Judith Schalansky is a wholly original writer whose books articulate perfectly what she wishes to say. Each of the pieces, following the conventions of a different genre, considers something that is irretrievably lost to the world, including the paradisal pacific island of Tuanaki, the Caspian Tiger, the Villa Sacchetti in Rome, Sappho’s love poems, Greta Garbo’s fading beauty, a painting by Caspar David Friedrich, and the former East Germany’s Palace of the Republic. As a child of the former East Germany, it’s not surprising that the dominant emotion in Schalansky’s work should be ‘loss’ and its aftermath, but what is extraordinary is the thoroughly engaging mixture of intellectual curiosity, down-to-earth grasp of life’s pitiless vitality, ironic humour, stylistic elegance and intensity of feeling.
‘Intimacies’ exquisitely charts the steps and missteps of young women trying to find their place in the world. From a Belfast student ordering illegal drugs online to end an unwanted pregnancy to a young mother’s brush with mortality; from a Christmas Eve walking the city centre streets when everything seems possible, to a night flight from Canada which could change a life irrevocably, these are stories of love, loss and exile, of new beginnings and lives lived away from ‘home’.
Eric Watt’s photographic legacy reveals how the cityscape has changed in the five decades in which he worked, capturing much of Glasgow’s social history, its citizens and streets. Featuring black and white and colour images, this book has commentary putting the social history of Glasgow into context, alongside captions for each image. It is published to coincide with an exhibition of Eric Watt’s work at Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum during 2020/21.
In the 1930s, as official government expeditions set their sights on conquering Everest, a little-known World War I veteran named Maurice Wilson conceived his own crazy, beautiful plan: he would fly a Gipsy Moth aeroplane from England to Everest, crash land on its lower slopes, then become the first person to reach its summit – all utterly alone. Wilson didn’t know how to climb. He barely knew how to fly. But he had pluck, daring and a vision – he wanted to be the first man to stand on top of the world. Traumatised by his wartime experiences and leaving behind a trail of broken hearts, Wilson believed that Everest could redeem him. This is the tale of an adventurer unlike any you have ever encountered: an unforgettable story about the power of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
March 1976: St Constance, a tiny Caribbean village on the island of Black Conch. A fisherman sings to himself, waiting for a catch – but attracts a sea-dweller he doesn’t expect. A beautiful young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid has been swimming the Caribbean Sea for centuries. And she is entranced by the fisherman and and his song. But her fascination is her undoing. She hears his boat’s engine again, follows it, and finds herself at the mercy of American tourists. After a fearsome battle, she is pulled out of the sea and strung up on the dock as a trophy. The fisherman rescues her, and gently wins her trust – as she starts to transform into a woman. The novel’s characters are an unlikely mix: a mermaid, a fisherman, a deaf boy, a Caribbean artist and sweetman and a benevolent white landowner.
It is 1800. On desolate, marshy ground between Lake Michigan and the Illinois River, a man builds a house and a city is born. This debut novel follows Chicago’s tumultuous first century, evoking how a city is made: by a succession of vivid, sometimes villainous individuals and their cumulative invention, energy and vision.
A house on a French hillside. Two couples: the wife of a doctor presumed killed on the battlefields of the First World War, and a mysterious German lion tamer hiding his circus animals from requisition; and Parisian Franck and his wife Lise, who has booked them into the isolated gite to escape twenty-first century life. When a hungry wolfdog emerges from the forest, Franck begins to discover dark secrets about the house, and himself.
An epidemic of insomnia has left America crippled with exhaustion. Thankfully the Slumber Corps agency provides a lifeline, transfusing sleep to sufferers from healthy volunteers. Recruitment manager Trish Edgewater, whose sister Dori was one of the first victims of the disaster, has spent the last seven years enlisting new donors. But when she meets the mysterious Donor Y and Baby A – whose sleep can be universally accepted – her faith in the organisation and in her own motives begins to unravel.
‘Sudden Traveller’ is Sarah Hall’s third story collection. Featuring her signature themes of identity, eroticism, and existential quest, these new stories travel far afield in location and ambition. From Turkish forests to rain-drenched Cumbrian villages, Hall’s characters walk, drive, dream, and fly, trying to reconcile themselves with their journeys through life, death, and love. Science fiction meets folktale and philosophy meets mortality.
One of the most popular American writers of the twentieth century, O. Henry’s comic eye and unique, playful approach to the rough material of life’s realities are unmatched. These stories, which range from the cattle-lands of Texas to the bars of New York, highlight the joys of avoiding habit and convention, and demonstrate O. Henry’s mastery of speech and place.
In 1964, two years after the critically lauded release of his debut novel ‘A Different Drummer’, William Melvin Kelley published his first collection of short stories, ‘Dancers on the Shore’. Reissued in a new edition by riverrun, these seventeen stories expand Kelley’s literary world, showcase his limitless imagination and spotlight his inimitable talent.