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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.
34-year old Esther has devoted her life to looking after her adored paraplegic brother while illustrating the odd children’s book, waitressing and indulging routinely in her married lover. She’s content. Then a friend’s child jolts her memory and subsequently her life. We now backtrack to her shambolic childhood and her charismatic brother, before returning to follow their present predicament. With startling cameos, magical moments, eccentric characters and a zest for life that is truly infectious, this is an enchanting family saga, poignant, beautifully written, a must read.Comparison: Kate Atkinson, Katie Fforde, Lisa Jewell.Similar this month: Carmen Reid, Cecilia Ahern.
We were first introduced to the young Calvin Becker on holiday in Italy in Portofino where lust and longing clashed with his religious upbringing in one of the most delightful novels Iâd read for a long time. Iâve had to wait eight years for the boy to reappear only a couple of years older and on holiday again. His family seem more zealously religious than ever and Calvin, bless him, more lusty, but still innocent at 14. Donât read this if you are a little pious as the church does come in for a bit of a bashing but do read it if you want a perfect gem of a rites-of-passage comedy. I truly loved it.Comparison: John Harding, Nick Hornby, David Nicholls.Similar this month: Matt Beaumont, Jim Keeble.
A 2011 World Book Night selection. Wow! You are in for a treat here. Kate has a tremendous reputation but in my mind she has never really lived up to Behind the Scenes at the Museum, her Whitbread winner. Well now she has, and surpassed it. More plot-driven than is her norm, it has her expected trademark of glorious language and subtle humour, here all wrapped in the cloak of a literary detective story with a warm, original and totally believable private investigator, Jackson Brodie. It was shortlisted for the recent Whitbread Best Novel prize and was only pipped to the post by Small Island (you must definitely read that too). Our Editorial Guru, Sarah Broadhurst, has suggested others book and authors that would be perfect for you to read next or to pass on the recommendation - so your gift will keep on giving enjoyment. Her selections for this title are: Louise Welsh, Reginald Hill
Shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award. In a magical act of lyrical ventriloquism, Peter Hobbs' debut novel recreates a world on the brink of change and a character at the edge of crisis. Gloriously redemptive, powerful and compassionate, The Short Day Dying is a love story of great power and imaginative richness.
This is an incredibly thought-provoking novel set just after WW1 where a man had to hide his true desires of homosexuality behind what you might call a marriage of convenience. It’s superbly written with wonderfully captivating characters. By turns compassionate and sensitive, compelling and gripping, vivid and accomplished, its intricate romantic plotlines are told with rare brilliance. A real page turner and wonderfully accessible too and it’s the sort of book you can spend hours discussing with friends on the whys and wherefores of one of THE taboos of the early part of the 20th century.
An addictive father/stepson relationship tale where each badly needs the other when the lover/mother disappears. Fighting the various authorities, the boyâ€™s natural father and all sorts of complicated emotions, it is a highly sensitive, deeply affecting gem. Its simplicity in style and delivery add to the poignancy.Comparison: Nick Hornby, Tony Parsons, Claire Calman.Similar this month: William Sutcliffe, Jonathan Tropper.
A novel of peer pressure and the horrors of being 10, or wanting to fit in and not knowing how to stop. Frightening.Comparison: Michael Fraynâ€™s Spies, Jonathan Coeâ€™s The Rottersâ€™ Club, William Goldingâ€™s Lord of the Flies.Similar this month: William Nicholson, Jonathan Tropper.
Category Winner of the Whitbread Novel Award 2005 and short listed for the Man Booker. The engrossing tale of a middle-class family and the events that unfold when a stranger steps into their midst. Amber's arrival changes the family's lives dramatically as she quickly bonds with the Smarts, bewitching them all. Smith's writing is fantastic, capturing the voices of all the characters superbly, but especially that of the adolescent Astrid who steals the show. Utterly compelling.
Reviewed on Richard and Judy on 29th June 2005.The World According To Garp meets American Beauty in this dazzling first novel, a tragi-comedy about family life, love and identity that spans several decades and three continents (taken Richard and Judy's site on Channel4)
Reviewed on Richard and Judy on 8th June 2005 and voted the third most enjoyable read by viewers.A car crash kills Charlie’s little brother and, after a near-death experience, leaves Charlie with an ability to see the dead, to remain in touch with his brother and to share time with him. But this is no ghost story, you just accept Charlie’s gift, it’s a natural part of his gentle life, it’s beautiful and touching. Then Charlie falls in love and the novel becomes heart-achingly moving and totally enthralling as extraordinary choices have to be made. Simply written, thoughtful, intelligent and emotional, it may be a little saccharine for some, but I loved it, gently weeping at the end. It has just been chosen as a Richard and Judy summer read and personally, of the six featured books, this is my pick for the winner. Comparison: Alice Sebold, Mark Haddon, John Irving. Similar this month: None really but try Frank Schaeffer, Patricia Tyrrell.
A powerful tale of love and family, flitting back into the past as a man comes to grips with the murder of his father and the close proximity of the love of his life, married to another. As with Sebastian Faulks or Douglas Kennedy, this is the sort of absorbing novel that can be enjoyed by thriller readers or saga readers alike, both genders and all ages. It is just one great, big, thoroughly engaging read.Comparison: Sebastian Faulks, Douglas Kennedy, Kate Atkinson.Similar this month: Amitav Ghosh, Jonathan Tropper.
A short story collection revolving around family relationships. June 2010 Guest Editor Patrick Gale on Damon Galgut... Cape Towner Galgut has won plaudits, especially from envious peers, for his extraordinary concision. His process in producing his novels seems to be all about stripping back and cutting out. Small surprise, then, that this collection published in his early twenties already bore the authentic stamp of his minimalist genius. The title novella draws on his own experience to show how a boy’s dangerous illness opens fissures in his household.
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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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: