Fingersmith is the third slice of engrossing lesbian Victoriana from Sarah Waters. Although lighter and more melodramatic in tone than its predecessor Affinity, this hypnotic suspense novel is awash with all manner of gloomy Dickensian leitmotifs: pickpockets; orphans; grim prisons; lunatic asylums; „laughing villains” and, of course, „stolen fortunes and girls made out to be mad”. Oliver Twist (which is mentioned on the opening page), The Woman in White and The Prince and the Pauper all exert an influence on it but none overawe. Like Peter Ackroyd, Waters has an uncanny gift for inventive reconstruction.
Divided into three parts, the tale is narrated by two orphaned girls whose lives are inextricably linked. It begins in a grimy thieves kitchen in Borough, South London with 17-year-old orphan Susan Trinder. She has been raised by Mrs Sucksby, a cockney Ma Baker, in a household of fingersmiths (pickpockets), coiners and burglars. One evening Richard „Gentleman” Rivers, a handsome confidence man, arrives. He has an elaborate scheme to defraud Maud Lilly, a wealthy heiress. If Sue will help him she’ll get a share of the „shine”. Duly installed in the Lillys’ country house as Maud’s maid, Sue finds that her mistress is virtually a prisoner. Maud’s eccentric Uncle Christopher, an obsessive collector of erotica (loosely modelled on Henry Spenser Ashbee) controls every aspect of her life. Slowly a curious intimacy develops between the two girls and as Gentleman’s plans take shape, Sue begins to have doubts. The scheme is finally hatched but as Maud commences her narrative it suddenly becomes more than a tad difficult to tell quite who has double-crossed who. Waters’ penchant for Byzantine plotting can get a bit exhausting but even at its densest moments–and remember this is smoggy London circa 1862–it remains mesmerising. A damning critique of Victorian moral and sexual hypocrisy, a gripping melodrama and a love story to boot, this book ingeniously reworks some truly classic themes.–Travis Elborough
Alexandra Potter - Me and Mr Darcy
He's every woman's fantasy! After a string of nightmare relationships, Emily Albright has decided she's had it with modern-day men. She'd rather pour herself a glass of wine, curl up with Pride and Prejudice and step into a time where men were dashing, devoted and honourable, strode across fields in breeches, their damp shirts clinging to their chests, and weren't into internet porn. So when her best friend invites her to Mexico for a week of margaritas and men, Emily decides to book a guided tour of Jane Austen country instead. She quickly realises she won't find her dream man here. The coach tour is full of pensioners, apart from one Mr Spike Hargreaves, a foul-tempered journalist sent to write a piece on why Mr Darcy's been voted the man most women would love to date! Until she walks into a room and finds herself face-to-face with Darcy himself. And every woman's fantasy suddenly becomes one woman's reality!
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter receives an ominous warning from a house-elf at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry: if he returns to the school at the end of the summer, terrible things will happen. But return Harry must. His second year begins with a new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Quidditch training and the intensification of old rivalries. Then the warning starts to ring true, as mysterious words are daubed on a wall, students are attacked and Ron's sister, Ginny, disappears. And so the search for Salazar Slytherin's heir begins, with the mystery pointing Harry to a clandestine chamber and a deadly creature at its heart...
Anthony Burgess - Gépnarancs
A Gépnarancs 1962-ben látott napvilágot, s azóta mit sem veszített aktualitásából. Nemcsak mert cselekménye a pontosan meg nem határozott jövőben játszódik, hanem mert Burgess írói képzelete és nyelvteremtő zsenialitása a napi politikánál is, a múló irodalmi divatoknál is időtállóbb. Ezt az antiutópista történetet egy tizenéves bandavezér, a jókedvvel kegyetlenkedő, ugyanakkor igen éles elméjű és a klasszikus zene iránt rajongó Alex mondja el, a maga egyéni, orosz eredetű szavakkal megtűzdelt szlengjén. Az ő egyszerre taszító és vonzó személyiségén keresztül kapunk képet az alattvalóira gondolattalan, gépies konformitást kényszerítő Államról, amely a fiatalok számára életformává vált erőszak visszaszorítására az "agymosástól" sem riad vissza - holott ez az erőszak paradox módon már a méltóság megőrzésének egyetlen eszköze, amikor az állati ösztönöknek kell eluralkodniuk a tudaton, hogy az ember legalább az embertelenségben ember maradhasson.
Kazuo Ishiguro - Napok romjai
1956 forró nyara. Az előkelő Darlington Hall elegáns főkomornyikja, Stevens új gazdája biztatására néhány napos kirándulásra indul. Fő célja azonban nem Dél-Anglia lenyűgöző tájainak megismerése, hanem egy találkozó: azt reméli, hogy sikerül visszacsábítania házvezetőnek Miss Kentont, akivel valamikor évekig együtt dolgozott. Ám kisebb-nagyobb kalandokkal tarkított utazása egyszersmind jelképes is. Stevens a kirándulás elbeszélésével párhuzamosan visszautazik a múltjába, és felidézi mindennapi életét a harmincas évekbeli főúri házban, Lord Darlington politikai kalandorságát - de mindenekelőtt saját kapcsolatát Miss Kentonnal, melynek természetét sok év után sem tisztázta magában. A Napok romjai az elveszett ügyek és az elvesztegetett szerelem, a megbánás álomszerűen szép és gazdag regénye. Stevens komikus sutasága és reménytelen tehetetlensége Ishiguro keze nyomán varázslatos egységbe olvad, és a fájdalmas múltat még maga előtt is titkoló személyiség, valamint a kor és a környezet páratlan tanulmányává válik. Olyan fájdalmasan megindító és őszinte mű ez, amely sokáig kísért az olvasó emlékezetében. A Booker-díjas regényből film is készült, a főszerepeket Anthony Hopkins és Emma Thompson játszotta.
Richard Adams - Watership Down
A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adam's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society. The story follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer. As they search for a safe haven, skirting danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band and its compelling culture and mythos. Adams has crafted a touching, involving world in the dirt and scrub of the English countryside, complete with its own folk history and language (the book comes with a "lapine" glossary, a guide to rabbitese). As much about freedom, ethics, and human nature as it is about a bunch of bunnies looking for a warm hidey-hole and some mates, Watership Down will continue to make the transition from classroom desk to bedside table for many generations to come. -- Paul Hughes, amazon.com review
Anthony Ryan - Tower Lord
The Realm burns. Vaelin Al Sorna is tired of war. He's fought countless battles in service to the Realm and Faith. His reward was the loss of his love, the death of his friends and a betrayal by his king. After five years in an Alpiran dungeon, he just wants to go home. Reva intends to welcome Vaelin back with a knife between the ribs. He destroyed her family and ruined her life. Nothing will stop her from exacting bloody vengeance - not even the threat of invasion from the greatest enemy the Realm has ever faced. Yet as the fires of war spread, foes become friends and truths turn to lies. To save the Realm, Reva must embrace a future she does not want - and Vaelin must revisit a past he'd rather leave buried.
Julian Barnes - Arthur & George
Arthur and George grow up worlds and miles apart in late nineteenth-century Britain: Arthur in shabby-genteel Edinburgh, George in the vicarage of a small Staffordshire village. Arthur becomes a doctor, and then a writer; George a solicitor in Birmingham. Arthur is to become one of the most famous men of his age, George remains in hardworking obscurity. But as the new century begins, they are brought together by a sequence of events which made sensational headlines at the time as The Great Wyrley Outrages. George Edjali's father is Indian, his mother Scottish. When the family begins to receive vicious anonymous letters, many about their son, they put it down to racial prejudice. They appeal to the police, to no less than the Chief Constable, but to their dismay he appears to suspect George of being the letters' author. Then someone starts slashing horses and livestock. Again the police seem to suspect the shy, aloof Birmingham solicitor. He is arrested and, on the flimsiest evidence, sent to trial, found guilty and sentenced to seven years' hard labour. Arthur Conan Doyle, famous as the creator of the world's greatest detective, is mourning his first wife (having been chastely in love for ten years with the woman who was to become his second) when he hears about the Edjali case. Incensed at this obvious miscarriage of justice, he is galvanised into trying to clear George's name. With a mixture of detailed research and vivid imagination, Julian Barnes brings to life not just this long-forgotten case, but the inner lives of these two very different men. The reader sees them both with stunning clarity, and almost inhabits them as they face the vicissitudes of their lives, whether in the dock hearing a verdict of guilty, or trying to live an honourable life while desperately in love with another woman. This is a novel in which the events of a hundred years ago constantly set off contemporary echoes, a novel about low crime and high spirituality, guilt and innocence, identity, nationality and race; about what we think, what we believe, and what we know. Julian Barnes has long been recognised as one of Britain's most remarkable writers. While those already familiar with his work will enjoy its elegance, its wit, its profound wisdom about the human condition, Arthur and George will surely find him an entirely new audience.
Terry Pratchett - Steven Ross - The Discworld Graphic Novels
IN A DISTANT AND SECOND-HAND SET OF DIMENSIONS, IN AN ASTRAL PLANE THAT WAS NEVER MEANT TO FLY. . . Imagine a flat world, sitting on the backs of four elephants who hurtle through space balanced on a giant turtle. The Discworld is a place (and a time) parallel to our own - but also very different. That is the setting for Terry Pratchett's phenomenally successful Discworld series, which now celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary. The Discworld Graphic Novels presents the very first two volumes of this much-loved series in graphic novel form. First published fifteen years ago, these fully illustrated versions are now issued for the first time in hardback. Introduced here are the bizarre misadventures of Twoflower, the Discworld's first ever tourist, and possibly - portentously - its last, and his guide Rincewind, the spectacularly inept wizard. Not to mention the Luggage, which has a mind of its own.
Terry Pratchett - Graham Higgins - Mort
An illustrated version of one of Terry Pratchett's comic science-fiction novels. Mort has been chosen as Death's apprentice. He gets board and lodging and free use of company horse, and doesn't even need time off for his grandmother's funeral. Looking like a skeleton is not compulsory, either.
Erica James - The Hidden Cottage
Family ties, secrets, love and guilt are woven with warmth, honesty and wit in this delightful new novel from Sunday Times bestseller Erica James. We all hide things, some more than others... Mia Channing appears to have an enviable life: a beautiful home in the village of Little Pelham, a happy, stable marriage, a job she enjoys and three grown up children to whom she's devoted. But appearances are deceiving; the truth is that it's all a precarious balancing act. When the family gather for her son's thirtieth birthday, Daisy, her youngest daughter, drops a bombshell in the way only Daisy can. Once again Mia finds herself cast in the role of peacemaker. It's a role she's tired of, particularly since her husband refuses to believe he's responsible for the problems they're facing. Not surprisingly, Mia longs for escape. For Owen Fletcher, buying the Hidden Cottage was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and provides the perfect escape for him. When Mia meets him, she must decide whether she has the courage to do something for herself for a change. And if she does, can she ever go back to the life of compromise she had before?
Helen Oyeyemi - White is for Witching
___ In a vast, mysterious house on the cliffs near Dover, the Silver family is reeling from the hole punched into its heart. Lily is gone and her twins, Miranda and Eliot, and her husband, the gentle Luc, mourn her absence with unspoken intensity. All is not well with the house, either, which creaks and grumbles and malignly confuses visitors in its mazy rooms, forcing winter apples in the garden when the branches should be bare. Generations of women inhabit its walls. And Miranda, with her new appetite for chalk and her keen sense for spirits, is more attuned to them than she is to her brother and father. She is leaving them slowly, slipping away from them. When one dark night she vanishes entirely, the survivors are left to tell her story. _Miri_ _I_ _conjure_ _you_... This is a spine-tingling tale that has Gothic roots but an utterly modern sensibility. Told by a quartet of crystalline voices, it is electrifying in its expression of myth and memory, loss and magic, fear and love.
Iain Pears - The Bernini Bust
British art historian Jonathan Argyll has just sold a minor Titian to an American museum for a highly inflated price. But as he complacently awaits his cheque in the Californian sunshine, trouble erupts: the museum's billionaire owner is murdered, a dubious art dealer disappears, and a Bernini bust, apparently smuggled out of Italy, is missing. Things could hardly be worse, and the situation calls for assistance from his friends General Bottando and Flavia di Stefano of the Italian National Art Theft Squad, especially as things do get worse - the killer's attention turns to Jonathan himself. Cleverly mixing murder with art, _The Bernini Bust_ is a witty and intriguing mystery from the bestselling author of _An Instance of the Fingerpost._
David Mitchell - Ghostwritten
An apocalyptic cult member carries out a gas attack on a rush-hour metro, but what connects him to a jazz buff in Tokyo? A woman on a holy mountain talks to a tree - and the tree talks back - unaware of the effect the financial irregularities of a burnt-out lawyer will have on her life. Add to this - a Mongolian gangster, a redundant English spy in Petersburg with a knack for forging masterpieces, a despondent 'zookeeper', a nuclear scientist, a ghostwriter, a ghost, and a late night New York DJ whose hard-boiled scepticism has been his undoing. All of them have tales to tell, and all must play their part as they are caught up in the inescapable forces of cause and effect.
Stephenie Meyer - Twilight
A seventeen-year-old teenager, Bella Swan, moved from Phoniex to Forks, Washington to live with her father. After going to school one day, she falls deeply in love with who she didn't know was something she could have never guessed....a vampire. The gorgoeus Edward Cullen is the vampire. Once Edward gets over being a vampire and Bella a human, they get together. Although everybody else thinks that it's weird that Edward is finally dating, Bella and Edward simply don't care. When an unexpected visitor comes to Forks, Edward and Bella start to have some trouble. What will happen next? You'll have to read to find out.
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Read by Jim Dale Running time: 11 hrs., 48 mins. 10 CDs. For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts." Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.
J. K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
There is a door at the end of a silent corridor. And it's haunting Harry Potter's dreams. Why else would he be waking in the middle of the night, screaming in terror? Here are just a few things on Harry's mind: - A Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher with a personality like poisoned honey. - A venomous, disgruntled house-elf - Ron as keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team - The looming terror of the end-of-term Ordinary Wizarding Level exams . . . and of course, the growing threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. In the richest installment yet of J. K. Rowling's seven-part story, Harry Potter is faced with the unreliability of the very government of the magical world and the impotence of the authorities at Hogwarts. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), he finds depth and strength in his friends, beyond what even he knew, boundless loyalty; and unbearable sacrifice. Though thick runs the plot, listeners will race through these tapes and leave Hogwarts, like Harry, wishing only for the next train back.
Sebastian Faulks - A Possible Life
Terrified, a young prisoner in the Second World War closes his eyes and pictures himself going out to bat on a sunlit cricket ground in Hampshire. Across the courtyard in a Victorian workhouse, a father is too ashamed to acknowledge his son. A skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar; her voice sends shivers through the skull. Soldiers and lovers, parents and children, scientists and musicians risk their bodies and hearts in search of connection - some key to understanding what makes us the people we become. Provocative and profound, Sebastian Faulks's dazzling novel journeys across continents and time to explore the chaos created by love, separation and missed opportunities. From the pain and drama of these highly particular lives emerges a mysterious consolation: the chance to feel your heart beat in someone else's life
Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger
After her award-winning trilogy of Victorian novels, Sarah Waters turned to the 1940s and wrote THE NIGHT WATCH, a tender and tragic novel set against the backdrop of wartime Britain. Shortlisted for both the Orange and the Man Booker, it went straight to number one in the bestseller chart. In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his. Prepare yourself. From this wonderful writer who continues to astonish us, now comes a chilling ghost story.
Mark Z. Danielewski - House of Leaves
When Johnny Truant attempts to organize the many fragments of a strange manuscript by a dead blind man, it gains possession of his very soul. The manuscript is a complex commentary on a documentary film (The Navidson Record) about a house that defies all the laws of physics. Navidson's exploration of a seemingly endless, totally dark, and constantly changing labyrinth in the house becomes an examination of truth, perception, and darkness itself. The book interweaves the manuscript with over 400 footnotes to works real and imagined, thus illuminating both the text and Truant's mental disintegration. First novelist Danielewski employs avant-garde page layouts that are occasionally a bit too clever but are generally highly effective. Although it may be consigned to the "horror" genre, this novel is also a psychological thriller, a quest, a literary hoax, a dark comedy, and a work of cultural criticism. It is simultaneously a highly literary work and an absolute hoot. This powerful and extremely original novel is strongly recommended for all public and academic libraries.--Jim Dwyer, California State Univ. Lib., Chico Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kate Atkinson - Not the End of the World
What is the real world? Does it exist, or is it merely a means of keeping another reality at bay? Not the End of the World is Kate Atkinson's first collection of short stories. Playful and profound, they explore the world we think we know whilst offering a vision of another world which lurks just beneath the surface of our consciousness, a world where the myths we have banished from our lives are startlingly present and where imagination has the power to transform reality. From Charlene and Trudi, obsessively making lists while bombs explode softly in the streets outside, to gormless Eddie, maniacal cataloguer of fish, and Meredith Zane who may just have discovered the secret to eternal life, each of these stories shows that when the worlds of material existence and imagination collide, anything is possible.