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Charles Lambert was born in England and educated at Cambridge, but has lived in Italy for more than twenty years. His short fiction has been shortlisted for the Willesden Short Story Prize and his story 'The Scent of Cinnamon' won him an O. Henry Prize. His most recent novel Any Human Face was described by the Bookseller as immensely impressive - holds you completely enthralled throughout and in The Telegraph Jake Kerridge described it as a slow-burning, beautifully written crime story that brings to life the Rome that tourists don't see - luckily for them. The View From the Tower and the novel that follows will continue this suspenseful exploration of Rome's dark side.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Lambert’s previous novel Any Human Face was issued by a literary publisher and sadly attracted little attention. Set in Rome, a profoundly humane, bleak thriller set in the local gay community, it was a low key book with much power of evocation. Now with a crime imprint, his new novel continues to be set in Rome and delivers the emotions with a subtle punch. Helen is in a hotel room with her lover when a gunman murders her husband just a mile away. The psychological thriller that ensues is more than just a whodunit and brings Rome to life including its darker side and offers the reader an admirable palette of bruised and moving characters caught in a web of mystery which Lambert orchestrates with great acuity.
'The phone rings, in that short-tempered peremptory way machines have. He almost doesn't answer; he's been fending off unwanted offers of insurance, unlimited broadband, crates of discount wine for months now. His name must be on some list somewhere - Jeremy Eldritch, sucker...'Meet the hapless Jeremy: a man in his late 50s, he scrapes together a living in Paris by writing soft-core pornography under the saucy guise of 'Nathalie Cray'. When his all-but-estranged sister tells him their father is on his deathbed, Jeremy reluctantly travels back to his parental home in the depths of the English countryside. Confronted with a life that he had always been eager to escape, his return marks the start of an emotionally fraught journey into the family's chequered past. The journey takes him back to the unexpected death of his mother in a provincial Greek hospital years earlier and, further back, to the moment at which the Eldritch family fell apart. It's a journey composed of revelations, of secrets disclosed and not disclosed, and of something that might, or might not, be reconciliation... An atypical coming-of-age tale, Prodigal deftly reconsiders everything we think we know about the nature of trust, death, and what we do to each other in the name of love.
'There are four ways in but no way out ...'In 'Jack Squat', unemployed Gordon and his partner Omar see a money-making opportunity helping expats buy homes in southern Italy. But their scheme catches up with them after the first home they sell, curiously built with four entrances but no connecting doors inside, is revealed to have a dark history.In 'The Niche', mercilessly bullied schoolboy Billy Lender finds a hiding place in a nook in the school corridor and begins to hear whispers: the voice of a mysterious friend who will help him to plot a devastating revenge.
'This disquieting novel is surely one of the year's most bizarre stories...' The New York Times A beguiling and disarming novel about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor. Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins, lives on a sprawling estate, cut off from a threatening world. One day, his housekeeper, Engel, discovers a baby left on the doorstep. Soon more children arrive, among them stern, watchful David. With the help of Engel and town physician Doctor Crane, Morgan takes the children in, allowing them to explore the mansion ... and to begin to uncover the strange and disturbing secrets it holds. Cloaked in eerie atmosphere, this distorted fairy tale and the unsettling questions it raises will stay with the reader long after the final page. Reviews 'The Children's Home is a not-nice sort of fairy tale, where the magic doesn't sparkle prettily but boils and oozes, where the Prince has a face of tatters, where the children take grown-up revenge on their monsters. It is also, somehow, a searching, empathetic narrative about forgiveness.' Owen King, author of Double Feature: A Novel ' ...one book that I shall re-read and re-read again.' Postcard Reviews 'Charles Lambert's novel is entirely original ... highly compelling and invigorating writing.' Lonesome Reader 'This disquieting novel is surely one of the year's most bizarre stories... Mr. Lambert's subtle prose enhances the novel's creepiness, as does his refusal to fully resolve or explain its many mysteries.' The New York Times 'Charles Lambert has crafted an exquisitely strange and deliciously dark offering ... the narrative itself will haunt his readers well beyond the margins of its pages.' High Voltage Magazine 'The Children's Home is a haunting Gothic in the vein of Shirley Jackson, steeped with the mystery and imagination of Neil Gaiman's fairy tales. Lambert's prose is beautiful and his tale is mesmerizing.' Cementery Dance Online 'A thoroughly original entry into the tradition of ghost stories, eschewing convention. ... Compulsively readable, a one-of-a-kind literary horror story.' Kirkus 'The Children's Home is the best kind of ghost story - one that scares, one that surprises ... and one that you simply can't stop reading.' The Maine Edge '... definitely recommend this if you're in the mood for something a little creepy.' Bored to Death Book Club 'The Children's Home may well be the most surprising, thought provoking and also baffling book I've ever read.' Bailieborough Library Reading Group 'Lambert is a brilliant writer, and his absorbing new novel, The Children's Home , is the best literary fiction I have read in some time.' Seattle Book Mama 'The Children's Home is a powerful construction of creeping dread which skilfully keeps the reader off-balance at every turn.' The Star 'There is really nothing at all in this story that isn't strange and that's what I ended up loving about it.' In a Good Book Room 'A disturbing and thought-provoking novel' Annethology 'Mysterious and weird and just a great read!' Rebecca Book Review 'Charles Lambert could one day attain classic status.' Maggie Gee 'Beautifully written and crafted, and more compelling than many thrillers' Daily Mail 'A beautiful and uncanny novel by a writer who never ceases to surprise.' Jenny Offill, author of Dept. of Speculation 'This genre-bending debut is by turns dread-inducing and heartwarming, a masterful exploration of whether innocence can truly sprout from ignorance....a magical, mesmerizing tale about the courage it takes to confront the unknown.' Booklist, STARRED review 'Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer' Beryl Bainbridge
A disquieting (The New York Times) and mesmerizing tale from an award-winning British author about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctora tale that [stirs] the imagination in the manner of Roald Dahl or C.S. Lewis (Winnepeg Free Press).In a sprawling estate lives Morgan Fletcher, the disfigured heir to a fortune of mysterious origins. Morgan spends his days in quiet study, avoiding his reflection in mirrors and the lake at the end of his garden. One day, two children, Moira and David, appear. Morgan takes them in, giving them free reign. Then more children begin to show up.Dr. Crane, the town physician and Morgans lone tether to the outside world, is as taken with the children as Morgan, and begins to spend more time in Morgans library. But the children behave strangely. They show a prescient understanding of Morgans past, and their bizarre discoveries in the mansion attics grow increasingly disturbing. Every day the children seem to disappear into the hidden rooms of the estate, and perhaps, into the hidden corners of Morgans mind.
When Andrew -- a second-hand-book dealer -- comes across a pile of photographs from police archives, he decides to exhibit them. But then the gallery is raided the day before the opening, and the photos seized with surprising violence. It soon becomes clear that someone, somewhere, wants to keep the images hidden. Who? Why? And who -- in a world where kidnap, subterfuge and even murder are the norm, and where no one is safe or above suspicion -- can Andrew turn to for help? 'A sophisticated literary thriller set on the seamier fringe of Rome's gay scene, a magnet for the lonely and displaced located a long way off the tourist trail' Guardian `Charles Lambert writes as if his life depends on it. He takes risks at every turn' Hannah Tinti `Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer' Beryl Bainbridge `A slow-burning, beautifully written crime story that brings to life the Rome that tourists don't see' Daily Telegraph
24 themed chapters. Each with 10 numbered paragraphs. Each paragraph with precisely 120 words. The sum of a life. In his beautiful and haunting new book, Charles Lambert explores the fragmentary nature of memory, how the piecing together of short recollections can reveal a greater narrative. Through chapters tackling elemental themes such as Sex, Death, and Money, Lambert assembles the narrator's moving life story. Executed with all the grace and finesse of his previous acclaimed work, this is an incredible artistic achievement, breathtaking in its simplicity yet awe-inspiring in its scope. With cover and text design by the renowned designer Vaughan Oliver, With a Zero at its Heart is as beautiful to look at as it is to read.
These prize-winning stories deal with life, love, loneliness, delusion, misunderstanding, death. An office worker wakes to find his body invaded by a mysterious parasite. A desperate woman seeks escape through fire. A girl who knows only the forest is taken to the city for the first time. A solitary young boy conjures a girl from leaves to replace his twin sister. In one story a governess is forced to come to terms with the truth of the family she has loved and served, and the world in which she lives. In another, a one-night stand with a sadist triggers a meditation on sexual pleasure and serial killers. Some characters look for work, for ways to change their lives, for somewhere new to live; others for someone to love or be loved by, or to hurt. Not everyone is good. Not everyone is honest with himself or herself. Not everyone gets what they want, or deserve. The stories' settings range across time and space, from the colonial outback in the late nineteenth century to contemporary urban life in London and Rome and Paris, to both warring sides of the Second World War. The tone is comic, dry, satirical, vivid, magical, disturbing, poignant, spare. Not a word is wasted in these stories, which describe the world not only as it is and was, but also as it might be.