By Keith Waterhouse
No London neighbourhood more resembles the restless downstream tide of the Thames than the ragged square mile of Soho, and into this human rabbit warren one evening slips Alex Singer, a student from Leeds in pursuit of his errant girlfriend. Twenty-four hours, three deaths, one fire and one mugging later, seduced, traduced and befriended, Alex is on his way to the Soho Ball. In this fast, funny and superbly crafted novel, Keith Waterhouse draws a vibrant portrait of London's liveliest quarter past and present and of its eccentric inhabitants.
Singling out the Couples
By Stella Duffy
A princess, perfect in every way except one, arrives in London from a land of milk and honey, and sets up home in a Notting Hill tower block. Her self-appointed mission - to break up couples in love. For what she lacks is a heart.With gleeful dedication, she sets about seducing a husband-to-be, prizing apart two devoted gay men, and ensnaring a contentedly married woman. But things start to go wrong: despite herself she becomes fond of one of her lovers, and discovers a tiny heart growing in her chest. The Queen and King, meanwhile, have despatched her brother to stop her. Will he be a match for her? Her magic is stronger, but then he does have a heart of his own ...
The Shrapnel Academy
By Fay Weldon
'The setting of this enjoyable novel is the Shrapnel Academy, a country-house centre for the study of military excellence...Here, one winter weekend, a group of guests gather, for the eve-of-Waterloo dinner, and to hear Gen. Leo Makeshift deliver the annual Wellington lecture...Below stairs lurks a huge army of Third World servants with their illegal hangers-on, led by a lunatic African butler. Murder is plotted. Snow falls. All are trapped...that rare treat: a wildly funny, deeply serious, novel' Daily Telegraph
By John Gielgud
The Silken Net
By Melvyn Bragg
Half-French with an agile, inquiring mind, Rosemary Lewis cannot help being out of the ordinary in Thurston, the Cumbrian market town where she grows up between the wars. An early, bruising failure in love drives her inwards to the solace of books until she meets Edgar - vigorous, down to earth and determined to win her. Charting their life together, this powerful novel probes with exceptional acuity the heights and tortured depths of a bond that becomes a shackle.
The Second Inheritance
By Melvyn Bragg
Set in the Border country of Northern England, The Second Inheritance follows two young men as they struggle with the constraints of a close-knit farming community. Amid the intimacies and tensions of their families, they discover that only through each other's passion for escape will they finally be able to live their youth.