"When a friend gives Will Pagett two weeks at a beach house in Cornwall for his fortieth birthday, he invites his aging parents along. But the cottage and the stretch of sand before it seem somehow familiar, and memories of a summer long ago begin to surface. Deftly navigating the terrain between our inner and outer lives, Patrick Gale has written an unforgettable novel about the lies adults tell and the small acts of treason that children commit. Rough Music gracefully illuminates the merciful tricks of memory and the courage with which we continue to assert our belief in love and happiness"--Page  of cover.
When Silas House made his debut with Clay's Quilt last year, it touched a nerve not just in his home state (where it quickly became a bestseller), but all across the country. Glowing reviews-from USA Today (House is letter-perfect with his first novel), to the Philadelphia Inquirer (Compelling. . . . House knows what's important and reminds us of the value of family and home, love and loyalty), to the Mobile Register (Poetic, haunting), and everywhere in between-established him as a writer to watch. His second novel won't disappoint. Set in 1917, A PARCHMENT OF LEAVES tells the story of Vine, a beautiful Cherokee woman who marries a white man, forsaking her family and their homeland to settle in with his people and make a home in the heart of the mountains. Her mother has strange forebodings that all will not go well, and she's right. Vine is viewed as an outsider, treated with contempt by other townspeople. Add to that her brother-in-law's fixation on her, and Vine's life becomes more complicated than she could have ever imagined. In the violent turn of events that ensues, she learns what it means to forgive others and, most important, how to forgive herself. As haunting as an old-time ballad, A PARCHMENT OF LEAVES is filled with the imagery, dialect, music, and thrumming life of the Kentucky mountains. For Silas House, whose great-grandmother was Cherokee, this novel is also a tribute to the family whose spirit formed him.
The bestselling British novel about love, marriage, family, secrets, and how the power of faith can transform lives even in the midst of inconsolable loss After being paralyzed in a rugby accident, twenty-year-old, wheelchair-bound Lenny Barnes feels he has nothing left to live for and is putting his affairs in order before committing suicide. As lively Mazey Day celebrations take place in the Cornish town of Penzance, Lenny summons a parish priest to his home. Father Barnaby Johnson is shocked to discover that he has been called in not to comfort but to deliver last rites. Lenny’s death will reverberate not only in Barnaby’s life but in the lives of his family and those around them, from Barnaby’s wife, Dorothy, to Modest Carlsson, a parishioner and former teacher whose affair with an underage student cost him his job, his marriage, and, quite possibly, his soul. Narrated in a nonlinear style from the characters’ shifting perspectives and ages, this spellbinding, exquisitely crafted novel exposes the fault lines in relationships as it limns the consequences of our actions. The novel that author Patrick Gale describes as “an echo chamber” to his international bestseller Notes from an Exhibition, A Perfectly Good Man reveals another family in crisis and asks what it truly means to be good. This Richard & Judy Book Club pick is a story of warmth, wisdom, and compassion on crises of faith, the power of prayer, morality, and what it means to be a parent.
A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything. Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before. In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. It is a novel of secrets, sexuality and, ultimately, of great love.
A riotous dark comedy set in the backstreets of London about an unconventional love triangle, a lonely teacher, and a lost baby. Hilary Metcalfe is an English teacher who loathes his work so thoroughly that he requires a half bottle of scotch in order to grade a stack of homework. His only joys are private ones: American musicals, from South Pacific to The King and I, and his absolutely gorgeous lover, Rufus, whom he has utterly failed to domesticate. Once, he had dreams of being an actor, a star of London’s West End. Now he would settle for the knowledge that Rufus is his and his alone. He’ll get neither—but he may get something much better instead. When Rufus stands him up on his birthday, Hilary discovers something astonishing in the subway station: a frightened, abandoned baby boy. Drunk and lonely, Hilary brings the baby home to his seedy Shepherd’s Bush flat, and soon finds he cannot live without the child. As Rufus falls into a romantic encounter with, of all people, Hilary’s sister, the three are caught in a bizarre love triangle—with a baby in the middle. A spiritual sequel to Patrick Gale’s second London novel, Ease, this is a charming portrait of the British capital at its most cosmopolitan. For anyone who has ever wished for a life different from his own, Kansas in August is a captivating tale.
A visionary work that combines speculative fiction with deep philosophical inquiry, The Sparrow tells the story of a charismatic Jesuit priest and linguist, Emilio Sandoz, who leads a scientific mission entrusted with a profound task: to make first contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life. The mission begins in faith, hope, and beauty, but a series of small misunderstandings brings it to a catastrophic end. Praise for The Sparrow “A startling, engrossing, and moral work of fiction.”—The New York Times Book Review “Important novels leave deep cracks in our beliefs, our prejudices, and our blinders. The Sparrow is one of them.”—Entertainment Weekly “Powerful . . . The Sparrow tackles a difficult subject with grace and intelligence.”—San Francisco Chronicle “Provocative, challenging . . . recalls both Arthur C. Clarke and H. G. Wells, with a dash of Ray Bradbury for good measure.”—The Dallas Morning News “[Mary Doria] Russell shows herself to be a skillful storyteller who subtly and expertly builds suspense.”—USA Today From the Trade Paperback edition.
Patrick Gale’s perennially popular debut novel takes a wry and romantic look at love both in and out of the closet. At fifteen years and eleven months, violinist Seth Peake is a musical prodigy who’s secretly attracted to men. Scheduled to begin music college in the fall, he is en route to Cornwall to spend the summer at the Trenellion Festival, a pacifist festival of art and music his family helped to found. There he falls head over heels for a gorgeous, unsuitable sculptor named Roland. Seth’s older sister, Venetia, has a problem. Her period is five weeks late. But she’s a virgin and no one has touched her sexually except her father, Huw—a secret she has told no one. Is the world about to bear witness to history’s second immaculate conception? Doing her best to hold the family together is mother and wife Evelyn, who prays for Venetia to find fulfillment, Seth to be spared from pride, and her problems with Huw magically to vanish. Inspector Maude Faithe—Mo to her friends—is a lesbian cop who fought for the right of policewomen to wear pants, given that they’re doing a “man’s job.” She has risen through the ranks of London’s Metropolitan Police and been promoted twice for bravery. She lives alone with her large cat and a secret tragedy—until she falls passionately in lust with a singer. As Mo and Hope become lovers, Mo’s dogged pursuit of the person responsible for stealing and desecrating the predictions of a newspaper astrologer leads to a surprising culprit. A witty and wise novel about sexual equality and the thrills and perils of wish fulfillment, The Aerodynamics of Pork is an exhilarating ode to love that remains a cult favorite with Patrick Gale fans and readers of gay and lesbian fiction.
This bestselling bittersweet story of love and second chances takes place over the course of a single summer day . . . or does it? The only child of eccentric academics who never married, Laura Lewis was an undergrad at Oxford when she met Ben Patterson. They shared an idyllic few months of passion, only to go their separate ways when Ben ended their relationship. Two decades later, Laura is a self-employed accountant with a history of unfulfilling liaisons with married men, her adult life “mapped out in relationships not achievements.” She leaves Paris to return to England, determined to keep her osteoporosis-stricken mother from the indignities of an institution by caring for her at home. At a hospital in historic Winchester, Laura runs into her former love. A onetime HIV consultant, Ben has also come home to be a caregiver to his gay younger brother with mosaic Down syndrome. Ben is now married to Chloe, a former model he doesn’t love. In spite of the obstacles against them, Laura and Ben rekindle their affair. The Whole Day Through takes place over twenty-four hours, while simultaneously spanning decades to tell Laura and Ben’s story. As the narrative threads move inexorably toward each other, past and present merge in a haunting collage of memory, mortality, missed chances, and the obligations and regrets of love. This novel from the bestselling British author of Notes from an Exhibition was a Sainsbury’s Book Club pick in the UK.
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! is the funny, serious, and compelling new novel by Fannie Flagg, author of the beloved Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (and prize-winning co-writer of the classic movie). Once again, Flagg's humor and respect and affection for her characters shine forth. Many inhabit small-town or suburban America. But this time, her heroine is urban: a brainy, beautiful, and ambitious rising star of 1970s television. Dena Nordstrom, pride of the network, is a woman whose future is full of promise, her present rich with complications, and her past marked by mystery. Among the colorful cast of characters are: Sookie, of Selma, Alabama, Dena's exuberant college roommate, who is everything that Dena is not; she is thrilled by Dena's success and will do everything short of signing autographs for her; Sookie's a mom, a wife, and a Kappa forever Dena's cousins, the Warrens, and her aunt Elner, of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, endearing, loyal, talkative, ditsy, and, in their way, wise Neighbor Dorothy, whose spirit hovers over them all through the radio show that she broadcast from her home in the 1940s Sidney Capello, pioneer of modern sleaze journalism and privateer of privacy, and Ira Wallace, his partner in tabloid television Several doctors, all of them taken with--and almost taken in by-Dena There are others, captivated by a woman who tries to go home again, not knowing where home or love lie. From the Hardcover edition.
“[Rechy’s] tone rings absolutely true, is absolutely his own. . . . He tells the truth, and tells it with such passion that we are forced to share in the life he conveys. . . . This is a most humbling and liberating achievement.”—James Baldwin When John Rechy’s explosive first novel appeared in 1963, it marked a radical departure in fiction, and gave voice to a subculture that had never before been revealed with such acuity. It earned comparisons to Genet and Kerouac, even as Rechy was personally attacked by scandalized reviewers. Nevertheless, the book became an international bestseller, and fifty years later, it has become a classic. Bold and inventive in style, Rechy is unflinching in his portrayal of one hustling “youngman” and his search for self-knowledge within the neon-lit world of hustlers, drag queens, and the denizens of their world, as he moves from El Paso to Times Square, from Pershing Square to the French Quarter. Now including never-seen original marked galley pages and an interview with the author, Rechy’s portrait of the edges of America has lost none of its power to move and exhilarate.
Collected here, in DANGEROUS PLEASURES for the first time, are Patrick Gale's most brilliant pieces of short fiction. His subjects are wide-ranging and various - curious childhood loyalties, long-hidden unsettling mem- ories, newly discovered joys, dislocated relationaships, overwhelming, thrilling passions.
To open this book is to enter the perilous, thrilling world of Billy Bathgate, the brazen boy who is accepted into the inner circle of the notorious Dutch Schultz gang. Like an urban Tom Sawyer, Billy takes us along on his fateful adventures as he becomes good-luck charm, apprentice, and finally protégé to one of the great murdering gangsters of the Depression-era underworld in New York City. The luminous transformation of fact into fiction that is E. L. Doctorow’s trademark comes to triumphant fruition in Billy Bathgate, a peerless coming-of-age tale and one of Doctorow’s boldest and most beloved bestsellers.
Three thousand miles by bicycle through Africa. In January 1992, Dervla Murphy prescribed herself several carefree months and embarked on a cycle tour (pedaling and pushing) from Kenya to Zimbabwe via Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia on the cyclist’s equivalent of a Rolls Royce called Lear. Before long, she realized that for travelers who wish to remain stress-free, Africa is the wrong continent. Inevitably she was caught up in the harrowing problems of the peoples she met; the devastating effects of AIDS (ukimwi is Swahili for AIDS), drought and economic collapse; skepticism about Western “aid schemes”; and corruption and incompetence, both white and black.
Insightful and full of understanding and warmth, Patrick Gale's FRIENDLY FIRE is a richly compelling story of adolescence, sexuality and the lessons we carry forever. 'An intense tale of love, life, intellectualism and passion. Inspirational' Daily Express 'Utterly compelling from first to last' Stephen Fry Sophie, an orphan in love with learning, is sure she will thrive in Tatham's, an esteemed boarding school, having survived years of institutional living. But she soon finds herself lost among its cliques and rituals. Befriending two teenage boys, she experiences the first ache of futile love, then a brilliant teacher's inappropriate attention to one of the trio threatens to destroy them all. Sophie swiftly realizes that there are tougher lessons to absorb outside the schoolroom - of class, sex, families and the emotional disaster they can bring to even the most privileged lives.
Here is an unprecedented fiction debut that is cause for celebration. Growing up in a family that valued the art of storytelling and the power of oral history, Thomas Steinbeck now follows in his father’s footsteps with a brilliant story collection. Down to a Soundless Sea resonates with the rich history and culture of California, recalling vivid details of life in Monterey County from the turn of the century through the 1930s. Steinbeck accomplishes an amazing feat: his stories have the feel of classic literature, but his haunting voice, forceful narrative drive, and dazzling imagery are unmistakably his own. In seven stories, Steinbeck traces the fates and dreams of an eccentric cast of characters, from sailors and ranchers, to doctors and immigrants—as each struggles to carve out a living in the often inhospitable environment of rocky cliffs, crashing surf, and rough patches of land along the California coast and the Big Sur. In “Blind Luck,” a wayward orphan finds his calling at sea, only to learn that life must concede to the whims of authority and the ravages of nature. In “Dark Watcher,” with the country at the start of the Great Depression, a professor craves a plausible discovery to boost his academic standing—and encounters the Indian myth of a shadowed horsemen that may ruin his career. “An Unbecoming Grace” tracks the route of a country physician who cares for an ill-tempered cur—but feels more concern for the well-being of the patient’s beleaguered young wife. The collection concludes with “Sing Fat and the Imperial Duchess of Woo,” a novella that follows the tragic love story between a young apothecary and the woman he hopes to marry. Deeply felt and richly imagined, full of compelling drama and historical authenticity, Down to a Soundless Sea heralds the arrival of a bold new voice in fiction. Thomas Steinbeck has written stories as memorable and rugged as the coastline that inspired them. From the Hardcover edition.
Eddie Plum, who insists he’s been unjustifiably committed to a California psychiatric hospital, manages to finally escape after fourteen years of incarceration to start his life anew. On the run, he holes up in a sheltered barrio on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean owned by his wealthy but unsympathetic father. Here he meets Sweets, the telepathic dog, laments the loss of Sofia, his madhouse lover, and plays the horses at the Del Mar Racetrack. Eventually he meets up with an old friend, Shelly Hubbard, a fellow horseplayer, record collector/dealer, and hardcore loner, who tells him about his brother, Donny, dead at the age of eighteen from a tragic dive off a thirty-foot La Jolla sea cliff known as the Clam. Eddie discovers a family secret and wants to help, but by then he’s already embroiled in the psychotic incident with the Tijuana prostitutes, the madhouse lover, and the police, who are hot on his tail. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride has nothing on Whirlaway, a hilarious novel of escaped mental patients, horseplayers, and record collectors.
A perceptive, humane and beautifully written novel of art, love and the frailty of life from the bestselling author of A PLACE CALLED WINTER and the writer of BBC1's drama, MAN IN AN ORANGE SHIRT. The Richard & Judy bestseller. 'Poised and pitch-perfect throughout' Mail on Sunday Celebrated artist Rachel Kelly dies alone in her Penzance studio, after decades of struggling with the creative highs and devastating lows that have coloured her life. Her family gathers, each of them searching for answers. They reflect on lives shaped by the enigmatic Rachel - as artist, wife and mother - and on the ambiguous legacies she leaves them, of talent, torment and transcendent love.
Combining southern warmth with unabashed emotion and side-splitting hilarity, Fannie Flagg takes readers back to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where the most unlikely and surprising experiences of a high-spirited octogenarian inspire a town to ponder the age-old question: Why are we here? Life is the strangest thing. One minute, Mrs. Elner Shimfissle is up in her tree, picking figs, and the next thing she knows, she is off on an adventure she never dreamed of, running into people she never in a million years expected to meet. Meanwhile, back home, Elner’s nervous, high-strung niece Norma faints and winds up in bed with a cold rag on her head; Elner’s neighbor Verbena rushes immediately to the Bible; her truck driver friend, Luther Griggs, runs his eighteen-wheeler into a ditch–and the entire town is thrown for a loop and left wondering, “What is life all about, anyway?” Except for Tot Whooten, who owns Tot’s Tell It Like It Is Beauty Shop. Her main concern is that the end of the world might come before she can collect her social security. In this comedy-mystery, those near and dear to Elner discover something wonderful: Heaven is actually right here, right now, with people you love, neighbors you help, friendships you keep. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is proof once more that Fannie Flagg “was put on this earth to write” (Southern Living), spinning tales as sweet and refreshing as iced tea on a summer day, with a little extra kick thrown in. From the Hardcover edition.
Good news! Fannie’s back in town—and the town is among the leading characters in her new novel. Along with Neighbor Dorothy, the lady with the smile in her voice, whose daily radio broadcasts keep us delightfully informed on all the local news, we also meet Bobby, her ten-year-old son, destined to live a thousand lives, most of them in his imagination; Norma and Macky Warren and their ninety-eight-year-old Aunt Elner; the oddly sexy and charismatic Hamm Sparks, who starts off in life as a tractor salesman and ends up selling himself to the whole state and almost the entire country; and the two women who love him as differently as night and day. Then there is Tot Whooten, the beautician whose luck is as bad as her hairdressing skills; Beatrice Woods, the Little Blind Songbird; Cecil Figgs, the Funeral King; and the fabulous Minnie Oatman, lead vocalist of the Oatman Family Gospel Singers. The time is 1946 until the present. The town is Elmwood Springs, Missouri, right in the middle of the country, in the midst of the mostly joyous transition from war to peace, aiming toward a dizzyingly bright future. Once again, Fannie Flagg gives us a story of richly human characters, the saving graces of the once-maligned middle classes and small-town life, and the daily contest between laughter and tears. Fannie truly writes from the heartland, and her storytelling is, to quote Time, "utterly irresistible."
Describes the psychological pitfalls faced by teenage girls growing up in a dangerous world in which violence, sexual harassment, eating disorders, promiscuity, and drug use have become the norm.