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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Friday Gospels
By Jenn Ashworth
It's Friday in the Leeke household, but this is no ordinary Friday: the Leekes are Lancastrian Mormons and tonight they will be welcoming back their son Gary from his two-year mission in Utah. His mother, Pauline, wants his homecoming to be perfect. Unfortunately, no one else seems to be following the script. In turn, the members of the family let us into their private thoughts and plans. There's teenage Jeannie, wrestling with a disastrous secret; her peculiar elder brother, Julian, who's plotting an exit according to his own warped logic; their father, Martin, dreaming of escape; and 'golden boy' Gary, who dreads his return. Then there's Pauline, who needs a doctor's help but won't ask for it. As the day progresses, a meltdown looms. Except that nothing goes according to anyone's plan, and the outcome is as unexpected as it is shocking. Laced with black humour and giving an unusual insight into the Mormon way of life, this is a superbly orchestrated and arresting tale of human folly and foibles and what counts in times of crisis.
By Jenn Ashworth
A haunting, mysterious tale imbued with the force of myth, by the award-winning author of A Kind of Intimacy. When Annette Clifford returns to her childhood home on the edge of Morecambe Bay, she despairs: the long-empty house is crumbling, undermined by two voracious sycamores. What she doesn't realise is that she's not alone: her arrival has woken the spirits of her parents, who anxiously watch over her, longing to make amends. Because as the past comes back to Jack and Netty, they begin to see the summer of 1963 clearly, when Netty was desperately ill and a stranger moved in. Charismatic, mercurial Timothy Richardson, with his seemingly miraculous powers of healing, who drew all their attention away from Annette... Now, they must try to draw another stranger towards her, one who can rescue her.Blurring the boundaries between the corporeal and spirit worlds and subtly echoing the myth of Baucis and Philemon, this is an eerily beautiful, evocative and highly original novel, which underlines the eternal potency of hope.
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.
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 May 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.