Gone To Earth
By Mary Webb
The daughter of a Welsh gypsy and a crazy bee-keeper, Hazel Woodus is happiest living in her forest cottage in the remote Shropshire hills, at one with the winds and seasons, protector and friend of the wild animals she loves. But Hazel's beauty and innocence prove irresistible to the men in her orbit. Both Jack Reddin, the local squire and Edward Marston, the gentle minister, offer her human -- and carnal -- love. Hazel's fate unfolds as simply and relentlessly as a Greek tragedy as a child of nature is drawn into a world of mortal passion in which she must eternally be a stranger.
Gather Together In My Name
By Maya Angelou
Now a major Radio 4 drama.'A brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman' Barack ObamaMaya Angelou's volumes of autobiography are a testament to the talents and resilience of this extraordinary writer. Loving the world, she also knows its cruelty. As a black woman she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope, joy, achievement and celebration. In the sequel to her best-selling I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou is a young mother in California, unemployed, embarking on brief affairs and transient jobs in shops and night-clubs, turning to prostitution and the world of narcotics.
By Mary Hocking
Mary Hocking brings good humour and sympathy to her depiction of the Fairley sisters growing up in their close-knit West London neighbourhood before, during and after the war. Here, in the first novel of a trilogy, the girls are sheltered in a world whose traditions of hard work and frugality are upheld by their Methodist father, Stanley, and their strong, quiet mother, Judith. But, as love comes to Louise and adventures tempt Alice and her friend, unease lurks and terrible rumours travel from Germany -- auguries of the catastrophe to come.
By Susanna Kaysen
In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital to be treated for depression. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital renowned for its famous clientele - Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor and Ray Charles.A clear-sighted, unflinching work that provokes questions about our definitions of sane and insane, Kaysen's extraordinary memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers.
Greene On Capri
By Shirley Hazzard
When friends die, one's own credentials change: one becomes a survivor. Graham Greene has already had biographers, one of whom has served him mightily. Yet I hope that there is room for the remembrance of a friend who knew him - not wisely, perhaps, but fairly well - on an island that was ''not his kind of place,'' but where he came season after season, year after year & where he, too, will be subsumed into the capacious story.'For millennia the cliffs of Capri have sheltered pleasure-seekers & refugees alike, among them the emperors Augustus & Tiberius, Henry James, Rilke & Lenin, plus hosts of artists, eccentrics & outcasts. Here in the 1960s Graham Greene became friends with Shirley Hazzard & her husband, the writer Francis Steegmuller; their friendship lasted until Greene's death in 1991. In GREENE ON CAPRI, Hazzard uses their ever volatile intimacy as a prism through which to illuminate Greene's mercurial character, his work & talk & the extraordinary literary culture that long thrived on this ravishing, enchanted island.
The Good Husband
By Gail Godwin
Mates are not always matches, and matches are not always mates,' pronounces Magda Danvers. Years ago, dazzling, domineering Magda swept the shy, virginal Francis into one of the most extraordinary marriages imaginable. Now, as she lies dying, Francis's role as the Good Husband is put to the most extreme test. Moving from the Deep South to Eastern Europe and the cathedral towns of England, this is a rich and rewarding novel with the scope and all the moral force of George Eliot.
The Great Fire
By Shirley Hazzard
The Great Fire is Shirley Hazzard's first novel since The Transit of Venus, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1981. The conflagration of her title is the Second World War. In war-torn Asia and stricken Europe, men and women, still young but veterans of harsh experience, must reinvent their lives and expectations, and learn, from their past, to dream again. Some will fulfill their destinies, others will falter. At the centre of the story, a brave and brilliant soldier finds that survival and worldly achievement are not enough. His counterpart, a young girl living in Occupied Japan and tending her dying brother, falls in love, and in the process discovers herself.In the looming shadow of world enmities resumed, and of Asia's coming centrality in world affairs, a man and a woman seek to recover self-reliance, balance, and tenderness, struggling to reclaim their humanity.
Gerald: A Portrait
By Daphne Du Maurier
Sir Gerald du Maurier was the most celebrated actor-manager of his day, knighted for his services to the theatre in 1922. Published within six months of her father's death, this frank biography was considered shocking by many of his admirers - but it was a huge success, winning Daphne du Maurier critical acclaim and launching her career.In Gerald: A Portrait, Daphne du Maurier captures the spirit and charm of the charismatic actor who played the original Captain Hook, amusingly recalling his eccentricities and his sense of humour, and sensitively portraying the darker side of his nature and his bouts of depression.
By Daphne Du Maurier
'Perhaps we shall not see each other again. I will write to you, though, and tell you, as best I can, the story of your family. A glass-blower, remember, breathes life into a vessel, giving it shape and form and sometimes beauty; but he can with that same breath, shatter and destroy it'Faithful to her word, Sophie Duval reveals to her long-lost nephew the tragic story of a family of master craftsmen in eighteenth-century France. The world of the glass-blowers has its own traditions, it's own language - and its own rules. 'If you marry into glass' Pierre Labbe warns his daughter, 'you will say goodbye to everything familiar, and enter a closed world'. But crashing into this world comes the violence and terror of the French Revolution against which, the family struggles to survive.The Glass Blowers is a remarkable achievement - an imaginative and exciting reworking of du Maurier's own family history.
By Molly Keane
I do know how to behave - believe me, because I know. I have always known...'Behind the gates of Temple Alice the aristocratic Anglo-Irish St Charles family sinks into a state of decaying grace. To Aroon St Charles, large and unlovely daughter of the house, the fierce forces of sex, money, jealousy and love seem locked out by the ritual patterns of good behaviour. But crumbling codes of conduct cannot hope to save the members of the St Charles family from their own unruly and inadmissible desires. This elegant and allusive novel established Molly Keane as the natural successor to Jean Rhys.
The Ghost Stories Of Edith Wharton
By Edith Wharton
In these powerful and elegant tales, Edith Wharton evokes moods of disquiet and darkness within her own era. In icy newEngland a fearsome double foreshadowsthe fate of a rich young man; a married farmer is bewitched by a dead girl; a ghostly bell saves a woman's reputation. Brittany conjures ancient cruelties, Dorset witnesses a retrospective haunting and a New York club cushions an elderly aesthete as he tells of the ghastly eyes haunting his nights.
The Gods Arrive
By Edith Wharton
Halo Tarrant, abandoning her failed marriage, elopes to Europe with the brilliant young writer, Vance Weston. As they travel around, her only wish is to serve him and his genius. But, ignoring the pain her amiguous status brings, Vance takes her loving attentions for granted and rejects the critical advice he had formerly welcomed. This distinguished novel, companion piece to HUDSON RIVER BRACKETED, first published in 1932, shows a writer's struggle for integrity and maturity, and the difficulties which, even in the most idealistic relationship, beset men and women in a changing but hypocritical moral climate.
By Marilynne Robinson
In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, a kind of last testament to his remarkable forebears.'It is a book of such meditative calm, such spiritual intensity that is seems miraculous that her silence was only for 23 years; such measure of wisdom is the fruit of a lifetime. Robinson's prose, aligned with the sublime simplicity of the language of the bible, is nothing short of a benediction. You might not share its faith, but it is difficult not to be awed moved and ultimately humbled by the spiritual effulgence that lights up the novel from within' Neel Mukherjee, The Times'Writing of this quality, with an authority as unforced as the perfect pitch in music, is rare and carries with it a sense almost of danger - that at any moment, it might all go wrong. In Gilead, however, nothing goes wrong' Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph
The Glass Castle
By Jeannette Walls
Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents. At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane, middle class existence' she had always craved. In her apartment, overlooked by 'a portrait of someone else's ancestor' she recounts poignant remembered images of star watching with her father, juxtaposed with recollections of irregular meals, accidents and police-car chases and reveals her complex feelings of shame, guilt, pity and pride toward her parents.
The Girl From Hockley
By Kathleen Dayus
The Girl from Hockley is a new, revised edition bringing together in one new volume this remarkable story. Born into the industrial slums of Birmingham in 1903, Kathleen Dayus became a legend in her own time. She vividly recalls her Edwardian childhood and her life as a young munitions worker during the war, marriage and life below the poverty line in the 1920s. Early widowhood and the Depression forced her to relinquish her children to Dr Barnado's homes until, eight long years later, she could afford a home for them again. Her autobiography is a testament to the indomitable spirit, humour and verve that characterised her life. Her extraordinary memory for the sights, sounds and smells of her youth, her marvellous sense of the comic and above all her spirited refusal to do anything but live life to the full, deservedly made her one of the most compelling storytellers of our time.
A Grain Of Truth
By Nina Bawden
Emma's anxious and manipulative plea, 'Someone listen to me', opens- and closes- this deliciously uncomfortable novel in which Nina Bawden explores myriad emotional disguises with her characteristic acuity. When Emma's father-in-law falls down the stairs to his death, she is convinced she pushed him in an act of wish-fulfilment. To her husband Henry and her close friend Holly, this is unthinkable. Guilt is simply Emma's obsession in a humdrum domestic existence enlivened by romantic fantasy. For Holly, who successfully fields a string of love affairs, sexual pleasures are more easily attainable, whereas Henry, a Divorce lawyer, prides himself on being a realist. Each tells their story in turn, illuminating and distorting their separate versions of the truth. As they do so, an intricate jigsaw of the private deceits with which they shore up everyday life emerges.
George Beneath A Paper Moon
By Nina Bawden
George is an unusually successful travel agent, providing other people with the adventures he dare not risk. Though content to wrap himself in fantasies, he is haunted by the fact that 'the important things happened whilst his back was turned' and by the belief that he fathered the daughter- now a desirable young woman- of his best friends, Sam and Claire. To avoid temptation, George stumbles into a disastrous marriage and determines to mould himself into a supportive husband. But a holiday in Turkey snaps his private world when George finds himself in the midst of intrigue and murder and is forced to acknowledge that life is not the fairy-tale he'd imagined. In this superbly constructed and mercilessly observed novel, part comedy, part thriller, Nina Bawden exposes the fictions we impose on our lives.
By Lori Lansens
I have never looked into my sister's eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I've never used an aeroplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that... So many things I've never done, but oh, how I've been loved. And, if such things were to be, I'd live a thousand times as me, to be loved so exponentially'In twenty-nine years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister, Ruby. She has never gone for a solitary walk or had a private conversation. Yet, in all that time, she has never once looked into Ruby's eyes. Joined at the head, 'The Girls' (as they are known in their small town) attempt to lead a normal life, but can't help being extraordinary. Now almost thirty, Rose and Ruby are on the verge of becoming the oldest living craniopagus twins in history, but they are remarkable for a lot more than their unusual sisterly bond.
By Daphne Du Maurier
Prior to the publication of this biography, the elusive Anthony Bacon was merely glimpsed in the shadow of his famous younger brother, Francis. A fascinating historical figure, Anthony Bacon was a contemporary of the brilliant band of gallants who clustered round the court of Elizabeth I, and he was closely connected with the Queen's favourite, the Earl of Essex. He also worked as an agent for Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's spymaster, living in France where he became acquainted with Henri IV and the famous essayist Michel de Montaigne. It was in France that du Maurier discovered a secret that, if disclosed during Bacon's lifetime, could have put an end to his political career . . . Du Maurier did much to shed light on matters that had long puzzled historians, and, as well as a consummate exercise in research, this biography is also a strange and fascinating tale.
By Jenny Uglow
One of the most brilliant writers of her day, George Eliot (1819-1880) was also one of the most talked about. Intellectual and independent, she had the strength to defy polite society with her highly unorthodox private life, so why did she deny her fictional characters the same opportunities?