By John Simpson
MP Patrick Macready has been found dead in his flat. The coroner rules it an accident, a sex game gone wrong. Jon Swift is from the old stock of journos - cynical, cantankerous and overweight - and something about his friend's death doesn't seem right. Then days after Macready's flat is apparently burgled, Swift discovers that his friend had been researching a string of Russian government figures who had met similarly 'accidental' fates. When the police refuse to investigate further, Swift gets in touch with his contacts in Moscow, determined to find out if his hunch is correct. Following the lead, he is soon drawn into a violent underworld, where whispers of conspiracies, assassinations and double-agents start blurring the line between friend and foe.But the truth will come at a price, and it may cost him everything.
By Peter Rock
'A beautiful, strange novel . . . Fascinating and moving, it tells with great tenderness how human love goes wrong' Ursula K. Le Guin'The recent novel I recommend most . . . a short, disciplined, unsettling book' Hanya YanagiharaThirteen-year-old Caroline and her father live in Forest Park, an enormous nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. Day to day, they live in an elaborate cave shelter, wash in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water's edge, tend a garden and even keep a library of sorts. Once a week they go to the city to buy groceries and otherwise merge with the civilised world. But one small mistake allows a jogger to discover them, which derails their entire existence. Inspired by a true story and told through the startlingly sincere voice of its young narrator, Caroline, My Abandonment is a gripping journey into life in the wilderness and a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope.
By Jo McMillan
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit meets Goodbye Lenin.'I hadn't expected the Berlin Wall to be clean and white and smooth. It looked more like the edge of the swimming baths than the edge of the Cold War. On the grass of No-man's Land, fat rabbits ate and strolled about as if they'd never been hunted and nothing could disturb them. This was their land and they ruled it, and there were three parts to Berlin: East, West and Rabbit.'It is 1978, Jess is thirteen and she already has a reputation - as the daughter of the only communist in town. But then, it's in the blood. The Mitchells have been in the Party since the Party began. Jess and her mother Eleanor struggle to sell socialism to Tamworth - a sleepy Midlands town that just doesn't want to know.So when Eleanor is invited to spend a summer teaching in East Germany, she and Jess leap at the chance to see what the future looks like. On the other side of the Iron Curtain they turn from villains into heroes. And when Eleanor meets widower Peter and his daughter, Martina, a new, more peaceful life seems possible.But the Cold War has no time for love and soon the trouble starts. Peter is dispatched for two years of solidarity work in Laos. Friends become enemies, and Jess discovers how easy it is to switch sides, and how sides can be switched for you, sometimes without you even knowing.Motherland is a tender mother-daughter story and a tragi-comic portrait of a childhood overcome with belief. It's about loss of faith and loss of innocence, and what it's like to grow up on the losing side of history.
A Marker to Measure Drift
By Alexander Maksik
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2013.On a holiday island somewhere in the Aegean Sea, Jacqueline, a young Liberian woman, fends off starvation as she survives in the aftermath of unspeakable brutality. Having escaped the horrors of Charles Taylor's regime, she builds a home of sorts in a cave overlooking the ocean. During the day, she wanders the sunny beaches offering massages to tourists, one Euro for five minutes, all the while balancing her will to live with the crushing guilt of survival.This hypnotic, lyrical and extraordinary novel tells the story of a woman existing in the wake of experiences so horrifying that she prefers homeless numbness to the psychological confrontation she knows is inevitable. It's a novel about memory. About storytelling. About how we live with what we know.Alexander Maksik is a writer of exceptional gifts, able to deliver devastatingly powerful emotion through deceptively simple, lucid prose.
By George Mackay Brown
This profound and poetic novel has been described as George Mackay Brown's most innovative work. He recounts the tale of the murder of the Earl of Orkney in the 12th century and links it to the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian imprisoned and executed by the Nazis during World War Two. A fascinating meditation on the eternal questions of guilt, goodness and sacrifice from one of Scotland's greatest writers.
The Masked Fisherman and Other Stories
By George Mackay Brown
An incident from the Viking period in the Northern Isles of Scotland inspired the story from which this collection takes its name. The stories range from the first century, to the 1920s - when the author was a child - to one which ends a hundred years from now.
My Fellow Devils
By L. P. Hartley
Margaret Pennefather is essentially a good person - too good, perhaps, for her own good. Her rash and hasty marriage to film star Colum McInnes, and his very different set of moral values, leads gradually and relentlessly to the utter destruction of their love and their marriage. Although she is only a nominal Protestant and he a very lax Roman Catholic, Margaret cannot escape the religious questionings implicit in their union. Her mental and spiritual struggles persist and gather momentum through all the disasters of her married life. Its outcome is the climax to a story that must surely rank as one of the most impressive L. P. Hartley has given us.
Mansfield Park (flipback edition)
Published for the first time in flipback - the new, portable, stylish format that's taken Europe by storm.'We have all been more or less to blame... every one of us, excepting Fanny'When Henry and Maria Crawford come to Mansfield Park, they bring a taste of glamorous London society to the peaceful world of the Bertram family. Everyone is enamoured of them; everyone except Fanny Price. A poor relation, Fanny has grown up an outsider among her rich family, finding an ally only in her cousin Edmund. But as Edmund starts to fall for Maria, Fanny finds herself caught in the tangle of sexual jealousies the Crawfords leave in their wake.
Mister Pip (flipback edition)
Published for the first time in flipback - the new, portable, stylish format that's taken Europe by storm.'You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames.' Bougainville. 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda's last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island. When the villagers' safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville's children are surprised to find the island's only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to Mr Dickens. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items. They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts' inspiring reading of Great Expectations. But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences. Imagination and beliefs are challenged by guns. Mister Pip is an unforgettable tale of survival by story; a dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished.
The Man in the Shed
By Lloyd Jones
A boy watches his mother hooked and reeled ashore by a fisherman.A couple give up their seats on a bus for lovers soon to be parted.A husband enters a world imagined by his wife and pretends to be the man she loves.The Man in the Shed is a haunting collection of stories about family, love and longing. These extraordinary tales take conventional life and tilt it sideways, delivering a memorable blend of the real and the surreal.
By Neil Jordan
'I had been mistaken for him so many times that when he died it was as if part of myself had died too.'Kevin Thunder grew up with a double - a boy so uncannily like him that they were mistaken for each other at every turn. As children in 1960s Dublin, one lived next to Bram Stoker's house, haunted by an imagined Dracula, the other in the more refined spaces of Palmerston Park. Though divided, like the city itself, by background and class, they shared the same smell, the same looks and perhaps, Kevin comes to believe, the same soul. They exchange identities when it suits them, each acting the part of the other one, but as they reach adulthood, what started as a childhood game descends into something more sinister and they discover taking on another's life can lead to darker places than either had imagined.Neil Jordan's long-awaited new novel is an extraordinary achievement - a comedy of manners at the same time as a Gothic tragedy, a thriller and an elegy. It offers imaginative entertainment of the highest order.
By Lloyd Jones
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize'Lloyd Jones brings to life the transformative power of fiction . . . This is a beautiful book' Sunday Times'You cannot pretend to read a book. Your eyes will give you away. So will your breathing. A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe. The house can catch alight and a reader deep in a book will not look up until the wallpaper is in flames.' Bougainville, 1991. A small village on a lush tropical island in the South Pacific. Eighty-six days have passed since Matilda's last day of school as, quietly, war is encroaching from the other end of the island. When the villagers' safe, predictable lives come to a halt, Bougainville's children are surprised to find the island's only white man, a recluse, re-opening the school. Pop Eye, aka Mr Watts, explains he will introduce the children to Mr Dickens. Matilda and the others think a foreigner is coming to the island and prepare a list of much needed items. They are shocked to discover their acquaintance with Mr Dickens will be through Mr Watts' inspiring reading of Great Expectations. But on an island at war, the power of fiction has dangerous consequences. Imagination and beliefs are challenged by guns. Mister Pip is an unforgettable tale of survival by story; a dazzling piece of writing that lives long in the mind after the last page is finished.
The Meaning of Night
By Michael Cox
Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award'A novel of fate and free will, forensic detection and blind love, crime and its justifications . . . finely tuned yet extravagantly complex' Evening StandardA cold October night, 1854. In a dark passageway, an innocent man is stabbed to death. So begins the extraordinary story of Edward Glyver, book lover, scholar and murderer. As a young boy, Glyver always believed he was destined for greatness. This seems the stuff of dreams, until a chance discovery convinces Glyver that he was right: greatness does await him, along with immense wealth and influence. And he will stop at nothing to win back a prize that he now knows is rightfully his. Glyver's path leads him from the depths of Victorian London, with its foggy streets, brothels and opium dens, to Evenwood, one of England's most enchanting country houses. His is a story of betrayal and treachery, of death and delusion, of ruthless obsession and ambition. And at every turn, driving Glyver irresistibly onwards, is his deadly rival: the poet-criminal Phoebus Rainsford Daunt. Thirty years in the writing, The Meaning of Night is a stunning achievement. Full of drama and passion, it is an enthralling novel that will captivate readers right up to its final thrilling revelation.
Messenger of Truth
By Jacqueline Winspear
London, 1931. Nick Bassington-Hope, veteran of the Great War and controversial artist, is suddenly found dead. His death from a fall, the night before a much-anticipated exhibition of his work, is recorded as 'accidental'. But his sister is not convinced. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Georgina Bassington-Hope believes her brother was murdered, and she turns to Maisie Dobbs for help. Maisie's investigation takes her from the desolate beaches of Kent to the dark underbelly of London's art world. Still fragile after her war-related breakdown, Maisie's immersion in her work could lead her to lose more than she bargained for, while a desperate family with strong ties to her heart urgently needs her help.'A new Maisie Dobbs mystery is always a cause for celebration . . . Messenger of Truth is fiendishly entertaining' Time Out
By Louis Bayard
In Louis Bayard's brilliantly imagined novel, Tiny Tim of 'Christmas Carol' fame has cast his crutches aside. Determined to cut his financial ties to his Uncle Ebenezer, he now spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasure hidden in their pockets. One day, he comes across a girl's body, branded with a mysterious 'G'. Then he finds another girl with a similar brand - but she is still alive. Determined to protect Philomela and get to the bottom of the mystery, Tim embarks on an astonishing adventure . . .With wonderful characters, a compelling plot and the vivid atmosphere of Victorian London, this page-turner is gripping from beginning to end.
By Jacqueline Winspear
A favorite mystery series of Hillary Clinton (as mentioned in What Happened, The New York Times Book Review, and New York Magazine)A New York Times Notable Book of the YearAgatha Award Winner for Best First NovelMacavity Award Winner for Best First NovelAlex Award WinnerFiercely independent Maisie Dobbs has recently set herself up as a private detective. Such a move may not seem especially startling. But this is 1929, and Maisie is exceptional in many ways.Having started as a maid to the London aristocracy, studied her way to Cambridge and served as a nurse in the Great War, Maisie has wisdom, experience and understanding beyond her years. Little does she realise the extent to which this strength of character is soon to be tested. For her first case forces her to uncover secrets long buried, and to confront ghosts from her own past . . .'In Maisie Dobbs, Jacqueline Winspear has given us a real gift' Alexander McCall Smith
My Nine Lives
By Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is a novelist of unequalled insight, grace and emotional power. My Nine Lives represents a new and fascinating strand in her outstanding canon of work: as she puts it, the 'potentially autobiographical'. Behind her poised, eloquent prose Ruth Prawer Jhabvala deftly tussles with the existential question of how destiny is shaped. In each chapter of My Nine Lives the narrator faces a startlingly different fate. One story takes place in India, the next in New York; in one the narrator is grown married woman, in another a dependent daughter, in one a scholar, in another an uneducated ingénue. But a complex thread interlinks the seemingly disparate stories: the 'I' of each chapter has Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's Jewish, Central European background. Here are nine different answers to the central question: what would happen if I were granted an alternative life?