No one appreciates the detail of being alive more than the dead. In Lisbon, a man encounters his mother sitting on a park bench who laughs with the impudence of a schoolgirl. She has been dead for fifteen years. In Krakow market he recognises Ken, his passeur, the most important person in his life between the ages of eleven and seventeen. They last met when Ken was sixty-five – forty years ago. The number of lives that enter any one life is incalculable. In this nomadic and playful book which travels through fictions across Europe, seemingly disparate stories reveal themselves to be linked, mislaid objects find their place and sensual memories penetrate the present.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
What is the difference between friendship and love? Or between neutrality and commitment? Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in ‘neutral’ Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. Gustav’s childhood is spent in lonely isolation, his only toy a tin train with painted passengers staring blankly from the carriage windows.
As time goes on, an intense friendship with a boy of his own age, Anton Zwiebel, begins to define Gustav’s life. Jewish and mercurial, a talented pianist tortured by nerves when he has to play in public, Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined.
Fierce, astringent, profoundly tender, Rose Tremain’s beautifully orchestrated novel asks the question, what does it do to a person, or to a country, to pursue an eternal quest for neutrality, and self-mastery, while all life’s hopes and passions continually press upon the borders and beat upon the gate.
Publisher: Chatto & Windus
The love story of two runaway teenagers, Gemma and Tar, and their struggles with heroin addiction.
Melvin Burgess’ most ambitious and complex novel is a multi-faceted and vivid depiction of a group of young people in the grip of addiction. It is told in many different voices, from the addicts themselves to the friends watching from the outside who try to prevent tragedy.
Publisher: Andersen Press