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From the renowned author of Possession, The Children’s Book is the absorbing story of the close of what has been called the Edwardian summer: the deceptively languid, blissful period that ended with the cataclysmic destruction of World War I. In this compelling novel, A.S. Byatt summons up a whole era, revealing that beneath its golden surface lay tensions that would explode into war, revolution and unbelievable change — for the generation that came of age before 1914 and, most of all, for their children. The novel centres around Olive Wellwood, a fairy tale writer, and her circle, which includes the brilliant, erratic craftsman Benedict Fludd and his apprentice Phillip Warren, a runaway from the poverty of the Potteries; Prosper Cain, the soldier who directs what will become the Victoria and Albert Museum; Olive’s brother-in-law Basil Wellwood, an officer of the Bank of England; and many others from every layer of society. A.S. Byatt traces their lives in intimate detail and moves between generations, following the children who must choose whether to follow the roles expected of them or stand up to their parents’ “porcelain socialism.” Olive’s daughter Dorothy wishes to become a doctor, while her other daughter, Hedda, wants to fight for votes for women. Her son Tom, sent to an upper-class school, wants nothing more than to spend time in the woods, tracking birds and foxes. Her nephew Charles becomes embroiled with German-influenced revolutionaries. Their portraits connect the political issues at the heart of nascent feminism and socialism with grave personal dilemmas, interlacing until The Children’s Book becomes a perfect depiction of an entire world. Olive is a fairy tale writer in the era of Peter Pan and Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind In the Willows, not long after Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. At a time when children in England suffered deprivation by the millions, the concept of childhood was being refined and elaborated in ways that still influence us today. For each of her children, Olive writes a special, private book, bound in a different colour and placed on a shelf; when these same children are ferried off into the unremitting destruction of the Great War, the reader is left to wonder who the real children in this novel are. The Children’s Book is an astonishing novel. It is an historical feat that brings to life an era that helped shape our own as well as a gripping, personal novel about parents and children, life’s most painful struggles and its richest pleasures. No other writer could have imagined it or created it.
The magnificent title story of this collection of fairy tales for adults describes the strange and uncanny relationship between its extravagantly intelligent heroine--a world renowned scholar of the art of story-telling--and the marvelous being that lives in a mysterious bottle, found in a dusty shop in an Istanbul bazaar. As A.S. Byatt renders this relationship with a powerful combination of erudition and passion, she makes the interaction of the natural and the supernatural seem not only convincing, but inevitable. The companion stories in this collection each display different facets of Byatt's remarkable gift for enchantment. They range from fables of sexual obsession to allegories of political tragedy; they draw us into narratives that are as mesmerizing as dreams and as bracing as philosophical meditations; and they all us to inhabit an imaginative universe astonishing in the precision of its detail, its intellectual consistency, and its splendor. "A dreamy treat.... It is not merely strange, it is wondrous." --Boston Globe "Alternatingly erudite and earthy, direct and playful.... If Scheherazade ever needs a break, Byatt can step in, indefinitely." --Chicago Tribune "Byatt's writing is crystalline and splendidly imaginative.... These [are] perfectly formed tales." --Washington Post Book World
In a world where Thinkers control the population and Rules are not meant to be broken, 15-year-old Violet Schoenfeld must make a choice to control or be controlled after learning truths about her "dead" sister and "missing" father.
BOOKER PRIZE WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A tale of two young scholars researching the secret love affair of two Victorian poets that's an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, an intellectual mystery, and a triumphant love story. “Gorgeously written … A tour de force.” —The New York Times Book Review Winner of England’s Booker Prize and a literary sensation, Possession traces the lives of a pair of young academics as they uncover a clandestine relationship between two long-dead Victorian poets. As they unearth their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.
BOOKER PRIZE WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • A tale of two young scholars researching the secret love affair of two Victorian poets that's an exhilarating novel of wit and romance, an intellectual mystery, and a triumphant love story. “Gorgeously written … A tour de force.” —The New York Times Book Review Winner of England’s Booker Prize and a literary sensation, Possession traces the lives of a pair of young academics as they uncover a clandestine relationship between two long-dead Victorian poets. As they unearth their letters, journals, and poems, and track their movements from London to Yorkshire—from spiritualist séances to the fairy-haunted far west of Brittany—what emerges is an extraordinary counterpoint of passions and ideas.
The Booker Prize-winning author of Possession presents an extraordinary story set against the backdrop of the 1960s—a turbulent decade of clashing politics, passionate ideals, and shifting sexual roles. At the heart of Babel Tower are two law cases, twin strands of the Establishment's web, that shape the story: a painful divorce and custody suit and the prosecution of an "obscene" book. Frederica, the independent young heroine, is involved in both. She startled her intellectual circle of friends by marrying a young country squire, whose violent streak has now been turned against her. Fleeing to London with their young son, she gets a teaching job in an art school, where she is thrown into the thick of the new decade. Poets and painters are denying the value of the past, fostering dreams of rebellion, which focus around a strange, charismatic figure—the near-naked, unkempt and smelly Jude Mason, with his flowing gray hair, a hippie before his time. We feel the growing unease, the undertones of sex and cruelty. The tension erupts over his novel Babbletower, set in a past revolutionary era, where a band of people retire to a castle to found an ideal community. In this book, as in the courtrooms, as in the art school's haphazard classes and on the committee set up to study "the teaching of language," people function increasingly in groups. Many are obsessed with protecting the young, but the fashionable notion of children as innocent and free slowly comes to seem wishful, and perilous. In Byatt's vision, the presiding genius of the day seems to be a blend of the Marquis de Sade and The Hobbit. Peopled with weird and colorful characters, charted with brilliant, imaginative sympathy, Babel Tower is as comic as it is threatening and bizarre.
“A beautifully crafted novel that sits at the intersection of race and class, that flags the frank truth of the life of migrant workers for whom a flight to freedom can become the most finely woven trap.”—JODI PICOULT, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Two Ways From the prize-winning author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo comes Songbirds, a stunning novel about the disappearance of a Sri Lankan domestic worker and how the most vulnerable people find their voices. Living on the island of Cyprus, Nisha is far from her native Sri Lanka. Though she longs to return home, she knows that working as a “maid” for a wealthy widow is the only way to earn enough to support her daughter, left behind to be raised by relatives. Yiannis is a poacher, trapping the tiny protected songbirds that stop in Cyprus as they migrate each year from Africa to Europe and selling them on the illegal market. He dreams of finding a new way of life, and of marrying Nisha. But one night, Nisha makes dinner, an aromatic dahl curry, for the family who pays her: Petra and her daughter Aliki. Then, after she cleans the kitchen and tucks Aliki into bed, Nisha goes out on a mysterious errand, and vanishes. When the police refuse to pursue the case, Petra takes on the investigation herself, a path that leads her to Nisha’s friends—other workers in the neighborhood—and to the darker side of a migrant’s life, where impossible choices leave them vulnerable, captive, and worse. Inspired by the real-life disappearance of domestic workers in Cyprus, Christy Lefteri has crafted a poignant, deeply empathetic narrative of the human stories behind the headlines. With infinite tenderness and skill, Songbirds offers a triumphant story of the fight for truth and justice, and of women reclaiming their lost voices.
What happens when research partners discover more than they bargained for? Serena Sanders is determined to put her past behind her. She's done with football and most importantly, with football players. She's got her sights set on graduate school...and maybe her sexy professor can help her get there. All her plans come crashing down as Talon "The Claw" Kelly stumbles into her class. The quarterback for SCU is cocky and more interested in Serena's assets than he is in working on their group project...until he finds out she's still got her v-card, that is. Will Serena overcome her growing feelings for this unexpected ally? Will Talon outgrow his partyboy ways and get serious before graduation? This is a stand-alone college football romance with a guaranteed HEA. Deep in the Pocket is a quick, steamy read!
As the bombs rain down in the Second World War, one young girl is evacuated to the English countryside. Struggling to make sense of her new wartime life, she is given a copy of a book of ancient Norse myths and her inner and outer worlds are transformed. Linguistically stunning and imaginatively abundant, Byatt’s mesmerising tale - inspired by the myth of Ragnarok - is a landmark piece of storytelling from one of the world's truly great writers.
An unforgettable collection of fairy tales for grownups—from the Booker Prize-winning author of Possession. • “A delight.... provoking and alarming, richly yet tautly rendered.... [She] has the sheer narrative skill to raise the hairs on the back of your neck and make your pulse race.” —The New York Times Book Review Like Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, Isak Dinesen and Angela Carter, A. S. Byatt knows that fairy tales are for adults. And in this ravishing collection she breathes new life into the form. Little Black Book of Stories offers shivers along with magical thrills. Leaves rustle underfoot in a dark wood: two middle-aged women, childhood friends reunited by chance, venture into a dark forest where once, many years before, they saw–or thought they saw–something unspeakable. Another woman, recently bereaved, finds herself slowly but surely turning into stone. A coolly rational ob-gyn has his world pushed off-axis by a waiflike art student with her own ideas about the uses of the body. Spellbinding, witty, lovely, terrifying, the Little Black Book of Stories is Byatt at the height of her craft.