Related to: 'Ali Smith'

Virago

Dancing On the Outskirts

Shena Mackay
Authors:
Shena Mackay

Here is a wonderful collection of short stories by the writer known for 'the Mackay vision, suburban - as kitsch, as unexceptional, and yet as rich in history and wonder as a plain Victorian terrace house, its threshold radiant with tiling and stained-glass birds of paradise encased in leaded lights' - Guardian.Shena Mackay, who first came to fame before the age of twenty with two novellas, is the doyenne of the short form. In this volume of previously uncollected stories - including those read on radio - she constantly surprises with a view of the ordinary world that is not at all ordinary.A grasshopper determinedly takes up residence on a bathroom ceiling; a gecko hiding in a cupboard brings a strange sort of luck; a woman spies from a distance two older women friends after many long years and a memory of how they gallopedin the playground as Starlight Blaze and Pepperpot plays sweetly, suddenly in her mind; pigs are swaddled in blankets, looking like babies in shawls; luggage is packed with youthful hopes and ideals.She observes how people rub along and reveals the best and worst of us all: a disgruntled schoolboy and his hapless teacher conquer mountains and their antipathy for each other; a girl with green eyes and iridescent hair discovers revenge; a race to be the best mushroom-picker creates only losers; and rotten apples, in the right pair of hands, make a loving pie. Shena Mackay is a generous and keen-eyed chronicler of the everyday; she deftly brings wisdom and humour to the worlds she creates, worlds that we suddenly, excitingly see anew. She is an utterly original writer.

Constable

'Rock and Roll is Life'

D.J. Taylor
Authors:
D.J. Taylor
Corsair

How to Rule the World

Tibor Fischer
Authors:
Tibor Fischer
Hachette Audio

A Boy in Winter

Rachel Seiffert
Authors:
Rachel Seiffert
Virago

The Dark Circle

Linda Grant
Authors:
Linda Grant
Virago

Dunedin

Shena Mackay
Authors:
Shena Mackay

New Zealand, 1909. After weeks at sea the new minister, Jack Mackenzie, arrives from Scotland with his unhappy wife and children in tow. A keen naturalist, he is more enthralled by the botanical - and carnal - delights of Dunedin than in the wellbeing of his flock. In London, eighty years later, Jack Mackenzie's descendants are middle-aged, searching for a way out of their loneliness. Olive, embittered with her loveless life, steals a baby from a crowded tube; William, distraught at the death of a pupil, abandons his job as headmaster and struggles to fill his empty days. Jay Pascal, a young New Zealand vagrant of mysterious parentage arrives in London, looking for a place where he might belong.

Virago

The Walk Home

Rachel Seiffert
Authors:
Rachel Seiffert
Virago

The Paying Guests

Sarah Waters
Authors:
Sarah Waters
Virago

Fingersmith

Sarah Waters
Authors:
Sarah Waters
Virago

At Mrs Lippincote's

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

The debut novel from Elizabeth Taylor - shortlisted for the Booker Prize*Mrs Lippincote's house, with its mahogany furniture and yellowing photographs, stands as a reminder of all the certainties that have vanished with the advent of war. Temporarily, this is home for Julia, who has joined her husband Roddy at the behest of the RAF. Although she can accept the pomposities of service life, Julia's honesty and sense of humour prevent her from taking her role as seriously as her husband, that leader of men, might wish; for Roddy, merely love cannot suffice - he needs homage as well as admiration. And Julia, while she may be a most unsatisfactory officer's wife, is certainly no hypocrite.*'Her stories remain with one, indelibly, as though they had been some turning-point in one's own experience' Elizabeth Bowen 'No writer has described the English middle classes with more gently devastating accuracy' Rebecca Abrams, Spectator 'A Game of Hide and Seek showcases much of what makes Taylor a great novelist: piercing insight, a keen wit and a genuine sense of feeling for her characters' Elizabeth Day, Guardian

Virago

Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont

Elizabeth Taylor
Authors:
Elizabeth Taylor

Named by the Guardian as one of 'the 100 best novels,' and shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont is a humorous and compassionate look at friendship between an old woman and a young man from a 'magnificent...writer, the missing link between Jane Austen and John Updike' (David Baddiel, Independent)On a rainy Sunday in January, the recently widowed Mrs Palfrey arrives at the Claremont Hotel where she will spend her remaining days. Her fellow residents are magnificently eccentric and endlessly curious, living off crumbs of affection and snippets of gossip. Together, upper lips stiffened, they fight off their twin enemies: boredom and the Grim Reaper.Then one day Mrs Palfrey strikes up an unlikely friendship with an impoverished young writer, Ludo, who sees her as inspiration for his novel.'Elizabeth Taylor's exquisitely drawn character study of eccentricity in old age is a sharp and witty portrait of genteel postwar English life facing the changes taking shape in the 60s . . . Much of the reader's joy lies in the exquisite subtlety in Taylor's depiction of all the relationships, the sharp brevity of her wit, and the apparently effortless way the plot unfolds' -Robert McCrum 'the 100 best novels', Guardian

Virago

The Cast Iron Shore

Linda Grant
Authors:
Linda Grant

This is a capacious and wide-ranging book, not just about individuals but about the history they move through. Whether the scene is Liverpool in the Blitz, a potato-chip factory in the prairies or a seedy hotel room in Hanoi, the writing is immediate . . . Grant approaches each character with insight and a tart sympathy' Hilary Mantel, Literary ReviewSybil Ross has been brought up by her Jewish furrier father and style-obsessed mother as an empty-headed fashion plate. But on the worst night of Liverpool's blitz she uncovers a secret that leaves her disorientated. When the war is over, Sybil embarks on a voyage that leads her to the very edge of America, and to a final choice. THE CAST IRON SHORE is a beautuful evocation of one woman's journey from the 1930s to the 1990s, combining the personal and political in an outstanding first novel.

Virago

The Little Stranger

Sarah Waters
Authors:
Sarah Waters
Abacus

The People On Privilege Hill

Jane Gardam
Authors:
Jane Gardam

It is a wet day in Dorset, and walking to a luncheon party is Sir Edward Feathers QC, followed by two elderly friends: his scruffy neighbour and sparring partner, Veneering, and Fiscal-Smith, the meanest lawyer ever to make a fortune at the Bar. Fans of Jane Gardam's bestselling novel, OLD FILTH, will be delighted to encounter Filth, now almost ninety, making his immaculate way to Privilege Hill, named perhaps for the Prive-Lieges who arrived with the Normans, but more probably for the village privies. Ranging from a Victorian mansion converted into a home for unmarried mothers to a wartime hospital in the middle of the Blitz, from ghost stories to brilliant observations of love and loneliness in their various manifestations - including, in 'Pangbourne', a woman who falls in love with a gorilla - to reflections on the haphazard nature of intellect and memories in 'The Last Reunion', the stories in this collection mix Jane Gardam's trademark sardonic wit with a delicate tenderness and a touch of the surreal.

Virago

Essays On The Art Of Angela Carter

Lorna Sage
Authors:
Lorna Sage
Abacus

Master Georgie

Beryl Bainbridge
Authors:
Beryl Bainbridge

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 1998SHORTLISTED FOR THE GUARDIAN FICTION PRIZEWINNER OF THE JAMES TAIT MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR FICTIONWINNER OF THE WH SMITH BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDWhen Master Georgie - George Hardy, surgeon and photographer - sets off from the cold squalor of Victorian Liverpool for the heat and glitter of the Bosphorus to offer his services in the Crimea, there straggles behind him a small caravan of devoted followers; Myrtle, his adoring adoptive sister; lapsed geologist Dr Potter; and photographer's assistant and sometime fire-eater Pompey Jones, all of them driven onwards through a rising tide of death and disease by a shared and mysterious guilt.Combining a breathtaking eye for beauty with a visceral understanding of mortality, Beryl Bainbridge exposes her enigmatic hero as tenderly and unsparingly as she reveals the filth and misery of war, and creates a novel of luminous depth and extraordinary intensity.

Valerie Martin

Valerie Martin is the author of two collections of short fiction, seven novels, and a biography of St. Francis of Assisi, SALVATION.

Linda Grant

Linda Grant is a novelist and journalist. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for Literary Reportage in 2006, and was longlisted for the Man Booker in 2002 for Still Here. The Clothes on Their Backs was shortlisted for the Man Booker in 2008 and went on to win the South Bank Show Award.

Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters was born in Wales. She has won a Betty Trask Award, the Somerset Maugham Award and her books have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize. Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, Fingersmith and The Night Watch have been adapted for television. Sarah Waters has been named Author of the Year four times: by the British Book Awards, the Booksellers' Association, Waterstone's Booksellers and the Stonewall Awards. She lives in London.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor (1912-1975) is increasingly recognised as one of the best British writers of the twentieth century. She wrote her first book, At Mrs Lippincote's, during the war while her husband was in the Royal Air Force, and this was followed by eleven further novels and a children's book, Mossy Trotter. Her acclaimed short stories appeared in publications including Vogue, the New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar.