Picnic in the Storm
By Yukiko Motoya
Published in the US as The Lonesome BodybuilderWinner of the Akutagawa Prize and the Kenzaburo Oe Prize. 'These arresting, hyper-real stories linger in the imagination . . . By the first few sentences, you know you're hearing the voice of a remarkable writer; by the end of [the story] "An Exotic Marriage", you're certain that Yukiko Motoya's shivery, murmuring voice will never completely leave you' Financial Times 'Delightful . . . Fun and funny . . . The style will remind readers of the Japanese authors Banana Yoshimoto and Sayaka Murata, but the stories themselves . . . are reminiscent, at least to this reader, of Joy Williams and Rivka Galchen and George Saunders' The New York Times Book ReviewA housewife takes up bodybuilding and sees radical changes to her physique - which her workaholic husband fails to notice. A boy waits at a bus stop, mocking businessmen struggling to keep their umbrellas open in a typhoon - until an old man shows him that they hold the secret to flying. A woman working in a clothing boutique waits endlessly on a customer who won't come out of the fitting room - and who may or may not be human. A newly wed notices that her husband's features are beginning to slide around his face - to match her own.In these eleven stories, the individuals who lift the curtains of their orderly homes and workplaces are confronted with the bizarre, the grotesque, the fantastic, the alien - and, through it, find a way to liberation. Winner of the Kenzaburo Oe Prize, Picnic in the Storm (published in the US as The Lonesome Bodybuilder) is the English-language debut of one of Japan's most fearless young writers.'People around the world have been whispering Motoya's name in my ear. Now she's translated into English!' Gary Shteyngart'Readers who still enjoy fiction for sheer entertainment should get their hands on these stories' The Japan Times
Peace Like a River
By Leif Enger
When Israel Finch and Tommy Basca, the town bullies, break into the home of school caretaker Jeremiah Land, wielding a baseball bat and looking for trouble, they find more of it than even they expected. For seventeen-year-old Davey is sitting up in bed waiting for them with a Winchester rifle. His younger brother Reuben has seen their father perform miracles, but Jeremiah now seems as powerless to prevent Davey from being arrested for manslaughter, as he has always been to ease Reuben's daily spungy struggle to breathe. Nor does brave and brilliant nine-year-old Swede, obsessed as she is with the legends of the wild west, have the strength to spring Davey from jail. Yet Davey does manage to break out. He steals a horse, and disappears. His family feels his absence so sorely, the three of them just pile into their old Plymouth, towing a brand new 1963 Airstream trailer, and set out on a quest to find him. And they follow the outlaw west, right into the cold, wild and empty Dakota Badlands.Set in the 1960s on the edge of the Great Plains, PEACE LIKE A RIVER is that rare thing, a contemporary novel with an epic dimension. Told in the touching voice of an asthmatic eleven-year-old boy, it revels in the legends of the West, resonates with a soul-expanding sense of place, and vibrates with the possibility of magic in the everyday world. Above all, it shows how family, love, and faith can stand up to the most terrifying of enemies, the most tragic of fates.
Price of Duty
By Dale Brown
In a top-secret location deep in the Ural Mountains, Russian President Gennadiy Gryzlov has built his nation's most dangerous weapon since the atomic bomb-a fearsome tool to gain superiority in Russia's long-running battle with the West. From inside Perun Aerie-an intricate network of underground tunnels and chambers that is the heart of the Russian cyber warfare program-he is launching a carefully plotted series of attacks on an unsuspecting U.S. and its European allies.The first strike targets Warsaw, Poland, where Russian malware wipes out the records of nearly every Polish bank account, imploding the country's financial system and panicking the rest of Europe. When Stacy Anne Barbeau, the besieged American president, fails to effectively combat the Russian threat, Brad McLanahan, on some well-earned R&R with his new Polish girlfriend, Major Nadia Rozek, is called back to duty.As the Russians' deadly tactics escalate - including full-scale assaults on Europe's power grid and the remote hijacking of a commercial airliner that kills hundreds of civilians - McLanahan and his Scion team kick into gear, arming themselves with the most advanced technological weaponry for the epic struggle ahead. A patriot in the mold of his father, the late general Patrick McLanahan, Brad knows firsthand the price of freedom.With the world's fate hanging in the balance, will Scion succeed in turning back Gryzlov before he can realize his terrifying ambition to conquer the globe? And what will the toll of victory be?
Please Take Me Home
By Clare Campbell, Christy Campbell
In Please Take Me Home, Clare Campbell takes us on a journey with the nation's rescue cats, from being treated as pests throughout history to being the pet of choice today.For a long time, stray cats in Britain were seen as a nuisance and hunted down as vermin. Having invited this wild, independent creature into our homes, humans did not extend their welcome for long. Over time, thousands of cats were subsequently abandoned and left to live on the margins of survival.There were, however, the kind few who sought to help. But these good spirited people were often scorned, even derided as 'mad'. A Princess of Wales was even told to stop helping lost cats in order to avoid a royal scandal; the story was kept a secret of state for years. It would take over a century for strays to become the beloved rescue cats of today, with some now gaining celebrity status, such as Downing Street's Larry or Street Cat Bob.Please Take Me Home is a fascinating and insightful history through the ages of the struggle for cats to exist in domesticity alongside mankind.
The Painted Ocean
By Gabriel Packard
When I was a little girl, my dad left me and my mum, and he never came back. And you're supposed to be gutted when that happens. But secretly I preferred it without him, cos it meant I had my mum completely to myself, without having to share her with anyone. And I sort of inherited all the affection she used to give to my dad - like he'd left it behind for me as a gift, to say sorry for deserting meSo says eleven year old Shruti of her broken home in suburban middle England. But hopes of her mother's affection are in vain: speaking little English, and fluent in only Hindi and Punjabi, Shruti's mother is lost, and soon falls prey to family pressure to remarry. To find another husband means returning to India and leaving Shruti behind.Meanwhile at school a new arrival, the indomitable Meena, dispenses with Shruti's bullying problems and transforms her day to day life. Desperate for companionship Shruti latches on to Meena to the point of obsession, following her through high school and on to university. But when Meena invites Shruti to join her on holiday in India, she has no idea how dangerous her obsession will turn out to be...Gabriel Packard's THE PAINTED OCEAN has been described by Colum McCann 'as fearless tour de force. It is a rare achievement - an emotionally rich work of literature, delivered in the form of a gripping, page-turning story. The depiction of a British Indian childhood and adolescence is utterly compelling, as is the allegorical exploration of the human condition.'
The Philosopher Kings
By Jo Walton
Twenty years have passed since the goddess Athene founded the Just City.The god Apollo is still living there, albeit in human form. Now married and the father of several children, the man/god struggles to cope when tragedy befalls his family. On the surface he handles his feelings in his stride; but it's evident that deep down he is unhinged with raw, human grief.Fuelled by a bloodthirsty desire for revenge, Pythias sets sail for the mysterious Eastern Mediterranean to find the man he believes may have caused him such great pain.What his expedition actually discovers, however, will change everything.
Preserve The Dead
By Brian McGilloway
'Preserve the Dead is storytelling of the highest order from one of Irish crime writing's most unassuming masters' - Irish IndependentDetective Sergeant Lucy Black is visiting her father, a patient in a secure unit in Gransha Hospital on the banks of the River Foyle. He's been hurt badly in an altercation with another patient, and Lucy is shocked to discover him chained to the bed for safety. But she barely has time to take it all in, before an orderly raises the alarm - a body has been spotted floating in the river below...The body of an elderly man in a grey suit is hauled ashore: he is cold dead. He has been dead for several days. In fact a closer examination reveals that he has already been embalmed. A full scale investigation is launched - could this really be the suicide they at first assumed, or is this some kind of sick joke? Troubled and exhausted, Lucy goes back to her father's shell of a house to get some sleep; but there'll be no rest for her tonight. She's barely in the front door when a neighbour knocks, in total distress - his wife's sister has turned up badly beaten. Can she help? In Preserve The Dead, Brian McGilloway weaves a pacy, intricate plot, full of tension to the very last page. DS Lucy Black's third outing since the bestselling Little Girl Lost, confirms her as one of the decade's most original female detectives: strong, sensitive and ever determined.
Put a Spell on You
By Karen Clarke
On the eve of her 27th birthday, Josie Goodwin is feeling harassed. Her boyfriend Will has become a donkey-loving hippy and her best friend Lara has baby-brain. She desperately needs to find the perfect location for a film shoot, or her career may implode. Her eccentric grandma has always said that Josie will inherit a book of spells on her birthday, but since she doesn't believe in magic, nothing will improve; or will it?
By Jennifer Nadel
When fifteen-year-old Becs meets Bracken, she is convinced she's found her soul mate. So what if he's much older, and who cares about her exams? He's gorgeous, he gets her, she feels free with him, and when he holds her she feels safe. But is she? When her best friend is assaulted, one of a spate of attacks against girls from her school, the world suddenly seems a much more dangerous place. Who is it safe to trust? Should she follow her head or her heart? Becs is forced to make choices that will affect the rest of her life. Set during the summer of '76, to the music of David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, Pretty Thing is a powerful story of first encounters, dark obsession and last chances. It pits true love against real life and asks: is love really all you need?
Peace and Conflict
By Irene Sabatini
This is the story of a hero.Ten-year-old Robert knows many things. He knows all about his hometown, Geneva, with its statues and cannons and underground tunnels and the Longest Bench in the World. He knows about the Red Cross and all the places his dad has been on his missions. He knows that his mum is writing a book about vampires and how long his older brother spends practicing his 'swag' poses in front of the mirror. He knows all about animals, too, because his Auntie Delphia is a vet in Zimbabwe.But still he has questions. Is his neighbour, Monsieur Renoir, really evil? Why did he leave a Victoria Cross medal on Robert's doorstep? And why has Auntie Delphia disappeared? In the 'Peace and Conflict' unit in school, Robert learned all about wars and heroes. But as the lives of his friends, foes and family unfold, he discovers what it really means to be a hero . . .
The Prize in the Game
By Jo Walton
On the island of Tir Isarnagiri, Gods stalk the land, laying subtle but inescapable dooms upon the feuding kingdoms there. The lives of four young friends - Conal, Emer, Darag, and Ferdia - have been intertwined since their births. Each is destined for kingship in his own land. But when they unwittingly incur the wrath of the Horse Goddess, they find that ties of friendship - and even love - may not be enough to prevent their countries from attacking each other in a war that will devastate the island - and alter their fates are forever.Praise for the Trilogy'Walton writes with an authenticity that never loses heart, a rare combination . . . She can dig down to a true vein of legend and hammer out gold.' Robin Hobb'The people, the politics, the details of warfare and daily life, all ring as true as the steel sword the heroine wields so doughtily. This is much more than a retooling of the Matter of Britain: it is a fully imagined, living, magical world.' Delia Sherman'Beautiful and thought-provoking. Walton tells a story set in a world and a history almost like ours, but different enough to be in itself a kind of elvenland.' Poul Anderson'Head and shoulders and sword-arm above most fantasy. Like a lost memoir from the Dark Age of a subtly different history, tough and unsentimental and all the more touching for that.' Ken MacLeod
By Jonathan Dee
In her small upstate New York town, Molly Howe is admired for her beauty, poise, and character, until one day a secret is exposed and she is cruelly ostracized. She escapes to Berkeley, where she finds solace in a young art student named John Wheelwright. They embark on an intense, all-consuming affair, until the day Molly disappears-again. A decade later, John is lured by the eccentric advertising visionary Mal Osbourne into a risky venture that threatens to eviscerate every concept, slogan, and gimmick exported by Madison Avenue. And much to John's amazement, one of the many swept into Osbourne's creative vortex is the woman who left him devastated so many years before.In a triumph of literary ingenuity, Jonathan Dee weaves together the stories of this unforgettable pair, raising haunting questions about the sources of art, the pain of lost love, and whether it pays to have a conscience in our cynical age.
By Jonathan Dee
Smart, socially gifted, and chronically impatient, Adam and Cynthia Morey are so perfect for each other that united they become a kind of fortress against the world. In their hurry to start a new life, they marry young and have two children before Cynthia reaches the age of twenty-five. Adam is a rising star in the world of private equity and becomes his boss's protégé. With a beautiful home in the upper-class precincts of Manhattan, gorgeous children, and plenty of money, they are, by any reasonable standard, successful.But the Moreys' standard is not the same as other people's. The future in which they have always believed for themselves and their children - a life of almost boundless privilege, in which any desire can be acted upon and any ambition made real - is still out there, but it is not arriving fast enough to suit them. As Cynthia, at home with the kids day after identical day, begins to drift, Adam is confronted with a decision that tests how much he is willing to risk to ensure his family's happiness and to recapture the sense that, for him and his wife, the only acceptable life is oneof infinite possibility.The Privileges is an odyssey of a couple touched by fortune, changed by time, and guided above all else by their epic love for each other. Lyrical, provocative, and brilliantly imagined, it is a timely meditation on wealth, family, and what it means to leave the world richer than you found it.
By C M Taylor
Kev King has the world at his feet.His is the world of top flight football: where brands are all, lifestyle is god, adoration is obligatory and there is nothing - and no one - that money can't buy.And up until last season, Kev had the Premier League status to match his premier lifestyle. Now, relegated to a lowly league, forced to watch injured from the bench, and paranoid about his girlfriend's rising celebrity profile, he feels less in control of his life. And it's making him angry. Fighting his way back to the top, he leaves a trail of destruction. But can his millions and his talent keep him at the top of his game - or are his violent secrets about to rob him of everything he has?C. M. Taylor's Premiership Psycho is a compelling, hilarious and horrible insight into celebrity culture and a brilliant fictional portrayal of contemporary football.
Pictures of Lily
By Matthew Yorke
"I am going to find my parents... if I don't track them down I'll be one of the unlucky ones."So writes seventeen-year-old Lily Myers, for whom, adopted at birth, there are so many unanswered questions. Who are her biological parents? Does she have brothers and sisters? Where else might she have lived had if she not been given away? Most pressing is the simplest question of all: "Why was I given up?"In Lily's case there is refuge in melody. It's in the dub venues of the north of England, in the fizzing bass lines, the buzz of static. Here is the volume to quell the doubts, the fears, even the truth. Yet these melodies have the power to suggest possibilities of their own - not least when coupled with Ayahuasca, a visionary plant used by Amazonian shamans as a vehicle to commune with the spirit world, a world where there can be no secrets.Hitherto Lily's quest has been confined to this psychic plane, transcending space and time to communicate with spirits so real they are real, gathering from them clues about her past, her people. It has been at perilous cost to her mental health. Now, at eighteen, her birth certificate and adoption file are hers for the taking. But will the journey end there? Indeed can she ever come to understand the true significance of 'finding my parents'?Praise for Matthew Yorke's previous novel The March Fence:This is a novel which throbs with life and wonder at the manifold varieties of experience... The talent for writing novels may be hard to define, yet it is unmistakable when encountered... is the real thing... the best first novel that I have read in a long time. Alan Massie.A most impresseive debut. Elaine Feinstein, The Times.Distinctive, energetic...the narrative takes a real grip. Hilary Mantel. Daily Telegraph.