For weeks they went all over London on the little red Honda, weaving up hills at walking speed, down alleys and pavements, through shopping precincts, warm in the late-summer nights . . . and he'd park outside pubs, proud of his China girl . . . For Tom it was a wonderful summer. Innocent, broke and slightly awestruck on his arrival in London, he was working as a delivery boy at a Chinese takeaway. Then May, the daughter of the owner, became his love. But suddenly, inexplicably, Tom loses his home, his job and his beloved. A squat, then a battered green van, become his refuge, his longing for May his one obsession. As Tom travels through the desperate sub cultures of low-life London, he is also caught up in his dreams about China, each more vivid and shocking than the last. Loosely completing the 'China trilogy' begun with the award-winning Something Like A House and A House By The River, China Dreams is dazzling, disturbing, lyrical and occasionally fearsome - the story of a young man's struggle to regain his lost love.
'A gigantic book on a gigantic theme' Sunday Times 'Aphoristic and acutely provocative: a crash course in civilization' J. M. Coetzee With three new essays and an introduction to the extras from the author, the special edition eBook adds new depth to an already absorbing book. A lifetime in the making, Cultural Amnesia is the book Clive James has always wanted to write. Organized from A through to Z, and containing over 100 essays, it's the ultimate guide to the twentieth century, illuminating the careers of many of its greatest thinkers, humanists, musicians, artists and philosophers. From Louis Armstrong to Ludwig Wittgenstein, via Walter Benjamin, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka and Marcel Proust, it's a book for our times – and, indeed, for all time. 'Clive James is one of the most ingeniously stimulating literary critics now writing in English. Cultural Amnesia, with its encyclopedic length and organization and the intense jostle of its ideas, is to be dipped into over weeks and months. If the dipper occasionally brings up exasperation, it brings up astonished delight far more often; and, best of all, exasperated astonished delight' Boston Globe
YOU THINK YOU HAVE EVERYTHING. A HAPPY MARRIAGE. CHILDREN YOU LOVE. A JOB YOU ENJOY. A HOUSE YOU'VE MADE INTO A HOME. THEN, ALMOST IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE, YOU LOSE IT. ALL. When Rachel decides things aren’t working and asks Andrew to move out, she thinks she knows what she’s doing; thinks she knows how it will be, how Andrew will react, how the children will cope. After all, relationships end all the time, and everyone survives – don’t they? But Rachel is wrong, and her decision has consequences no one could have foreseen. Rich in detail and atmosphere, and telling the story of a family breakup and a father’s breakdown, Nell Leyshon’s second novel is uncompromising in its reminder of how easily the life we thought we had can slip through our fingers. At the same time, however, it reminds us that if chaos lurks close to the surface, then so too – sometimes – does the possibility of repair and redemption.
Sabine is the most mercurial woman Peter Thorpe has ever known. Such is his desire for her that he overturns his whole life – his disillusioned merchantbanker’s life – and leaves everything behind, not caring that his lover is of no fixed address, nor that his search for her will take him to the beating heart of New Ageism in northern California. Each of his fellow seekers is in hot pursuit of that elusive something (happiness?), and in their eccentric company Peter stumbles across vistas he had never before dared to imagine . . . ‘St Aubyn has achieved a comic novel which is more than a sendup and carries the message that love is not quite all you need’ Independent ‘An intellectually informed, richly insightful and vigorously funny take on the modern condition’ Sunday Times ‘Pierced with goodwill, tenderness and a new kind of thoughtfulness’ Spectator ‘His satire is unfailingly funny and immensely satisfying’ Guardian
How do you recover from something like that? Carol never quite does. Sent to live with her aunt, who barely tolerates her presence, Carol is griefstricken, and all too aware she’s not wanted. Desperate for love, but unable to ask for it, she nonetheless – and almost despite herself – finds it where she least expected. Her Uncle Joey is the only one to notice her when she’s a teenager; years later, he’s also the man with whom she builds a home and a life. But when Carol helps to rescue a young refugee from the sea, that life suddenly threatens to unravel, just as surely as it did when she was thirteen. Written in tight, spare prose, Little Monsters is a novel of creation, redemption and obsession; it’s also the story of what it’s like to experience the unthinkable – and what happens next. 'Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer' Beryl Bainbrdge 'Sharp like sherbert, poignant and gripping' Griff Rhys Jones 'With exquisitely tender writing and quiet authority, Little Monsters is a powerful debut' Jill Dawson
Lewis is haunted by the memory of his brother, by a stolen car and a river running full, and most of all by the boy at the wheel. Anna is haunted too, but her ghost is very much alive. Rita, Anna’s mother, is the exact opposite of her daughter – loud, carefree, and a daredevil, at seventysix. When Rita suffers a fall, Anna must leave London and spend the winter looking after her mother in Yarmouth. As they search for solutions to their problems, Anna and Lewis find themselves having to face troubling truths about who they are and what they might become – with electrifying consequences. ‘Subtle and forceful . . . [A] finely judged and emotionally intricate novel’ Guardian ‘Artful . . . Beguiling . . . A novel marked by poetic delicacy . . . Azzopardi has a gift for characterization – a magpieeye for the human spark – and equally for the humanity of things’ Times Literary Supplement ‘Limpid prose . . . [A] lyrical sense of place . . .Startling and arresting . . .Unlikely urban sites take on a fierce and mysterious beauty in Azzopardi’s hands’ Irish Times ‘Here’s proof, if anyone needs it, that the best writing does not need to be inaccessible . . . [Winterton Blue] has the . . . strange, captivating quality of real life shot through with poetry . . . Beautifully evoked’ The Times ‘Intricte, quietly brilliant . . . Some haunting snapshots of contemporary Britain . . . A vivid, sensuous rendition of the Norfolk coast’ Daily Telegraph ‘Funny, bizarre and addictive’ Eve Biographies Trezza Azzopardi was born in Cardiff and lives in Norwich. The Hiding Place, her first novel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2000.
Robbie Coyle is an imaginative kid. He wants so badly to become Scotland’s first cosmonaut that he tries to teach himself Russian and trains for space exploration in the cupboard under the sink. But the place to which his fantasies later take him is far from the safety of his suburban childhood. In a communist state, in a closed, bleak town, the mysterious Red Star heralds his discovery of cruelty and of love, and the possibility that the most passionate of dreams may only be a chimera . . .
Luke Hunter thinks he’s joking when he tells a good friend exactly when – 8:37 the following morning – and how – hit by a red van from out of town – that friend will die. But when events unfold as Luke foretold, he wants none of it: he has enough problems being an average teenager without the added burden of seeing into the future – not to mention the everafter. Terrified, but pretending not to be, Luke pushes his friends and family away, while the local news crew, a Christian fundamentalist preacher and a missing girl’s frantic mother all draw nearer, seeking to profit from Luke’s newfound ‘gift’. Written in clear, precise prose, Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet is a darkly comic comingofage novel with a difference. Hormonal and humorous, exhilarating and wise, it is a book about fear and truth, life and death, and the music that plays inside us all. Written in clear, precise prose, Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet is a darkly comic comingofage novel about death and life.
Carol Ann Duffy has asked some of the brightest lights in the poetry world to choose a poem that is meaningful or has meant something to them, and write a reponse to it. With upandcoming poets alongside more established names, and original poems alongside the new works they've inspired, Answering Back promises to be a truly unique anthology; from old favourites to modern classics, it will be a collection everyone can respond to. Praise for Carol Ann Duffy's most recent collection, Rapture: ‘Rapture takes the reader on an ecstatic rollercoaster: soaring and swooping and holding one’s breath; hurtling, heart thumping through the complexities of human feeling. This is a book that demands to be read from cover to cover’ The Times 'I read it on the tube and missed my station. I read it in bed and couldn’t sleep. I read it at my desk and started to cry. Affairs are notoriously disruptive; reading about an affair is not supposed to have the same effect. But it does in the case of Rapture’ Guardian
Mothers and Sons is a sensitive and beautifully written meditation on the dramas surrounding this most elemental of relationships. Psychologically intricate and emotionally incisive, each finely wrought story teases out the delicate and difficult strands woven between mothers and sons. This is an acute, masterful and moving collection that confirms Tóibín as a great prose stylist of our time. 'Colm Tóibín is a writer of extraordinary emotional clarity. Each of the nine stories is a snapshot of a point of crisis . . . Tóibín perfectly understands the instantaneous nature of the ideal short story; the sense that the pen is going straight into a major vein. These are beautiful stories, beautifully crafted’ Kate Saunders, Literary Review 'The last story in this excellent collection is a superbly powerful tale of betrayal and desertion. Quintessential Tóibín’ Spectator ‘Moving . . . beautifully captured moments of longing and loss . . . Tóibín is a subtle, intelligent and deeply felt writer’ Guardian 'By turns surprising and illuminating, always beautifully written, Mothers and Sons places Tóibín in the front rank of modern Irish fiction . . . It may not be going too far to suggest Irish fiction has found its first Master of the new century’ Scotland on Sunday
‘One of the most extraordinary stories you will ever read of the triumph of the human spirit’ Daily Mail Set in 1970s Manchester, Once in a House on Fire tells the true story of three sisters and their mother, a close-knit and loving family forced to battle with poverty, abuse and the effects of depression. Beautifully written and deeply inspiring, with a new afterword by Andrea Ashworth, it is a book that will stay with its readers for ever. ‘This is a brilliant book. Brilliantly written, brilliantly thought, brilliantly remembered . . . Ashworth has written an extraordinary memoir; the only pity is that she had to live it to make it’ Scotsman ‘Enchanting and thrilling . . . As a chronicle of northern working-class life in the seventies and eighties . . . it would be hard to better this book. It is extremely moving . . . It is also at time surprisingly, and gratifyingly, very funny’ Tim Lott, The Times ‘Full of energy, wit and a child’s wide-open gaze . . . Andrea Ashworth escaped the fire to write a remarkable book’ Blake Morrison, Independent on Sunday Biographies Andrea Ashworth was born in Manchester in 1969. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. Once in a House on Fire is her first book.
David Remnick is a man much praised for his powers of observation, description and analysis, and Reporting contains his very best pieces from the last fifteen years. Here is Remnick on Don DeLillo, Philip Roth and The Sopranos; and here he is writing about Solzhenitsyn returning to Russia after nearly 20 years in exile, or on the failure of democracy in Mubarak’s Egypt. Without doubt one of America's most gifted and widely read journalists, Remnick's style combines compassion, empathy, exuberance and humour, and in Reporting he brings the written word to life, describing the world with extraordinary vividness and exceptional depth. ‘Remnick is a phenomenon. He has not only edited the magazine with serene efficiency for the past eight years; he has written for it a series of long, meticulously researched articles that have been gathered together in this hefty volume. And they are all excellent’ Daily Telegraph 'Always up close and personal, always tenacious and informed by deep background, and always vivid and veracious' The Times 'He has a strong, muscular unpretentious style and a restless curiosity that enables him to write as well about literature and politics as he does about boxing' New Statesman ‘Pin-sharp, the whole thing, and really very engrossing indeed’ William Leith, Sunday Telegraph
Victor, an eightyyearold multimillionaire, surveys his empire from the remoteness of his cloudcapped penthouse. Expensively insulated from the outside world, he nonetheless finds that memories of his impoverished childhood will not be kept so easily at bay. Focusing on the one area of vitality and chaos that remains in the streets below him, he formulates a plan to leave a mark on the city – one as indelible and disruptive as the mark the city left on him. ‘A deeply satisfying read, in which each wellturned phrase resounds in every finely tuned sentence’ Mail on Sunday ‘Presents his heavily politicised vision at its most ambitious and also at its most Ballardlike’ Irish Times ‘One of the most beautifully written books in years’ Sunday Telegraph
Jim Crace's acclaimed debut novel explores an imaginary seventh continent, subtly different from any in the world we know. Its landscapes, wildlife, customs and communities are alien, even frightening but the continent's inhabitants are nonetheless disarmingly familiar, known to us through their loves, their hopes, and their struggles to make sense of life. On its first publication over twenty years ago, this captivating novel marked the arrival of one of the most imaginative minds at work: a writer capable of transporting his readers to a strange and wonderful landscape while revealing the humanity within the mirage. 'Continent invites and sustains comparison with Borges' David Lodge 'A remarkable first novel' John Fowles
‘Our foremost cartographer of fictional topographies’ Will Self, Independent on Sunday Books of the Year November 1836, and Aymer Smith is making the voyage from his London home to coastal Wherrytown to deliver bad news. Once there he becomes embroiled with the American crew of the Belle, torn from their ship by a fierce storm and left stranded to wreak havoc in the village. A Dickensian cast of characters and Jim Crace’s characteristically poetic prose make for an extraordinary novel: a historical yet timeless exploration of clashing cultures, communication and technology, which sees Crace at his illuminating and expansive best. ‘Masterly . . . imbued with the tang and power of the sea’ Independent ‘Fresh, vibrant, and unpredictable to the end’ Herald ‘One of the brightest lights in contemporary British fiction’ New York Times
‘A tender, erotic comedy set in a fictitious European city so intricately imagined that you itch to book a weekend break there’ Independent Felix Dern is a celebrated actor, revered for his talent and his looks. Unbeknownst to those he seduces, he is exceptional in other ways, too. ‘Every woman he dares to sleep with bears his child . . .’ Gifted or cursed, Lix now has six living reminders of what he did, with whom, and all in the pursuit of the elusive dream of love. Set in the beguiling City of Kisses, this seamless novel charts the history of a loving, baffled man in what emerges as a mischievous meditation on eternal sexual conundrums of love, power, parenthood and desire. ‘As a study in love, sex and relationships, Six is as involving and original as anything Crace has written’ Literary Review ‘Ingenious and beautifully written’ Daily Telegraph Books of the Year
When we last met our hero in Unreliable Memoirs, he had set sail from Sydney Harbour bound for London, fame and fortune. Idealistic and uncompromising, if short on cash, he planned to engage himself in a lowpaying menial job by day and to compose poetical masterpieces by night. Having promised himself he would never succumb to such stopgap occupations as publishing or advertising, he was happily unsuccessful in landing in either job at least initially. Positions with London Transport and as a wine expert were likewise denied him. Scarcely daunted, he moved purposefully beyond 'the Valley of Kangaroos' (otherwise known as Earl's Court) into a bed and breakfast in a Swiss Cottage where he thoughtfully practised the Twist in his room, anticipated the poetical masterpieces and worried a little about his wardrobe. 'A comic triumph, full of terrific jokes and brilliantly sustained setpieces' Ian Hamilton, London Review of Books
Taking us from Fleet Street to Clive James on TV, from Russian department stores to Paris fashion shows – via fatherhood, some killer bees, and a satire starring Anne Robinson as Mrs Thatcher – North Face of Soho is the largerthanlife story of a life lived to the full. ‘It’s not just that he writes a lot, but that he writes with intense perfectionism, and delivers his gags with honed elegance' Sunday Times ‘One of the most rewarding aspects of this exuberant work is James’s willingness to reveal the backstage mechanics of his professional life. This book is enormously entertaining’ Sunday Telegraph ‘In the case of many people who attempt an autobiography even a single volume is one too many. In the case of Clive James the four volumes now in existence are too few. If the final tally puts him up there with Marcel Proust, so much the better’ FT Magazine ‘I feel I know more about the author after reading it than I gleaned from all of his other books put together. This is a book about hardearned selfknowledge. What makes it funny is quite how hard the selfknowledge was to earn’ WILLIAM LEITH, Evening Standard
‘Fireproof ventures where reportage cannot go, granting even those who have perished a voice’ Observer February 2002. A helpless nation watches as the city of Ahmedabad in India is rocked by religious violence. Before sunrise the next day, more than a hundred Muslim men, women and children will be killed, most of them burnt alive. Above the smoke and flames, the dead get together and decide to intervene – in the life of a father whose wife has just given birth to their first child. ‘The newborn at the centre of the novel, named Ithim by his father, is so helpless, so defenceless, that his presence is commanding, and the sense of foreboding surrounding him is fully realised and sustained throughout . . . Fireproof is a novel about the limits of representation, and the figure of the baby, and all he has endured, is emotionally resonant in the extreme’ Irish Times ‘The novel focuses on conveying the voices of the dead, while exploring a more universal culpability and the workings of conscience and redemption’ Guardian
Lily's epilepsy means she's used to seeing the world in terms of angles you look at every surface, you weigh up every corner, and you think of your head slamming into it but what would she be like without her sharp edges? Prickly, spiky, upfront honest and downtoearth practical, Lily is thirty, and life's not easy but she gets by. Needing noone and asking for nothing, it's just her and her epilepsy: her constant companion. But then her mother who Lily's not seen for years dies, and Lily is drawn back into a world she thought she'd long since left behind. Forced to renegotiate the boundaries of her life, she realises she has alot to learn about relationships, about the past, and about herself and some difficult decisions ahead of her. ‘An eviscerating debut novel . . . Its fast, furious plot, kaleidoscopic imagery, blunt observations and a wry, ingenuous, hugely compassionate heroine make Electricity a breathtaking assault on the senses’ Guardian ‘An energetic debut, bristling with talent . . . It's black, savage, funny and rather uncomfortably haunting’ The Times 'Ray Robinson's Electricity is a thorny, uncompromising novel, with attitude. It is also thanks to Lily O'Connor, its sharpedged, hardliving, toughtalking narrator mesmerising, uplifting and unexpectedly tender' JIM CRACE
Including his most memorable pieces – his ‘Postcard from Rome’, his observations on Margaret Thatcher, his insights into Heaney, Larkin and Orwell – this book also contains brilliantly funny examinations of characters like Barry Humphries, as well as showcasing James’s more thoughtful, analytical side. From Germaine Greer to Marilyn Monroe, from the nature of celebrity to German culpability for the Holocaust, Reliable Essays is an unmissable collection from one of the best writers of our time. ‘He has widened the “tonal range” of criticism, permitting it to be both sober and skittish, learned and lewd, rhetorically rambunctious and epigrammatically concise . . . an intellectual as well as a joker, a wise man as well as a wit’ Peter Conrad, Observer ‘His writing is impeccably witty, flexible and urbane . . . immensely enjoyable to read. It’s a pleasure to see the metropolitan critic back in action’ Christopher Taylor, Sunday Telegraph ‘He can both get to the heart of a subject and raise a laugh’ Nicholas Lezard, Sunday Times
Public Dream, Frances Leviston’s first collection of poetry, is one of the most eagerlyawaited debuts in years. Although still in her early twenties, Leviston has already received considerable acclaim for her superblycrafted and pitchperfect verse. However, in the apparently effortless balancing of its lyric and metaphysical concerns, in the penetration, range and originality of its thought, Public Dream shows her to possess the maturity to match that skill. This book does more than merely display promise: it announces the arrival of a singular and essential new voice.
Jean Clocker is conceived by her mother Wisteria only as a means to entrap a damaged First World War veteran into marriage. Having achieved wedlock but failed in her plan to rid herself of the now-redundant snare, Wisteria visits maternal tyranny on Jean with enthusiasm and diabolical skill. Born of rage and envy, into a body as epic as the life she will live, Jean spends her early years avoiding her mother’s blows and striving to make herself just a little less extraordinary. She is finally released from servitude in the opening days of the Second World War. Orphaned, she thrives in wartime, all the while fearing the return of normality and its accompanying and impossible condition of conformity. It is Denny, a tiny and impossibly charistmatic GI with a reverence for size, who facilitates her second liberation, as he takes her across the ocean as his bride. But in California, he disappears without warning, and Jean is required once more to negotiate the world on her own. Little Gods is dark, comic and deeply romantic. At times reminiscent of the work of John Irving and Michael Chabon, it is one of the most original, moving and inventive novels of recent years.
What do you remember Jane? How much do you remember? Jane is living a solitary life, estranged from her husband and son after her family is marked by a tragedy she cannot face. As she recovers from a debilitating bout of treatment for a serious illness, Jane is plagued by childhood memories and strange, underwater dreams of her beloved brother Paul, who went missing as a teenager. Now he seems to be urging her to remember her longburied past. Her mind desperately seeking connections, Jane begins searching for Paul. But as she digs further into her brother’s disappearance, she realises she must untangle the web of lies from which she has woven her life and confront the devastating truth about her family . . .