A Liar, Deep Wisdom and a Clockwork Fox
This month’s rather delicious selection is unusual in that our fiction choice has seen print before, although as it managed to bag a Pulitzer in the process we think you might just approve. Olive Kitteridge was Elizabeth Strout’s third novel; by almost celestial coincidence, on Wednesday Strout’s most recent book - the superlative My Name is Lucy Barton – joined this year’s Man Booker Prize longlist.
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Coastal Maine, New England. Olive Kitteridge is a seventh-grade mathematics teacher and the wife of a pharmacist. She is, by turns, blunt but kind, funny but unapologetic; a force of nature in an outwardly conservative community which serves as a microcosmic prism to the entire world. In thirteen exquisitely-rendered stories, Elizabeth Strout turns over stone after stone of human frailty, hope and sadness, and each tale glitters with Kitteridge’s ruthlessly honest wisdom. Ultimately going on to clinch 2009’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, we are proud to present this superb novel, re-jacketed by our friends at Simon & Schuster to be a proper companion to the recent My Name is Lucy Barton.
Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
Splitting the globe into ten distinct regions, former Sky News Diplomatic Editor Tim Marshall redresses our techno-centric view of the world and suggests that our key political driver continues to be our physical geography. Beginning with Russia (and its bewildering eleven time-zones), we are treated to an illuminating, border-by-border disassembly of what makes the world what it is; why, for instance, China and India will never fall into conflict (the Himalayas), or why the Ukraine is such a tactical jewel in the crown.
‘…One of the best books about geopolitics you could imagine: reading it is like having a light shone on your understanding.’ - Nicholas Lezard, The Evening Standard
Cogheart by Peter Bunzl
The spirit of Jules Verne, Diana Wynne Jones and Japanese animation masters Studio Ghibli surges through Cogheart, Peter Bunzl’s masterful fantasy debut for Usborne. An orphaned girl, a clockmaker’s apprentice and a fabulous, cantankerous mechanical fox bond through courage and friendship to unearth the dark truths that underpin them all. Pursued throughout by strange forces with very shared interests, this book is a brilliantly-conceived opener to what is sure to be a landmark steampunk series.
‘Vivid and gripping…a beautifully-drawn world and delicate detailing, as finely wrought as a watch’s workings.’ – Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of Girl of Ink and Stars
The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle
Already shortlisted for the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger, Nicholas Searle’s The Good Liar is one of those pitch-perfect debuts, combining a keen eye for historical detail with a brilliantly-convincing and compulsive plot. Outwardly, Roy and Betty appear like any other couple approaching their later years, but we soon discover – via a series of exceptional vignettes – that little in Roy’s life can be taken at face value. Searle – a pseudonymous civil servant, picked up by the same agent who represents John le Carré – clearly knows a thing or two about the secret state and this one of those novels which really provides an insider’s view on a clandestine world.
‘…This is a part-thriller, part-human condition novel that packs a tremendous punch.’ – The Financial Times
Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
‘She was an artist, a light-giver, and an original, and she never for a moment knew it.’
Laurie Lee’s deft but sublime summarisation of his mother tells you all you need to know about one of the great masters of our language. In some ways, Cider with Rosie is one of those books at risk of invisibility through sheer, apparent familiarity, but this month we invite you to drink deep from a fine work you always promised yourself you’d read. Part-memoir, part-sharp-sided polemic that is potentially darker than the bucolic idyll you might imagine, this is a work that continues to stand as one of the great novels of the last century.
‘Happily, the book has grown during its long intervals: not only between Lee’s post- first-world-war childhood and his writing about it in the late 1950s, but between both those times and now.’ - Jeremy Treglown, The Spectator
Our choices for next month are already well under way, so please remember to join us again in September for another selection of publishing's best.