Winner of the first International Beethoven Prize for Human Rights in 2015, AA is a classically trained Syrian-Palestinian pianist. This is his memoir of his former life, the Syrian civil war, his eventual escape and new life in Germany.
RB embraced Trieste in our Cuckoo Press piece of 2013. Here is the fully-fledged version, with RB as hornist in the Ljubljana opera house, then as Times Foreign Correspondent in Vienna and Warsaw. A memoir of both ease and grit in the last decade of the Cold War, full of irony, subtlety and humour
Pitched as ‘magisterial’ – and it probably is – the subtitle makes us think of Daisy Ashford’s Mr Salteena, who was probably a bit nicer than Beaverbrook. “This strange attractive gnome with an odour of genius about him” – Lady Diana Cooper’s words, but they could have been Daisy’s.
Author, illustrator, librettist, puppet-maker, master of pseudonyms, owner of 20,000 books and 6 cats: there is so much to say about the Awdrey-Gore legacy that all we shall announce is that this is a very fine biography. And that Ogdred Weary had a suspiciously normal and fantod-free childhood.
Ottoman, Armenian and British, with a French education and a King’s College London degree in petroleum engineering: this is the first biography of this extraordinary man in over a generation. An old-fashioned millionaire (after Eartha Kitt’s heart) with exquisite taste who managed to buy art even from Stalin.
A Communist in the Weimar Republic, Hobsbawm’s work influenced New Labour in the 1980s and ’90s. This account of his long life, by the great historian of the Third Reich, is a fascinating study of an era.
A short and delightful account of three wonderful old birds – Coote Heber Percy, Billa Harrod and Freda Berkeley – who set off in a car with rather taxing suspension for the Peloponnese in 1990, to soothe their widowhood by seeking out the warm south and, in particular, Patrick and Joan Leigh Fermor.
Nott is a surgeon. Instead of going to the beach for his hols, he heads to war zones: Sarajevo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and Syria… His account of his experiences over the last 25 years is eye-opening and, as one would expect, humane on a grand scale.
GS is a poet and translator of Szabo, Krasznahorkai and Marai. Here he explores his own past and identity by writing about his mother, Magda, weaving backwards from her death, through her life in English exile, to the events of 1956 and her youth in Hungary. Szirtes’s voice is meditative yet direct.
Himalayan rivers support a fifth of the world’s population, and everyone in the Asian subcontinent. Professor of South Asian Studies at Harvard, Amrith retells historical events and stories from a hydrological perspective, going on to discuss present day perils, global warming and beyond…
An entrancing writer turns her attention to the mysterious submerged land that once linked Britain to Europe, teasing understanding in a very personal way from conversations and small finds on her walks.
A highly articulate, intelligent and entertaining look at the history of England, with a somewhat idiosyncratic approach. Politics, trade, government and culture are Caldecott’s bread and butter here, and his sweep is extremely enjoyable – and stimulating: he ends, for instance, his initial and very brief chapter on prehistory thus: “The particular relevance of Roman Britain to English history lies in the English aristocracy’s adoption of the same Augustan culture during its eighteenth-century hegemony”. Privately published.
A remarkable new history that transforms our understanding of West Africa by showing the complex system of trade that existed there before the international slave trade, using cowrie shells as currency.
A thrilling account of the background and implications of the successful hunt by Jim Corbett of the tiger who claimed the lives of 436 people between 1900 and 1907. Corbett later became famous for his crusade to save the Bengal tiger and its habitat.
How Orcadian technological innovations over the last decades – a smart grid, micro-turbines, hydrogen fuel, marine power etc – are leading the way for low-carbon expertise while generating surplus energy.
The famous autobiographical novel by an Italian critic and writer that looks back on her fascist upbringing, her gradual revulsion for it that culminated in a spell in Dachau, from which she escaped, only to be paralysed from the waist down (aged nineteen) when trying to dig survivors from rubble in the bombing of Mainz.
Two dramatic novellas from a very fine author, in which the present is haunted by events from the past: in the first, the reappearance of an old lover; in the second, an accusation of a long-ago sexual assault.
The author’s first novel ‘Grief Is the Thing with Feathers’ was an astonishing triumph, for all its strangeness. This follow-up is strange too, but marvellously, brilliantly so: it tells the story of an odd boy growing up in an English village. Shades of ‘Under Milk Wood’ and ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’.
This dazzling novel (and last year’s winner of the Prix Goncourt) consists of vignettes of meetings in the Corridors of Power that led to the slide into war in 1939: German industrialists with Hitler; the Austrian Chancellor outmanoueuvred at the Berghof; Churchill and Chamberlain delayed at lunch by Ribbentrop as German tanks rolled over the border into Austria. Breathtaking for all its slimness.
Gorgeous, desirable anthropomorphic figures from the Oxus, Indus, Anatolia, Iberia, Cyclades etc. Each one is beautifully pictured, with a scholarly description. Most of the artefacts belong to private collections.
Published to mark the 400th anniversary of his death, this superb illustrated biography sets him within the political, social and cultural worlds of his age both among the Tudors and elsewhere in Europe.
Ravishing, mysterious paintings by the Norwegian painter (1869-1935). Catalogue of the show in Oslo that is transferring to Dulwich Picture Gallery. A master of half-lights, after-glows and the domestic.
Essays based on a symposium at The Georgian Group in 2015. Handsomely illustrated, it looks at many aspects of the Adam brothers’ oeuvre, such as interior planning, their use of colour and classical sources, their involvement in the art market, town planning and building speculation.
In 1842 a young French artist and historian set out on a 3-year journey round the Middle East, returning with over 1000 daguerreotypes, which include the earliest surviving photographs of Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Syria. Some 120 are reproduced in this catalogue to an exhibition at the Met.
Combining neuroscience and psychoanalysis, the psychotherapist author is further qualified to write this book being married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the garden designer and winner of umpteen awards at Chelsea and elsewhere.
Harold’s turning seven and he WILL have a party – his first one, and it turns out to be unforgettable, as a cavalcade of animals disrupts his ordered life, eating the chandelier, trying on his mother’s pearls, breaking the crockery… Will triumph be snatched from the cake-filled jaws of catastrophe? Ages 3-7.
A new collection of short stories about children around the world in WW2, by an accomplished author of historical fiction for children whose books include ‘Letters from the Lighthouse’ and ‘Secrets of a Sun King’. Ages 8-10.
First published in New York in 1865 and influenced by the author’s Dutch immigrant neighbours, this is the story of Hans Brinker and his sister Gretel, two impoverished children growing up in Holland. Who has never dreamt of skating for miles on frozen canals? And racing to win?
Raj Haldar & Chris Carpenter, illustrated by Maria Beddia
A is for absurd, clearly, only that is too straightforward. Expect clouds of gnats, knots and homophonic extravagances. Ages – rather hard to say as some might say that the book will undo years of patient spelling bees, but how about 4+?
Laurence Housman, illustrated by Edmund Dulac, introduction by Marina Warner
Includes Aladdin, The Three Calendars and The Sleeper Awakened. Beautifully written in what Warner calls the “dialect of enchantment”, enrapturingly recondite and an exquisite match for Dulac’s thrilling and fantastical illustrations. Ages 8-12 and everyone older too.
Published in the US, this is a large-format, fabulously illustrated edition. These stories of magic, adventure and peril, are referred to in some of the Harry Potter books. They are ‘translated’ here by Hermione Granger. Zwerger’s watercolours are outstandingly good: Rackham for the modern age.
Dashka Slater, illustrated by Eric Fan & Terry Fan
There are two great pairs of sibling contemporary illustrators: the O’Hara sisters ( ‘Bandit Queen’) and the Fan Brothers, who produced a transformative tale of topiary a couple of years ago, ‘The Night Gardener’. In this new tale an inquisitive fox joins the crew of an extraordinary antlered ship, seeking adventure and Answers to Huge Questions. Intelligent, highly imaginative, an absolute joy. Maurice Sendak meets ‘Voyage of the Dawntreader’… Ages 3-6.
The first of these elegiac novels is about a suburban girl’s first ball; its sequel (see next) relates her affair seven years later with the boy she met there. Both retain their modernity. Lehmann has an exacting eye for the upheavals of the heart and the consequences of a roll of flame-coloured silk.
The first of these elegiac novels is about a suburban girl’s first ball (see above); its sequel relates her affair seven years later with the boy she met there. Both retain their modernity. Lehmann has an exacting eye for the upheavals of the heart and the consequences of a roll of flame-coloured silk.
Lambing and lopping, threshing and sowing: first published in 1933 and out of print for many years until Little Toller’s lovely edition. Includes Leighton’s text as well as her 12 marvellous wood engravings illustrating the last vestiges of non-mechanical farming. Her woodcuts are dark and rich, with a powerful energy.
An excursion into winter from last October to March of this year. Clare’s sporadic diary of its challenges, mostly in Yorkshire and in Wales, is by turns quietly ecstatic, introspective and bedevilled. As ever, his prose rings clear and true.
This delightful little book of unsung geniuses came out in the autumn but we missed it from our Christmas catalogue. It tells, among others, of the diminutive cleric who was valuable in the navy as a gun cleaner; this human loofah later became Dean of Windsor and was known to JdeF.
A journey into the geology under our feet and the ways in which they affect our lives from agriculture to architecture. Essays about schist and shale, quartz and coal, caves and tundra, meteorites, gypsum and gneiss, by Alan Garner, Sarah Wheeler, John Burnside, Sarah Moss, Helen Mort and many others.
Kingsolver’s latest novel combines a family drama with an intriguing historical scandal to demonstrate the struggle between community and truth. Many writers in the last three years have attempted to address contemporary America. Kingsolver does so with a defter touch than most and a cast of engaging characters. Intelligent, funny and moving.
Stephane Foenkinos & Bernard Duisit, introduction by Pierre-Alexis Dumas
Who could imagine such an eccentric and delightful thing as this? A book of creative wit, taste and imagination, in which mad words accompany the pop-up flights of fancy that are Hermes scarves, with Pegasus as our steed, cockatoos for company and a rooftop party as our destination. Beautiful colour printing on very good paper, this is a treat for hand and eye.