Is it a miracle?
Is it magic?
And who does the little girl belong to?
An exquisitely crafted multi-layered mystery brimming with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.
Their Finest by: Lissa Evans £7.99
It’s 1940. France has fallen, and only a narrow strip of sea lies between Great Britain and invasion. The country is in peril. What’s needed (obviously) is a morale-boosting, heart-warming war film, preferably one that will appeal to the American market.
As bombs start to fall on London, work begins on ‘Just an Ordinary Wednesday’, an almost-true tale of bravery and rescue at Dunkirk. And since call-up has stripped the film industry of the brightest and best, it’s the callow, the jaded and the utterly unsuitable who are making up the numbers.
There’s Catrin Cole, junior copy-writer turned romantic dialogue specialist; Ambrose Hilliard, third most popular British film star of 1924, currently available for all leading roles; Edith Beadmore, ex-seamstress at Madame Tussaud’s and ex-Londoner, having been bombed twice in two months; and Arthur Frith, whose peacetime job as a catering manager hasn’t prepared him for his sudden, unexpected elevation to Special Military Advisor.
And in a serious world, in a nation under siege, in a city visited nightly by destruction, they must work together to produce a slice of the purest entertainment.
Uncommon Type by: Tom Hanks £8.99
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.
The Librarian by: Sally Vickers £8.99
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.
Mythos by: Stephen Fry £8.99
No one loves and quarrels, desires and deceives as boldly and brilliantly as Greek gods and goddesses. They are like us, only more so – their actions and adventures scrawled across the heavens above, from the birth of the universe to the creation of humankind.
Stephen Fry – who fell in love with these stories as a child – retells these myths for our tragic, comic, fateful age.
Witness Athena born from the cracking open of Zeus’s great head and follow Persephone down into the dark realm of Hades. Experience the terrible and endless fate of Prometheus after his betrayal of Zeus and shiver as Pandora opens her jar of evil torments.
The Greek gods are the best and worst of us, and in Stephen Fry’s hands they tell us who we are.
Mythos – smart, funny, and above all great fun – is the retelling we deserve by a man who has been entertaining the nation for over four decades.
One Clear Ice-Cold Morning at the Beginining of the 21st Century by: Roland Schimmelpfennig (translated by Jamie Bolloch) £12.99
One clear, ice-cold January morning shortly after dawn, a wolf crosses the border between Poland and Germany. His trail leads all the way to Berlin, connecting the lives of disparate individuals whose paths intersect and diverge.
On an icy motorway eighty kilometres outside the city, a fuel tanker jack-knifes and explodes. The lone wolf is glimpsed on the hard shoulder and photographed by Tomasz, a Polish construction worker who cannot survive in Germany without his girlfriend. Elisabeth and Micha run away through the snow from their home village, crossing the wolf’s tracks on their way to the city. A woman burns her mother’s diaries on a Berlin balcony. And Elisabeth’s father, a famous sculptor, observes the vast skeleton of a whale in his studio and asks: What am I doing here? And why?
Experiences and encounters flicker past with a raw, visual power, like frames in a black and white film. Those who catch sight of the wolf see their own lives reflected, and find themselves searching for a different path in a cold time. This first novel of Germany’s most celebrated contemporary playwright is written in prose of tremendous power and precision.