daniel Cleaver: charming, witty, notable fuckwit?

9.45 P.M. It’s like they’re two halves of the perfect man, who’ll spend the rest of their lives each wanting to outdo the other one. And now it’s all enacting itself in my stomach.

In this gloriously funny, touching story of baby-deadline panic, maternal bliss, and social, professional, technological, culinary and childbirth chaos, Bridget Jones – global phenomenon and the world’s favourite Singleton – is back with a bump.

Serious Sweet

A.L. Kennedy (Author)

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE

Jon is 59 and divorced: a senior civil servant in Westminster who hates many of his colleagues and loathes his work, he is a good man in a bad world.

Meg is a bankrupt accountant – two words you don’t want in the same sentence, or anywhere near your CV. Living on Telegraph Hill, she can see London unfurl below her. Somewhere out there is safety.

As Jon and Meg navigate the sweet and serious heart of London – passing through 24 hours that will change them both for ever – they tell a very unusual, unbearably moving love story.

A Passing Fury

A. T. Williams (Author)

A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year
Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction 2017

After the Second World War, the Nuremberg Tribunal became a symbol of justice in the face of tyranny, aggression and atrocity. But it was only a fragment of retribution as, with their Allies, the British embarked on the largest programme of war crimes investigations and trials in history.

This book exposes the deeper truth of this endeavour, moving from the scripted trial of Goering, Hess and von Ribbentrop to the makeshift courtrooms where the SS officers, guards and executioners were prosecuted. It tells the story of the investigators, lawyers and perpetrators and asks the question: was justice done?

The Swordfish and the Star

Gavin Knight (Author)

The Penwith Peninsula in Cornwall is where the land ends. In The Swordfish and the Star Gavin Knight takes us into this huddle of grey roofs at the edge of the sea at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

He catches the stories of a whole community, but especially those still working this last frontier: the Cornish fishermen. These are the dreamers and fighters who every day prepare for battle with the vast grey Atlantic. Cornwall and its seas are brought to life, mixing drinking and drugs and sea spray, moonlit beaches and shattering storms, myth and urban myth. The result is an arresting tapestry of a place we thought we knew; the precarious reality of life in Cornwall today emerges from behind our idyllic holiday snaps and picture postcards. Even the quaint fishermen’s pubs on the quay at Newlyn, including the Swordfish and its neighbour the Star, turn out to be places where squalls can blow up, and down again, in an instant.

Based on immersive research and rich with the voices of a cast of remarkable characters, this is an eye-opening, dramatic, poignant account of life on Britain’s most dangerous stretch of coast.

Praise for Hood Rat
'A gripping novelistic immersion' Louis Theroux
'A must-read' Owen Jones
'Britain's Gomorrah' Independent

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