‘A jack-in-the-box, a Fabergé gem, a clockwork toy, a chess problem, an infernal machine, a trap to catch reviewers, a cat-and-mouse game, a do-it-yourself novel . . . one of the great works of art of [the 20th] century’
‘Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically’
‘Phenomenally clever and very funny’
‘The surest demonstration of his own genius . . . that remarkable tour de force’
‘Monstrous, witty, intricately entertaining . . . dazzling’
I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the windowpane;
I was the smudge of ashen fluff – and I
Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.
An ingeniously constructed parody of detective fiction and learned commentary, Pale Fire offers a cornucopia of deceptive pleasures, at the centre of which is a 999-line poem written by the literary genius John Shade just before his death. Surrounding the poem is a foreword and commentary by the demented scholar Charles Kinbote, who interweaves adoring literary analysis with the fantastical tale of an assassin from the land of Zembla in pursuit of a deposed king. Brilliantly constructed and wildly inventive, this darkly witty novel of suspense, literary one-upmanship, and political intrigue achieves that rarest of things in literature – perfect tragicomic balance.
A W&N Essential
High in the mountains of northern Tenerife, the sun hides behind a seemingly endless ceiling of cloud cover that traps the region’s inhabitants in an abject, infernal heat. There, in a ramshackle village far from the island’s glamorous beach resorts, two adolescent girls pass a treacherous summer in each other’s all-consuming company.
The nine-year-old narrator is known to us only as Shit – a pet name given to her by her best friend Isora. Blonde, brash, beautiful Isora, who isn’t afraid to mock the boys around town or gossip with the adults; who, though she is only one year older, has already grown breasts and pubic hair. Together, Shit and Isora wander the streets, shooing away the neighborhood’s many pitiful dogs; they try to keep skinny by vomiting up sweets; they dream of shiny BMWs that will take them down to the beach, where they will finally get to enjoy the sea, just like the tourists whose vacation homes Shit’s mother cleans for a living. But as June turns to July, and July to August, the narrator’s simmering love for her friend erupts into a painful sexual awakening, just as Isora begins to heed the first calls of womanhood. Shit tries to keep up with her, but learns that growing up is a path one must walk alone; a journey so solitary, it can lead even the most intimate friendships to violent ends.
Written in the pizzicato of Canary dialect and striking a gorgeous, crystal pitch, Dogs of Summer is a novel of terrifying power and exquisite yearning. Andrea Abreu’s debut heralds the arrival of a startling new talent; it is a visceral, sublime story about beauty – and love – forged in an essential but neglected corner of the world.
‘The most exquisite kind of literature… I’ve put it on a special shelf in my library that I reserve for books that can never be fully exhausted-books that demand to be revisited every now and then. ‘
Olga Tokarczuk, author of The Books of Jacob and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
‘In equal measure playful and profound, Georgi Gospodinov’s Time Shelter renders the philosophical mesmerizing, and the everyday extraordinary. I loved it’
Claire Messud, author of The Woman Upstairs
‘Gospodinov is one of Europe’s most fascinating and irreplaceable novelists, and this his most expansive, soulful and mind-bending book’
Dave Eggers, author of The Circle
‘A powerful and brilliant novel: clear-sighted, foreboding, enigmatic. A novel in which the future gives way like a rotten beam and the past rushes in like a flood’
Sandro Veronesi, author of The Hummingbird
‘A trickster at heart, and often very funny… Gospodinov is one of the leading writers in Europe: every book is an event’
Garth Greenwell, The New Yorker
In Time Shelter, an enigmatic flâneur named Gaustine opens a ‘clinic for the past’ that offers a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s sufferers: each floor reproduces a decade in minute detail, transporting patients back in time.
As Gaustine’s assistant, the unnamed narrator is tasked with collecting the flotsam and jetsam of the past, from 1960s furniture and 1940s shirt buttons to scents and even afternoon light. But as the rooms become more convincing, an increasing number of healthy people seek out the clinic as a ‘time shelter’, hoping to escape from the horrors of our present – a development that results in an unexpected conundrum when the past begins to invade the present.
Intricately crafted, and eloquently translated by Angela Rodel, Time Shelter cements Georgi Gospodinov’s reputation as one of the indispensable writers of our times, a major voice in international literature.
Georgi Gospodinov is one of Europe’s most acclaimed writers. Originally from Bulgaria, his novels have won his country’s most prestigious literary prize twice and have been shortlisted for more than a dozen international prizes – including the 2015 PEN Literary Award for Translation, the Premio Gregor von Rezzori, the Premio Strega Europeo, the Bruecke Berlin Preis, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Literaturpreis. He has won the 2016 Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, the 2019 Angelus Literature Central Europe Prize and the 2021 Premio Strega Europeo, among others.
We join San in 1970s rural South Korea, a young girl ostracised from her community. She meets a girl called Namae, and they become friends until one afternoon changes everything. Following a moment of physical intimacy in a minari field, Namae violently rejects San, setting her on a troubling path of quashed desire and isolation.
We next meet San, aged twenty-two, as she starts a job in a flower shop. There, we are introduced to a colourful cast of characters, including the shop’s mute owner, the other florist Su-ae, and the customers that include a sexually aggressive businessman and a photographer, who San develops an obsession for. Throughout, San’s moment with Namae lingers in the back of her mind.
A story of desire and violence about a young woman who everyone forgot, VIOLETS is a captivating and sensual read, full of tragedy but also beauty in its lush, vibrant prose.
“[VIOLETS] binds a spell around the reader until the very end” Park Wanseo
“I always find myself acting out the main character in my mind when I read Kyung-Sook Shin’s novels. Reading VIOLETS is like she’s writing a script written perfectly for me” Doona Bae, actor (Netflix’s SENSE8, CLOUD ATLAS)
“The story of thwarted desires and the isolated individuals that harbor them… clean prose filled with Shin’s trademark rich descriptions” Korea Economic Daily
EVENING STANDARD’S ‘BEST FICTION BOOKS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2022’
WHAT DO YOU DO, WHEN YOU FIND THE PERFECT FAMILY…
…AND IT’S NOT YOURS?
‘Rare and delightful . . . A beautifully crafted novel about female relationships. I couldn’t put this book down’ MARIE CLAIRE
The only thing Abi ever wanted was a proper family. So when she falls pregnant by an Australian exchange student in London, she cannot pack up her old life in Croydon fast enough, to start all over in Sydney and make her own family.
It is not until she arrives, with three-week-old Jude in tow, that Abi realises Stu is not quite ready to be a father after all. And he is the only person she knows in this hot, dazzling, confusing city, where the job of making friends is turning out to be harder than she thought.
That is, until she meets Phyllida, her wealthy, charming, imperious older neighbour, and they become almost like mother and daughter.
If only Abi had not told Phil that teeny tiny small lie, the very first day they met…
‘Sunshine and skullduggery, movie stars and mayhem – Joe Ide brings us Philip Marlowe who wears our twenty-first century like a well-cut suit’
‘How the hell do you write a mystery about Philip Marlowe, set it in Los Angeles, and still make it a total gobsmacking original? That’s the miracle of Joe Ide’s The Goodbye Coast. Ide has created a Philip Marlowe for the 2020s’
‘Not so much a reimagining of Chandler’s world as a reinvigoration. By transplanting Philip Marlowe to 2021 LA, Joe Ide has chiseled off the rust while keeping the soul of one of American fiction’s icons. The Goodbye Coast is a blast from start to finish’
The seductive and relentless figure of Raymond Chandler’s detective, Philip Marlowe, is vividly re-imagined in present-day Los Angeles
Los Angeles – a city of scheming Malibu actresses, ruthless gang members, virulent inequality and washed-out police.
Roaming the city streets is Philip Marlowe: a quiet, lonely, remarkably capable private detective, living beneath the shadow of his father – a once-decorated LAPD homicide detective now drinking his life away.
Marlowe’s latest client is tyrannical starlet Kendra James. Kendra’s husband was fatally shot near their Malibu home, but even though that murder remains unresolved, the actress is more interested in tracking down her 17-year-old stepdaughter, who hasn’t been seen for weeks.
But things get complicated after Marlowe lands a second missing person search from British academic Ren Stewart, whose ex-husband has kidnapped their seven-year-old son.
Steeped in the richly detailed ethnic neighborhoods of modern LA, Ide’s The Goodbye Coast is a bold recreation that is viciously funny, ingeniously plotted, and surprisingly tender.
‘Incredibly entertaining… Lipstein milks the comedy of [his character’s] traits almost as well as Kingsley Amis did in Lucky Jim‘
New York Times
‘If you’ve ever wondered where writers get their ideas from, Last Resort is wicked fun. If you’re a writer, Last Resort is heartburn in print… A deliciously absurd comedy about literary fame’
Ron Charles, Washington Post
‘One of the best endings in recent memory… You’ll think about Last Resort for weeks after you read the last pages’
Los Angeles Times
‘So horribly delicious that the reader won’t even dream of looking away’
LitHub, Most Anticipated Books of 2022
‘If Less by Andrew Sean Greer left a hole in your life, good news: Last Resort will fill it. Fast and funny, it feels like a backstage pass to the book world’
Meg Mason, author of Sorrow and Bliss
‘Fun and witty… Caleb Horowitz is exactly the kind of character I love to hate: self-justifying but reflective, self-centred but loving’
Claire Fuller, Costa Novel Award winner of Unsettled Ground
‘Last Resort is one of those novels about writing guaranteed to make every novelist who reads it blush with its unsparing portrayal of greed, obsession and smug superiority. Wickedly funny: I loved it’
Patrick Gale, author of Mother’s Boy
‘A brilliant take on what it means to be an artist in a world of endless compromises. Look out, Faust, there’s a new sheriff in town’
Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and Lake Success
‘Last Resort is a strange and beguiling book about the contrivances, connivances and mysteries of creation, with an especially visceral depiction of male anxiety and an absolutely blistering end. A terrific debut’
Joshua Ferris, author of Then We Came to the End
When a bestseller-to-be cuts too close to reality, its author must make a Faustian bargain – both on the page and in real life
Caleb Horowitz is twenty-seven, and his wildest dreams are about to come true. His manuscript has caught the attention of the literary agent, who offers him fame, fortune and a taste of the literary life. He can’t wait for his book to be shopped around to every editor in New York, except one: Avi Dietsch, a college rival and the novel’s ‘inspiration.’
When Avi gets his hands on the manuscript, he sees nothing but theft – and opportunity. And so Caleb is forced to make a Faustian bargain, one that tests his theories of success, ambition and the limits of art.
A blazing debut novel blurring the lines of fact and fiction: a thrilling story of fame, fortune, and impossible choices.
‘Warm and uplifting storytelling: a delightful treat’
Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures
‘If you’re not in the Yuletide mood yet, you will be after this’
‘An ode to the strange and wonderful time that is Christmas’
‘A novel that’s sure to warm the heart of any Scrooge’
‘Tender and moving, Gifts is infused with Christmas magic – that bittersweet mix of joy, yearning, sadness and hope that accompanies the festive season’
‘A gorgeous festive tale… Beautifully written and highly emotionally intelligent’
‘I loved The Versions Of Us by Laura Barnett and her new novel is just as wonderful… The ideal warm, bittersweet read to get you in the festive spirit’
‘Full of warmth, poignancy and a huge dose of Christmas spirit’
One Christmas to remember
Maddy runs the bookshop on Market Square. She’s struggling to choose a gift (a watch? a wine subscription? a weekend bag? all too much?) for her old school friend Peter, who’s just moved back from London following a messy divorce.
Peter doesn’t have a clue what to get for his teenage daughter Chloe – furious with her mother, she’s decided to up sticks and move to Kent with him, but he worries that he really doesn’t know her at all.
Chloe wants to buy something special for her grandmother Irene, who lives alone on the other side of town.
Irene doesn’t get out much these days, but she’d really like to find the right gift for Alina, who’s so much more than a carer, really – always stops to chat for a bit, have a cup of tea, even if it makes her late.
And Alina, meanwhile, has her eye on something for…
From the no. 1 bestselling author of The Versions of Us comes a novel about how wonderful and sad and difficult and happy and strange Christmas can be. Stories to inspire, move and comfort.
‘He felt it: the lightness, the expansiveness, the anticipation, the sense that something good was coming. And it was, wasn’t it – though the world was still licking its collective wounds and there was still suffering everywhere, suffering and loneliness and sadness. Despite all this, it was good: it was kindness, it was giving without thought of recompense, it was light in the darkness’
THE WORD-OF-MOUTH INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
‘Born of No Woman proves that fiction can still amaze’
‘A vivid, mesmerizing tale’
‘A choral novel radiating with black light’
Nineteenth-century rural France.
Before he is called to bless the body of a woman at the nearby asylum, Father Gabriel receives a strange, troubling confession: hidden under the woman’s dress he will find the notebooks in which she confided the abuses she suffered and the twisted motivations behind them.
And so Rose’s terrible story comes to light: sold as a teenage girl to a rich man, hidden away in a old manor house deep in the woods and caught in a perverse web, manipulated by those society considers her betters.
A girl whose only escape is to capture her life – in all its devastation and hope – in the pages of her diary…
Translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud
THE HIT NOVEL RECOMMENDED BY FRENCH BOOKSELLERS:
‘The most beautiful French novel of the year’
‘Love at first sight for a book is rare. But this novel left me speechless’
‘Dive in: you’ll come out feeling utterly alive’
‘One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read’
‘The best book I have read for a long time’
‘This story has something powerful, animal, carnal and terrible too. A punch in the gut’
1996: in a Ugandan dive bar, the ‘freight dogs’ gather. An anarchic group of mercenary pilots from Texas, Russia, Kenya and Belgium who transport weapons between warring African nations, without allegiance. And tonight they have a new recruit – Manu, a 19-year-old cowherd fleeing Congo’s bloody war.
Taken in by this band of unlikely brothers, he’s soon seeing his vast country from above and falling in love with flying. But no matter how fast he flies, trouble follows closely behind. And when the past erupts back into this new life, Manu is forced to leave behind African skies for the chilly embrace of northern Europe. Will Manu be able to reinvent himself yet again? And is Belgian volcanologist Anke Desseaux the answer to his problems – or simply another one of them?
From the writer of The Last King of Scotland comes an unforgettable story of survival – about how to live and love after trauma, set against a backdrop of world-shaking conflict.
‘Darkly comic, beautifully written and full of surprises’
‘Really funny. David is a great writer’
Paula Hawkins, Good Housekeeping
‘A riotously good novel, witty and earnest, brimming with sharply drawn characters and creeping suspense. David Thewlis is a fabulous writer’
Anna Bailey, Sunday Times bestselling author of Tall Bones
‘A deliciously smart, hilarious human drama with the pace and intrigue of a gripping thriller. One of the year’s most memorable novels’
B P Walter, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Dinner Guest
Celebrated director Jack Drake can’t get through his latest film (his most personal yet) without his wife Martha’s support.
The only problem is, she’s dead…
When Jack sees Betty Dean – actress, mother, trainwreck – playing the part of a crazed nun on stage in an indie production of The Devils, he is struck dumb by her resemblance to Martha. Desperate to find a way to complete his masterpiece, he hires her to go and stay in his house in France and resuscitate Martha in the role of ‘loving spouse’.
But as Betty spends her days roaming the large, sunlit rooms of Jack’s mansion – filled to the brim with odd treasures and the occasional crucifix – and her evenings playing the part of Martha over scripted video calls with Jack, she finds her method acting taking her to increasingly dark places.
And as Martha comes back to life, she carries with her the truth about her suicide – and the secret she guarded until the end.
A darkly funny novel set between a London film set and a villa in the south of France.
A mix of Vertigo and Jonathan Coe, written by a master storyteller.
PRAISE FOR DAVID THEWLIS’S FICTION
‘David Thewlis has written an extraordinarily good novel, which is not only brilliant in its own right, but stands proudly beside his work as an actor, no mean boast’ Billy Connolly
‘Hilarious and horror-filled’ Francesca Segal, Observer
‘A fine study in character disintegration… Very funny’ David Baddiel, The Times
‘Exquisitely written with a warm heart and a wry wit… Stunning’ Elle
‘Queasily entertaining’ Financial Times
‘A sharp ear for dialogue and a scabrously satiric prose style’ Daily Mail
‘Laugh-out-loud, darkly intelligent’ Publishers Weekly
‘This is far more than an actor’s vanity project: Thewlis has talent’ Kirkus
Jen Fain is a journalist negotiating the fraught landscape of 1970s New York. Party guests, taxi drivers, brownstone dwellers, professors, journalists, presidents, and debutantes fill these dispatches from the world as she finds it.
Simultaneously novel, memoir, commonplace book, confession, and critique – Speedboat is funny, disturbing, cutting, brilliant unlike anything that had come before. Since it burst onto the scene in the 1970s, it has enthralled generations of readers and been a touchstone for writers including David Foster Wallace, Claudia Rankine and Jenny Offill.
With an introduction by Hilton Als