The profound emotion felt around the world upon seeing images of Notre-Dame in flames opens up a series of questions: Why was everyone so deeply moved? Why does Notre-Dame so clearly crystallise what our civilisation is about? What makes ‘Our Lady of Paris’ the soul of a nation and a symbol of human achievement? What is it that speaks so directly to us today? In answer, Agnès Poirier turns to the defining moments in Notre-Dame’s history. Beginning with the laying of the corner stone in 1163, she recounts the conversion of Henri IV to Catholicism, the coronation of Napoleon, Victor Hugo’s nineteenth-century campaign to preserve the cathedral, Baron Haussmann’s clearing of the streets in front of it, the Liberation in 1944, the 1950s film of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, starring Gina Lollobrigida and Anthony Quinn, and the state funeral of Charles de Gaulle, before returning to the present. The conflict over Notre-Dame’s reconstruction promises to be fierce. Nothing short of a cultural war is already brewing between the wise and the daring, the sincere and the opportunist, historians and militants, the devout and secularists. It is here that Poirier reveals the deep malaise – gilet jaunes and all – at the heart of the France. Publishing in hardback 2nd April. Cover design by
🐒 Who are we? What do we value? How do we live here? Guided by parents, carers, teachers and siblings, we learn to answer these questions as we grow up. But it’s not just us. Many animals must learn to answer them too. In Becoming Wild, Carl Safina reveals that culture, long thought exclusive to humankind, is abundant in the animal kingdom. Sperm whales in the Caribbean communicate through a system of clicks akin to Morse code, announcing which clan they belong to, which family and who they are individually. Among chimpanzees the obsession with male status may guarantee violence, even war, but they also have many ways to quell tensions. As Safina shows, the better we understand the animals with whom we share this planet, the less different from us they seem. Publishing 9th April in hardback!
🌊 Beyond the Sea is a powerful novel from the author of Grace, winner of the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year. Hector and Bolivar set sail from their South American fishing village on what they believe to be a routine expedition. But then a devastating storm casts them adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. With no means of contacting the outside world and no sign of rescue, their only hope lies with one another. Both men must confront the truth about themselves, and the regrets that they have spent a lifetime trying to forget, if they are to survive. Part gripping story of resilience, part fearless existential parable, Beyond the Sea is a meditation on what it means to be human, in a world that pushes us to the brink. Publishing in paperback 2nd April.
Black River is an electrifying return for relentless reporter Tuva Moodyson, from the author of Dark Pines and Red Snow. FEAR Tuva’s been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy Yamnim is missing. SECRETS Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts? LIES Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. The only question is who will be there to save Tuva?
You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here is a captivating, dark portrayal of youth, friendship and the fine line that separates admiration from envy ... Katie, Maeve and Evelyn – friends forever, united by their childhood games and their dreams of escaping the tiny Irish town of Glenbruff. Outspoken, unpredictable and intoxicating, Evelyn is the undisputed leader of the trio. That is, until the beautiful, bold Pamela Cooney arrives from Dublin and changes Glenbruff forever... Filled with unforgettable characters and crackling dialogue, You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here takes a keen-eyed look at the complexities of female friendship, the corrosive power of jealousy and guilt, and the way that life can quietly erode our dreams unless we're willing to fight for them. Published in hardback 26th March. Review copies are available! Cover design by @hayleywarnham
It is time to change how we think about Africa. If you boil a kettle twice today, you will have used five times more electricity than a person in Mali uses in a whole year. How can that be possible? Decades after the colonial powers withdrew Africa is still struggling to catch up with the rest of the world. When the same colonists withdrew from Asia there followed several decades of sustained and unprecedented growth throughout the continent. So what went wrong in Africa? And are we helping to fix it, or simply making matters worse? In this provocative analysis, Tom Young argues that so much has been misplaced: our guilt, our policies, and our aid. Human rights have become a cover for imposing our values on others, our shiniest infrastructure projects have fuelled corruption and our interference in domestic politics has further entrenched conflict. Only by radically changing how we think about Africa can we escape this vicious cycle. Publishing in paperback in March 2020.
A huge congratulations to Jing-Jing Lee and How We Disappeared on being longlisted for the @womensprize 2020! Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked. Only three survivors remain, one of them a tiny child. In a neighbouring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is bundled into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel. In the year 2000, her mind is still haunted by her experiences there, but she has long been silent about her memories of that time. It takes twelve-year-old Kevin, and the mumbled confession he overhears from his ailing grandmother, to set in motion a journey into the unknown to discover the truth. Weaving together two timelines and two life-changing secrets, How We Disappeared is an evocative, profoundly moving and utterly dazzling novel heralding the arrival of a new literary star. How We Disappeared is out now in paperback!
NOTHING BEGINS WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT DID ... 🦖 Over billions of years, fish evolved to walk on land, reptiles transformed into birds that fly, and ape-like primates changed into humans who walk on two legs, talk and write. This is a story full of surprises. If you think that feathers arose to help animals fly, or lungs to help them walk on land, you’d be in good company. You’d also be entirely wrong. Neil Shubin delves deep into the mystery of life, the ongoing revolutions in our understanding of how we got here, and brings us closer to answering one of the great questions – was life on earth inevitable…or was it all an accident? Published March 2020. Cover design by Ben Summers.
Little Eyes is longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2020! Congratulations to author Samanta Schweblin and translator Megan McDowell 🐼 @thebookerprizes They've infiltrated homes in Hong Kong, shops in Vancouver, the streets of Sierra Leone, town squares of Oaxaca, schools in Tel Aviv, bedrooms in Indiana. They're not pets, nor ghosts, nor robots. They're real people, but how can a person living in Berlin walk freely through the living room of someone in Sydney? How can someone in Bangkok have breakfast with your children in Buenos Aires, without you knowing? Especially when these people are completely anonymous, unknown, untraceable. Trusting strangers can lead to unexpected love, playful encounters and marvellous adventures, but what if it can also pave the way for unimaginable terror? Schweblin has created a dark and complex world that is both familiar but also strangely unsettling, because it's our present and we're living it – we just don't know it yet. Publishing in hardback. Proof is pictured - finished copies coming soon, and available to preorder now! Cover design by Ben Summers.
For over two thousand years, the world has experimented with democracy. But can it really work – especially in complex modern societies? Democracy today is widely regarded as an ideal form of government. Yet in practice it sometimes seems a sham, a political puppet show in which hidden elites pull all the strings. As trust in elected representatives around the world plunges, it is no wonder that democratic revolts have erupted – from Cairo to Kiev and beyond – in an effort to ‘take back control’. In this urgent and lively history, James Miller reminds us that democracy has always generated tensions and contradictions. In different times and different places – from ancient Athens to revolutionary France to post-war America – its meaning has shifted in surprising ways. * Published in paperback in March. Cover design by @hayleywarnham
Bea's five-year-old daughter, Agnes, is wasting away, ravaged by the smog and pollution of the overdeveloped, overpopulated metropolis they call home. Bea knows she cannot stay in the city, but there is only one alternative: The Wilderness State. This vast expanse of unwelcoming, untamed land is untouched by mankind. Until now. Somewhere between a science experiment and a refugee, Bea and Agnes slowly learn how to live in this unpredictable, often dangerous land. But as Agnes embraces this radically free new existence, Bea realises that her bond with her daughter will be tested in ways she could never have foreseen. * Publishing in hardback in August. Proofs available now, with proof design by Ben Summers.
Patsy yearns to escape the beautiful but impoverished Jamaican town where she was raised for a new life in New York and the chance to start afresh. Above all, she hopes to be reunited with her oldest friend, Cicely, and to rekindle their young love. But spreading her wings will come at a price: she must leave her five-year-old daughter, Tru, behind. And Patsy is soon confronted by the stark reality of life as an undocumented migrant in a hostile city. Daring, tender and profound, this is the story of one woman's fight to discover her sense of self in a world that tries to define her, and of the lasting threads of love stretching across years and oceans. * Published in paperback next month. Cover design by @hayleywarnham