Natsuki isn’t like the other girls. She has a wand and a transformation mirror. She might be a witch, or an alien from another planet. Together with her cousin, Yuu, Natsuki spends her summers in the wild mountains of Nagano, dreaming of other worlds. When a terrible sequence of events threatens to part the two children forever, they make a promise: survive, no matter what.
Ally’s husband Tom leaves, only weeks into their marriage, to build lighthouses in Japan. Ally, one of Britain’s first female doctors, takes work at an asylum in Truro. With only letters sent across the ocean to sustain them, and with Ally now battling her old demons alone, will their marriage survive?
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.
Fleeing the dark undercurrents of contemporary life in Britain, Hilary Byrd takes refuge in Ooty, a hill station in south India. There he finds solace in life’s simple pleasures, travelling by rickshaw around the small town with his driver Jamshed and staying in a mission house beside the local presbytery where the Padre and his adoptive daughter Priscilla have taken Hilary under their wing. The Padre is concerned for Priscilla’s future, and as Hilary’s friendship with the young woman grows, he begins to wonder whether his purpose lies in this new relationship. But religious tensions are brewing and the mission house may not be the safe haven it seems.
Since 2009, a spate of Tibetan self-immolations protesting Chinese policies have taken place, bringing the fraught history and relations between Tibet and China to Western attention once again. In ‘Eat the Buddha’, Barbara Demick journeys to Aba, a small town perched at an altitude of 12,000 feet on the Eastern edges of the Tibetan plateau, where the protests began and continue apace, and which is now the engine of Tibetan resistance.
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.
August is an average twelve year old – he likes dogs and fishing and doesn’t even mind early morning chores on his family’s farm. When his parents’ marriage falls apart and he has to start over in a new town, he tries hard to be an average teen – playing football and doing his homework – but he struggles to form friendships. So, when a shocking act of violence pushes him off course once more, he flees to rural Montana. There, as he throws himself into work on a ranch, he comes to learn that even the smallest of communities have secrets and even the most broken of families have a bond.
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.
Helen Grant is a mystery to her daughter. An extrovert with few friends who has sought intimacy in the wrong places; a twice-divorced mother-of-two now living alone surrounded by her memories, Helen (known to her acquaintances as ‘Hen’) has always haunted Bridget. Now, Bridget is an academic in her forties. She sees Helen once a year, and considers the problem to be contained. As she looks back on their tumultuous relationship – the performances and small deceptions – she tries to reckon with the cruelties inflicted on both sides. But when Helen makes it clear that she wants more, it seems an old struggle will have to be replayed.
‘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.
England, 1643. Parliament is battling the King; the war between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers rages. Puritanical fervour has gripped the nation, and the hot terror of damnation burns black in every shadow. In Manningtree, depleted of men since the wars began, the women are left to their own devices. At the margins of this diminished community are those who are barely tolerated by the affluent villagers – the old, the poor, the unmarried, the sharp-tongued. Rebecca West, daughter of the formidable Beldam West, fatherless and husbandless, chafes against the drudgery of her days, livened only by her infatuation with the clerk John Edes. But then newcomer Matthew Hopkins, a mysterious, pious figure dressed from head to toe in black, takes over The Thorn Inn and begins to ask questions about the women of the margins.
Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. Two vast lakes joined by underground rivers. Two lakes that seem to hold both the turbulent memories of the region’s past, and the secret of its enduring allure. Two lakes that have played a central role in Kapka Kassabova’s maternal family. As she journeys to her grandmother’s place of origin, Kassabova encounters a civilisational crossroads. The Lakes are set within the mountainous borderlands of North Macedonia, Albania and Greece, and crowned by the old Roman road, the via Egnatia. Once a trading and spiritual nexus of the southern Balkans, this lake region remains one of Eurasia’s most culturally diverse areas. By exploring on water and land the stories of poets, fishermen, and caretakers, misfits, rulers, and inheritors of war and exile, Kassabova uncovers the human history shaped by the Lakes.
‘Hiking with Nietzsche’ is a tale of two philosophical journeys – one made by John Kaag as an introspective young man of 19, the other 17 years later, in radically different circumstances: he is now a husband and father, and his wife and small child are in tow. Kaag sets off for the Swiss peaks above Sils Maria where Nietzsche wrote his landmark work ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’. Both of Kaag’s journeys are made in search of the wisdom at the core of Nietzsche’s philosophy, yet they deliver him to radically different interpretations and, more crucially, revelations about the human condition. Just as Kaag’s acclaimed debut, ‘American Philosophy’, seamlessly wove together his philosophical discoveries with his search for meaning, this book is a fascinating exploration not only of Nietzsche’s ideals but of how his experience of living relates to us as individuals in the 21st century.