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August 2013 – David Nicols and others

EA Staff Book Group Recommends……for August 13

The Understudy by David Nicholls

For Josh Harper, being in show-business means everything he ever wanted – money, fame, a beautiful wife, and a lead role on the London stage. For Stephen C. McQueen, it means a disastrous career playing passers-by and dead people.

Stephen is stuck with an unfortunate name, a hopeless agent, a daughter he barely knows, and a job as understudy to Josh Harper, the 12th Sexiest Man in the World. And when Stephen falls in love with Josh’s clever, funny wife Nora, things get even more difficult.

But might there yet be a way for Stephen to get his Big Break?

The Understudy is a scintillating comedy of ambition, celebrity, jealousy and love.

understudy

The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

Pa`nop´ti`con A circular prison with cells so constructed that the prisoners can be observed at all times. [Greek panoptos ‘seen by all’]
 
Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can’t remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais’s school uniform is covered in blood.
 
Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counter-culture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor.
 
Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon – they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. When she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents though, Anais knows her fate: she is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in.

Named one of the best books of the year by the Times Literary Supplement and the Scotsman, The Panopticon is an astonishingly haunting, remarkable debut novel. In language dazzling, energetic and pure, it introduces us to a heartbreaking young heroine.

A Street Cat Named Bob: How One Man and His Cat Found Hope on the Streets by James Bowen

When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet.
Yet James couldn’t resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.
Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts.

A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it.

 

[warning]Available in the senior fiction section of the library.[/warning]

 

May We Be Forgiven                                    AM Holmes

Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013

Harry is a Richard Nixon scholar who leads a quiet, regular life; his brother George is a high-flying TV producer, with a murderous temper.

They have been uneasy rivals since childhood. Then, one day, George loses control so extravagantly that he precipitates Harry into an entirely new life. In May We Be Forgiven, Homes gives us a darkly comic look at 21st century domestic life – at individual lives spiralling out of control, bound together by family and history.

Perfect                                             Rachel Joyce

In 1972, two seconds were added to time. It was in order to balance clock time with the movement of the earth. Byron Hemming knew this because James Lowe had told him and James was the cleverest boy at school. But how could time change? The steady movement of hands around a clock was as certain as their golden futures.

Then Byron’s mother, late for the school run, makes a devastating mistake. Byron’s perfect world is shattered. Were those two extra seconds to blame? Can what follows ever be set right?

Tigers in Red Weather                      Liza Klaussman

Tells the story of Nick and her cousin Helena who have grown up together, sharing long hot summers at Tiger House. With husbands and children of their own, they keep returning. But against a background of parties, cocktails, moonlight and jazz, how long can perfection last? There is always the summer that changes everything. This is a delicious novel, a book that simmers with tension, threat and an intoxicating cocktail of money, sex, heat, boredom and beauty.

Close To The Bone                           Stuart MacBride

The first body is chained to a stake: strangled, and stabbed, with a burning tyre around its neck. But is this a gangland execution or something much darker? 

Someone’s leaving little knots of bones outside Detective Inspector Logan McRae’s house, but he’s got more pressing things to worry about. Rival drug gangs are fighting over product and territory; two teenage lovers are missing; someone’s crippling Asian immigrants; and Logan’s been lumbered with an ambitious new Detective Sergeant, a mountain of paperwork, and the unwelcome attention of his superiors and the local crime boss.

The Girl Who Fell From The Sky                Simon Mawer

Marian Sutro is an outsider: the daughter of a diplomat, brought up on the shores of Lake Geneva and in England, half French, half British, naive yet too clever for her own good. But when she is recruited from her desk job by SOE to go undercover in wartime France, it seems her hybrid status – and fluent French – will be of service to a greater, more dangerous cause.

Trained in sabotage, dead-drops, how to perform under interrogation and how to kill, Marian parachutes into south-west France, her official mission to act as a Resistance courier. But her real destination is Paris, where she must seek out family friend Clément Pelletier, once the focus of her adolescent desires. The Girl Who Fell from the Sky is both a gripping adventure story and a meditation on patriotism, betrayal and the limits of love.

Instructions For a Heatwave               Maggie O’Farrell

The stunning new novel from Costa-Novel-Award-winning novelist Maggie O’Farrell: a portrait of an Irish family in crisis in the legendary heatwave of 1976.

It’s July 1976. In London, it hasn’t rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he’s going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn’t come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta’s children – two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce – back home, each wih different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share. 

The Professor of Truth                     James Robertson

Twenty-one years after his wife and daughter were murdered in the bombing of a plane over Scotland, Alan Tealing, a university lecturer, still does not know the truth of what really happened on that terrible night. Obsessed by the details of what he has come to call The Case, he is sure that the man convicted of the atrocity was not responsible, and that he himself has thus been deprived not only of justice but also of any chance of escape from his enduring grief.

When an American intelligence officer, apparently terminally ill and determined to settle his own accounts before death, arrives on his doorstep with information about a key witness in the trial, a fateful sequence of events is set in motion. Alan decides that he must travel to Australia to confront this witness, whose evidence he has always disbelieved, in the hope that this might at last be the breakthrough for which he has waited so long.