This historical novel set during the eighteenth century recounts the tumultuous final years of famed English lexicographer and poet Samuel Johnson. In 1764, Britain’s greatest man of letters—the writer of the first English dictionary—shut himself in his room and refused to come out. Exhausted from working on an edition of Shakespeare’s plays, Samuel Johnson had fallen into a deep depression. He refused to eat and only opened his door to cry out incomprehensible phrases or empty his chamber pot. Finally, a priest was able to lure the scholar out of confinement, and, as he did, Johnson’s friend Henry Thrales arrived. Shocked by Johnson’s fit of madness, Thrales promptly whisked the man away for recuperation at a country mansion south of London. Thus began one of the happiest periods of Johnson’s life. At the Thrales residence in Streatham, Johnson regained his sanity and engaged in family life. He selected books for the estate’s library, joked around at parties, and became close to Thrales’s wife, Hester. But as the years passed, the affection between Johnson and Hester developed into a dark romantic affair, the Thrales’s daughter grew up and became aware of her mother’s emotional unavailability, and Johnson’s passions and eccentricities led to cumbersome moral and spiritual dilemmas. With chapter titles taken from entries in Johnson’s legendary dictionary, lauded British author Beryl Bainbridge paints a well-rounded portrait of an extraordinary man and his all-too-human experiences. Written from the perspective of the Thrales’s daughter, According to Queeney heightens fact with fiction, sincerity with irony, and humor with despair. Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, it is a captivating account of the Georgian era, lending modern insight to British history.
Winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award, Translation, 2018
From Goncourt Prize finalist Edem Awumey, a beautiful and brilliant new novel.
With a nod to Samuel Beckett and Bohumil Hrabal, a young dramatist from a West African nation describes a student protest against a brutal oligarchy and its crushing aftermath. While distributing leaflets with provocative quotations from Beckett, Ito Baraka is taken to a camp where torture, starvation, beatings, and rape are normal. Forced to inform on his friends, whose fates he now fears, and released a broken man, he is enabled to escape to Quebec. His one goal is to tell the story of the protest and pay homage to Koli Lem, a teacher, cellmate, and lover of books, who was blinded by being forced to look at the sun–and is surely a symbol of the nation.
Edem Awumey gives us a darkly moving and terrifying novel about fear and play, repression and protest, and the indomitable nature of creativity.
'Imaginative mash-up of the mythical with Victorian gothic.' - The Times'Inventive and irresistible retelling of the legend of the Minotaur.' - I NewsLondon, 1861: Ten-year-old Nell belongs to a crew of mudlarks who work a stretch of the Thames along the Ratcliffe Highway. An orphan since her mother died four years past, leaving Nell with only broken dreams and a pair of satin slippers in her possession, she spends her days dredging up coals, copper and pieces of iron spilled by the river barges – searching for treasure in the mud in order to appease her master, Benjamin Murdstone.But one day, Nell discovers a body on the shore. It’s not the first corpse she’s encountered, but by far the strangest. Nearly seven feet tall, the creature has matted hair covering his legs, and on his head are the suggestion of horns. Nell’s fellow mudlarks urge her to steal his boots and rifle his pockets, but as she ventures closer the figure draws breath – and Nell is forced to make a decision which will change her life forever . . .From the critically acclaimed author of The Toymakers comes an imaginative retelling of the legend of the Minotaur, full of myth and magic and steeped in the grime of Victorian London; perfect for lovers of historical fiction with a mythical twist such as Stone Blind and Circe.Praise for Once A Monster:‘A labyrinthine delight of a novel . . . Dickensian darkness is infused with ancient myth. Historical writing at its finest . . . .’ - Essie Fox, bestselling author of The Somnambulist and The Fascination'The story flows as smoothly as the waters of the Thames, and is just as dark and deep. Of note is Dinsdale’s ability to turn a phrase, shimmering like fine crystal held to the light. A dazzling and heartfelt book.' - Luna McNamara, author of Psyche and Eros
In the swirl of Philadelphia at the end of Prohibition, Leyb meets Charles. They are at a former speakeasy called Cricket's, a bar that welcomes, as Charles says in his secondhand Yiddish, feygeles. Leyb is startled; fourteen years in amerike has taught him that his native tongue is not known beyond his people. And yet here is suave Charles, a Black man from the Seventh Ward, a fellow traveler of Red Emma's, speaking Jewish to a young man he will come to call Lion.Lion is haunted by memories of life before, in Zatelsk, where everyone in his village, everyone except the ten non-Jews, a young poet named Gittl, and Leyb himself, was taken to the forest and killed.And then, miraculously, Gittl is in Philadelphia, too, thanks to a poem she wrote and the intervention of a shadowy character known only as the Baroness of Philadelphia. And surrounding Gittl are malokhim, the spirits of her siblings.Moriel Rothman-Zecher's Before All the World lays bare the impossibility of escaping trauma, the necessity of believing in a better way ahead, and the power that comes from our responsibility to the future. It asks the most essential question: What do you intend to do before all the world?
Can she truly love him if she thinks he is someone else?
Jessica Standish is considered an upstart in the eyes of society because she is merely the daughter of a wealthy merchant. After a failed season, the devastating loss of her father and his fortune, her chances of a good match seem impossible. When her mother arranges for them to attend one of the biggest house parties of the summer, Jes dreads the idea of being seen as a fortune hunter. But then Lord Ian arrives. Even though she has only danced with him once, he has become the man of her dreams. As the connection between them grows, he seems so different from the man she thought she was.
Conrad Pinkerton, the Marquess of Kendal despises the ton and all the scheming, the guises and the games that go with it. For years he has declined their invitations. Then his twin brother, Ian, calls in a favor and Conrad grudgingly assumes a guise of his own--pretending to be his brother at a house party. When he meets Miss Standish, he wants nothing more than to pursue her. But that would mean exposing his lies which would hurt both their reputations and threaten the relationship he didn’t know he wanted.
With family names and fortunes on the line, can Conrad and Jes see past their schemes and guises to find a lasting love together?
Robin (1921) is a historical novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Excerpt from the book: "In the years when Victorian standards and ideals began to dance an increasingly rapid jig, there lived in Mayfair, in a slice of a house, Robert Gareth-Lawless and his lovely young wife. So light and airy was she to earthly vision and so diaphanous the texture of her mentality that she was known as 'Feather.' The slice of a house between two comparatively stately mansions in the 'right street' was a rash venture of the honeymoon. Robert—well born, irresponsible, without resources—evolved a carefully detailed method of living upon nothing whatever, of keeping out of the way of duns, and telling lies with aptness and outward gaiety. But a year of giving smart little dinners and going to smart big dinners ended in a condition somewhat akin to the feat of balancing oneself on the edge of a sword. Then Robin was born. She was an intruder and a calamity, of course."
A Confederate soldier confronts the horror of battle and the power of grace in this “poignant, haunting, and important” novel of the Civil War (The Tennessean, Nashville). A New York Times Notable Book and Winner of the William Boyd Award for Best Military Novel In November 1864, Gen. John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee prepares to launch an assault on Union forces near Franklin, Tennessee. Dirty, exhausted, and hungry, the Confederate soldiers form a line of battle across an open field. Among them stands Pvt. Bushrod Carter, a twenty-six-year-old rifleman from Cumberland, Mississippi. Against all odds, Bushrod has survived three years of war unscathed—but his luck is about to run out. Wounded in the battle, Bushrod is taken to a makeshift hospital on a nearby plantation. There, he falls under the care of Anna Hereford, who bears her own scars from years of relentless bloodshed and tragedy. In the grisly aftermath of one of the Confederate army’s most disastrous campaigns, Anna and Bushrod seek salvation and understanding in each other. Their fragile bond carries with it the hope of a life beyond the war, and the risk of a pain too devastating to endure. Written with profound empathy and meticulous attention to historical detail, The Black Flower brilliantly portrays the staggering human toll of America’s bloodiest conflict. In his award-winning debut novel, “Howard Bahr casts a tale of war as powerful as any you’ll ever find” (Southern Living).
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