By Tim Glencross
'A dazzling debut' The Times It is 2008, late capitalism is in crisis, and the great and the good are gathered at an Islington house party. Hosting proceedings are waspish Sherard Howe, scion of a publishing dynasty and owner of a left-wing magazine, and his wife, Daphne Depree, whose feminist work The Third Sex is seen - to her increasing discomfort - as an intellectual cornerstone of the Blair era. The guests include cabinet ministers, celebrated artists and peers of the realm; but somehow it's doubtful that any number of grandees would overshadow Afua, the Howes' beautiful and supremely ambitious adopted daughter, already a rising star of the Labour Party.Into this world arrives twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth "Buzzy" Price, an aspiring poet only too aware of her suburban background. Moral support is at hand from shy but devoted Henry, the Howes' biological son - though perhaps Buzzy is most grateful for her friend's connection to her own unrequited love, Afua's boyfriend, the worldly Marcel.As the years pass and a coalition government takes office, Buzzy's fortunes rise and the elder Howes' lives threaten to unravel. But do the civilising possibilities of art involve enlarging Buzzy's romantic ambitions, or revealing their moral complacency? And could meek and gentle Henry, having angered his family by going to work for the political enemy, turn out to be steelier than anyone thought - as steely, even, as his formidable adopted sister?Barbarians is a debut of extraordinary scope and confidence; a fresh, contemporary novel about love, art and politics, told with a 19th century sensibility.
The Beast in the Jungle
By Louis Bayard
April 1914. Former US President Theodore Roosevelt and his son Kermit have embarked on a dangerous expedition down an uncharted river in the Brazilian Amazon. Threatened as they are by disease, drowning and starvation, an even greater peril awaits them when they are captured by a local Indian tribe, the mysterious Cinta Larga, and forced to hunt for a savage creature laying waste to the jungle's inhabitants. In their search for the elusive beast, they find unexpected allies in a young mother and her half-caste child. But with hopes, dreams and lives at stake, father and son must confront the fissures in their own relationship and the dark secrets from their shared past. This exciting psychological thriller, inspired by actual historical events and figures, charts an audacious journey through the Amazonian heart of darkness and explores the demons that live within and without.
Beasts of No Nation
By Uzodinma Iweala
Agu is just a boy when war arrives at his village. His mother and sister are rescued by the UN, while he and his father remain to fight the rebels. 'Run!' shouts his father when the rebels arrive. And Agu does run. Straight into the rebels' path. In a vivid, sparkling voice, Agu tells the story of what happens to him next. His story is shocking and painful, and completely unforgettable.Beasts of No Nation gives us an extraordinary portrait of the chaos and violence of war. It is a gripping and remarkable debut.
By Charles Bock
One Saturday night, in a city surrounded by desert and oversaturated with glitter is Newell Ewing. With his older, socially maladjusted mate Kenny, the two embark on Newell's first Saturday night out on the town in Vegas. Newell is twelve years old. Before the sun rises Newell has disappeared, never to be seen again. Newell's suburbanite parents, Lincoln and Lorraine, are racked with mounting grief as their marriage begins to unravel during the unfathomable year that follows his disappearance. Bing Biderbixxe is an illustrator on a professional visit to Sin City on a hot summer day. He meets Cheri Blossom, a stripper known for her eye-popping pyrotechnic stage performance. Offstage, her drug- and porn-running boyfriend, Pony Boy, is cheating on her. With exacting suspense and original technique, Bock's panoply of Vegas dispossessed quietly exert their influence on Newell's fate. From the new suburban shimmer of the Ewing home, to the gaudy misery of Vegas strip clubs, to the desperate holes and punk-rock desert parties where an underclass of the marginal and meek are ignored and forgotten, Charles Bock takes us on a trip to the dark heart of America. Beautiful Children mines the humanity of its characters as it rushes head on towards a spectacular tragedy and powerful redemption.
Bedford Square 4
By Ed. Andrew Motion
In 2004, Andrew Motion established a landmark new creative writing course at Royal Holloway, University of London. Bedford Square 4 showcases the writing of his most recent graduates. Engaging, original and inspired, here are some of the brightest and most promising voices of a new generation.
Beside the Ocean of Time
By George Mackay Brown
In this novel set on the fictitious island of Norday in the Orkneys, George Mackay Brown beckons us into the imaginary world of the young Thorfinn Ragnarson, the son of a crofter. In his day-dreams he relives the history of this island people, travelling back in time to join Viking adventurers at the court of the Byzantine Emperor in Constantinople, then accompanying a Falstaffian knight to the battle of Bannockburn.Thorfinn wakes to the twentieth century and a community whose way of life, steeped in legend and tradition, has remained unchanged for centuries. But as the boy grows up - and falls in love with a vivacious and mysterious stranger - the transforming effect of modern civilization brings momentous and irreversible changes to the island. During the Second World War Thorfinn finds himself in a German prisoner-of-war camp, and it is here that he discovers his gifts as a writer. Long afterwards he returns, now a successful novelist, to a deserted and battle-scarred island. Searching for the peace and freedom of mind he had in abundance as a child, he finds instead something he didn't even know he was looking for.George Mackay Brown intertwines myth and reality to create a novel of deceptive simplicity. The story of Thorfinn and the island of Norday is a universal and profound one, rooted in the timeless landscape of the Orkneys, the inspiration of all his writing.
The Best of Betjeman
By John Betjeman
John Betjeman, appointed Poet Laureate in 1972, is celebrated as the best loved poet of the twentieth century. His subtle blend of wit and melancholia, affection and criticism continues to attract an ever-expanding readership. From beneath his sparkling wit and deceptively simple nostalgia, Betjeman emerges as the authority on a broad range of subjects from conservation and church architecture to tradition and Englishness. In this selection of his greatest poetry and prose, cherished classics such as Slough, Pot Pourri from a Surrey Garden and A Subaltern’s Love-song sit beside rare gems like Metro-land, Betjeman’s critically acclaimed film script.
By John Betjeman, Stephen Games, John Betjeman
For more than half a century Betjeman's writings have awakened readers to the intimacy of English places - from the smell of gaslight in suburban churches, to the hissing of backwash on a shingle beach. Betjeman is England's greatest topologist: whether he's talking about a townhall or a teashop, he gets to the nub of what makes unexpected places unique. This new collection of his writings, arranged geographically, offers an essential gazetteer to the physical landmarks of Betjeman Country. A new addition to the popular series of Betjeman anthologies, following on from Trains and Buttered Toast and Tennis Whites and Teacakes, this is a treasure trove for any Betjeman fan and for anyone with a love for the rare, curious and unique details of English life.
By L. P. Hartley
In The Betrayal, the sequel to The Brickfield, Richard Mardick, now an ageing novelist, is forced by circumstances to look back on the days of his boyhood and confesses to Denys Aspin, his young secretary and biographer-to-be, how Lucy's death has forever marred his life and distorted his inner peace. The consequences of this rash disclosure range from threats and blackmail to the entirely unpredictable reactions of Richard's friends.
By Lloyd Jones
When Biografi was first published, it was met first with enormous critical acclaim - only to become the centre of a heated controversy. Was it fact or fiction? Had Lloyd Jones concocted his story of life in the new Albania? Or was it travel literature as its publishers insisted? Equal parts travelogue, political reportage and bizarre mystery novel, Lloyd Jones crosses Albania as it reinvents itself - a volatile, surreal wonderland where nothing is quite as it seems.
Birds of a Feather
By Jacqueline Winspear
'A terrific mystery . . . Both intriguing and full of suspense' ObserverLondon, 1929. Joseph Waite is a man who knows what he wants. With his Havana cigars and Savile Row suits, he is one of Britain's wealthiest men. And the last thing he needs is a scandal. When his unmarried daughter runs away from home, he is determined to keep the case away from the police and the newspapers. So he turns to a woman renowned for her discretion and investigative powers - the extraordinary Maisie Dobbs.Maisie soon discovers that there are many reasons why Charlotte Waite might have left home and instinctively feels the women is in safe hands. Yet the investigator suddenly finds herself confronting a murder scene.With wonderful characters and a page-turning plot, Birds of a Feather is a brilliant mystery. Fans of Maisie Dobbs will be delighted to see Maisie's sleuthing abilities back in action, while the emotional heart of her second mystery will appeal to yet more fans.
The Blood Miracles
By Lisa McInerney, Shelley Atkinson
The second novel from the author of the Baileys Prize-winning The Glorious Heresies.Like all twenty-year-olds, Ryan Cusack is trying to get his head around who he is. This is not a good time for his boss to exploit his dual heritage by opening a new black market route from Italy to Ireland. It is certainly not a good time for his adored girlfriend to decide he's irreparably corrupted. And he really wishes he hadn't accidentally caught the eye of an ornery grandmother who fancies herself his saviour. There may be a way clear of the chaos in the business proposals of music promoter Colm and in the attention of the charming, impulsive Natalie. But now that his boss's ambitions have rattled the city, Ryan is about to find out what he's made of, and it might be that chaos is in his blood.(P)2017 John Murray Press
By L. P. Hartley
Timothy Casson, a bachelor writer, is forced to return from a contented life in Venice to an English village. Taking a house by the river where he can pursue his passion for rowing, he has to do battle with the locals to overcome his isolation and feelings of incompleteness. This most complex of Hartley's novels examines the multiple layers of Casson's relationships with servants, local society and friends.
The Book of Fame
By Lloyd Jones
In August 1905 a party of young men set sail for England. Amongst them were ordinary farmers and bootmakers, a miner and a bank clerk. Together they made up the All Blacks, an unknown rugby team from Auckland, New Zealand. And they had come to show the world what they could do. What they didn't know was that they were bound for fame.The first game was in Devon, 'played in golden farm light, a surprising victory'. By December they had become the 'wonderful All Blacks' who had beaten Yorkshire 40-0, England 15-0 and Ireland 15-0. People stopped them in the streets. In this melding of true history and imagination, Lloyd Jones has recreated an unforgettable journey from innocence to celebrity.
The Book of Madness and Cures
By Regina O'Melveny
Gabriella Mondini is a rarity in 16th century Venice, she's a woman who practices medicine. Her father, a renowned physician, has provided her entrée to this all-male profession, and inspired in her a shared mission to understand the secrets of the human body. Then her father disappears and Gabriella faces a crisis: without her father's patronage, she is no longer permitted to treat her patients. So she sets out across Europe to find her father. Following clues from his occasional enigmatic letters, Gabriella crosses Switzerland, Germany and France, entering strange and forbidding cities. She travels to Scotland, the Netherlands, and finally to Morocco. In each new land, she uncovers details of her father's unexplained flight, and opens new mysteries of her own. Not just the mysteries of ailments and treatments, but the ultimate mysteries of mortality, love, and the timeless human spirit. Filled with medical lore and sensuous, vivid details of Renaissance life, The Book of Madness and Cures is an intoxicating, unforgetable debut.
By L. P. Hartley
A lonely boy living on his uncle's farm in the Lincolnshire Fens, Richard Mardick's solitary existence is interrupted by a chance meeting, and idyllic love affair, with Lucy. A disused brickfield is the scene of their clandestine meetings, and it is there that Richard finds her drowned in a muddy pool. Forced by circumstances to look back on these days, Richard finds himself recounting this episode to his secretary. Its shattering significance throughout the rest of his life is put into remarkable perspective by the unusual framework with which Hartley has enclosed his story. Weaving skilfully through past events while staying awake to the present, The Brickfield is a masterly evocation of childhood and its influences on the adult mind.
The Brief History of the Dead
By Kevin Brockmeier
'A prodigy of imagination, insight and overwhelming tenderness' Independent'Remember me when I'm gone' just took on a whole new meaning . . . Laura Byrd is in trouble. Three weeks ago she and her friends found themselves alone in one of the coldest, most remote places on earth. Her friends set out in search of help, and now Laura realises that they are not coming back. So she gathers her remaining supplies and sets out on an extraordinary journey. Meanwhile in another city, more and more people arrive every day. Each has a different story to tell, but their accounts have one thing in common - it was their final journey. For this is the city of the dead. And the link between this city and Laura's journey lies at the heart of this remarkable novel. The Brief History of the Dead tells a magical story about our lives - about our place in the world, our connections with each other, and what happens to us all after our deaths. It is a story of spellbinding power and imagination, which resonates long after the final page.
Bright Shiny Morning
By James Frey
'An absolute triumph of a novel' Guardian'Compulsive' IndependentWelcome to L.A. City of contradictions. It is home to movie stars and down-and-outs. Palm-lined beaches and gridlock. Shopping sprees and gun sprees. Bright Shiny Morning takes a wild ride through the ultimate metropolis, where glittering excess rubs shoulders with seedy depravity. Frey's trademark filmic snapshots zoom in on the parallel lives of diverse characters, bringing their egos and ideals, hopes and despairs, anxieties and absurdities vividly to life. Some suffer, like the otherworldly wino who tries to save a spoilt teenage runaway. Others gain, like the canny talent agent who turns sexual harassment to blackmailing advantage. Some are loaded, or grounded, and have luck on their side. Others, like the countless actresses-turned-hookers, or schoolboys-turned-gangsters, are doomed.
The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles
By Roy Jacobsen
Set in Finland in 1939, this is the story of one man who remains in his home town when everyone else has fled, burning down their houses in their wake, before the invading Russians arrive. Timo remains behind because he can't imagine life anywhere else, doing anything else besides felling the trees near his home. This is a novel about belonging - a tale of powerful and forbidden friendships forged during a war, of unexpected bravery and astonishing survival instincts. The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles is not a novel about war, but about the lives of ordinary people dragged into war, each of whom only wants to find the path back home. Roy Jacobsen uses the dramatic natural landscape of light and darkness, fire-blazing heat and life-robbing cold to spectacular effect.