In the Notting Hill of the early 70s we rediscover Moses Aloetta, last seen twenty years before in Selvon’s masterpiece, The Lonely Londoners. In the fifties, Moses was a reluctant “welfare officer” for new arrivals from the islands, grumbling as he helped people find their feet in the Mother Country. Now he’s installed as the tin-pot monarch of a tumble-down terraced house in Shepherd’s Bush.

There is something of the shipwrecked mariner about Moses, washed up on a cold and lonely shore, making do with … More

Summerwater is a devastating story told over twenty-four hours in the Scottish highlands, and a searing exploration of our capacity for both kinship and cruelty in these divided times. On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents. A woman goes running up the Ben as if fleeing; a retired couple reminisce about neighbours long since moved on; a teenage boy braves the dark waters of the loch in his red kayak. Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them.

One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention … More

Between Beirut And The Moon is the exuberant and hilarious debut from the hugely talented young Lebanese author, Naji Bakhti. A young boy comes of age within the confines of post-civil-war Beirut, with conflict, and comedy lurking round every corner. Adam dreams of becoming an astronaut but who has ever heard of an Arab on the moon? He battles with his father, a book-hoarding journalist with a penchant for writing eulogies, his closest friend, Basil, a Druze who is said to worship goats and believe in reincarnation, and a host of other misfits and miscreants in a city attempting recover from years of political and military violence.

Adam’s youth oscillates from laugh out loud escapades, to near death encounters, as he struggles to understand the turbulent and … More

Set in turn-of-the-century New York, E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime seamlessly blends fictional characters and realistic depictions of historical figures to bring to life the events that defined American history in the years before the First World War. Welcome to America at the turn of the 20th century, where the rhythms of ragtime set the beat. Harry Houdini astonishes audiences with magical feats of escape, the mighty J. P. Morgan dominates the financial world and Henry Ford manufactures cars by making men into machines..

Emma Goldman preaches free love and feminism, while ex-chorus girl Evelyn Nesbitt inspires a mad millionaire to murder the architect … More

In A Thousand Ships, broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes retells the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective, for fans of Madeline Miller and Pat Barker. This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of them all . . . In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames…

..Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen. From the Trojan … More

Midhat Kamal – dreamer, romantic, aesthete – leaves Palestine in 1914 to study medicine in France, under the tutelage of Dr Molineu. He falls deeply in love with Jeannette, the doctor’s daughter. But Midhat soon discovers that everything is fragile: love turns to loss, friends become enemies and everyone is looking for a place to belong.

Through Midhat’s eyes we see the tangled politics and personal tragedies of a turbulent era – the Palestinian struggle for … More

‘To Sir, With Love’, is a 1959 autobiographical novel by E. R. Braithwaite set in the East End of London. The novel is based on true events concerned with Braithwaite taking up a teaching post in a school there. In 1945, Rick Braithwaite, a smart, highly educated ex-RAF pilot, looks for a job in British engineering. He is deeply shocked to realise that, as a black man from British Guiana, no one will employ him because of the colour of his skin..

.. In desperation he turns to teaching, taking a job in a tough East End school, and left to govern … More

An unnamed narrator, recently bereaved, travels to Olevano, a small village south-east of Rome. It is winter, & from her temporary residence on a hill between village & cemetery, she embarks on walks & outings, exploring the banal & the sublime with equal dedication & intensity. Seeing, describing, naming the world around her is her way of redefining her place within it. Written in a rich & poetic style, Grove is an exquisite novel of grief, love & landscapes.

‘The language and atmosphere is again redolent of Kinsky’s compatriot WG Sebald, the much-missed psychogeographer. With Grove, she has reached … More

Doggerland is a superbly gripping debut novel about loneliness & hope, nature & survival – set on an off-shore windfarm in the not-so-distant future. ‘His father’s breath had been loud in the small room. It had smelled smoky, or maybe more like dust. He had knotted & unknotted a strap on the bag he was holding – he must have been leaving to go out to the farm that day. ‘I’ll get out,’ he’d said..

  ..’I’ll come back for you, ok?’ The boy remembered that; had always remembered it. And, for a time, he’d … More

First published OTD in 1949, George Orwell’s, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Thematically, 1984 centres on the consequences of government over-reach, totalitarianism, mass surveillance, and repressive regimentation of all persons and behaviours within society, The story takes place in an imagined future, the year 1984, when much of the world has fallen victim to perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance, historical negationism, and propaganda.

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from … More