Upstairs at the Party
By Linda Grant
'If you go back and look at your life there are certain scenes, acts, or maybe just incidents on which everything that follows seems to depend. If only you could narrate them, then you might be understood. I mean the part of yourself that you don't know how to explain.' In the early seventies, a glamorous and androgynous couple known as Evie/Stevie appear out of nowhere on the isolated concrete campus of a new university. To a group of teenagers experimenting with radical ideas, they seem blown back from the future, unsettling everything and uncovering covert desires. But their mesmerising flamboyant self-expression hides deep anxieties and hidden histories. For Adele, who also has something to conceal, Evie becomes an obsession - an obsession which becomes lifelong after the night of Adele's twentieth birthday party. What happened that evening and who was complicit are questions that have haunted Adele ever since. A set of school exercise books might reveal everything, but they have been missing for the past forty years. From summers in 1970s Cornwall to London in the twenty-first century, long after she has disappeared, Evie will go on challenging everyone's ideas of how their lives should turn out. With her hallmark humour, intelligence and boldness Linda Grant has written a powerful and captivating novel about secrets and the moments that shape our lives.
The Underground Girls Of Kabul
By Jenny Nordberg
An Afghan woman's life expectancy is just 44 years, and her life cycle often begins and ends in disappointment: being born a girl and finally, having a daughter of her own. For some, disguising themselves as boys is the only way to get ahead.Nordberg follows women such as Azita Rafaat, a parliamentarian who once lived as a Bacha Posh, the mother of seven-year-old Mehran, who she is raising as a Bacha Posh as well, but for different reasons than in the past. There's Zahra, a teenage student living as a boy who is about to display signs of womanhood as she enters puberty. And Skukria, a hospital nurse who remained in a bacha posh disguise until she was 20, and who now has three children of her own. Exploring the historical and religious roots of this tradition, The Underground Girls of Kabul is a fascinating and moving narrative that speaks to the roots of gender.
Up The Junction
By Nell Dunn
The girls - Rube, Lily and Sylvie - work at McCrindle's sweet factory during the week and on Saturday they go up the Junction in their clattering stilettos, think about new frocks on H.P., drink tea in the cafe, and talk about their boyfriends. In these uninhibited, spirited vignettes of young women's lives in the shabby parts of South London in the sixties, money is scarce and enjoyment to be grabbed while it can.
Under The Hawthorn Tree
By Ai Mi
Jingqiu, an innocent young woman from a politically questionable family in the city, is selected as one of a small group of students to be sent to the countryside to work on a project that will further the Cultural Revolution. Clever, curious and eager, she tries to fit in with her hosts and the rural way of life, and it isn't appropriate for her to fall in love. But she does, with the son of a mighty army general. This beautiful, simple story of love against the odds will break your heart.
By Katie Roiphe
Drawing on the memoirs, letters and diaries of a group of British intellectuals writing between 1910 and the Second World War, UNCOMMON ARRANGEMENTS paints a witty and insightful portrait of seven 'marriages a la mode', each triumphantly casting off Victorian inhibitions and pursuing bohemian ideals of freedom and equality.But as well as love and passion, there were tolerance, denial, anger, jealousy and drama. The Bloomsbury group's Clive and Vanessa Bell opened up their marriage to accommodate Vanessa's live-in lovers, and Clive's obsession with his sister-in-law, Virginia Woolf. H.G. Well's steadfast wife sent her love to his mistress Rebecca West when their son was born. And Vera Brittain and Katherine Mansfield, more devoted to their work than to their husbands, wrestled with unfulfilled desires.This is both a fascinating exploration of love, affection and friendship in marriage, and a brilliantly entertaining account of a dazzling era of high-society high living.
The Untouched Key
By Alice Miller
Alice Miller has achieved worldwide recognition for her work on the causes and effects of child abuse; on violence towards children and its cost to society. For more than twenty years she taught and practised psychoanalysis; now she questions the validity of psychoanalytic theories and common psychiatric methods.THE UNTOUCHED KEY is a powerful and provocative synthesis of Alice Miller's ideas and experience. With her usual impeccable clarity, insight and logic she explores the clues- often overlooked in biography- connecting unnoticed childhood trauma to adult creativity and destructiveness. What did Picasso express in 'Guernica'? Why did Buster Keaton never smile? Why did Nietzsche lose his mind for eleven years? Why did Hitler become a mass murderer? Her conclusions reveal the roots and consequences of our centuries-old existence on obeying repressive parental figures- including psychiatrists and psychotherapists- and challenge us to unlock the door to our true childhood history in order to regain our lost awareness and our full life.
Up The Country
By Emily Eden
Emily Eden was born in 1797 into the charmed inner circle of the English upper class who conducted the country's political life. In 1836 this prominent member of Whig society joined her brother George in India where he was Governor-General. She stayed there for six years, during which time she embarked on a two-year-long tour of the country. With an unfailing eye for the eccentric and picturesque, Emily Eden describes in her delightful letters the extraordinary experiences encountered in life on the road in early eighteenth-century India.
By Pat Barker
Vivid, bawdy and bitter' (The Times), Pat Barker's first novel shows the women of Union Street, young and old, meeting the harsh challeges of poverty and survival in a precarious world. There's Kelly, at eleven, neglected and independent, dealing with a squalid rape; Dinah, knocking on sixty and still on the game; Joanne, not yet twenty, not yet married, and already pregnant; Old Alice, welcoming her impending death; Muriel helplessly watching the decline of her stoical husband. And linking them all, watching over them all, mother to half the street, is fiery, indomitable Iris.