An Isolated Incident


Soniah Kamal - 2014
    Next thing she know, she is on a plane to America to stay with distant relatives who have offered to give her a temporary home to help her stitch back the tatters of her life.Billy Nabi, fiercely tender-hearted, longs to help Zari but the choices he makes will jeopardise them all.An Isolated Incident is a story of haunting memories and yearnings of a home lost, of a faith continuously tested and questioned and of a love that blossoms against all odds.

Dangerous Parking


Stuart Browne - 2000
    A filmmaker and now a dry alcoholic, he's lived life to the full - sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Here, struggling to survive cancer, Noah evaluates his chequered past life, and as a picture builds of a brave and foolish man, gradually it becomes clear that he's a modern-day hero.

A Five Year Sentence


Bernice Rubens - 1978
    It was two-thirty. If everything went according to schedule, she could safely reckon to be dead by six o'clock.'But by the day's end, events have taken a dramatic turn and Miss Hawkins is sentenced to live. Forcibly retired, she is presented by her colleagues with a five-year diary.Programmed since childhood to total obedience, Miss Hawkins slavishly follows her diary's commands until the impossible happens – she meets a man. As a last reprieve from the horrors of loneliness she embarks on a determined full-scale mission to taste life's secret pleasures – and pains– until the cup runs dry…

The Naked Triangle: An Autobiographical Novel


Balwant Gargi
    

Places to Look for a Mother


Nicole Stansbury - 2002
    Forgiveness is always there, but it’s hard to find. And Stansbury’s fractured Taylor family, led by the thoroughly eccentric matriarch, Miriam Taylor, usually loses it. With lithe prose, pitch-perfect dialogue, and gloriously real characters, author Nicole Stansbury conjures a family that proves Tolstoy right once again: All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. The Taylors are no exception, but Places to Look for a Mother is an exceptionally good debut novel.

The Rise of Life on Earth


Joyce Carol Oates - 1991
    Set in the underside of working-class Detroit of the '60s and '70s, this short, lyric novel sketches Kathleen Hennessy's violent childhood—shattered by a broken home, child-beating, and murder—and follows her into her early adult years as a hospital health-care worker. Overworked, underpaid, and quietly overzealous, Kathleen falls in love with a young doctor, whose exploitation of her sets the course of the remainder of her life, in which her passivity masks a deep fury and secret resolve to take revenge.

The Forms of Water


Andrea Barrett - 1993
    At the age of 80, Brendan Auberon, a former monk, is now confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home. As a last wish, he is desperate to catch a final glimpse of the 200 acres of woodland on which once stood his parental home. Half a century ago, the owners of the land were evicted from their homes and the land was flooded to create a reservoir which would provide water for the big city. The Forms of Water is the story of what happens when Brendan convinces his staid nephew Henry to hijack the nursing home van to make this ancestral visit. What begins as a joke, becomes infinitely more complex as the family roles begin to rearrange themselves. A rich and absorbing look at the complexities of family life, at grief and at the ties that continue to bind us to the past.

The 27th Kingdom


Alice Thomas Ellis - 1982
    For the good, kind and infinitely friendly Aunt Irene, her handsome but wicked nephew, Kyril, and Focus, a cat of alarming intelligence, this is Dancing Master House, a minute dwelling in the Chelsea. Two gossips, Mrs. O'Connor and Mrs. Mason, one dead common with criminal connections, the other an impoverished lady of the upper classes, clean for and take care of the needs of Aunt Irene and Kyril. From Wales, Irene's sister, the Mother Superior, sends Valentine, a beautiful, young West Indian postulant, ostensibly to test her vocation but really because of the embarrassing discovery that Valentine has miraculous powers. The story runs between angels and demons in a style which epitomizes the refreshing eccentricities of English humor

Clear: A Transparent Novel


Nicola Barker - 2004
    Forty-four days later, on October 19, he left the box, fifty pounds lighter. That much, at least, is clear. And the rest? The crowds? The chaos? The hype? The rage? The fights? The lust? The filth? The bullshit? The hypocrisy?Nicola Barker fearlessly crams all that and more into this ribald and outrageous peep show of a novel, her most irreverent, caustic, up-to-the-minute work yet, laying bare the heart of our contemporary world, a world of illusion, delusion, celebrity, and hunger.

Go to the Widow-Maker


James Jones - 1967
    But success does not mean he feels like a man. On vacation in Jamaica with his mistress, an ice queen who considers him her personal trophy, his thoughts are back in New York City, with a beautiful young girl he met a few days before he left town. As the stress bears down on him, the brilliant playwright goes nearly to pieces before he finds his salvation under water. On his first deep-sea dive, Grant falls in love with the haunting beauty of the reef. He returns as soon as he can, staying longer and swimming deeper until all his problems seep away. But a man can’t breathe underwater forever—and his obsession will drive him to take increasing risks that will change his life forever.

To the End of the World


Blaise Cendrars - 1957
    Yet To the End of the World is not total invention as, like all Cendrars’ works, it has some basis in real life. The narrative races between a Foreign Legion barracks in North Africa and the theaters, cafes, dosshouses, and police headquarters of postwar Paris. The central character in this roman à clef is Thérèse, a septuagenarian actress who was once the rival of Sarah Berhardt herself. Her passionate affair with a young deserter from the Foreign Legion (in which Cendrars himself served) is interrupted by the murder of a barman and the impact this event has on all their lives. With its bold and colorful supporting cast—a subterranean gallery of ex-legionnaires, theater types, black marketeers, dubious aristocrats, sexual adventurers, and freaks—entwined with numerous subplots and minor themes, To the End of the World amounts to a grandly picaresque adventure. When it appeared in France in 1956, it offered a ready antedote to the sense of negativity and existential futility that pervaded many novels of the era.

Pillow


Andrew Battershill - 2015
    He wasn't an idiot; clearly it was wrong to punch people in the face for money. But there had been an art to it, and it had been thrilling and thoughtful for him. The zoo was also evil, a jail for animals who'd committed no crimes, but he just loved it. The way Pillow figured it, love wasn't about goodness, it wasn't about being right, loving the very best person, having the most ethical fun. Love was about being alone and making some decisions.Pillow loves animals. Especially the exotic ones. Which is why he chooses the zoo for the drug runs he does as a low-level enforcer for a crime syndicate run by André Breton. He doesn't love his life of crime, but he isn't cut out for much else, what with all the punches to the head he took as a professional boxer. And now that he's accidentally but sort of happily knocked up his neighbor, he wants to get out and go straight. But first there's the matter of some stolen coins, possibly in the possession of George Bataille, which leads Pillow on a bizarre caper that involves kidnapping a morphine-addled Antonin Artaud, some corrupt cops, a heavy dose of Surrealism, and a quest to see some giraffes.

Goldberg: Variations


Gabriel Josipovici - 2002
    What unfolds then are seemingly unconnected stories covering a vast array of topics—from incest to madness to a poetic competition in the court of George III. And what emerges by the end is a breathtaking tapestry in which past and present, imagination and truth, are intricately woven together into one remarkable whole.

The Penguin Complete Novels of Nancy Mitford


Nancy Mitford - 2011
    In print together for the first time in many years, and here in one volume, are all eight of Nancy Mitford's sparklingly astute, hilarious and completely unputdownable novels, with a new introduction by India Knight. Published over a period of 30 years, they provide a wonderful glimpse of the bright young things of the thirties, forties, fifties and sixties in the city and in the shires; firmly ensconced at home or making a go of it abroad; and what the upper classes really got up to in peace and in war. 'Entirely original, inimitable and irresistible' Spectator 'Deliciously funny' Evelyn Waugh 'Utter, utter bliss' Daily Mail Nancy Mitford (1904-1973) was born in London, the eldest child of the second Baron Redesdale. Her childhood in a large remote country house with her five sisters and one brother is recounted in the early chapters of The Pursuit of Love (1945), which according to the author, is largely autobiographical. Apart from being taught to ride and speak French, Nancy Mitford always claimed she never received a proper education. She started writing before her marriage in 1932 in order 'to relieve the boredom of the intervals between the recreations established by the social conventions of her world' and had written four novels, including Wigs on the Green (1935), before the success of The Pursuit of Love in 1945. After the war she moved to Paris where she lived for the rest of her life. She followed The Pursuit of Love with Love in a Cold Climate (1949), The Blessing (1951) and Don't Tell Alfred (1960). She also wrote four works of biography: Madame de Pompadour, first published to great acclaim in 1954, Voltaire in Love, The Sun King and Frederick the Great. As well as being a novelist and a biographer she also translated Madame de Lafayette's classic novel, La Princesse de Clèves, into English, and edited Noblesse Oblige, a collection of essays concerned with the behaviour of the English aristocracy and the idea of 'U' and 'non-U'. Nancy Mitford was awarded the CBE in 1972.

Disputed Land


Tim Pears - 2011
    As the gathered family settle in to their first Christmas together for some years, the grown siblings - Rodney, Johnny and Gwen - are surprised when they are invited to each put stickers on the furniture and items they wish to inherit from their parents.Disputed Land is narrated by Leonard and Rosemary's thirteen-year-old grandson, Theo, who observes how from these innocent beginnings age-old fissures open up in the relationships of those around him. Looking back at this Christmas gathering from his own middle-age - a narrator at once nostalgic and naïve - Theo Cannon remembers his imperious grandmother Rosemary, alpha-male uncle Johnny, abominable twin cousins Xan and Baz; he recalls his love for his grandfather Leonard and the burgeoning feelings for his cousin Holly. And he asks himself the question: if a single family cannot solve the problem of what it bequeaths to future generations, then what chance does a whole society have of leaving the world intact?