In Tokyo – one of the world’s largest megacities – a stray cat is wending her way through the back alleys. And, with each detour, she brushes up against the seemingly disparate lives of the city-dwellers, connecting them in unexpected ways. But the city is changing. As it does, it pushes her to the margins where she chances upon a series of apparent strangers – from a homeless man squatting in an abandoned hotel, to a shut-in hermit afraid to leave his house, to a convenience store worker searching for love. The cat orbits Tokyo’s denizens, drawing them ever closer. In a series of spellbinding, interlocking narratives – with styles ranging from manga to footnotes – Nick Bradley has hewn a novel of interplay and estrangement; of survival and self-destruction; of the desire to belong and the need to escape.
In the present, Sacha knows the world’s in trouble. Her brother Robert just is trouble. Their mother and father are having trouble. Meanwhile the world’s in meltdown – and the real meltdown hasn’t even started yet. In the past, a lovely summer. A different brother and sister know they’re living on borrowed time. This is a story about people on the brink of change. They’re family, but they think they’re strangers. So: where does family begin? And what do people who think they’ve got nothing in common have in common? Summer.
Calla knows how the lottery works. Everyone does. On the day of your first bleed, you report to the station to learn what kind of woman you will be. A white ticket grants you children. A blue ticket grants you freedom. You are relieved of the terrible burden of choice. And, once you’ve taken your ticket, there is no going back. But what if the life you’re given is the wrong one?
From the moment she hears Lev’s violin for the first time, Helena Attlee is captivated. She is told that it is an Italian instrument, named after its former Russian owner. Eager to discover all she can about its ancestry, and the stories contained within its delicate wooden body, she sets out for its birthplace, Cremona, once the hometown of famous luthier Antonio Stradivari. This is the beginning of a beguiling journey whose end she could never have anticipated.
William Trevor is one of the most renowned figures in contemporary literature, described as ‘the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language’ by the New Yorker and acclaimed for his haunting and profound insights into the human heart. This title offers a collection of his short fiction.
Teenage Eulabee and her magnetic best friend, Maria Fabiola, own the streets of Sea Cliff, their foggy oceanside San Francisco neighbourhood. They know Sea Cliff’s homes and beaches, its hidden corners and eccentric characters – as well as the upscale all-girls’ school they attend. One day, walking to school with friends, they witness a horrible act – or do they? Eulabee and Maria Fabiola vehemently disagree on what happened, and their rupture is followed by Maria Fabiola’s sudden disappearance – a potential kidnapping that shakes the quiet community and threatens to expose unspoken truths. Suspenseful and poignant, ‘We Run the Tides’ is Vendela Vida’s masterful portrait of an inimitable place on the brink of radical transformation.
Fleeing a past they can no longer remember, Pew wakes on a church bench, surrounded by curious strangers. Pew doesn’t have a name, they’ve forgotten it. Pew doesn’t know if they’re a girl or a boy, a child or an almost-adult. Is Pew an orphan, or something worse? And what terrible trouble are they running from? Pew won’t speak, but the men and women of this small, god-fearing town are full of questions. As the days pass, their insistent clamour will build from a murmur to a roar, as both the innocent and the guilty come undone in the face of Pew’s silence.
‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.’ Elizabeth Barrett Browning has come down to us as a romantic heroine. But behind the melodrama lies a thoroughly modern figure, whose extraordinary life is a study in self-invention. Born into an age when women could neither vote nor own property once married, Barrett Browning seized control of her private income, overcame long term illness and disability, eloped to revolutionary Italy with Robert Browning – and achieved lasting fame as a poet. Feminist icon, political activist and international literary superstar, she inspired writers as diverse as Emily Dickinson, George Eliot, Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde and Virginia Woolf. This book holds up a mirror to the woman, her art, and the art of biography itself.
‘Gay Bar’ is a sparkling, richly individual history of the gay bars of London, San Francisco and Los Angeles, focusing on the post-AIDs crisis years of the 1990s to the present day. It is also the story of Jeremy Atherton Lin’s own experiences as a gay man, and the lifelong romance that began one restless night in Soho. In prose both playful and challenging, he immerses his reader in the unique experience of a life lived in and out of these spaces.
Strangers do it, friends do it, politicians do it and so do chimpanzees: in fact, the handshake is so deeply embedded in our history and culture that it might even be older than humanity itself. So let’s shake on it, and join palaeoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi as she embarks on a voyage of discovery through everything from evolutionary biology to the etiquette of modern life.
1289. A rich farmer fears he’ll go to hell for cheating his neighbours. His wife wants pilgrim badges to sew into her hat and show off at church. A poor, ragged villager is convinced his beloved cat is suffering in the fires of purgatory and must be rescued. A mother is convinced her son’s dangerous illness is punishment for her own adultery and seeks forgiveness so he may be cured. A landlord is in trouble with the church after he punched an abbot on the nose. A sexually driven noblewoman seeks a divorce so she can marry her new young beau. These are among a group of pilgrims that sets off on the tough and dangerous journey from England to Rome, where they hope all their troubles will be answered. Some in the party who have their own, secret reasons for going.
The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ story lines intersect?
Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. They’ve been together for a few years but now they’re not sure why they’re still a couple. When Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he discovers the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike’s immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it. Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they’ve ever known. And just maybe they’ll all be okay in the end.
Set in a near-future America, an America that has borne two terms of a Trump presidency and is now in the first term of Donald’s daughter as president, Frank Brill, a retired small-town newspaper editor, lives in a world where the populist policies Trump is so keen to pursue are getting more and more extreme. Frank, a good man, has just been given a terminal diagnosis. Rather than compile a bucket list of all the things he’s ever wanted to do, he instead has at the ready his ‘fuck-it list’. Because Frank has had to endure more than his fair share of personal misfortune. And he has the names of those who are to blame for all of the tragedies that have befallen him. But eventually, as he becomes more accustomed to dishing out cold revenge and the stakes get higher and higher, and with a rogue county sheriff on his tail, there only remains one name left at the bottom of his fuck-it list.