"He felt them begin to touch him. Sometimes their hands were tender, sometimes they were only curious, but there was no part of him, no curve or hollow, that they did not, in the end, explore. " On a bright spring day in Amsterdam, a young man steps out of his studio to buy a pack of cigarettes. A dancer and choreographer, he would seem to have made the life of his choice: an international reputation; an exquisite French girlfriend, from whom he's been inseparable for seven years; careful plans for an interesting future, with no regrets lingering in his past. Moreover, he is charismatic and physically beautiful. Then, passing through a dark alley, he is accosted by three cloaked and hooded women -- fans, he briefly thinks -- who drug and then hold him their sexual prisoner. Their motivations remain to him as mysterious as the story of his abduction seems unbelievable, even laughable, to those in whom he later confides his plight and shame. Those eighteen days of bizarre captivity, and the subsequent years of his life, makeThe Book of Revelationa wildly compelling and deeply disturbing account of the most forbidding aspects of the human psyche.
It is a rainy Friday afternoon in an ordinary street in an ordinary English town. Billy Tyler, a policeman, sits in his car behind a misting windscreen, his little daughter's ballet shoes on the seat next to him, and turns on the radio. He listens, transfixed, to the news that one of Britain's most notorious murderers is dead. He thinks of the killer's face, by now sinisterly iconic: the dated blonde beehive, the sullen mouth, and that steady, defiant black stare. He thinks too of his own nine-year-old self, of the little boy he had been when the first reports of the killings came: those small bodies unearthed on the moors. Later comes the kind of phone call that Billy's wife - increasingly superstitious these days - dreads: he has been called in to sit with the murderer's corpse overnight, to protect it from a public loathing so strong that twenty mortuaries had refused to deal with the woman's body. During his all-night vigil he is visited by many different ghosts: of his past selves, of his young wife at the moment they met, of his tiny newborn daughter when he held her for the first time. And of a smoke-wreathed figure whose low, abrasive voice is somehow familiar and yet not familiar. Partly a story of love and how it changes over time, partly an exploration into the very nature of evil and how we deal with it culturally, Death of a Murderer is chilling, moving and unforgettable.
One night a boy who comes to be called Thomas Parry is taken from his family, caught up in a comprehensive unraveling of what had been a united kingdom. Reacting to their country's inexorable decline into consumerism, turpitude, racism, and violence, the powers that be establish four independent republics based on the perceived nature of the citizens assigned to each. These new partitions are reinforced with concrete barricades and razor wire. Renamed, relocated, and granted favored status, Thomas enjoys one success after another until, working as a devoted civil servant, he suddenly falls out of the system entirely.
"Katherine Carlyle is a masterpiece." --Philip Pullman, best-selling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy "[T]his road trip through a snow dome of mesmeric hallucinations is Thomson at his best." --Richard Flanagan, author of The Narrow Road to the Deep North, winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize Katherine Carlyle is Rupert Thomson's breakthrough novel. Written in the beautifully spare, lucid, and cinematic prose Thomson is known for, and powered by his natural gift for storytelling, it uses the modern techniques of IVF to throw new light on the myth of origins. It is a profound and moving novel about identity, the search for personal meaning, and how we are loved. Unmoored by her mother's death and feeling her father to be an increasingly distant figure, Katherine Carlyle abandons the set course of her life and starts out on a mysterious journey to the ends of the world. Instead of going to college, she disappears, telling no one where she has gone. What begins as an attempt to punish her father for his absence gradually becomes a testing ground of his love for her, a coming-to-terms with the death of her mother, and finally the mise-en-scène for a courageous leap to true empowerment.
A sorcerer in wax. A fugitive. Haunted by a past he cannot escape. Threatened by a future he cannot imagine. Zummo, a Sicilian sculptor, is summoned by Cosimo III to join the Medici court. Late seventeenth-century Florence is a hotbed of repression and hypocrisy. All forms of pleasure are brutally punished, and the Grand Duke himself, a man for whom marriage has been an exquisite torture, hides his pain beneath a show of excessive piety. The Grand Duke asks Zummo to produce a life-size woman out of wax, an antidote to the French wife who made him suffer so. As Zummo wrestles with this unique commission, he falls under the spell of a woman whose elusiveness mirrors his own, but whose secrets are far more explosive. Lurking in the wings is the poisonous Dominican priest, Stufa, who has it within his power to destroy Zummo's livelihood, if not his life. In this highly charged novel, Thomson brings Florence to life in all its vibrant sensuality, while remaining entirely contemporary in his exploration of the tensions between love and solitude, beauty and decay. When reality becomes threatening, not to say unfathomable, survival strategies are tested to the limit. Redemption is a possibility, but only if the agonies of death and separation can be transcended.
Former bouncer Barker Dodds wants nothing more than to flee his violent past in his native Plymouth for an uncertain new existence as a barber in London's colorful East End. Waif-like Glade Spencer drifts through life as a waitress at a fashionable Soho restaurant, a devoted daughter to her estranged, caravan-dwelling father, and a long-distance girlfriend to an unpredictable American lawyer. And ambitious soft drink branch manager Jimmy Lyle is eager to please his new American boss with a revolutionary marketing strategy for Soft!, one that promises to make the new orange-colored beverage a soda sensation for the twenty-first century. It is under that effervescent orange glow that these three disparate souls intersect, as each learns "there is nothing soft about the soft drink industry." When unsuspecting "Soft! ambassador" Glade begins to unravel from her subconscious obsession with a product she's never tried, Jimmy's top-secret campaign threatens to spill into the daily papers, and Barker once again finds himself employed as a thug-for-hire. At turns harrowing and darkly humorous, Soft! is a magnificently surreal story, one that New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani calls "Rupert Thomson's most powerful novel yet."From the Trade Paperback edition.
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