The Warwick Prize for Writing is an innovative new literature prize that involves global competition, and crosses all disciplines.

The Prize will be given biennially for an excellent and substantial piece of writing in the English language, in any genre or form, on a theme which will change with every award. The winner of the inaugural Prize will be announced in February 2009.

The winner of this award will receive £50,000 and the opportunity to take up a short placement at The University of Warwick.  Nominations were invited from all current University of Warwick staff, Honorary Graduates and Honorary Professors. Current Warwick staff and Honorary Professors are ineligible to be nominated for the Prize. Self nominations are ineligible.  The theme for the 2009 award is Complexity.

2009 Shortlist | 2009 Long Lists

Award Tragic Blog Commentary -Eclectic Warwick Prize Shortlist- Delicious Longlist 'Warwick Prize for Writing- Relishing Complexity'

Inaugural Warwick Prize- Very Eclectic Shortlist Revealed

23rd January 2009 -

Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800
Lisa Appignanesi

ISBN: 9781844082339
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

Excessive shyness, sadness, erratic acts and eccentricity have all become fodder for the mind doctors over the last two hundred years during which their professions have grown and grown. Their diagnoses now encroach on almost all aspects of our emotional lives and behaviour.  In turn, we see our lives as suitable cases for treatment and expect the mind doctors to fix us up with pills that promise to make us “better than well.”

Lisa Appignanesi’s brilliantly researched study of the relationship between women, mental illness and the mind doctors -  one of the few to look at the full range of the ‘psy’ professions  -  reveals why this subject is so complex and fascinating.   She chose to focus on women not only because their documented cases are riveting -  from the depression suffered by Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath to the mental anguish and addictions of iconic beauties, Zelda Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe, to name but a few.  The treatment of women has also, down the years, contributed hugely to the growth of understanding in the profession.

Review

** 'Informative in startling ways, and never dull in the academic way, Appignanesi's genuinely new History of the Mind Doctors is a subtle and accessible account of that perhaps most daunting of modern relationships, the one between the Mind Doctor and his female patient. Because Appignanesi has a complex story to tell there is no blaming at work in this wonderful book, but a shrewd and sympathetic apprehension of what is at stake in the difficult histories of both the Mind Doctors and those they seek to help. It is a remarkable achievement' Adam Phillips ** 'Marvellous. At last! A serious, well-researched book on this important subject' Pamela Stephenson

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The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed Bishop Gerardi?
Francisco Goldman

On a Sunday night in 1998, Bishop Juan Gerardi, Guatemala's leading human rights activist, was bludgeoned to death in his garage. Just two days earlier, a Church-sponsored report had implicated Guatemala's government in the murders and disappearances of some 200,000 civilians. The Church, realizing that it could not rely on the legal system to look into the bishop's murder, took the controversial decision to form an investigative team of young men who called themselves Los Intocables (the Untouchables) to find the killers.For seven years, Francisco Goldman followed Los Intocables' efforts to uncover the truth. He observed firsthand some of the most crucial developments in the case, including the killing and forced exile of witnesses, judges and lawyers. The Art of Political Murder is his mesmerising account of the investigation. In telling it, Goldman opens a window on the new Latin American reality of mara youth gangs and organized crime, and demonstrates, at the most intimate level, the difficulties of building democracy in a country awash with political corruption and criminality. Most of all, it is the story of an extraordinary group of courageous people and their fight for justice.

'Goldman has focused his superb novelist's talents - compassion, precision, muscularity, great thoroughness, and an instinct for the exotic - on modern-day Guatemala's ineradicable crime against itself. A remarkable book.' Richard Ford This magnificent work of reportage by 'one of America's most significant novelists' (Claire Messud) should appeal to anyone who loved John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. * 'A work of unique moral acuity and masterful storytelling; but Goldman has done much more than weave us a fine tale. This is a real-life whodunit, a murder conspiracy which lays bare the poisonous heart of politics and power in contemporary Guatemala.' Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life * 'Goldman is a wonderful writer and this is an extremely important book.' Salman Rushdie"

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Reinventing the Sacred
Stuart A Kauffman

ISBN: 9780465003006
Format: Hardback
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group

Consider the woven integrated complexity of a living cell after 3. 8 billion years of evolution. Is it more awe-inspiring to suppose that a transcendent God fashioned the cell, or to consider that the living organism was created by the evolving biosphere? As the eminent complexity theorist Stuart Kauffman explains in this ambitious and groundbreaking new book, people who do not believe in God have largely lost their sense of the sacred and the deep human legitimacy of our inherited spirituality. For those who believe in a Creator God, no science will ever disprove that belief. In Reinventing the Sacred, Kauffman argues that the science of complexity provides a way to move beyond reductionist science to something new: a unified culture where we see God in the creativity of the universe, biosphere, and humanity. Kauffman explains that the ceaseless natural creativity of the world can be a profound source of meaning, wonder, and further grounding of our place in the universe. His theory carries with it a new ethic for an emerging civilization and a reinterpretation of the divine. He asserts that we are impelled by the imperative of life itself to live with faith and courage-and the fact that we do so is indeed sublime. Reinventing the Sacred will change the way we all think about the evolution of humanity, the universe, faith, and reason.

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The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Naomi Klein

ISBN: 9780141024530
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Around the world in Britain, the United States, Asia and the Middle East, there are people with power who are cashing in on chaos; exploiting bloodshed and catastrophe to brutally remake our world in their image. They are the shock doctors. Thrilling and revelatory, "The Shock Doctrine" cracks open the secret history of our era. Exposing these global profiteers, Naomi Klein discovered information and connections that shocked even her about how comprehensively the shock doctors' beliefs now dominate our world - and how this domination has been achieved. Raking in billions out of the tsunami, plundering Russia, exploiting Iraq - this is the chilling tale of how a few are making a killing while more are getting killed.

'Impassioned, hugely informative, wonderfully controversial, and scary as hell' John le Carre 'Packed with thinking dynamite ... a book to be read everywhere' John Berger 'If you read only one non-fiction book this year, make it this one' - , Books of the Year, Metro 'There are few books that really help us understand the present. The Shock Doctrine is one of those books' - John Gray, Guardian 'Lucid, calm, impeccably researched, gorgeously readable' - , Books of the Year, Observer 'A brilliant, brave and terrifying book' Arundhati Roy 'Powerful ... epic ... dramatic' Daily Telegraph 'A brilliant book written with a perfectly distilled anger, channelled through hard fact. She has indeed surpassed No Logo' Independent 'Excoriating ... passionate and informed ... Her prose packs a punch' Scotsman

Naomi Klein belongs to a group of remarkably well-informed and impassioned modern polemicists who are unafraid not only to argue about the destructive forces around us but to support their assertions with research and to stir up their readership into action. In the 'The Shock Doctrine', she demonstrates how the 'shock doctors' are exploiting situations to their own ends - a clear link is drawn between the way crises have been exploited in Iraq, and after hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami. In 'No Logo' - Klein documents in well-researched detail how big business keeps its costs low and its profits high through a systematic and institutionalised disregard for the welfare and rights of workers and the interests of society as a whole.

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Montano's Malady
Enrique Vila-Matas (translator: Jonathan Dunne)

ISBN: 9780811216289
Format: Paperback
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation

The narrator of Montano's Malady is a writer who is so obsessed with literature that he finds it impossible to distinguish between real life and fictional reality. Part picaresque novel, part intimate diary, part memoir and philosophical musings, Enrique Vila-Matas's novel is a labyrinth in which writers as various as Cervantes, Sterne, Kafka, Robert Musil, Roberto Bolano, J. M. Coetzee, and W. G. Sebald crisscross on endlessly surprising paths. Trying to piece together his life of loss and pain, Vila-Matas gives us a look into the mind of someone struck by "literature-sickness," who, trying to piece together his life of loss and pain, leads the reader on an unsettling journey both through European cities and the pages of world literature.

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The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century
Alex Ross

ISBN: 9781841154756
Format: Hardback
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

A sweeping musical history that goes from the salons of pre-war Vienna to Velvet Underground shows in the sixties. In The Rest is Noise, Alex Ross, music critic of the New Yorker, gives us a riveting tour of the wild landscape of twentieth-century classical music: portraits of individuals, cultures, and nations reveal the predicament of the composer in a noisy, chaotic century. Taking as his starting point a production of Richard Strauss's Salome, conducted by the composer on 16 May 1906 with Puccini, Schoenberg, Berg and Adolf Hitler seated in the stalls, Ross suggests how this evening can be considered the century's musical watershed rather the riotous premiere of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring seven years later. Ross goes on to explore the mythology of modernism, Sibelius and the music of small countries, Kurt Weill, the music of the Third Reich, Britten, Boulez and the post-war avant-garde, and interactions between minimalist composers and rock bands in the sixties and seventies.

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Warwick Prize -Other Long Listed

Torques: Drafts 58-76
Rachel Blau Duplessis

ISBN: 9781844713349
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Salt Publishing

Manifests thematic and emotional investments centering on loss, struggle, and hope, on the unsayable and 'anguage' - the language of anguish. This book centers two main formal and structural principles, repetition and the fold. It repeats themes and images throughout, a recontextualization of materials, and a building of traces.

Twisted, knotted, struck by events and emotions at our historical moment, these Drafts register and produce torques-exaltation and tension, torsion and force, in their symphonic and bantering surges. This book continues the long poem project that Ron Silliman calls "one of the major poetic achievements of our time."

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Glister
John Burnside

According to Leonard, the fifteen-year-old narrator of this extraordinary novel, the decaying coastal community of Innertown is a contemporary hell, part industrial ruin, part Dante's inferno, where the poisoned woods and the derelict buildings are haunted by wild children, a strange, sickly fauna and the mysterious figure of the Moth Man, an itinerant ecologist who appears to be conducting a bizarre survey into local insect populations, but might just as easily be the Angel of the Lord.

Here, Leonard and his friends exist in a state of suspended terror. Every year or so, a boy from their school disappears, vanishing into the wasteland of the old chemical plant. Nobody knows where these boys go, or whether they are alive or dead, and without evidence to the contrary, the authorities claim they are simply runaways.

The town policeman, Morrison, knows otherwise. He was involved in the cover-up of one boy's murder, and he believes all the boys have been killed. Though seriously compromised, he would still like to find out the killer's identity. The local children also want to know and, in their fear and frustration, they turn on Rivers, a sad fantasist and suspected paedophile living alone at the edge of the wasteland. Frightened and disgusted by this vicious attack, Leonard takes refuge in the poisoned ruins of the plant, where he renews his friendship with the Moth Man and exacts a shocking revenge on the policeman, before entering the mysterious Glister: possibly a disused chemical weapons facility, possibly a passage to another world.

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Planet of Slums
Mike Davis

ISBN: 9781843547372
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Atlantic Books

With a third of the global urban population already living in Dickensian slums, at least half under the age of twenty, Mike Davis explores the threat of disease, of forced settlement on hazardous terrains, and of state violence on huge populations. He shows also how poverty not only grew massively in the 1990s but how the gap between rich and poor countries expanded and how women and minorities fell further behind. Surveying the new urban poor from Bombay to Cairo, Cape Town to Rio de Janeiro, Mike Davis argues that this enormous population of marginalised labourers is not an industrious beehive of ambitious entrepreneurs but a stagnant ferment of extreme Darwinian competition which threatens to overflow the shanty-towns, and swamp the homes and businesses of the urban rich.

"A brilliant book." - Arundhati Roy "There can be no doubt about the achievement of Planet of Slums, especially because it forces us, angrily, to confront the deplorable realities of slum existence and the limitations of slum policies in many developing countries" The Times "The Raymond Chandler of urban geography." - Independent "A heartbreaking book... the astonishing facts hit like anvil blows." - Financial Times"

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The Tiger That Isn't
Michael Blastland & Andrew Dilnot

SBN: 9781846681110
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd

This title offers a painless introduction to the maths of the real world by the team who created and present the hugely popular BBC Radio 4 series "More or Less".Mathematics scares and depresses most of us, but politicians, journalists and everyone in power use numbers all the time to bamboozle us. Most maths is really simple - as easy as 2+2 in fact. Better still it can be understood without any jargon, any formulas - and in fact not even many numbers. Most of it is commonsense, and by using a few really simple principles one can quickly see when maths, statistics and numbers are being abused to play tricks - or create policies - which can waste millions of pounds. It is liberating to understand when numbers are telling the truth or being used to lie, whether it is health scares, the costs of government policies, the supposed risks of certain activities or the real burden of taxes.

Reviews:
"'A very funny book...this is one of those maths books that claims to be self-help, and on the evidence presented here, we are in dire need of it...' Daily Telegraph 'This very elegant book constantly sparks "Aha!" moments as it interrogates the way numbers are handled and mishandled by politicians and the media.' Guardian 'If every politician and journalist were required to read this engaging and eye opening book before embarking on their career, we would live in a wiser, better, governed world.' Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, Royal Society of Arts"

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Someone Else
John Hughes

Like The Idea of Home, Someone Else is a collection of essays, but the essays here are openly fictional, since they deal with figures who are themselves creatures of the imagination. The twenty one subjects are famous writers, artists and musicians from the past century (they include Anton Chekhov, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, Samuel Beckett, Italo Calvino, John Cage, Bob Dylan and Mark Rothko). Each essay takes an aspect of their life or work, and in the style of the chosen writer or artist, weaves a a story from it. Needless to say, these stories are also, in ways that are not readily apparent, stories about this book’s author as well.


So Kafka giving his version of the parable of Abraham and Isaac, with no-one to stop Abraham’s knife. The Alexandrian poet Constantine Cavafy tells of Candaules, King of Sardis, who orders his bodyguard Gyges to witness his wife’s nakedness, in a story that speaks of trust, voyeurism and revenge. Bob Dylan makes his appearance as a lonely stranger encountered in a roadside café deep in the desert. Other storytellers include Jorge Luis Borges, Giorgio Morandi, Ludwig Wittgenstein (meditating on turtles and time), Australia’s own Robert Klippel – and the great Russian writer whom Hughes found himself imitating as a student in Newcastle in The Idea of Home – Fyodor Dostoyevsky – now living just around the corner from where Hughes works as a librarian in Sydney.

note: none of our UK partners seem to have Someone Else available.SeekBooks.com.au - Over 1.5 Million Book Titles You can get a copy from our Australian partner Seek Books by clicking on banner.


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The Burning
Thomas Legendre

ISBN: 9780349119496
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Edition: New edition

When an acquaintance suggests a wild weekend in Las Vegas, Logan Smith, struggling to establish an academic career in Philadelphia, thinks it might be just the kind of bright lights and reckless fun he needs. What he doesn't expect is a personal lesson in blackjack from a beautiful, dangerous, red-headed croupier called Dallas Cole who is going to change his life forever. Uneasily transplanted to a campus in the bleak desert state of Arizona, Logan immerses himself in his research, and tentatively he begins to explore a new and revolutionary theory. Gradually, as his work takes shape, not only does Logan's personal life shift and turn hostile around him but the ideas he is pursuing turn out to have repercussions more far-reaching than he could have imagined: and if he is right in his theorising the very future of the planet is at stake. He must deal with temptation, self-doubt, betrayal and implacable opposition before he can follow his discovery through, and by the time Logan's theories are put to the test all the assumptions he has ever made are brought into question.Generous in its scope, deeply absorbing and effortlessly brilliant, this is one of those rare novels which makes you see the world afresh.

** 'Brilliantly assured first novel ... THE BURNING is terrific company ... could be the coolest novel of the year' SUNDAY TELEGRAPH ** 'An excellent, original novel with some extraordinary flourishes' THE TIMES ** 'THE BURNING provides enormous emotional and intellectual satisfaction. It seems unlikely there will be a better debut this year' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'Legendre's impressive first novel derives much of its strength from traditional matters ? adultery, divorce, betrayal, theft, academic rivalry ? but much also from a sense that what is at stake goes beyond the personal. His protagonist, Logan, is an economist in his first academic job, who has fallen out of love with his trade only to rediscover it as a way of discussing prudent human behaviour in a world of limited resources and maximum greed' INDEPENDENT 'Fast-paced and muscular, with an urgent message at its core, The Burning is a both entertaining and intellectually challenging ... the perfect antidote to the eco-sceptic loopiness of Michael Crichton's recent novel State of Fear' DAILY MAIL 'Mixes a spirited challenge to our faith in economic growth with a full-blooded tale of infidelity and romantic redemption ... the emotional pyrotechnics are handled with a deftness and confidence that are rare in a first-time novelist. Also rare is a book that can carry a social message with such gravity and conviction ... the novel's greatest accomplishment is Dallas, a woman of great passions and considerable guile' NEW STATESMAN 'Legendre's muscular prose ? unapologetically realist in the manner of one of his heroes, Cormac McCarthy ? is astonishingly confident for a first-time novelist ... thrillingly realised, electrifying' TIME OUT 'What's most impressive about The Burning is that as well as being one if the few novels of ideas which actually gives the reader something to think about beyond the standard nihilism usually found in such books, Legendre is brilliant at three-dimensional descriptions ... His narrative grip never weakens, and The Burning provides enormous emotional and intellectual satisfaction' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

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Adam's Ancestors: Race, Religion and the Politics of Human Origins
David Livingstone

ISBN: 9780801888137
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press

Although the idea that all human beings are descended from Adam is a long-standing conviction in the West, another version of this narrative exists: human beings inhabited the Earth before, or alongside, Adam, and their descendants still occupy the planet.

In this work, David N. Livingstone traces the history of the idea of non-Adamic humanity, and the debates surrounding it, from the Middle Ages to the present day. From a multidisciplinary perspective, Livingstone examines how this alternative idea has been used for cultural, religious, and political purposes. He reveals how what began as biblical criticism became a theological apologetic to reconcile religion with science - evolution in particular - and was later used to support arguments for white supremacy and segregation.

"A great piece of scholarship and an equally great read. Particularly instructive is Livingstone's discussion of monogenism, polygenism, and the various ways these theories of human origins were used in the social and political arena. This is a substantial contribution to the history of anthropology, of evolution theory, of race and racialist thought, and of science and religion." - Nicolaas Rupke, Institute for Science History, Georg-August University of Gottingen "A remarkable achievement. It is a tightly organized and coherently packaged account of a set of ideas which mainstream scholarship now ignores. Controversial themes and explosive issues abound in Livingstone's work, which is important, topical, and fascinating." - Colin Kidd, University of Glasgow"

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The Wild Places
Robert Macfarlane

SBN: 9781847080189
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Granta Books

"The Wild Places" is both an intellectual and a physical journey, and Macfarlane travels in time as well as space. Guided by monks, questers, scientists, philosophers, poets and artists, both living and dead, he explores our changing ideas of the wild. From the cliffs of Cape Wrath, to the holloways of Dorset, the storm-beaches of Norfolk, the saltmarshes and estuaries of Essex, and the moors of Rannoch and the Pennines, his journeys become the conductors of people and cultures, past and present, who have had intense relationships with these places.Certain birds, animals, trees and objects - snow-hares, falcons, beeches, crows, suns, white stones - recur, and as it progresses this densely patterned book begins to bind tighter and tighter. At once a wonder voyage, an adventure story, an exercise in visionary cartography, and a work of natural history, it is written in a style and a form as unusual as the places with which it is concerned. It also tells the story of a friendship, and of a loss. It mixes history, memory and landscape in a strange and beautiful evocation of wildness and its vital importance.

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The Meaning of the 21st Century
James Martin

ISBN: 9781903919842
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd

'We are travelling at breakneck speed into an era of extremes - extremes of wealth and poverty, extremes in technology, extremes in globalization. If we are to survive, we must learn how to manage them all.' James Martin, one of the world's most widely respected authorities on the impact of technology on society, argues that we are living at a turning point in human history and that it is in the scientific breakthroughs of the new century that we will find new hope. Martin sets out the key challenges he sees ahead and proposes an interconnected set of solutions to each challenge. From ways to address climate change to genetic modification of humans, he demonstrates that rather than destroy our planet, and ourselves with it, we have the potential for a magnificent future. Provacative and controversial, this blueprint for change is essential reading. In ten years' time, it may be too late.

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Brasyl
Ian McDonald

ISBN: 9780575082885
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co

Ian Macdonald's RIVER OF GODS, painted a vivid picture of a near future India, 100 years after independence. It revolutionised British SF for a new generation by taking a perspective that was not European or American. BRASYL will do the same for South America's largest and most vibrant country. A story that begins in the favelas, the slums of Rio, and quickly expands to take in drugs, corruption, and a frightening new technology that allows access to all the multiple worlds that have slipped into existence in other planes everytime we make a decision. This is rich, epic SF that opens our eyes to the world around us and posits mind-blowing alternative sciences. It is a landmark work in modern SF from one of its most respected practitioners.

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Netherland
Joseph O'Neill

ISBN: 9780007269068
Format: Hardback
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

In a New York City made phantasmagorical by the events of 9/11, Hans - a banker originally from the Netherlands - finds himself marooned among the strange occupants of the Chelsea Hotel after his English wife and son return to London. Alone and untethered, feeling lost in the country he had come to regard as home, Hans stumbles upon the vibrant New York subculture of cricket, where he revisits his lost childhood and, thanks to a friendship with a charismatic and charming Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon, begins to reconnect with his life and his adopted country. Ramkissoon, a Gatsby-like figure who is part idealist and part operator, introduces Hans to an "other" New York populated by immigrants and strivers of every race and nationality. Hans is alternately seduced and instructed by Chuck's particular brand of naivete and chutzpah - by his ability to hold fast to a sense of American and human possibility in which Hans has come to lose faith.

Netherland gives us both a flawlessly drawn picture of a little-known New York and a story of much larger and brilliantly achieved ambition: the grand strangeness and fading promise of twenty-first-century America from an outsider's vantage point and the complicated relationship between the American dream and the particular dreamers. Most immediately, though, it is the story of one man - of a marriage foundering and recuperating in its mystery and ordinariness, of the shallows and depths of male friendship, of mourning and memory. Joseph O'Neill's prose, in its conscientiousness and beauty, involves us utterly in the struggle for meaning that governs any single life.

Great cricket novels can be counted on one hand! Netherland looks as if it may top the lot!' Observer Sports 'O'Neill is an elegant stylist and his sensibility is engagingly wry!Netherland is paced like a thriller, but resolution of the mystery of Chuck's death is beside the point. In its poise, bizarreness, moral ambiguity and preoccupation with perspective, this novel recalls Hitchcock: it is the kind of haunting book he might have made into a poignant film." The Telegraph 'O'Neill is a serious, honest, resolutely unflashy writer. Ramkisoon is a memorable creation, New York a vivid presence, and there is no doubting the book's integrity. But for this middle--aged cricketer, Hans's struggles were too familiar!The book, similarly, has long stretches of placid defence, and only occasionally flashing boundaries. In this era of Twenty 20, the crowd may become a little restless.' TLS 'New York is not what most people imagine it to be. Just as marriage, family, friendship and manhood are not. Netherland is suspensful, artful, psychologically pitch-perfect, and a wonderful read. But more than any of that, it's revelatory. Joseph O'Neill has managed to paint the most famous city in the world, and the most familiar concept in the world (love) in an entirely new way.' Jonathan Safran Foer 'O'Neill writes a prose of Banvillean grace and beauty, shimmering with truthfulness, as poised as it unsettling. As well, this is a story that is hard to put down, for its characters are so real and their preoccupations so urgently of the now, that the book has the vividness of breaking news. He is a master of the long sentence, of the half-missed moment, of the strange archeology of the troubled marriage. Many have tried to write a great American novel. Joseph O'Neill has succeeded.' Joseph O'Connor 'Somewhere between the towns of Saul Bellow and Ian McEwan, O'Neill has pitched his miraculous tent ! The reader, almost imperceptibly, becomes little by little scorched by the novel's brilliance, irradiated by it, benignly." Sebastian Barry

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The Informers
Juan Gabriel Vasquez (translator: Anne McLean)

When Gabriel Santoro publishes his first book, "A Life in Exile", it never occurs to him that his father, a distinguished professor of rhetoric, will write a devastating review in a leading newspaper. The subject seems inoffensive enough: the life of a German Jewish woman (a close family friend) who arrived in Colombia shortly before the Second World War. So why does his father attack him so viciously? Do the pages of his book unwittingly hide some dangerous secret?As Gabriel sets out to discover what lies behind his father's anger, he finds himself undertaking an examination of the duplicity, guilt and obsession at the heart of Colombian society in World War II, when the introduction of blacklists of German immigrants corrupted and destroyed many lives. Half a century later, in a gripping narrative that unpacks like a set of Russian dolls, one treacherous act perpetrated in those dark days returns with a vengeance, leading the reader towards a literal, moral and metaphorical cliff edge. With a tightly honed plot, deftly crafted situations, and a cast of complex and varied characters, "The Informers" is a fascinating novel of callous betrayal, complicit secrecy and the long quest for redemption in a secular, cynical world. It heralds the arrival of a major literary talent.

'The historical reading that springs from a personal conflict, the background of a witchhunt on the outskirts of the Second World War, political fanatism and a secret prowling around in the protagonist's biography, are aspects that maintain the afinity of this novel with 'I Married a Communist', by Philip Roth ' Javier Aparicio, El Pais, Madrid 'A truly magnificent book, luminous, poignant, lucid and intelligent. It has obvious parallels with Schlink's 'The Reader' Vasquez creates a fiction which is complex and allusive, a delicate creation of artifice and ineffable truth.' Frank Wynne, translator of Michel Houellbecq 'Vasquez has created a perfect structure for his novel, the narrative in constant motion, as if interior turmoil were affecting the settings and scenes as they proceed. Each and every one of his characters is memorable' J.A. Masoliver Rodenas, La Vanguardia, Barcelona.

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Portrait with Keys
Ivan Vladislavic

ISBN: 9781846270598
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd

In the wake of Apartheid, Johannesburg is changed - still divided, but now as much by poverty and violence as by race. Ivan Vladislavic roams this uneasy landscape of alarms and security guards, exploring the jagged, contested boundaries between those who lock themselves away and those who remain outside, and with each step his city comes closer within our reach.

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The Trader, the Owner, the Slave
James Walvin

James Walvin

ISBN: 9780224061445
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Vintage

There has been nothing like Atlantic slavery. About twelve million Africans loaded onto the notorious slave ships, marshalled and transported in unbearable conditions to work the tropical lands of the Americas was a form of oppression, driven by economics on a global scale, which lasted for the best part of four centuries. The story of slavery embraces the lives of many millions of people: Africans, Europeans and Americans. Its scope and the ways in which it has shaped the modern world are so far-reaching as to make it ungraspable. This book therefore takes a unique course. It focuses on the lives of three individuals caught up in the enterprise of human enslavement - a trader, John Newton, an owner, Thomas Thistlewood, and a slave, Olaudah Equiano. Their parallel lives are microcosms of the larger story: together they provide an account of slavery at its peak and how it was finally brought to its knees. John Newton (1725-1807), best known as the author of "Amazing Grace", was a slave captain who marshalled his human cargoes with a brutality that he looked back on with shame and contrition. Thomas Thistlewood (1721-86) lived his life in a remote corner of western Jamaica and his unique diary provides some of the most revealing images of a slave owner's life in the most valuable of all British slave colonies. Olaudah Equiano (1745-97) was practically unknown thirty years ago, but is now an iconic figure in black history and his experience as a slave speaks out for lives of millions who went unrecorded. All three men were contemporaries; they even came close to each other at different points of the Atlantic compass. But what held them together, in its destructive gravitational pull, was the Atlantic slave system. As the 200th anniversary of abolition draws near, a profusion of events and commemorations in Britain and abroad will mark the occasion. This book will offer a new view and a fresh interpretation of the world of slavery which, in 1807, was destined to end.

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