Barney Norris was born in Sussex in 1987, and grew up in Salisbury. Upon leaving university he founded the theatre company Up In Arms. He won the Critics' Circle and Offwestend Awards for Most Promising Playwright for his debut full-length play Visitors. He is the Martin Esslin Playwright in Residence at Keble College, Oxford. This is his first novel.
One quiet evening in Salisbury, the peace is shattered by a serious car crash. At that moment, five lives collide – a flower seller, a schoolboy, an army wife, a security guard, a widower – all facing their own personal disasters. This is a spectacular book; unusual, sad, poetic, and gorgeously-written. Five intersecting stories in five very different voices, all set in the shadow of Salisbury Cathedral and the context of a single incident reveal how closely we co-exist; how fragile our lives can often be and how beautiful the small human connections that we make on a daily basis can be, when revealed in just the right kind of light. Selected by our December Guest Editor Joanne Harris
'Shot through with compassion . . . this dreamlike, winding tale is a joy.' A. L. KENNEDY 'Moving and unconventionally wise.' Guardian ________________________ This was how I heard the most important story of my life, the thing that decided me, the story that determined who I was in the end. As snow begins to fall outside, two strangers meet by chance in a bar. She is trying to make sense of a life shaken by heartbreak and ruined dreams. He is on a desperate quest to find something he lost in his youth. From the blustery cliffs of Dover to the confines of a nuclear bunker; from the courtroom witness box to the West End stage, he flits from one life to another, never able to stand still. Extraordinary though his story is, the secret she is keeping is even more surprising, and will take them to a place neither of them - or you - expected. From the bestselling author of FIVE RIVERS MET ON A WOODED PLAIN comes this captivating novel about love, abandonment, and the power of stories to help us find our way in the world. ________________________ What readers are saying: ***** 'I absolutely loved this book - it's beautifully written, very emotional and full of wonderful flights of imagination.' ***** 'Unlike anything I've read before.' ***** 'A deeply moving account of fragile memory and lost love.' ***** 'A completely beautiful book . . . I adored it.'
The deeply moving second novel from the author of the award-winning FIVE RIVERS MET ON A WOODED PLAIN. 'Courageous...memorable...moving' - Guardian 'One of our most exciting young writers' - The Times 'Life-affirming, beautiful and achingly poignant' - Donal Ryan 'Isn't the life of any person made up out of the telling of two tales, after all? The whole world makes more sense if you remember that everyone has two lives, their real lives and their dreams, both stories only a tape's breadth apart from each other, impossibly divided, indivisibly close.' Every year, Robert's family comes together at a rambling old house to celebrate his birthday. Aunts, uncles, distant cousins - it has been a milestone in their lives for decades. But this year Robert doesn't want to be reminded of what has happened since they last met - and nor, for quite different reasons, does his granddaughter Kate. Neither of them is sure they can face the party. But for both Robert and Kate, it may become the most important gathering of all. As lyrical and true to life as Norris's critically acclaimed debut Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain, which won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Ondaatje Prize and Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards, this is a compelling, emotional story of family, human frailty, and the marks that love leaves on us.