FROM THE NUMBER 1 BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE TEA PLANTER’S WIFE The Separation, Dinah Jefferies’ stunning debut novel, is the heartbreaking tale of a family fractured by lies and one mother’s love reaching across the distance of years and continents. A country at war with itself, a family divided and betrayed, a bond that can never be broken…Malaya, 1955. Lydia Cartwright returns from visiting a sick friend to an empty house. The servants are gone. The phone is dead. Where is her husband Alec? Her young daughters, Emma and Fleur? Fearful and desperate, she contacts the British District Officer and learns that Alec has been posted up country. But why didn’t he wait? Why did he leave no message? Lydia’s search takes her on a hazardous journey through war-torn jungle. Forced to turn to Jack Harding, a man she’d vowed to leave in her past, she sacrifices everything to be reunited with her family. And while carrying her own secrets, Lydia will soon face a devastating betrayal which may be more than she can bear …
Caryl Phillips - The Final Passage
_The Final Passage_ is the story of nineteen-year-old Leila's struggle to come to terms with life on a small Caribbean island in the 1950s and her subsequent move to England. Caryl Phillips is the first British West Indian of his generation to represent the recent Caribbean experience in a major novel.
David Lodge - The Picturegoers
The Palladium, Brickley, is the haunting setting for this novel. Here is a seedy Saturday night venue which attracts people searching for something new in their lives. Mark, Clare and Father Kipling are just three of the characters featured.
Colin MacInnes - Absolute Beginners
London, 1958-Soho, Notting Hill . . .a world of smoky jazz clubs, coffee bars, and hip hangouts in the center of London's emerging youth culture. The young and restless--the absolute beginners--were creating a world as different as they dared from the traditional image of England's green and pleasant land. Follow our young photographer as he records the moments of a young teenager's life in the capital--sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll, the era of the first race riots and the lead up to the swinging sixties . . . A twentieth century classic, Absolute Beginners remains the style bible for anyone interested in the Mod culture and paints a vivid picture of a changing society with insight and sensitivity.
Graham Greene - The Quiet American
While the French Army in Indo-China is grappling with the Vietminh, back in Saigon a young and high-minded American named Pyle begins to channel economic aid to a "Third Force." Caught between French colonialists and the Vietminh, Fowler, the narrator and seasoned foreign correspondent, observes: "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused." As young Pyle's policies blunder on into bloodshed, the older man finds it impossible to stand aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and to himself: for Pyle has robbed him of his Vietnamese mistress.
Tom Rob Smith - Child 44
Child 44 is a thriller set in the terror of 1950s Stalinist Russia, a brutal regime that executed anyone who disagreed with its dogma. It proclaimed to be a perfect society. So, when a series of brutal murders take place, no one is permitted to say that these are the work of a serial killer. In a perfect society there can be no crime. One man, Leo Demidov, a State security agent, a man who has spent his entire career arresting innocent men and women, decides to redeem himself by catching this killer. To do so, he must buck the system, risking his life and the life of everyone he loves.
Jojo Moyes - Foreign Fruit
Merham is a well-ordered 1950s seaside town: the kind of town in which everyone knows their place (and those who don't are promptly put in it). Lottie Swift, an evacuee who has grown up with the respectable Holden family, loves Merham, while the Holdens' daughter, Celia chafes against the constraints of the town. When a group of bohemians takes over Arcadia, a stark Art Deco house on the seafront, the girls are as drawn to its temptations as Merham's citizens are appalled by them. They set in place a chain of events which will have longstanding and tragic consequences for all concerned. Now, almost fifty years on, Arcadia is returning to life, and its inhabitants stirring up strong feelings again. And prompting more than one person to look into their own history and ask: can you ever leave your past behind?
Helen Dunmore - The Greatcoat
In the winter of 1952, Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her husband Philip, a GP. With Philip spending long hours on call, Isabel finds herself isolated and lonely as she strives to adjust to the realities of married life.Woken by intense cold one night, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under it for warmth, she starts to dream. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled by a knock at her window.Outside is a young RAF pilot, waiting to come in.His name is Alec, and his powerful presence both disturbs and excites her. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin an intense affair. But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on hers ...
Helen Dunmore - The Betrayal
Leningrad, 1952. Andrei, a young hospital doctor, and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together in the postwar, postsiege wreckage. But their happiness is precarious, like that of millions of Russians who must avoid the claws of Stalin's merciless Ministry of State Security. So when Andrei is asked to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, he and Anna are fearful. Trapped in an impossible, maybe unwinnable game, can they avoid the whispers and watchful eyes of those who will say or do anything to save themselves? "The Betrayal" is a powerful and touching novel of ordinary people in the grip of a terrible and sinister regime, and a moving portrait of a love that will not be extinguished.
Agatha Christie - Destination Unknown
Hilary Craven has lost the will to live, Mrs Betterton is already dead. Then Hilary is asked to impersonate the dead woman and to trace her husband - a missing nuclear scientist - and her will to live returns. A faked air disaster, a string of radio-active pearls, a leper colony floundering in the dry heat of the Moroccan desert. Hilary is lead towards a terrifying discovery and her new found enthusiasm for life turns into ice-cold fear... Christie based this book partly on the activities of two famous physicists of the early 1950s: Bruno Ponecorvo, who defected to Russia, and Emil Fuchs, who spied for the Russians. It is another of Christie’s light-hearted thriller novels featuring a daring and fearless heroine.
Rosamunde Pilcher - Voices in Summer
Laura, newly married and ever conscious she may be living in the shadow of her husband Alec's first wife, decides to take a holiday with his family in Cornwall. Through the long hot summer days she is slowly charmed by the beautiful old house and the people she learns to know and love. In time, her uneasy spirit is shooted by the sparkling, brilliant sea and her restless heart is finally calmed. But is this new-found tranquillity too good to be true? For with the arrival of an anonymous letter, one accusing her of having an affair, Laura's world is thrown into turmoil . . .
Agatha Christie - Black Coffee
Long out of print and unaviable in the United States, this little known mystery will suprise and delight Christie fans. The story concerns a physicist named Sir Claude Amory who has come up with a formula for an atom bomb (_Black Coffe_ was written in 1934!). In the first act, Sir Claude is poisoned (in his coffee, naturally) and Hercule Poirot is called in to solve the cae. He does so after many wonderful twists and turns in true Christie tradition.
Sebastian Faulks - The Girl at the Lion d'Or
On a rainy night in the 1930s, Anne Louvet appears at the run-down Hotel du Lion d'Or in the village of Janvilliers. She is seeking a job and a new life, one far removed from the awful injustices of her past. As Anne embarks on a torrential love affair with a married veteran of the Great War, The Girl at the Lion d'Or fashions an unbreakable spell of narrative and atmosphere that evokes French masters from Flaubert to Renoir.
Jack Ketchum - The Girl Next Door
Suburbia in the 1950s, a dark side emerging in the Chandler house for teenage Meg and her crippled little sister Susan - captive to an Aunt, who is rapidly descending into madness. "The Girl Next Door is alive.... in a way most works of poplular fiction never attain; it does not just promise terror but actually delievers it. But it's a page-turner, all right; no doubt about that." - Stephen King
Bethan Roberts - My Policeman
Inspired by the life of E.M. Forster and his relationship with his long-time companion Bob Buckingham and his wife, this is an exquisitely told, tragic tale of thwarted love It is in 1950s' Brighton that Marion first catches sight of Tom. He teaches her to swim in the shadow of the pier and Marion is smitten—determined her love will be enough for them both. A few years later in Brighton Museum Patrick meets Tom. Patrick is besotted with Tom and opens his eyes to a glamorous, sophisticated new world. Tom is their policeman, and in this age it is safer for him to marry Marion. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.
J. G. Farrell - Troubles
Farrell wrote superbly; all his books had a quality that hallmarks great literary talent—he could “do” texture. This album—which is what Troubles feels like—records the same Anglo-Irish as Elizabeth Bowen knew and belonged to. As with Bowen, this feels like the real thing (which is all a novel has to do). Always judge a writer by his grasp of what he doesn’t know: Farrell died young yet his old people are almost his best creations. Winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize 1919: After surviving the Great War, Major Brendan Archer makes his way to Ireland, hoping to discover whether he is indeed betrothed to Angela Spencer, whose Anglo-Irish family owns the once-aptly-named Majestic Hotel in Kilnalough. But his fiancée is strangely altered and her family's fortunes have suffered a spectacular decline. The hotel's hundreds of rooms are disintegrating on a grand scale; its few remaining guests thrive on rumors and games of whist; herds of cats have taken over the Imperial Bar and the upper stories; bamboo shoots threaten the foundations; and piglets frolic in the squash court. Meanwhile, the Major is captivated by the beautiful and bitter Sarah Devlin. As housekeeping disasters force him from room to room, outside the order of the British Empire also totters: there is unrest in the East, and in Ireland itself the mounting violence of "the troubles." Troubles is a hilarious and heartbreaking work by a modern master of the historical novel.
Barbara Pym - Quartet in Autumn
This is Pym's poignant story of four elderly single people who work in the same office. Their work is their chief point of contact with each other and with the outside world. When the two women retire, the equilibrium of the quartet is upset. Quartet in Autumn is a gently compelling story of human dignity in the midst of hopelessness.
Anita Brookner - Hotel du Lac
In the novel that won her the Booker Prize and established her international reputation, Anita Brookner finds a new vocabulary for framing the eternal question "Why love?" It tells the story of Edith Hope, who writes romance novels under a psudonym. When her life begins to resemble the plots of her own novels, however, Edith flees to Switzerland, where the quiet luxury of the Hotel du Lac promises to resore her to her senses. But instead of peace and rest, Edith finds herself sequestered at the hotel with an assortment of love's casualties and exiles. She also attracts the attention of a worldly man determined to release her unused capacity for mischief and pleasure. Beautifully observed, witheringly funny, Hotel du Lac is Brookner at her most stylish and potently subversive.
Lawrence Durrell - The Alexandria Quartet
With its politics, passions, corruption and vice, this quartet of novels is set in war-time Alexandria. The experimental form presents the narrative from different view points, allowing the story to unfold gradually.
Alan Sillitoe - The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
Reissue of a groundbreaking work of fiction from one of our best loved authors. The title story in this classic collection tells of Smith, a defiant young rebel, inhabiting the no-man's land of institutionalised Borstal. As his steady jog-trot rhythm transports him over an unrelenting, frost-bitten earth, he wonders why, for whom and for what he is running. A groundbreaking work, 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' captured the grim isolation of the working class in the English Midlands when it was first published in 1960s. But Sillitoe's depiction of petty crime and deep-seated anger in industrial and desperate cities remains as potent today as it was almost half a century ago.
Joseph Conrad - The Secret Agent
Considered one of Conrad's most political works, The Secret Agent is set against the dismal backdrop of a drab and alienating London, and tells the story of the bombing of Greenwich Observatory by a group of anarchists. Shopkeeper, spy and reluctant anarchist Mr Verloc becomes embroiled in this terrorist plot, exploiting his mentally disabled brother-in-law Stevie in the process, leading to tragic circumstances.