Mr Watanabe is a victim of one of the largest collective traumas of the last century, and a fugitive from his own memory. A survivor of the atomic bombs dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, he has evaded the trauma of those experiences for most of his adult life. When the earthquake which precedes the Fukushima nuclear disaster strikes, the past becomes present, and Mr Watanabe begins a journey that will change everything.
Olga is an orphan raised by her grandmother in a Prussian village around the turn of the 20th century. Smart and precocious, she fights against the prejudices of the time to find her place in a world that sees her as second-best.When she falls in love with Herbert, a local aristocrat obsessed with the era’s dreams of power, glory and greatness, her life is irremediably changed. Theirs is a love against all odds, entwined with the twisting paths of German history, leading us from the late 19th to the early 21st century, from Germany to Africa and the Arctic, from the Baltic Sea to the German south-west. This is the story of that love, of Olga’s devotion to a restless man – told in thought, letters and in a fateful moment of great rebellion.
Traces Nina Bouraoui’s blissful childhood in Algeria, a wild, sun-soaked paradise, with hazy summer afternoons spent swimming, diving, and driving across the desert. Her mother is French, her father Algerian; when racial tensions begin to surface in their neighbourhood, her mother suffers an unspeakable act of violence that forces the family to flee the country. In Paris, 18-year-old Nina lives alone. It’s the 1980s. Four nights a week she makes her way to The Kat, a legendary gay nightclub, where she watches women from the sidelines, afraid of her own desires, her sudden and intoxicating freedom. In her solitude, she starts to write – and finds herself writing about her mother.
Joseph enlists with a temp agency and starts to pick up casual shifts in the fish processing plants and abattoirs of Brittany. A novel in verse that captures the mundane, the beautiful and the strange, in poignant contrast with the blood and sweat of the factory floor.
A masterpiece of contemporary Gothic from the internationally acclaimed author of Things We Lost in the Fire’Mariana Enriquez is a mesmerizing writer who demands to be read. Like BolaÃ¯Â¿Â½o, she is interested in matters of life and death, and her fiction hits with the full force of a train’ Dave EggersWelcome to Buenos Aires, a city thrumming with murderous intentions and morbid desires, where missing children come back from the dead and unearthed bones carry terrible curses. These brilliant, unsettling tales of revenge, witchcraft, fetishes, disappearances and urban madness spill over with women and girls whose dark inclinations will lead them over the edge.
With the death of her aunt, Maria Stepanova is left to sift through an apartment full of faded photographs, old postcards, diaries, and heaps of souvenirs: a withered repository of a century of life in Russia. Carefully reassembled, these shards tell the story of how a seemingly ordinary Jewish family managed to survive the twentieth century.
Swedish immigrant Kristin won’t talk about the Project growing inside her. Her Brazilian-born Scottish boyfriend Ciaran won’t speak English at all; he is trying to immerse himself in a Swedish sprakbad language bath, to prepare for their future, whatever the fick that means. Their Edinburgh flat is starting to feel very small. As this young couple is forced to confront the thing that they are both avoiding, they must reckon with the bigger questions of the world outside, and their places in it.
At the centre of young Ismail’s world is the unknowable figure of his mother. Delicate as a paper doll, she is an unlikely presence in her husband’s great stone house, with its hidden rooms and infamous dungeon, and is constantly at odds with her wise and thin-lipped mother-in-law. But despite her lightness and unchanging youthful nature, she is not without her own enigmas.Most of all, she fears that her intellectual son – who uses words she doesn’t understand, publishes radical poetry, falls in love freely and seems to be renouncing everything she embodies of the old world – will have to exchange her for a superior mother when he becomes a famous writer. Dedicated to the memory of his mother and circling back to his childhood in Albania, ‘The Doll’ is Ismail Kadare’s delicate and disarming tale of home and creative longing, of writerly aspiration, and of personal and political freedom.
Yoel has always known that his mother escaped the Nazis from Amsterdam. But it is not until after she has died that he finally visits the city of his birth. There, watching an old film clip at the Jewish Historical Museum, he sees a woman with a small child: it is his mother, but the child is not him. So begins a fervent search for the truth that becomes the subject of his magnum opus, revealing Amsterdam’s dark wartime history and the underground networks which hid Jewish children away from danger – but at a cost.
Marlene Wegener is on the run. She has stolen something from her husband, something priceless, irreplaceable. But she doesn’t get very far. When her car veers off a bleak midwinter road she takes refuge in the remote home of Simon Keller, a tough mountain man who lives alone with his demons. Here in her high mountain sanctuary, she begins to rekindle a sense of herself: tough, capable, no longer the trophy on a gangster’s arm. But Herr Wegener does not know how to forgive, and in his rage he makes a pact with the devil. The Trusted Man. He cannot be called off, he cannot be reasoned with and one way or another he will get the job done. Unless, of course, he’s beaten to it.