Gavin Extence - The Universe versus Alex Woods - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781444765885
    • Publication date:31 Jan 2013
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    • Publication date:31 Jan 2013
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    • ISBN:9781444767865
    • Publication date:31 Jan 2013

The Universe versus Alex Woods

By Gavin Extence

  • Paperback
  • £8.99

A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey... This novel might just strike you as one of the funniest, most heartbreaking novels you've ever read.

*Perfect for fans of A BOY MADE OF BLOCKS*

**RICHARD AND JUDY summer bookclub read 2013, Amazon Rising star, and shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize**

*** A funny and touching story of an unlikely friendship and an improbable journey***

Alex Woods knows that he hasn't had the most conventional start in life.

He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won't endear him to the local bullies.

He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen - he's got the scars to prove it.

What he doesn't know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he'll make an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make the best possible choices.

So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing.

A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey, Alex's story treads the fine line between light and dark, laughter and tears. And it might just strike you as one of the funniest, most heartbreaking novels you've ever read.

Biographical Notes

Gavin Extence was born in 1982 and grew up in the interestingly named village of Swineshead, Lincolnshire. From the ages of 5-11, he enjoyed a brief but illustrious career as a chess player, winning numerous national championships and travelling to Moscow and St Petersburg to pit his wits against the finest young minds in Russia. He won only one game.

Gavin is currently working on his second novel. When he is not writing, he enjoys cooking, amateur astronomy and going to Alton Towers.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781444765892
  • Publication date: 09 May 2013
  • Page count: 432
  • Imprint: Hodder Paperbacks
'This is a story that will have you smiling through your tears, a story that touches on the most potentially devastating of human dilemmas, without an ounce of sentimentality. It is also enormously uplifting. Perfectly crafted and beautifully written, the voice of this novel is true and clear and brings to life the human condition with insight, tenderness and humour. Which is to say the quality of style matches the quality of content. The Universe versus Alex Woods may be a debut novel but it is an outstanding novel by any standards. Unforgettable.' — Red
'It's Mark Haddon meets Kurt Vonnegut' — Observer
'An eccentric young protagonist meets his match in a compelling comic debut' — The Bookseller
'One of the year's most anticipated debuts' — Time Out
'One of the funniest and most heartbreaking double acts in ages . . . an exceptionally good debut novel 5*' — Heat
'Fans of quirky tales will love this debut novel' — Bella
'This is an extraordinary debut novel. For me, Gavin Extence has produced in his narrator and hero Alex one of the most intriguing literary young people since Mark Haddon's Christopher. He's reminiscent of a better behaved Just William as an 11-year-old, combining a hyper-intelligence with naiveté that's as quirky as his upbringing' — The Bookbag
'The debate around assisted suicide is eternally controversial but, when it comes to an argument for allowing sick people of mind the right to die, The Universe Versus Alex Woods trumps any Dignitas spokesman . . . Where this novel shines is in its characterisation: the brittle outer layers of socially awkward people are unpeeled to reveal big hearts and raw emotions. The sparring between Alex and Mr Peterson is a joy to read . . . With wit and warmth, Gavin Extence shines a light on one of the darkest, most difficult subjects of our time.' — Sunday Express
'Warm and funny and tragic and uplifting all in one. Extence should be on everyone's radar' — Jasper Fforde
'Extence's plotting is astute, and he handles the theme of euthanasia with an affecting delicacy' — Financial Times
'This funny, touching first novel... Extence unfolds his offbeat tale with skill but his real triumph lies in providing such a memorable voice' — Sunday Times
'Extence masters the difficult combination of comedy and tragedy and his lovingly drawn central characters provoke deep-thought. Like his mother's colleague, emo-esque Ellie, readers will become increasingly fond of Alex, the naïve - yet insightful - narrator. Here's hoping Extence plans a sequel' — We Love This Book
'Sensitive, intelligent and articulate' — Joe Thomas, from The Inbetweeners
'When the material darkens towards the end, Extence skilfully manages to keep the narrative engaging and surprising. Mr Peterson, in particular, is a welcome antidote to those endless depictions of wise old men who know everything, being a spiky, contradictory figure raging against the dying of the light with impressive and stirring verve. After it finds its voice, this is a hugely enjoyable and even wise book, with plenty to say about life and death, and Vonnegut fans, in particular, will absolutely love it'. — Obersver
This is a genuinely hilarious read, but also a deeply moving story about childhood, neurology and mortality. — Daily Telegraph
'The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a great book that had me utterly charmed. I had read many positive reviews of this one, and noted that it made it onto this summer's Richard and Judy Book Club list, but had no idea just how much I would enjoy it...Extence makes absolutely sure that from the first page you are not going to want to put this book down.' — girlvsbookshelf.co.uk
'Poignant and hilarious' — Daily Mirror
'The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a great book that had me utterly charmed. I had read many positive reviews of this one, and noted that it made it onto this summer's Richard and Judy Book Club list, but had no idea just how much I would enjoy it...Extence makes absolutely sure that from the first page you are not going to want to put this book down.' — girlvsbookshelf.co.uk
Hodder & Stoughton

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Gavin Extence
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Hodder & Stoughton

The Empathy Problem

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FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS COMES ANOTHER WARM, WITTY AND GRIPPING STORY OF SECOND CHANCES*****'It's so good it'll leave you wanting to change your own life, to be a better person' INDEPENDENT'Witty and sincere... very clever.' HUFFINGTON POST'Another stand-out book from this outstanding author.' THE SUN, BOOK OF THE WEEK'I absolutely loved this story... Extence has such a dry, witty style of writing.' MARIE CLAIRE 'Extence keeps the twists and turns coming, full of mordant wit, until the bitter end.' DAILY MAIL*****RESCUED. GABRIEL HAS NEVER RESCUED ANYONE BEFORE. BUT WHEN HIS LIFE GETS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN THERE'S NO MORE TIME FOR REGRETS OR MISSED CHANCES. AND GABRIEL IS JUST ABOUT READY TO GRAB EVERY CHANCE LIFE THROWS AT HIM.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Mirror World of Melody Black

Gavin Extence
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Gavin Extence

It all starts, as these things sometimes do, with a dead man.He was a neighbour, not someone Abby knew well, but still, finding a body when you only came over to borrow a tin of tomatoes, that comes as a bit of a shock.At least, it should.And now she can't shake the feeling that if she hadn't gone into Simon's flat, if she'd had her normal Wednesday night instead, then none of what happened next would have happened. And she would never have met Melody Black . . .Wild and witty, searing and true, THE MIRROR WORLD OF MELODY BLACK is about the fine line that separates normal from not - and how life can spin, very swiftly, out of control.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

Alexandra Potter

Alexandra Potter was born in Yorkshire. Having lived in Los Angeles and Sydney after university, where she worked variously as a features editor and sub-editor for women's magazines including Elle, Company, Red and Australian Vogue, she now writes full time and lives between London and Los Angeles. She is the author of nine internationally bestselling novels of romantic fiction with a magical twist, including Don't You Forget About Me and Me and Mr Darcy, which won the Best New Fiction Award at the Jane Austen Regency World Awards 2007.You can find out more at www.alexandrapotter.com or on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Alexandra.Potter.Author or follow Alexandra on Twitter @AlexPotterBooks.

Alexandra Raife

Alexandra Raife has lived abroad in many countries and worked at a variety of jobs, including a six-year commission in the RAF and many years co-running a Highland hotel.

Alexei Sayle

Alexei Sayle is a comedian, actor, presenter and writer. His television work as a writer and performer includes The Young Ones, Alexei Sayle's Stuff, and The All New Alexei Sayle Show and Alexei Sayle's Liverpool for BBC 2. He has written for many newspapers and magazines and appeared in numerous films, from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to Gorky Park. He is currently writing his memoir, STALIN ATE MY HOMEWORK, which will be published by Sceptre in 2010.

Alyson Richman

Alyson Richman is the author of The Mask Carver's Son, Swedish Tango, The Last Van Gogh and THE LOST WIFE. The daughter of a painter and an engineer, Richman's novels combine a love of art and research, and have been published in more than ten languages. She lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and two children.www.alysonrichman.comwww.twitter.com/alysonrichman

Amy Engel

Amy Engel is the author of the YA novels THE BOOK OF IVY and THE REVOLUTION OF IVY. She lives in Missouri with her family. THE ROANOKE GIRLS is her first novel for adults.

Andrew Michael Hurley

Andrew Michael Hurley has lived in Manchester and London, and is now based in Lancashire. His first novel, The Loney, was originally published by Tartarus Press, a tiny independent publisher based in Yorkshire, as a 300-copy limited-edition, before being republished by John Murray and going on to win the Costa Best First Novel Award and Book of the Year at the British Book Industry Awards in 2016.

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller's first novel, Ingenious Pain, was published by Sceptre in 1997 and greeted as the debut of an outstanding new writer. It won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Grinzane Cavour Prize for the best foreign novel published in Italy. It was followed by Casanova, then Oxygen, which was shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award in 2001, The Optimists, and One Morning Like A Bird. In 2011, his sixth novel, Pure, was published to great acclaim and went on to win the Costa Book of the Year Award.Andrew Miller's novels have been translated into thirty languages. Born in Bristol in 1960, he has lived in Spain, Japan, France and Ireland, and currently lives in Somerset.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams worked as a senior producer for the BBC's flagship Panorama and Newsnight programmes, and as a writer and director of history documentaries. He is the author of two bestselling non-fiction books, The Battle of the Atlantic and D-day to Berlin, and four acclaimed novels, The Interrogator, (shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Silver Dagger Award and the Ellis Peters Award), To Kill a Tsar, (shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Award and the Walter Scott Prize), The Poison Tide and The Suicide Club. You can find out more about Andrew Williams and his writing at www.andrewwilliams.tv and www.hodder.co.uk, and you can follow him on twitter at @AWilliamswriter or on Facebook.

Anna Jacobs

Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. She is addicted to writing and figures she'll have to live to be 120 at least to tell all the stories that keep popping up in her imagination and nagging her to write them down.She's also addicted to her own hero, to whom she's been happily married for many years.She is the bestselling author of over sixty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards. Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006, and The Trader's Wife is on the shortlist for the 2012 award.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

Anya Seton

Anya Seton was born in New York City and grew up on her father's large estate in Cos Cob and Greenwich, Connecticut, where visiting Indians taught her Indian dancing and woodcraft. One Sioux chief called her Anutika, which means 'cloud grey eyes', a name which the family shortened to Anya. She was educated by governesses, and then travelled abroad, first to England, then to France where she hoped to become a doctor. She studied for a while at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Paris before marrying at eighteen and having three children. She began writing in 1938 with a short story sold to a newspaper syndicate and the first of her novels was published in 1941. She died in 1990.

Arabella Weir

Arabella Weir is a writer and performer who started her career as the gladioli wiper for Dame Edna Everage. She appears regularly on television in various guises - in all of Alexei Sayle's TV series, HARRY ENFIELD AND CHUMS and THE LENNY HENRY SHOW.

Belinda Jones

Following ten years as a magazine journalist and travel editor, Belinda Jones began writing novels inspired by her adventures. She has travelled to over twenty-five countries and hopes to write her way around the world by the time she's done! (Now if only airlines allowed dogs to travel alongside you - at the very least they could dispose of those darn mini pretzels.)

Belva Plain

Belva Plain's first novel, EVERGREEN, was published in 1978 and became an international bestseller. Over the course of a career spanning three decades she published over twenty bestselling novels in 22 languages. She died at the age of ninety five in 2010.

Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson was born in the village of Queensferry in south-east Scotland in 1965 and educated at Edinburgh University. She left with a PhD in Linguistics and spent a few years as a university lecturer before beginning to write fiction. The first Dandy Gilver novel was short-listed for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2005 and the second was long-listed for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award 2007. In 2012 DANDY GILVER AND THE PROPER TREATMENT OF BLOODSTAINS was nominated for a Historical Macavity Award. Catriona writes full-time and divides her time between southern Scotland and northern California.www.dandygilver.comwww.catrionamcpherson.comwww.twitter.com/CatrionaMcP

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

Christine Marion Fraser

Christine Marion Fraser was one of Scotland's best-selling authors, outselling even Catherine Cookson, with world-wide readership and translations into many foreign languages. She was the author of the much-loved Rhanna series. Second youngest of a large family, she soon learned independence during childhood years spent in the post-war Govan district of Glasgow. Chris lived in Argyll with her husband. She died on 22nd November 2002.