Published by Dreambook Press
ISBN 9780998197906 (print)
ISBN 9780998197913 (ebook)
‘The past does not exist, so it cannot hurt me.’ How many desperate people, I wonder, have muttered some such mantra under their breaths in the hope they can stop brooding about things dead and buried? The trouble is, of course, very few things are dead and buried. Each of us lives with the consequences of the past; its deeds are all around us. And if we insulate ourselves from the pain it can cause, we can also miss out on its pleasures and joys.
The stories in Gnarled Bones are much concerned about the past’s persistence through time, whether through learned and internalized ways of seeing oneself and the world, as in the opening story, ‘Mother of Mischief’, or the power of a single event to derail a life, as in ‘Broken Bows’, or – implicitly and explicitly throughout – a semi-malevolent maternal love that seeks to control and cripple a child’s natural urge to explore and engage with the world.
Published by Lake Union Publishing
Edenland is the evocative title of an evocative novel set in the early days of the US Civil War. Its story plunges us into the Great Dismal Swamp that straddles Virginia and North Carolina, and never quite allows us to escape the treacherous waters that threaten to engulf its protagonists.
The Great Dismal and other swamps were places where runaway slaves could hide from their pursuers. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s second novel, after Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp (1856). Thus, the literary and historical sources of Edenland flow across the years in currents swift, deep and wide.
Published by Alma Classics
Translated by Kyril Zinovieff and Jenny Hughes
This is a wonderful new translation of Tolstoy’s great novel that should enthrall a new generation of readers. It is beautifully presented by Alma Classics, and includes an interesting preface and translators’ note, informative notes to the text and useful extra material on Tolstoy’s life and works. Continue reading
Published by Unsung Stories
Aliya Whiteley’s short novel begins with the sentence ‘I cannot sleep’ and ends with a stirring declaration of intent. In the hundred or so intervening pages we follow the development of Shirley Fearn, a schoolgirl who nurses a love for the teacher at her village school, the appropriately named Mr Tiller, who has been horrifically wounded in the First World War, recently ended (‘He isn’t a real man, of course, not after that injury’, says a village gossip). Shirley’s relationship with Mr Tiller, the exact nature of his injury and what it portends, and her own growth into awareness form the backbone of the novel, which is set in an isolated English rural community. Continue reading
Published by Holland Park Press
Themes of identity and belonging disturb the calm surface of Wendy Brandmark’s collection of short stories, which are set in Denver, New York and Boston in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Many of the stories concern characters who have been displaced geographically and emotionally: young or old, successful or unsuccessful, their lives have slipped their moorings. For some, it is because they have left part of themselves behind in the Old World, where memories of fear and suffering coexist with recollections of family and personal authenticity. For others – particularly the young – it is because they have moved to a different city and found or lost friends or lovers. Continue reading