"A stylish, atmospheric mystery with a startling twist . . . satisfies like Simenon and surprises like Ruth Rendell. I can't give it any higher praise."--NPR Manfred Baumann is a loner. Socially awkward and perpetually ill at ease, he spends his evenings quietly drinking and surreptitiously observing Adèle Bedeau, the sullen but alluring waitress at a drab bistro in the unremarkable small French town of Saint-Louis. One day, she simply vanishes into thin air and Georges Gorski, a detective haunted by his failure to solve one of his first murder cases, is called in to investigate the girl's disappearance. He sets his sights on Manfred. As Manfred cowers beneath Gorski's watchful eye, the murderous secrets of his past begin to catch up with him and his carefully crafted veneer of normalcy falters. His booze-soaked unraveling carries him from Saint-Louis to the back alleys of Strasbourg. Graeme Macrae Burnet's masterful play on literary form featuring an unreliable narrator makes for a grimly entertaining psychological thriller that questions if it is possible, or even desirable, to know another man's mind.
Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award // Finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction "A powerfully expansive novel…Thien writes with the mastery of a conductor." —New York Times Book Review “In a single year, my father left us twice. The first time, to end his marriage, and the second, when he took his own life. I was ten years old.” Master storyteller Madeleine Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations—those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. Her quest will unveil how Kai, her enigmatic father, a talented pianist, and Ai-Ming’s father, the shy and brilliant composer, Sparrow, along with the violin prodigy Zhuli were forced to reimagine their artistic and private selves during China’s political campaigns and how their fates reverberate through the years with lasting consequences. With maturity and sophistication, humor and beauty, Thien has crafted a novel that is at once intimate and grandly political, rooted in the details of life inside China yet transcendent in its universality.
Author: Mia Couto
Publisher: Profile Books
Mia Couto's first novel, judged one of the twelve best African books of the 20th century
Mary Beard is one of the world's best-known classicists - a brilliant academic, with a rare gift for communicating with a wide audience both though her TV presenting and her books. In a series of sparkling essays, she explores our rich classical heritage - from Greek drama to Roman jokes, introducing some larger-than-life characters of classical history, such as Alexander the Great, Nero and Boudicca. She invites you into the places where Greeks and Romans lived and died, from the palace at Knossos to Cleopatra's Alexandria - and reveals the often hidden world of slaves. She takes a fresh look at both scholarly controversies and popular interpretations of the ancient world, from The Golden Bough to Asterix. The fruit of over thirty years in the world of classical scholarship, Confronting the Classics captures the world of antiquity and its modern significance with wit, verve and scholarly expertise.
Author: Eugene Vodolazkin
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
It is the late fifteenth century and a village healer in Russia called Laurus is powerless to help his beloved as she dies in childbirth, unwed and without having received communion. Devastated and desperate, he sets out on a journey in search of redemption. But this is no ordinary journey: it is one that spans ages and countries, and which brings him face-to-face with a host of unforgettable, eccentric characters and legendary creatures from the strangest medieval bestiaries. Laurus’s travels take him from the Middle Ages to the Plague of 1771, where as a holy fool he displays miraculous healing powers, to the political upheavals of the late-twentieth century. At each transformative stage of his journey he becomes more revered by the church and the people, until he decides, one day, to return to his home village to lead the life of a monastic hermit – not realizing that it is here that he will face his most difficult trial yet. Laurus is a remarkably rich novel about the eternal themes of love, loss, self-sacrifice and faith, from one of Russia’s most exciting and critically acclaimed novelists.
Author: Indra Sinha
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Chronicles the relationship between Animal, an extraordinary street boy forced to go about on all fours after his back is twisted beyond repair during the devastating chemical plant accident in Bhopal, India, and Elli Barber, the young American doctor who has come to the area to open a free clinic for the suffering inhabitants of the region. Reprint. 20,00 first printing.
Flood of Fire
Author: Amitav Ghosh
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The stunningly vibrant final novel in the bestselling Ibis Trilogy It is 1839 and China has embargoed the trade of opium, yet too much is at stake in the lucrative business and the British Foreign Secretary has ordered the colonial government in India to assemble an expeditionary force for an attack to reinstate the trade. Among those consigned is Kesri Singh, a soldier in the army of the East India Company. He makes his way eastward on the Hind, a transport ship that will carry him from Bengal to Hong Kong. Along the way, many characters from the Ibis Trilogy come aboard, including Zachary Reid, a young American speculator in opium futures, and Shireen, the widow of an opium merchant whose mysterious death in China has compelled her to seek out his lost son. The Hind docks in Hong Kong just as war breaks out and opium "pours into the market like monsoon flood." From Bombay to Calcutta, from naval engagements to the decks of a hospital ship, among embezzlement, profiteering, and espionage, Amitav Ghosh charts a breathless course through the culminating moment of the British opium trade and vexed colonial history. With all the verve of the first two novels in the trilogy, Flood of Fire completes Ghosh's unprecedented reenvisioning of the nineteenth-century war on drugs. With remarkable historic vision and a vibrant cast of characters, Ghosh brings the Opium Wars to bear on the contemporary moment with the storytelling that has charmed readers around the world.
The Hired Man
Author: Aminatta Forna
Publisher: Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
An award-winning Scottish and Sierra Leonean novelist “brilliantly portrays the atmosphere” of Croatia in this haunting tale of war, history, and secrets (The Guardian). Visitors are not common in the small Croatian village of Gost, so Duro is surprised to see a strange car pull up to a well-known farmhouse just outside of town. Laura, a British woman, and her two children are refurbishing the home to be their summer cottage, and Duro agrees to lend a hand, becoming Laura’s confidant along the way. But the rest of the residents of Gost are not so pleased to have outsiders in their midst. As Duro works to shield Laura and her family from the town’s hostility, volatile secrets begin to bubble to the surface—secrets that could threaten everyone in the seemingly sleepy town, even the unwitting new residents. The Hired Man is a story of lost love, dangerous history, and quiet malice. “Not since Remains of the Day has an author so skillfully revealed the way history’s layers are invisible to all but it’s participants, who do what they must to survive” (The Boston Globe).
Author: Deborah Levy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, Hot Milk moves "gracefully among pathos, danger, and humor†? (The New York Times). I have been sleuthing my mother's symptoms for as long as I can remember. If I see myself as an unwilling detective with a desire for justice, is her illness an unsolved crime? If so, who is the villain and who is the victim? Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother's unexplainable illness. She is frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints, but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and her mother travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultant--their very last chance--in the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis. But Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to do with physical medicine, and as the treatment progresses, Sofia's mother's illness becomes increasingly baffling. Sofia's role as detective--tracking her mother's symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain--deepens as she discovers her own desires in this transient desert community. Hot Milk is a profound exploration of the sting of sexuality, of unspoken female rage, of myth and modernity, the lure of hypochondria and big pharma, and, above all, the value of experimenting with life; of being curious, bewildered, and vitally alive to the world.
G. John Berger
Author: John Berger
Publisher: A&C Black
The 40th anniversary edition of this classic Booker Prize-winning novel.
Work Like Any Other
Author: Virginia Reeves
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE In this “inventive, beautiful, and deceptively morally complex novel” (The Miami Herald), a prideful electrician in 1920s rural Alabama struggles to overcome past sins, find peace, and rescue his marriage after being sent to prison for manslaughter. Roscoe T Martin set his sights on a new type of power spreading at the start of the twentieth century: electricity. It became his training, his life’s work. But when his wife, Marie, inherits her father’s failing farm, Roscoe has to give up his livelihood, with great cost to his sense of self, his marriage, and his family. Realizing he might lose them all if he doesn’t do something, he begins to siphon energy from the state, ushering in a period of bounty and happiness. Even the love of Marie and their child seem back within Roscoe’s grasp. Then a young man working for the state power company stumbles on Roscoe’s illegal lines and is electrocuted, and everything changes: Roscoe is arrested; the farm once more starts to deteriorate; and Marie abandons her husband, leaving him to face his twenty-year sentence alone. As an unmoored Roscoe carves out a place at Kilby Prison, he is forced to ask himself once more if his work is just that, or if the price of his crimes—for him and his family—is greater than he ever let himself believe. Work Like Any Other is “a consummately well-written, deeply affecting, thought-provoking American historical novel of hard labor, broken dreams, moral dilemmas, violence, racism, and the intricacies of marriage, parenthood, and friendship. Hope is found in reading, compassion, forgiveness, and good, honest work, whatever form it takes. Virginia Reeves’s gripping, dynamically plotted, and profound novel will resonate on different frequencies for men and women and spark soul-searching and heated discussion” (Booklist, starred review).
Author: Jane Harris
Publisher: Faber & Faber
'Vastly original. Bessy is surely one of the most striking characters in recent fiction: cynical, disruptive, tender and very, very funny.' Independent on Sunday Shortlisted for the Orange Prize Scotland, 1863. In an attempt to escape her past, Bessy Buckley takes a job working as a maid in a big country house. But when Arabella, her beautiful mistress, asks her to undertake a series of bizarre tasks, Bessy begins to realise that she hasn't quite landed on her feet. In one of the most acclaimed debuts of recent years, Jane Harris has created a heroine who will make you laugh and cry as she narrates this unforgettable story about secrets and suspicions and the redemptive power of love and friendship.
A critical success on both sides of the Atlantic, this darkly imaginative novel from Scottish author James Robertson takes a tantalizing trip into the spiritual by way of a haunting paranormal mystery. When Reverend Gideon Mack, a good minister despite his atheism, tumbles into a deep ravine called the Black Jaws, he is presumed dead. Three days later, however, he emerges bruised but alive-and insistent that his rescuer was Satan himself. Against the background of an incredulous world, Mack's disturbing odyssey and the tortuous life that led to it create a mesmerizing meditation on faith, mortality, and the power of the unknown.
Author: James Robertson
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
The impressive debut from an exciting new Scottish voice – a stunning novel about history, identity and redemption. A no. 2 best-seller in Scotland.
Gillespie and I
Author: Jane Harris
Publisher: Harper Collins
From the Orange Prize-nominated author of The Observations comes an absorbing, atmospheric exploration of one young woman’s friendship with a volatile artist and her place in the controversy that consumes him. Jane Harris’s Gillespie and I presents a strongly voiced female protagonist evocative of Moll Flanders and Becky Sharp, who offers a keen sensibility, deeply felt observations, and poignant remembrances of the world of a young artist in turn-of-the-century Glasgow in this fantastic work of historical fiction. London’s Sunday Times calls Gillespie and I “a literary novel where the storytelling is as skilful as the writing is fine.” Fans of The Piano Teacher and The Thirteenth Tale will find it irresistible and unforgettable.