A Place in England
By Melvyn Bragg, Malcolm Sinclair
Joseph Tallantire has hope and ambition - like his father before him he is determined to make something of himself and improve his lot. But life is not easy for an uneducated young man in Cumberland before and during World War II, and Joseph's struggle against the odds is the subject of this moving and evocative novel. Suffering hardship and humiliation but eventually achieving a position of some independence, Joseph serves as a tribute to the many like him who lived through one of Britain's periods of greatest social change.(P) 2015 Hodder & Stoughton
The Professor of Poetry
By Grace McCleen
Elizabeth Stone, a respected academic, has a new lease on life. In remission from cancer, she returns to the city where she was a student over thirty years ago to investigate some little-known papers by T. S. Eliot, which she believes contain the seeds of her masterpiece; a masterpiece that centres on a poem given to her when she was eighteen by the elusive Professor Hunt...But as the days pass in the city she loves and her friendship with Professor Hunt is rekindled, her memories return her to a time shadowed by loneliness, longing and quiet despair, and to an undeclared but overwhelming love. Paralysed by the fear of writing something worthless, haunted by a sense of waste, Elizabeth Stone comes to realise she is facing the biggest test of her life.As in her acclaimed debut The Land of Decoration, Grace McCleen gives an intense evocation of place, an unflinching portrayal of a character by turns comic, absurd, and disturbing, and a powerful sense of the transcendent within the ordinary. Profound and hypnotic, The Professor of Poetry devastates even as it exhilarates and echoes long after it has been closed.
By Andrew Miller
WINNER OF THE COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD (2011)A year of bones, of grave-dirt, relentless work. Of mummified corpses and chanting priests.A year of rape, suicide, sudden death. Of friendship too. Of desire. Of love...A year unlike any other he has lived.Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it.At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own.
Peter Pan's First XI
By Kevin Telfer
The creator of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie, was a hugely enthusiastic cricketer of very little talent. That didn't stop him from leading perhaps the most extraordinary amateur cricket team ever to have taken the field. Some of the twentieth century's most famous writers including A. A. Milne, P. G. Wodehouse and Jerome K. Jerome, regularly turned out for Barrie's team between 1890 and 1913. This very Edwardian vision of village cricket was only brought to an end by the First World War. Those years of golden summers were recounted in Barrie's letters and journals, many revealed here for the first time. Cricket lovers will identify with Barrie's attempts to assemble a team of competent players. In PETER PAN'S FIRST XI, Kevin Telfer weaves together cricket, literature, history, humour and biography to create an entertaining account of this little-known band of cricketing Peter Pans - and the age in which they lived.
The People's Train
By Thomas Keneally
After a long, dangerous escape from Tsarist Russia, Artem Samsurov might have reached sanctuary in Brisbane, Australia, but that doesn't stop him trying to create a socialist paradise with his fellow emigres and workmates. And despite getting entangled with an attractive female lawyer, then charged with the murder of an informer, he never loses hope that one day the revolution will come. But when he returns to Russia in 1917 to fight alongside his comrades, he cannot know whether it will succeed, or at what cost.In this enthralling novel, Thomas Keneally brings to life a seismic episode in world history from an unusual, intimate perspective. Basing his story on a real figure, he captures what it was like moment by dramatic moment for the men and women caught up in the maelstrom, and explores the passions, ideals and terrible compromises that fuelled it.
A Partial Indulgence
By Stephanie Theobald
In a decaying mansion in the middle of nowhere three unlikely companions are trying to work out where they are and how they got there.As they tell their stories fuelled by sex, champagne and the decadence of the art world, it becomes clear that they are all connected by one man: Charles Frederick de Vere.De Vere is the spectacular art dealer who has fed on the hedonism of sixties Paris, the insanity of eighties New York and the hype of London's Young British Artists. But now that people from his past have begun to haunt him, how much longer can he escape the dark secrets that lurk behind his phenomenal success?
By Jacqueline Walker
PILGRIM STATE is a stunning memoir which tells the story of Dorothy Walker - equal parts beautiful, headstrong, brave and tragic. Her life is lovingly recreated by her daughter Jacqueline in homage to the remarkable woman she was.In the haunting opening pages, set in Pilgrim State mental facility in New York State in 1951, Dorothy has been forcibly sectioned and is battling to keep her children and her sanity. She will struggle all her life to retain both. Dorothy and her children return to Jamaica before finally making a home in post-Windrush London in the early 60s. Dorothy and her children face prejudice and loss but are bound by incredible love and their unique sense of family. This will prove to be Dorothys greatest gift. Stories like PILGRIM STATE dont come along that often. And when they do you recognise you have something very special. And when a voice is this strong and original, you stop to listen. PILGRIM STATE celebrates place, the life-affirming nature of family and the bonds between mothers and daughters that can never be broken. The story is haunting and powerful and speaks for generations of women, resonating long after the story ends. Jacqueline Walker has done her mother proud.
A Perfect Spy
By John Le Carré
le Carré's most autobiographical novel is also widely held to be his masterpiece, and the finest spy novel of the twentieth-century.'le Carré's best book, and one of the finest English novels of the twentieth century' Philip Pullman 'Without doubt his masterpiece.' The Sunday Times 'A perfect work of fiction' The Sunday Times 'One of the enduring peaks of imaginative literature in our time' Los Angeles Times Magnus Pym, ranking diplomat, has vanished, believed defected. The chase is on: for a missing husband, a devoted father, and a secret agent. Pym's life, it is revealed, is entirely made up of secrets. Dominated by a father who is also a confidence trickster on an epic scale, Pym has from the age of seventeen been controlled by two mentors. It is these men, racing each other, who are orchestrating the search to find the perfect spy. Described by the author as his most autobiographical work, John le Carré's eleventh novel masterfully blends wit, compassion and unflagging tension with the poignant story of an estranged father and son. 'The best spy novel of all time' Publishers Weekly 'The best English novel since the war' Philip Roth
A Plea For Eros
By Siri Hustvedt
A stunning collection of essays by the author of WHAT I LOVED, in which she addresses many of the themes explored in her novels - identity, sexual attraction, relationships, family, mental illness, the power of the imagination, a sense of belonging and mortality. In three cases, she focuses on the novels of other writers - Dickens, James and Fitzgerald. She also refers to her own novels, affording an unusual insight into their creation. Whatever her topic, her approach is unaffected, intimate and conversational, inviting us both to share her thoughts and reflect on our own views and ideas.
By Andrew Cowan
When his grandmother dies, and his grandfather is removed to a home, fifteen-year-old Danny determines to look after their elderly pig and ramshackle garden. Here, on the ragged edge of a blighted new town, Danny and his Indian girlfriend Surinder create a fragile haven from the enclosing world of racist neighbours and stifling families, a summer's refuge from the precariousness of their future.
A Place in England
By Melvyn Bragg
Joseph Tallantire has hope and ambition - like his father before him he is determined to make something of himself and improve his lot. But life is not easy for an uneducated young man in Cumberland before and during World War II, and Joseph's struggle against the odds is the subject of this moving and evocative novel. Suffering hardship and humiliation but eventually achieving a position of some independence, Joseph serves as a tribute to the many like him who lived through one of Britain's periods of greatest social change.
By Robert Girardi
By Fay Weldon
PRAXIS is a modern classic: the portrait of a woman set in time, yet timeless. We see her first as the innocent Praxis Duveen, aged five; watch her, as the men in her life come and go, through many drastic changes in fortune and circumstance. Until, from a prison both psychological and real, she emerges as Patty Fletcher, considered as bad as a woman can be and yet her own mistress.
By Thomas Keneally
In 1789 in Sydney Cove, the remotest penal colony of the British Empire, a group of convicts and one of their captors unite to stage a play. As felons, perjurers and whores rehearse, their playmaker becomes strangely seduced. For the play's power is mirrored in the rich, varied life of this primitive land, and, not least, in the convict and actress, Mary Brenham.