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Beacons throws down the gauntlet, challenging well-known authors to imagine our worst and best possible futures and, in imagining them, to help us change things for the better. From Joanne Harris' powerful vision of a near future where 'outside' has become a thing of history to Nick Hayes' beautifully illustrated tale of the bond between man and nature, this is where dystopian satire meets speculative and historical fiction, metaphorical flights of fancy, quiet tragedy, and farcical comedy, crafting stories that are as various as our possible futures. Provocative, encouraging, and deeply moving, Beacons represents the best of British writing - and collectively illuminates the immediacy of the ecological problems at hand. All author royalties will go to the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, the UK's largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change and limiting its impact on the world's poorest people.
Alfred Day wanted his war. In its turmoil he found his proper purpose as the tail-gunner in a Lancaster bomber; he found the wild, dark fellowship of his crew, and - most extraordinary of all - he found Joyce, a woman to love. But that's all gone now - the war took it away. Maybe it took him, too. Before Hitler and the bombs he was a boy in Staffordshire, helpless to defend his mother, to resist his abusive father. The RAF gave him order, skills, another family and a way to be a man. It taught him how to burn through lifetimes on night ops and brief, sweet leaves, surviving the unsurvivable. But it didn't prepare him for capture, for the prison camp and the chaos as the war wound down. It didn't prepare him for an empty peace. Now it's 1949 and Alfred is doing the impossible again, winding back time to see where he lost himself. He has taken the role of an extra in a POW film. Shipped out to Germany and an ersatz camp, he picks his way through the clicheacute;s that will become all that's left of his war and begins to do what he's never dared - to remember. He is looking for some semblance of hope: trying to move forward by going back. A superbly realised novel about the brutal simplicities of war - of horror, and the camaraderie found in the closeness to death - and a moving exploration of the complexities of human emotion, Day is a wonderful piece of storytelling: the freight of history and humanity carried effortlessly by the beauty of the writing. For previous readers of A. L. Kennedy's books the dark humour, close observation and thrillingly original language will come as no surprise; for new readers, this novel will be a revelation.
From the prodigiously talented A. L. Kennedy comes a flamboyantly stylish and fiercely emotional novel about fathers and daughters, creation and self-destruction, and love's paradoxical power to heal its most devastated victims. One such victim is Nathan Staples, a writer whose hilarious contempt for humanity is surpassed only by his corrosive self-loathing. Along with five equally dysfunctional colleagues Nathan lives on an island retreat off the coast of Wales, where he yearns for the daughter he lost years before. Now, in defiance of all his hopes, Mary Lamb-herself an aspiring writer-is about to join him as the seventh member of the colony. As Nathan tortuously wins the trust of the child who has no inkling of their true relationship, Mary comes to a gradual understanding of her gift. InEverything You Need, A. L. Kennedy combines the mythic resonance of Arthurian legend with a sensibility as lyrical as it is profane. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The love story (as well as the story of love lost, obsessed over, or longed for) gets a complete and thrilling renovation at the hands of the most virtuosic literary stylist to appear in the British Isles since Jeanette Winterson. A. L. Kennedy's men and women huddle in foreign hotel rooms, immobilized by travel-sickness and betrayal. They plan seductions on the line at a cheese shop. They're undone by a passing embrace in the office men's room. Their passion is so urgent and imperious that it invades the stories they tell their children.By turns chaste and ferociously sexy, funny and unbearably sad, every story in Indelible Acts is a testament to the lengths to which desire drives us. And all are marked by Kennedy's wisdom and humanity, and language that captures the briefest tremor of the infatuated heart.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"Kennedy is a world class writer."--The New York Times Book ReviewA brilliant American debut from one of Scotland's most acclaimed writers, named by Granta as one of the Twenty Best Young British Novelists.Emotionally numb, crippled with insomnia, and caught in a frightening, abusive marriage, Helen Brindle believes that God has recently left her. She spends her days performing banal domestic chores in front of a blaring television. On the BBC one day she watches a self-help guru expound on, among other things, the "rules" of masturbation and the importance of "interior lives." Edward G. Gluck, she discovers has developed a program that guides lost souls toward contentment. Helen seeks him out, hoping to find an answer. Instead she discovers Gluck's own sadomasochistic obsession, and his profound shame and disgust. And what they both encounter, painfully, is the love each fears and both yearn to embrace."A darkly comic tale.... [that] is hilariously funny about sexual obsession and brilliantly perceptive about the dynamics of human relationships."--The Baltimore SunFrom the Trade Paperback edition.
Hannah Luckraft sells cardboard boxes for a living. Her family is so frustrated by her behavior they can barely stand to keep in touch with her. Each day is fueled by the promise of annihilation, the promise of a reprieve, the paradise that can only be found in a bottle. When Hannah meets Robert, a kindred spirit, the two become constant companions. Together and alone Hannah and Robert spiral through the beauty and depravity of a love affair with alcohol. Paradise is a spectacular novel of desire and oblivion.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The ferociously talented author of Original Bliss and On Bullfighting offers this haunting tale of two forlorn people who find in each other a hope and love as genuine and original as this marvelous book in which they come to life. M. Jennifer Wilson is a mid-thirties radio announcer living in Glasgow. She shares a house with Art and Liz, two typical Scotland thirtysomethings, but her life takes a drastic turn with the arrival of her new housemate, an elusive man who glows in the dark and can't remember his name. He soon reveals himself to be none other than Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, the famed writer and duelist of eighteenth-century France, and what unfolds is a love story stark and surreal, tender and humane.
Twice selected for Granta's list of Best Young British Novelists, winner of the 2007 Costa Book Award for her acclaimed novel Day ("Day is a novel of extraordinary complexity"--The New York Review of Books), which was also chosen as one of New York magazine's top ten books of the year--the internationally revered A. L. Kennedy returns with a story collection whose glorious wit and vitality make this a not-to-be-missed addition to the canon of one of our most formidable young writers.No one captures the spirit of our times like A. L. Kennedy, with her dark humor, poignant hopefulness, and brilliant evocation of contemporary social and spiritual malaise. In the title story, a man abandons his indifferent wife and wanders into a small-town movie theater where he finds himself just as invisible as he was at home. In the masterfully comic "Saturday Teatime," a woman trying to relax in a flotation tank is hijacked by memories of her past. In "Whole Family with Young Children Devastated," a woman, inadvertently drawn into a stranger's marital dysfunction, meditates on the failings of modern life as seen through late-night television and early-morning walks. Powerful and funny, intimate and profound, the stories in What Becomes are further proof that Kennedy is one of the most dazzling and inventive writers of her generation.From the Hardcover edition.
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