Set in the mid-1970s in India, A Fine Balance tells the story of four unlikely people whose lives come together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a ‘State of Internal Emergency’. Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances – and their fates – become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen. Written with compassion, humor and insight, A Fine Balance is a vivid, richly textured and powerful novel by one of the most gifted writers of our time.
A pilot calls into the control tower to request an emergency landing. Following a mystery incident, the plane’s cabin is virtually destroyed, ninety-four passengers are injured and three are dead. Investigating this fatal accident for the airline, Casey Singleton must find out the truth before the multi-million dollar business goes bust in the face of a huge media backlash. Further lives are at stake and it seems everyone is against her – even her own colleagues – and everyone has something to hide. Airframe is a fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled thriller from the master of high-concept storytelling.
Sometimes life is like a bad waiter – it serves you exactly what you don’t want. The women of Freesia Court have come together at life’s table, fully convinced that there is nothing that good coffee, delectable desserts and a strong shoulder can’t fix. Laughter is the glue that holds them together – the foundation of a book group they call AHEB (Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons) – an unofficial club that becomes a lifeline. The five women each have a story to tell. There’s Faith, the newcomer, a housewife and mother who harbors a terrible secret; big, beautiful Audrey, the resident sex queen who knows that with good posture and attitude you can get away with anything; Merit, the shy doctor’s wife with the face of an angel and the private hell of an abusive husband; Kari, a wise woman with a wonderful laugh who knows that the greatest gifts appear after life’s fiercest storms; and finally, Slip, activist and adventurer, a tiny spitfire who looks trouble straight in the eye and challenges it to arm wrestle. Holding on through forty eventful years – through the swinging Sixties, the turbulent Seventies, the anything-goes Eighties, the nothing’s-impossible Nineties, to the present day – they take the plunge into the chaos that inevitably comes to those with the temerity to stay alive and kicking.
With the elegant economy of scenes glimpsed from a moving train, this extraordinary novel portrays one woman’s trajectory through life in episodes as haunting as dreams remembered. A single image – fine leather gloves strewn across the landscape by Nazi soldiers – speaks to us as powerfully as the more sweeping events of Anna’s life. Not since D. M. Thomas’s The White Hotel has there been a novel of such elegiac, heart stirring beauty. It is a portrait with all the richness and exactitude of a Vermeer and the resonance of Anna’s own music.
The first novel from the author of Writing Down the Bones. Nell Schwartz, a Brooklyn-born Jewish girl who moves to the Taos of communes and sweet cedar smoke, transforms herself into Banana Rose (because she’s “bananas”), falls in love with a horn player named Gaughin, and believes they can stop time if they just love hard enough. Subtly hilarious and achingly raw, this is the story of Nell’s long, strange trip from her beloved New Mexico to the alien Midwest and back again. As she struggles with the demands of canvas and paint, with her family and faith, and with her own wild heart, she discovers the one secret power that sustains her through it all.
Barbie is thrilled. She’s reviewing the world premiere of the new play The Masked Stranger, and she has front row seats! Now she’s sure to get a close-up of the priceless jeweled mask used in the performance. But when the mask goes missing in the middle of the show, it looks like someone’s out to steal more than just the spotlight! Its up to Barbie to go backstage and catch that crook.
Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.
Birds of America is a witty and tender Bildungsroman. The reader will like Peter and his family and the other migratory birds he meets along his flyway, some of them his friends. They are seen by Mary McCarthy with a warm, though hardly moist, eye.
It’s been almost thirteen years since we last saw Cannie Shapiro, the heroine of Good in Bed, whose journey towards happy-ever-after made millions of women the world over laugh, cry and recognise themselves. The last decade of Cannie’s life has brought some surprises. Her life story, in fictional form, became an unexpected bestseller, and Cannie has since retreated from fame’s fallout, writing science-fiction under a pen name and praying that all her daughter inherited from her father, Cannie’s ex-boyfriend Bruce Guberman, are her curls and her eye-colour, and not his predilection for smoking pot. Meanwhile Cannie’s best friend, Samantha, is looking for love in all the wrong places, and Cannie’s husband, Peter, has decided that he’d like to have a baby, and the family’s first choice for a surrogate is none other than Cannie’s flamboyant kid sister …
The year is 1965, and Kate Cadogan has just got her first bra and corset. It’s a watershed moment, even if she hates the way the girdle chafes the tops of her thighs, and even though what she really wanted was a polka-dot shift dress with a cool Peter Pan collar. Undaunted, Kate jumps headfirst into the thrills and heartaches of her teenage years, albeit under the watchful eye of her mother, Biddy, a woman so repressed and controlling she gives new meaning to the word ‘matriarch’. From her first crush, local bad boy Barry Finch, through to her scandalous period of ‘living in sin’ during her years at teacher training college, right up to her passionless marriage to Rodney, Kate seems to have a talent for picking the wrong men. Ultimately seeking Biddy’s approval in everything she does, Kate finds the parameters of her life shrinking before her eyes, and feels powerless to stop it. Fortunately, her lifelong friends, Moira and Ingrid, are on hand, giving her more support than a foundation garment ever could, helping her to realize that she can create a life for herself, and that starting over has no age limit.
Jessica is beside herself when Mr. O’Brien chooses her to be Daphne’s partner in the seventh grade Write-a-Book contest. All the kids at school think Daphne is strange. She dresses bizarre, mismatched clothes and she never speaks to anyone. Jessica is in for a pleasant surprise, though, when she spends magical afternoons working on the book with Daphne and her little sister, Hope. As their friendship deepens and Jessica begins to see beyond Daphne’s surface, she also comes to discover a tragic secret that Daphne must keep hidden from the world. Jessica promises never to tell anyone. But when the secret becomes a serious threat to Daphne and Hope, Jessica is torn between protecting her friendship with Daphne, and doing what she knows she must do. With warmth, humor, and finely wrought characterizations, Mary Downing Hahn weaves a poignant story that explores the limits of caring and responsibility.
Those memorable days of push lawn mowers, corner grocery stores, big-band music, burning leaves and filling stations that check the oil and wash the windshield. On this nostalgic canvas, Stanley West has set his riveting and heartwarming novel, the devastating story of young Sandy Meyer. Bright and outgoing, having grown up through the Great Depression and the World War II year, she is suddenly give one perplexing clue to her past that sets her on an incredible and harrowing journey in search of her lost family. A pilgrimage that brings her face to face with nerve-shattering suspense, unbearable terror and the magnificent capacity of the human heart. Surrounded by juicy and wacky characters, and without the knowledge of her adoptive parents, her devil-may-care friends or the boy she desperately loves, she summons the courage to doggedly follow where the faint trail leads. When she stumbles upon the buried past and long-hidden treachery, she is confronted by and evil that knows her by name and drawn into a darkness she never knew existed. Tenaciously refusing to quit, she discovers a heart-breaking heroism and an extraordinary triumph that changes her life forever.