We have a constantly shifting collection of new and second-hand books in stock. Pop into the shop or give us a call to see what we have in and to order. Below are some of our recently published favourites!
Kirkdale Advent 2021!
1. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
‘If I had my way, every idiot who goes around with Merry Christmas on his lips, would be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. Merry Christmas? Bah humbug!’
This beautiful cloth bound edition is the perfect gift for Christmas*
*log fire and hot chocolate not included
2. Second Place by Rachel Cusk
From the author of the Outline trilogy, a fable of human destiny and decline, enacted in a closed system of intimate, fractured relationships.
A woman invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives, in the belief that his vision will penetrate the mystery of her life and landscape. His provocative presence provides the frame for a study of female fate and male privilege, of the geometries of human relationships, and of the struggle to live morally in the intersecting spaces of our internal and external worlds.
With its examination of the possibility that art can both save and destroy us, Rachel Cusk’s Second Place is deeply affirming of the human soul, while grappling with its darkest demons.
3. Before We Disappear by Shaun David Hutchinson
3! Is a magic number – and so is this YA offering from Shaun David Hutchinson. A magical, queer, ahistorical fantasy set during the 1909 Seattle Alaska-Yukon Pacific Exposition, where the two assistants of two ambitious magicians find themselves falling in love amidst a bitter rivalry designed to tear them apart. Perfect for a night in with hot cocoa!
4. The Guyana Quartet by Wilson Harris
Number 4 gives us an exciting reissue from Faber in the form of The Guyana Quartet by Wilson Harris! An epic & ‘exhilarating experience’ with a foreword by poet Ishion Hutchinson to mark Harris’ centenary. Faber seem to be outdoing themselves with reissues this year. We know you’re not meant to judge a book by its cover…..but come on!
5. London in the Snow
Sunday brought us Day 5 of December and the weather? didn’t bring us any snow. But! That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some pretty pictures of ‘London in the Snow’ and imagine what it might be like to have a white Christmas! Thanks to Hoxton Mini Press, we can be transported back in time, space…and snow!
6. Feminist Baby! He’s a Feminist Too!
Never too young to know….Meet Feminist Baby Boy in this follow-up to the New York Times bestseller by two-time Emmy Award-winning author Loryn Brantz!
Feminist Baby shoots for the sky,Feminist Baby knows it’s OK to cry!
Feminist Baby Boy loves learning, loves being himself, and knows the importance of being in touch with his feelings. This witty and important board book celebrates the joys of modern childhood while teaching that feminism is for everyone.
7. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
8. Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi
All murder mysteries follow a simple set of rules. Grant McAllister, an author of crime fiction and professor of mathematics, once sat down and worked them all out.
But that was thirty years ago. Now he’s living a life of seclusion on a quiet Mediterranean island – until Julia Hart, a sharp, ambitious editor, knocks on his door. His early work is being republished and together the two of them must revisit those old stories: an author, hiding from his past, and an editor, keen to understand it.
But as she reads, Julia is unsettled to realise that there are things in the stories that don’t make sense. Intricate clues that seem to reference a real murder, one that’s remained unsolved for thirty years.
If Julia wants answers, she must triumph in a battle of wits with a dangerously clever adversary. But she must tread carefully: she knows there’s a mystery, but she doesn’t yet realise there’s already been a murder . . .
9. The Story of Afro Hair by Kandace Chimbiri & Joelle Avelino
Explore the incredible history of Afro hair. The Story of Afro Hair celebrates the fashion and styles of Afro hair over the last 5,000 years. From plaits to the Gibson Girl, cornrows to locks, the hi-top fade to funki dreds, The Story of Afro Hair is the ultimate book of Afro hairstories. Kicking off with an explanation of how Afro hair type grows and why, The Story of Afro Hair then takes us right back to the politics and fashion of Ancient Egypt. Speeding forwards to modern times we experience the Kingdom of Benin, Henry VIII’s court, the enslavement of African peoples, the Harlem Renaissance, the beginnings of Rastafarianism, Britain in the 1980s – and much more. With vibrant full colour illustrations by Joelle Avelino.
To be continued…
Tell Me I’m Worthless by Alison Rumfitt
A dark, unflinching haunted house novel that takes readers from the well of the literary gothic, up through Brighton’s queer scene, and out into the heart of modern day trans experience in the UK.
“The House spreads. Its arteries run throughout the country. Its lifeblood flows into Westminster, into Scotland Yard, into every village and every city. It flows into you, and into your mother. It keeps you alive. It makes you feel safe. Those same arteries tangle you up and night and make it hard for you to breathe. But come morning, you thank it for what it has done for you, and you sip from its golden cup, and kiss its perfect feet, and you know that all will be right in this godforsaken world as long as it is there to watch over you.”
Palace of the Peacock by Wilson Harris
I dreamt I awoke with one dead seeing eye and one living closed eye …
A crew of men are embarking on a voyage up a turbulent river through the rainforests of Guyana. Their domineering leader, Donne, is the spirit of a conquistador, obsessed with hunting for a mysterious woman and exploiting indigenous people as plantation labour. But their expedition is plagued by tragedies, haunted by drowned ghosts: spectres of the crew themselves, inhabiting a blurred shadowland between life and death. As their journey into the interior – their own hearts of darkness – deepens, it assumes a spiritual dimension, guiding them towards a new destination: the Palace of the Peacock …
A modernist fever dream; prose poem; modern myth; elegy to victims of colonial conquest: Wilson Harris’ masterpiece has defied definition for over sixty years, and is reissued for a new generation of readers.
Rotten Days in Late Summer by Ralf Webb
In Rotten Days in Late Summer, Ralf Webb turns poetry to an examination of the textures of class, youth, adulthood and death in the working communities of the West Country, from mobile home parks, boyish factory workers and saleswomen kept on the road for days at a time, to the yearnings of young love and the complexities of masculinity.
Alongside individual poems, three sequences predominate: a series of ‘Love Stories’, charting a course through the dreams, lies and salt-baked limbs of multiple relationships; ‘Diagnostics’, which tells the story of the death from cancer of the poet’s father; and ‘Treetops’, a virtuosic long poem weaving together grief and mental health struggles in an attempt to come to terms with the overwhelming data of a life.
The world of these poems is close, dangerous, lustrous and difficult: a world in which whole existences are lived in the spin of almost-inescapable fates. In searching for the light within it, this prodigious debut collection announces the arrival of a major new voice in British poetry.
Silverview by John Le Carré
Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the City for a simpler life running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian’s evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish migrant living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian’s family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise.
When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea . . .
Silverview is the mesmerizing story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In this last complete masterwork from the greatest chronicler of our age, John le Carré asks what you owe to your country when you no longer recognize it.
Allegorizings by Jan Morris
‘Almost nothing in life is only what it seems.’
Soldier, journalist, historian, author of forty books, Jan Morris led an extraordinary life, witnessing such seminal moments as the first ascent of Everest, the Suez Canal Crisis, the Eichmann Trial, The Cuban Revolution and so much more. Now, in Allegorizings, published posthumously as was her wish, Morris looks back over some of the key moments of her life, and sees a multitude of meanings.
From her final travels to the USA and across Europe to late journeys on her beloved trains and ships, from the deaths of her old friends Hilary and Tenzig to the enduring relationships in her own life, from reflections on identity and nations to the importance of good marmalade, it bears testimony to her uniquely kind and inquisitive take on the world.
The Library: A Fragile History
by Andrew Pettegree & Arthur der Weduwen
Famed across the known world, jealously guarded by private collectors, built up over centuries, destroyed in a single day, ornamented with gold leaf and frescoes or filled with bean bags and children’s drawings – the history of the library is rich, varied and stuffed full of incident.
In this, the first major history of its kind, Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen explore the contested and dramatic history of the library, from the famous collections of the ancient world to the embattled public resources we cherish today. Along the way, they introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world’s great collections, trace the rise and fall of fashions and tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanours committed in pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts.
Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit
“In the year 1936 a writer planted roses.” So begins Rebecca Solnit’s new book, a reflection on George Orwell’s passionate gardening and the way that his involvement with plants, particularly flowers, and the natural world illuminates his other commitments as a writer and antifascist, and the intertwined politics of nature and power.
Sparked by her unexpected encounter with the surviving roses he planted in 1936, Solnit’s account of this understudied aspect of Orwell’s life explores his writing and his actions—from going deep into the coal mines of England, fighting in the Spanish Civil War, critiquing Stalin when much of the international left still supported him (and then critiquing that left), to his analysis of the relationship between lies and authoritarianism. Through Solnit’s celebrated ability to draw unexpected connections, readers encounter the photographer Tina Modotti’s roses and her Stalinism, Stalin’s obsession with forcing lemons to grow in impossibly cold conditions, Orwell’s slave-owning ancestors in Jamaica, Jamaica Kincaid’s critique of colonialism and imperialism in the flower garden, and the brutal rose industry in Colombia that supplies the American market. The book draws to a close with a rereading of Nineteen Eighty-Four that completes her portrait of a more hopeful Orwell, as well as a reflection on pleasure, beauty, and joy as acts of resistance.
Burntcoat by Sarah Hall
You were the last one here, before I closed the door of Burntcoat. Before we all closed our doors…
In an unnamed British city, the virus is spreading, and like everyone else, the celebrated sculptor Edith Harkness retreats inside. She isolates herself in her immense studio, Burntcoat, with Halit, the lover she barely knows. As life outside changes irreparably, inside Burntcoat Edith and Halit find themselves changed as well: by the histories and responsibilities each carries and bears, by the fears and dangers of the world outside, and by the progressions of their new relationship. And Burntcoat will be transformed too, into a new and feverish world, a place in which Edith comes to an understanding of how we survive the impossible–and what is left after we have.
A sharp and stunning novel of art and ambition, mortality and connection, Burntcoat is a major work from “one of our most influential short story writers” (Guardian). It is an intimate and vital examination of how and why we create–make art, form relationships, build a life–and an urgent exploration of an unprecedented crisis, the repercussions of which are still years in the learning.
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
A masterful exploration of human empathy, Oh William! captures the joy and pain of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that rearrange everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, despite the variety of obstacles we face in doing so. And at the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the very nature of existence. This is the way of life, Lucy says. The many things we do not know until it is too late.
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
It’s December 23, 1971, and heavy weather is forecast for Chicago. Russ Hildebrandt, the associate pastor of a liberal suburban church, is on the brink of breaking free of a marriage he finds joyless–unless his wife, Marion, who has her own secret life, beats him to it. Their eldest child, Clem, is coming home from college on fire with moral absolutism, having taken an action that will shatter his father. Clem’s sister, Becky, long the social queen of her high-school class, has sharply veered into the counterculture, while their brilliant younger brother Perry, who’s been selling drugs to seventh graders, has resolved to be a better person. Each of the Hildebrandts seeks a freedom that each of the others threatens to complicate.
Jonathan Franzen’s novels are celebrated for their unforgettably vivid characters and for their keen-eyed take on contemporary America. Now, in Crossroads, Franzen ventures back into the past and explores the history of two generations. With characteristic humor and complexity, and with even greater warmth, he conjures a world that resonates powerfully with our own.
A tour de force of interwoven perspectives and sustained suspense, its action largely unfolding on a single winter day, Crossroads is the story of a Midwestern family at a pivotal moment of moral crisis. Jonathan Franzen’s gift for melding the small picture and the big picture has never been more dazzlingly evident.
The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye
Trans people in Britain today have become a culture war ‘issue’. Despite making up less than 1% of the country’s population, they are the subjects of a toxic and increasingly polarised ‘debate’, which generates reliable controversy for newspapers and talk shows. This media frenzy conceals a simple fact: that we are having the wrong conversation, a conversation in which trans people themselves are reduced to a talking point and denied a meaningful voice.
In this powerful new book, Shon Faye reclaims the idea of the ‘transgender issue’ to uncover the reality of what it means to be trans in a transphobic society. In doing so, she provides a compelling, wide-ranging analysis of trans lives from youth to old age, exploring work, family, housing, healthcare, the prison system, and trans participation in the LGBTQ+ and feminist communities, in contemporary Britain and beyond.
The Transgender Issue is a landmark work that signals the beginning of a new, healthier conversation about trans life. It is a manifesto for change, and a call for justice and solidarity between all marginalised people and minorities. Trans liberation, as Faye sees it, goes to the root of what our society is and what it could be; it offers the possibility of a more just, free and joyful world for all of us.
Sour Grapes by Dam Rhodes
When the sleepy English village of Green Bottom hosts its first literary festival, the good, the bad and the ugly of the book world descend upon its leafy lanes. But the villagers are not prepared for the peculiar habits, petty rivalries and unspeakable desires of the authors. And they are certainly not equipped to deal with Wilberforce Selfram, the ghoul-faced, ageing enfant terrible who wreaks havoc wherever he goes.
Sour Grapes is a hilarious satire on the literary world which takes no prisoners as it skewers authors, agents, publishers and reviewers alike.
Jane is Trying by Isy Suttie
Jane is bright, funny and very anxious. Jane is in her late thirties but living with her parents. Jane is back in the sticks – having left London after a traumatic breakup with a boyfriend, prompted by their struggles to conceive and his infidelity. Jane is working part-time in an eccentric local bookshop, having left a successful career behind. Jane doesn’t know what to do next – but she is really, really trying!
Signed copies available here!
Exteriors by Annie Ernaux
Taking the form of random journal entries over the course of seven years, Exteriors concentrates on the ephemeral encounters that take place just on the periphery of a person’s lived environment. Ernaux captures the feeling of contemporary living on the outskirts of Paris: poignantly lyrical, chaotic, and strangely alive. Exteriors is in many ways the most ecstatic of Ernaux’s books – the first in which she appears largely free of the haunting personal relationships she has written about so powerfully elsewhere, and the first in which she is able to leave the past behind her.
Consumed by Aja Barber
Aja Barber wants change.
In the ‘learning’ first half of the book, she will expose you to the endemic injustices in our consumer industries and the uncomfortable history of the textile industry; one which brokered slavery, racism and today’s wealth inequality. And how these oppressive systems have bled into the fashion industry and its lack of diversity and equality. She will also reveal how we spend our money and whose pockets it goes into and whose it doesn’t (clue: the people who do the actual work) and will tell her story of how she came to learn the truth.
In the second ‘unlearning’ half of the book, she will help you to understand the uncomfortable truth behind why you consume the way you do. She asks you to confront the sense of lack you have, the feeling that you are never quite enough and the reasons why you fill the aching void with consumption rather than compassion. And she makes you challenge this power disparity, and take back ownership of it. The less you buy into the consumer culture the more power you have.
CONSUMED will teach you how to be a citizen not a consumer.
The Kids by Hannah Lowe
Hannah Lowe taught for a decade in an inner-city London sixth form. At the heart of this book of compassionate and energetic sonnets are ‘The Kids’, her students, the teenagers she nurtured. But the poems go further, meeting her own child self as she comes of age in the riotous 80s and 90s, later bearing witness to her small son learning to negotiate contemporary London. Across these deeply felt poems, Lowe interrogates the acts of teaching and learning with empathy and humour. Social class, gender and race – and their fundamental intersection with education – are investigated with an ever critical and introspective eye. The sonnet is re-energised, becoming a classroom, a memory box and even a mind itself as ‘The Kids’ learn and negotiate their own unknown futures. These boisterous and musical poems explore and explode the universal experience of what it is to be taught, and to teach, ultimately reaching out and speaking to the child in all of us.
Hot Stew by Fiona Mozley
London has changed a lot over the years. The Soho that Precious and Tabitha live and work in is barely recognisable anymore. And now, the building they call their home is under threat; its billionaire-owner Agatha wants to kick the women out to build expensive restaurants and luxury flats. Men like Robert, who visit the brothel, will have to go elsewhere. The collection of vagabonds and strays in the basement will have to find somewhere else to live. But the women are not going to go quietly. They have plans to make things difficult for Agatha but she isn’t taking no for an answer.
Hot Stew is an insightful and ambitious novel about property, ownership, wealth and inheritance. It is about the place we occupy in society, especially women, and the importance placed on class and money. It doesn’t shy away from asking difficult questions but does so with humour and intelligence.
Shackleton by Ranulph Fiennes
To write about Hell, it helps if you have been there.
In 1915, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s attempt to traverse the Antarctic was cut short when his ship, Endurance, became trapped in ice.
The disaster left Shackleton and his men alone at the frozen South Pole, fighting for their lives.
Their survival and escape is the most famous adventure in history.
Shackleton is an engaging new account of the adventurer, his life and his incredible leadership under the most extreme of circumstances. Written by polar adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who followed in Shackleton’s footsteps, he brings his own unique insights to bear on these infamous expeditions. Shackleton is both re-appraisal and a valediction, separating the man from the myth he has become.
Mrs Caliban by Rachel Ingalls
The frogman was still there, sitting on the corner of her bed, looking towards her …
Dorothy is a grieving housewife in the Californian suburbs. Her infant son, unborn child, and dog have all just died; her husband is unfaithful; her only friend is an alcoholic. One day, the radio announces that a green-skinned sea monster has escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research – but little did she expect him to arrive in her kitchen. Muscular yet gentle, vegetarian, and excellent at housework, Larry the frogman is a revelation: and their passionate affair goes beyond their wildest dreams …
Reissued with a foreword by Irenosen Okojie, Rachel Ingalls’ Mrs Caliban is a surrealist masterpiece: as dazzling today as it was four decades ago.
The Employees: A Workplace Novel for the 22nd Century by Olga Ravn
The near-distant future. Millions of kilometres from Earth.
The crew of the Six-Thousand ship consists of those who were born, and those who were created. Those who will die, and those who will not. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew is perplexed to find itself becoming deeply attached to them, and human and humanoid employees alike find themselves longing for the same things: warmth and intimacy. Loved ones who have passed. Our shared, far-away Earth, which now only persists in memory.
Gradually, the crew members come to see themselves in a new light, and each employee is compelled to ask themselves whether their work can carry on as before – and what it means to be truly alive.
Structured as a series of witness statements compiled by a workplace commission, Ravn’s crackling prose is as chilling as it is moving, as exhilarating as it is foreboding. Wracked by all kinds of longing, The Employees probes into what it means to be human, emotionally and ontologically, while simultaneously delivering an overdue critique of a life governed by work and the logic of productivity.
Late King in Yellow Woods by Jacob Rollinson
Sam, a brooding and reactionary academic, feels left behind by politics and culture in the internet age. As he travels through the New England woods to meet a dying relative, he starts composing an essay on popular horror.
Pursued by guilt and lured by nostalgia, he hopes to write his way to vindication in the face of real and imagined enemies. But the mind is treacherous, and the culture wars are all-encompassing, and the woods are full of traps…
Jacob Rollinson’s sharp and hilarious debut novella draws on classic Stephen King and popular horror fiction. Interwoven with scrappy drafts of academic thought, the story of Sam’s short stay at the ultra-religious and borderline eerie Sassenach family home rapidly tailspins into ruminations on identity politics and flights of grotesque fantasy. How will Sam redeem himself in the eyes of his activist cousin? Can he hide a coke comedown from his unsuspecting relatives? Will he ever manage to finish his essay on Stephen King…?
“Rollinson packs more into this novella than many books ten times its length. A darkly comic masterpiece that captures the fragmentation of modern America, told in a voice that assures you from the first page that you are in the hands of a rare talent.” PAUL COOPER, AUTHOR OF RIVER OF INK & ALL OUR BROKEN IDOLS
Oh, What a Lovely Century by Roderic Fenwick Owen
For fear of growing up like his stiff-upper-lipped Uncle Dick, Roderic Fenwick Owen (1921-2011) survived Eton, Oxford and the Second World War to become a travel writer, experiencing the varied wonders of the 20th century’s people and places in that guise. Frequently finding himself party to crucial historical events (including experiencing Nazi Germany in 1939 and the Pentagon during the Cold War Years), his life featured a stellar cast of characters from Eisenhower and Jackson Pollock to Christopher Lee and Sean Connery.
At the heart of Roddy’s writing adventures lay his search for love, even if just for the night. He fell head over heels for, and married a Polynesian princess while beachcombing in Tahiti, but when a dazzling trip to 1950s New York opened his eyes to the fact he was more attracted to men than women, he was forced to continue his quest for his soulmate under threat of danger. This was at a time when the police were prosecuting and imprisoning more gay men than ever before, including some of his friends.
Junglist by Two Fingas & James T. Kirk
Back in print after two decades, Junglist tells the compelling, comic, stream-of-consciousness story of four young Black men coming of age among the raves and Jungle music scene in London during the 1990s. Layered with poetic verse, prose and humour, this cult classic of underground British fiction documents the rollercoaster ride of a weekend spent raving during Jungle’s cultural takeover in the summer of 1994. Jungle, with its booming basslines and Jamaican patois, burst from the pirate radio stations and mixtapes into cavernous clubs, pulling a generation of Black British ravers with it.
Originally written as a way to document street culture as it became a feature of London, charting a time when working-class kids, both Black and white, merged to dance as “one family”, Junglist is both a testament to Black British sound system culture and a rawthentic account of inner-city life.
Something Out of Place by Eimear McBride
The blistering non-fiction debut from the author of the critically acclaimed A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.
‘A fearless, interrogative work that speaks so much to structural inequality and misogyny. A fierce and fascinating manifesto in McBride’s persuasive prose’ Sinead Gleeson
Here, Eimear McBride unpicks the contradictory forces of disgust and objectification that control and shame women. From playground taunts of ‘only sluts do it’ but ‘virgins are frigid’, to ladette culture, and the arrival of ‘ironic’ porn, via Debbie Harry, the Kardashians and the Catholic church – she looks at how this prejudicial messaging has played out in the past, and still surrounds us today.
In this subversive essay, McBride asks – are women still damned if we do, damned if we don’t? How can we give our daughters (and sons) the unbounded futures we want for them? And, in this moment of global crisis, might our gift for juggling contradiction help us to find a way forward?
Three Summers by Margarita Liberaki
‘That summer we bought big straw hats. Maria’s had cherries around the rim, Infanta’s had forget-me-nots, and mine had poppies as red as fire. . .’
Three Summers is a warm and tender tale of three sisters growing up in the countryside near Athens before the Second World War. Living in a ramshackle old house with their divorced mother are flirtatious, hot-headed Maria, beautiful but distant Infanta, and dreamy and rebellious Katerina, through whose eyes the story is mostly observed. Over three summers, the girls share and keep secrets, fall in and out of love, try to understand the strange ways of adults and decide what kind of adults they hope to become.
The Service by Frankie Miren
Lori works illegally in a rented flat in central London, living in fear of police raids which could mean losing her small daughter and her dream of a new life.
Freya is a student who finds she can make far more money as an escort than she could in an office; life, after all, is already a tangle of madness and dissociation.
And Paula is a journalist whose long-term campaign against prostitution has brought her some strange bedfellows.
After a shock change to the law, with brothels being raided by the authorities, lives across the country are fractured. As a threat from Lori’s past begins to catch up with her, the three women are increasingly, inevitably drawn into each other’s orbit
The Service is a powerful and challenging novel about women’s bodies, sex and relationships, mental health, entitlement, authenticity, privilege and power – as shocking as any dystopia, but touching and deeply humane.
Three Rooms by Jo Hamya
“A woman must have money and a room of one’s own.” So said Virginia Woolf in her classic A Room of One’s Own, but in this scrupulously observed, gorgeously wrought debut novel, Jo Hamya pushes that adage powerfully into the twenty-first century, to a generation of people living in rented rooms. What a woman needs now is an apartment of her own, the ultimate mark of financial stability, unattainable for many.
Set in one year, Three Rooms follows a young woman as she moves from a rented room at Oxford, where she’s working as a research assistant; to a stranger’s sofa, all she can afford as a copyediting temp at a society magazine; to her childhood home, where she’s been forced to return, jobless, even a room of her own out of reach. As politics shift to nationalism, the streets fill with protestors, and news drip-feeds into her phone, she struggles to live a meaningful life on her own terms, unsure if she’ll ever be able to afford to do so.
Lyonesse by Penelope Shuttle
After seeing the Scilly Isles from a small plane at a low altitude – flying over the Wolf Lighthouse - and then visiting the recent Sunken Cities exhibition at the British Museum, imagination and memory played their part in joining the Lyonesse dots together for her, prompting what she calls ‘a spontaneous inundation of approaches to the theme, images, soundings of Lyonesse’.
As she writes in a preface to this book: ‘The universality of loss, both of physical cities and of the human experience erased from the record, enhanced the resource of Lyonesse in my writing. Lyonesse is a place of paradox. It is real, had historical existence. It is also an imaginary region for exploring depths. It holds grief for many kinds of loss… The poems seek re-wilding of a city where human loss interconnects with mythic loss; myth is rooted in the real.’
We Need to Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba
An extraordinarily candid personal account of the ups and downs wrought by money, We Need To Talk About Money is a vital exploration of stories and issues that will be familiar to most. This is a book about toxic workplaces and misogynist men, about getting payrises and getting evicted. About class and privilege and racism and beauty. About shame and pride, compulsion and fear.
In unpicking the shroud of secrecy surrounding money – who has it, how they got it, and how it shapes our lives – this boldly honest account of one woman’s journey upturns countless social conventions, and uncovers some startling truths about our complex relationships with money in the process.
Nice Racism by Robin Diangelo
In Nice Racism, her follow-up work to White Fragility, the author draws on her background as a sociologist and over 25 years working as an anti-racist educator, picks up where White Fragility left off and moves the conversation forward.
Writing directly to white people as a white person, DiAngelo identifies many common white racial patterns and breaks down how well-intentioned white people unknowingly perpetuate racial harm.
DiAngelo explains how spiritual white progressives seeking community by co-opting Indigenous and other groups’ rituals create separation, not connection. She challenges the ideology of individualism and explains why it is OK to generalize about white people, and she demonstrates how white people who experience other oppressions still benefit from systemic racism. Writing candidly about her own missteps and struggles, she models a path forward, encouraging white readers to continually face their complicity and embrace courage, lifelong commitment, and accountability.
100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell
An irreverent, sensitive, and inimitable look at gay dysfunction through the eyes of a cult hero
It’s like that saying, ‘Where god closes a door, he opens a window, ‘ but in this particular case the window was on the fifth floor and the house was on fire.
Transgressive, foulmouthed, and devastatingly funny, Brontez Purnell’s 100 Boyfriends is a revelatory spiral into the imperfect lives of queer men desperately fighting–and often losing–the urge to self-sabotage. His characters solicit sex on their lunch breaks, expose themselves to racist neighbors, sleep with their coworker’s husbands, rub Preparation H on their hungover eyes, and, in an uproarious epilogue, take a punk band on a disastrous tour of Europe. They also travel to claim inheritances, push past personal trauma, and cultivate community while living on the margins of a white supremacist, heteronormative society.
Real Estate by Deborah Levy
Following the international critical acclaim of The Cost of Living, this final volume of Deborah Levy’s ‘Living Autobiography’ is an exhilarating, thought-provoking and boldly intimate meditation on home and the spectres that haunt it.
‘I began to wonder what myself and all unwritten and unseen women would possess in their property portfolios at the end of their lives. Literally, her physical property and possessions, and then everything else she valued, though it might not be valued by society. What might she claim, own, discard and bequeath? Or is she the real estate, owned by patriarchy? In this sense, Real Estate is a tricky business. We rent it and buy it, sell and inherit it – but we must also knock it down.’
Surrogate by Susan Spindler
THERE’S NOTHING LIKE A MOTHER’S LOVE…
Ruth Furnival is a successful television executive with a perfect life: a nice house in London, a lawyer husband and two grown-up daughters. But at 54, with an empty nest and the menopause behind her, she feels restless and dissatisfied.
After multiple rounds of failed IVF, her eldest daughter Lauren has been told that the only chance for her and her husband to have their own child is surrogacy. Overwhelmed by the expense, they have run out of options. So when Ruth discovers that, with the right dose of hormones, she could carry their baby, out of desperation they agree.
Buoyed up by her sense of purpose, Ruth’s life disintegrates around her as the pregnancy progresses: her husband moves out, her TV company is near bankruptcy and Lauren can’t contain her corrosive envy. Isolated and alone in the pregnancy, Ruth starts to unravel…
The Foghorn’s Lament by Jennifer Lucy Allan
A truly unusual and strangely revealing lens through which to view music and history and the dark life of the sea’ Brian Eno
What does the foghorn sound like?
It sounds huge. It rattles. It rattles you. It is a booming, lonely sound echoing into the vastness of the sea. When Jennifer Lucy Allan hears the foghorn’s colossal bellow for the first time, it marks the beginning of an obsession and a journey deep into the history of a sound that has carved out the identity and the landscape of coastlines around the world, from Scotland to San Francisco.
Within its sound is a maritime history of shipwrecks and lighthouse keepers, the story and science of our industrial past, and urban myths relaying tales of foghorns in speaker stacks, blasting out for coastal raves.
An odyssey told through the people who battled the sea and the sound, who lived with it and loathed it, and one woman’s intrepid voyage through the howling loneliness of nature.
yes yes more more by Anna Wood
Two schoolgirls in Bolton take acid just before their English class. A film journalist shares tea and a KitKat with Marcel Proust, more or less, during a long train journey. An afterparty turns into a crime scene. Colleagues, maybe in love, have lunch and don’t quite talk about their relationship. A woman flees to New Orleans and finds unexpected treasures there.
In her electric debut, Anna Wood skips through the decades of a woman’s life, meeting friends, lovers, shapeshifters and doppelgangers along the way. Pleasures and regrets pile up, time becomes non-linear, characters stumble and shimmy through moments of rupture, horror and joy.
Written with warmth, wit and swagger, these stories glide from acutely observed comic dialogue to giddy surrealism and quiet heartbreak, and always there is music – pop songs as tiny portals into another world. Yes Yes More More is packed with friendship, memory, sexuality, love, and the radical possibilities of pleasure
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (exclusive indie edition!)
Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
The Thursday Murder Club
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters
Reese almost had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York City, a job she didn’t hate. She had scraped together what previous generations of trans women could only dream of: a life of mundane, bourgeois comforts. The only thing missing was a child. But then her girlfriend, Amy, detransitioned and became Ames, and everything fell apart. Now Reese is caught in a self-destructive pattern: avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men.
Ames isn’t happy either. He thought detransitioning to live as a man would make life easier, but that decision cost him his relationship with Reese—and losing her meant losing his only family. Even though their romance is over, he longs to find a way back to her. When Ames’s boss and lover, Katrina, reveals that she’s pregnant with his baby—and that she’s not sure whether she wants to keep it—Ames wonders if this is the chance he’s been waiting for. Could the three of them form some kind of unconventional family—and raise the baby together?
This provocative debut is about what happens at the emotional, messy, vulnerable corners of womanhood that platitudes and good intentions can’t reach. Torrey Peters brilliantly and fearlessly navigates the most dangerous taboos around gender, sex, and relationships, gifting us a thrillingly original, witty, and deeply moving novel.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.
Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.
Dreamland by Rosa Rankin-Gee
In the coastal resort of Margate, hotels lie empty and sun-faded ‘For Sale’ signs line the streets. The sea is higher – it’s higher everywhere – and those who can are moving inland. A young girl called Chance, however, is just arriving.
Chance’s family is one of many offered a cash grant to move out of London – and so she, her mother Jas and brother JD relocate to the seaside, just as the country edges towards vertiginous change.
In their new home, they find space and wide skies, a world away from the cramped bedsits they’ve lived in up until now. But challenges swiftly mount. JD’s business partner, Kole, has a violent, charismatic energy that whirlpools around him and threatens to draw in the whole family. And when Chance comes across Franky, a girl her age she has never seen before – well-spoken and wearing sunscreen – something catches in the air between them. Their fates are bound: a connection that is immediate, unshakeable, and, in a time when social divides have never cut sharper, dangerous.
Set in a future unsettlingly close to home, against a backdrop of soaring inequality and creeping political extremism, Rankin-Gee demonstrates, with cinematic pace and deep humanity, the enduring power of love and hope in a world spinning out of control
Peace Talks by Tim Finch
Edvard Behrens is a senior diplomat of some repute, highly regarded for his work on international peace negotiations. Under his arbitration, unimaginable atrocities are coolly dissected; invisible and ancient lines, grown taut and frayed with conflict, redrawn.
In his latest post, Edvard has been sent a nondescript resort hotel in the Tyrol. High up on this mountain, the air is bright and clear. When he isn’t working, Edvard reads, walks, listens to music. He confides in no one – no one but his wife Anna. Anna, who he loves with all his heart; Anna, always present and yet forever absent.
Honest, honourable, tragic, witty, wise, an unforgettable novel of love, loss, and the human longing for peace, Peace Talks maps the darkest and most tender territories of the human heart.
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
Cornwall, 1972. Three keepers vanish from a remote lighthouse, miles from the shore. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. The Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm, but the skies have been clear all week.
What happened to those three men, out on the tower? The heavy sea whispers their names. The tide shifts beneath the swell, drowning ghosts. Can their secrets ever be recovered from the waves?
Twenty years later, the women they left behind are still struggling to move on. Helen, Jenny and Michelle should have been united by the tragedy, but instead it drove them apart. And then a writer approaches them. He wants to give them a chance to tell their side of the story. But only in confronting their darkest fears can the truth begin to surface . . .
Spring Cannot Be Cancelled: David Hockney in Normandy by Martin Gayford
Spring Cannot Be Cancelled is an uplifting manifesto that affirms art’s capacity to divert and inspire. It is based on a wealth of new conversations and correspondence between Hockney and art critic Martin Gayford, his long-time friend and collaborator. Their exchanges are illustrated by a selection of Hockney’s new Normandy drawings and paintings alongside works by Van Gogh, Monet, Bruegel, and others. We see how Hockney is propelled ever forward by his infectious enthusiasms and sense of wonder. A lifelong contrarian, he has been in the public eye for sixty years, yet remains entirely unconcerned by the view of critics or even history. He is utterly absorbed by his four acres of northern France and by the themes that have fascinated him for decades: light, color, space, perception, water, trees. He has much to teach us, not only about how to see . . . but about how to live.
The Louder I Will Sing
by Lee Lawrence
What would you do if the people you trusted to uphold the law committed a crime against you? Who would you turn to? And how long would you fight them for?
On 28th September 1985, Lee Lawrence’s mother Cherry Groce was wrongly shot by police during a raid on her Brixton home. The bullet shattered her spine and she never walked again. In the chaos that followed, 11-year-old Lee watched in horror as the News falsely pronounced his mother dead. In Brixton, already a powder keg because of the deep racism that the community was experiencing, it was the spark needed to trigger two days of rioting that saw buildings brought down by petrol bombs, cars torched and shops looted.
But for Lee, it was a spark that lit a flame that would burn for the next 30 years as he fought to get the police to recognise their wrongdoing. His life had changed forever: he was now his mother’s carer, he had seen first-hand the prejudice that existed in his country, and he was at the mercy of a society that was working against him. And yet that flame – for justice, for peace, for change – kept him going.
The Louder I Will Sing is a powerful, compelling and uplifting memoir about growing up in modern Britain as a young Black man. It’s a story both of people and politics, of the underlying racism beneath many of our most important institutions, but also the positive power that hope, faith and love can bring in response.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.
There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.
For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.
Pandora’s Jar: Women in the Greek Myths by Natalie Haynes
The Greek myths are one of the most important cultural foundation-stones of the modern world.
Stories of gods and monsters are the mainstay of epic poetry and Greek tragedy, from Homer to Virgil to from Aeschylus to Sophocles and Euripides. And still, today, a wealth of novels, plays and films draw their inspiration from stories first told almost three thousand years ago. But modern tellers of Greek myth have usually been men, and have routinely shown little interest in telling women’s stories.
Now, in Pandora’s Jar, Natalie Haynes – broadcaster, writer and passionate classicist – redresses this imbalance. Taking Greek creation myths as her starting point and then retelling the four great mythic sagas: the Trojan War, the Royal House of Thebes, Jason and the Argonauts, Heracles, she puts the female characters on equal footing with their menfolk. The result is a vivid and powerful account of the deeds – and misdeeds – of Hera, Aphrodite, Athene and Circe. And away from the goddesses of Mount Olympus it is Helen, Clytemnestra, Jocasta, Antigone and Medea who sing from these pages, not Paris, Agamemnon, Orestes or Jason.
Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar
“Passionate, disturbing, unputdownable.” – Salman Rushdie
A deeply personal work about hope and identity in a nation coming apart at the seams, Homeland Elegies blends fact and fiction to tell an epic story of belonging and dispossession in the world that 9/11 made. Part family drama, part social essay, part picaresque adventure — at its heart, it is the story of a father, a son, and the country they both call home.
Akhtar forges a new narrative voice to capture a country in which debt has ruined countless lives and our ideals have been sacrificed to the gods of finance, where a TV personality is president and immigrants live in fear, and where the nation’s unhealed wounds of 9/11 wreak havoc around the world. Akhtar attempts to make sense of it all through the lens of a story about one family, from a heartland town in America to palatial suites in Central Europe to guerilla lookouts in the mountains of Afghanistan, and spares no one — least of all himself — in the process.
Endless Fortune by Ify Adenuga
How do you go from being a penniless student in a foreign country to becoming the mother of four of the most successful creatives working in Great Britain today?
In 1980, Ify exchanged war-torn Nigeria for the strange streets of London. Having overcome death, hunger and extreme poverty, she has to start a new life as a working-class immigrant and student in an environment far removed from her own in a city brimming with hostility. Ify meets her husband Joseph, a Yoruba man in 1981 at a bingo hall in east London where both were working migrants. After the birth of their children the couple returned to education before setting up their own businesses. Together they raised their children in the tough working-class area of Tottenham and encouraged them to explore their artistic instincts against the backdrop of sometimes violent situations and harsh environments.
Ify’s powerful memoir is the first book of it’s kind from the mother of four highly successful British creatives to examine the experience of the African diaspora from a personal perspective. Hugely inspirational, Ify explores what it takes to survive the cultural, social and political chasm between your place of birth and another land entirely – and to thrive in this new culture and country.
Reynard the Fox by Anne Louise Avery
Reynard – a subversive, dashing, anarchic, aristocratic, witty fox from the watery lowlands of medieval East Flanders – is in trouble. He has been summoned to the court of King Noble the Lion, charged with all manner of crimes and misdemeanours. How will he pit his wits against his accusers – greedy Bruin the Bear, pretentious Courtoys the Hound or dark and dangerous Isengrim the Wolf – to escape the gallows? Reynard was once the most popular and beloved character in European folklore, as familiar as Robin Hood, King Arthur or Cinderella. His character spoke eloquently for the unvoiced and disenfranchised, but also amused and delighted the elite, capturing hearts and minds across borders and societal classes for centuries. Based on William Caxton’s bestselling 1481 English translation of the Middle Dutch, but expanded with new interpretations, innovative language and characterisation, this edition is an imaginative retelling of the Reynard story. With its themes of protest, resistance and duplicity fronted by a personable, anti-heroic Fox making his way in a dangerous and cruel world, this gripping tale is as relevant and controversial today as it was in the fifteenth century.