Our pick of recently published titles and some old favourites.
In Faces, Vita Sackville-West traces the origins and history of forty-four dog breeds, reflecting on their characteristics with frank humour, from the silky gentle-eyed Afghan, ‘like somebody’s elderly Aunt Lavinia, who nourishes a secret passion for the Vicar’, to the Labrador Retriever, ‘dear, solid, faithful lump of a dog!’, and that ‘docile minion’ the Corgi.
‘A witty contemplation on canine characteristics . . . Sackville-West’s musings often take a charmingly anthropomorphic turn.’ — Town & Country
Håkan Söderström is a man who has become a legend. Giant in size, rumoured to be bloodthirsty and fearless, he is known simply as ‘the Hawk’.
But behind this myth is a tale of loss and survival. As a young man Håkan is sent from Gothenburg with his brother Linus to seek their fortunes in New York. In the chaos of the port, he is separated from Linus and finds himself instead on a ship bound for California. He speaks no English and has no money but determined to find his brother, Håkan sets out on a journey east. As he travels on foot he moves against the tide of history, experiencing the Gold Rush and its effects, encountering capitalists and colonialists, explorers and early scientists, and witnessing the formation of America and the betrayal of its dream.
It is 1932 and Violet Speedwell is a “surplus woman” – one of millions of English women unable to marry since World War I decimated a generation of potential spouses. Looked down on by the press, tolerated with gentle exasperation by families, these women live at a time when society has rigid expectations of what a single woman might do with her life. Violet is about to challenge those restrictions.
Choosing to leave her cantankerous mother and take up an office job in the cathedral city of Winchester, Violet searches for new friends and a new community. She unexpectedly discovers one in a volunteer group of “broderers” – women who are embroidering cushions and kneelers for the city’s magnificent cathedral.
While Violet finds friendship, support and creative fulfillment in the group, she also encounters condescension and prejudice. And in the background, fascism grows on the Continent and Hitler comes to power in Germany… In large and small ways, Violet must learn how to stand up for herself in a world that is still hostile to independent women.
Wilding tells the story of a remarkable experiment: the rewilding of the Knepp Estate in West Sussex, the restoration of natural ecological processes, and the stunning recovery of flora and fauna.
The remarkable life of Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret who was also a Maid of Honour at the Queen’s Coronation – and is a character in The Crown this autumn. Anne Glenconner reveals the real events behind The Crown as well as her own life of drama, tragedy and courage, with the wonderful wit and extraordinary resilience which define her.
Winner of the Booker Prize 2019
From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, Girl Woman Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years. They’re each looking for something – a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope . . .
Charlie’s first book includes his most-loved illustrations and new ones too.The conversations of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse have been shared thousands of times online, recreated in school art classes, hung on hospital walls and turned into tattoos. ‘A wonderful work of art and a wonderful window into the human heart’ Richard Curtis
The second volume of Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right.
Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost – a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust.
A feast of hundreds of delightful watercolour illustrations and an informed and witty text. More than any other city, Oxford offers a living history of English architecture.
The stunning third novel from the bestselling author of The Piano Tuner. As the First World War devastates Europe, The Winter Soldier is the story of one man thrust, utterly unprepared, into a remote medical outpost in the Carpathian mountains, and the woman that is set to save him.
Signed copies available.
Written with Michael Palin’s trademark warmth and wit, and illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout, the journal offers a rare insight into the North Korea behind the headlines.
‘Just downright brilliant… a transcendant, transporting experience’ Observer
‘A full-throttle blast of storytelling mastery’ Max Porter
‘A breathless, delightful, utterly absorbing read’ Guardian
As it explores this new capitalism’s impact on society, politics, business, and technology, it exposes the struggles that will decide both the next chapter of capitalism and the meaning of information civilization. Most critically, it shows how we can protect ourselves and our communities and ensure we are the masters of the digital rather than its slaves.
Just days after Raynor learns that Moth, her husband of 32 years, is terminally ill, their home is taken away and they lose their livelihood. With nothing left and little time, they make the brave and impulsive decision to walk the 630 miles of the sea-swept South West Coast Path, from Somerset to Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.
‘The landscape is magical: shape-shifting seas and smugglers’ coves; myriads of sea birds and mauve skies. Raynor writes exquisitely . . . It’s a tale of triumph: of hope over despair; of love over everything’ The Sunday Times
15th century Oakham, in Somerset; a tiny village cut off by a big river with no bridge. When a man is swept away by the river in the early hours of Shrove Saturday, an explanation has to be found: accident, suicide or murder? The village priest, John Reve, is privy to many secrets in his role as confessor. But will he be able to unravel what happened to the victim, Thomas Newman, the wealthiest, most capable and industrious man in the village?
‘If you read just one work of non-fiction this year, it should probably be this … what this book forces you to face is more important than any other subject’ David Sexton
It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all, and if your anxiety about it is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today.
‘A powerful, important and eye-opening analysis of the gender politics of knowledge and ignorance’ Cordelia Fine
‘Press this into the hands of everyone you know. It is utterly brilliant!’ Helena Kennedy
‘Shukla’s exploration of trauma and intergenerational relationships is nuanced and fascinating. Characters who at first appear to be pigeonholed quickly transcend reductive cultural assumptions. In this new novel, he shines a light on a wider Gujarati family settled in Bradford with roots in Kenya. This family is inter-generationally doomed, it appears, by fate. To what extent, it asks, are our lives predestined? And what are the consequences on those left behind when young lives are tragically cut short?’ Bernardine Everisto
Late in the Day explores the tangled webs at the centre of our most intimate relationships, to expose how beneath the seemingly dependable arrangements we make for our lives lie infinite alternate configurations. Ingeniously moving between past and present and through the intricacies of her characters’ thoughts and interactions, Tessa Hadley once again shows that she has `become one of this country’s great contemporary novelists. She is equipped with an armoury of techniques and skills that may yet secure her a position as the greatest of them.’ (Anthony Quinn Guardian)
“A powerful and lyrical coming-of-age story from a writer who is fast establishing herself as one of the best contemporary exponents of the pastoral novel” – Observer
Tender and wise, The Only Story is a deeply moving novel by one of Britain’s greatest mappers of the human heart.
From the wickedly funny author of Submarine comes a hilarious new tragicomedy — a screwball tale of millennial angst, pre-midlife crises and one man’s valiant quest to come of age in his thirties.