Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other, for no one but Saunders could conceive it. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved 11-year-old son, Willie, dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery.
"A stunning memento mori"
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"
Recipient of the 1966 Tanizaki Prize, it has been called Endo's supreme achievement" and "one of the twentieth century's finest novels". Considered controversial ever since its first publication, it tackles the thorniest religious issues of belief and faith head on. A novel of historical fiction, it is the story of a Jesuit missionary sent to seventeenth century Japan, who endured persecution that followed the defeat of the Shimabara Rebellion.
"How a man comes face to face with God"
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.
"Different than expected but good"
2011: When Madeleine loses her job as a lecturer, she decides to leave her riverside flat in cobbled Stew Lane, where history never feels far away, and move to Apricot Place. Yet here too, in this quiet Walworth cul-de-sac, she senses the past encroaching: a shifting in the atmosphere, a current of unseen life. 1851: and Joseph Benson has been employed by Henry Mayhew to help research his articles on the working classes. A family man with mouths to feed, Joseph is tasked with coaxing testimony from prostitutes.
When Pembe leaves the Kurdish village of her birth, and her twin sister with it, it is for love. She follows her husband, Adem, to London with the hope of making a new life, but the family soon faces a stark choice: to stay loyal to the old traditions or try their best to fit in. When Adem abandons his family, it is Iskender, Pembe's eldest son, who must step in and prevent shame from falling on the family name. And when Pembe begins a chaste affair with a man named Elias, Iskender will discover that you could love someone with all your heart and yet be ready to hurt them.
"Honour - a clash of culture,murder, family honour"
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"
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.
"Her third best book but still a wonderful story"
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.
"Well read, well written, but very, very slow"
A natural storyteller and raconteur in his own right - just listen to Paddle Your Own Canoe and Gumption - actor, comedian, carpenter, and all-around manly man Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation) brings his distinctive baritone and a fine-tuned comic versatility to Twain's writing. In a knockout performance, he doesn't so much as read Twain's words as he does rejoice in them, delighting in the hijinks of Tom - whom he lovingly refers to as a "great scam artist" and "true American hero".
"a classic for a reason"
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.
"Grimm's grim stories"
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.
It's a story you think you know: the age-old tale of "star-cross'd lovers"; two families at war; a romance, so pure and absolute, fated for a tragic end. It's a story so thoroughly embedded in our culture, and so frequently retold. Yet, nothing captures the spark, the possibility, and the surprise of Shakespeare's work quite like this....
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.
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.
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 best way to enjoy this true classic"
The View on the Way Down captures the insidious, sometimes violent, force of depression and its ability to tip lives into chaos. Gripping, moving, and ultimately hopeful, The View on the Way Down will have you rooting for the family's redemption. Rebecca Wait graduated from Oxford University in 2010 with a first class degree in English, having been mentored by the poet and novelist Craig Raine at New College. She's been writing since she was a child and has won numerous prizes for short stories and plays.
Overwhelmed by the huge success of her latest novel, exhausted and unable to begin writing her next book, Delphine meets L. L. is the kind of impeccable, sophisticated woman who fascinates Delphine - a woman with smooth hair and perfectly filed nails and a gift for saying the right thing. Delphine finds herself irresistibly drawn to her, their friendship growing as their meetings, notes and texts increase. But L. begins to dress like Delphine, and, in the face of Delphine's crippling inability to write, L. even offers to answer her emails, and their relationship rapidly intensifies.
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.
"It began with a spark." A house is burning. Its six tenants include a failed priest, a naturalist, a neurosurgeon and an invalid dreaming of his anxious boyhood. Their landlord's relationship with them is both intimate and shadowy. At times he shares their preoccupations and memories. He will also share their fate. In Night of Fire the passions and obsessions of these unquiet lives reach beyond the dying house that holds them. Ranging from an African refugee camp to the cremation-grounds of India, their memories mutate and criss-cross in a novel of lingering beauty and mystery.
Following his expulsion from school, 17-year-old dreamer Ellis Dau is sent to work with his father. His father is editor of The Chronicle, the last bastion of free speech in their strange, strange land. And it is under threat: from heavy-handed policemen, mysterious revolutionaries, and the resident Russian billionaire. As Ellis navigates his collapsing, blacked-out city - and his feelings for the oligarch's beautiful daughter - he realises that some things are worth fighting for.
It is 1908, and Max Brod is the rising star of Prague's literary world. But when a rival appears on the scene, Max discovers how quickly he can lose everything he has worked so hard to attain. The Lost Pages is a richly reimagined story of Max Brod's life filtered through his relationship with Franz Kafka. In this inspired novel of friendship, fraud, madness and betrayal, Marija Pericic writes vividly and compellingly of an extraordinary literary rivalry.
A woman finds a head in her mother's garden. Things get weirder when the head talks to her....
What would you do if all you held to be familiar was lost? Conjuring a dark future for Australia, Closing Down gives us a glimpse into a world fractured by a financial crisis and the effects of global climate change. The inaugural winner of The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers.
Ireland's gone bust and with it Aisling Finn's life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia. Debonair fixer Brian Rothmann charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait?
Running away from the mainland was supposed to make their lives better. But for Isla and her brother, their mother's sadness and the cold, damp greyness of Hobart's stone streets seeps into everything. Then, one morning, Isla sees a red ship. That colour lights her day. And when a sailor from the ship befriends her mother, he shares his stories with them all - of Antarctica, his home in Denmark and life onboard.
Fuminori Nakamura's Akutagawa Prize-winner plunges us into the depths of a young man's winding, troubled psyche. An unnamed taxi driver in Tokyo has experienced a rupture in his everyday life. He cannot stop daydreaming of suicide, envisioning himself returning to the earth in what soon become terrifying blackout episodes. His live-in girlfriend, Sayuko, is in a similarly bad phase, surrendering to alcoholism to escape the memory of her miscarriage.
The Beech Tree introduces you to the lives of those who visited the tree and shared their lives, their loves, their hopes and dreams, beneath the tree's dark green canopy...and their curious, inexplicable connection to one another. The listeners are introduced to Johnny and Margo, the first characters to visit the tree, just before Johnny ships off to fight in The Great War in 1918.
iDEATH is a place where the sun shines a different color every day and where people travel to the length of their dreams. Rejecting the violence and hate of the old gang at the Forgotten Works, they lead gentle lives in watermelon sugar. In this book, Richard Brautigan discovers and expresses the mood of the counterculture generation.
Gemini Berry is looking forward to spending a lazy summer in her small hometown of Meadow Lake, Pennsylvania, with her best friend, Sunny. The teens' main goal is to get their hands on the Ring of Atlantis, a supposedly enchanted object that brings the bearer wealth and luck. Along with their new friend, Ivy, they plan to try the ring for themselves. But their carefree caper is soon halted by a crime that outrages and divides the town.
While serving in the USO during WWII, Mumma meets Pops. She's got many suitors, but it's Pops who wins her heart. Their road is rocky, though: His family sees his marriage to an orphan as beneath him, and her own dreams of being more than just a wife and mother are jeopardized. But while Mumma never counted on there being challenges at every turn, those turns also never anticipated a force of nature like Mumma.
Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of eight-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures, Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders - will he ever find his purpose?
"A dogs tail"
In a small town where everyone knows everyone, Emma O'Donovan is different. She is the special one - beautiful, popular, powerful. And she works hard to keep it that way. Until that night.... Now she's an embarrassment. Now she's just a slut. Now she is nothing. And those pictures - those pictures that everyone has seen - mean she can never forget. For fans of Caitlin Moran, Marian Keyes and Jodi Picoult. The award-winning, best-selling novel about the life-shattering impact of sexual assault, rape and how victims are treated.
"An emotional, heart wrenching story"
Like all 20-year-olds, Ryan Cusack is trying to get his head around who he is. This is not a good time for his boss to exploit his dual heritage by opening a new black market route from Italy to Ireland. It is certainly not a good time for his adored girlfriend to decide he's irreparably corrupted. And he really wishes he hadn't accidentally caught the eye of an ornery grandmother who fancies herself his saviour.
Tragedy strikes the New York-based Cardinal family when their car is involved in a terrible accident. Twelve-year-old Lou and seven-year-old Oz survive, but the crash leaves their father dead and their mother in a coma. It would seem their world has been shattered forever until their great-grandmother, Louisa Mae, agrees to raise the children on her Virginia mountain farm. But before long their rural idyll is threatened by the discovery of natural gas on the mountain.
Oola is a very different kind of love story. Oola and Leif meet at a party in East London, two Americans at a loose end. The insouciant music school dropout and aimless young writer fix on one another, grab hands and fall headfirst down love's rabbit hole. Leif's summer plans soon become Oola's, too, and the pair find themselves mansion-sitting their way across the States, drinking the liquor cabinets dry and emptying the walk-in wardrobes to play dress-up.
One Hundred Years of Solitude meets The Kite-Runner in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. On the third day of Ramadan, the village wakes to find the severed heads of nine of its sons stacked in banana crates by the bus stop. One of them belonged to one of the most wanted men in Iraq, known to his friends as Ibrahim the Fated. How did this good and humble man earn the enmity of so many? What did he do to deserve such a death?
When Will - soon to be known as 'Posh Lad' - starts as an apprentice for Stanley Lampitt, he expects horses, fresh air and a solid training in forge-work and horses. What he gets is Stanley, 'six-foot-six of tattooed muscle, with a gleaming shaven head', and Ewan, raised at the bad end of the Cribbs Estate. It's a baptism of fire. After a rocky start - Will doesn't drink Yorkshire tea - the three settle into a rhythm, barrelling around Yorkshire in a series of dodgy vans, forging iron and shoeing horses.
Lord Dunsany was Edward Plunkett's pen name, and he was a very successful author of numerous books, plays, and short stories. He possessed a remarkable imagination and created fantastical landscapes peopled with unique characters. To listen to his short stories is to be transported to another time and to another place and, in the midst of it all, to be enthralled by the marvel of it all.
In the half a square mile of decay and demolition that was England's Saxon capital, eternity is loitering between the firetrap tower blocks. Embedded in the grubby amber of the district's narrative, among its saints, kings, prostitutes and derelicts, a different kind of human time is happening. Through the labyrinthine streets and minutes of Jerusalem tread ghosts that sing of wealth and poverty, of Africa, hymns and our threadbare millennium.
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.
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 Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed . If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs....
"A great book to listen to :)"
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.
Out of Practice is based around a large country medical practice, which proves to be a hotbed of rivalry, resentment and romance - and that's just the doctors. Think James Herriot meets House.
Cyril Avery is not a real Avery, or at least that's what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn't a real Avery, then who is he? Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.
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.
"Sean Barrett does justice to this wonderful text."
The new audiobook from number one best-selling author Jodi Picoult, with the biggest of themes: birth, death, and responsibility. When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father. What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
"Loved everything about this book"
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.
As teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under military dictatorship. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America, where Obinze hopes to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?
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.
"Brilliant classic, superbly read by Simon Callow"
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 2007.America is a barren landscape of smoldering ashes, devoid of life except for those people still struggling to scratch out some type of existence. Amidst this destruction, a father and his young son walk, always toward the coast, but with no real understanding that circumstances will improve once they arrive. Still, they persevere, and their relationship comes to represent goodness in a world of utter devastation.
"An Excellent Audiobook"
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...
Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters, and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and myths.
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.
"Nostalgia for a time that has so much to teach us"
John Fowles's The Magus was a literary landmark of the 1960s. Nicholas Urfe goes to a Greek island to teach at a private school and becomes enmeshed in curious happenings at the home of a mysterious Greek recluse, Maurice Conchis. Are these events, involving attractive young English sisters, just psychological games, or an elaborate joke, or more? Reality shifts as the story unfolds. The Magus reflected the issues of the 1960s perfectly, and it continues to create tension and concern today.
The village of Chilbury in Kent is about to ring in some changes. This is a delightful novel of wartime gumption and village spirit that will make your heart sing out. Kent, 1940. The women of Chilbury village have taken umbrage at the Vicar's closure of the choir now that its male singers are at war. But when spirited music professor Primrose Trent arrives, it prompts the creation of an all-female singing group.
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"
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.
"An incredible piece of art (written & narrated)"