‘A completely harrowing and stark account of poverty … written in clear and violent language’ – Cyril Connolly
Gordon Comstock, poet manqué and author of Mice (which the Times Literary Supplement said showed ‘exceptional promise’) gives up a ‘good job’ in an advertising agency to become a part time bookshop assistant, thereby gaining the time to write. Despite some modest success with his poetry, he embarks on a long, deliberate slide into penury which results in a solitary, squalid existence. The symbol of everything he rebels against is the ugly aspidistra, which for him represents dull, lifeless respectability and submission to the tyranny of the ‘money-god’. Gordon’s voyage of self-discovery takes him to the depths of the abyss, to the dismay of his family and the ever-faithful Rosemary, whose offer of love and security challenges his commitment to his chosen way of life. With characteristic irony and perception, Orwell traces the disaffection with society and the desire to renounce contemporary values which he himself experienced.
’Orwell’s strength and significance is that… he never looked for the familiar deodorant of self-deception or sought out the sweetened balms of elegant literary evasion. He sniffed and wrote on the same quivering reflex’ – Dennis Potter
M. C. Beaton - Death of a Prankster
"A case that Hamish Macbeth fans will relish." Booklist. A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by the author of "Death of a Snob." When it comes to murder, Constable Hamish Macbeth can't see the joke. Rich, old practical joker Andrew Trent summons his kin to remote Arrat House in the dead of winter for a deathbed farewell. But when they arrive, the old coot is in perfect health, cackling at his joke and ready to torment them with others. But it turns out the joke's on Trent. As the saying goes, he who laughs last, kills first! And when Trent is murdered, Constable Macbeth must step in and solve the crime before the punchline of the next killing joke knocks him right into an early grave!
Tony Parsons - The Murder Bag
The gripping first novel in an explosive new crime series by Tony Parsons, bestselling author of Man and Boy. If you like crime-novels by Ian Rankin and Peter James, you will love this. Twenty years ago seven rich, privileged students became friends at their exclusive private school, Potter’s Field. Now they have started dying in the most violent way imaginable. Detective Max Wolfe has recently arrived in the Homicide division of London’s West End Central, 27 Savile Row. Soon he is following the bloody trail from the backstreets and bright lights of the city, to the darkest corners of the internet and all the way to the corridors of power. As the bodies pile up, Max finds the killer’s reach getting closer to everything - and everyone - he loves. Soon he is fighting not only for justice, but for his own life ...
Charlotte M. Yonge - The Heir of Redclyffe
The Heir of Redclyffe (1853) was the first of Charlotte M. Yonge's bestselling romantic novels. Its religious tone derives from the High Church background of her family and from her friendship with a leading figure in the Oxford Movement, John Keble, who closely supervised the writing of the book. The germ of its plot was suggested by her friend Marianne Dyson. According to J. B. Priestley The Heir of Redclyffe was "the most popular novel of the whole age…Its popularity left Dickens and Thackeray far behind." The Heir of Redclyffe tells the story of the Byronic Guy Morville, heir to the Redclyffe baronetcy, and his cousin Philip Morville, a conceited hypocrite who enjoys an unwarrantedly high reputation.
Anthony Powell - Afternoon Men
Written from a vantage point both high and deliberately narrow, the early novels of the late British master Anthony Powell nevertheless deal in the universal themes that would become a substantial part of his oeuvre: pride, greed, and the strange drivers of human behavior. More explorations of relationships and vanity than plot-driven narratives, Powell’s early works reveal the stirrings of the unequaled style, ear for dialogue, and eye for irony that would reach their caustic peak in his epic, _A Dance to the Music of Time_. In _Afternoon Men_, the earliest and perhaps most acid of Powell’s novels, we meet the museum clerk William Atwater, a young man stymied in both his professional and romantic endeavors. Immersed in Atwater’s coterie of acquaintances—a similarly unsatisfied cast of rootless, cocktail-swilling London sophisticates—we learn of the conflict between his humdrum work life and louche social scene, of his unrequited love, and, during a trip to the country, of the absurd contrivances of proper manners. A satire that verges on nihilism and a story touched with sexism and equal doses self-loathing and self-medication, _Afternoon Men_ has a grim edge to it. But its dialogue sparks and its scenes grip, and for aficionados of Powell, this first installment in his literary canon will be a welcome window onto the mind of a great artist learning his craft.
Sebastian Faulks - On Green Dolphin Street
Fans will recognise Sebastian Faulks' focus on characterisation, historical context and the emotional power of his narrative in his new novel, "On Green Dolphin Street". Yet, in tone and setting, the story of one woman's attempt to face down death in the Cold War years marks a new departure for this bestselling novelist. It's 1959 and the presidential battle between Kennedy and Nixon is heating up. Just as the country stands between two men so does Mary van der Linden, the wife of a British embassy employee in Washington and lover of political newspaper reporter Frank Renzo. All three are damaged by their experiences of war; death and decay are everywhere: through the men's memory of war, Mary's dying mother, van der Linden's declining health and the readers' knowledge that in only a few short years Kennedy will be dead and Nixon disgraced. Previously, Faulks has described in bloody detail the horrors of the trenches and the brutality of the battlefield. Here he comments on the hollowness and politics of war and the human cost. With the personal mirroring the political so closely, the inevitability of the doomed love affair at the centre of the novel hardly inspires one to great heights of empathy. Consequently, the characters' fervour often falls flat: "He raked his fingers through her hair, down to the skull, as his body filled hers. All the way, he thought, I will go all the way, till I find her; and with her head between his hands he too let out a cry, because he felt pity for her soul." Faulks, whose previous novels have included bestsellers and has the capacity to sweep his readers up in his historical sagas and excels in his unflinching treatment of war. Unfortunately, the switch here from the battlefield to the political arena is not as compelling and, considering he is writing about one of the most exhilarating periods in US history and its most exciting city--New York.
David Mitchell - Slade House
From “one of the most electric writers alive” (The Boston Globe) comes a taut, intricately woven, spine-chilling, reality-warping short novel. Set across five decades, beginning in 1979 and coming to its electrifying conclusion on October 31, 2015, Slade House is the perfect book to curl up with on a dark and stormy night.
Gill Hornby - All Together Now
Four strangers in the midst of difficult life transitions find friendship, purpose, and perfect pitch in in this heartfelt comic novel. In the small English village of St. Ambrose, the members of the Bridgeford Community Choir have little in common. But when their singing coach dies unexpectedly before a big contest, the motley group must join forces -- and voices -- in pursuit of an impossible-seeming goal. Featuring an eclectic cast of characters -- including a mother suffering from empty nest syndrome, a middle-aged man who has just lost his job and his family, and a 19-year-old waitress who dreams of reality TV stardom -- ALL TOGETHER NOW is a poignant and charming novel about small town life, community, falling in love, and the big rewards of making a small change.
Alan Hollinghurst - The Spell
Alan Hollinghurst's new novel is a comedy of sexual manners that follows the interlocking affairs of four men: Robin Woodfield, an architect in his late forties, who is trying to build an idyllic life in Dorset with his younger lover, Justin, a would-be actor increasingly disenchanted with the countryside; Robin's 22 year old son Danny, a volatile beauty who lives for clubbing and casual sex; and the shy Alex, whose life is transformed by house music and a tab of ecstasy. As each in turn falls under the spell of romance or drugs, country living or rough trade, a richly ironic picture emerges of the clashing imperatives of modern gay life, the hunger for contact and the fear of commitment, the need for permanence and the continual disruptions of sex. At once lyrical and farcical, sceptical and romantic, _The Spell_ confirms Alan Hollinghurst as one of Britain's most important novelists.
Jude Morgan - Charlotte and Emily
From an obscure country parsonage came three extraordinary sisters, who defied the outward bleakness of their lives to create the most brilliant literary work of their time. Now, in an astonishingly daring novel by the acclaimed Jude Morgan, the genius of the haunted Brontës is revealed and the sisters are brought to full, resplendent life: Emily, who turned from the world to the greater temptations of the imagination; gentle Anne, who suffered the harshest perception of the stifling life forced upon her; and the brilliant, uncompromising, and tormented Charlotte, who longed for both love and independence, and learned their ultimate price.
Malcolm Lowry - Under the Volcano
Geoffrey Firmin, a former British consul, has come to Quauhnahuac, Mexico. His debilitating malaise is drinking, an activity that has overshadowed his life. On the most fateful day of the consul's life—the Day of the Dead, 1938—his wife, Yvonne, arrives in Quauhnahuac, inspired by a vision of life together away from Mexico and the circumstances that have driven their relationship to the brink of collapse. She is determined to rescue Firmin and their failing marriage, but her mission is further complicated by the presence of Hugh, the consul's half brother, and Jacques, a childhood friend. The events of this one significant day unfold against an unforgettable backdrop of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical. Under the Volcano remains one of literature's most powerful and lyrical statements on the human condition, and a brilliant portrayal of one man's constant struggle against the elemental forces that threaten to destroy him.
Sharon Dogar - Waves
_“Where is she? And what was she doing out on the waves that night?”_ For Hal, now, this summer is different. Sure he’s spending it, as always, with his family at their cottage on the wild west coast of England. But this summer he meets Jackie, beautiful, impetuous Jackie. Lying with her on the beach while she sculpts mermaids from wet sand–it’s paradise. Or would be, if only he didn’t keep hearing the desperate pleas of his lost sister Charley in his head . . . For Charley, then, last summer was different. Pete, the impossibly gorgeous surf god, wanted her, she couldn’t believe it! To lick the sand off his lips, to let the sun tan the outline of her hand over his heart–she’d do anything to be with him. Even if it meant sneaking out and leaving her tagalong brother Hal behind. Just for one night. How could she have known what would happen by dawn? Set at a beach where growing up goes wrong, Waves is a coming-of-age mystery about first love and tragic loss. About a family drowning in sorrow, and the courageous son struggling against the tide to save them.
Ernest Victor Thompson - Chase the Wind
Josh Retallick, hardy son of a respected Cornish family, and his love, the wild Miriam, daughter of a drink-sodden copper miner, explored together the secret places and wild creatures of Bodmin Moor in the sweet months before fate swept them apart. Their destiny brought them together again and again through the hard and bitter years when all the forces of prosperty and power fought to cruch the sturdy mining folk who refused, come what may, to see their spirit broken...
M. C. Beaton - Death of a Chimney Sweep
In the south of Scotland, residents get their chimneys vacuum-cleaned. But in the isolated villages in the very north of Scotland, the villagers rely on the services of the itinerant sweep, Pete Ray, and his old-fashioned brushes. Pete is always able to find work in the Scottish highlands, until one day when Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices blood dripping onto the floor of a villager's fireplace, and a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The entire town of Lochdubh is certain Pete is the culprit, but Hamish doesn't believe that the affable chimney sweep is capable of committing murder. Then Pete's body is found on the Scottish moors, and the mystery deepens. Once again, it's up to Hamish to discover who's responsible for the dirty deed--and this time, the murderer may be closer than he realizes.
Jacqueline Wilson - The Tracy Beaker Trilogy
'I'm Tracy Beaker. This is a book all about me. I'd read it if I were you. It's the most incredible, dynamic, heart-rending story. Honest.' Ten-year-old Tracy is one of the most popular and well-loved children's book characters ever created. She lives in a Children's Home but would like a real home one day, with a real family. Meet feisty, funny Tracy, follow her adventures and share her hopes for the future in these three beautifully observed, hilarious and touching tales, all told in Tracy's own words. Featuring: THE STORY OF TRACY BEAKER STARRING TRACY BEAKER and THE DARE GAME Plus an exclusive letter from Jacqueline Wilson about how Tracy was created!
Emylia Hall - The Sea Between Us
In a remote Cornish cove, on one of the last days of summer, Robyn Swinton is drowning. She is saved - just - by local boy Jago Winters, and it is a moment that will change both of them forever. Over the next seven years, Robyn and Jago's paths lead them in different directions, to city streets and foreign shores. Will the bond forged that day Jago dragged Robyn in from the sea be strong enough to bring them back to one another, or has life already pulled them too far apart?
Frank Cottrell Boyce - The Astounding Broccoli Boy
Find out why it's not easy being green in the hilarious story from Frank Cottrell Boyce: The Astounding Broccoli Boy! Illustrated throughout by Steven Lenton. Rory Rooney likes to be prepared for all eventualities. His favourite book is Don't Be Scared, Be Prepared, and he has memorized every page of it. He could even survive a hippo attack. He knows that just because something is unlikely doesn't mean it won't ever happen ...But Rory isn't prepared when he suddenly and inexplicably turns green. Stuck in an isolation ward in a hospital far from home with two other remarkably green children, Rory's as confused by his new condition as the medics seem to be. But what if it's not in their genes, or a virus, or something they ate? What if turning green actually means you've turned into a superhero? Rory can't wait to make it past hospital security and discover exactly what his superpower might be ...The Astounding Broccoli Boy is an irreverently funny adventure from the Carnegie Medal winning author of Millions, Frank Cottrell Boyce.
John Updike - The Widows of Eastwick
More than three decades have passed since the events described in John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick. The three divorcées—Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie—have left town, remarried, and become widows. They cope with their grief and solitude as widows do: they travel the world, to such foreign lands as Canada, Egypt, and China, and renew old acquaintance. Why not, Sukie and Jane ask Alexandra, go back to Eastwick for the summer? The old Rhode Island seaside town, where they indulged in wicked mischief under the influence of the diabolical Darryl Van Horne, is still magical for them. Now Darryl is gone, and their lovers of the time have aged or died, but enchantment remains in the familiar streets and scenery of the village, where they enjoyed their lusty primes as free and empowered women. And, among the local citizenry, there are still those who remember them, and wish them ill. How they cope with the lingering traces of their evil deeds, the shocks of a mysterious counterspell, and the advancing inroads of old age, form the burden on Updike’s delightful, ominous sequel.
Frances Hodgson Burnett - The Secret Garden
The magical story of a secret garden which has been locked away for ten years. After the death of her parents, Mary is brought back from India as a forlorn and unwanted child to live in her uncle's great lonely house on the moors. She is miserable and disagreeable, until the wonderful day she discovers a hidden door to a mysterious secret garden.