A reading list from Vintage Books, including some old, some new and some to look forward to!
2016 marks 25 years since this stunning novel won the Man Booker Prize. He is born into a world of poverty, ignorance and injustice, but Azaro awakens with a smile on his face. Despite belonging to a spirit world made of enchantment, where there is no suffering, Azaro chooses to stay in the land of the Living: to feel it, endure it, know it and love it. This is his story.
Flitting from war-haunted Oxford to the bright new shallows of the 1960s, Freya plots the unpredictable course of a woman’s life and loves against a backdrop of Soho pornographers, theatrical peacocks, willowy models, priapic painters, homophobic blackmailers, political careerists.
A book of many and brilliant layers, The Bell is one of Murdoch’s finest. Dora Greenfield, erring wife, returns to live with her husband in a a lay community encamped outside Imber Abbey, home to a mysterious enclosed order of nuns. Watched over by its devout director and the discreet authority of the wise old Abbess, Imber Court is a haven for lost souls seeking tranquility. But then the lost Abbey bell, legendary symbol of religion and magic, is rediscovered, and hidden truths and desires are forced into the light.
Reminiscent of Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, the ‘Strawberry Girl’ is Johanne Lien, whose simple life of gathering berries to sell to tourists and posing barefoot for visiting artists changes dramatically when she is sent to work for a wealthy naval family. She finds herself acting as a go-between one Tullik Ihlen and Munch, a struggling and controversial artist.
Two young boys become close friends growing up in 1930s Germany. One is a German Jew, the other the son of a German aristocrat. Theirs is a friendship based upon long conversations and shared interests, but the world in which they live is much bigger than them and will have its way. It’s only 78 pages and has one of – if not the best – closing paragraphs of a novel ever.
The Girls by Emma Cline (coming June 2016)
California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life…. Hands down the book that best captures what it’s really like to be a teenaged girl.
If you’ve never read Toni Morrison before, this is the place to start. Set in the mid 1800s, just as slavery looks to be coming to an end, Sethe and her daughter Denver live in a house haunted by Sethe’s dead daughter, Beloved. Beloved is there to punish her mother, but also to seek her love; can Sethe give it to her without being consumed by it herself?
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (coming June 2016)
In the 400th year since Shakespeare’s death, Vinegar Girl is Anne Tyler’s take on the Bard's play The Taming of the Shrew. Kate Battista is a brilliant primary school teacher, according to her pupils. Their parents aren’t so sure. She also runs house and home for her scientist father. When his indispensable assistant Pyotr, faces deportation, Dr Battista comes up with a plan which, as ever, relies on Kate. But why should she help out – again?