A debut novel based on the extraordinary life of Jeannette Walls' maternal grandmother - a sassy, straight-talking heroine for whom saving lives, taming wild horses and beating ranch hands at poker are all in a day's work. Born in 1901 in the rolling grassland of West Texas, at the age of 15, with very little formal education, Lily Casey Smith left home to begin teaching in a frontier town, riding 500 miles on her beloved pony, Patch, all alone, to get to her job. She went on, with her husband, to run an 180,000 acre ranch in Arizona and to raise two children, one of whom is Jeannette's memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls. Readers will love and marvel at this intrepid woman, for her fearlessness, her courage, her wicked sense of humour. A true adventurer!
Now a major motion picture starring Brie Larson, Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson. This is a startling memoir of a successful journalist's journey from the deserted and dusty mining towns of the American Southwest, to an antique filled apartment on Park Avenue. Jeanette Walls narrates her nomadic and adventurous childhood with her dreaming, 'brilliant' but alcoholic parents. At the age of seventeen she escapes on a Greyhound bus to New York with her older sister; her younger siblings follow later. After pursuing the education and civilisation her parents sought to escape, Jeanette eventually succeeds in her quest for the 'mundane, middle class existence' she had always craved. In her apartment, overlooked by 'a portrait of someone else's ancestor' she recounts poignant remembered images of star watching with her father, juxtaposed with recollections of irregular meals, accidents and police-car chases and reveals her complex feelings of shame, guilt, pity and pride toward her parents.
A stunning, heartbreaking novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world - a triumph of imagination and storytelling. It is 1970. 'Bean' Holladay is twelve and her sister Liz fifteen when their artistic mother Charlotte, a woman who 'flees every place she's ever lived at the first sign of trouble', takes off to 'find herself'. She leaves the girls enough money for food to last a month or two. But when Bean gets home from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz board a bus from California to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying antebellum mansion that has been in the family for generations. An impetuous optimist, Bean discovers who her father was and learns many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, so Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Madox, foreman of the mill in town, a big man who bullies workers, tenants and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister, inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, non-conformist. But when school starts in the autumn, it is Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens between Liz and Maddox... 'Tragic and comic at the same time... an outrageous story, one that will break your heart' Sunday Independent 'There isn't a shred of self-pity in this deeply compassionate book' Marie Claire ***Half Broke Horses (S&S, 2009) 'Has immense power and readibility... What it does with aplomb is to track the birth of a nation: the conjuring of modern America from a scorched, dusty wasteland' The Times
WEST WITH THE NIGHT appeared on 13 bestseller lists on first publication in 1942. It tells the spellbinding story of Beryl Markham -- aviator, racehorse trainer, fascinating beauty -and her life in the Kenya of the 1920s and 30s. Markham was taken to Kenya at the age of four. As an adult she was befriended by Denys Finch-Hatton, the big-game hunter of OUT OF AFRICA fame, who took her flying in his airplane. Thrilled by the experience, Markham went on to become the first woman in Kenya to receive a commercial pilot's license. In 1936 she determined to fly solo across the Atlantic -- without stopping. When Charles Lindbergh did the same, he had the wind behind him. Markham, by contrast, had a strong headwind against her and a plane that only flew up to 163 mph. On 4 September, she took off ... Several days later, she crash-landed in Nova Scotia and became an instant celebrity.
College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same. Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder. As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory. Thread by thread, Joe unravels the tapestry of Carl’s conviction. But as he and Lila dig deeper into the circumstances of the crime, the stakes grow higher. Will Joe discover the truth before it’s too late to escape the fallout? From the Trade Paperback edition.
Frank McCourt's glorious childhood memoir, Angela's Ashes, has been loved and celebrated by readers everywhere for its spirit, its wit and its profound humanity. A tale of redemption, in which storytelling itself is the source of salvation, it won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Rarely has a book so swiftly found its place on the literary landscape. And now we have 'Tis, the story of Frank's American journey from impoverished immigrant to brilliant teacher and raconteur. Frank lands in New York at age nineteen, in the company of a priest he meets on the boat. He gets a job at the Biltmore Hotel, where he immediately encounters the vivid hierarchies of this "classless country," and then is drafted into the army and is sent to Germany to train dogs and type reports. It is Frank's incomparable voice -- his uncanny humor and his astonishing ear for dialogue -- that renders these experiences spellbinding. When Frank returns to America in 1953, he works on the docks, always resisting what everyone tells him, that men and women who have dreamed and toiled for years to get to America should "stick to their own kind" once they arrive. Somehow, Frank knows that he should be getting an education, and though he left school at fourteen, he talks his way into New York University. There, he falls in love with the quintessential Yankee, long-legged and blonde, and tries to live his dream. But it is not until he starts to teach -- and to write -- that Frank finds his place in the world. The same vulnerable but invincible spirit that captured the hearts of readers in Angela's Ashes comes of age. As Malcolm Jones said in his Newsweek review of Angela's Ashes, "It is only the best storyteller who can so beguile his readers that he leaves them wanting more when he is done...and McCourt proves himself one of the very best." Frank McCourt's 'Tis is one of the most eagerly awaited books of our time, and it is a masterpiece.
The New York Times bestseller - of how six bonobo apes change the lives of three humans, from master storyteller Sara Gruen, author of the international bestseller, Water for Elephants. These bonobos are no ordinary apes. Like others of their species, they are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships - but, unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language. Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn't understand people, but animals she gets, especially the bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she's ever felt among humans . . . until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what's really going on inside. When an explosion tears apart the lab, severly injuring Isabel and 'liberating' the apes to an unknown destination, John's human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime.
This unforgettable debut, set against the dramatic Antarctic landscape, is “refreshingly different, vivid and immediate. Midge Raymond has an extraordinary gift for description that puts the reader bang in the middle of its dangerous and endangered world” (M.L. Stedman, New York Times bestselling author of The Light Between Oceans). It is only among the glacial mountains, cleaving icebergs, and frigid waters of Antarctica that Deb Gardener and Keller Sullivan feel at home. For a few blissful weeks each year they study the habits of Emperor and Adelie penguins and find solace in their work and in one another. But Antarctica, like their fleeting romance, is a fragile place, imperiled by the world to the north. Each year, Deb and Keller play tour guide to the passengers on the small expedition ship that ferries them to their research station. But this year, when Keller fails to appear on board, Deb begins to reconsider their complicated past and the uncertainty of any future they might share. Then, shortly into the journey, Deb’s ship receives an emergency signal from The Australis, a cruise liner that has hit desperate trouble in the ice-choked waters of the Southern Ocean. Soon Deb’s role will change from researcher to rescuer; among the crew of that sinking ship, Deb learns, is Keller. As Deb and Keller’s troubled histories collide in this “original and entirely authentic love story” (Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project), Midge Raymond takes us on an unforgettable voyage deep into the wonders of the Antarctic and the mysteries of the human heart. My Last Continent is “a sensitive exploration of how the smallest action can ripple through an ecosystem—seemingly impenetrable, but as fragile as the human heart” (The Minneapolis Star-Tribune). “Atmospheric and adventurous...The story and vivid writing will keep readers glued to the pages” (Library Journal).
Mr. Exley, a schoolteacher in a dismal rural New York town, finds pleasure in rooting for the Giants and his own survival in modern American society
Regina’s Calcaterra memoir, Etched in Sand, is an inspiring and triumphant coming-of-age story of tenacity and hope. Regina Calcaterra is a successful lawyer, New York State official, and activist. Her painful early life, however, was quite different. Regina and her four siblings survived an abusive and painful childhood only to find themselves faced with the challenges of the foster-care system and intermittent homelessness in the shadows of Manhattan and the Hamptons. A true-life rags-to-riches story, Etched in Sand chronicles Regina’s rising above her past, while fighting to keep her brother and three sisters together through it all. Beautifully written, with heartbreaking honesty, Etched in Sand is an unforgettable reminder that regardless of social status, the American Dream is still within reach for those who have the desire and the determination to succeed.
My father comes into focus for me on a Liars' Club afternoon. He sits at a wobbly card table weighed down by a bottle. Even now the scene seems so real to me that I can't but write it in the present tense. Mary Karr grew up in a swampy East Texas refinery town in a volatile and defiantly loving family. In this funny, devastating, haunting memoir and with a raw and often painful honesty, she looks back at life with a painter mother, seven times married, whose outlaw spirit could tip over into psychosis, and a hard-drinking, fist-swinging father who liked nothing better than to spin tales with his cronies at the Liars' Club. When it was published in 1995, The Liars' Club raised the art of memoir to a new level and brought about a dramatic revival of the form. It is a classic that paints a harsh world redeemed by Karr's warmth, intelligent humour and finely spun prose; The Liars' Club is both heart-stopping and heart-felt.