London, 1941. Amid the falling bombs Emmeline Lake dreams of becoming a fearless Lady War Correspondent. Unfortunately, Emmy instead finds herself employed as a typist for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt at Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs Bird refuses to read, let alone answer, letters containing any form of Unpleasantness, and definitely not those from the lovelorn, grief-stricken or morally conflicted.
But the thought of these desperate women waiting for an answer at this most desperate of times becomes impossible for Emmy to ignore. She decides she simply must help and secretly starts to write back – after all, what harm could that possibly do?
‘As a brilliantly realised extended metaphor for a totalitarian state it could be anywhere from Stasi-riddled East Germany, to Chile under Pinochet’s dictatorship to Salazar’s Portugal.’ – New Statesman
Anyone seeking evidence toward the buoyant health of Irish writing need look no further than Anna Burns’ triumphant Man Booker Prize victory for Milkman.
Joining a very select group of Booker-winning Irish authors (including Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle and Iris Murdoch), Burns’ often amusing – but ultimately deeply disquieting – satire of the Troubles proved a hit with our customers long before the winner’s announcement.
At the book’s heart, a teenager – whose only means of escape is literature – is slowly ground down by the unwanted attentions and creeping psychopathy of a paramilitary many years her senior. This is the secret state, a place where gossip and hearsay are weaponised methods of control, contained in a novel written with both a sad humour and a certain kind of fury.
Eschewing mention of Belfast and cloaking every character in nameless anonymity, this is contemporary history rewritten as dystopia, where power and fear are wrought by rumour and half-truth. ‘It’s a novel,’ remarked an astute Irish Times, ‘about failing to remember and failing to forget; failing to speak and failing to remain silent.’
A charmingly subversive novel about a library in 1950s England, by the acclaimed author of The Cleaner of Chartres.
Sylvia Blackwell, a young woman in her twenties, moves to East Mole, a quaint market town in middle England, to start a new job as a children’s librarian. But the apparently pleasant town is not all it seems.
Sylvia falls in love with an older man, but it is her connection to his precocious young daughter and her neighbours’ son which will change her life, putting them, her job and the library itself under threat.
How does the library alter the young children’s lives and how do the children fare as a result of the books Sylvia introduces them to?
A work of fiction that also reflects Salley Vicker’s own lifelong love of literature, The Librarian brims with references to favourite novels from childhood onwards (readers will appreciate the accompanying list of all the fiction mentioned in the book).
Carrying echoes of Penelope Fitzgerland’s The Bookshop and Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, it’s a book about love, education and the relationship between an individual and a community. Most of all, however, it is a book about the ways in which reading can shape and foster a life.
In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.
Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.
So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.
Read an exclusive article by author Heather Morris in which she discusses the real story behind The Tattooist of Auschwitz, her friendship with Lale Sokolov and bringing his extraordinary story back to life.
A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor.
A hectic, funny sexual affair between two best friends. A World War II veteran dealing with his emotional and physical scars. A second-rate actor plunged into sudden stardom and a whirlwind press junket.
A small-town newspaper columnist with old-fashioned views of the modern world. A woman adjusting to life in a new neighborhood after her divorce. Four friends going to the moon and back in a rocket ship constructed in the backyard.
A teenage surfer stumbling into his father’s secret life.
These are just some of the people and situations that Tom Hanks explores in his first work of fiction, a collection of stories that dissects, with great affection, humour, and insight, the human condition and all its foibles. The stories are linked by one thing: in each of them, a typewriter plays a part, sometimes minor, sometimes central.
To many, typewriters represent a level of craftsmanship, beauty and individuality that is harder and harder to find in the modern world. In his stories, Mr Hanks gracefully reaches that typewriter-worthy level.
Known for his honesty and sensitivity as an actor, Mr Hanks brings both those characteristics to his writing.
Alternatingly whimsical, moving and occasionally melancholy, Uncommon Type is a book that will delight as well as surprise his millions of fans. It also establishes him as a welcome and wonderful new voice in contemporary fiction, a voice that perceptively delves beneath the surface of friendships, families, love and normal, everyday behaviour.
A Hollywood name, Tom Hanks has been an actor, screenwriter, director and producer. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Uncommon Type is his first collection of fiction.
A body washed up on the beach… Evacuation to an old house with forbidden rooms and dark secrets… An animal rescue service…
Set in World War Two, Emma Carroll explores the resilience, resourcefulness and inventiveness of children when their lives fall to pieces.
Introducing some compelling new characters, as well as revisiting some familiar settings, these adventures are sure to win over new readers, as well as fans of old favourites such as Letters from the Lighthouse and Frost