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.
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
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.
Noone knows a city like the people who live there – so who better to relate the history of Paris than its inhabitants through the ages? Taking us from 1750 to the new millennium, Parisians introduces us to some of those inhabitants: we meet spies, soldiers, scientists and alchemists; police commissioners, photographers and philosophers; adulterers, murderers, prisoners and prostitutes. We encounter political and sexual intrigues, witness real and wouldbe revolutions, assassination attempts and several all too successful executions; we visit underground caverns and catacombs, enjoy the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower, are there for the opening of the Metro, accompany Hitler on a flying visit to the French capital – and much more besides. Entertaining and illuminating, and written with Graham Robb’s customary attention to detail – and, indeed, the unusual – Parisians is both history and travel guide, yet also part memoir, part mystery. A book unlike any other, it is at once a book to read from cover to cover, to lose yourself in, to dip in and out of at leisure, and a book to return to again and again – rather like the city itself, in fact. Praise for The Discovery of France: 'An extraordinary journey of discovery that will delight even the most indolent armchair traveller' Daily Telegraph 'A superior historical guidebook for the unhurried traveller, and altogether a book to savour' Independent
With her children evacuated and her husband at the front, Tory Pace is grudgingly sharing the family home with her irascible mother; working at the local gelatine factory – to help the war effort – and generally doing just about as well as could be expected in difficult times. Her quiet life is thrown into turmoil, however, when her prisonerofwar husband, Donald, makes an outrageous demand for sexual gratification. He wants a dirty letter, by return of post! Horrified, at first, that Donald is being turned into some sort of monster by the Nazis, Tory’s disgust gradually gives way to a sense of marital duty, and taking in the libraries, bookshops, public conveniences and barbers’ shops of SouthEast London, she begins a quest to master the language of carnal desire: a quest that takes a sudden and unexpected turn into far more dangerous territory. Beginning with an act of unintentional cannibalism, and flirting with a scheme to end world hunger by the use of protein pills, Nourishment ranges widely across the Continent and yet always returns home: to family, to people, to relationships. Woodward offers a prescient examination of the ways in which we both nurture and consume each other in the face of adversity.
Noon is a profound and far-reaching novel set amidst two decades of convulsive change in the ‘new’ New World, with at its core a man whose heart is split across two cultures’ troubled divide. Rehan Tabassum has grown up in a world of nascent privilege in Delhi. His mother is a self-made lawyer and her new husband a wealthy industrialist, their lives the embodiment of a dazzling, emergent India. But there is a marked absence in Rehan’s life: his father, Sahil Tabassum, who remains a powerful shadow across the border in Pakistan. Written with insight and passion, this is an electrifying, often surprising story of a young man coming of age alongside the two countries out of which he was born, as Rehan travels through lands of sudden wealth and hidden violence, in a frequently toxic atmosphere of political quicksand and moral danger, towards the centre of his father’s world. In the book’s final section – a thrilling piece of storytelling set in a sinister port in Pakistan and one of the more remarkable endings in modern fiction – Noon confirms its place as a major work of fiction from a writer uniquely placed to bear witness to some of the most urgent questions of our times. Praise for The Temple-Goers ‘Naipaul’s praise israre enough to be notable; and Taseer lives up to it . . . among the sharpest and best-written fictions about contemporary India’ Independent ‘A coolly accomplished, pulsating account of modern-day Delhi’ Guardian
The Sunday Times Novel of the Year ‘With The Stranger’s Child, an already remarkable talent unfurls into something spectacular’ Sunday Times In the late summer of 1913, George Sawle brings his Cambridge friend Cecil Valance, a charismatic young poet, to visit his family home. Filled with intimacies and confusions, the weekend will link the families for ever, having the most lasting impact on George’s sixteen-year-old sister Daphne. As the decades pass, Daphne and those around her endure startling changes in fortune and circumstance, reputations rise and fall, secrets are revealed and hidden and the events of that long-ago summer become part of a legendary story, told and interpreted in different ways by successive generations. Powerful, absorbing and richly comic, The Stranger’s Child is a masterly exploration of English culture, taste and attitudes over a century of change. ‘I would compare the novel to Middlemarch . . . a remarkable, unmissable achievement’ Independent ‘Magnificent . . . universlly acclaimed as the best novel of the year’ Philip Hensher
“First you take a drink,” F. Scott Fitzgerald once noted, “then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” Fitzgerald wrote alcohol into almost every one of his stories. On Booze gathers debutantes and dandies, rowdy jazz musicians, lost children and ragtime riff-raff into a newly compiled collection taken from The Crack-Up, and other works. On Booze portrays “The Jazz Age” as Fitzgerald experienced it: roaring, rambunctious, and lush—with quite a hangover.
'Brilliant and terrifying' Observer I had to be the man who was doing well and more than well, the man whose drab shop concealed some bigger operation that made millions. I had to be the man who had planned it all, who had come to the destroyed town at the bend in the river because he had foreseen the rich future. 'Salim, the narrator, is a young man from an Indian family of traders long resident on the coast of Centeral Africa. Salim has left the coast to make his way in the interior, there to take on a small trading shop of this and that, sudries, sold to the natives. The place is "a bend in the river"; it is Africa. The time is post-colonial, the time of Independence. The Europeans have withdrawn or been forced to withdraw and the scene is one of chaos, violent change, warring tribes, ignorance, isolation, poverty and a lack of prepartion for the modern world they have entered, or partially assumed as a sort of decoration. It is a story of historical upheaval and social breakdown. Naipaul has fashioned a work of intense imaginative force. It is a haunting creation, rich with incident and human bafflement, played out in an immense detail of landscape rendered with a poignant brilliance.' Elizabeth Hardwick 'Always a master of fictional landscape, Naipaul here shows, in his variety of human examples and in his search for underlying social causes, a Tolstoyan spirit' John Updike
The theme is displacement, the yearning for the good place in someone else’s land, the attendant heartache. In A Free State tells first of an Indian servant in Washington, then of an Asian West Indian in London who is in jail for murder. Then the story moves to Africa, to a fictional country something like Uganda or Rwanda. Its two main characters are English. They once found Africa liberating, but now it has gone sour on them. At a time of tribal conflict they have to make the long drive to the safety of their compound. In the background, the threat of violence looms. The voices in this novel are breathtakingly vivid, while the characters are portrayed with an intelligence and sensitivity that is rarely seen in contemporary writing. Dennis Potter, in The Times, described the book as one ‘of such lucid complexity and such genuine insight, so deft and deep, that it somehow manages to agitate, charm, amuse and excuse the reader all at the same pitch of experience’. This is one of V. S. Naipaul’s greatest novels, hard but full of pity.
Bristling with inspired observations and wild anecdotes, this collection offers unique insight into the voice and mind of the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson, as recorded over the decades in the pages of Playboy, the Paris Review, Esquire, in various lectures, and in television appearances, many in print for the first time. Fearless and unsparing, the interviews detail some of the most storied episodes of Thompson’s life: his savage beating at the hands of the Hell’s Angels, his talking football with Nixon on the 1972 Campaign Trail (‘the only time in twenty years of listening to the treacherous bastard that I knew he wasn’t lying’); his razor-sharp insight into the Bush–Cheney administration, his unlikely run for Sheriff of Aspen, and his successful public battle, during the last years of his life, to free an innocent woman from prison. In addition, Hunter Thompson’s passionate tirades about journalism, culture, drugs, guns, and the law showcase his singular voice at its fiercest. Complete with an exclusive introduction by author, journalist, and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens, Ancient Gonzo Wisdom genuinely embraces the brilliance of Hunter S. Thompson – his life, his voice, and his legacy – to provide an enduring portrait of the great gonzo journalist. ‘Four years after his death, the rapid-fire wit and venom of Thompson’s writing is undiminished. Ancient Gonzo Wisdom features classic HST interviews’ GQ
Victor Maskell has been betrayed. After the announcement in the Commons and the hasty revelation of his double life of wartime espionage, his disgrace is public, his knighthood revoked, his position as curator of the Queen’s pictures terminated. There are questions to be answered. For whom has he been sacrificed? To what has he sacrificed his life? ‘The Untouchable is an engrossing, exquisitely written and almost bewilderingly smart book . . . It’s the fullest book I’ve read in a very long time, utterly accomplished, thoroughly readable, written by a novelist of vast talent’ Richard Ford, Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year ‘No novel burrowed deeper beneath my skin than The Untouchable . . . Prose of great elegance, applied to a sardonic narrative, created an atmosphere at once austere, chilling and utterly believable’ John Coldstream, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year ‘Banville is the most intelligent and stylish novelist currently at work in English . . . the mien is austere and Victorian; the awareness, the ironic readings of the contemporary are razor-sharp’ George Steiner, Observer ‘Brilliant displays of power and control . . . magnificently written and, in its exploration of inhumanity, startlingly humane’ Alex Clark, Guardian, Books of the Year
The Last Life tells the story of the teenage Sagesse LaBasse and her family, French Algerian emigrants haunted by their history, brought to the brink of destruction by a single reckless act. Observed with a fifteen-year-old’s ruthless regard for truth, it is a novel about secrets and ghosts, love and honour, the stories we tell ourselves and the lies to which we cling. It is a work of stunning emotional power, written in prose of matchless iridescence and grace. ‘Powerful, Gripping, dark at its heart, this is an almost faultless novel’ Evening Standard ‘A joy to read. Messud’s prose is lush, incantatory . . . her observations are funnily astute, brimming with wit and imagination . . . as elegant and precise as geometry’ Independent ‘Mesmerizing . . . Ms Messud has written a large and resonant novel that is as artful as it is affecting’ New York Times
For Patrick Melrose, ‘family’ is more than a double-edged sword. As friends, relations and foes trickle in to pay final respects to his mother, Eleanor – an heiress who forsook the grandeur of her upbringing for ‘good works’, freely bestowed upon everyone but her own child – Patrick finds that his transition to orphanhood isn’t necessarily the liberation he had so long imagined. Yet as the service ends and the family gather for a final party, as conversations are overheard, danced around and concertedly avoided, amidst the social niceties and the social horrors, the calms and the rapids, Patrick begins to sense a new current. And at the end of the day, alone in his rooftop bedsit, it seems to promise some form of safety, at last. One of the most powerful reflections on pain and acceptance, and the treacheries of family, ever written, At Last is the brilliant culmination of the Melrose books. It is a masterpiece of glittering dark comedy and profound emotional truth.
In June, 2006, Picador launch Picador Shots, a new series of pocket-sized books priced at £1. The Shots aim to promote the short story as well as the work of some Picador's greatest authors. They will be contemporarily packaged but ultimately disposable books that are the ideal literary alternative to a magazine. Bret Easton Ellis’ two short stories chronicle the lives of a group of Los Angele’s residents all of them suffering from nothing less that death of the soul. Ellis has immense gift for dialogue, off-the-wall humour, merciless description and exotic bleakness. In 'Water from the Sun', Cheryl Lane is going under. Her marriage to William has broken down, she has moved in with a young boy half her age who is more interested in other young boys that in her and she keeps not turning up at work, the one area of her life that seems to be in good working order. To keep afloat she drinks, she shops and she takes pills. Would meeting up with William, something she has been avoiding like everything else in her life, give her what she needs anyway? In 'Discovering Japan', Bryan, is on tour. His manager, Roger, has taken him to Tokyo to promote his record and do a few gigs. But to get Roger out of hotel room, off the drink, drugs and women is going to be a tall enough feet itself for Bryan. Written with spare and hypnotic prose, this is a story about a man hell-bent on distrucion by a writer deeply concerned with the moral decline of our society.
First published in 1984, White Noise, one of DeLillo's most highly acclaimed novels, tells the story of Jack Gladney and his wife Babette who are both afraid of death. Jack is head of Hitler studies at the College-on-the-Hill. His colleague Murray runs a seminar on car crashes. Together they ponder the instances of celebrity death, from Elvis to Marilyn to Hitler. Through the brilliant and often very funny dialogue between Jack and Murray, Delillo exposes our common obsession with mortality and delineates Jack and Babette's touching relationship and their biggest fear - who will die first? 'An extraordinarily funny book on a serious subject, effortlessly combining social comedy, disaster, fiction and philosophy ... hilariously, and grimly, successful' Daily Telegraph 'An astonishing novel ... unforgettable... nearly every page crackles with memorable moments and perfectly turned phrases... dizzying, darkly beautiful fiction' Sunday Times
This is the story of Jim Harrison's captivating heroine, Dalva, and her peculiar and remarkable family. It encompasses the voices of Dalva's grandfather, John Northridge, the austere half-Sioux patriarch; Naomi, the widow of his favourite son and namesake; Paul, the first Northridge son, who lived in the shadow of his brother; and Nelse, the son taken from Dalva at birth who has now returned to find her. It is a family history drenched in suffering and joy, imbued with fierce independence and love, rooted in the Nebraska soil, and intertwined with the destiny of whites and Native Americans in the American West. Epic in scope, stretching from the close of the nineteenth century to the present day, The Road Home is a stunning and trenchant novel written with humour, humanity, and an inimitable evocation of the American spirit. 'One of the greatest modern storytellers in American literature at the peak of his formidable form in this epic, multi-generational saga, both prequel and sequel to his earlier Dalva. The century-spanning story of the Northridge family, set in the startling wilds of Nebraska, is full of wonderful writing and characters whose lives become part of the fabric of your own. Unforgettable.' The Sunday Times
When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family had appeared that longago summer as if from another world. Mr and Mrs Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before. But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow. ‘A novel in which all of his remarkable gifts come together to produce a real work of art, disquieting, beautiful, intelligent, and in the end, surprisingly, offering consolation’ Allan Massie, Scotsman ‘You can smell and feel and see his world with extraordinary clarity. It is a work of art, and I’ll bet it will still be read and admired in seventyfive years’ Rick Gekoski, The Times ‘Poetry seems to come easily to Banville. There is so much to applaud in this book that it deserves more than one reading’ Literary Review ‘A brilliant, sensuous, discombobulating novel’ Spectator
Anna’s personal life is in crisis. Her marriage is struggling, and the disastrous affair she began as consolation has now become a millstone around her neck. The place where she feels most secure is the safe and ordered world of the classroom; as a teacher she happily follows the rules, works hard and gets results. Then the beautiful Kali arrives in her English group, a girl who is bright, unsettling, vulnerable and in need of guidance from an older woman. What could be more natural than for a caring teacher to show concern for a troubled pupil? Anna believes the friendship can save them both. But when that friendship begins to tip over into something more intense, Anna finds her professional and domestic lives caught up together in a spiral that threatens to destroy everyone she ever cared about.
In January 1895 Henry James anticipates the opening of his first play, Guy Domville, in London. The production fails, and he returns, chastened and humiliated, to his writing desk. The result is a string of masterpieces, but they are produced at a high personal cost. In The Master Colm Tóibín captures the exquisite anguish of a man who circulated in the grand parlours and palazzos of Europe, who was astonishingly vibrant and alive in his art, and yet whose attempts at intimacy inevitably failed him and those he tried to love. It is a powerful account of the hazards of putting the life of the mind before affairs of the heart.
In a house on a Calcutta street, lit by the halflight of a yellow street lamp, lies a baby, one day old, wrapped in its hospital towel. In the next room sits a man, all alone, writing. Who is this man, at once frightened and determined? What is he writing? Where has the baby come from and where will it go? Tonight, these questions will be answered when the man unravels the dark secrets he has carried all his life. ‘A ghostly, elliptical piece of prose of quite magical quality, which tells the story of one man’s reconciliation with his past . . . It is undeniably powerful’ Edward Marriott, Evening Standard ‘Enchanting . . . Jha is not afraid to risk emotion, but he never falls into the trap of sentimentality. That is, in itself, a considerable achievement’ Andrew Biswell, Daily Telegraph ‘Jha has a real knack for narrative, alternating urgency and delay to the point where his virtuoso handling of the story becomes almost tricksy . . . He is a remarkable writer’ Phil Baker, Sunday Times ‘A powerful, haunting and sometimes shocking novel that deserves to be read at one sitting and then reread’ Cormac Kinsella, Irish Times ‘This is an incantatory, audacious book, notable for great moments of poignancy’ Baret Magarian, Guardian Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award Winner of the Best First Book Commonwelth Writers’ Award for the Eurasia region
On 2 March 1908, nineteen-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, a Russian Jewish immigrant to Chicago, tried to deliver a letter to the home of the city’s Chief of Police, George Shippy. Instead of taking the letter, Shippy shot Averbuch twice, killing him. Lazarus Averbuch, Shippy claimed, was an anarchist assassin and an agent of foreign operatives who wanted to bring the United States to its knees. His sister, Olga, was left alone and bereft in a city – and country – seething with political and ethnic tensions. In the twenty-first century, Brik, a young Bosnian writer in Chicago, becomes obsessed with finding out the truth of what happened to Lazarus. And so Brik and his friend Rora, a charming and unreliable photographer, set off on a journey back to Lazarus Averbuch’s birthplace, through a history of pogroms and poverty and a present of gangsters and prostitutes. ‘Masterful . . . troubling, funny and redemptive . . . ingenious . . . Hemon is as much a writer of the senses as of the intellect. He can be very funny: the novel is full of jokes and linguistic riffs that justify comparisons to Nabokov’ Washington Post 'The fearless and spirited expression of a turbulent literary talent . . . For all Hemon's nods to other writers -- one catches glimpses not only of Nabokov and Sebald but of Bulgakov, Pamuk, Amis, Poe -- he is entirely his own man, an original who owes no dets to anyone' Patrick McGrath, Book Forum ‘Profoundly moving . . . A literary page-turner that combines narrative momentum with meditations on identity and mortality’ Kirkus
‘This is unequivocally a work of brilliance.’ Justin Cartwright, Spectator Old Adam Godley’s time on earth is drawing to an end, and as his wife and children gather at the family home, little do they realize that they are not the only ones who have come to observe the spectacle. The mischievous Greek gods, too, have come; as tensions fray and desire bubbles over, their spying soon becomes intrusion becomes intervention, until the mortals’ lives – right before their eyes – seem to be changing faster than they can cope with. Overflowing with bawdy humour, Banville has allowed his twinkling eye to rove through memories of the past and relationships of the present in this moving family drama. The Infinities is both a salacious delight and a penetrating exploration of the terrifying, wonderful, immutable plight of being human. ‘A poetic vision of boundless possibility.’ Literary Review ‘Full of dark humour and written with a deft eye for detail.’ GQ ‘This darkly comic and fearsomely clever creation is a heady delight’ Metro ‘Written in such saturatedly beautiful, luminous prose that every page delights, startles and uplifts.’ The Times