The Last of the Greenwoods
By Clare Morrall
In a field outside Bromsgrove, two elderly brothers live in adjoining railway carriages. No one visits and they never speak to each other. Until the day Zohra Dasgupta, a young postwoman, delivers an extraordinary letter - from a woman claiming to be the sister they thought had been murdered fifty years earlier. So begins an intriguing tale: is this woman an impostor? If she's not, what did happen all those years ago? And why are the brothers such recluses? Then there's Zohra. Once a bright, outgoing teenager, the only friend she will see from her schooldays is laidback Crispin, who has roped her in to the restoration of an old railway line on his father's land. For which, as it happens, they need some carriages . . . With wry humour and a cast of characters as delightful as they are damaged, Clare Morrall tells an engrossing story of past misdeeds and present reckoning, which shows that for all the wrong turnings we might take, sometimes it is possible to retrace our steps.
Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting
By Kevin Powers
Shortlisted for the 2014 TS Eliot PrizeShortlisted for the 2014 Forward Prize for Best First CollectionPoetry Book Society ChoiceIn this remarkable debut poetry collection, National Book Award finalist and Iraq war veteran Kevin Powers creates a startling, affecting portrait of a life shaped by war. LETTER COMPOSED DURING A LULL IN THE FIGHTING captures the many moments that comprise a soldier's life: driving down the Texas highway; waiting for the unknown in the dry Iraq heat; writing a love letter; listening to a mother recount her dreams. Written with honesty and insight, these poems strive to make sense of war and its echoes through human experience.Just as THE YELLOW BIRDS was hailed as the 'first literary masterpiece produced by the Iraq war,' (Los Angeles Times) this collection will prove to be a powerful, enduring classic.
By Marc Pye
Life for Evelyn, Mick and their five-year-old son Jamie is relatively trouble free - until Evelyn's brother Shug comes to stay. Shug is a typical Buckfast-drinking, living-for-the-moment Glasgow guy whose chosen professions are car theft and robbery. The only person Shug genuinely cares about is his nephew Jamie. So when he suspects the local lollipop man of child abuse he takes the law into his own hands. Soon both the police and the local hard-men are on Shug's trail. But, with his chameleon ways and lucky streak he narrowly manages to avoid ending up either in prison or at the bottom of the river Clyde wearing concrete shoes.
By Jill Dawson
Crime's a man's business. So they say. Who was that small figure then, slender enough to trot along the moonlit track, swift and low, virtually invisible? Who was it that covered the green signal with a glove to stop the train, while the two others took care of the driver and his mate? Could it have been one Queenie Dove, survivor of the Depression and the Blitz, not to mention any number of scrapes with the law?Queenie Dove is a self-proclaimed genius when it comes to thieving and escape. Daring, clever and sexy, she ducked and dived through the streets of London from the East End through Soho to Mayfair, graduating from childhood shop-lifting to more glamorous crimes in the post-war decades. So was she wicked through and through, or more sinned against than sinning? Here she tells a vivacious tale of trickery and adventure, but one with more pain and heartbreak than its heroine cares to admit. Yes, luck often favoured her, but that is only part of the story.
The Life of an Unknown Man
By Andreï Makine, Andrei Makine
One night in St Petersburg, two men meet, both adrift in the brash new Russia: Shutov, a writer visiting after years of exile in Paris, and Volsky, an elderly survivor of the Siege of Leningrad and Stalin's purges. His life story - one of extreme suffering, courage and an extraordinary love - he considers unremarkable. To Shutov it is a revelation, the tale of an unsung hero that puts everything into perspective and suggests where true happiness lies.
A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True
By Brigid Pasulka
Winner of the 2010 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for a distinguished first book of fiction, A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True is a grand love story and a wonderfully warm-hearted debut about a young woman and her country on the cusp of change.On the eve of World War II in a place called Half-Village, a man nicknamed the Pigeon falls in love with a girl fabled for her angelic looks. Using his 'golden hands' he decides to turn her family's modest hut into a beautiful home, and build his way into her heart.But war arrives, cutting short their charming courtship and bringing with it terrible events.Fifty years on, young Baba Yaga leaves her village to make a new life in Krakow. What she finds is not the city of her grandmother's tales but a place struggling in the aftermath of communism's fall, where opportunity seems reserved for the lucky few. Then tragedy strikes and the past reaches out an unexpected hand to her.What Louis de Bernières did for Kefalonia, Brigid Pasulka does for Poland, weaving together the two strands of her story with a deftly magical touch into a witty, wise and heartbreaking love story that will enchant you to the very end.
The Language of Others
By Clare Morrall
The world is a puzzling, sometimes frightening place for Jessica Fontaine. As a child she only finds contentment in playing the piano and wandering alone in the empty spaces of Audlands Hall, the dilapidated country house where she grows up. Twenty-five years later, divorced, with her son still living at home, Jessica remains preoccupied by the desire to create space around her. Then her volatile ex-husband reappears, the first of several surprises that both transform Jessica's present and give her a startling new perspective on the past. THE LANGUAGE OF OTHERS tells the absorbing story of a woman who spends much of her life feeling that she is out of step with the real world, until she discovers why. Related with humour and compassion, it offers a fresh, illuminating insight into what it means to be normal.
Le Testament Francais
By Andreï Makine, Andrei Makine
Locked behind the Iron Curtain, a young boy grows up bewitched by his French grandmother's memories of Paris before the Great War. Yet despite what he also learns of her suffering in the Soviet Union under Stalin and during the Second World War, as an adolescent he finds himself proud to be a Russian. Torn between the two cultures, he eventually makes a choice - which has a wholly unexpected outcome. Capturing the powerful allure of illusion, this unforgettable novel traces a sentimental and intellectual journey that embraces the dramatic history of the twentieth century.
The Long Firm Trilogy
By Jake Arnott
Ranging from the Swinging Sixties to the Raving Nineties and with a cast that includes the machiavellian gangster Harry Starks, politicians, bent coppers, actresses and gutter journalists, Arnott's fictional portrait of cultural change and moral decay is at once sharply funny, relentlessly compelling, and frighteningly real.
By Carolyn Parkhurst
'Here is what we know, those of us who can speak to tell a story: On the afternoon of October 21st, my wife, Lexy Ransome, climbed to the top of the apple tree in our back yard and fell to her death. There were no witnesses, save our dog Lorelei . . .'So begins this remarkable, unputdownable debut about a man faced with the sudden and inexplicable loss of the love of his life. Convinced that Lexy's death was not an accident, and driven by a desire to discover what really happened that October afternoon, Paul decides to embark on the only course of action he can possibly imagine. What follows is a luminous account of an extraordinary, magical love affair, and its aftermath. This is the story of a passionate woman and her irrepressible dreams; of a man who does not know how to begin to live without her; of an animal's loyalty and devotion, and of the desperate search for answers that leads them all to places they never expected to go.
The Last Girl
By Stephan Collishaw
In the dying days of the twentieth century an elderly poet wanders the streets of Vilnius, haunted by a terrible secret. His memories of the Second World War have been buried for fifty years, but now, as he picks his way through the rubble of the ghetto, and looks in the faces of young women he passes, he is reminded of the girl he once loved - and betrayed - and finds himself once again compelled to tell her story.In a decaying tenement a washerwoman struggles between the twilight world of Vilnius's brothels and her flickering hopes of building a better life for her children. Her son needs $1000 if he is to escape to England, and she knows of only one way to earn such an impossible amount of money. Her life, and the poet's, weave between each other as they both step carefully around the cracks of the past, in search of any kind of peace.And through the tangled debris of Lithuania's past and present, the story of a beautiful Jewish girl and a young poet - whose love was ultimately not strong enough to save her from the persecution of the Russians, or from the final, deadly designs of the Nazis - coils its way to the surface and demands to be told.
A Life's Music
By Andreï Makine, Andrei Makine
In a snowbound railway station deep in the Soviet Union, a stranded passenger comes across an old man playing the piano in the dark, silent tears rolling down his cheeks. Once on the train to Moscow he begins to tell his story: a tale of loss, love and survival that movingly illustrates the strength of human resilience. 'A novella to be read in a lunch hour and remembered for ever' Jilly Cooper, Books of the Year, Sunday Telegraph
The Long Silence of Mario Salviati
By Etienne Van Heerden
When Ingi Friedlander travels to Yearsonend in the rugged interior of South Africa to purchase a statue, its eccentric sculptor, Jonty Jack, does not want to sell - he says it was not his creation, but simply appeared miraculously. Ingi decides to stay and try to win Jonty's trust, but soon realises that the townspeople suspect she has come to seek a different treasure - the legendary wagon of gold brought in by defeated Boer soldiers. Gradually she prises open the secrets of the past, secrets of greed, racism and vaulting ambition, whose key lies with the Italian POW Mario Salviati - deaf, dumb and now blind. Watched over by a very earthy angel and long dead humans, Ingi forces a resolution with the past and faces up to her own future.
Look at it this Way
By Justin Cartwright
From the moment an unemployed City broker is devoured by an escapee from the Zoo, we are embarked upon a dazzling journey through nineties' London. A city peopled by a rich and varied cast of characters - from the City, journalism, the criminal world, advertising, music hall and the East End. Lurking in the background is nemesis in the shape of a hungry lion.
The Long Firm
By Jake Arnott
The cult bestseller that launched Jake Arnott as one of the most exciting new voices of the decade - 'A gangster novel every bit as cool, stylish and venomous as the London in which it's set' (Independent on Sunday)'I'll tell you what happens now,' Harry says, reading my mind. 'You can go now. We're quits. You don't talk to anybody about anything. You've had a taste of what will happen if you do.'Meet Harry Starks: club owner, racketeer, porn king, sociology graduate and Judy Garland fan. To be in his orbit is to be caught up in the music, the parties, the people and the sex of London in the Swinging Sixties. But behind the rough charm and cheap glamour is a man prepared to do what it takes to get what he wants.
Leading the Cheers
By Justin Cartwright
Dan Silas returns to America for his high school reunion where he makes some unexpected discoveries. His former girlfriend tells him that her daughter was his child and Dan's oldest friend has suffered a breakdown and now believes himself to be the reincarnation of an Indian chief. In an attempt to make sense of these disturbing facts, Dan digs further into their lives, with both tragic and comic results. LEADING THE CHEERS is a rich portrayal of small-town life with wonderfully evoked characters and Justin Cartwright's beautifully observed writing.
By Frank Ronan
Successful, happy, rich, healthy, well-dressed, well-read, well-regarded and well-mannered, Aaron Gunn believes there's nothing he couldn't do or have if he really set his mind to it. Only the great-love-of-his-life has so far eluded him. So, at an acid party in Goa, he allows himself to fall in love at first sight. But out of a bond formed from attraction and need grows a dangerous obsession.
Life After Lunch
By Sarah Harrison
Laura and Susan have had a love/hate relationship since their schooldays. Laura presides hopefully over a large, unruly family as she approaches her silver wedding; Susan is exuberantly independent and a most spirited advocate of the single life. At their regular lunches they view each other with a mixture of deep affection and even deeper suspicion. But when the balance suddenly alters, the two friends are surprised to discover something new and potentially wonderful about ... life after lunch.
A Long Walk in Wintertime
By Libby Purves, Libby Purves
Alice McDonald has escaped all the obvious traps that lie in wait for women. She loves her job but enjoys her clever, spirited children too; her husband (Dan the New Man) does his share at home, and their London house is always full of friends. At her thirty-seventh birthday party, Alice reflects that their life has been a pretty successful production so far.But love can be treacherous, and children are never quite what they seem. Two months later, far from home and alone on a desperate quest through the bleak lanes of Norfolk, Alice wonders how it fell apart so quickly. Were things ever as good as they seemed? Had the McDonalds really been happy, or was it no more than a stage illusion?
The Life and Loves of a She Devil
By Fay Weldon
Ruth Patchett never thought of herself as particularly devilish. Rather the opposite in fact - simply a tall, not terribly attractive woman living a quiet life as a wife and mother in a respectable suburb. But when she discovers that her husband is having a passionate affair with the lovely romantic novelist Mary Fisher, she is so seized by envy that she becomes truly diabolic. Within weeks she has burnt down the family home, collected the insurance, made love to the local drunk and embarked on a course of destruction and revenge.A blackly comic satire of the war of the sexes, THE LIFE AND LOVES OF A SHE DEVIL is the fantasy of the wronged woman made real.