Related to: 'How Britain (Really) Works'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

Khazana

Saliha Mahmood Ahmed
Authors:
Saliha Mahmood Ahmed

When the first Mughal emperor, Babur came from Persia to rule over India, he bought camel loads full of musk and damask roses with him. His love affair with roses was such that each one of Babur's daughters was given a rose related name: Gulchihra (rose-cheeked), Gulrukh (rose-faced), Gulbadan (rose-body) and Gulrang (rose colour), and his chefs sought to please him by feeding chickens with rose water to scent the flavour of their dishes. Such is the romance in the culinary traditions of the Mughal dynasty that ruled over much of India from the early-16th to the mid-19th century.Steeped in Persian flavours, Khazana, which means treasure trove, is a cookbook that promises to be the next step in our on-going love affair with the Indian sub-continent, introducing recipes like Smokey Chicken and Basil Kebabs with Buttermilk Riata, Moghul Fish Korma with Almond Rice and Sandlewood Ice Cream with Toasted Almond Brittle.Author Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, who won over the MasterChef judges with her fusion of Indo-Persian food, has written a book that will delight. Steeped in the rich culinary heritage of the region and Saliha's own travels in modern day India and Pakistan, the recipes are bang up-to-date and will inspire 21st century food lovers.

John Murray Learning

On Editing

Helen Corner-Bryant, Kathryn Price
Authors:
Helen Corner-Bryant, Kathryn Price
Hodder & Stoughton

The Maid's Room

Fiona Mitchell
Authors:
Fiona Mitchell

'It's a book to read and then read again.' The Book Bag'A beautifully written debut that's both moving and humorous with characters I truly cared about. I loved everything about it!' Claire Douglas, Sunday Times bestselling author of Local Girl Missing and Last Seen Alive'I loved The Maid's Room with its exquisite writing, married with a shocking and powerful story line that had me gripped and moved until the uplifting conclusion.' Katie Marsh, author of A Life Without You and This Beautiful Life'A beautifully written and deeply moving novel . . . crafted with a mixture of grim detail, dark humour and poignancy, at times it's hard to believe that this book is a work of fiction. Genuinely excellent. *****' Heat******'This is where she sleeps. A cupboard. A bedroom. A windowless box.'Sisters Dolly and Tala have never felt further from home. In the blistering heat of Singapore, they spend their days enabling ex-pats to have lives they could never afford for themselves.Even though she has little freedom, Dolly can just about live with her job if it means she's able to support her beloved young daughter back in the Philippines. One day - if she's lucky - Dolly may even be able to go back and see her.Tala, however, just can't keep her mouth shut about the restrictive, archaic rules maids are forced to abide by on pain of deportation. She risks everything to help her fellow maids, who have struggled to have their voices heard for far too long.In a world where domestic workers are treated so poorly, The Maid's Room explores how women can come together to change each other's lives, and be the architects of their own futures.

Hodder & Stoughton

WTF

Robert Peston
Authors:
Robert Peston
Two Roads

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

Jen Campbell
Authors:
Jen Campbell
Mulholland Books

The Cleaner

Paul Cleave
Authors:
Paul Cleave
Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Where the Wild Winds Are

Nick Hunt
Authors:
Nick Hunt

*A Spectator Book of the Year*'Travel writing in excelsis' -Jan Morris, author of Venice'A thrilling and gorgeous tale, packed with meteorological wonder' -Amy Liptrot, author of The OutrunNick Hunt sets off on an unlikely quest: to follow four of Europe's winds across the continent...His wind-walks begin on Cross Fell, the highest point of the Pennines, as he chases the roaring Helm - the only named wind in Britain. In southern Europe he follows the Bora - a bitter northerly that blows from Trieste through Slovenia and down the Croatian coast. His hunt for the 'snow-eating' Foehn becomes a meandering journey of exhilaration and despair through the Alpine valleys of Switzerland, and his final walk traces an ancient pilgrims' path in the south of France on the trail of the Mistral - the 'wind of madness' which animated and tormented Vincent Van Gogh.These are journeys into wild wind, but also into wild landscapes and the people who inhabit them - a cast of meteorologists, storm chasers, mountain men, eccentric wind enthusiasts, sailors and shepherds. Soon Nick finds himself borne along by the very forces he is pursuing, through rain, blizzards, howling gales, and back through time itself. For, where the wild winds are, there are also myths and legends, history and hearsay, science and superstition - and occasionally remote mountain cabins packed with pickles, cured meats and homemade alcohol.Where the Wild Winds Are is a beautiful, unconventional travelogue that makes the invisible visible.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Burial Hour

Jeffery Deaver
Authors:
Jeffery Deaver
Hodder & Stoughton

Hidden Christmas

Timothy Keller
Authors:
Timothy Keller
Hodder & Stoughton

Poison City

Paul Crilley
Authors:
Paul Crilley

Perfect for fans of Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher. Poison City is 'a huge amount of fun' SciFiNowThe name's Gideon Tau, but everyone just calls me London. I work for the Delphic Division, the occult investigative unit of the South African Police Service. My life revolves around two things - finding out who killed my daughter and imagining what I'm going to do to the bastard when I catch him. I have two friends in my life. The first is my boss, Armitage, a fifty-something DCI from Yorkshire who looks more like someone's mother than a cop. Don't let that fool you. The second is the dog, my magical spirit guide. He talks. He's an alcoholic. And he's a mean drunk. Life is pretty routine - I solve crimes, I search for my daughter's killer. Wash, rinse, repeat. Until the day I'm called out to the murder of a ramanga - a low-key vampire. It looks like an open and shut case. There's even CCTV footage of the killer.Except... the face on the CCTV footage? It's the face of the man who killed my daughter. And that's just the beginning of the trouble I'm about to get into.

Sceptre

Slade House

David Mitchell
Authors:
David Mitchell

Turn down Slade Alley - narrow, dank and easy to miss, even when you're looking for it. Find the small black iron door set into the right-hand wall. No handle, no keyhole, but at your touch it swings open. Enter the sunlit garden of an old house that doesn't quite make sense; too grand for the shabby neighbourhood, too large for the space it occupies. A stranger greets you and invites you inside. At first, you won't want to leave. Later, you'll find that you can't.This unnerving, taut and intricately woven tale by one of our most original and bewitching writers begins in 1979 and comes to its turbulent conclusion around Hallowe'en, 2015. Because every nine years, on the last Saturday of October, a 'guest' is summoned to Slade House. But why has that person been chosen, by whom and for what purpose? The answers lie waiting in the long attic, at the top of the stairs . . .

Hodder Paperbacks

Handle with Care

Jodi Picoult
Authors:
Jodi Picoult

** THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER **It was meant to be the holiday of a lifetime.But instead of a hotel, the O'Keefes spend the first night in jail, their youngest daughter in hospital, and her sister in care.Willow O'Keefe has brittle bone disease, and without a doctor's note the breaks in her body look like the worst kind of abuse.Back home, still reeling from their ordeal, her parents know something must be done. So when a lawyer offers to take their case, it feels like a lifeline.Even though it means suing their closest friend - and claiming they wish Willow had never been born . . .

Hodder Paperbacks

Lone Wolf

Jodi Picoult
Authors:
Jodi Picoult

A gripping emotional drama from the UK's bestselling women's fiction author, Jodi Picoult.Luke Warren would have slept in the dirt if it meant he could be under the stars. He lives by the laws of nature, and would surely want to die that way.But Luke is in a coma, and his family must make an unbearable decision.As tensions and secrets rise to the surface, the tragic accident which brought them back together against the odds could well tear Luke's family apart forever.They know Luke would not want to live like this. But how can they choose to let him die?

Hodder Paperbacks

Keeping Faith

Jodi Picoult
Authors:
Jodi Picoult
Hodder Paperbacks

Mercy

Jodi Picoult
Authors:
Jodi Picoult
Coronet

Killing for the Company

Chris Ryan
Authors:
Chris Ryan

Anthony Riches

Anthony Riches began his lifelong interest in war and soldiers when he first heard his father's stories about World War II. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become Wounds of Honour after a visit to Housesteads in 1996. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.www.anthonyriches.comwww.twitter.com/AnthonyRiches

Chris Ryan

Former SAS corporal and the only man to escape death or capture during the Bravo Two Zero operation in the 1991 Gulf War, Chris Ryan turned to writing thrillers to tell the stories the Official Secrets Act stops him putting in his non-fiction. His novels have gone on to inspire the Sky One series Strike Back. Born near Newcastle in 1961, Chris Ryan joined the SAS in 1984. During his ten years there he was involved in overt and covert operations and was also sniper team commander of the anti-terrorist team. During the Gulf War, Chris Ryan was the only member of an eight-man unit to escape from Iraq, where three colleagues were killed and four captured. It was the longest escape and evasion in the history of the SAS. For this he was awarded the Military Medal. He wrote about his experiences in the bestseller The One That Got Away, which was adapted for screen, and since then has written three other works of non-fiction, over twenty bestselling novels and a series of childrens' books.

Robert Peston

Robert Peston is ITV's political editor, presenter of the politics show Peston on Sunday and founder of the education charity, Speakers for Schools (www.speakers4schools.org). He has written four books, How Do We Fix This Mess?, Who Runs Britain?, Brown's Britain and WTF. For a decade until the end of 2015, he was at the BBC, as economics editor and business editor. Previously he was City editor at the Sunday Telegraph, political editor and financial editor at the FT, a columnist for the New Statesman, and at the Independent in various roles. Peston has won more than 30 awards for his journalism, including Journalist of the Year from the Royal Television Society. His blog is itv.com/robertpeston, on Facebook he is facebook.com/pestonITV and he is @peston on Twitter.

Stig Abell

Stig Abell is the editor of the TLS. He has a weekly radio show on LBC and has previously worked as managing editor of the Sun. He has written for publications including the Guardian, the Independent, The Spectator, the New Statesman and the New York Times, and appears regularly on many broadcast channels. How Britain (Really) Works is his first book.