Kingsolver, who had not published a novel in nine years, said she was “stunned and thrilled” as she received the 30,000 pound ($45,000 ) prize — open to any novel by a woman published in English — at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
“We chose The Lacuna because it is a book of breathtaking scale and shattering moments of poignancy” Daisy Goodwin, chair of judges said.
‘You had better write all this in your notebook, she said, the story of what happened to us in Mexico. So when nothing is left of us but bones, someone will know where we went.’
The Lacuna is a gripping story of identity, connection with our past, and the power of words to create or devastate. Crossing two decades, from the vibrant revolutionary murals of Mexico City to the halls of a Congress bent on eradicating the colour red, The Lacuna is as deep and rich as the New World itself.
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England, 31st August 1939: the world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic childless couple.
Soon Anna gets drawn into their unravelling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes – and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair, with unforeseen consequences. A story of longing, loss and complicated loyalties, combining a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, The Very Thought of You is not just a love story but a story about love. Buy Now.
“This is a stunning crime noir read from début author, and it has been getting a lot of attention overseas. Black Water Rising is laid out so clearly you can feel the sweat of the Bayou heat trickling down between your shoulder blades, you can see the marshes oozing, you can feel the pulse in the temple of its hero, journeyman Afro American lawyer Jay Porter.
Attica Locke weaves a tangled web of murder and intrigue, court room drama, set-up and counter set-up, unholy alliance of politics and business. Most of all, she tells a story of a man held ransom by his past. And Porter’s past plunges straight right back to the birth, and some might say abrupt strangling, of the civil rights movement in America.
Attica Locke has been getting a lot of attention for her début novel, and a lot of excellent reviews. With an action-oriented plot she has made a tight, tense thriller out of it, a story where the big picture is just as menacing as the personal drama. Talk about the sins of the father being visited on the son. I couldn’t put this one down.” Toni Whitmont, Booktopia BUZZ Editor-in Chief. Buy Now.
Go backstage during the most dramatic period in English history: the reign of Henry VIII.
England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor.
From one of our finest living writers, WOLF HALL is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion, suffering and courage. Buy Now.
With America quietly gearing up for war in the Middle East, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, a ‘half-Jewish’ farmer’s daughter from the plains of the Midwest, has come to university – escaping her provincial home to encounter the complex world of culture and politics. When she takes a job as a part-time nanny to a couple who seem at once mysterious and glamorous, Tassie is drawn into the life of their newly-adopted child and increasingly complicated household. As her past becomes increasingly alien to her – her parents seem older when she visits; her disillusioned brother ever more fixed on joining the military – Tassie finds herself becoming a stranger to herself.
As the year unfolds, love leads her to new and formative experiences – but it is then that the past and the future burst forth in dramatic and shocking ways. Refracted through the eyes of this memorable narrator, A Gate at the Stairs is a lyrical, beguiling and wise novel of our times. Buy Now.
When George and Sabine Harwood arrive in Trinidad from England as young newlyweds, they have with them just a couple of suitcases and Sabine’s prized green bicycle. Their intention is to stay for not more than three years, but George falls in love with the island. Sabine, however, is ill at ease with the racial segregation and unrest in her new home, and takes solace in the freedom of her green bicycle.
George and Sabine become more entangled in their life on the island – in all its passion and betrayals – and Sabine’s bicycle takes her places she wouldn’t otherwise go. One day George makes a discovery that forces him to realise the extent of the secrets between them, and is seized by an urgent, desperate need to prove his love for her – with tragic consequences. Buy Now.
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About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.