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Sadie Jones is a novelist and screenwriter who was born and brought up in London. Her first novel, The Outcast ('Riveting', Lionel Shriver; 'Devastatingly good', Daily Mail) was the winner of the Costa First Novel Award. It was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize and was a Richard and Judy Summer Reads Number One bestseller. Sadie adapted The Outcast for BBC Television in 2014. Her second novel, Small Wars, ('Outstanding', The Times; 'One of the best books about the English at war ever', Joel Morris), was published in 2009, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. Her third, in 2010, was The Uninvited Guests. 2009 ('...a shimmering comedy of manners and disturbing commentary on class... a brilliant novel.' Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder. ‘Delightful, eerie novel ... puts one in mind of Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black ...’ The Daily Telegraph.) Her most recent novel, published May 2014, is Fallout, ('Intoxicating and immersive.' The Sunday Times; 'Intense.. unflinching', The New York Times), is now out in paperback. Sadie is married to the architect, Tim Boyd, and they live in West London with their two children.
Goosebumps still compete in a race down my arms when I think about The Snakes, it is remarkable, truly remarkable, so please just trust me when I say this is a must-read. Bea and Dan rent out their flat so they can travel, stopping off at her brother’s hotel in France on route. When Bea’s parents unexpectedly visit, Dan can’t understand why Bea has kept them at arms length and refused their financial help all of these years, surely it can’t hurt to get to know them? Sadie Jones is a master storyteller, apparently simple sentences gang together to create a slicing tension. There is a purity to the writing, even though the very darkest of human attributes are so wonderfully and tellingly observed as the tale unfolds. This isn’t a comfortable read, but gosh it’s compelling, I sat and read it in one heady afternoon. I felt on high alert, my mind unclouded as I tasted, tested, scrutinised both the thoughts of the characters, and my own. ‘The Snakes’ is powerful and provocative, not in a shouty, boastful way, it slid into my mind, creating and filling secret spaces, and when I reached the last few pages, and read the final words, I just stopped and sat in wondering heart-hammering silence.
1957, and Lewis Aldridge is travelling back to his home in the South of England. He is straight out of jail and nineteen years old. His return will trigger the implosion not just of his family, but of a whole community. A decade earlier, his father’s homecoming casts a different shape. The war is over and Gilbert has recently been demobbed. He reverts easily to suburban life – cocktails at six thirty, church on Sundays – but his wife and young son resist the stuffy routine. Lewis and his mother escape to the woods for picnics, just as they did in wartime days. Nobody is surprised that Gilbert’s wife counters convention, but they are all shocked when, after one of their jaunts, Lewis comes back without her. Not far away, Kit Carmichael keeps watch. She has always understood more than most, not least from what she has been dealt by her own father’s hand. Lewis’s grief and burgeoning rage are all too plain, and Kit makes a private vow to help. But in her attempts to set them both free, she fails to predict the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open. As menacing as it is beautiful, The Outcast is a devastating portrait of small-town hypocrisy from an astonishing new voice.
As read on BBC Radio 4 Book at Bedtime. Luke is a young playwright: intense, magnetic and hungry for experience. Fleeing a disastrous upbringing in the North East he arrives in London and shares a flat with Paul, an aspiring producer, and beautiful, fiery Leigh. The three of them set up a radical theatre company, their friendship forged in rehearsal rooms above pubs, candlelit power cuts, and smoky late-night parties, part of a thrilling new generation of writers, directors and rising voices. When Nina, a fragile actress, strays towards their group, Luke recognises a damaged soul and the balance between the friends is threatened. Luke is torn between loyalty, desire and his own painful past, until everything he values, even the promise of the future, is in danger. Suddenly the fallout threatens to be immense.
Hal Treherne is a soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. Impatient to see action, his other commitment in life is to his beloved wife, Clara, and when Hal is transferred to Cyprus she and their twin daughters join him. But the island is in the heat of the emergency; the British are defending the colony against Cypriots - schoolboys and armed guerillas alike - battling for union with Greece. Clara shares Hal's sense of duty and honour; she knows she must settle down, make the best of things, smile. But action changes Hal, and the atrocities he is drawn into take him not only further from Clara but himself, too; a betrayal that is only the first step down a dark path. Longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.
A sinister tale of haunting beauty, from The Outcast author Sadie Jones. It is the eve of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday and the family has assembled at Sterne, the once grand, now crumbling, family seat. The cake is iced, the wine decanted, the house gleams invitingly. But before the first dish can be served, a mysterious group of strangers arrives at the door. Victims of a local train accident they are seeking shelter at the house. The Torringtons welcome them in but there is something unsettling about the group and, as night falls and a storm rages outside, the family begins to wonder if something more malevolent than stranded travellers is in their home...
One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honor of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savory survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manorand the household is thrown into confusion and mischief.The cook toils over mock turtle soup and a chocolate cake covered with green sugar roses, which the hungry band of visitors is not invited to taste. But nothing, it seems, will go according to plan. As the passengers wearily search for rest, the house undergoes a strange transformation. One of their number (who is most definitely not a gentleman) makes it his business to join the birthday revels.Evening turns to stormy night, and a most unpleasant parlor game threatens to blow respectability to smithereens: Smudge Torrington, the wayward youngest daughter of the house, decides that this is the perfect moment for her Great Undertaking.The Uninvited Guests is the bewitching new novel from the critically acclaimed Sadie Jones. The prizewinning author triumphs in this frightening yet delicious drama of dark surpriseswhere social codes are uprooted and desire daringly trumps proprietyand all is alight with Edwardian wit and opulence.
1957, and Lewis Aldridge is travelling back to his home in the South of England. He is straight out of jail and nineteen years old. His return will trigger the implosion not just of his family, but of a whole community. A decade earlier, his father's homecoming casts a different shape. The war is over and Gilbert has recently been demobbed. He reverts easily to suburban life - cocktails at six thirty, church on Sundays - but his wife and young son resist the stuffy routine. Lewis and his mother escape to the woods for picnics, just as they did in wartime days. Nobody is surprised that Gilbert's wife counters convention, but they are all shocked when, after one of their jaunts, Lewis comes back without her. Not far away, Kit Carmichael keeps watch. She has always understood more than most, not least from what she has been dealt by her own father's hand. Lewis's grief and burgeoning rage are all too plain, and Kit makes a private vow to help. But in her attempts to set them both free, she fails to predict the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open. As menacing as it is beautiful, The Outcast is a devastating portrait of small-town hypocrisy from an astonishing new voice.