By Peter Ho Davies
Ah Ling: son of a prostitute and a white 'ghost', dispatched from Hong Kong as a boy to make his way alone in 1860s California. Anna Mae Wong: the first Chinese film star in Hollywood, forbidden to kiss a white man on screen. Vincent Chin: killed by a pair of Detroit auto workers in 1982 simply for looking Japanese.John Ling Smith: a half-Chinese writer visiting China for the first time, to adopt a baby girl.Inspired by three figures who lived at pivotal moments in Chinese-American history, and drawing on his own mixed-race experience, Peter Ho Davies plunges us into what it is like to feel, and be treated, like a foreigner in the country you call home.Ranging from the mouth of the Pearl River to the land of golden opportunity, this remarkable novel spans 150 years to tell a tale of familial bonds denied and fragmented, of tenacity and pride, of prejudice and the universal need to belong.
By Jenn Ashworth
'Dark, compelling, beautifully written'Andrew Michael HurleyIn this eerie, atmospheric and mysterious tale, a woman returns to the house in Morecambe Bay where she grew up in the 1960s to find it falling apart, undermined by the roots of two huge sycamores. She is unaware that she has awoken the spirits of her parents, Jack and Nettie Clifford, who watch anxiously as their daughter Annette is overwhelmed by the state of the house and realise too late how far they neglected her as a child. As their memories come alive, the story unfolds of a crucial summer when Annette was 8 and Nettie became too ill to run their boarding house. The lodgers have to go - all except the newly arrived butcher's apprentice, because he seems to have miraculous healing powers and is Jack and Nettie's last, desperate hope. But is he who he says he is? Why do those he lays his hands on feel an erotic charge? And why does he despise his own gift? As everything comes to a head, so too does Annette's story in the present. But this time, someone is looking out for her and comes to her rescue. Finally, the spirits of her parents can let go.
Fictions and Lies
By Irina Ratushinskaya
In FICTIONS AND LIES, a writer dies suddenly, in fear of KGB pursuit. His last manuscript, which is thought to be dangerously anti-Soviet, is missing from his apartment, so immediately becomes the object of a rapid police search. As it is traced, whom will it implicate, and what else will it reveal? Deftly, we are led into a world where right and wrong are problematic in ways we never experienced in the West, where integrity and self-respect may prove costly for one's family and friends, where compromise may prove unexpectedly difficult to avoid, and yet where truth and honesty matter all the more for being so elusive.
The Friday Gospels
By Jenn Ashworth
It's Friday in the Leeke household, but this is no ordinary Friday and the Leekes are a little unusual: they are Lancastrian Mormons, and this evening their son Gary will return from 2 years as a missionary in Salt Lake City.His mother is planning a celebratory dinner - with difficulty, since she's virtually housebound with an undiagnosed, embarrassing condition. What she doesn't realise is that the rest of the family - her meek husband, disturbed oldest son, and teenage daughter - have other plans for the evening, each involving drastic and irrevocable action.As the narrative baton passes from one Leeke to the next, disaster inexorably looms. Except that nothing goes according to plan, and the outcome is as unexpected as it is shocking. Giving a fascinating insight into the Mormon way of life, this blackly funny tale of innocence betrayed shows the havoc religion can wreak.
By Toni Jordan
Remember the rules. Rule one is easy. Never ask for money.Since she was a child, Della Gilmore has been taught how to con people. Today she's attempting to pull off the biggest coup of her career. Her family is depending on her.It all looks good on paper. With a pair of glasses and a sheaf of impressive papers she's:Ella Canfield, a highly qualified evolutionary biologist seeking funding for an unorthodox research project.And her mark is:Daniel Metcalf, a handsome millionaire who donates money to offbeat scientific projects.What could go wrong? The problem is Della has never met someone like Daniel before. She knows he shouldn't trust her. But can she trust him?As the plan begins to unravel and Della finds her feelings interfering with the job, she begins to wonder if you can put a price on deceit and love.
By Elizabeth H. Winthrop
Hollis Clayton is in trouble. Still haunted by his small son's death, stalled in his writing career and over fond of the bottle, he finds himself abandoned by his wife for the summer - or, if he doesn't shape up, for good. But without his emotional anchor, Hollis continues to unravel. Besides, he's busy spying on the neighbours and sharing his meals with a stray dog. When is he going to find the time to get his life back on track?Here, in the daily rhythms of Hollis's disintegrating life, lies an evisceratingly comic portrait of suburban despair. With this deeply affecting tale of grief and renewal, Elizabeth H. Winthrop makes a striking debut.
Fred and Edie
By Jill Dawson
In December 1922 Edith Thompson, a smart, bright, lower-middle class woman who worked in a milliner's shop, was tried for conspiring with her young lover Frederick Bywaters to murder her husband, Percy. The sensational trial, which took place in front of heaving crowds at the Old Bailey, unravelled a real life drama as exciting as any blockbuster: an illicit love affair, a back-street abortion, domestic violence, murder and a double execution. FRED AND EDIE draws together powerful threads between personal memory and public lives, between innocence and responsibility, and between fact and fiction. It is an exploration of a woman caught in the net of her own private fantasy and the conflicts of the era in which she lived, of her muddled attempt to defy convention and reshape her own destiny, and, finally, of the devastation she left in her wake.
A Family Madness
By Thomas Keneally
Inspired by a true incident, this powerful and disturbing novel focuses on Rudi Kabbel, a survivor of Nazi-occupied Belorussia, and Terry Delaney, a young Australian rugby player who falls in love with Kabbel's daughter. With the optimism and innocence of those unscathed by war, Delaney gropes to understand Kabbel's outlook on life and all too slowly grasps its implications.
Flying Hero Class
By Thomas Keneally
When Palestinian guerillas hijack a flight from New York to Frankfurt, they find an Aboriginal dance troupe among the passengers. Similarly dispossessed of their land, whose side will the Aborigines take? Conflicts of loyalty, terror and revolutionary fervour form the explosive ingredients in this riveting and thought-provoking novel.
For Want of a Nail
By Melvyn Bragg
Growing up in an isolated cottage in the hills of Cumberland, Tom knows the bitter cold of shooting expeditions with his grandfather and long evenings spent with his father and mother. But taken away from the hills to live in the small town of Thornton, Tom experiences a tumult of conflicting emotions which he must master before he can come to terms with his identity.First published in 1965, FOR WANT OF A NAIL was acclaimed as the debut of a distinctive and talented new writer.