Pirriwee Public is a beautiful little beachside primary school where children are taught that 'sharing is caring.' So how has the annual School Trivia Night ended in full-blown riot? Sirens are wailing. People are screaming. The principal is mortified. And one parent is dead. Was it a murder, a tragic accident or just good parents gone bad? As the parents at Pirriwee Public are about to discover, sometimes it's the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.
"Should be 4.5 Stars - Fantastic Surprise"
Austen's heroine Elizabeth Bennet deals with the issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of early 19th-century England. Austen at her wittiest.
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""
Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father, Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father's attitude toward society and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.
Frances had been picturing her lodgers in purely mercenary terms - as something like two great waddling shillings. But this, she thought, was what it really meant to have paying guests: this odd, unintimate proximity, this rather peeled-back moment, where the only thing between herself and a naked Mrs Barber was a few feet of kitchen and a thin scullery door. An image sprang into her head: that round flesh, crimsoning in the heat.
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."
The astounding new novel from the master of science fiction. What would happen if the world were ending? When a catastrophic event renders the Earth a ticking time bomb, it triggers a feverish race against the inevitable. An ambitious plan is devised to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere. But unforeseen dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain....
"Really good, then slightly annoying, then bad"
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour, and wit. Maybe Adrian was more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired.
"The Sense of an Ending"
Some moments can change your life for ever. Have you ever wondered, what if....? A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their lives. Eva and Jim are 19 and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva's then lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply.
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.
From the celebrated author of the international bes tseller The Secret Life of Bees comes an extraordinary novel about two exceptional women. Sarah Grimké is the middle daughter. The one her mother calls difficult and her father calls remarkable. On Sarah's eleventh birthday, Hetty 'Handful' Grimke is taken from the slave quarters she shares with her mother, wrapped in lavender ribbons, and presented to Sarah as a gift.
"The Invention of Wings"
Animal Farm is George Orwell's great socio-political allegory set in a farmyard where the animals decide to seize the farmer's land and create a co-operative that reaps the benefits of their combined labours. However, as with all great political plans, some animals see a bigger share of the rewards than others and the animals start to question their supposed utopia.
"A brilliant reading of a classic work"
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.
"Evocatively Portrayed End of the World..."
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.
It is 1941 and Captain Antonio Corelli, a young Italian officer, is posted to the Greek island of Cephallonia as part of the occupying forces. At first he is ostracised by the locals, but as a conscientious soldier, whose main aim is to have a peaceful war, he proves in time to be civilised, humorous - and a consummate musician. When the local doctor's daughter's letters to her fiancé go unanswered, the working of the eternal triangle seems inevitable.
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.
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.
"Great for a rookie!"
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.
"The Secret History"
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"
Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court. She is renowned for her fierce intelligence, exactitude and sensitivity. But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife. There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now, her marriage of thirty years is in crisis. At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful 17-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life.
"A KIND NARRATIVE"
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable, audio edition of Only We Know by Karen Perry, read by Brian Fenton, Niamh Daly and Marcella Riordan. In 1982, on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday beneath the stifling heat of the midday sun, three children start a game that ends in tragedy. Now, thirty years later, Nick, Luke and Katie are estranged, yet still bound together by the dark truth of what happened at the river that day.
Framton Nuttel, a nervous man, has come to stay in the country for his health. His sister, who thinks he should socialize while he is there, has given him letters of introduction to families in the neighborhood she got to know when she was staying there a few years previously. Framton goes to visit them, and while he is waiting for Mrs. Sappleton, her niece is telling him about the window that is always open, even in unfavorable weather.
Oxford, 1862: As Mary Prickett takes up her post as governess to the daughters of the dean of Christ Church, she is thrust into a strange new world. Mary is desperate for change, but there is a problem: Mary does not like children, especially the precocious Alice Liddell. When Mary meets Charles Dodgson, the Christ Church mathematics tutor, she is flattered by his attentions, and Mary begins to believe that she could be more than just a dowdy governess.
From a distance Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he's a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.
In cool, precise prose, and with an unerring sense of the absurd, the four novellas of Compulsory Happiness create a picture of everyday life in a grotesque police state, expressing terror and hope, fear and solidarity, the humorous triviality of the ordinary and the painful search for an ideal.
At the age of 12, Sophie Caco is sent from her impoverished village of Croix-des-Rosets to New York, to be reunited with a mother she barely remembers. There she discovers secrets that no child should ever know and a legacy of shame that can be healed only when she returns to Haiti - to the women who first reared her. What ensues is a passionate journey through a landscape charged with the supernatural and scarred by political violence in a novel that bears witness to the traditions, suffering, and wisdom of an entire people.
A splendid, violent spring suddenly grips Bucharest in the 1980s after a brutal winter. Tolea, an eccentric middle-aged intellectual who has been dismissed from his job as a high school teacher on "moral grounds", is investigating his father's death 40 years after the fact and is drawn into a web of suspicion and black humor.
God Help the Child by Toni Morrison is a dramatic novel that focuses on how adults are affected by what happened to them when they were children. Bride, a successful, young black woman, becomes who she is because her lighter-skinned mother had trouble accepting and loving her. Bride remakes herself in order to leave behind her past. This Instaread Summary & Analysis of God Help the Child includes a summary of the book, an introduction to important people in the book, and analysis of themes and the author's style.
It is dawn on a May morning. On a long, straight Roman road between two sleeping fields a car slows as it arrives at the scene of an accident. As the lives of four people coalesce, we realize that mysterious layers of history are not only buried within them but also locked into the landscape. A captivating novel of immense clarity, At Hawthorn Time is about identity, consumerism, changing boundaries and our own long, straight path into the unknown.
In 1934, 16-year-old Weldon Avery Holland confronts the notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde, resulting with Weldon firing a gun, unsure whether it hit its mark. Ten years later Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland barely survives the Battle of the Bulge, in the process saving the lives of Hershel Pine and a young prisoner of war, Rosita Lowenstein - a woman who holds the same romantic power over him as the beautiful Bonnie Parker.
The astonishingly talented Valerie Trueblood has imbued each story with its own depth and mystery, so rescue comes as a surprise to the listener, who is in intimate sympathy for the soul in extremity. And these are diverse characters whose fates, in lesser hands, might be thought of as hopeless: the fired cop turned security guard, the stolid 19-year-old nurses' aide who will not be going to art school, the cynical radio producer who is dying of breast cancer and on a plane on her way to Lourdes.
"Over the last few years I've started writing a number of stories that, for various reasons, I never finished writing..." So begins Special Problems, the comic tale of Christie Hodges, a writer who can't seem to finish a story. The problem isn't that Hodges has nothing to write about - there's her recent divorce, her paralyzed foot, trouble with her daughter and job - it's that once she starts writing, she can't stop. One problem leads to another, and another.
Both highly suspenseful and deeply moving, The Deep End of the Ocean imagines every mother's worst nightmare - the disappearance of a child - as it explores a family's struggle to endure, even against extraordinary odds. Filled with compassion, humor, and brilliant observations about the texture of real life, here is a story of rare power, one that will touch readers' hearts and make them celebrate the emotions that make us all one.
Meet Rabo Karabekian, a moderately successful surrealist painter who we meet late in life and see struggling (like all of Vonnegut's key characters) with the dregs of unresolved pain and the consequences of brutality. Loosely based on the legend of Bluebeard (best realized in Bela Bartok's one-act opera), the novel follows Karabekian through the last events in his life that is heavy with women, painting, artistic ambition, artistic fraudulence, and as of yet unknown consequence.
Joshua Then and Now is about Joshua Shapiro today and the Joshua he was. His father is a boxer turned honest crook, his mother an erotic dancer whose greatest performance was at Joshua's bar mitzvah; Joshua has overcome his inauspicious beginnings in the Jewish ghetto of Montreal to become a celebrated television writer and a successful journalist. But Joshua, now middle-aged, is not a happy man.
Barney Panofsky - Canadian expat, wily lover of women, writer, television producer, raconteur - is finally putting pen to paper so he can rebut the charges about him made in his rival's autobiography. Whether it's ranting about his bohemian misadventures during the 1950s in Paris, his tumultuous three marriages, or his successful trashy TV company, Totally Unnecessary Productions, he quickly proves that his memory may be slipping, but his bile isn't.
"A wonderful listen - Richler at his best"
St. Urbain's Horseman is a complex, moving, and wonderfully comic evocation of a generation consumed with guilt - guilt at not joining every battle, at not healing every wound. Thirty-seven-year-old Jake Hersh is a film director of modest success, a faithful husband, and a man in disgrace. His alter ego is his cousin Joey, a legend in their childhood neighbourhood in Montreal. Nazi-hunter, adventurer, and hero of the Spanish Civil War, Joey is the avenging horseman of Jake's impotent dreams.
An airplane plunges into an icy river and the world witnesses the dramatic rescue. Then, life after the Miracle on the Hudson landing puts three families on another crash course...with their own fragile humanity.
Living in a rat-infested hotel in Franco's post-war Spain, André Bennett, a Canadian painter, loves Toni, his girl friend, who wants him to return home. Roger Kraus, a Nazi on the run, shadows the young artist day and night. They meet on a bridge during the last night of the fiesta, and as the sky is shredded by exploding fireworks, the story draws to its violent climax. Originally published in 1954, The Acrobats marks Mordecai Richler's stunning debut as a novelist.
Transplanted to Toronto from his native Baffin Island, Atuk the poet is an unlikely overnight success. Eagerly adapting to a society steeped in pretension, bigotry, and greed, Atuk soon abandons the literary life in favour of more lucrative - and hazardous - schemes. Richler's hilarious and devastating satire lampoons the self-deceptions of "the Canadian identity" and derides the hypocrisy of a nation that seeks cultural independence by slavishly pursuing the American dream.
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"
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.
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.
Mrs. Dalloway, perhaps Virginia Woolf's greatest novel, vividly follows English socialite Clarissa Dalloway as she prepares for a party in post-World War I London. Four-time Oscar nominee Annette Bening (American Beauty, The Kids Are All Right) brings Woolf's stream-of-consciousness style of storytelling to life, exploring the hidden springs of thought and action in one day of a woman's life in a brilliant performance.
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"
Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, 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.
"I have no idea why this is a classic..."
Set on the French Riviera in the late 1920s, Tender Is the Night is the tragic romance of the young actress Rosemary Hoyt and the stylish American couple Dick and Nicole Diver. A brilliant young psychiatrist at the time of his marriage, Dick is both husband and doctor to Nicole, whose wealth goads him into a lifestyle not his own, and whose growing strength highlights Dick's harrowing demise. A profound study of the romantic concept of character - lyrical, expansive, and hauntingly evocative.
Paul Auster's signature work, The New York Trilogy, consists of three interlocking novels: City of Glass, Ghosts, and The Locked Room - haunting and mysterious tales that move at the breathless pace of a thriller.
"Not very enjoyable"
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.
Kenneth Toomey is an eminent novelist of dubious talent; Don Carlo Campanati is a man of God, a shrewd manipulator who rises through the Vatican to become the architect of church revolution and a candidate for sainthood. These two men are linked not only by family ties but by a common understanding of mankind's frailties. In this epic masterpiece, Anthony Burgess plumbs the depths of the essence of power and the lengths men will go for it.
Alan Duncan returns to his family home in Australia after the war and several years of study in England. But his homecoming is marred by the mysterious suicide of his parents' quiet and reliable parlour-maid. A search through her belongings in search of clues leads to heart-breaking revelations about the woman's identity, the death of Alan's brother Bill, and, above all, the disappearance of his brother's fiancée, Janet.
"A poignant love story told with great restraint"
In the summer of 1914 a young Englishwoman, Vivian Rose Spencer, finds herself fulfilling a dream by joining an archeological dig in Turkey. Working alongside Germans and Turks, she falls in love with archaeologist, Tahsin Bey, and joins him in his quest to find an ancient silver circlet. The outbreak of war in Europe brings her idyllic summer to a sudden end, and her friends become her nation's enemies.
"The best way to enjoy this true classic"
Kurt Vonnegut's first novel spins the chilling tale of engineer Paul Proteus, who must find a way to live in a world dominated by a super computer and run completely by machines. Paul's rebellion is vintage Vonnegut - wildly funny, deadly serious, and terrifyingly close to reality.
Having inspired a classic film and Broadway play, The Caine Mutiny is Herman Wouk's boldly dramatic, brilliantly entertaining novel of life-and mutiny-on a Navy warship in the Pacific theater. It was immediately embraced upon its original publication as one of the first serious works of American fiction to grapple with the moral complexities and the human consequences of the Second World War. In the intervening half century, this gripping story has become a perennial favorite, selling millions throughout the world, and claiming the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
"a great story about life in the WWII US Navy"
A Dead Man in Deptford re-imagines the riotous life and suspicious death of Christopher Marlowe. Poet, lover, and spy, Marlowe must negotiate the pressures placed upon him by theatre, Queen, and country. Burgess brings this dazzling figure to life and pungently evokes Elizabethan England.