Whether you are packing a book in your suitcase and after some in-situ reading or if you are staying at home and travelling vicariously through books, we’ve chosen some fiction that will take you places:
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman £8.99
Where it will take you: Glasgow, Scotland
Eleanor Oliphant wears the same clothes to work every day, eats the same meal deal for lunch every day and buys the same two bottles of vodka to drink every weekend. Nothing is missing from her carefully timetabled life. Except, sometimes, everything.
One simple act of kindness is about to shatter the walls Eleanor has built around herself. Now she must learn how to navigate the world that everyone else seems to take for granted – while searching for the courage to face the dark corners she’s avoided all her life.
Change can be good. Change can be bad. But surely any change is better than… fine?
An astonishing story that powerfully depicts the loneliness of life, and the simple power of a little kindness.
Hummingbird by Tristan Hughes £8.99
Where it will take you: The Canadian Wilderness
Winner of the 2018 Edward Stanford Travel Writing Award for Fiction with a Sense of Place.
Beside a lake in the northern Canadian wilderness, fifteen-year-old Zachary lives a lonely and isolated life with his father. His only neighbours are a leech trapper, an eccentric millionaire, and an expert in snow. But then one summer the enigmatic and shape-shifting Eva arrives in search of the remains of her parents and together they embark on a strange and disconcerting journey of discovery. Nothing at Sitting Down Lake is quite as it seems. The forest hides ruins and mysteries; the past can never be fully understood. And as Zach and Eva make their way through this haunted landscape, they move ever closer towards an acceptance of what in the end is lost and what can truly be found.
In his fourth novel, award-winning author Tristan Hughes returns to the landscape of his youth in this vivid and poetic coming-of-age story about death, life, and the changes they bring. Set against the harsh, unforgiving beauty of the forests of northern Ontario, Hummingbird unravels a moving tale of loss, absence and redemption.
Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman £8.99
Where it will take you: The Italian Riviera
Now a major motion picture from the makers of A Bigger Splash. During a restless summer on the Italian Riviera, a powerful romance blooms between seventeen-year-old Elio and his father’s house guest, Oliver. Unrelenting currents of obsession and fear, fascination and desire threaten to overwhelm the lovers who at first feign indifference to the charge between them. What grows from the depths of their souls is a romance of scarcely six weeks’ duration, and an experience that marks them for a lifetime. For what the two discover on the Riviera and during a sultry evening in Rome is the one thing they both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
Elmet by Fiona Mozley £8.99
Where it will take you: Yorkshire
Daniel is heading north. He is looking for someone. The simplicity of his early life with Daddy and Cathy has turned sour and fearful. They lived apart in the house that Daddy built for them with his bare hands. They foraged and hunted. When they were younger, Daniel and Cathy had gone to school. But they were not like the other children then, and they were even less like them now. Sometimes Daddy disappeared, and would return with a rage in his eyes. But when he was at home he was at peace. He told them that the little copse in Elmet was theirs alone. But that wasn’t true. Local men, greedy and watchful, began to circle like vultures. All the while, the terrible violence in Daddy grew.
Atmospheric and unsettling, Elmet is a lyrical commentary on contemporary society and one family’s precarious place in it, as well as an exploration of how deep the bond between father and child can go.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward £8.99
Where it will take you: Mississippi
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children’s father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can’t put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.
When the children’s father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
Rich with Ward’s distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America. It is a majestic new work from an extraordinary and singular author.
Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg £8.99
Where it will take you: Poland
Wiola lives in a close-knit agricultural community. Wiola has a black cat called Blackie. Wiola’s father was a deserter but now he is a taxidermist. Wiola’s mother tells her that killing spiders brings on storms. Wiola must never enter the seamstress’s ‘secret’ room. Wiola collects matchbox labels. Wiola is a good Catholic girl brought up with fables and nurtured on superstition. Wiola lives in a Poland that is both very recent and lost in time.Swallowing Mercury is about the ordinary passing of years filled with extraordinary days. In vivid prose filled with texture, colour and sound, it describes the adult world encroaching on the child’s. From childhood to adolescence, Wiola dances to the strange music of her own imagination.
Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore £8.99
Where it will take you: Bristol
Lizzie Fawkes has grown up in Radical circles where each step of the French Revolution is followed with eager idealism.
But she has recently married John Diner Tredevant, a property developer who is heavily invested in Bristol’s housing boom, and he has everything to lose from social upheaval and the prospect of war. Soon his plans for a magnificent terrace built above the two-hundred-foot drop of the Gorge come under threat.
Diner believes that Lizzie’s independent, questioning spirit must be coerced and subdued. She belongs to him: law and custom confirm it, and she must live as he wants.
In a tense drama of public and private violence, resistance and terror, Diner’s passion for Lizzie darkens until she finds herself dangerously alone.
The Ice by Laline Paull £8.99
Where it will take you: The Arctic
A frozen corpse emerges from a melting glacier and after three years of uncertainty, Sean Cawson can finally put the past behind him. Tom Harding, Sean’s friend of thirty years was lost in an accident and Sean was the last person to see him alive.
Tom’s body is not the only secret hidden in the ice. As global businesses and global powers jostle for territory in this new, lawless frontier there are big opportunities for those with the courage – or mendacity – to seize them. And equally big risks.
For years Sean has navigated these dangerous waters, loving the glamour and influence they bring. But as the inquest into Tom’s death begins, the choices made by both men – in love and in life – are put on the stand. Soon everything Sean has believed about his friends, his position and himself is thrown into question.
Just how deep do the lies go?
The Girl From Venice by Martin Cruz Smith £8.99
Where it will take you: Venice, Italy
From the internationally bestselling author of Gorky Park comes a suspenseful World War II story set against the beauty, mystery and danger of occupied Venice, 1945. The war may be waning, but the city known as La Serenissima is still occupied and the people of Italy fear the power of the Third Reich. One night, under a canopy of stars, a fisherman named Cenzo finds a young woman’s body floating in the lagoon and soon discovers that she is still alive and in trouble.
Born to a wealthy Jewish family, Giulia is on the run from the Wehrmacht SS. Cenzo chooses to protect Giulia – an act of kindness that leads them into the world of Partisans, Mussolini’s broken promises, and, everywhere, the enigmatic maze of the Venice Lagoon.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles £8.99
Where it will take you: Moscow, Russia
On 21 June 1922 Count Alexander Rostov – recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt – is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol.
But instead of being taken to his usual suite, he is led to an attic room with a window the size of a chessboard. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely.
While Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval, the Count, stripped of the trappings that defined his life, is forced to question what makes us who we are. And with the assistance of a glamorous actress, a cantankerous chef and a very serious child, Rostov unexpectedly discovers a new understanding of both pleasure and purpose.
The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada £9.99
Where it will take you: Tokyo, Japan
Yoshiro celebrated his hundredth birthday many years ago, but every morning before work he still goes running in the park with his rent-a-dog. He is one of the many aged-elderly in Japan and he might, he thinks, live forever. Life for Yoshiro isn’t as simple as it used to be. Pollution and natural disasters have scarred the face of the Earth, and even common foods are hard to come by. Still, Yoshiro’s only real worry is the future of his great-grandson Mumei, who, like other children of his generation, was born frail and grey-haired, old before he was ever young. As daily life in Tokyo grows harder, a secretive organisation embarks on an audacious plan to find a cure for the children of Japan – might Yoshiro’s great-grandson, Mumei, be the key? A dreamlike story of filial love and glimmering hope, The Last Children of Tokyo is a delicate glimpse of our future from one of Japan’s most celebrated writers.
Outline by Rachel Cusk £8.99
Where it will take you: Athens
Outline is a novel in ten conversations. Spare and lucid, it follows a novelist teaching a course in creative writing over an oppressively hot summer in Athens. She leads her student in storytelling exercises. She meets other writers for dinner. She goes swimming in the Ionian Sea with her seatmate from the plane. The people she encounters speak volubly about themselves, their fantasies, anxieties, pet theories, regrets, and longings. And through these disclosures, a portrait of the narrator is drawn by contrast, a portrait of a woman learning to face a great loss.
Outline is the first book in a short and yet epic cycle – a masterful trilogy which will be remembered as one of the most significant achievements of our times.
All these books are included in our current buy one, get one half price offer. You can view the full list here.