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Valerie Martin is the author of two collections of short fiction and six novels, including Italian Fever, The Great Divorce and Mary Reilly [the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde story, from the viewpoint of a housemaid] which was filmed with Julia Roberts and John Malkovich. Her most recent book is a non-fiction work about St Francis of Assisi: Salvation: Scenes from the Life of St Francis. She lives in upstate New York.
A mystery unsolved to this day A mystic who confounds the cynics A writer looking for the story that will make his name A ghost ship appears in the mist. To the struggling author Arthur Conan Doyle, it is an inspiration. To Violet Petra, the gifted American psychic, it is a cruel reminder. To the death-obsessed Victorian public, it is a fascinating distraction. And to one family, tied to the sea for generations, it is a tragedy. In salons and on rough seas, at seances and in the imagination of a genius, these stories converge in unexpected ways as the mystery of the ghost ship deepens. But will the sea yield its secrets, and to whom?
A mystery unsolved to this day A mystic who confounds the cynics A writer looking for the story that will make his name A ghost ship appears in the mist. To the struggling author Arthur Conan Doyle, it is an inspiration. To Violet Petra, the gifted American psychic, it is a cruel reminder. To the death-obsessed Victorian public, it is a fascinating distraction. And to one family, tied to the sea for generations, it is a tragedy. In salons and on rough seas, at seances and in the imagination of a genius, these stories converge in unexpected ways as the mystery of the ghost ship deepens. But will the sea yield its secrets, and to whom? Intricate, atmospheric, and endlessly intriguing, The Ghost of the Mary Celeste is a spellbinding exploration of love, loss and the fictions that pass as truth.
Set in the theatre world of the 1970’s this story brings together a group of colourful, charming and calculating characters. A story of misplaced loyalties, a love triangle and the competitive, jealous world of the theatre make for a thoroughly engrossing read with art reflecting life as the story reaches it’s closing scenes.
Trespass is a beautifully written and complex tale of love, jealousy, transgression, forgiveness, identity, and war. Brendan and Chloe Dale are the epitome of upper middle-class America living a very comfortable life in rural upstate New York. All seems well until their son, Toby, a student at NYU, returns home with his new girlfriend and Croatian refugee, Salome. Chloe is immediately suspicious of her son’s new-found love and in return Salome displays hostility towards Toby’s parents. The mistrust and tension is heightened when Salome falls pregnant. We are then drawn into Salome’s violent and war-torn past which is cleverly juxtaposed against the backdrop of middle-class America. As the book’s title suggests the story is about invasion on many different levels and, in particular, how each individual character deals with their own personal intrusions. It makes for a very thought-provoking read indeed.
Jan Vidor seems like the ideal tenant for a long summer holiday in a Tuscan villa. Unobtrusive and quietly sociable, the American academic can be relied upon to entertain herself - but her aristocratic landlady Beatrice has made a terrible mistake. A chance remark about a violent death at Villa Chiara during the war piques Jan's writerly interest and sends her digging into the Salviati family's tragic past. Was Beatrice's uncle Sandro really mistaken for a partisan, or was his killer someone closer to home? Does it matter if Jan just fills in the gaps? After all, Beatrice said she could do as she liked with the story, she even said 'I give it to you' . . . Written with a deep understanding of loyalty and temptation, I Give It To You is a riveting novel about who owns a story, whether we have a right to what we inherit, and what a gift really means.
Einige Tage im Leben der Helene Thatcher, Ende zwanzig, ledig, Sozialarbeiterin im ewig feuchtschwulen New Orleans. Tagsuber kommen die Muhseligen und Beladenen zu ihr, nachts trifft sie sich reihum mit ihren Liebhabern. Helene Thatcher ist bereit fur andere, kann zuhoren, nett und freundlich sein - aber sie lat nie wirklich jemanden ganz an sich herankommen. Wohl ist sie zu erotischen Begegnungen bereit, nicht aber zu Bindungen. Sie halt auf Abstand, bleibt immer auf dem Absprung - eine Ruhelose. (Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine fruhere Ausgabe.)
Laut Margaret Atwood gibt es nicht viele Schriftsteller, die so uberzeugend uber sexuelle Obsessionen und uber die Nachtseiten der menschlichen Seele schreiben konnen wie Valerie Martin. In dieser Sammlung von Erzahlungen behandelt die Autorin in zehn Variationen das Thema: welche Krafte treiben den Menschen, sich immer wieder gegen seine ursprungliche Natur und gegen seine eigentlichen Interessen zu verhalten? In schonster Nachfolge von E. A. Poe jagt Valerie Martin ihren Lesern Schauer uber Schauer uber den Rucken. Sie packt den Leser wie mit einem Seemannsgriff. (Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine fruhere Ausgabe.)
Eine Dreiecksgeschichte vor dem Hintergrund von New Orleans.Ein Buch der Irritationen, der Angst vor Trennung und Verlust und auch ein Buch uber Zartlichkeit, ein Buch der halben Enthullungen und des ganzen menschlichen Desasters. (Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine fruhere Ausgabe.)
Eine Dreiecks-Geschichte in der feuchten Hitze von New Orleans. Emma, die Erzahlerin, fuhrt uns in eine korrupte und verruckte Welt, in der sich die Leben zweier ganzlich verschiedener Frauen ineinander verhaken. Anfangs dreht sich der Roman um Emmas Geliebten Pascal; mit fortschreitender Handlung werden die beiden Frauen und Pascal eingekreist von furchterregenden Geschehnissen in der Stadt: es gibt plotzlich kein Benzin mehr; die Stadtverwaltung schlittert am Rand der Pleite entlang und kann auch die elementarsten Dienste nicht mehr gewahrleisten; weil die Mullabfuhr nicht mehr funktioniert, breiten sich Seuchen aus, mit Todesfallen im Gefolge. In dieser zeitgenossischen Vorholle qualt und erniedrigt Pascal seine Emma, die in einer lieblos gewordenen Ehe lebt. Trotz aller Schuldgefuhle und Hagefuhle auf sich selbst, kann sie von Pascal nicht lassen. Die Geschichte wird dadurch nicht einfacher, da Pascal sich von Claire angezogen fuhlt, die gerade als Novizin von ihrer Oberin fur ein Jahr zu ihrer Familie zuruckgeschickt wird, weil den Klosterschwestern Claires Liebe zu Gott als "e;zu sturmisch"e; erscheint. In dieser mehrschichtigen Krisensituation werden Emma, Claire und Pascal mehr noch als durch eine verhangte Quarantane durch Besessenheit, schlielich durch Freundschaft aneinander gefesselt.(Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine fruhere Ausgabe.)
Each of these twelve stories is a complete world, where ordinary lives are transformed, myths bloom into reality and the everyday is haunted by obsession and duplicity. A painter is made insufferable by success; a writer is driven to bury the evidence of his inadequacy. Metamorphosis fragments a marriage and beasts bear the consequences of human failings. Living creatures scratch out hauntings, rumours spread like fire. Fantastical beings are made flesh while mortals are engaged in a struggle that should be honourable but more often corrupts. Lyrical and macabre, Valerie Martin's stories are wry and unexpected too. The question 'Are we animals, or are we something else?' is answered by an ancient proposition both whimsical and disturbing: we are neither and both.
Manon Gaudet is unhappily married to the owner of a Louisiana sugar plantation. She misses her family and longs for the vibrant lifestyle of her native New Orleans, but most of all, she longs to be free of the suffocating domestic situation. The tension revolves around Sarah, a slave girl who may have been given to Manon as a wedding present from her aunt, whose young son Walter is living proof of where Manon's husband's inclinations lie. This private drama is being played out against a brooding atmosphere of slave unrest and bloody uprisings. And if the attacks reach Manon's house, no one can be sure which way Sarah will turn . . . Beautifully written, Property is an intricately told tale of both individual stories and of a country in a time of change, where ownership is at once everything and nothing, and where belonging, by contrast, is all.
A chilling tale of murder and passion deep in the bayou from the Orange Prize-winning author of Property.Claude is a middle-aged man unwillingly attached to Mona, a woman obsessed with marriage and respectability. Then one night he meets the exotic Alexandra - regal, tall and spare, skittish and powerfully independent. When her rich friend Diana falls pregnant, Alexandra and Claude agree to accompany her to Diana's house hidden deep in the bayou, where they will assist her with the birth. They are joined by Collie, the housekeeper and Banjo, a drunken old handyman. At the house, Claude hears a disturbing and haunting story of a man similar to himself who was also involved with Alexandra and Diana and was found murdered in a hotel room.This is a gothic and mysterious tale set deep in the heart of the bayou.
From the Orange Prize-winning author of Property, the story of a woman on the run from sexual obsession 'An impressive writer...I admire her straightforward style and the intelligence and strength of her heroine' Ann Tyler Helene is a woman constantly on the run. A social worker, she spends her days trying to sort out other people's lives. But her need for professional detachment carries through to her private life where she is pursued by a series of needy men - one simply mad and obsessive, another a drug addict whose habit is all-consuming, the third the partner of her best friend who has a cruel, selfish streak. People see in her the sort of person in whom they can confide their secrets and desires but Helene is determined never to give up the option to walk away.
From the Orange Prize-winning author of Property and Italian Fever Set in New Orleans, this is a novel about a love triangle. Married mother, Emma Miller, is bored with her husband, her job and her life so she begins a passionate, often violent, affair with Pascal Toussaint, a sadist with whom she becomes obsessed. Pascal, in the meantime, is fixated on a young novice called Claire D'anjou. Claire seems rather cold, is devout to an extreme, and is prone to visions. Pascal's father describes her as 'not satisfied with being only mortal'. Emma endures the same sort of self-effacement in her relationship with Paul as Claire does in her struggle towards religious purity. This is all set against the backdrop of a city overrun by rats and awash with a mysterious plague.
Inspired by the great frescoes of St Francis of Assisi, the highly-praised author of PROPERTY has written a new and wholly original biography. Composed in a series of vividly realised 'panels', SALVATION begins with the dying Francesco - and the rivalry for his body among the towns of medieval Italy - and moves back in time toward his mystical conversion. The old friar, exhausted by illness and division among his brotherhood, gives way to the zealous missionary who joins the Fifth Crusade, confident that he can convert Sultan al-Kamil in Egypt. Later, we see the unwashed and innocent revolutionary, unafraid to lecture a pope on Christ's message, and finally the frivolous young Francesco on the deserted road where his encounter with a leper leads him to an ecstatic embrace of God. SALVATION is a window into a medieval world whose physicality and purity have rarely been rendered with such visceral power. Most important, it is a unique, immediate portrait of the great mystic, whose legend has resonated through the centuries in both religious and secular realms.
From the Orange Prize-winning author of PROPERTY, with a tale of sex, betrayal and the wilder side of human nature. Every woman holds the power to enchant or to destroy. In New Orleans, three women from completely different backgrounds face a turning point in their lives. Ellen, a vet at a New Orleans zoo, is trying to contain an infectious disease that threatens the zoo's animals. At the same time, she must come to terms with her crumbling marriage. Alongside her works Camille, an enigmatic and disturbed young woman whose terrifying fantasies threaten to overwhelm her. Finally there is Elisabeth, 'The Catwoman of St Francisville,' who was hanged in 1845 for murdering her bullying husband in horrific circumstances. In a compelling tale that bristles with energy and a sense of foreboding, their stories converge to reveal the secrets behind the 'untamed' aspects of human nature.
From the acclaimed author of Orange Prize winning PROPERTY comes a fresh twist on the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, a novel told from the perspective of Mary Reilly, Dr. Jekyll's dutiful and intelligent housemaid. Faithfully weaving in details from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, Martin introduces an original and captivating character: Mary is a survivor-scarred but still strong-familiar with evil, yet brimming with devotion and love. As a bond grows between Mary and her tortured employer, she is sent on errands to unsavory districts of London and entrusted with secrets she would rather not know. Unable to confront her hideous suspicions about Dr. Jekyll, Mary ultimately proves the lengths to which she'll go to protect him. Through her astute reflections, we hear the rest of the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, and this familiar tale is made more terrifying than we remember it, more complex than we imagined possible.
WINNER OF THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2003 Manon Gaudet is unhappily married to the owner of a Louisiana sugar plantation. She misses her family and longs for the vibrant lifestyle of her native New Orleans, but most of all, she longs to be free of the suffocating domestic situation. The tension revolves around Sarah, a slave girl who may have been given to Manon as a wedding present from her aunt, whose young son Walter is living proof of where Manon's husband's inclinations lie. This private drama is being played out against a brooding atmosphere of slave unrest and bloody uprisings. And if the attacks reach Manon's house, no one can be sure which way Sarah will turn . . . Beautifully written, PROPERTY is an intricately told tale of both individual stories and of a country in a time of change, where ownership is at once everything and nothing, and where belonging, by contrast, is all.