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

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  • Hardback £14.99
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    • ISBN:9781444765885
    • 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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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

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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.

Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, has taught at a number of institutions and written for many magazines. The first novel in the Ibis trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008. In 2015, Amitav Ghosh was named as a finalist of the Man Booker International Prize.

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.

Anne-Marie Casey

Anne-Marie Casey was a script editor and producer of prime-time television drama for ten years before becoming a writer full time. She has written scripts for films and television series in the UK and in Ireland and her stage adaptation of Little Women was staged at the Gate Theatre in Dublin in 2011. An Englishwoman in New York, her first book, was inspired by her experiences living in Manhattan with her family and her love/love relationship with the City. She is married to the novelist, Joseph O'Connor. They now live in Dublin, Ireland with their two sons.

Bernardine Bishop

The great-granddaughter of the poet Alice Meynell, Bernardine Bishop was the youngest witness in the Lady Chatterley trial in 1960. After writing two early novels, she taught in a London comprehensive school for ten years and then had a distinguished career as a psychotherapist, during which she brought up her two sons. Cancer forced her retirement in 2010 and she returned to her first love, fiction. Bernardine Bishop lived in London with her husband, until her death in July 2013.

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

Chris Cleave

Chris Cleave's debut novel INCENDIARY won the Somerset Maugham Award, among others. His second, the Costa-shortlisted THE OTHER HAND, was a global bestseller and sat in the New York Times Top Ten for over a year (under the US title, Little Bee). Both books were shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prizes. He lives in Kingston-upon-Thames with his wife and three children, and welcomes readers at facebook.com/ChrisCleaveBooks, www.chriscleave.com and twitter.com/chriscleave.

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.

Christina Hopkinson

Christina Hopkinson is an author and journalist whose work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, The Times, Grazia and Red magazine. She lives in London with her husband and three children.Visit Christina's website at www.christinahopkinson.com and follow her on Twitter @Xtinahopkinson.

Ciara Geraghty

Ciara Geraghty is the author of five novels: Now That I've Found You, Saving Grace, Becoming Scarlett, Finding Mr Flood and Lifesaving for Beginners. She lives in Dublin with her husband, three children and dog.You can find out more at www.ciarageraghty.com, visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/CiaraGeraghtyBooks, or follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/ciarageraghty.

David Mitchell

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

David Nicholls

Galaxy Book Award-winner (ONE DAY), Richard & Judy bestseller (STARTER FOR TEN), BAFTA Award nominee (GREAT EXPECTATIONS) and now Man Booker Longlisted (US) author David Nicholls trained as an actor before making the switch to writing. As well as his multimillion-copy bestselling novels STARTER FOR TEN, THE UNDERSTUDY and ONE DAY, David is a scriptwriter whose credits include the TV series Cold Feet, Rescue Me, I Saw You, the TV movies The 7:39 and Aftersun, and screenplays for Far From the Madding Crowd, Great Expectations, Tess of the D'Urbervilles and When Did You Last See Your Father? He has also written the screenplays for the film adaptations of his own novels, STARTER FOR TEN (2006) which starred James McAvoy, ONE DAY (2010), starring Jim Sturgess and Anne Hathaway, and the forthcoming THE UNDERSTUDY (release TBC).

Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. The author of six New York Times bestselling novels, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love The One You're With, Heart of the Matter, and Where We Belong, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three young children.You can find out more at www.emilygiffin.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EmilyGiffinFans or on Twitter @emilygiffin.

Fiona McFarlane

Fiona McFarlane was born in Sydney, has a BA from Sydney University and a PhD from Cambridge University, and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a Michener Fellow and won the university's prestigious Keene Prize for Literature in 2012. Her work has been published in the New Yorker, Zoetrope: All-Story, Southerly, The Missouri Review, and Best Australian Stories, and she has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Phillips Exeter Academy, and the Australia Council for the Arts. Her debut novel, The Night Guest, was published by Sceptre in 2014.

Graham Hancock

As East Africa correspondent of The Economist in the early eighties Graham Hancock began to write a series of highly acclaimed books on economics, politics and foreign aid. His life took a whole new turn when he became fascinated by rumours that the Ark of the Covenant is real artefact, hidden somewhere in northern Africa. The story of his detective work, tracking it down to its supposed final resting place became the international bestseller The Sign and the Seal (now in production as a feature film.) More bestsellers in the field of 'alternative history' followed, including Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (the latter co-authored with Robert Bauval) and Heaven's Mirror. In Supernatural he described his experiences journeying to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs amongst tribes people for whom they represent a gateway into supernatural realms. His ideas on exploring new dimensions in consciousness became the subject of his controversial TED talks.Graham Hancock's books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and have sold over nine million copies worldwide. His public lectures and broadcasts, including two major TV series for Channel 4, Quest for the Lost Civilisation, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, have further established his reputation as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity`s past.

Héctor Tobar

Héctor Tobar is the son of Guatemalan immigrants and a native of the city of Los Angeles. He is the former Buenos Aires and Mexico City Bureau Chief for the LA Times and shared a Pulitzer for the paper`s coverage of the 1992 riots. He is currently an LA-based columnist for the paper. He is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Barbarian Nurseries.www.hectortobar.com