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This is it. The place for the greatest writing: stories that transcend all other ‘genres’. Literary fiction goes above and beyond any specific genre in order to deliver stories that strike at the heart of what it means to be human.
Everything changes for rural lad Emmett Farmer when a gloriously grouchy wise woman compels him to be her bookbinding apprentice. While this line of work is generally shrouded in superstitious fear, Emmett is shocked when his mentor explains that they “don’t make books to sell, boy. Selling books is wrong”. Rather, their gothically intriguing trade involves binding unwanted memories into books: ”Whatever people can’t bear to remember. Whatever they can’t live with. We take those memories and put them where they can’t do any more harm”. Most clients are wealthy; well-to-do gentlemen who have their servants and wives bound so they forget what wrongs their masters and husbands have done to them. No wonder then, that Emmett is horrified to discover a book bearing his own name, and so a tempestuous tangle of secrets unfurls. The novel is also fragrantly spiced with witty references to literary history and the novel as an art form: “It makes one wonder who would write them [novels]. People who enjoy imagining misery, I suppose. People who have no scruples about dishonesty”. Yet through the duplicity of her exquisitely crafted characters, and luminous storytelling, this novel’s author reveals truths of the human spirit in a most entertaining and absorbing fashion.
Senior Detective Gemma Woodstock is a small-town policewoman working on the biggest homicide cases in Melbourne. When an up-and-coming movie star is stabbed to death while the cameras are rolling on his new blockbuster, Gemma, eager to prove herself, is assigned to the case. With the whole thing caught from multiple angles, how hard can it be to catch the crazed culprit? And who would want to hurt Australia's adored boy-next-door? As Gemma uncovers the deadly underside of fame, her investigation turns into a dangerous game against those with money, power and everything to lose...
Thirty very different pieces about extraordinary women, keenly observed and astute. They cover the spectrum from triumphant to pathetic, sad to humerous, surprising to surreal. There is the woman who unravels, another who grows wings, one who secretly paints her grass green, one talks to ducks, one slips through a timeless crack and another is put on a shelf. Some will irritate, others make you laugh or cry. Do not read too many together else you will lose the flavour. I would believe it to be a good bedside book, read two or three a night and take the next day pondering and digesting them before the next batch. I also believe it would make an excellent Christmas present for any woman any age.
Gosh, just stunning! For me, this is the very definition of a must-read… eloquent, absorbing, absolutely fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable. I thought The Last Hours (which you really do need to read first) was exquisitely engaging and satisfying, and I enjoyed The Turn of Midnight just as much, perhaps even more as the characters were known to me, beloved by me. Lady Anne and educated serf Thaddeus have joined forces to prevent the Black Death from decimating their community. As they attempt to secure the independence of Develish however, trouble continues to haunt them, to hunt them down. Maps and a summary of the people, places and events from The Last Hours ensured I was able to step straight into the story. Minette Walters has the most beautiful voice, my soul became at one with the words. I sank so fully into the story that I was surprised at the end of each chapter when I suddenly came to and became aware of my surroundings. The time, the place are vibrantly alive, I could touch kindness, smell bitterness, taste fear. Please, please, please let there be more! The Turn of Midnight is a powerful, gripping read, and yes I am gushing most effusively over it, that’s because it really is rather wonderful and I highly recommend buying yourself a copy.
In HIPPIE, his most autobiographical novel to date, Paulo Coelho takes us back in time to re-live the dream of a generation that longed for peace and dared to challenge the established social order - authoritarian politics, conservative modes of behavior, excessive consumerism, and an unbalanced concentration of wealth and power. Following the three days of peace and music at Woodstock, the 1969 gathering in Bethel, NY that would change the world forever, hippie paradises began to emerge all around the world. In the Dam Square in Amsterdam, long-haired young people wearing vibrant clothes and burning incense could be found meditating, playing music and discussing sexual liberation, the expansion of consciousness and the search for an inner truth. They were a generation refusing to live the robotic and unquestioning life that their parents had known. At this time, Paulo is a young, skinny Brazilian with a goatee and long, flowing hair who wants to become a writer. He sets off on a journey in search of freedom and a deeper meaning for his life: first, with a girlfriend, on the famous Death Train to Bolivia, then on to Peru and later hitchhiking through Chile and Argentina. His travels take him further, to the famous square in Amsterdam, where Paulo meets Karla, a Dutch woman also in her 20s. She convinces Paulo to join her on a trip to Nepal, aboard the Magic Bus that travels across Europe and Central Asia to Kathmandu. They embark on a journey in the company of fascinating fellow travelers, each of whom has a story to tell, and each of whom will undergo a transformation, changing their priorities and values, along the way. As they travel together, Paulo and Karla explore their own relationship, an awakening on every level that brings each of them to a choice and a decision that sets the course for their lives thereafter.
Stephen Leeds, also known as 'Legion', has a unique mental condition. He can become an expert on any subject in hours . . . and with every new area of expertise a new 'aspect' of Stephen is created. Is he schizophrenic? Possibly. Does that make him an incredible intelligence agent? Definitely. And this is his final, and perhaps his strangest, adventure. It begins with two unrelated events: the disappearance of Armando, one of Stephen's many aspects, and an unexpected cry for help from Sandra, the woman who, many years before, helped him learn to live with his condition . . . and the combination of the two leads to a sinister high-tech firm specializing in advanced methods of human incarceration. An original, challenging, and utterly absorbing story, this unmissable novella showcases Stephen Leeds at his best: a compelling hero, and a man constantly struggling to understand and control his own divided nature.
A modern Irish literary gem for anyone who has felt like the odd one out. `Inventive, funny and, ultimately, moving' GUARDIAN `Wildly funny' THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW `Magically delicious' KIRKUS REVIEWS `Beguiling' THE IRISH TIMES `Delightfully quirky' THE IRISH INDEPENDENT Vivian is an oddball. An unemployed orphan living in the house of her recently deceased great aunt in North Dublin, Vivian boldly goes through life doing things in her own peculiar way, whether that be eating blue food, cultivating `her smell', wishing people happy Christmas in April, or putting an ad up for a friend called Penelope to check why it doesn't rhyme with antelope. But behind her heroic charm and undeniable logic, something isn't right. With each attempt to connect with a stranger or her estranged sister doomed to misunderstanding, someone has to ask: is Vivian OK? A poignant and delightful story of belonging that plays with the myth of the Changeling and takes us by the hand through Dublin. A poetic call for us all to accept each other and find the Vivian within.
What? You haven’t read a Stella Rimington novel! Don’t worry, nor had I… and even better The Moscow Sleepers can easily be read as a standalone novel. If you are now feeling rather smug as you are already well on board this particular series then I trust you won’t be disappointed. I now plan to start at the beginning and read the first ten in the ‘Liz Carlyle’ novels as I trust they will be just as addictive. Liz Carlyle becomes embroiled in a case that appears to be fractured and confusing, gradually however the pieces begin to slide, one by one into deadly place. As you’d expect, Stella Rimington writes with a commanding pen, I felt in safe and secure hands as I sank below the surface into the dangerous world of international intelligence. An intricate web with a number of characters weaved together in the most utterly believable way. The Moscow Sleepers isn’t sexy, fickle, excitable fantasy, instead I felt as though I was in a completely plausible world, one that particularly at the moment, feels all too heart in mouth real - highly recommended.
This book ratcheted the breath out of me so skilfully, that as soon as I'd finished, the only thing I wanted was to read it again. Jessie Burton Teenage Silvie and her parents are living in a hut in Northumberland as an exercise in experimental archaeology. Her father is a difficult man, obsessed with imagining and enacting the harshness of Iron Age life. Haunting Silvie's narrative is the story of a bog girl, a young woman sacrificed by those closest to her, and the landscape both keeps and reveals the secrets of past violence and ritual as the summer builds to its harrowing climax.
Certain states are hard to shake, or so Catherine Lacey's characters find in these twelve tales of love, loss and longing. A grieving wife gives away the shirts her husband has left behind. A flirtatious widow takes a honeymooning couple to see her husband's grave. A businessman working for a shadowy organization known as 'The Company', checks-in to a room in a strange and remarkable hotel.
A quietly compelling read which is as much about the journey of discovery as the actual mystery contained within. Following on ten years after The Blue Book Hugh Mullion discovers a key down the side of a chair cushion and begins to search for answers. A maze sits centre stage, oppressive, dominating, yet reflected beautifully in the art surrounding it. The Amber Maze sits as a standalone short novel and you certainly don’t have to have read Hugh’s previous adventure to start here. Christopher Bowden encourages a simple, almost diary like feel to bring to life the past, as Hugh unravels the mystery in the present. The Amber Maze is a considered, intriguing mystery which unfolds at a gentle pace.
Caroline is an esteemed senior research psychologist, formerly a woman who seemed to have it all - professional acclaim, financial comfort, handsome husband Jack, and adorable kids – but she’s lost everything due to her sadistically selfish ex convincing everyone that she’s a jilted madwoman, unable to look after herself, and certainly unfit to care for their children. As Caroline careers deep into self-destruction mode, seeking solace in booze, shopping and one night stands with married men, an administrative error sees her take delivery of Jack’s luggage. After discovering a diary recounting each of his affairs in painful detail – replete with intimate photographs and ratings of every woman he’s won over – Caroline embarks on an intense mission to exact revenge on Jack for his longstanding controlling behaviour and multiple betrayals. But, more than that, Caroline wants her children back. This is a seriously addictive thriller, with Caroline’s cunningly executed campaign providing plenty of heart-pounding moments, especially when her actions become increasingly risky. But she’s being played too; watched, stalked and threatened as she implements her revenge via a cunningly executed social media campaign. But it’s a hideously complicated situation, and Jack is nothing if not a master of manipulation. Penetratingly sharp on the complexities of psychological abuse and the human heart, this compulsive, disturbing debut will be relished by fans of Gillian Flynn and Paula Daly.
Insightful, International, Thought-provoking
Literary fiction is a bit of a “catch-all” phrase. Some call it “Serious Fiction” but we prefer to think of it as all of the greatest stories ever told, all in one place. This is where you will find literary classics from literary masters past and present.
Why not have a look at our monthly featured titles for inspiration? Revisit old friends? Discover new ones? Or finally read that book that your friends have been banging on about for ages? Whatever your reasons, settle down with your favourite tipple, unwind and open your mind with the home-spun brilliance of authors like Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, David Nicholls and Zadie Smith; or those from further afield: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Haruki Murakami, Ben Okri, Jostein Gaarder and so many more. There are obviously so many to choose from, you could get lost in the Sea of Choices.
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