The arrival of an enigmatic stranger wreaks havoc on the denizens of the idyllic English village of Little Camborne; most notably two apparently harmless women. Miss Finch and Miss Swallow, cousins, have put their pasts behind them and settled into conventional country life. But when Theodore Cadmus – from Caldera, a Mediterranean island nobody has heard of – moves into the middle cottage, the safe monotony of their lives is shattered. The fates of the two cousins and Mr Cadmus, and those of Little Camborne and Caldera, become inextricably enmeshed. Long-hidden secrets and long-held grudges threaten to surface, drawing all into a vortex of subterfuge, theft, violence, mayhem and murder.
Throughout history we have told ourselves stories to try and make sense of what it all means: our place in a small corner of one of billions of galaxies, at the end of billions of years of existence. Richard Holloway takes us on a personal, scientific and philosophical journey to explore what he believes the answers to the biggest of questions are. He examines what we know about the universe into which – without any choice in the matter – we are propelled at birth and from which we are expelled at death, the stories we have told about where we come from, and the stories we tell to get through this muddling experience of life.
Halfway through her PhD and already dreaming of running her own lab, computer scientist Asha has her future all mapped out. Then a chance meeting and whirlwind romance with her old high-school crush, Cyrus, changes everything. Dreaming big, together with their friend Jules they come up with a revolutionary idea: to build a social networking app that could bring meaning to millions of lives. While Asha creates an ingenious algorithm, Cyrus’ charismatic appeal throws him into the spotlight. When the app explodes into the next big thing, Asha should be happy, shouldn’t she? But why does she feel invisible in the boardroom of her own company? Why are decisions being made without her?
It is 1788. When twenty-one-year-old Elizabeth marries the proud, scarred soldier John Macarthur, she soon realises she has made a terrible mistake. Forced to travel with him to New South Wales, she arrives to find Sydney Town a brutal, dusty, hungry place of makeshift shelters, failing crops, scheming, and rumours. All her life she has learned to fold herself up small. Now, in the vast landscapes of an unknown continent, Elizabeth has to discover a strength she never imagined, and passions she could never express. Inspired by the real life of a remarkable woman, this is an extraordinarily rich, beautifully wrought novel of resilience, courage, and the mystery of human desire.
In this moving and lyrical collection of essays, the award-winning poet and novelist Kei Miller explores the silence in which so many important things are kept. He examines the experience of discrimination through this silence and what it means to breach it: to risk words, to risk truths. And he considers the histories our bodies inherit – the crimes that haunt them, and how meaning can shift as we move throughout the world, variously assuming privilege or victimhood. Through letters to James Baldwin, encounters with Derek Walcott, Liam Neeson, Soca, Carnival, family secrets, love affairs, white women’s tears, questions of aesthetics and more, Miller powerfully and imaginatively recounts everyday acts of racism and prejudice.
Annie Perry is born beside the coal-muddied canals of the Black Country, at the height of the industrial revolution. The youngest in a large Romani family who cannot afford to keep her, when she is eight years old Annie is sold as a servant to the famous and feared bare-knuckle boxer Bill Perry, The Tipton Slasher.Bill is starting to lose his strength, but refuses to give up his crown. When it looks like a fight might become Bill’s last, Annie steps into the ring, fists raised in his defence. From that moment she is determined to train and follow in Bill’s footsteps, to learn to fight for herself. But Annie has been doing this all along. A whole new world opens up for Annie, one of love, fortune, family and education, but also of danger. One wrong move, one misstep, and the course of her life will be changed forever.
‘See/Saw’ is an illuminating history of how photographs frame and change our perspectives. Starting from single images by the world’s most important photographers – from Eugene Atget to Alex Webb – Geoff Dyer shows us how to read a photograph, as he takes us through a series of close readings that are by turns moving, funny, prescient and surprising.
To everyone else, Terri White appeared to be living the dream, named one of Folio’s Top Women in US Media and accruing further awards for the magazines she was editing. In reality, she was rapidly skidding towards a mental health crisis that would land her in a locked psychiatric ward as her past caught up with her. As well as growing up in a household in poverty, Terri endured sexual and physical abuse at the hands of a number of her mother’s partners. Her success defied all expectations, but the greater the disparity between her outer achievements and inner demons, the more she struggled to hold everything together. ‘Coming Undone’ is the story of Terri’s unravelling, and her precarious navigation back from a life in pieces.
Ariel Manto has a fascination with a 19th century scientist by the name of Thomas Lumas. His rarest work, ‘The End of Mr. Y’, was written before his disappearance, and the same fate seems to have befallen all the book’s few readers ever since. When Ariel uncovers a copy in a second-hand bookshop, she is launched into an adventure.
In 1983, backstage at the Lyceum in London, Tracey Thorn and Lindy Morrison first met. Tracey’s music career was just beginning, while Lindy, drummer for The Go-Betweens, was ten years her senior. They became confidantes, comrades and best friends, a relationship cemented by gossip and feminism, books and gigs and rock ‘n’ roll love affairs. Morrison – a headstrong heroine blazing her way through a male-dominated industry – came to be a kind of mentor to Thorn. They shared the joy and the struggle of being women in a band, trying to outwit and face down a chauvinist music media. Thorn takes stock of 37 years of friendship, teasing out the details of connection and affection between two women who seem to be either complete opposites or mirror images of each other. This important book asks what people see, who does the looking, and ultimately who writes women out of – and back into – history.
When an American sailor from the Holy Loch Base goes missing, Harry McCoy is determined to find him. But as he investigates, a wave of bombings hits Glasgow – with the threat of more to come. Soon McCoy realises that the sailor may be part of a shadowy organisation committed to a very different kind of Scotland. One they are prepared to kill for. Meanwhile Cooper, McCoy’s long-time criminal friend, is released from jail and convinced he has a traitor in his midst. As allies become enemies, Cooper has to fight for his position and his life.
Set in the fictional African village of Kosawa, ‘How Beautiful We Were’ tells the story of a people living in fear amidst environmental degradation wrought by an American oil company. Pipeline spills have rendered farmlands infertile. Children are dying from drinking toxic water. Promises of clean-up and financial reparations to the villagers are made – and ignored. The country’s government, led by a brazen dictator, exists to serve its own interest only. Left with few choices, the people of Kosawa decide to fight back. But their fight will come at a steep price, one which generation after generation will have to pay.
Since 2002, Mohamedou Slahi has been imprisoned at the detainee camp at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba. In all these years, the United States has never charged him with a crime. Although he was ordered to be released by a federal judge, the U.S. government fought that decision, and there is no sign that the United States plans to let him go. Three years into his captivity Slahi began a diary, recounting his life before he disappeared into U.S. custody and daily life as a detainee. His diary is not merely a vivid record of a miscarriage of justice, but a deeply personal memoir – terrifying, darkly humorous, and surprisingly gracious.
When Nora Seed finds herself in the Midnight Library, she has a chance to make things right. Up until now, her life has been full of misery and regret. She feels she has let everyone down, including herself. But things are about to change. The books in the Midnight Library enable Nora to live as if she had done things differently. With the help of an old friend, she can now undo every one of her regrets as she tries to work out her perfect life. But things aren’t always what she imagined they’d be, and soon her choices place the library and herself in extreme danger. Before time runs out, she must answer the ultimate question: what is the best way to live?
Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience to. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen. Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death’s scribe, and begins to write her memoirs. Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced – or, in the case of Mrs Death, facilitated – their friendship grows into a surprising affirmation of hope, resilience, and love.
Kerri nÃ Dochartaigh was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, at the very height of the Troubles. She was brought up on a grey and impoverished council estate on the wrong side of town. But for her family, and many others, there was no right side. One parent was Catholic, the other was Protestant. In the space of one year they were forced out of two homes and when she was eleven a homemade petrol bomb was thrown through her bedroom window. Terror was in the very fabric of the city, and for families like Kerri’s, the ones who fell between the cracks of identity, it seemed there was no escape. In ‘Thin Places’, a mixture of memoir, history and nature writing, Kerri explores how nature kept her sane and helped her heal, how violence and poverty are never more than a stone’s throw from beauty and hope, and how we are, once again, allowing our borders to become hard, and terror to creep back in.