Fiction

Man Booker Prize

  • AUMWK
    AL Kennedy
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    A good man in a bad world, Jon Sigurdsson is 59 and divorced: a senior civil servant in Westminster who hates many of his colleagues and loathes his work for a government engaged in unmentionable acts. A man of conscience. Meg Williams is 'a bankrupt accountant - two words you don't want in the same sentence, or anywhere near your CV'. She's 45 and shakily sober, living on Telegraph Hill, where she can see London unfurl below her. Somewhere out there is safety. Somewhere out there is Jon, pinballing around the city with a mobile phone and a letter-writing habit he can't break. He's a man on the brink, leaking government secrets and affection as he runs for his life. Set in 2014, this is a novel of our times. Poignant, deeply funny, and beautifully written, Serious Sweet is about two decent, damaged people trying to make moral choices in an immoral world: ready to sacrifice what's left of themselves for honesty, and for a chance at tenderness. As Jon and Meg navigate the sweet and serious heart of London - passing through 24 hours that will change them both for ever - they tell a very unusual, unbearably moving love story.
  • ATJFV
    David Means
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    At the bitter end of the 1960s, after surviving multiple assassination attempts, President John F. Kennedy has created a vast federal agency, the Psych Corps, dedicated to maintaining the nation's mental hygiene by any means necessary. Soldiers returning from Vietnam have their battlefield traumas "enfolded"- wiped from their memories through drugs and therapy - while veterans too damaged to be enfolded roam at will in Michigan, evading the Psych Corps and reenacting atrocities on civilians. This destabilized, alternate version of American history is the vision of the twenty-two-year-old veteran Eugene Allen, who has returned from Vietnam to write the book at the center of Hystopia, the long-awaited first novel by David Means. In Hystopia, Means brings his full talent to bear on the crazy reality of trauma, both national and personal. Outlandish and tender, funny and violent, timely and historical, Hystopia invites us to consider whether our traumas can ever be truly overcome. The answers it offers are wildly inventive, deeply rooted in its characters, and wrung from the author's own heart.
  • AUFBC
    Wyl Menmuir
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    Timothy Buchannan buys an abandoned house on the edge of an isolated village on the coast, sight unseen. When he sees the state of it he questions the wisdom of his move, but starts to renovate the house for his wife, Lauren to join him there. When the villagers see smoke rising from the chimney of the neglected house they are disturbed and intrigued by the presence of the incomer, intrigue that begins to verge on obsession. And the longer Timothy stays, the more deeply he becomes entangled in the unsettling experience of life in the small village. Ethan, a fisherman, is particularly perturbed by Timothy's arrival, but accedes to Timothy's request to take him out to sea. They set out along the polluted coastline, hauling in weird fish from the contaminated sea, catches that are bought in whole and removed from the village. Timothy starts to ask questions about the previous resident of his house, Perran, questions to which he receives only oblique answers and increasing hostility. As Timothy forges on despite the villagers' animosity and the code of silence around Perran, he starts to question what has brought him to this place and is forced to confront a painful truth. The Many is an unsettling tale that explores the impact of loss and the devastation that hits when the foundations on which we rely are swept away.
  • AUMWL
    Elizabeth Strout
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    LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016 THE NEW YORK TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER An exquisite story of mothers and daughters from the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn't spoken for many years, comes to see her. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of her life: her impoverished childhood in Amgash, Illinois, her escape to New York and her desire to become a writer, her faltering marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. In My Name Is Lucy Barton, one of America's finest writers shows how a simple hospital visit illuminates the most tender relationship of all-the one between mother and daughter.
  • AUMWJ
    JM Coetzee
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    When you travel across the ocean on a boat, all your memories are washed away and you start a completely new life. That is how it is. There is no before. There is no history. The boat docks at the harbour and we climb down the gangplank and we are plunged into the here and now. Time begins. David is the small boy who is always asking questions. Simon and Ines take care of him in their new town Estrella. He is learning the language; he has begun to make friends. He has the big dog Bolivar to watch over him. But he'll be seven soon and he should be at school. And so, David is enrolled in the Academy of Dance. It's here, in his new golden dancing slippers, that he learns how to call down the numbers from the sky. But it's here too that he will make troubling discoveries about what grown-ups are capable of. In this mesmerising allegorical tale, Coetzee deftly grapples with the big questions of growing up, of what it means to be a parent, the constant battle between intellect and emotion, and how we choose to live our lives.
  • AUHRU
    Stefan Hertmans
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    Shortly before his death at the age of 90, Stefan Hertmans' grandfather Urbain gave his grandson a set of notebooks. As Stefan began to read, he found himself drawn into a conversation across the centuries, as Urbain - so quiet and reserved in life - revealed his eloquence and his private passions on the page. Gradually, as he learned of his grandfather's heroics in the First World War, the loss of his great love, and his later years spent seeking solace in art and painting, a portrait emerged of the grandfather he had never fully known. War and Turpentine is an exquisite, loving reconstruction of a man's interior life, at once deeply personal and yet so evocative of many of his generation, affected by the long shadow of war. In beautiful, glimmering prose, Hertmans shows us how our experiences shape us all, and how, even in a life of sorrow and heartache, dignity can be found.
  • ANMKA
    Marlon James
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    1976: Seven gunmen storm Bob Marley's house, machine guns blazing. The reggae superstar survives, but the gunmen are never caught. From the acclaimed author of The Book of Night Women comes a dazzling display of masterful storytelling exploring this near-mythic event.

    Spanning three decades and crossing continents, A Brief History of Seven Killings chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters - slum kids, one-night stands, drug lords, girlfriends, gunmen, journalists, and even the CIA. Gripping and inventive, ambitious and mesmerising, A Brief History of Seven Killings is one of the most remarkable and extraordinary novels of the twenty-first century.
  • AKDRP
    Karen Joy Fowler
    (3)
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    Longlisted for 2014's Man Booker Prize for Fiction, Karen Joy Fowler's We are All Completely Beside Ourselves is an exciting book that will leave you breathless.

    A novel full of secrets, it tells the story of college girl Rosemary, who has decided not to tell anyone a thing about her family. All people know is that she's an only child and her brother and sister disappeared. But now she's decided to reveal all - beginning towards the end and then going back to the beginning. Twice.

    Funny, clever, intimate and honest, this is a smart tale of tragic hilarity.
  • AHMEB
    Eleanor Catton
    (1)
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    Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2013, Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries belongs on every fan of literary fiction's bookshelf.

    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 twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes.

    A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute 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.

    The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery.
  • ANHLH
    David Nicholls
    (1)
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    David Nicholls brings to bear all the wit and intelligence that graced ONE DAY in this brilliant, bittersweet novel about love and family, husbands and wives, parents and children. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2014. Douglas Petersen understands his wife's need to 'rediscover herself' now that their son is leaving home. He just thought they'd be doing their rediscovering together. So when Connie announces that she will be leaving, too, he resolves to make their last family holiday into the trip of a lifetime: one that will draw the three of them closer, and win the respect of his son. One that will make Connie fall in love with him all over again. The hotels are booked, the tickets bought, the itinerary planned and printed. What could possibly go wrong?
  • AIZRC
    NoViolet Bulawayo
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    This book is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013, and US National Book Award 5 Under 35. 'To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in - who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?' Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn't all bad, though. There's mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges - for her and also for those she's left behind.
  • ANORI
    David Mitchell
    (1)
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    Run away, one drowsy summer's afternoon, with Holly Sykes: wayward teenager, broken-hearted rebel and unwitting pawn in a titanic, hidden conflict. Over six decades, the consequences of a moment's impulse unfold, drawing an ordinary woman into a world far beyond her imagining. And as life in the near future turns perilous, the pledge she made to a stranger may become the key to her family's survival ...
  • AJLPM
    Eleanor Catton
    • £9.89
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    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 twelve 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. The Luminaries is an extraordinary piece of fiction. It is full of narrative, linguistic and psychological pleasures, and has a fiendishly clever and original structuring device. Written in pitch-perfect historical register, richly evoking a mid-19th century world of shipping and banking and goldrush boom and bust, it is also a ghost story, and a gripping mystery. It is a thrilling achievement and will confirm for critics and readers that Catton is one of the brightest stars in the international writing firmament.
  • AUXJL
    Amos Oz
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    Amos Oz's first major novel in a decade - since A Tale of Love and Darkness, which sold over 100,000 copies. Shmuel, a young, idealistic student, is drawn to a mysterious handwritten note on a campus noticeboard. This takes him to a strange house, where an elderly invalid man requires a paid companion, to argue with and read to him. But there is someone else in the house, too...A woman, who is trailed by ghosts from her past. Shmuel is captivated by her, a sexual obsession which evolves into gentle love and devotion; and he is pulled to the old man, an intellectual obsession which also evolves into gentle love and devotion. Shmuel begins to uncover the house's tangled history and, in doing so, reaches an understanding that harks back not only to the beginning of the Jewish-Arab conflict, but also the beginning of Jerusalem itself - to Christianity, to Judaism, to Judas. Set in the still-divided Jerusalem of 1959-60, Judas is an exquisite love story and coming-of-age tale, and a radical rethinking of the concept of treason. It is a novel steeped in desire and curiosity from one of Israel's greatest living writers.
  • AMVPH
    Richard Flanagan
    (2)
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    This book was the winner of the Man Booker Prize 2014. Forever after, there were for them only two sorts of men: the men who were on the Line, and the rest of humanity, who were not. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever. This is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, propsers, only to discover all that he has lost.
  • AWAUX
    David Grossman
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    How many times have you checked your phone today? Why are messaging apps, email and social media so hard to resist? How come we always end up watching another episode? In recent years, media and technology have perfected the lucrative art of gaining and holding our attention. This extraordinary feat has changed the behaviour of billions of people, and especially the young: by current medical standards, we are experiencing an unprecedented, global pandemic of addiction. But what exactly is an addiction? And what, if anything, might we do about it? From cliff-hangers to earworms, from religion to pornography, and from the awesome allure of the 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' app to the unexpected benefits of the 'butt-brush effect', irresistible blends fascinating stories with ingenious science to explain how and why we all got hooked. Revealing the surprising causes and sometimes bizarre nature of addiction, this book will equip you with the tools and understanding you need to navigate our irresistible new world.
  • AMPII
    Siri Hustvedt
    • £8.79
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    LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014 The artist Harriet Burden, furious at the lack of attention paid her by the New York art world, conducts an experiment: she hides her identity behind three male fronts in a series of exhibitions. Their success seems to prove her point, but there's a sting in the tail - when she unmasks herself, not everyone believes her. Then her last collaborator meets a bizarre end. In this mesmerising tour de force, Burden's story emerges after her death through a variety of sources, including her (not entirely reliable) journals and the testimonies of her children, lover and a dear friend. Each account is different, however, and the mysteries multiply.
  • AHMEC
    Eve Harris
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    19 year-old Chani lives in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community of North West London. She has never had physical contact with a man, but is bound to marry a stranger. The rabbi's wife teaches her what it means to be a Jewish wife, but Rivka has her own questions to answer. Soon buried secrets, fear and sexual desire bubble to the surface in a story of liberation and choice; not to mention what happens on the wedding night -
  • AMINE
    Anne Tyler
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    'It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon...' This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that day in July 1959.

    The whole family on the porch, relaxed, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different.

    Abby and Red are getting older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them and their beloved family home. They've all come, even Denny, who can usually be relied on only to please himself.

    From that porch we spool back through three generations of the Whitshanks, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define who and what they are.

    And while all families like to believe they are special, round that kitchen table over all those years we also see played out our own hopes and fears, rivalries and tensions - the essential nature of family life. "She's changed my perception on life."

    Anne Tyler's A Spool of Blue Thread has been shortlisted for the 2015 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction.
  • AMNYP
    Chigozie Obioma
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    In this dazzling debut novel, four young brothers in a small Nigerian town encounter a madman, whose prophecy of violence threatens the core of their family Told from the point of view of nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river they encounter a madman, who predicts that one of the brothers will kill another. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact - both tragic and redemptive - will transcend the lives and imaginations of both its characters and its readers. Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the best new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation's masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose.
  • AWMYX
    Wioletta Greg
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    Wiola lives in a close-knit agricultural community. Wiola has a black cat called Blackie. Wiola's father was a deserter but now he is a taxidermist. Wiola's mother tells her that killing spiders brings on storms. Wiola must never enter the seamstress's 'secret' room. Wiola collects matchbox labels. Wiola is a good Catholic girl brought up with fables and nurtured on superstition. Wiola lives in a Poland that is both very recent and lost in time. Swallowing Mercury is about the ordinary passing of years filled with extraordinary days. In vivid prose filled with texture, colour and sound, it describes the adult world encroaching on the child's. From childhood to adolescence, Wiola dances to the strange music of her own imagination.
  • AJVPC
    Richard House
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    Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2013. Shortlisted for the South Bank Sky Arts Awards 2014. Camp Liberty is a forgotten military base in Amrah province, Iraq, a place where the detritus of war is incinerated, burried, erased from memory. It is manned only by a small group of economic mercenaries. When the mysterious Stephen Lawrence Sutler arrives tension begins to mount. And then everything changes. An explosion. An attack on a regional government office. When the dust settles it emerges that Sutler has disappeared, and over fifty million dollars of reconstruction funds are missing. This is neither the beginning nor the end of the trouble. And there's the vicious murder of an American student in Italy. A murder that replicates exactly the details of a well-known novel, a novel Sutler has read. Moving across continents, characters and genres, The Kills is an epic tale of crime and conspiracy: ambitious, original and gripping. 'Prepare to be dazzled by this monumental novel' Sunday Times
  • AMVSP
    Paul Kingsnorth
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    A post-apocalyptic novel set in 1066 - unlike anything else you will read this year...Everyone knows the date of the Battle of Hastings. Far fewer people know what happened next...Set in the three years after the Norman invasion, The Wake tells the story of a fractured band of guerilla fighters who take up arms against the invaders. Carefully hung on the known historical facts about the almost forgotten war of resistance that spread across England in the decade after 1066, it is a story of the brutal shattering of lives, a tale of lost gods and haunted visions, narrated by a man of the Lincolnshire fens bearing witness to the end of his world. Written in what the author describes as 'a shadow tongue' - a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable for the modern reader - The Wake renders the inner life of an Anglo-Saxon man with an accuracy and immediacy rare in historical fiction. To enter Buccmaster's world is to feel powerfully the sheer strangeness of the past.
  • AWPKZ
    Ismail Kadare
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    At the heart of the Ottoman Empire, in the main square of Constantinople, a niche is carved into ancient stone. Here, the sultan displays the severed heads of his adversaries. People flock to see the latest head and gossip about the state of the empire: the province of Albania is demanding independence again, and the niche awaits a new trophy...Tundj Hata, the imperial courier, is charged with transporting heads to the capital - a task he relishes and performs with fervour. But as he travels through obscure and impoverished territories, he makes money from illicit side-shows, offering villagers the spectacle of death. The head of the rebellious Albanian governor would fetch a very high price. The Traitor's Niche is a surreal tale of rebellion and tyranny, in a land where armies carry scarecrows, state officials ban entire languages, and the act of forgetting is more complicated than remembering.