THE GREAT WIDE OPEN
"All families are secret societies. Realms of intrigue and internal warfare, governed by their own rules . . ."
It's 1980s New York. Heady, excessive times. Alice Burns - a young book editor - is deep into a manuscript about the morass of family life. The observations resonates, perhaps because she has just watched her own family implode.
Thus begins a great American epic which follows Alice as she navigates high school bullying, first love and sexism at an elite college, a spell in 1970's Ireland, and a tragedy that sends her stateside as the US embraces a cowboy actor named Reagan. But it is also the tale of her endlessly complex parents and brothers; how their destinies are written by the lies they tell themselves and others.
THE BLUE HOUR
Robin knew Paul wasn’t perfect. But he said they were so lucky to have found each other, and she believed it was true. When he suggests a month in Morocco—where he once lived and worked, a place where the modern meets the medieval—Robin reluctantly agrees.
Once immersed into the swirling, white-hot exotica of a walled city on the North African Atlantic coast, Robin finds herself acclimatizing to its wonderful strangeness. Paul is everything she wants him to be—passionate, talented, knowledgeable. She is convinced that it is here that she will finally become pregnant.
But then Paul suddenly disappears, and Robin finds herself the prime suspect in the police inquiry. As her understanding of the truth starts to unravel, Robin lurches from the crumbling art deco of Casablanca to the daunting Sahara, caught in an increasingly terrifying spiral from which there is no easy escape.
When an opportunity arises to attend a weekend medical conference in Boston, Laura jumps at this respite from home. While checking in, she meets a man as gray and uninspired as her drab hotel room. Richard is an outwardly dull, fifty something insurance salesman. But during a chance second encounter, Laura discovers him to be surprisingly complex and thoughtful, someone who, like herself, is grappling with the same big questions about decisions made and the human capacity for self-entrapment.
Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced American writer living a very private life in Maine. Until, one wintry morning, his solitude is disrupted by the arrival of a package postmarked Berlin.
But what is more unsettling is the name accompanying the return address on the package: Petra Dussmann. For she is the woman with whom Thomas had an intense love affair twenty-five years before in a divided Berlin, where people lived fearfully under the shadows of the Cold War.
And so Thomas is forced to grapple with a past he has always kept hidden. For Petra Dussman was a refugee from the police state of East Germany. And her tragic secrets were to re-write both their destinies.
LEAVING THE WORLD
On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents: she would never get married, and she would never have children.
Leaving the World is a riveting portrait of a brilliant woman that reflects the way we live now, of the many routes we follow in the course of a single life, and of the arbitrary nature of destiny. A critically acclaimed international bestseller, it is also a compulsive read and one that speaks volumes about the dilemmas we face in trying to navigate our way through all that fate throws in our path.
THE WOMAN IN THE FIFTH
Harry Ricks is a man who has lost everything. A romantic mistake at the small American college where he used to teach has cost him his job, his marriage, and the love of his only child. Hounded by scandal, he flees to Paris, where a series of accidental encounters lands him in a grubby room with a job as night watchman for a sinister operation. Just when he begins to think he has hit rock bottom, romance enters his life in the form of Margit—a cultivated, widowed Hungarian émigré who shares Harry’s profound loneliness but who keeps her distance, remaining guarded about her past. As Harry wrestles with Margit’s reticence, he begins to notice that all those who have recently done him wrong are meeting unfortunate ends—and it soon becomes apparent that he has stumbled into a nightmare from which there is no escape.
Like all would-be Hollywood screenwriters, David Armitage wants to be rich and famous. But for the past eleven years, he’s tasted nothing but failure. Then, out of nowhere, big-time luck comes his way when one of his scripts is bought for television. Before you can say “overnight success,” he’s the new toast of Hollywood as the creator of a hit series. Suddenly a major player, he finds that he’s reinventing himself at a great speed, especially when it comes to walking out on his wife and daughter for a young producer who worships only at the altar of ambition.
But David’s upward mobility takes a decidedly strange turn when a billionaire film buff named Philip Fleck barges into his life, proposing a very curious collaboration. David takes the bait and suddenly finds himself inadvertently entering into a Faustian pact and an express ride to the lower depths of the Hollywood jungle.
STATE OF THE UNION
Hannah Buchan leads an orderly life in a small town in Maine — a schoolteacher, married to a doctor, with two grown up children. However, her past conceals a dark secret.
Set amid two wildly contrasting periods of recent American life — the militant 60s and 70s, and the new-found conservatism of today — State of the Union is a remarkable portrait of one woman’s attempts to find her own way in the shifting political currents of her time. But it is also an intriguing portrait of the complexities of a long marriage, the ongoing guilt of parenthood, the perpetual tension between familial responsibility and personal freedom, and the divisive debate between liberal and conservative values that so engulfs the United States today.
A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
Thirty-seven-year-old American journalist Sally Goodchild quite literally married her hero. Both foreign correspondents, both on assignment in Cairo, they quickly fell in love and settled into domestic life in London. From the outset, Sally’s relationship with both Tony and his hometown was an uneasy one—as she found both to be far more unfamiliar than imagined. But her adjustment problems are soon overshadowed by a troubled pregnancy. When she goes into premature labor, there are doubts whether her child will survive unscathed. And then, out of nowhere, Sally is hit by an appalling postpartum depression—a descent into a temporary, but very personal hell, which even sees her articulating a homicidal thought against her baby. However, when she does manage to extricate herself from this desperate state, she finds herself in a fresh new nightmare, as she discovers that the man she thought knew her better than anyone—loved her more than anyone—now considers her an unfit mother and wants to bar her from ever seeing her child again.
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
Manhattan, Thanksgiving eve, 1945. The war is over, and Eric Smythe’s party was in full swing. All his clever Greenwich Village friends were there. So too was his sister Sara, an independent, outspoken young woman, starting to make her way in the big city. And then in walked Jack Malone, a U.S. Army journalist just back from a defeated Germany, a man whose world view was vastly different than that of Eric and his friends. This chance meeting between Sara and Jack and the choices they both made in the wake of it would eventually have profound consequences, both for themselves and for those closest to them for decades afterwards. Set amidst the dynamic optimism of postwar New York and the subsequent nightmare of the McCarthy era, The Pursuit of Happiness is a great, tragic love story; a tale of divided loyalties, decisive moral choices and the random workings of destiny.
An adrenaline-pumping story that also delivers surprisingly shrewd ruminations on the frustrations of modern life. Brutally fired after several years of working for a successful computer magazine, Ned Allen desperately solicits employment from a somewhat disreputable real estate tycoon. All too soon, he realizes the terrible, irrevocable repercussions of his Faustian bargain.
THE BIG PICTURE
Ben Bradford is a Wall Street lawyer living a comfortable life in Connecticut, with a wife and two small children, but he seems to be heading, rather early, for a midlife crisis. He had always wanted to be a photographer, still putters around at it, but feels his life is ebbing away. Beth, his wife, a frustrated novelist, is increasingly estranged from him. Then Ben discovers she has taken a lover-ironically, another failed photographer-and in a confrontation with the man, Gary Summers, Ben's accumulated rage leads to a moment of murderous madness. Both Beth's infatuation with Gary and Ben's maniacal rage seem rather out of character, but with that caveat, the rest of this headlong novel grips like a vise as Ben carefully covers up his crime, disappears and takes on his victim's identity.
THE DEAD HEART
That dumbshit map. I'd been seduced by it. Seduced by its possibilities. That map had brought me here ...That map had been a serious mistake' The map in question is of Australia, stumbled across in a second-hand bookshop by American journalist Nick Hawthorne, en route to another dead-end hack job in Akron, Ohio. Seduced by all that wilderness, all that NOTHING, Nick decides to put his midlife crisis on hold and light out to the ultimate nowheresville - where a chance encounter throws him into a sun-baked orgy of surf, sex and swill, and a nightmare from which there is no escape.