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Francis Spufford's first book, I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination, was awarded the Writers Guild Award for Best Non-Fiction Book of 1996 and a Somerset Maugham Award. His second book, The Child that Books Built was described as ' witty, compelling and elegant' by the New Statesman. His third book, Backroom Boys, was called a ' beautifully written book' by the Daily Telegraph and was shortlisted for the Aventis Prize and longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He lives in Cambridge.
Author photo © Burt Koetsier
Winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2017. Inventively entertaining, niftily plotted first novel set in New York during the city’s effervescent infancy. It’s 1746 and a young man by the name of Smith arrives in New York from London with an order for £1000. He takes it to a Lovell, a banker based on Golden Hill Street, in order to have it cashed. “Lord love us,” Lovell exclaims at the sight of so large an amount. “This is a bill for a thousand pound”. Speculation is duly aroused: what on earth is Smith planning to do with such a quantity of cash? And what’s his purpose in the city? But Smith emerges from the counting house as “a young man with money in his pocket, new-fallen to land in a strange city on the world’s farther face”. The depiction of place is gratifyingly sensory. New York and its citizens are vibrantly evoked, from the “perfumes of hot bread and well-ground beans” on Smith’s morning meanderings, to the “African footmen with wigs powdered to the colour of icing-sugar” he sights in a church congregation.While the puzzle at the heart of the novel is not revealed until the very last pages, the plentiful and nimbly executed plot twists provide much satisfaction throughout. Part mystery, part homage to eighteenth century literature, this is an exuberant literary delight with all the readability of a page-turner. ~ Joanne Owen Winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2017 | Shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction 2017 | Shortlisted for The Authors' Club Best First Novel Award 2017 | Winner of the Costa First Novel Award 2016. The Walter Scott Prize Judges said:‘Pre-revolutionary New York, and a stranger arrives in town, where he finds a ferment of social jostling, politics and money that invites adventure. A great, unruly city is being born. Francis Spufford creates a world that is hypnotic and believable, brought to life in sparkling prose and pitch-perfect dialogue, and tells a gripping story that's full of tension and surprise, with characters who live on after the book is closed. His non-fiction writing has been much-admired. This first novel is an astonishing achievement because his novelist's voice is already enticing, rich and mature. An eighteenth-century treat.’ Costa judges' comment: “This spirited, wonderfully witty novel sets sparkling characters and a lively plot against a richly-realised backdrop.”
The Soviet Union was founded on a fairytale. It was built on 20th-century magic called 'the planned economy', which was going to gush forth an abundance of good things that the penny-pinching lands of capitalism could never match. And just for a little while, in the heady years of the late 1950s, the magic seemed to be working. Red Plenty is about that moment in history, and how it came, and how it went away; about the brief era when, under the rash leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union looked forward to a future of rich communists and envious capitalists, when Moscow would out-glitter Manhattan, every Lada would be better engineered than a Porsche and sputniks would lead the way to the stars. And it's about the scientists who did their genuinely brilliant best to make the dream come true, to give the tyranny its happy ending.
An irresistible collection of favorite writings from an author celebrated for his bravura style and sheer unpredictability Francis Spufford's welcome first volume of collected essays gathers an array of his compelling writings from the 1990s to the present. He makes use of a variety of encounters with particular places, writers, or books to address deeper questions relating to the complicated relationship between story-telling and truth-telling. How must a nonfiction writer imagine facts, vivifying them to bring them to life? How must a novelist create a dependable world of story, within which facts are, in fact, imaginary? And how does a religious faith felt strongly to be true, but not provably so, draw on both kinds of writerly imagination? Ranging freely across topics as diverse as the medieval legends of Cockaigne, the Christian apologetics of C. S. Lewis, and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, Spufford provides both fresh observations and thought-provoking insights. No less does he inspire an irresistible urge to turn the page and read on.
WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD WINNER OF THE RSL ONDAATJE PRIZE WINNER OF THE DESMOND ELLIOTT PRIZE NAMED ';NOVEL OF THE YEAR' BY THE UK'S SUNDAY TIMES ';Nothing short of a masterpiece.' The Guardian The spectacular first novel from acclaimed nonfiction author Francis Spufford follows the adventures of a mysterious young man in mid-eighteenth century Manhattan, thirty years before the American Revolution.New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan island, 1746. One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat arrives at a countinghouse door on Golden Hill Street: this is Mr. Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion shimmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge sum, and he won't explain why, or where he comes from, or what he is planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money. Should the New York merchants trust him? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him; maybe even kill him? Rich in language and historical perception, yet compulsively readable, Golden Hill is a story ';taut with twists and turns' that ';keeps you gripped until its tour-de-force conclusion' (The Times, London). Spufford paints an irresistible picture of a New York provokingly different from its later metropolitan self but already entirely a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in loveand find a world of trouble.
"e;Wie ein neu entdeckter Roman von Henry Fielding mit Bonusmaterial von Martin Scorsese."e; (The Times)1746 in einer kleinen englischen Kolonialstadt an der Spitze der Insel Manhattan: Neu-York wirkt auch Jahrzehnte nach der Eroberung durch die Briten immer noch recht hollndisch; die alteingesessenen Familien reden Englisch mit Akzent, am Hafen weht der Union Jack ber schmalen Fachwerkhusern, am anderen Ende der Stadt ist der Broad Way (vorher Breede Weg) auf Hhe der Wall Street durch ein Tor versperrt. Drauen hngen Skalps: Verbndete Indianerstmme haben sie franzsischen Soldaten abgenommen. Eines Tages steigt ein Brite namens Smith im Regen von einem aus London kommenden Segler. Der junge Mann scheint ber Geld zu verfgen, er trgt den Wechsel einer Londoner Bank mit sich. Schnell findet er Zugang zur Gesellschaft, wird er zu einer Berhmtheit in der Stadt. Leider auch bei den Falschen: Smith wird berfallen und ausgeraubt. Niemand darf von der prekren neuen Lage erfahren, das Schuldgefngnis droht. Und dann kommt Smiths Affre mit der Frau eines hohen Offiziers ans Licht. Ein Duell ist unumgnglich, und ausgerechnet sein bester Freund fordert ihn, ein exzellenter Fechter. Doch dann nimmt das Schicksal unseres Helden eine weitere berraschende Wendung - es wird nicht die letzte sein in diesem phantastischen, geistreichen, spannenden Wunderwerk von einem Roman.
Erase una vez, hace muchos anos, un lejano pais entero, pueblo y dirigentes, campesinos y ciudadanos, vivio en un cuento de hadas. El truco magico se llamaba "e;economia planificada"e; y con el se iba a conseguir el milagro de la abundancia. Las cosechas, la produccion, los bienes y los servicios crecerian ano tras ano, con una eficiencia y una fiabilidad que nunca iba a conseguir el capitalismo. Y durante unos anos maravillosos, a finales de la decada de 1950, parecia posible. Este libro, mitad novela, mitad ensayo, mitad comedia de ideas, relata ese instante mgico en que la utopa del comunismo sovitico tom por asalto la realidad. Un instante breve, bajo el mandato de Nikita Jruchov, cuando Mosc iba a brillar ms que Manhattan, y los Lada tendran mejores motores que los Porsche. Es un relato nuevo, ambicioso como un Sputnik, encantador como la sonrisa de una azafata de Aeroflot, brillante como una copa de champn sovitico.
Estamos todos tan de vuelta de todo, tenemos tanta informacion, tantas opiniones, tanta ironia. No es facil escribir un ensayo que descoloque y escandalice, que presente una idea novedosa e inesperada. Spufford lo ha conseguido con el argumento probablemente menos popular de nuestro tiempo: ,Creo en Dios, para mi el cristianismo tiene sentido y estoy harto de que ustedes, los ateos y agnosticos, se crean mas listos que yo. Profesor de literatura, intelectual progresista, Spufford demuestra aqui que se puede ser creyente y vivir en el mundo del siglo XXI sin aguantar que nadie le venga a perdonar la vida. Ya les hemos contado el final, pero hganse un favor: pasen y lean. No se arrepentirn.
The Antarctic: An Anthology features an international mix of classic first-person accounts of exploration, literary travelogues and works of cultural history, natural science and fiction about the South Pole. Contributors include British, American, Australian, Scandinavian, Japanese and Russian explorers such as Ernest Shackleton, Apsely Cherry-Garrard, Robert Falcon Scott, Roald Amundsen, Richard Byrd and Fouglas Mawson; novelists such as H. P. Lovecraft, Diane Ackerman, Jenny Diski and Kim Stanley Robinson; and popular travel writers such as Sara Wheeler. It is published alongside acompanion volume, The Arctic: An Anthology.
Children's books - from Narnia to The Hobbit - are celebrated in this enlightened examination of the joys of childhood reading. Fairy tales and Where the Wild Things Are, The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia books, Little House on the Prairie and The Earthsea Trilogy. What would you find if you went back and re-read your favourite books from childhood? Francis Spufford discovers both delight and sadness, in this widely celebrated memoir of a boy who retreats into books, faced with a tragedy in his family. 'A beautifully composed and wholly original memoir, sounding the classics of children's literature.' David Sexton, Evening Standard 'Exuberant and serious, funny and sophisticated, this memoir of reading and childhood is a delight.' Andrea Ashworth