Gorton, Manchester. 1930. Greyhound racing at Belle Vue, the buses going up and down Hyde Road, the siren of Peacock’s foundry going off every night at six. This is Bessie and Sam Holloway’s place, home for Nell and little brother Bobby and older step-child Violet. Precious visits from Dad’s sister Benny, a Queen of the music hall trailing clouds of glory and whisky, provide infrequent brushes with glamour. ‘Alright for some,’ grunts Bessie. Nell grows up to work in a factory and there, from the tailgate of a truck in the yard, she first hears fellow factory worker Harry Caplin play trombone break on the old jazz classic, Clarinet Marmalade. Harry’s talent will take him far and introduce him to such jazz legends as Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden; but not as far as poor feckless Bobby, who finds himself fighting in the jungles of Malaya.
Spanning the twentieth century, this is a poignant story about a brother and a sister and three generations of a northern working-class family.
A phone call in the night, an unexpected diagnosis, a shocking revelation – suddenly life can change forever.
‘It’s been here, in this bedroom, with Jack and without him, that she has found her only privacy. But now she’s surrounded, day and night, by care.
Yesterday she told Colleen and Jude that her dying has changed people more than anything else she can think of, and she watched their fixed smiles as it dawned on them that this is what she wants. She wants them to keep up with her. What she is finally beginning to understand is that all those years of talk, the pleasure of idiocy, the bouts of worry, the complaints, the humouring of memory, even the offhand, underdone affection, these are the least of it. The best of it is being known. Known over time.
Duffy is best known for her sharp insights and sharper wit, and both are on display here… Brave, understated and unforgettable’ DAILY MAIL
When Jack and Cindy meet at a friend’s party they are immediately attracted to one another. Cindy, a celebrated mapmaker, traces the contours of their relationship, from New York to LA, from first passion to real love.
After five years together, Cindy and Jack think they have tested their love to its limits. But then Cindy falls dangerously ill, and the couple must face the hardest test of all.
Told with wit, tenderness and unflinching honesty, STATE OF HAPPINESS is a captivating story of love and loss from a writer at the height of her powers.
‘STATE OF HAPPINESS is a sharp, sobering cocktail spiked with metaphysic, immense good humour and understanding. Stella Duffy gets better and better’ Ali Smith, author of HOTEL WORLD
‘[Her work] defines universal truths about what it means to be human’ Barack Obama
‘Marilynne Robinson is one of the greatest writers of our time’ Sunday Times
‘Jack is the fourth in Robinson’s luminous, profound Gilead series and perhaps the best yet’ Observer
Marilynne Robinson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the American National Humanities Medal, returns to the world of Gilead with Jack, the final in one of the great works of contemporary American fiction.
Jack tells the story of John Ames Boughton, the loved and grieved-over prodigal son of a Presbyterian minister in Gilead, Iowa, a drunkard and a ne’er-do-well. In segregated St. Louis sometime after World War II, Jack falls in love with Della Miles, an African-American high school teacher, also a preacher’s child, with a discriminating mind, a generous spirit and an independent will. Their fraught, beautiful story is one of Robinson’s greatest achievements.
WINNER OF THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2009
AN OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK
Jack Boughton – prodigal son – has been gone twenty years. He returns home seeking refuge and to make peace with the past. A bad boy from childhood, an alcoholic who cannot hold down a job, Jack is perpetually at odds with his surroundings and with his traditionalist father, though he remains Boughton’s most beloved child. His sister Glory has also returned, fleeing her own mistakes, to care for their dying father. A moving book about families, about love and death and faith, Home is unforgettable. It is a masterpiece.
‘One of the greatest living novelists’ BRYAN APPLEYARD, SUNDAY TIMES
‘A luminous, profound and moving piece of writing. There is no contemporary American novelist whose work I would rather read’ MICHAEL ARDITTI, INDEPENDENT
‘Her novels are replete with a sense of felt life, with a deep and abiding sympathy for her characters and a full understanding of their inner lives’ COLM TOIBIN
‘Utterly haunting’ JANE SHILLING, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
The daughter of a Welsh gypsy and a crazy bee-keeper, Hazel Woodus is happiest living in her forest cottage in the remote Shropshire hills, at one with the winds and seasons, protector and friend of the wild animals she loves. But Hazel’s beauty and innocence prove irresistible to the men in her orbit. Both Jack Reddin, the local squire and Edward Marston, the gentle minister, offer her human — and carnal — love.
Hazel’s fate unfolds as simply and relentlessly as a Greek tragedy as a child of nature is drawn into a world of mortal passion in which she must eternally be a stranger.
By the bestselling author of The Talented Mr Ripley, Carol and Strangers on a Train
‘Uncomfortable, frightening, compulsive and, worst of all, terribly believable. It’s vintage Highsmith’ Time Out
On a stroll through Greenwich Village, security guard Ralph Linderman finds a wallet on the sidewalk. It belongs to Jack Sutherland, a wealthy aspiring artist, and it is his misfortune to have it returned to him – with all $263 and credit cards untouched. Because now Ralph knows where Jack lives.
Elsie Tyler is a beautiful young waitress – an innocent in New York – and Ralph feels he must protect her from ‘bad company’. When he sees Elsie leaving Jack’s apartment, he is not pleased. Not pleased at all.
By the author of The Talented Mr Ripley, Found in the Street is an unsettling thriller that explores the bleakest alleyways of human desire.
New Zealand, 1909. After weeks at sea the new minister, Jack Mackenzie, arrives from Scotland with his unhappy wife and children in tow. A keen naturalist, he is more enthralled by the botanical – and carnal – delights of Dunedin than in the wellbeing of his flock.
In London, eighty years later, Jack Mackenzie’s descendants are middle-aged, searching for a way out of their loneliness. Olive, embittered with her loveless life, steals a baby from a crowded tube; William, distraught at the death of a pupil, abandons his job as headmaster and struggles to fill his empty days. Jay Pascal, a young New Zealand vagrant of mysterious parentage arrives in London, looking for a place where he might belong.
Jack Middleton likes to imagine himself a country squire. At weekends he retires to Laverings Estate with his wife, Catherine. He may be pompous, and they may seem ill-matched, but the couple are devoted to each other.
When Jack’s widowed sister, Lilian, and her two stepchildren arrive to spend the summer in the neighbouring house, he dreads the intrusion to his idyll: Daphne, capable and ambitious, is too lively for his taste, whereas her brother Denis, a composer, he finds a crashing bore. But their wit and good sense charm the residents of Barchester, and they win over Lord Bond with an impromptu Gilbert and Sullivan evening. Even Jack begins to thaw.
Before long, Daphne and Lord Bond’s son become attracted to each other, but each believes the other is attached to someone else. Can disaster be averted before she marries the wrong man?
First published in 1939, Before Lunch is a sparkling comedy from Angela Thirkell’s much-loved classic series.