In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnúsdóttir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men. Agnes is sent to wait out the months leading up to her execution on the farm of district officer Jón Jónsson, his wife, and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoid contact with Agnes. As the year progresses and the hardships of rural life force everyone to work side by side, the family’s attitude to Agnes starts to change - until one winter night.
"Well researched and very believable"
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success and pride.
"Loved it at first, then hated it."
Two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives from scratch. For 20 years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts.
Born in Dickens, Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father's racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father's memoir will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed, he discovers there never was a memoir. Fuelled by despair, he sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
"First time I lol'd since Hitchhiker's Guide"
Big Brother is watching you.... 1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party’s power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party’s department for propaganda, Winston Smith’s job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair.
It is 1964: Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening uninvited, where he notices a heart-stoppingly beautiful woman. When Bert kisses Beverly Keating, his host's wife, he sets in motion the joining of two families. In 1988, Franny Keating, now 24, meets one of her idols, the famous author Leon Posen. After telling him about her family, she unwittingly relinquishes control over their story.
"Book Club selection"
The new audiobook from number one best-selling author Jodi Picoult, with the biggest of themes: birth, death, and responsibility. When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father. What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
"A very thought provoking story. "
Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them. Moving from Northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time. Two brown girls dream of being dancers - but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe or makes a person truly free.
The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed . If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs....
"Fabulous story very well narrated"
Perth, 1954. Thirteen-year-old Frank, a refugee from wartime Hungary, is learning to walk again after contracting polio. At The Golden Age Children's Convalescent Home, he meets Elsa, and the two patients form a forbidden, passionate bond. The Golden Age becomes the little world that reflects the larger one, where everything occurs: love, desire, music, death and poetry.
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.
It is 1866 and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of 12 local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.
"Best audiobook in ages"
Archie's life has disintegrated. Fresh from a dead marriage, middle-aged Archie stretches out a vacuum hose, seals up his car and prepares to die. But unbeknownst to him, his darkest hour is also his luckiest day. With the opening of a butcher's shop, his life is saved and soon he is on his way to beginning a new life with a young Jamaican woman looking for the last man on earth.
Why we think it’s a great listen: Never before has an author’s narration of his fiction been so important to fully grasping the book’s impact and global implications. Taking us from Afghanistan in the final days of its monarchy to the present, The Kite Runner is the unforgettable story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.
At the heart of Joseph Heller's best-selling novel, first published in 1961, is a satirical indictment of military madness and stupidity, and the desire of the ordinary man to survive it.
Six strangers from across the world converge on the tropical island of Bali to attend a course designed to help them face their fears.
Friendships and romance blossom as the participants are put through a series of challenges designed to test, but fun in the sun suddenly transforms into something far more serious when the unthinkable happens.... Shocking, powerful and utterly gripping, Fearless takes you to the edge and makes you look down.
Nutshell is a classic story of murder and deceit, told by a narrator with a perspective and voice unlike any in recent literature. A bravura performance, it is the finest recent work from a true master. To be bound in a nutshell, see the world in two inches of ivory, in a grain of sand. Why not, when all of literature, all of art, of human endeavour, is just a speck in the universe of possible things?
"Very enjoyable Ian McEwan"
Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, read by Romola Garai. Two strangers arrive in a small Spanish fishing village. The older woman is suffering from mysterious paralysis, driven to seek a cure beyond the bounds of conventional medicine. Her daughter, Sofia, has spent years playing the reluctant detective in this mystery, struggling to understand her mother's illness.
"Strange, seductive and powerfully sensual"
When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early 40s, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.
Rosemary's started college, and she's decided not to tell anyone about her family. Rosemary is now an only child, but she used to have a sister the same age as her, and an older brother. Both are now gone - vanished from her life. There was something unique about Rosemary's sister, Fern. You'll have to find out for yourself what it is that makes her unhappy family unlike any other.
It's 1926. Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley, travel to a villa in the south of France. They swim, play bridge and drink gin. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous Fife. Fife is Hadley's best friend. She is also Ernest's lover. Over the ensuing decades, Ernest's literary career will blaze a trail, but his marriages will be ignited by passion and deceit. Four extraordinary women will be forced to ask themselves how far they will go to remain his wife....
The View from Willow Hill is a story of heartbreak, courage, soul searching and forgiveness. As a child, Autumn was abandoned by her parents and then raised by her grandmother, a brilliant poet. Now Autumn is 23, and alone in the world. She is surrounded by friends but struggles to resolve her past. Her emotional journey as a young adult along with her grandmother's fortitude teaches Autumn to reach for the stars.
Joseph Goebbels, born in 1897, aspired to be an author, obtained a PhD from the University of Heidelberg in 1921. He joined the Nazi Party in 1924, After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted controlling supervision over the news media, arts, and information in Germany.
On a cozy street in Philadelphia, three neighboring families have become the best of friends. They can't imagine life without one another - until one family outgrows their tiny row house. In a bid to stay together, a crazy idea is born: What if they tear down the walls between their homes and live together under one roof? And so an experiment begins.
Originally a short stage play, Potato Chips is about an elderly woman in an assisted living facility who is mistreated by a nurse. A ghost who appears as a younger version of the woman is trapped with her. The story is all told by a rat in the room.
At once disarmingly humorous and deeply thought-provoking, Perfect Little World is a novel about how the best families are the ones we make for ourselves. Isabelle Pool, recently graduated from high school and pregnant with her art teacher's baby, is just about out of options. Her mother is dead, her father's a drunk and the art teacher is too much of a head case to help raise the child. Izzy knows she can be a good mother, but without any money or prospects, she's left searching.
The man Clemency loves belongs to someone else. She has to hide her true feelings - but when she ropes in an unsuspecting friend to help, wires start to get crossed. For the first time in Ronan's life his charm has failed him in winning over the woman he wants. Loving her from afar appears to be his only option. Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend, but something isn't quite right. And now a long-buried secret is slowly rising to the surface. The truth has a funny way of revealing itself, and when it does St Carys will be a very different place indeed....
When Nina finds out that her 15-year-old daughter, Scarlett, is pregnant, her world falls apart. Because Scarlet won't tell anyone who the father is. And Nina is scared that the answer will destroy everything. As the suspects mount - from Scarlett's teacher to Nina's new husband of less than a year - Nina searches for the truth: no matter what the cost.
Dr. Jonah Michelakis is a university professor, a specialist in world religions. He has to find a way beyond his extensive book learning to explain the "big" questions of life to his grandson, Xander - a way that finally frees him from his own anger demons. Woven throughout the story is a comforting message to a troubled world.
Red Mountain in eastern Washington is home to a community of eccentrics. Otis Till, the area's visionary winemaker, has been known to howl at the moon - fully nude. Single mother Margot Pierce moved across the country to build an inn, but so far all she does is binge on gelato, the Hallmark Channel, and fantasies of murdering her ex. High school senior Emilia Forester is the daughter of celebrity parents struggling to build her own life outside of their shadow.
It's the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York, shimmer in a heat wave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find a bedroom window wide open and her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery. Noting Ruth's perfectly made-up face and provocative clothing, the empty liquor bottles and love letters that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation.
Edinburgh basks in glorious, but brief, summer sunshine, and Isabel Dalhousie - philosopher, philanthropist and mother - searches for the perfect birthday present for her husband Jamie. While carefully seeking out a gift, Isabel finds herself at a viewing for an auction, and happens upon an old friend in distress - a friend who decides to unburden herself of her secrets, and to reveal a clue within a painting hanging on the walls of the auction house.
The perfect family. The perfect house. The perfect life. All gone now. What could cause a man, when all the stars of fortune are shining upon him, to suddenly snap and destroy everything he has built? This is the question that haunts Sergeant Ryan DeMarco after the wife and children of beloved college professor and best-selling author Thomas Huston are found slaughtered in their home. Huston himself has disappeared and so is immediately cast as the prime suspect.
Written in a style that is both precise and sumptuous, weirdly archaic and powerfully novel, Zama takes place in the last decade of the 18th century and describes the solitary, suspended existence of Don Diego de Zama, a highly placed servant of the Spanish crown who has been posted to Asunción, the capital of remote Paraguay. There, eaten up by pride, lust, petty grudges, and paranoid fantasies, he does as little as he possibly can while plotting his eventual transfer to Buenos Aires.
Set in the early 1900s, the novel follows young Lucia Rutkowska who, thanks to the influence of her beloved grandmother, escapes the Warsaw ghetto to work as a kitchen maid in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the bustling city of Paris. Too talented for her lowly position, Lucia is thrown out on the street. Her only recourse is to take a job working for a married couple - two disorganized, rather poor scientists so distracted by their work that their house and young child are often neglected.
Gwen Hill adores Green Valley Avenue. So when the house next door is sold, Gwen wonders how the new family will settle into this cosy community. More than a new home, it's a clean slate for Frankie, who has moved her brood in a bid to save her marriage. To maintain privacy and corral her children, Frankie proposes a fence between the properties, destroying Gwen's picture-perfect front yard. To Gwen, this is an act of war.
"Loved The Fence"
Two men marked by the boyhood adventures of All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing now stand together to confront a country changing beyond recognition. In the fall of 1952, John Grady Cole and Billy Parham are cowboys on a New Mexico ranch, encroached upon from the north by the military. On the southern horizon are the mountains of Mexico, where one of the men is drawn incessantly in this story of friendships and passion, to a love as dangerous as it is inevitable.
A collection of full-cast dramatisations and readings from the best-selling author. Maeve Binchy was one of Britain's best-loved storytellers, and this compilation of her finest fiction, as heard on BBC Radio, demonstrates all the warmth, wit and compassion that made her so popular.
After the death of his estranged father, Amit takes his parent's ashes to the Ganges to fulfill a deathbed promise. Instead of returning home, he wanders, his pain and grief leaving him confused about his future. Almost broke, unsure about his direction in life, and running from memories, he is led by fate to the Camino de Santiago, an ancient 550-mile pilgrimage route across northern Spain.
Wuthering Heights is Emily Bronte's only novel. Written between October 1845 and June 1846, Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 under the pseudonym "Ellis Bell"; Bronte died the following year, aged 30. Wuthering Heights and Anne Bronte's Agnes Grey were accepted by publisher Thomas Newby before the success of their sister Charlotte's novel, Jane Eyre.