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Sam Taylor was born in 1970 and is the former pop culture correspondent for the Observer. He lives in France with his young family.
As a collection of politically engaged poetry for the 21st century, Nude Descending an Empire develops the lyrical voice of a citizen-poet speaking to the urgency of our contemporary moment, especially its ecological crisis. This is a book that brings all the supposed sensitivity of poetry into contact with the world we actually live in - with all its crises, madness, and modernity - and insists that we feel it all. A reader will recognize many of the urgent political issues of our time, yet will find them re-inhabited and transformed here by the imaginative power of poetry. Our great ecological crisis is cast as the fulfillment of a long history of violence, domination, lies, and alienation - in one word, empire - and the book suggests that a livable future requires that we wholly inhabit our body-heart-mind and discover a new paradigm.
Welcome to East of Islington. Stepping over the debris of the previous occupant, Sam Taylor has just moved into her first flat. Ignoring the dodgy postcode (this is so not Notting Hill), the real estate agent had trilled that this was an area with 'potential'. But as in 'East of Eden', many things go on that have little to do with paradise or passion. Except that the brooding undercurrents are delivered in a slightly more English fashion in this hilarious fictional diary of fifteen years of unadulterated gossip, and what happens when children leave their parents for the city. Meet Piano Pete, aka Pete the Plonker, who is keen for a girl friend but too mean to pay for the subscription of his dating website. Or
Through the eyes of eight-year-old Finn we find ourselves on a small island, surrounded by nothing but sea. Finn lives here with his Pa, his elder sister Alice and his younger sister Daisy, and has no memory of any world but this one. All he knows of the past comes from the songs and stories of his father, which tell of the great flood that drowned all the other inhabitants of the earth, a deluge their family survived thanks to the ark in which they now live. Alice, however, has entered adolescence, and treasures vague memories of her dead mother and of life before the flood. As her relationship with her father changes, she begins to see holes in his account of the past, and desperately seeks contact with the outside world. And when a boy, a stranger, is washed up on the shore, apparently in answer to the message she sent in a bottle, it appears they may not be alone after all. Set in the near future, told from three different viewpoints and written in extraordinary prose, The Island at the End of the World is an original, moving exploration of family love, truth and lies, and how strange and frightening it can feel for a child to discover the adult world.
James Purdew is quietly obsessed with his own past - in particular three years of his life, about which he remembers nothing. So he travels back to the city of H, where he lived during those years, and finds a familiar house, now derelict. Stripping the wallpaper from one of the rooms, James discovers the first chapter of Confessions of a Killer, a nineteenth-century thriller, which seems to offer clues to a tragedy that took place in the house many years before, and one to which James feel inexorably linked. A journey into a mysterious world of fiction and reality, The Amnesiac is a compelling novel by one of Britain's most innovative young storytellers.
One of the most vivid, gripping and chilling first novels of recent years, The Republic of Trees tells the story of Michael, Louis, Alex and Isobel, four children on the edge of adolescence, who run away to the forest to establish their own utopian community. They hunt, climb trees, fall in love, and plan a revolution based on the principles of Jean Jacques Rousseau's The Social Contract. All seems well in The Republic of Trees until the sudden arrival of Joy. Under her influence, the group's discipline is tightened, their relationships grow more erotic and obsessive, and the shadows of a nightmarish dystopia start to encroach on reality. As the heat of the summer rises, The Republic of Trees powers towards a shocking and terrifying conclusion. A contemporary gothic fable told with the skill and daring of a natural storyteller, The Republic of Trees is a compelling and imaginatively charged tale of adolescence, the desire to escape, and sexual awakening.
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