Stevie Davies is the Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at Swansea University and is a novelist, historian and literary critic. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Sebastian has long been haunted by the disappearance of his father, Jack Messenger: celebrated travel writer, potential spy and murder victim, his absent presence and equivocal past continue to cast inescapable shadows over his son, who must also contend with his ageing mother's fragmented memory and his own dereliction of a partner. So who is the stranger that buttonholes Sebastian at an academic conference on the Welsh coast, and reveals lies and transgressions neither outgrown nor comprehended? How does he know Sebastian, and what are his connections to Jack Messenger? Equivocator, in a story that stretches from Egypt to Germany, from Iran's Zagros Mountains to the Gower coastline, is a study of fathers and sons, lovers and betrayers, loss and recovery, and combines dark fable, satire and a love story in its pursuit of the question: can Sebastian find his own salvation, despite the inheritance from his father?
Wiltshire 1860: One year after Darwin's explosive publication of The Origin of Species, sisters Anna and Beatrice Pentecost awaken to a world shattered by science, radicalism and the stirrings of feminist rebellion; a world of charismatic religious movements, Spiritualist seances, bitter loss and medical trauma. Fetishist of working women Arthur Munby, irascible antiquary General Pitt Rivers, feminist Barbara Bodichon and other historical figures of the Victorian epoch wander through the backdrop of the novel, as Anna's anomalous love for Lore Ritter and her friendship with freethinking and ambitious Miriam Sala carry her into areas of uncharted desire - while Beatrice, forced to choose between her beloved Will Anwyl and the evangelist Christian Ritter, who marked her out as a wife when she was only a child, is pulled between passion and duty. Each is riven by inner contradictions, but who will survive when the sisters fall into a fatal conflict with one another?
1949: Egypt's struggle against its British occupiers moves towards crisis; Israel declares its statehood, driving out the Arabs; Joe Roberts, an RAF sergeant, his wife Ailsa and daughter, Nia, leave Wales for Egypt. Into Suez is a compelling human and political drama, set in the postwar period when Britain, the bankrupt victor of the Second World War, attempted to assert itself as an Imperial power in a world wholly altered. The novel is set in the run-up to the Suez Crisis, a template for future invasions (Iraq and Afghanistan being the most recent). In this moving story, Joe's tragedy is that of an ordinary working man of his generation: he's a lovely, humorous, emotional man in whom the common ration of racism and misogyny becomes a painful sickness. Ailsa, intelligent, curious and craving to explore the realities of the Egypt she enters, meets on the voyage out Mona, a Palestinian woman who excites in her yearning for a world beyond her horizons. When Joe's closest friend is murdered by Egyptian terrorists, their relationship spirals towards tragedy. Through it all, love remains. Looking back in old age, their daughter Nia follows in their wake to sail the Suez Canal with the aged Mona. Nia has been told her father was a war hero: now she will face a more painful truth.
A novel from the award-winning author of ARMS AND THE GIRL, concerning two female companions who face sudden change and both the future and history of their lives and love together are called into question.
Although The Brontes have long fascinated readers of fiction and biography, their poetry was all too little known until this pioneering selection by Stevie Davies, the novelist and critic. Charlotte (1816-1855) is certainly a competent poet, and Anne (1820-1849) developed a distinctive voice, while Emily (1818-1848) is one of great women poets in English. All three sisters, as Stevie Davies remarks in her introduction, were Romantic in inspiration, writing poetry of passionate personal feeling and of pure imagination. they share certain themes - liberty, loneliness, love - and harbour the myth of a lost paradise. Read together with their novels, the poems movingly elucidate the ideas around which the narratives revolve. And they surprise us out of our conventional notions of the sisters' personalities: Emily's rebelliousness, for example, is counterbalanced here by great tenderness. This selection gives an idea of the variety of thought and feeling within each authors's work, and of the way in which the poems of these three remarkable writers parallel and reflect each other.
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