Costa Book Awards 2017
If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and Even the Dogs author Jon McGregor's Reservoir 13 is a page-turning read all about how one family's loss can haunt so many lives...
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It's midwinter in the early years of this century and a teenage girl has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers join the search across the moors as a media scrum descends their normally quiet home...
Despite the disruption, life does go on and jobs still need doing - there are cows that need milking, fences need repairing, pints need pouring and a pantomime needs rehearsing...
Full of important themes including nature, the environment, power and grace, this compelling novel takes place over 13 years and finds a stranger's tragedy casting a shadow over so many.
Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is the Costa Biography Award Winner 2017
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Rebecca Stott's In the Days of Rain is a fascinating yet shocking memoir about her experiences growing up in - and breaking away from - a fundamentalist Christian cult.
Any readers who were left stunned and captivated by Bad Blood and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal will find themselves fully immersed in this incredible true story. Rebecca recalls how her father begged her to help him write a memoir while on his deathbed. He wanted to talk about his family's experiences in a fundamentalist Christian sect but every time he reached a certain point, the painful memories all became too much.
The sect were a closed community who believed the world is ruled by Satan and lived by a number of strict rules - women had to wear headscarves and any non-sect books were banned. Although Rebecca was born into the sect, she needed to know more about their culture and asked intelligent yet dangerous questions while growing up. She soon discovered her father, an influential preacher, had been asking the same questions.
Here Rebecca talks about her father's ongoing struggle between faith and doubt and how this affected their relationship and livelihood for a long time after breaking away...
Xiaolu Guo meets her parents for the first time when she is almost seven. They are strangers to her. When she is born her parents hand her over to a childless peasant couple in the mountains. Aged two, and suffering from malnutrition on a diet of yam leaves, they leave Xiaolu with her illiterate grandparents in a fishing village on the East China Sea. It's a strange beginning. A Wild Swans for a new generation, Once Upon a Time in the East takes Xiaolu from a run-down shack to film school in a rapidly changing Beijing, navigating the everyday peculiarity of modern China: censorship, underground art, Western boyfriends. In 2002 she leaves Beijing on a scholarship to study in Britain. Now, after a decade in Europe, her tale of East to West resonates with the insight that can only come from someone who is both an outsider and at home. Xiaolu Guo's extraordinary memoir is a handbook of life lessons. How to be an artist when censorship kills creativity and the only job you can get is writing bad telenovela scripts. How to be a woman when female babies are regularly drowned at birth and sexual abuse is commonplace. Most poignantly of all: how to love when you've never been shown how.
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Her house is on Montpelier Parade: just across town, but it might as well be a different world. Working there on the garden one Saturday with his father, Sonny is full of curiosity. Then the back door eases open and she comes down the path toward him. Vera. Chance encounters become shy arrangements, and soon Sonny is in love for the first time. Casting off his lonely life of dreams and quiet violence for this new, intoxicating encounter, he longs to know Vera, even to save her. But what is it that Vera isn't telling him? Unfolding in the sea-bright, rain-soaked Dublin of early spring, Montpelier Parade is a beautiful, cinematic novel about desire, longing, grief, hope and the things that remain unspoken. It is about how deeply we can connect with one another, and the choices we must also make alone.
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Richard Osmond's debut collection Useful Verses follows in the tradition of the best nature writing, being as much about the human world as the natural, the present as the past: Osmond, a professional forager, has a deep knowledge of flora and fauna as they appear in both natural and human history, as they are depicted in both folklore and herbal - but he views them through a wholly contemporary lens. Chamomile is discussed through quantum physics, ants through social media, wood sorrel through online gambling, and mugwort through a traffic cone. In each case, Osmond offers an arresting and new perspective, and makes that hidden world that lives and breathes beside us vividly part of our own. This is a fiercely inventive, darkly witty and brilliantly observed debut from a voice unlike any other you have read before - and as far from any quaint and conservative notion of 'nature poetry' as it is possible to get.
An incredible memoir from one of the world's most eminent heart surgeons and some of the most remarkable and poignant cases he's worked on. Grim Reaper sits on the heart surgeon's shoulder. A slip of the hand and life ebbs away. The balance between life and death is so delicate, and the heart surgeon walks that rope between the two. In the operating room there is no time for doubt. It is flesh, blood, rib-retractors and pumping the vital organ with your bare hand to squeeze the life back into it. An off-day can have dire consequences - this job has a steep learning curve, and the cost is measured in human life. Cardiac surgery is not for the faint of heart. Professor Stephen Westaby took chances and pushed the boundaries of heart surgery. He saved hundreds of lives over the course of a thirty-five year career and now, in his astounding memoir, Westaby details some of his most remarkable and poignant cases - such as the baby who had suffered multiple heart attacks by six months old, a woman who lived the nightmare of locked-in syndrome, and a man whose life was powered by a battery for eight years. A powerful, important and incredibly moving book, Fragile Lives offers an exceptional insight into the exhilarating and sometimes tragic world of heart surgery, and how it feels to hold someone's life in your hands.
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New Faces of Fiction 2017, Observer Observer Fiction to look out for in 2017 The Irish Times What To Look Out for in 2017 from Independent Publishers Jen Campbell's 'Most Anticipated Books of 2017' Jean Bookish Thoughts 'Most Anticipated Releases of 2017' A dark social-realist fairytale, spotlighting the shadowy underside of 1920s England Summer 1923: the modern world. Orphaned Lucy Marsh climbs into the back of an old army truck and is whisked off to the woods north of London - a land haunted by the past, where lost souls and monsters conceal themselves in the trees. In a sunlit clearing she meets the 'funny men', a quartet of disfigured ex-soldiers named after Dorothy's companions in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Here are the loved and the damaged, dark forests and darker histories, and the ever-present risk of discovery and violent retribution. Xan Brooks' stunning debut is heartbreaking, disturbing and redemptive.
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Stef Penney, COSTA WINNING AUTHOR of THE TENDERNESS OF WOLVES, returns to the Arctic with 'A dazzling tale of romance and survival' (Guardian.) Perfect for fans of THE ESSEX SERPENT and TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD. '[Penney writes] with a persuasive and appealing hunger . . . there is a touch of Donna Tartt here' The Times'In the masterfully evoked Arctic landscape and in her depictions of sex . . . she finds her true, dazzling stride' GuardianFlora Mackie first crossed the Arctic Circle at the age of twelve. In 1889, the whaler's daughter from Dundee - dubbed by the press 'The Snow Queen' - sets out to become a scientist and explorer. She struggles to be taken seriously but determination and chance lead her back to northern Greenland at the head of a British expedition, despite the many who believe that a young woman has no place in this harsh world of men.Geologist Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan. Yearning for wider horizons, he joins a rival expedition, led by the furiously driven Lester Armitage. When Jakob and Flora's paths cross, it is a fateful meeting. All three become obsessed with the north, a place where violent extremes exist side by side: perpetual night and endless day; frozen seas and coastal meadows; heroism and lies. Armitage's ruthless desire to be the true leader of polar discovery takes him and his men on a mission whose tragic outcome will reverberate for years to come. Set against the stark, timeless beauty of northern Greenland, and fin-de-siecle New York and London, Under a Pole Star is a compelling look at the dark side of the 'golden age' of exploration, a study of the corrosive power of ambition, and an epic, incendiary love story. It shows that sometimes you have to travel to the furthest edge of the world in order to find your true place in it.
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Amihan lives on Culion Island, where some of the inhabitants - including her mother - have leprosy. Ami loves her home - with its blue seas and lush forests, Culion is all she has ever known. But the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: islanders untouched by sickness are forced to leave. Banished across the sea, she's desperate to return, and finds a strange and fragile hope in a colony of butterflies. Can they lead her home before it's too late?
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Set against a backdrop of ecological and economic instability, Sinead Morrissey's sixth collection, On Balance, revisits some of the great feats of human engineering to reveal the states of balance and inbalance that have shaped our history. The poems also address gender inequality and our inharmonious relationship with the natural world. A poem on Lilian Bland - the first woman to design, build and fly her own aeroplane - celebrates the audacity and ingenuity of a great Irish heroine. Elsewhere, explorers in Greenland set foot on a fjord system accessible to Europeans for the first time in millennia as a result of global warming. But if life is fragile then its traces are persistent, insistent, and in 'Articulation' we are invited to stop and wonder at the reconstructed skeleton of Napoleon's horse, Marengo, 'whose very hooves trod mud at Austerlitz', suspended in time 'for however long he lasts before he crumbles'.
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Praise for A Train in Winter: "A story of stunning courage, generosity and hope...In Moorehead's expert hands it is a triumphant one." (Mail on Sunday). Praise for Village of Secrets: "An uplifting tale of courage and morality." (The Sunday Times). Mussolini was not only ruthless: he was subtle and manipulative. Black-shirted thugs did his dirty work for him: arson, murder, destruction of homes and offices, bribes, intimidation and the forcible administration of castor oil. His opponents - including editors, publishers, union representatives, lawyers and judges - were beaten into submission. But the tide turned in 1924 when his assassins went too far, horror spread across Italy and twenty years of struggle began. Antifascist resistance was born and it would end only with Mussolini's death in 1945. Among those whose disgust hardened into bold and uncompromising resistance was a family from Florence: Amelia, Carlo and Nello Rosselli. Caroline Moorehead's research into the Rossellis struck gold. She has drawn on letters and diaries never previously translated into English to reveal - in all its intimacy - a family driven by loyalty, duty and courage, yet susceptible to all the self-doubt and fear that humans are prey to. Readers are drawn into the lives of this remarkable family - and their loves, their loyalties, their laughter and their ultimate sacrifice.
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From the Orange and Baileys Prize-shortlisted author comes an urgent, explosive story of love and a family torn apart Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother's death, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can't stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London - or their brother, Parvaiz, who's disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. Then Eamonn enters the sisters' lives. Handsome and privileged, he inhabits a London worlds away from theirs. As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birthright to live up to - or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz's salvation? Two families' fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined in this searing novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love? A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles' Antigone, Home Fire is an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide - confirming Kamila Shamsie as a master storyteller of our times.
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BHAPJ 13 years +13 years +
The astonishing new novel from Carnegie Medal, CliPPA Poetry Award, YA Book Prize and CBI Book of the Year Award winning author Sarah Crossan. They think I hurt someone. But I didn't. You hear? Cos people are gonna be telling you all kinds of lies. I need you to know the truth. Joe hasn't seen his brother for ten years, and it's for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row. But now Ed's execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think ...From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?
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This title has been shortlisted for 2018?s YA Book Award.
"A brilliant debut - a tender, nostalgic and at times darkly hilarious exploration of black boyhood, masculinity and grief - from one of my favourite writers". (Warsan Shire). Translating as 'initiation', kumukanda is the name given to the rites a young boy from the Luvale tribe must pass through before he is considered a man. The poems of Kayo Chingonyi's remarkable debut explore this passage: between two worlds, ancestral and contemporary; between the living and the dead; between the gulf of who he is and how he is perceived. Underpinned by a love of music, language and literature, here is a powerful exploration of race, identity and masculinity, celebrating what it means to be British and not British, all at once.
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London, 1926: Henry Twist's heavily pregnant wife leaves home to meet a friend. On the way, she is hit by a bus and killed, though miraculously the baby survives. Henry is left with nothing but his new daughter - a single father in a world without single fathers. He hurries the baby home, terrified that she'll be taken from him. Racked with guilt and fear, he stays away from prying eyes, walking her through the streets at night, under cover of darkness. But one evening, a strange man steps out of the shadows and addresses Henry by name. The man says that he has lost his memory, but that his name is Jack. Henry is both afraid of and drawn to Jack, and the more time they spend together, the more Henry sees that this man has echoes of his dead wife. His mannerisms, some things he says ... And so Henry wonders, has his wife returned to him? Has he conjured Jack himself from thin air? Or is he in the grip of a sophisticated con man? Who really sent him? Set in a postwar London where the Bright Young Things dance into dawn at garden parties hosted by generous old Monty, The Haunting of Henry Twist is a novel about the limits and potential of love and of grief. It is about the lengths we will go to to hold on to what is precious to us, what we will forgive of those we love, and what we will sacrifice for the sake of our own happiness.
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