Shortlisted for the British Book Awards, Richard and Judy Best Read, 2007.Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Novel of the Year, 2006.A Richard and Judy Book Club selection.Longlisted for the Audiobook Download of the Year, 2007.What happens when everything you thought you knew about your mother turns out to be an elaborate lie? During the summer of 1976, Ruth Gilmartin discovers that her very English mother, Sally, is really Eva Delectorskaya, a Russian émigrée and one-time spy.
"A gripping and thoughtful book"
Big Brother is watching you.... 1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair.
"The object of terrorism is terrorism."
The wonderful new novel from Alex Brown, best-selling author of The Great Christmas Knit Off, perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Jill Mansell. April Wilson is wondering what to do next - her life has been turned upside down after the loss of her husband so she's hoping to piece herself together again with a visit to her elderly great aunt, Edith. Arriving in the rural idyll of Tindledale, she's dismayed to find Edith's cottage and the orchards surrounding it in a sorry state of disrepair.
Cormac McCarthy, best-selling author of National Book Award winner All the Pretty Horses, delivers his first new novel in seven years. Written in muscular prose, No Country for Old Men is a powerful tale of the West that moves at a blistering pace.
"film success maybe, listen carefully!"
A bold English adventurer; an invincible Japanese warlord; a beautiful woman torn between two ways of life, two ways of love - all brought together in an extraordinary saga of a time and a place aflame with conflict, passion, ambition, lust, and the struggle for power.
"Ralph is the best narrator ever"
A novel of high adventure, great storytelling and moral purpose, based on an extraordinary true story of eight years in the Bombay underworld. In the early 80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail.
"True lies make excellent stories"
One summer's day in 1984, teenage runaway Holly Sykes encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for 'asylum'. Decades will pass before Holly understands what sort of asylum the woman was seeking.... The Bone Clocks follows Holly's life: not so far out of the ordinary, yet punctuated by flashes of precognition, visits from people who emerge from thin air, and brief lapses in the laws of reality.
This hugely engaging story of murder, superstition, religious politics and drama in a medieval monastery was one of the most striking novels to appear in the 1980s. The Name of the Rose is a thrilling story enriched with period detail and laced with tongue-in-cheek allusions to fictional characters, the most striking of which is the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville, who displays many characteristics of Sherlock Holmes.
Dorothea Brooke is an ardent idealist who represses her vivacity and intelligence for the cold, theological pedant Casaubon. One man understands her true nature: the artist Will Ladislaw. But how can love triumph against her sense of duty and Casaubon's mean spirit? Meanwhile, in the little world of Middlemarch, the broader world is mirrored: the world of politics, social change, and reforms, as well as betrayal, greed, blackmail, ambition, and disappointment.
An apocalyptic cult member, a jazz buff in Tokyo, a woman on a holy mountain, a burnt-out lawyer, a Mongolian gangster, a redundant spy, a despondent "zookeeper", a nuclear scientist, a ghostwriter, a ghost, and a New York DJ are all tenuously connected. All of them have tales to tell, and all must play their part as they are caught up in the inescapable forces of cause and effect.
"An Engrossing Whirlwind"
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success and pride.
At the heart of Joseph Heller's best-selling novel, first published in 1961, is a satirical indictment of military madness and stupidity, and the desire of the ordinary man to survive it.
Kate Atkinson's dazzling Life After Life, one of the top-selling adult books of 2014, explored the possibility of infinite chances, as Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula's beloved younger brother, Teddy - would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband, and father - as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century. For all Teddy endures in battle, his greatest challenge will be to face living in a future he never expected to have.
"Remarkable Companion to "Life After Life""
Audible will donate 25p from every download to help ZSL build a future for wildlife. The partnership between Audible.co.uk and ZSL will help highlight the plight of many animals who feature in this classical story and live under threat, such as the Bengal tiger (Shere Khan). The magical story-telling and unforgettable characters in Bev Doyle and Richard Kurti's audio adaptation of this children's classic have been brought to life by many well known voices from film, TV, radio and comedy.
"Pretty good but ..."
In one of the most acclaimed novels of recent years, Kazuo Ishiguro imagines the lives of a group of students growing up in a darkly skewed version of contemporary England. Narrated by Kathy, now thirty-one, Never Let Me Go dramatizes her attempts to come to terms with her childhood at the seemingly idyllic Hailsham School and with the fate that has always awaited her and her closest friends in the wider world.
"Haunting and thought provoking"
Patrick Bateman is 26 and works on Wall Street. He is handsome, sophisticated, charming, and intelligent. He is also a psychopath. And he is taking us to a head-on collision with America's greatest dream - and its worst nightmare...
"a challanging but good listen"
A contemporary classic, The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro's beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House. In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside - and into his past.
Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Aibileen is a black maid raising her 17th white child. Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is the sassiest woman in Mississippi: a wonderful cook with a gossip's tongue. Graduate Skeeter returns from college with ambitions, but her mother will not be happy until she's married. Although world's apart, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny's lives converge over a clandestine project that will change the town of Jackson forever.
The smartest murder-mystery you will ever hearA misfit at an exclusive New England college, Richard finds kindred spirits in the five eccentric students of his ancient Greek class. But his new friends have a horrific secret. When blackmail and violence threaten to blow their privileged lives apart, they drag Richard into the nightmare that engulfs them. And soon they enter a terrifying heart of darkness from which they may never return.
"fine book & fine narration"
It is Amory's photographer uncle, Greville, who gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography and unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future. Her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demimonde of Berlin of the late 20s, to New York of the 30s, to the Blackshirt riots in London and to France in the Second World War, where she becomes one of the first women war photographers.
"you feel life's sweet caress"
What kind of woman wants a man so badly that she'd be willing to lie to get him? What if that lie includes denying the fact that she has a child? Deborah Lewis is that woman. The suave, debonair Lynox Chase is the man Deborah wants. He's the man Deborah has wanted for years, almost had, but decided to give her ex a try, leaving Lynox hanging. With her ex no longer in the picture, Deborah is willing to eat crow and go claim Lynox. She can't help but worry if he will be forgiving and take her back, but figures after two years, he's had time to get over it.
Vinegar Girl, a novel by Anne Tyler, is a loose retelling of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Set in modern-day Baltimore, it follows 20-somethings Kate and Pyotr as they plan a marriage of convenience. Pyotr needs a green card so he can continue working with Kate's father on a scientific breakthrough. Kate needs a life beyond caring for her father and sister. As the couple sort through the logistics of their sham wedding, the line between fact and fiction starts to blur. Hijinks ensue.
Ten years after the fall of Saigon, a tentative friendship blossoms between a Portland writer and the Vietnamese woman who sells her morning coffee and cigarettes, framing a powerful and original meditation on class, gender, and the power of storytelling to heal the wounds of war.
A brittle young woman juggles her overbearing mother, her pregnant sister, her adoring father, and the intrigue of a handsome stranger she keeps running into. Angie's passive role in her own life, while acting as her sister's support and her mother's adversary, is upended in both the unlikeliest and likeliest of ways.
When single mom Lizzie tells her best friend Ted she's decided to go looking for action among the recently divorced, hoping to be someone's "first lover out", the results are funny, hair-raising, and redemptive in equal measure.
The Glass Eaters sweeps us into the lives of Julia Duarte and her mother, Clarissa, a caterer-turned-ice sculptor, as Clarissa's long-term affair with a married man takes turns that are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but finally a reminder of how everything except desire is fleeting. This is a story that pricks at our own secret hopes about what it means to love someone forever.
When Cat arrives in Portugal, she discovers that her friend Tónio has installed his ex-lover, Mateus, in the apartment, where he too is dying - of AIDS. As Cat struggles to untangle a complicated web of present desires and past secrets, she makes a series of shocking discoveries.
Nathan Porter, a young war veteran haunted by an atrocity he witnessed, ends up in an animation studio in southern California, where his dismal romantic history is upended by Violet Delmar, an older voice-over artist known nationally as "The Voice." Violet's siren song wafts in and out of Nathan's entire life, twisting through his misguided affairs and marriage, until he finds himself awakened, thanks to Violet, about no less than all of love and art.
A young California woman visits upstate New York to meet her boyfriend's teenage children for the first time, reminding her of her own post-divorce childhood, and shifting her perception of her current relationship.
In this poignant narrative, national best-selling novelist and acclaimed poet Elizabeth Rosner vividly describes a journey to Germany with her father, a survivor of the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp. Together, they navigate the complex territory of his traumatic history intertwined with her inherited grief. Through their shared experience of the past colliding with the present, father and daughter discover a new bond of familial love and remembrance to help carry them forward into the future.
This wickedly observed family story starts funny and turns harrowing as everyone's secrets come up from the basement, where Emmaline lives, and sit down together for Thanksgiving dinner. The ghost in this story lives inside a vodka bottle and haunts us all.
When 11-year-old Tino isn't sitting quietly in school, he's either visiting his dying mother in the hospital or making sure his UFO-obsessed father eats dinner. A loner among his peers, Tino is surprised when Omar, the strongest boy in school, befriends him out of the blue. Will Tino's intrigue outweigh his self-imposed isolation?
After a devastating car accident, Carole escapes from an oppressive marriage in England to begin again in rural France. Yet she is haunted by the knowledge that Paul, her husband, has tracked her down before...and will do his best to do it again. Afraid to share her fears with her new neighbours, Carole nonetheless finds herself drawn to a local farmer, who helps her to create a new and independent life. But then she learns that Paul is on her trail and closing in fast....
A normal life was all that soldier Johnny Tremain ever wanted. But laying wounded in the elephant grass deep in the jungles of eastern Vietnam, he saw a vision of a girl from his past, one whom he once loved.
Romilly had worked hard for her stunning house in one of Bristol's most fashionable suburbs. She adored her daughter and handsome husband, and, sure, life was sometimes exhausting - but nothing that a large glass of wine couldn't fix. But then, as deep-buried insecurities surfaced, everything started to unravel. A glass of wine became a bottle; one bottle became two. Once, Romilly's family were everything to her. Now, after years of hiding the drinking, she must finally admit that she has found another love....
Ma Taffy may be blind, but she sees everything. So when her great-nephew, Kaia, comes home from school in tears, what she senses sends a deep fear through her. While they wait for Kaia's mama to come home from work, Ma Taffy recalls the story of the flying preacherman and a great thing that did not happen. A poor suburban sprawl in the Jamaican heartland, Augustown is a place where many things that should happen don't, and plenty of things that shouldn't happen do.
When Mary Shelley wrote her 1818 classic Frankenstein, she failed to disclose the fate of Victor's middle brother, Ernest. Face to face with the creature who murdered his entire family, will Ernest succeed where his brother failed?
Kundun, a Tibetan Buddhist Monk, is traveling to meet a Druze Sheik in the hills of the Galilee in order to discuss their common interest in reincarnation. Liora, a young Jewish woman on a dedicated spiritual quest, finds herself drawn into the ancient courtyard of a monastery in East Jerusalem where she spends her day awash with memories of this life, and surprisingly, her past lives. By the time we have traveled with the two of them on a journey that transcends time and space, we have been taken on a wondrous adventure.
Jerusalem, 1920: in an already fractured city, 11-year-old Prudence feels the tension rising as her architect father launches an ambitious and wildly eccentric plan to redesign the Holy City by importing English parks to the desert. Prue, known as the 'little witness', eavesdrops underneath the tables of tearooms and behind the curtains of the dance halls of the city's elite, watching everything but rarely being watched herself.
On the edge of 27, Jazzy hatches a plan for her and her best girlfriends, Sher, Imo, and Fann. Before the year is out, these Sarong Party Girls will all have spectacular weddings to rich ang moh - Western expat - husbands, with Chanel babies (the cutest status symbols of all) quickly to follow. Razor-sharp, spunky, and vulgarly brand-obsessed, Jazzy is a determined woman who doesn't lose.
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....
"Murakami sparkles as ever"
Of all of John Irving's books, this is the one that lends itself best to audio. In print, Owen Meany's dialogue is set in capital letters; for this production, Irving himself selected Joe Barrett to deliver Meany's difficult voice as intended. In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys - best friends - are playing in a Little League baseball game in Gravesend, New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy's mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn't believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary and terrifying.
"An amazing and memorable book"
The second novel by Donna Tartt, best-selling author of The Goldfinch (winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize), The Little Friend is a grandly ambitious and utterly riveting novel of childhood, innocence and evil. The setting is Alexandria, Mississippi, where one Mother's Day a little boy named Robin Cleve Dufresnes was found hanging from a tree in his parents' yard. Twelve years later Robin's murder is still unsolved and his family remains devastated.
"The unresolved American South."
Day one: The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the Earth like a neutron bomb. News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%. Week Two: Civilization has crumbled. Year Twenty: A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and it threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.
"“survival is insufficient”"
It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
"Beautifully written, but slower than a snail"
Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.
Including many of the greatest stories ever told - the labours of Hercules, the voyage of the Argonauts, Theseus and the minotaur, Midas and his golden touch, the Trojan War and Odysseus's journey home - Robert Graves's superb and comprehensive retelling of the Greek myths for a modern audience has been regarded for over fifty years as the definitive version. With a novelist's skill and a poet's eye, Graves draws on the entire canon of ancient literature, bringing together all the elements of every myth into one epic and unforgettable story.
Hailed by The New York Times as "a marvel of storytelling", The Things They Carried's portrayal of the boots-on-the-ground experience of soldiers in the Vietnam War is a landmark in war writing. Now, three-time Emmy Award winner-Bryan Cranston, star of the hit TV series Breaking Bad, delivers an electrifying performance that walks the book's hallucinatory line between reality and fiction and highlights the emotional power of the spoken word.
"What is a true war story?"
When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as "Rapunzel", "Hansel and Gretel", and "Cinderella" would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style.
"It's not bad."
Anthony Powell's universally acclaimed epic encompasses a four-volume panorama of twentieth century London. Hailed by Time as "brilliant literary comedy as well as a brilliant sketch of the times," A Dance to the Music of Time opens just after World War I. Amid the fever of the 1920s and the first chill of the 1930s, Nick Jenkins and his friends confront sex, society, business, and art.
"The narrative moves on"
Set amid the corrupt glamour and multiplying intrigues of Alexandria, Egypt, in the 1930s and 1940s, the novels of Durrell's Alexandria Quartet (of which this is the first) follow the shifting alliances - sexual, cultural and political - of a group of quite varied characters. In Justine, an English schoolmaster and struggling writer falls in love with a beautiful and mysterious Jewish woman who is married to a wealthy Egyptian.
It is 1998, the year in which America is whipped into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town, an aging classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues decree that he is a racist. The charge is a lie, but the real truth about Silk would have astonished even his most virulent accuser.
For almost a decade, Rachel Caine has turned her back on home, kept distant by family disputes and her work monitoring wolves on an Idaho reservation. But now, summoned by the eccentric earl of Annerdale and his controversial scheme to reintroduce the grey wolf to the English countryside, she is back in the peat and wet light of the Lake District. The earl's project harks back to an ancient idyll of untamed British wilderness.
Based on the remarkable true story of G. H. Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan, and populated with such luminaries such as D. H. Lawrence, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Indian Clerk takes this extraordinary slice of history and transforms it into an emotional and spellbinding story about the fragility of human connection and our need to find order in the world.
"Buy Leavitt, but not this one."
To the Lighthouse is Virginia Woolf's arresting analysis of domestic family life, centering on the Ramseys and their visits to the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the early 1900s. Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut), who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Woolf in the film adaptation of Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Hours, brings the impressionistic prose of this classic to vibrant life.
The Sheltering Sky is a landmark of 20th-century literature, a novel of existential despair that examines the limits of humanity when it touches the unfathomable emptiness of the desert. Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind, Requiem for a Dream) gives masterful voice to this American classic.
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel became a movie starrng Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep in 1987. Francis Phelan, the protaganist, is an ex-ballplayer, part-time gravedigger, full-time drunk, and a man trying to make peace with the ghosts of his past and present.
With an abandoned degree behind her and a 30th birthday approaching, amateur writer Bonnie Falls moves out of her parents' home into a nearby flat. Her landlady, Sylvia Slythe, takes an interest in Bonnie, encouraging her to finish one of her stories, in which a young woman moves to the seaside, where she comes under strange influences. As summer approaches, Sylvia suggests to Bonnie that, as neither of them has anyone else to go on holiday with, they should go away together - to the seaside, perhaps.
The 13th Valley follows the terrifying Vietnam combat experiences of James Chelini, a telephone-systems installer who finds himself an infantryman in territory controlled by the North Vietnamese army. Spiraling deeper and deeper into a world of conflict and darkness, this harrowing account of Chelini's plunge and immersion into jungle warfare traces his evolution from a semipacifist to an all-out combat-crazed soldier.