Related to: 'Ghostwritten'

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.

Sceptre

Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight: A young man’s voice from the silence of autism

Naoki Higashida
Authors:
Naoki Higashida

The Sunday Times bestsellerNaoki Higashida met international success with THE REASON I JUMP, a revelatory account of life as a thirteen-year-old with non-verbal autism. Now he offers an equally illuminating insight into autism from his perspective as a young adult. In concise, engaging pieces, he shares his thoughts and feelings on a broad menu of topics ranging from school experiences to family relationships, the exhilaration of travel to the difficulties of speech. Aware of how mystifying his behaviour can appear to others, Higashida describes the effect on him of such commonplace things as a sudden change of plan, or the mental steps he has to take simply to register that it's raining. Throughout, his aim is to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage those with disabilities to be seen as people, not as problems.With an introduction by David Mitchell, Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight includes a dreamlike short story Higashida wrote for this edition. Both moving and of practical use, the book opens a window into the mind of an inspiring young man who meets the challenges of autism with tenacity and good humour. However often he falls down, he always gets back up.

Sceptre

Slade House

David Mitchell
Authors:
David Mitchell
Sceptre

The Bone Clocks

David Mitchell
Authors:
David Mitchell
Sceptre

The Reason I Jump: one boy's voice from the silence of autism

Naoki Higashida
Authors:
Naoki Higashida

The No. 1 Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller.Written by Naoki Higashida when he was only thirteen, this remarkable book provides a rare insight into the often baffling behaviour of autistic children. Using a question and answer format, Naoki explains things like why he talks loudly or repeats the same questions, what causes him to have panic attacks, and why he likes to jump. He also shows the way he thinks and feels about his world - other people, nature, time and beauty, and himself. Abundantly proving that people with autism do possess imagination, humour and empathy, he also makes clear how badly they need our compassion, patience and understanding.David Mitchell and his wife have translated Naoki's book so that it might help others dealing with autism and generally illuminate a little-understood condition. It gives us an exceptional chance to enter the mind of another and see the world from a strange and fascinating perspective.The book also features eleven original illustrations, inspired by Naoki's words, by the artistic duo Kai and Sunny.

Sceptre

Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell
Authors:
David Mitchell

By the author of THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET, David Mitchell's bestselling and Booker Prize-shortlisted novel, one of Richard & Judy's 100 Books of the Decade, CLOUD ATLAS has now been adapted for film. The major motion picture, directed by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Sturgess, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Grant.The novel features six characters in interlocking stories, each interrupting the one before it: a reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan's California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified dinery server on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation. The narrators of CLOUD ATLAS hear each other's echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changes in ways great and small.Mitchell's other novels are GHOSTWRITTEN, BLACK SWAN GREEN and NUMBER9DREAM, all published by Sceptre.www.sceptrebooks.comFacebook: Sceptre BooksTwitter: SceptreBooks

Hodder & Stoughton

Margaret the Queen

Nigel Tranter
Authors:
Nigel Tranter

First she was Margaret the refugee. A Saxon princess, sister of EdgarAtheling who, but for William the Conqueror, would have been King ofEngland. She came to Scotland in 1069.Beautiful, sympathetic and devout, she was an unlikely consort to therough and ready Malcolm King of Scots and slayer of MacBeth, a man whocared for little other than hunting, drinking and the brutal arts ofwar.Yet, through her gentle strength of character and intelligence, she wasto have a profound and lasting effect on her adopted nation and peoplethat lasts to this day.

Hodder & Stoughton

Mail Royal

Nigel Tranter
Authors:
Nigel Tranter

A casket of incriminating letters from Mary, Queen of Scots. The letters would be an instrument of persuasion - or blackmail as others might call it. Whoever held them had a hold over the James VI King of Scots, now also King James I of England.But for Andrew, seventh Lord Gray, laying hands on the letters was not going to be easy. They were secure in the half-ruined Fast Castle that clung to the sea-cliffs of Berwickshire. A castle that no one could enter if they were not welcome.And so young David Gray, his bastard nephew, was sent on a perilous mission . . . 'Through his imaginative dialogue, he provides a voice for Scotland's heroes' Scotland on Sunday

Hodder & Stoughton

Crusader

Nigel Tranter
Authors:
Nigel Tranter
Hodder & Stoughton

A Stake in the Kingdom

Nigel Tranter
Authors:
Nigel Tranter

Seventh son of the penurious Laird of Balfour, the fiercely ambitiousDavid Beaton was determined to rise in the world - by whatever meansavailable. Never one to be burdened by scruples, he cynically used theChurch for his own ends to become one of the most able statesmen of hiscentury and the real ruler of James V's Scotland.An astute, courageous man, an accomplished fighter, fond of women, itwas inevitable that Cardinal David Beaton would make many enemies. Andthat one day one of those embittered men would wreak a terrible revenge.The compelling 16th century story of the rise and fall of David Beaton -the Cardinal who was no saint. Set against the background of war andReformation, this is a thrilling story from Nigel Tranter, master ofScottish History.

Hodder Paperbacks

Columba

Nigel Tranter
Authors:
Nigel Tranter
Hodder & Stoughton

Believing the Lie

Elizabeth George
Authors:
Elizabeth George
Hodder Paperbacks

Carrie

Stephen King
Authors:
Stephen King

Stephen King's legendary debut, about a teenage outcast and the revenge she enacts on her classmates, is a Classic. CARRIE is the novel which set him on the road to the Number One bestselling author King is today.Carrie White is no ordinary girl.Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis.To be invited to Prom Night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie - the firststep towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues.But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as sheis forced to exercise her terrible gift on the town that mocks and loathes her . . .

Nicholas Brealey Publishing

Flourish

Martin Seligman
Authors:
Martin Seligman
Hodder & Stoughton

Kate's Wedding

Chrissie Manby
Authors:
Chrissie Manby
Hodder & Stoughton

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

David Mitchell
Authors:
David Mitchell

The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller, from the author of CLOUD ATLAS and THE BONE CLOCKS.Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010Be transported to a place like no other: a tiny, man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki, for two hundred years the sole gateway between Japan and the West. Here, in the dying days of the 18th-century, a young Dutch clerk arrives to make his fortune. Instead he loses his heart.Step onto the streets of Dejima and mingle with scheming traders, spies, interpreters, servants and concubines as two cultures converge. In a tale of integrity and corruption, passion and power, the key is control - of riches and minds, and over death itself.(P)2010 Hodder & Stoughton

Sceptre

The Language of Others

Clare Morrall
Authors:
Clare Morrall

The world is a puzzling, sometimes frightening place for Jessica Fontaine. As a child she only finds contentment in playing the piano and wandering alone in the empty spaces of Audlands Hall, the dilapidated country house where she grows up. Twenty-five years later, divorced, with her son still living at home, Jessica remains preoccupied by the desire to create space around her. Then her volatile ex-husband reappears, the first of several surprises that both transform Jessica's present and give her a startling new perspective on the past. THE LANGUAGE OF OTHERS tells the absorbing story of a woman who spends much of her life feeling that she is out of step with the real world, until she discovers why. Related with humour and compassion, it offers a fresh, illuminating insight into what it means to be normal.

Sceptre

Black Swan Green

David Mitchell
Authors:
David Mitchell
Sceptre

number9dream

David Mitchell
Authors:
David Mitchell
Hodder & Stoughton

Highness in Hiding

Nigel Tranter
Authors:
Nigel Tranter

The quashing of the Jacobite Rising of 1745 saw an end to the ambitions of the exiled house of Stuart. But somehow the young pretender, Prince Charles Edward, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, manage to avoid arrest.For six extraordinary months the handsome young prince, often starving, sometimes barefoot and in rags, ranged the Western Highlands and the Outer and Inner Hebrides, hiding, lurking, fleeing.Despite dire threats of punishment to all who might aid and abet him, the royal fugitive was hidden by brave and trusty supporters, each of whom could have betrayed him for the massive £30,000 reward offered by the English.This story stands as a tribute to the loyalty and staunch courage of the Highland clansfolk.'Through his imaginative dialogue, he provides a voice for Scotland's heroes' Scotland on Sunday

Hodder Paperbacks

David the Prince

Nigel Tranter
Authors:
Nigel Tranter

Half-Celt and half-Saxon, King David determined to take hold of his backward, patriarchal, strife-ridden country and, against all the odds, pushed and dragged it into the forefront of Christendom's advancing nations. This is a story of independence, singlemindedness and hard-headed leadership. But also, through the turbulent years of his reign, it is a story of devotion: to the woman he admired and loved, Queen Matilda.'Through his imaginative dialogue, he provides a voice for Scotland's heroes' Scotland on Sunday