By Sarah Haywood
A RICHARD AND JUDY AUTUMN BOOK CLUB PICKSHORTLISTED FOR THE BEST FIRST NOVEL AWARD'One of the funniest, quirkiest books either of us has read for a long time ... stand by for a slam-bam finish' Richard & Judy Book Club'The Cactus will be compared to Gail Honeyman's appealingly eccentric Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine' Sunday Times It's never too late to bloom ... People aren't sure what to make of Susan Green. Family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand - but Susan makes perfect sense to herself.Age 45, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward - a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control. And things can only get worse ... at least in Susan's eyes. This sparkling debut is a breath of fresh air with real heart and a powerful emotional punch. In Susan we find a character as exasperating and delightful as The Rosie Project's Don Tillman. An uncompromising feminist and a fierce fighter, it's a joy to watch her bloom.'Quirky, poignant and extremely readable' Sunday Mirror'Brilliantly comic' The Lady'Wonderfully funny and astute' Red'Funny, compelling, well-written...for fans of Marian Keyes who demand a bit of grit in their comic writing' Emerald Street
Can you hear me?
By Elena Varvello
'Utterly gripped me from beginning to end' Victoria Hislop | 'Move over Ferrante, there's a new Elena in town' Independent | 'There is much beauty and sadness in this slim novel' The Times | 'A novel of crime and darkness that eschews straightforward domestic noir' Guardian **The Times bestseller. Longlisted for the CWA International Dagger. Shortlisted for the TA First Translation Prize.**In the August of 1978, the summer I met Anna Trabuio, my father took a girl into the woods...I was sixteen.He had been gone a long time already, but that was it - not even a year after he lost his job and that boy disappeared - that was when everything broke.1978. Ponte, a small community in Northern Italy. An unbearably hot summer like many others.Elia Furenti is sixteen, living an unremarkable life of moderate unhappiness, until the day the beautiful, damaged Anna returns to Ponte and firmly propels Elia to the edge of adulthood. But then everything starts to unravel.Elia's father, Ettore, is let go from his job and loses himself in the darkest corners of his mind.A young boy is murdered.And a girl climbs into a van and vanishes in the deep, dark woods...Translated by Alex Valente | Winner of an English PEN AwardLonglisted for the CWA International Dagger Award 2018
Catching the Wolf of Wall Street
By Jordan Belfort, Ray Porter
Listen to what happened next in the follow-up to the bestselling The Wolf of Wall Street, now a major motion picture directed by MARTIN SCORSESE, starring LEONARDO DICAPRIO, MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, JONAH HILL, JEAN DUJARDIN, KYLE CHANDLER and JOANNA LUMLEY.In the 1990s Jordan Belfort became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper. He was THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, whose life of greed, power and excess was so outrageous it could only be true; no one could make this up! But the day Jordan was arrested and taken away in handcuffs was not the end of the madness.Catching the Wolf of Wall Street tells of what happened next. After getting out of jail on $10 million bail he had to choose whether to plead guilty and act as a government witness or fight the charges and see his wife be charged as well. he cooperated.With his trademark brash, brazen and thoroughly unputdownable storytelling, Jordan details more incredible true tales of fortunes made and lost, money-making schemes, parties, sex, drugs, marriage, divorce and prison.PRAISE FOR THE WOLF OF WALL STREET'What separates Jordan's story from others like it, is the brutal honesty.' - Leonardo DiCaprio'Raw and frequently hilarious.' - The New York Times'Reads like a cross between Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities and Scorsese's Goodfellas ... Laugh-out funny.' - The Sunday Times(P)2009 Blackstone Audio Inc.
A Century of Wisdom
By Caroline Stoessinger
Alice Herz-Sommer, 1903-2014The pianist Alice Herz-Sommer survived the Theresienstadt concentration camp, attended Eichmann's trial in Jerusalem, and along the way befriended some of the most fascinating historical figures of our time, from Franz Kafka to Gustav Mahler, Leonard Bernstein and Golda Meir. A Century of Wisdom is her story: a testament to the bonds of friendship, the power of music and the importance of leading a life of maternal simplicity, intellectual curiosity, and never-ending optimism.
Cheer Up Love
By Susan Calman, Susan Calman
'DEEPLY HONEST, SURPRISINGLY HILARIOUS AND UPLIFTING' The Pool 'HEART-WARMING: UNMISSABLE' Damian Barr, Metro Susan Calman is a well-known comedian and writer who has appeared on countless radio and television programmes from The News Quiz and Just a Minute on BBC Radio 4, presented Armchair Detectives and Secret Scotland, hosts the podcast Mrs Brightside and stole the nation's hearts in STRICTLY COME DANCING 2017. Her solo stand up show, Susan Calman is Convicted, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and dealt with subjects like the death penalty, appearance and depression. It was the overwhelming and positive reaction to the show she wrote about mental health that made Susan want to write a more detailed account of surviving depression when you're the world's most negative and anxious person. The Crab of Hate is the personification of Calman's depression and her version of the notorious Black Dog. A constant companion all her life, the Crab has provided her with the best, and very worst of times. This is a very personal and affecting memoir of how, after many years and with a lot of help and talking, Susan has embraced her dark side and realised that she can be the most joyous sad person you'll ever meet. CHEER UP LOVE IS FUNNY, POIGNANT AND (HOPEFULLY) INFORMATIVE.IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO TALK AND TO REALISE YOU ARE NOT ALONE. *If you loved Cheer Up Love, try Sunny Side Up, Susan's Calmanifesto of Happiness*(P)2016 John Murray Press
Church of Marvels
By Leslie Parry
'A SKILLFUL TRIUMPH' Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist - 'IRRESISTIBLE' Emma Donoghue, author of RoomNew York, 1895. It's late on a warm city night when Sylvan Threadgill, a young night soiler who cleans out the privies behind the tenement houses, pulls a terrible secret out from the filthy hollows: an abandoned newborn baby. An orphan himself, Sylvan was raised by a kindly Italian family and can't bring himself to leave the baby in the slop. He tucks her into his chest, resolving to find out where she belongs. Odile Church is the girl-on-the-wheel, a second-fiddle act in a show that has long since lost its magic. Odile and her sister Belle were raised in the curtained halls of their mother's spectacular Coney Island sideshow: The Church of Marvels. Belle was always the star-the sword swallower-light, nimble, a true human marvel. But now the sideshow has burnt to the ground, their mother dead in the ashes, and Belle has escaped to the city. Alphie wakes up groggy and confused in Blackwell's Lunatic Asylum. The last thing she remembers is a dark stain on the floor, her mother-in-law screaming. She had once walked the streets as an escort and a penny-Rembrandt, cleaning up men after their drunken brawls. Now she is married; a lady in a reputable home. She is sure that her imprisonment is a ruse by her husband's vile mother. But then a young woman is committed alongside her, and when she coughs up a pair of scissors from the depths of her agile throat, Alphie knows she harbors a dangerous secret that will alter the course of both of their lives... On a single night, these strangers' lives will become irrevocably entwined, as secrets come to light and outsiders struggle for acceptance. From the Coney Island seashore to the tenement-studded streets of the Lower East Side, a spectacular sideshow to a desolate asylum, Leslie Parry makes turn-of-the-century New York feel alive, vivid, and magical in this luminous debut. In prose as magnetic and lucid as it is detailed, she offers a richly atmospheric vision of the past marked by astonishing feats of narrative that will leave you breathless.
By Helen Brown
For all those people who say they aren't cat people, but deep down know they are.'Possibly the next Marley & Me' Red 'A reminder of the gratitude humans owe to our companion animals' Daily MailHelen Brown wasn't a cat person, but her nine-year-old son Sam was. So when Sam heard someone mention that her cat had just had a litter, he pleaded to go and see them. Helen was powerless to resist and the deal was done - to be delivered when the kitten was big enough to leave her mother.Tragically, just a week later, Sam was killed in a road accident. Not long after this, a little black kitten was delivered to the family's doorstep. Totally numbed by Sam's death, Helen had completely forgotten about the new arrival, which belonged in another universe when Sam was still alive.Helen was ready to send her back, but Sam's younger brother, Rob, identified with the kitten who'd also lost her brothers. Stroking her, it was the first time Helen had seen him smile since Sam's death. There was no choice, the kitten - dubbed Cleo - had to stay.Cleo's immense character slowly taught the family to laugh again, giving them hope of getting back to normal. Over the next 24 years she went on to become the high priestess of Helen's household - vetoing her new men, terrifying visiting dogs and playing an integral role in their lives to become both a guardian and beloved friend. Optioned for film.
By Isla Morley
Short listed for the best First Book Award of the Africa Region Commonwealth Writer's Prize, Isla Morley's debut novel plays into one of our largest fears: what happens when a child is killed. Abbe Deighton has lost her bearings. Once a child of South Africa and now settled in Hawaii married to a minister, she is chafing against the expectations of her life, her husband's congregation, her marriage and the constant demands of motherhood. But in an instant, beginning with the skid of tyres, Abbe's life is transformed when her three-year-old daughter is killed, triggering a seismic grief that cuts a swathe through the landscape of her life. Clawing its way through the strata of grief comes the memory of another tragedy, one that has been tucked away for twenty years. If Abbe is to find a way through blame and guilt and find redemption she must confront the last summer of her youth. It is a journey that will take her back to the continent of her childhood bringing her face-to-face with her past, to the old witchdoctor's hut where curses were cast, secrets kept and a crime concealed. Abbe will have to make the harshest of choices, choices which blur the lines of life and death, responsibility and forgiveness, murder and self-defence, in order to find her true homeland.
The Corner Shop
By Babita Sharma
'Full of life, characters, gossip and all the richness of the local community' Sir David Jason'A compelling, full selection box of a story' Sanjeev KohliA Radio 4 Book of the WeekI've seen you on a Sunday morning, nipping out to get a pint of milk or to grab a newspaper. I came to know a lot about you; whether your politics leaned to the right or left, whether you were gay or straight, and whether you were plagued by cash-flow problems or had enough disposable income to indulge your penchant for Cadbury's Crème Eggs. I don't work for the secret services, nor do I have special access to you and your family's data. I come from a hidden world: I am the daughter of shopkeepers.From the general stores of the first half of the 20th century (one of which was run by the father of a certain Margaret Thatcher), to the reimagined corner shops run by immigrants from India, East Africa and Eastern Europe from the 60s to the noughties, their influence has shaped the way we shop, the way we eat, and the way we understand ourselves. Babita Sharma was raised in a corner shop in Reading, and over the counter watched a changing world, from the clientele to the products to the politics of the day. Along with the skills to mop a floor perfectly and stack a shelf, she gained a unique insight into a shifting landscape - and an institution that, despite the creep of supermarkets, online shopping and delivery, has found a way to evolve and survive. The Corner Shop is the remarkable human story of these little institutions that have changed the course of our history.
By Bret Anthony Johnston
'A gorgeous, accomplished debut' David MitchellBy internationally bestselling author Bret Anthony Johnston, WINNER of the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2017.In Corpus Christi, Texas - a town often hit by hurricanes - parents, children, and lovers come together and fall apart, bonded and battered by memories of loss that they feel as acutely as physical pain.A car accident joins strangers linked by an intimate knowledge of madness. A teenage boy remembers his father's act of sudden and self-righteous violence. A 'hurricane party' reunites a couple whom tragedy parted. And, in an unforgettable three-story cycle, an illness heals a man's relationship with his mother and reveals the odd, shifting fidelity of truth to love.Writing with tough humor, deep humanity, and a keen eye for the natural environment, Bret Anthony Johnston creates a world where cataclysmic events cut people loose from their 'regular lives, floating and spiraling away from where we had been the day before.'
Cunk on Everything
By Philomena Cunk
'This book is great because it covers everything in existence apart from the 95% of stuff not worth bothering with' - Philomena Cunk, star of Charlie Brooker's Weekly Wipe, Moments of Wonder and Cunk on Britain'Essential reading for these slipshod times' Al MurrayOnce in a blue moon, a book comes along that changes the world. The Origin of Species. War and Peace. 1984. The World According to Danny Dyer. And now, Cunk on Everything: The Encyclopedia Philomena, by Philomena Cunk.Philomena Cunk is one of the greatest thinkers of the 21st century, and in Cunk on Everything she turns her attention to our biggest issue: why are there so many books? Wouldn't it be better if there was just one? This is that book - an encyclopedia of ALL HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, from sausages to Henry of Eight to Brush Strokes to vegetarian sausages. Read it, and you'll never have to read another book again.'This is a book' Philomena Cunk'Never contact me again' Professor Rupert Delgado, MBE'Cunk for PM' Rachel Riley'. . . book . . .' Guardian'Truly the intellect for our baffling times' The Times'This book is absolutely stupid' The Pool