Posted on 29th Dec, 2017 by Sally Campbell & Martha Greengrass
Probably most familiar as the author of the highly influential, and much-adapted, The Woman in Black, Susan Hill has long explored our gothic hinterland, whether it be exploring the legacy of Daphne du Maurier in Mrs de Winter or her unflinching eye for life’s cruelty in her Simon Serrailler sequence of English crime stories. Waterstones Online’s Martha Greengrass and Sally Campbell caught up with Hill to discuss her new novel From the Heart.
Posted on 3rd Mar, 2017 by Sally Campbell & Martha Greengrass
Described as ‘a glorious novel, deft, tender and true’ Elizabeth Strout’s novel My Name is Lucy Barton is a masterclass in masterful brevity, a novella that packs more of a punch than many that weigh-in at twice its size. Unfolding entirely over a few days in a single hospital room it is a novel that nevertheless ranges widely, across time and distance, both real and emotional, returning to many of the same themes that will be familiar to readers of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Olive Kitteridge. We caught up with Elizabeth Strout to ask her about memory, complicated families and how she finds humour in the darkest moments.
'It's all too rare to find a fun, glamorous, semi-literary tale to get lost in.’ So said The Guardian of Amor Towles’ first novel, Rules of Civility, an assured and evocative account of Manhattanite life in the Thirties. Going on to win the French 2012 Prix Fitzgerald, Towles now returns with his effortlessly urbane A Gentleman in Moscow, the tale of a somewhat singular man - Count Alexander Rostov – who finds himself under house arrest after sentence from a 1922 Bolshevik tribunal. What follows is decades of imprisonment through the most tumultuous decades of Russia’s history and the slow, fascinating rebirth of the Count’s sense of purpose. We caught up with the author to discuss the novel’s genesis and where its fiction met fact.
Posted on 13th Feb, 2017 by Sally Campbell & Martha Greengrass
Our Fiction Book of the Month for February is The Gustav Sonata, Rose Tremain's finely-tuned and expertly measured account of the indelible impact of a lifelong friendship built in the aftermath of war. Two young boys, Gustav and Anton, form a lasting bond; coloured by social, religious and family division and the legacy of personal and national neutrality. Writing for The Observer, Hannah Beckerman described the boys’ relationship as ‘a powerful, profound and unexpected love story', and the book itself as 'a masterful, meditative novel'. Waterstones Online's Martha Greengrass caught up with Tremain to discuss some of the many themes underpinning the novel: the wide-ranging cost of reticence, the music of fiction and the vital importance of friendship.
Posted on 9th Feb, 2017 by Sally Campbell & Martha Greengrass
The world of Emma Flint's debut Little Deaths is a stark, lonely, noirish place, brimming with guilt and suspicion. Based on the real life murder trial of Alice Crimmins for the deaths of her two young children, the story plays out during the unforgiving New York heatwave of 1965. At the centre of this searing, gripping mystery is Flint's haunting portrayal of the mother, fictionalised as Ruth Malone; it is her unconventional behaviour, heavy make-up and 'cheap perfume' that seal her fate as the police - and the media's - main suspect. As the Guardian notes, 'Flint pulls the reader into the finely observed working-class Queens neighbourhood, where... the social surveillance of women is palpable.'
Waterstones Online's Martha Greengrass caught up with Flint to discuss her vivid portrait of a woman's trial-by-media and explore why true crimes such as this still resonate half a century later.
“I was everything a young person should be. Furious. Drunk. In love.” - Joseph Knox discusses Sirens
Posted on 12th Jan, 2017 by Sally Campbell & Peter Whitehead
Joseph Knox’s Sirens is an out-of-the-darkness, nocturnal descent into the hardened criminal landscape of Manchester. Away from the eyes of the press, an M.P.’s daughter has gone missing and disgraced detective Aidan Waits has been hand-picked as the ideal man for the job; what follows is a mesmeric journey into a dread-filled urban noir. Sirens is Joseph Knox’s first novel.
In our device and app-centred age, as we increasingly divide our time between screens and not pages, The Reading Agency’s Quick Reads Initiative has put the following highly relevant question to twelve bestselling contemporary writers: Why should we all read more? From Amanda Craig's exploration of what true relaxation means to Clare Mackintosh's well argued case for reading as the ultimate investment, these twelve varied and well-reasoned answers are sure to get you logging off and reaching for the nearest book.
Collins Life-Size Birds is as much a celebration of photography as it is of Britain and Northern Europe's rich and varied birdlife. For the first time, owing to recent advances in digital imaging, contemporary photographers can capture images of birds in as much detail as can be seen with the naked eye. The resulting imagery is simply breath-taking. Here, Collins Life-Sized Birds co-creators Paul Sterry and Rob Read explain their ground-breaking work.
Posted on 21st Nov, 2016 by Sally Campbell
Over the past 28 years, The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award has firmly established itself as the benchmark for brilliant sports writing; its long- and shortlists filled, every year, with the most inspiring and passionate reads the genre has to offer. To celebrate this year's shortlisted contenders, Waterstones Online's Matt Gardiner has interviewed the writers of the books dubbed 'The Magnificent Seven'. In our third and final instalment, he interviews Diana Nyad, William Finnegan and Oliver Kay.
Posted on 6th Nov, 2016 by Sally Campbell
The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award has, over the course of the last 28 years, established itself as a showcase of the very best the genre has to offer, with long- and shortlists teeming with fantastic reads that inspire lively debate. To celebrate 2016’s shortlisted contenders, Waterstones Online's Matt Gardiner has interviewed the writers of the books the award's chair has dubbed 'The Magnificent Seven'. In our second instalment, he interviews Christopher McGrath, and writing partners Tim Lane and Elliot Cartledge.
Posted on 27th Jul, 2017 by Sally Campbell
A consistently innovative and challenging voice, Zadie Smith has been a cut above since her ground-breaking debut White Teeth burst joyfully and anarchically into being sixteen years ago. As her latest novel Swing Time takes its place in a compellingly strong 2017 Booker Longlist Zadie Smith talks to us about her love of dance, the movement of time and the lure of charismatic characters.
Posted on 4th Nov, 2016 by Sally Campbell
Reaching the shortlist of the world’s longest-running and richest sports writing prize is a great achievement in itself. The William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award has established itself as the true measure of the best the genre has to offer; their long- and shortlists teem with cracking reads that inspire lively debate. To celebrate 2016’s shortlisted contenders, Waterstones Online's Matt Gardiner has interviewed all seven writers of the books the award's chair has dubbed 'The Magnificent Seven'. We will be posting the interviews over the next week. To kick-off, we have Rory Smith and Rick Broadbent.
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