Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
By Chris Cleave
'Ian McEwan did this with Atonement, Sarah Waters did it with The Night Watch, and Chris Cleave does it too with Everyone Brave is Forgiven... A compelling and finely crafted novel.' FT'An addictive, propulsive read' The Sunday TimesSummer Reading pick - Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the TrainTop Ten hottest summer reads - Sunday Telegraph Instant New York Times BestsellerEvening Standard bestseller'A cracker' Stylist, 10 Exciting Books in 2016'His best book to date' Esquire, 10 best novels of 2016 Guardian Literary Highlight of 2016Independent Best Book to read in 2016 Irish News Top Picks for 2016Washington Post 20 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2016An extraordinary tale of love and honour in extreme circumstances, from the multi-award-winning author of THE OTHER HAND.When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss - until his flatmate Alistair unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided.Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she'd be a marvelous spy. When she is - bewilderingly - made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget. Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary. And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.In a powerful combination of both humour and heartbreak, this dazzling novel weaves little-known history, and a perfect love story, through the vast sweep of the Second World War - daring us to understand that, against the great theatre of world events, it is the intimate losses, the small battles, the daily human triumphs, that change us most.
By Kym Lloyd
Erskine Flesching, our unreliable narrator, admits that he's 40; that he returned three years ago to his childhood home by the sea to live with his mother, who he hasn't seen since he was 10; and that he has been a successful opera singer. What he won't spell out is which part of him a dog bit off when he was a child; that what he obsessively carves out of wood are penises; or why so many people from his past - father, sister, lover and patroness - seem to be dead. And he appears to be addressing a young woman who has stolen both his heart and secrets, and is locked up in his private sanctuary. Is she dead too? Can he be trusted? Is this just wish fulfilment or a madman's confession? Like a demented spider, Erskine Flesching spins his victims and his readers into his web. By the end you don't know who's been had.
The Earth and Sky of Jacques Dorme
By Andreï Makine
In present-day France a Russian writer recalls his harsh childhood at a Stalingrad orphanage in the 1960s and the old Frenchwoman, a family friend, whose tales fed his dreams of a better world. One story in particular has stayed with him: that of her brief, passionate affair, during World War II, with the French fighter pilot Jacques Dorme, who subsequently died in a plane crash in the Siberian mountains. So the narrator decides to retrace Jacques Dorme's steps, beginning a journey which leads him not only to revisit the land of his birth but also to see his adopted homeland in an unflattering new light. A profound and moving novel about the dangers of ideology and of war, delivered with humour, sensuousness and great lyricism.
By Stella Duffy
Happily married with a loving husband, a beautiful home and a successful management consultancy, Lisa decides her life isn't exciting enough. She embarks on a passionate affair with Neil, her best friend's commitment-allergic boyfriend, and, when he starts to get too serious, finds fresh gratification in the arms of a woman. She juggles all three partners, for a while. But then Paul a tragedy occurs, and Lisa, finally, is burnt by the fire she thought she was playing with. With humour and compassion, Stella Duffy turns her sharp eye on contemporary relationships, and explores what, beyond sex and novelty, they need to last.
The Enchantment of Lily Dahl
By Siri Hustvedt
Lily Dahl is a heroine of the old school: tough, beautiful and brave. A nineteen-year-old waitress and aspiring actress living in Webster, Minnesota, she becomes enchanted by an exotic outsider - an artist from New York. Drawn into a world of erotic adventure, she finds herself the target of mysterious acts of madness as she strains against the confines of small town life.