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When a young woman named Alice Raikes slips into a coma following an accident that could have been a suicide attempt, her family gathers at her bedside to wait and to recall her life and loves. A first novel.
An irresistible love story, an unforgettable family. Bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell captures an extraordinary marriage with insight and laugh-out-loud humor in what Richard Russo calls “her breakout book.” Perfect for readers of Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Daniel Sullivan leads a complicated life. A New Yorker living in the wilds of Ireland, he has children he never sees in California, a father he loathes in Brooklyn, and his wife, Claudette, is a reclusive ex–film star given to pulling a gun on anyone who ventures up their driveway. Together, they have made an idyllic life in the country, but a secret from Daniel’s past threatens to destroy their meticulously constructed and fiercely protected home. Shot through with humor and wisdom, This Must Be the Place is an irresistible love story that crisscrosses continents and time zones as it captures an extraordinary marriage, and an unforgettable family, with wit and deep affection.
*A New York Times Best Seller* *One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year* A New York Public Library Best Book of the Year “Of all the stories that argue and speculate about Shakespeare’s life… here is a novel … so gorgeously written that it transports you." —The Boston Globe In 1580’s England, during the Black Plague a young Latin tutor falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman in this “exceptional historical novel” (The New Yorker) and best-selling winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Agnes is a wild creature who walks her family’s land with a falcon on her glove and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer, understanding plants and potions better than she does people. Once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose career on the London stage is taking off when his beloved young son succumbs to sudden fever. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.
On seventeen occasions, Maggie O’Farrell has stared death in the face—and lived to tell the tale. In this astonishing memoir, she shares the near-death experiences that have punctuated and defined her life: The childhood illness that left her bedridden for a year, which she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. An encounter with a disturbed man on a remote path. And, most terrifying of all, an ongoing, daily struggle to protect her daughter from a condition that leaves her unimaginably vulnerable to life’s myriad dangers. Here, O’Farrell stiches together these discrete encounters to tell the story of her entire life. In taut prose that vibrates with electricity and restrained emotion, she captures the perils running just beneath the surface, and illuminates the preciousness, beauty, and mysteries of life itself.
Book The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox Description/Summary:
From the Costa Award winning, bestselling author of THIS MUST BE THE PLACE and I AM, I AM, I AM, comes an intense, breathtakingly accomplished story of a woman's life stolen, and reclaimed. 'Unputdownable' Ali Smith Edinburgh in the 1930s. The Lennox family is having trouble with its youngest daughter. Esme is outspoken, unconventional, and repeatedly embarrasses them in polite society. Something will have to be done. Years later, a young woman named Iris Lockhart receives a letter informing her that she has a great-aunt in a psychiatric unit who is about to be released. Iris has never heard of Esme Lennox and the one person who should know more, her grandmother Kitty, seems unable to answer Iris's questions. What could Esme have done to warrant a lifetime in an institution? And how is it possible for a person to be so completely erased from a family's history?
Book Instructions for a Heatwave Description/Summary:
Sophisticated, intelligent, impossible to put down, Maggie O’Farrell’s beguiling novels—After You’d Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of the Costa Novel Award; and her unforgettable bestseller The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox—blend richly textured psychological drama with page-turning suspense. Instructions for a Heatwave finds her at the top of her game, with a novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976. Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta’s three grown children converge on their parents’ home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adored; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret. Maggie O’Farrell writes with exceptional grace and sensitivity about marriage, about the mysteries that inhere within families, and the fault lines over which we build our lives—the secrets we hide from the people who know and love us best. In a novel that stretches from the heart of London to New York City’s Upper West Side to a remote village on the coast of Ireland, O’Farrell paints a bracing portrait of a family falling apart and coming together with hard-won, life-changing truths about who they really are. This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.
Book The Hand That First Held Mine Description/Summary:
Lexie Sinclair is plotting an extraordinary life for herself. Hedged in by her parents' genteel country life, she plans her escape to London. There, she takes up with Innes Kent, a magazine editor who wears duck-egg blue ties and introduces her to the thrilling, underground world of bohemian, post-war Soho. She learns to be a reporter, to know art and artists, to embrace her life fully and with a deep love at the center of it. She creates many lives--all of them unconventional. And when she finds herself pregnant, she doesn't hesitate to have the baby on her own. Later, in present-day London, a young painter named Elina dizzily navigates the first weeks of motherhood. She doesn't recognize herself: she finds herself walking outside with no shoes; she goes to the restaurant for lunch at nine in the morning; she can't recall the small matter of giving birth. But for her boyfriend, Ted, fatherhood is calling up lost memories, with images he cannot place. As Ted's memories become more disconcerting and more frequent, it seems that something might connect these two stories-- these two women-- something that becomes all the more heartbreaking and beautiful as they all hurtle toward its revelation. Here Maggie O'Farrell brings us a spellbinding novel of two women connected across fifty years by art, love, betrayals, secrets, and motherhood. Like her acclaimed The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, it is a "breathtaking, heart-breaking creation."* And it is a gorgeous inquiry into the ways we make and unmake our lives, who we know ourselves to be, and how even our most accidental legacies connect us. *The Washington Post Book World
“Grief fills the room up of my absent child.” (William Shakespeare, King John, Act III scene iv) Irish theatre collective Dead Centre’s new solo work for an eleven-year-old boy is devoted to Shakespeare’s only son, Hamnet, who died in 1596 at the age of eleven. His father, the famous poet who had abandoned his family and was pursuing his theatre career far away from his family, was unable to get back to Stratford-upon-Avon in time to see his child one last time before he died. In 1599 Shakespeare wrote Hamlet. A single letter separates Hamnet from the philosophical heights of Hamlet. Unlike the Prince, he cannot ask ‘to be or not to be’. Condemned not to be, he now seeks to understand the world from which he has been wrested. While waiting for a visit from his father – a visit that may never happen – all he has are the plays to act as a surrogate parent. But what is Shakespeare telling us? How to be? Or how not to be? Hamnet is too young to understand Shakespeare. We are too old to understand Hamnet. Youth reaching forward to a life it will never know, an audience reaching back to a life it has forgotten. Two generations, asking each other what they want to pass on and receive.
From Marie Benedict, the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room! An incredible novel that focuses on one of the people with the most influence during World War I and World War II: Clementine Churchill. In 1909, Clementine steps off a train with her new husband, Winston. An angry woman emerges from the crowd to attack, shoving him in the direction of an oncoming train. Just before he stumbles, Clementine grabs him by his suit jacket. This will not be the last time Clementine Churchill will save her husband. Lady Clementine is the ferocious story of the ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender to expectations or to enemies. The perfect book for fans of: World War I historical fiction Novels about Women Heroes of WWI Novels about women hidden by history Biographical novels about the Churchills Recommended by People, USA Today, Glamour, POPSUGAR, Library Journal, and more! Also by Marie Benedict: The Only Woman in the Room The Other Einstein Carnegie's Maid
When Lily moves into new boyfriend Marcus's apartment and plunges headlong into their relationship, she must contend with an intangible, hostile presence—Marcus’s ex-girlfriend, Sinead. As Lily and Marcus become more deeply involved, Lily becomes obsessed with Sinead's fate and thinks she sees her everywhere. She must question not only her sanity, but whether the man she loves is someone she can, or should, be with at all.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year A polemical, ground-breaking study of Elizabethan England that reclaims Ann Hathaway’s rightful place in history. Little is known about the wife of the world’s most famous playwright; a great deal, none of it complimentary, has been assumed. The omission of her name from Shakespeare’s will has been interpreted as evidence that she was nothing more than an unfortunate mistake from which Shakespeare did well to distance himself. Yet Shakespeare is above all the poet of marriage. Before him, there were few comedies or tragedies about wooing or wedding. And yet he explored the sacrament in all its aspects, spiritual, psychological, sexual, sociological, and was the creator of some of the most tenacious and intelligent heroines in English literature. Is it possible, therefore, that Ann, who has been mocked and vilified by scholars for centuries, was the inspiration? Until now, there has been no serious critical scholarship devoted to the life and career of the farmer’s daughter who married England’s greatest poet. Part biography, part history, Shakespeare’s Wife is a fascinating reconstruction of Ann’s life, and an illuminating look at the daily lives of Elizabethan women, from their working routines to the rituals of courtship and the minutiae of married life. In this thoroughly researched and controversial book, Greer steps off the well-trodden paths of orthodoxy, asks new questions, and begins to right the wrongs done to Ann Shakespeare.
Book A Children's Bible: A Novel Description/Summary:
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Apple Books, Literary Hub, The Millions, and The Week An indelible novel of teenage alienation and adult complacency in an unraveling world. Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s sublime new novel—her first since the National Book Award long-listed Sweet Lamb of Heaven—follows a group of twelve eerily mature children on a forced vacation with their families at a sprawling lakeside mansion. Contemptuous of their parents, who pass their days in a stupor of liquor, drugs, and sex, the children feel neglected and suffocated at the same time. When a destructive storm descends on the summer estate, the group’s ringleaders—including Eve, who narrates the story—decide to run away, leading the younger ones on a dangerous foray into the apocalyptic chaos outside. As the scenes of devastation begin to mimic events in the dog-eared picture Bible carried around by her beloved little brother, Eve devotes herself to keeping him safe from harm. A Children’s Bible is a prophetic, heartbreaking story of generational divide—and a haunting vision of what awaits us on the far side of Revelation.
WINNER OF THE 2020 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION - THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Richly sensuous... something special' The Sunday Times 'A thing of shimmering wonder' David Mitchell TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART. On a summer's day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home? Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London. Neither parent knows that Hamnet will not survive the week. Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright: a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, but whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays ever written.
"Patrick Gale has written a book which manages to be both tender and epic, and carries the unmistakable tang of a true story. I loved it." -- Jojo Moyes A privileged elder son, and stammeringly shy, Harry Cane has followed convention at every step. Even the beginnings of an illicit, dangerous affair do little to shake the foundations of his muted existence - until the shock of discovery and the threat of arrest cost him everything. Forced to abandon his wife and child, Harry signs up for emigration to the newly colonised Canadian prairies. Remote and unforgiving, his allotted homestead in a place called Winter is a world away from the golden suburbs of turn-of-the-century Edwardian England. And yet it is here, isolated in a seemingly harsh landscape, under the threat of war, madness and an evil man of undeniable magnetism that the fight for survival will reveal in Harry an inner strength and capacity for love beyond anything he has ever known before. In this exquisite journey of self-discovery, loosely based on a real life family mystery, Patrick Gale has created an epic, intimate human drama, both brutal and breathtaking. This is a novel of secrets, sexuality and, ultimately, of great love.
Book Shakespeare in a Divided America Description/Summary:
"From leading Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro, a timely and insightful examination of what the world's greatest dramatist can teach us about life in an America riven by conflict. The United States has always been divided, but Americans from all walks of life have also always shared a deep affinity for the plays William Shakespeare, even if their meaning has been fiercely contested. For well over two centuries now, Americans of all stripes--presidents and activists, writers and soldiers--have turned to his plays to prosecute the most intense and pivotal quarrels in the soul of the nation, a nation defined by its political and social pluralism. That prosecution dates back to pre-Revolutionary times, when Hamlet's famous soliloquy--"To be or not to be"--was appropriated both by defenders of British rule and those seeking to overthrow it. Shapiro traces Shakespeare's formative and crucial role in our nation's history, from the otherwise progressive John Quincy Adams's sinister opinions on race expressed via (and only via) his views on Othello; to the politically-charged rhetoric that gripped Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth; to the resounding American triumph of Shakespeare in Love, produced by Harvey Weinstein's then fledgling company, Miramax, which exploded a debate about adultery at the time of President Clinton's Oval Office affair with Monica Lewinsky. But Shapiro also reports firsthand on Shakespeare's undeniable contemporary significance, after a production of Julius Caesar, which depicted the assassination of a President Trump-like Julius Caesar, was exploited calculatedly by Breitbart and Fox News to ignite outrage. With style and unmatched expertise, Shapiro contends brilliantly that few writers or artists can shed as much light on the hot-button issues of American life--such as immigration, same-sex love, political violence, and class warfare--and that by better understanding the role of Shakespeare's plays in American history we might take steps towards mending our bitterly divided land"--
Bestselling author Bernard Cornwell takes us back four thousand years, to a vibrant world of ritual and sacrifice that is at once timeless and wholly original. This historical novel unlocks the mystery of Britain's most haunting and puzzling structure, and tells a tale of three brothers—fierce rivals—who are uneasily united in their quest to create a temple to their gods. Lengar, the eldest brother, kills his own father to become chief of his tribe. Camaban, the illegitimate middle brother, is determined to have a massive temple built in his own honor. And Saban, the youngest, who actually builds Stonehenge, must act as mediator between the other two. Stonehenge is the enthrallingly dramatic story of patricide, betrayal, and murder; of bloody brotherly rivalry; and of the never-ending quest for power, wealth, and spiritual fulfillment.
The poems in Here is the Sweet Hand explore solitude as a way of seeing. In particular, the speakers in francine j. harris’ third collection explore the mystique, and myth, of female loneliness as it relates to blackness, aging, landscape and artistic tradition. The speakers in these poems are often protagonists. Against the backdrop of numerous American cities and towns, and in a time of political uncertainty, they are heroines in their quest to find logic through their own sense of the world. The poems here are interested in the power of observation. But if there is authority in the individual versus the collective, Here is the Sweet Hand also poses questions about the source of that power, or where it may lead. As in her acclaimed previous collections, harris’ skillful use of imagery and experimentation with the boundaries of language set the stage for unorthodox election commemoration, subway panic, zoomorphism, and linguistic battlefields. From poems in dialogue with the artistry of Toni Morrison and Charles Burnett to poems that wrestle with the moods of Frank Stanford and Ty Dolla $ign, the speakers in this book signal a turn at once inward and opening.
Book Have You Seen Luis Velez? Description/Summary:
From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a moving novel about two strangers who find that kindness is a powerful antidote to fear. Raymond Jaffe feels like he doesn't belong. Not with his mother's new family. Not as a weekend guest with his father and his father's wife. Not at school, where he's an outcast. After his best friend moves away, Raymond has only two real connections: to the feral cat he's tamed and to a blind ninety-two-year-old woman in his building who's introduced herself with a curious question: Have you seen Luis Velez? Mildred Gutermann, a German Jew who narrowly escaped the Holocaust, has been alone since her caretaker disappeared. She turns to Raymond for help, and as he tries to track Luis down, a deep and unexpected friendship blossoms between the two. Despondent at the loss of Luis, Mildred isolates herself further from a neighborhood devolving into bigotry and fear. Determined not to let her give up, Raymond helps her see that for every terrible act the world delivers, there is a mirror image of deep kindness, and Mildred helps Raymond see that there's hope if you have someone to hold on to.