From the bestselling author of High Fidelity, About a Boy, and A Long Way Down comes a highly anticipated new novel.
Set in 1960’s London, Funny Girl is a lively account of the adventures of the intrepid young Sophie Straw as she navigates her transformation from provincial ingénue to television starlet amid a constellation of delightful characters. Insightful and humorous, Nick Hornby’s latest does what he does best: endears us to a cast of characters who are funny if flawed, and forces us to examine ourselves in the process.
Ken Follett - Edge of Eternity
EDGE OF ETERNITY is the sweeping, passionate conclusion to Ken Follett’s extraordinary historical epic, The Century Trilogy. Throughout these books, Follett has followed the fortunes of five intertwined families – American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh – as they make their way through the twentieth century. Now they come to one of the most tumultuous eras of all: the enormous social, political, and economic turmoil of the 1960s through the 1980s, from civil rights, assassinations, mass political movements and Vietnam to the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, presidential impeachment, revolution – and rock and roll. East German teacher Rebecca Hoffman discovers she’s been spied on by the Stasi for years and commits an impulsive act that will affect her family for the rest of their lives.…George Jakes, the child of a mixed-race couple, bypasses a corporate law career to join Robert F. Kennedy’s Justice Department, and finds himself in the middle not only of the seminal events of the civil rights battle, but a much more personal battle of his own.…Cameron Dewar, the grandson of a senator, jumps at the chance to do some official and unofficial espionage for a cause he believes in, only to discover that the world is a much more dangerous place than he’d imagined.…Dimka Dvorkin, a young aide to Nikita Khrushchev, becomes a prime agent both for good and for ill as the United States and the Soviet Union race to the brink of nuclear war, while his twin sister, Tania, carves out a role that will take her from Moscow to Cuba to Prague to Warsaw – and into history. As always with Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. With the hand of a master, he brings us into a world we thought we knew but now will never seem the same again.
David Lodge - Changing Places
When Philip Swallow and Professor Morris Zapp participate their universities' Anglo-American exchange scheme, the Fates play a hand, and each academic finds himself enmeshed in the life of his counterpart on the opposite side of the Atlantic. Nobody is immune to the exchange: students, colleagues, even wives are swapped as events spiral out of control. And soon both sun-drenched Euphoric State University and rain-kissed University of Rummige are a hotbed of intrigue, lawlessness and broken vows... _Changing Places_ is a funny and wise tale of academic ill-manners - David Lodge at his comic best.
David Lodge - Small World
The unbridled greed, pettiness, buffoonery and intellectual gobbledegook in the world of higher scholarship are the topics of this thorough and thoroughly funny "roman à English department". It's interesting for a couple of reasons, aside from its humour and lampoonery: it's an insider's view of things--always the best kind--and it takes its old- fashioned time telling a story, complete with reasonable digressions about the state of literary criticism and what may or may not be a realistic view of the academic life.
Katie Fforde - A Perfect Proposal
Sophie Apperly has been supporting herself since she left school, but as far as her academic family are concerned she's never had a 'proper' job. And because she's currently in between work she's despatched to look after Uncle Eric while his housekeeper is away. Here, whilst tidying his papers, she discovers a document relating to family business in America. Driven mad by her family and wanting to prove herself to them and bring in some much-needed income for them all, when her best friend Milly invites her over to New York she jumps at the chance - what's more she's lined up some nannying work for her to pay her way. However, she's hardly been in the country five minutes before disaster strikes. She suddenly finds herself with no work, nowhere to stay and very little money. Luckily Milly has a corner in her tiny apartment she can camp out in. A jaunt to an art gallery opening throws her into the path of Matilda - a grand old lady who is delighted to find someone who comes from the same part of the world as she grew up in. She is very taken with Sophie and invites her to her house in Connecticut for Thanksgiving. But Matilda's grandson Luke is very suspicious of Sophie - what exactly does this English girl want, is she after her grandmother's money? - and he's determined to nip this growing friendship in the bud.
Maggie O'Farrell - The Hand That First Held Mine
A gorgeously written story of love and motherhood, this is a tour de force from one of our most acclaimed and best loved novelists. When the sophisticated Innes Kent turns up by chance on her doorstep, Lexie Sinclair realises she cannot wait any longer for her life to begin, and leaves for London. There, at the heart of the 1950s Soho art scene, she carves out a new life for herself, with Innes at her side. In the present day, Elina and Ted are reeling from the difficult birth of their first child. Elina, a painter, struggles to reconcile the demands of motherhood with sense of herself as an artist, and Ted is disturbed by memories of his own childhood, memories that don't tally with his parents' version of events. As Ted begins to search for answers, so an extraordinary portrait of two women is revealed, separated by fifty years, but connected in ways that neither could ever have expected.
Martin Amis - The Information
How can one writer hurt another where it really counts - his reputation? This is the problem facing novelist Richard Tull, contemplating the success of his friend and rival Gwyn Barry. Revenger's tragedy, comedy of errors, contemporary satire, The Information skewers high life and low in Martin Amis's brilliant return to the territory of Money and London Fields.
David Lodge - Deaf Sentence
_Being deaf is less an affliction than a sentence..._ Retired Professor of Linguistics Desmond Bates is going deaf. Not suddenly, but gradually and - for him and everyone nearby - confusingly. It's a bother for his wife, Winifred, who has an enviably successful new career and is too busy to be endlessly repeating herself. Roles are reversed when he visits his hearing-impaired father, who won't seek help and resents his son's intrusions. And, finally, there's Alex. Alex is a student Desmond agrees to help after a typical misunderstanding. But her increasingly bizarre and disconcerting requests cannot - unfortunately - be blamed on defective hearing. So much for growing old gracefully...
Julian Barnes - England, England
As every schoolboy knows, you can fit the whole of England on the Isle of White. Grotesque, visionary tycoon Sir Jack Pitman takes the saying literally and does exactly that. He constructs on the island 'The Project', a vast heritage centre containing everything 'English', from Big Ben to Stonehenge, from Manchester United to the white Cliffs of Dover. The project is monstrous, risky, and vastly successful. In fact, it gradually begins to rival 'Old' England and even threatens to supersede it... One of Barnes' finest and funniest novels, "England, England" calls into question the idea of replicas, truth vs. fiction, reality vs. art, nationhood, myth-making, and self-exploration.
Ben Elton - Gridlock
Gridlock is when a city dies. Killed in the name of freedom. Killed in the name of oil and steel. Choked on carbon monoxide and strangled with a pair of fuzzy dice. How did it come to this? How did the ultimate freedom machine end up paralyzing us all? How did we end up driving to our own funeral in somebody else's gravy train? Deborah and Geoffrey know, but they have transportation problems of their own. And anyway, whoever it was that murdered the city can just as easily murder them.
A. S. Byatt - A Whistling Woman
This intoxicating novel stands on its own, while forming a triumphant conclusion to A. S. Byatt's great quartet depicting the clashing forces in English life from the early 1950s to 1970. While Frederica falls almost by accident into a career in television in London, tumultuous events in her home county of Yorkshire threaten to change her life, and those of the people she loves. A Whistling Woman is the ultimate novel of ideas made flesh -- gloriously sensual, sexy and scary, bursting with ideas, and wonderful humanity.
Iain Pears - The Portrait
This is a dark and disturbing novel of suspense, set at the turn of the 20th century, by the bestselling author of _An Instance of the Fingerpost._ The windswept isle of Houat, off the coast of Brittany, is no picturesque artists' colony. At the turn of the twentieth century, life is harsh and rustic. So why did Henry MacAlpine forsake London - where he had been feted by critics and gallery owners, his works exhibited alongside the likes of Cezanne and Van Gogh - to make his home in this remote outpost? The truth begins to emerge when, four years into his exile, MacAlpine receives his first visitor. Influential art critic William Naysmith has come to the island to sit for a portrait. Over the course of the sitting, the power balance between the two men shifts dramatically as the critic whose pen could anoint or destroy careers becomes a passive subject. And as the painter struggles to capture Nasmith's true character on canvas, a story unfolds... _The Portrait_ is a darkly atmospheric, psychologically complex, macabre and chilling novel from a master storyteller.
Doris Lessing - The Fifth Child
Four children, a beautiful old house, the love of relatives and friends; Harriet and David Lovatt's life is a glorious hymn to domestic bliss and old-fashioned family values. But when their fifth child is born, a sickly and implacable shadow is cast over this tender idyll. Large and ugly, violent and uncontrollable, the infant Ben, "full of cold dislike", tears at Harriet's breast. Struggling to care for her new-born child, faced with a darkness and a strange defiance she has never known before, Harriet is deeply afraid of what, exactly, she has brought into the world...
Joanne Harris - Peaches for Monsieur le Curé
It isn't often you receive a letter from the dead. When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she has no choice but to follow the wind that blows her back to Lansquenet, the village in which eight years ago, she opened up a chocolate shop. But returning to her old home, Vianne is completely unprepared for what she is to find there. Women veiled in black, the scent of spices and peppermint tea - and there, on the bank of the river Tannes, facing the church, a minaret.
Alison Weir - The Lady Elizabeth
England, 1536. Home to the greatest, most glittering court in English history. But beneath the dazzling façade lies treachery... Elizabeth Tudor is daughter to Henry VIII, the most powerful king England has ever known. She is destined to ascend the throne, and deferred to as the King's heiress, but that all changes when her mother Anne Boleyn - Henry's great passion and folly - is executed for treason. Elizabeth 's life alters in a heartbeat. A pawn in the savage game of Tudor power politics, she is disinherited, declared a bastard, and left with only her quick wits to rely on for her very existence. But Elizabeth is determined to survive, to foil those who want to destroy her, or who are determined to use her as a puppet for their own lethal ambition, and to reclaim her birthright...
Ben Elton - This Other Eden
Small, well appointed future. Semi detached. If the end of the world is nigh, then surely it’s only sensible to make alternative arrangements. Certainly the Earth has its good points, but what most people need is something smaller and more manageable. Of course there are those who say that’s planetary treason, but who cares what the weirdos and terrorists think? Not Nathan. All he cares is that his movie gets made and that’s there’s somebody left to see it. In marketing terms the end of the world will be very big. Anyone trying to save it should remember that.
John Le Carré - A Most Wanted Man
New spies with new loyalties, old spies with old ones; terror as the new mantra; decent people wanting to do good but caught in the moral maze; all the sound, rational reasons for doing the inhuman thing; the recognition that we cannot safely love or pity and remain good "patriots" -- this is the fabric of John le Carré's fiercely compelling and current novel A Most Wanted Man. A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse around his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? He says his name is Issa. Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation. Soon her client's survival becomes more important to her than her own career -- or safety. In pursuit of Issa's mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Frères, a failing British bank based in Hamburg. Annabel, Issa and Brue form an unlikely alliance -- and a triangle of impossible loves is born. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the "War on Terror," the rival spies of Germany, England and America converge upon the innocents. Thrilling, compassionate, peopled with characters the reader never wants to let go, A Most Wanted Man is a work of deep humanity and uncommon relevance to our times.
John Fowles - The Magus
Filled with shocks and chilling surprises, _The Magus_ is a masterwork of contemporary literature. In it, a young Englishman, Nicholas Urfe, accepts a teaching position on a Greek island where his friendship with the owner of the islands most magnificent estate leads him into a nightmare. As reality and fantasy are deliberately confused by staged deaths, erotic encounters, and terrifying violence, Urfe becomes a desperate man fighting for his sanity and his life. A work rich with symbols, conundrums and labrinthine twists of event, _The Magus_ is as thought-provoking as it is entertaining, a work that ranks with the best novels of modern times.
Iris Murdoch - The Black Prince
"The Black Prince" is both a remarkable thriller and a story about being in love. Bradley Pearson, narrator and hero, is an elderly writer with a 'block'. Finding himself surrounded by predatory friends and relations - his ex-wife, her delinquent brother, a younger, deplorably successful writer, Arnold Baffin, Baffin's restless wife and engaging daughter - Bradley attempts to escape. His failure to do so and its aftermath lead to a violent climax and a most unexpected conclusion.
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon’s house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him who’s parents have been killed in a ‘car crash’. He is bullied by them and his fat, spoilt cousin Dudley, and lives a very unremarkable life with only the odd hiccup (like his hair growing back overnight!) to cause him much to think about. That is until an owl turns up with a letter addressed to Harry and all hell breaks loose! He is literally rescued by a world where nothing is as it seems and magic lessons are the order of the day. Read and find out how Harry discovers his true heritage at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft, the reason behind his parents mysterious death, who is out to kill him, and how he uncovers the most amazing secret of all time, the fabled Philosopher’s Stone! All this and muggles too. Now, what are they?? The Author: This is Jo’s first book and she has already written seven outlines for Harry’s further adventures at Hogwarts. She lives in Edinburgh.
David Mitchell - The Bone Clocks
Following a scalding row with her mother, fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes slams the door on her old life. But Holly is no typical teenage runaway: a sensitive child once contacted by voices she knew only as “the radio people,” Holly is a lightning rod for psychic phenomena. Now, as she wanders deeper into the English countryside, visions and coincidences reorder her reality until they assume the aura of a nightmare brought to life. For Holly has caught the attention of a cabal of dangerous mystics—and their enemies. But her lost weekend is merely the prelude to a shocking disappearance that leaves her family irrevocably scarred. This unsolved mystery will echo through every decade of Holly’s life, affecting all the people Holly loves—even the ones who are not yet born. A Cambridge scholarship boy grooming himself for wealth and influence, a conflicted father who feels alive only while reporting from occupied Iraq, a middle-aged writer mourning his exile from the bestseller list—all have a part to play in this surreal, invisible war on the margins of our world. From the medieval Swiss Alps to the nineteenth-century Australian bush, from a hotel in Shanghai to a Manhattan townhouse in the near future, their stories come together in moments of everyday grace and extraordinary wonder.