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.
"A beautifully written tale of four friends"
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.
"Unusual family saga"
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"
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.
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.
This is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. Over the course of three weeks in present-day Washington, DC, three sons watch their parents' marriage falter and their family home fall apart. Meanwhile, a larger catastrophe is engulfing another part of the world: a massive earthquake devastates the Middle East, sparking a pan-Arab invasion of Israel. With global upheaval in the background and domestic collapse in the foreground, Jonathan Safran Foer asks us: what is the true meaning of home?
"What a wonderful technician"
Felix is at the top of his game as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he's staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And brewing revenge. After 12 years revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison.
"Elegant, witty and compelling."
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.
In 1886, a mysterious travelling circus becomes an international sensation. Open only at night, constructed entirely in black and white, Le Cirque des Rêves delights all who wander its circular paths and warm themselves at its bonfire. Although there are acrobats, fortune-tellers and contortionists, the Circus of Dreams is no conventional spectacle. Some tents contain clouds, some ice.
Born into privilege to one of the last Ottoman pashas, beautiful, spirited Selva is the brightest jewel in her father’s household - until she falls in love with Rafael Alfandari. Though Turkey has long been a safe haven for Jews, marriage between a high-ranking Muslim girl and a Jewish boy is strictly forbidden. Yet young love will not be denied, and Selva and Rafael defy their parents and marry, fleeing to Paris in hopes of a better life - only to find themselves trapped in the path of the invading Nazis.
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"
Romilly had worked hard for her stunning house in one of Bristol's most fashionable suburbs. She adored her daughter and handsome husband, and, sure, life was sometimes exhausting - but nothing that a large glass of wine couldn't fix. But then, as deep-buried insecurities surfaced, everything started to unravel. A glass of wine became a bottle; one bottle became two. Once, Romilly's family were everything to her. Now, after years of hiding the drinking, she must finally admit that she has found another love....
Animal Farm is George Orwell's great socio-political allegory set in a farmyard where the animals decide to seize the farmer's land and create a co-operative that reaps the benefits of their combined labours. However, as with all great political plans, some animals see a bigger share of the rewards than others and the animals start to question their supposed utopia.
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.
"Beautiful story, didn't enjoy the narration"
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"
The year is 1984 and the city is Tokyo.
A young woman named Aomame follows a taxi driver's enigmatic suggestion and begins to notice puzzling discrepancies in the world around her. She has entered, she realizes, a parallel existence, which she calls 1Q84 - "Q" is for "question mark". A world that bears a question....
"Struggled to finish. Unnecessarily Long."
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.
"Great narrator and really intriguing story"
Elizabeth Gilbert’s first novel in twelve years is an extraordinary story of botany, exploration and desire, spanning across much of the 19th century. This audiobook follows the fortunes of the brilliant Alma Whittaker (daughter of a bold and charismatic botanical explorer) as she comes into her own within the world of plants and science. As Alma’s careful studies of moss take her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, the man she loves draws her in the opposite direction into the realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical.
"A beautifully written story"
Savagely funny and hauntingly sad, Lolita is Nabokov's most famous and controversial novel. It is the story of tortured college professor Humbert Humbert and his dangerous obsession with honey-skinned schoolgirl Dolores Haze.
This comprehensive novel consists of three subplots which interlink to form the whole and supply a trio of targets at which Trollope aims his proselytising pen. The first treats on the courtship of a woman by a man whom she does not love and with whom she is not compatible. Mary Lowther will not accept such a marriage of dishonesty. The second deals with the plight of a young woman who has fallen prey to the wiles of an evil seducer and subsequently adopts a life of prostitution.
Sir Richard Hannay introduces this last adventure involving his old friends.
John Blenkiron discovers that a ruthless industrialist is plotting to destabilise America and cause global turmoil. Although Bavarian born, Castor plans to dominate the world from Olifa, a small country in Latin America. Hannay realises he is now too old for the job of thwarting these evil designs and enlists the aid of his old friend Sandy Arbuthnot, now Lord Clanroyden.
Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour hit of Pop Art - via a bit of skullduggery - Autumn is a witty excavation of the present by the past. Autumn is a take on popular culture and a meditation in a world growing ever more bordered: what constitutes richness and worth?
Matthew Oxenhay is 60: a stranger to his wife, an embarrassment to his children, and failed former contender for the top job at his City firm. Seizing on his birthday party as an opportunity to deliver some rather crushing home truths to his assembled loved ones, it seems as though Matthew might have hit rock bottom. The truth, however, is that he has some way to go yet....
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is a coming-of-age novel narrated by 14-year-old Lily Owens, a young white teen who runs away from home. In equal parts fleeing her abusive father and pursuing a lead on her late mother, whose final days are shrouded in mystery, Lily travels to a nearby town where she finds a new home with a black family.
Hear the Wind Sing is Murakami's first novel, available for the first time in English outside Japan. In Hear the Wind Sing, the narrator is home from college on his summer break. He spends his time drinking beer and smoking in J's Bar with the Rat, listening to the radio, thinking about writing and the women he has slept with, and pursuing a relationship with a girl with nine fingers. The story of the narrator, the Rat and J continues in Pinball, 1973.
Nine men: each of them at a different stage of life, away from home, and striving - in the suburbs of Prague, in a cheap Cypriot hotel - to understand just what it means to be alive here and now. Tracing an arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, All That Man Is brings these separate lives together to show us men as they are - ludicrous and inarticulate, shocking and despicable; vital, pitiable, hilarious, and full of heartfelt longing.
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.
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.
To four girls who have nothing, their friendship is everything: They are each other's confidantes, teachers, and family. The girls are all named Guinevere - Vere, Gwen, Ginny, and Win - and it is the surprise of finding another Guinevere in their midst that first brings them together. They come to the Sisters of the Supreme Adoration convent by different paths, delivered by their families, each with her own complicated, heartbreaking story that she safeguards.
As members of the yearbook committee, Nick, Zola, Matt, and Christina are eager to capture all the memorable moments of their junior year at Lewis and Clark High School - the plays and football games, dances and fund-drives, teachers and classes that are the epicenter of their teenage lives. But how do you document a horrific tragedy - a deadly school shooting by a classmate?
Hanka osiagnela w zyciu bardzo duzo: ladne mieszkanie, dobrze prosperujace biuro podrózy, grupe oddanych przyjaciól. Nie czuje sie jednak szczesliwa - ma za soba kilka nieudanych zwiazków i wciaz szuka mezczyzny, z którym bedzie mogla miec dziecko. Kiedy na portalu randkowym poznaje Jacka, Polaka "po przejsciach", który od dwudziestu lat mieszka w Stanach, nie waha sie ani chwili. Mimo ostrzezen przyjaciólek decyduje sie zostawic wszystko swoim braciom i wyjechac na stale do USA.
Richard Brautigan was an original - brilliant and wickedly funny. His books resonated with the 1960s, making him an overnight counterculture hero. Dark, funny, and exquisitely haunting, his final book-length fiction explores the fragile, mysterious shadowland surrounding death. Told with classic Brautigan wit, poetic style, and mordant irony, An Unfortunate Woman assumes the form of a peripatetic journal chronicling the protagonist's travels and oblique ruminations on the suicide of one woman and the death of a close friend from cancer.
In the wake of family collapse, a writer and her two young sons move to London. The process of upheaval is the catalyst for a number of transitions - personal, moral, artistic, practical - as she endeavours to construct a new reality for herself and her children. In the city she is made to confront aspects of living she has until now avoided and to consider questions of vulnerability and power, death and renewal, in what becomes her struggle to reattach herself to and believe in life.
This piece, set in the year 2024, follows the lovelorn travails of a hapless member of the Hungarian surveillance apparatus.
The corridor of the Fine Arts Building was deserted, save for two figures at the far end, two men approaching slowly. Rose was about to go into the classroom, where she'd left her purse, when she saw a sign on the door - a crude sign in pencil, on a ragged sheet of paper. "Collapse of Western Civilization - Dr. Norbert Beilstein," it said. "Visitors welcome."
I had an uncle who left his hometown and the family business there to become a fine actor. His talent was a minor one, but a pretty one. It lasted for 15 years and was gone. He came home with the ashes of it and died 20 years later, poor and, as it happened, drunk.
Every dog deserves a forever home, and after being mistreated and given up several times, Wrigley has finally found his. The good-natured, smart mutt now spends his days as the house dog at SunRidge Assisted Living, comforting and doting on 45 seniors. Wrigley has free run of the place - going where he senses he's needed - but his preferred spot is beside his favorite resident, Marjorie Thompson.
A Modern Pilgrim's Progress. A man dreams that a giant roller moves over the city, crushing everything in its path in the name of progress. Behind it unfolds a wide road. The man knows he must follow this road into the future to try to find his missing children.