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A Model Childhood

A Model Childhood

This novel is a testament of what seemed at the time a fairly ordinary childhood, in the bosom of a normal Nazi family in Landsberg. Other work by the author includes The Quest for Christa and No Place on Earth .
A Nice Change

A Nice Change

Amy thought the Hotel Parthenon in Greece would be a nice change for her husband, Labour MP Tom Jones. He is convinced that it’s a bad idea as soon as they arrive and he spots Portia, his ex-mistress, in the minibus to the hotel. Also on board are an American publisher, a young doctor, a shady pair from London and two enigmatic, elderly twins. The scene is set for a wonderful comedy.
A Note In Music

A Note In Music

Grace Fairfax lives with her dull, conventional husband Tom in a grey manufacturing town in the north of England. At thirty-four she finds that her external life of dreary routine fails to match up to her lush, wistful and dreamy internal life. Norah, her energetic and chaotic friend, is equally settled in her own marriage to an irritable university professor.

Then Hugh Miller and his sister Claire descend upon the quiet town. On all four, the hypnotic charm of these two visitors exerts an enchanting spell. And after their departure, life – having been violently disrupted – will never be quite the same again . . .
A Quiet Life

A Quiet Life

Seventeen-year-old Alan can’t stand rows. But, though the Second World War has ended, peace hangs by a fine thread at home: his troublesome sister Madge creeps off for night-time liaisons with a German POW; their ineffectual father – broken by the hardships of war and an unhappy marriage – can’t put food on the table despite the family’s middle-class manners.

Meanwhile, his mother pursues her escapist fantasies in romantic novels and love affairs. Obedient, faithful Alan is trapped among them all, the focus of their jibes and resentment, as inexorably the family heads towards disaster.

Beryl Bainbridge’s classic early novel is a vintage story of English domestic life, laced with sadness, irony and wicked black humour.

‘One of the best novelists of her generation’ – Guardian.
A Sea-Grape Tree

A Sea-Grape Tree

In 1933 we meet Rebecca, heroine of THE BALLAD AND THE SOURCE – but in a different world, on many levels. Betrayed by her married lover, Rebecca arrives alone at a small Caribbean island. Here, along with the splendidly eccentric members of the British expatriate colony, she meets the former ace pilot Johnny, crippled now, a misanthropic recluse: for both of them their passionate affair the powerful life force love can be. Here too she encounters voices from the past and the vibrant spirit of Mrs. Jardine – voices which remind Rebecca of the girl she was and the woman she could become.
A Suspension of Mercy

A Suspension of Mercy

‘Highsmith’s novels are peerlessly disturbing . . . bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night’ New Yorker

Sydney Bartleby has killed his wife. At least, he has thought about it, compulsively, repeatedly, plotting schemes, designing escapes, forging alibis. Of course he has; he’s a thriller writer. He even knows how to dispose of her body. But when Alicia takes a long, unannounced holiday, Sydney descends into the treacherous world of his own fantasy.

A masterpiece of noir fantasy in which Highsmith revels in eliciting the unsettling psychological forces that lurk beneath the surface of everyday life.
A View Of The Harbour

A View Of The Harbour

INTRODUCED BY SARAH WATERS

‘Every one of her books is a treat and this is my favourite, because of its wonderful cast of characters, and because of the deftness with which Taylor’s narrative moves between them … A wonderful writer’ SARAH WATERS


In the faded coastal village of Newby, everyone looks out for – and in on – each other, and beneath the deceptively sleepy exterior, passions run high.

Beautiful divorcee Tory is secretly involved with her neighbour, Robert, while his wife Beth, Tory’s best friend, is consumed by the worlds she creates in her novels, oblivious to the relationship developing next door. Their daughter Prudence is aware, however, and is appalled by the treachery she observes. Mrs Bracey, an invalid whose grasp on life is slipping, forever peers from her window, constantly prodding her daughters for news of the outside world. And Lily Wilson, a lonely young widow, is frightened of her own home. Into their lives steps Bertram, a retired naval officer with the unfortunate capacity to inflict lasting damage while trying to do good.


‘Her stories remain with one, indelibly, as though they had been some turning-point in one’s own experience’ – ELIZABETH BOWEN

‘Always intelligent, often subversive and never dull, Elizabeth Taylor is the thinking person’s dangerous housewife. Her sophisticated prose combines elegance, icy wit and freshness in a stimulating cocktail’ VALERIE MARTIN

‘A magnificent and underrated mid-20th-century writer, the missing link between Jane Austen and John Updike’ – DAVID BADDIEL
A Weekend With Claude

A Weekend With Claude

An old snapshot shows a group of friends lounging in the sunshine, on a weekend in the country at the invitation of bearded, satyric Claude and his wife Julia. The girl in the centre is dreamy Lily, whose latest failed love affair forms the purpose of the weekend, as Lily’s friends set out to help her ensnare an unwitting father for her unborn child. Next to her is Norman, a Marxist romantic hell-bent on seducing his milk-white hostess; behind them is old, persecuted Shebah; and, slightly apart, the young man on whom all hopes are pinned: quiet, pleasant Edward.

Told through the fractured narratives of Claude, Lily, Shebah and Norman, in Beryl Bainbridge’s first published novel a darkly comic weekend of friendship and failure unravels.
A Woman In Berlin

A Woman In Berlin

This is a devastating book. It is matter-of-fact, makes no attempt to score political points, does not attempt to solicit sympathy for its protagonist and yet is among the most chilling indictments of war I have ever read. Everybody, in particular every woman ought to read it’ – Arundhati Roy

‘One of the most important personal accounts ever written about the effects of war and defeat’ – Antony Beevor

Between April 20th and June 22nd 1945 the anonymous author of A Woman in Berlin wrote about life within the falling city as it was sacked by the Russian Army. Fending off the boredom and deprivation of hiding, the author records her experiences, observations and meditations in this stark and vivid diary. Accounts of the bombing, the rapes, the rationing of food, and the overwhelming terror of death are rendered in the dispassionate, though determinedly optimistic prose of a woman fighting for survival amidst the horror and inhumanity of war.

This diary was first published in America in 1954 in an English translation and in Britain in 1955. A German language edition was published five years later in Geneva and was met with tremendous controversy. In 2003, over forty years later, it was republished in Germany to critical acclaim – and more controversy. This diary has been unavailable since the 1960s and this is a new English translation. A Woman in Berlin is an astonishing and deeply affecting account.
A Woman Of Independent Means

A Woman Of Independent Means

At the turn of the century, a time when women had few choices, Bess Steed Garner inherits a legacy – not only of wealth but of determination and desire, making her truly a woman of independent means. From the early 1900s through the 1960s, we accompany Bess as she endures life’s trials and triumphs with unfailing courage and indomitable spirit: the sacrifices love sometimes requires of the heart, the flaws and rewards of marriage, the often-tested bond between mother and child, and the will to defy a society that demands conformity.
Told in letters we follow the remarkable life of Bess Steed Garner from her childhood in 1899 to her death in 1977.
A Woman Of My Age

A Woman Of My Age

Elizabeth and Richard are on holiday in Morocco, travelling from its fertile coast to the barren uplands beyond the Atlas mountains. During the expedition’s adventures and mishaps, Elizabeth surveys her eighteen-year marriage and its accumulations of grievance, frustration and betrayal. Nina Bawden allows us to see the ambivalences and deceptions on both sides as this touching and often subversively comic novel moves towards a shocking catastrophe and a wryly surprising coda.
A Wreath For The Enemy

A Wreath For The Enemy

In my youth…I had an overwhelming passion to be like other people. Other people were a whole romantic race, miles beyond my reach. Not now. I don’t really thnk that they exist, except in the eye of the beholder.’

When Penelope Wells, precocious daughter of a poet, meets the well-behaved middle-class Bradley children, it is love at first sight. But their parents are horrified by the Wells’ establishment- a distinctly bohemian hotel on the French Riviera- and the friendship ends in tears. Out of these childhood betrayals grow Penelope, in love with an elusive ideal of order and calm, and Don Bradley, in rebellion against the phillistine values of his parents. Compellingly told in a series of first-person narratives, their stories involve them with the Duchess, painted and outre; the crippled genius Crusoe; Crusoe’s brother Livesey, and the eccentric Cara, whose brittle and chaotic life collides explosively with Penelope’s.
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