Recent book titles that have won awards.
About the book: After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms,
John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Having fled terrible hardships themselves,
they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both witness and are complicit in.
Their lives are further enriched and endangered when a young Indian girl crosses their path, a
and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.
What the judges said: “A miracle of a book – both epic and intimate – that manages to create spaces for love and safety in the noise and chaos of history.”
About the book: Born in the ‘agrarian ghetto’ of Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles and raised by a
single father, a controversial sociologist, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological
studies. He is led to believe his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes.
But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realises there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-through funeral.
Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong:
Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment.
Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident – Hominy Jenkins – he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable:
reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school which lands him in the Supreme Court.
What follows is a remarkable journey that challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution,
urban life, the civil rights movement and the holy grail of racial equality – the black Chinese restaurant.
About the book: Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people. He is an office worker
with moderate ambitions and mild manners; she is an uninspired but dutiful wife.
The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more
‘plant-like’ existence, commits a shocking act of subversion. As her rebellion manifests in
ever more bizarre and frightening forms, Yeong-hye spirals further and further into her fantasies
of abandoning her fleshly prison and becoming – impossibly, ecstatically – a tree.
Fraught, disturbing, and beautiful, The Vegetarian is a novel about modern day South Korea,
but also a novel about shame, desire, and our faltering attempts to understand others,
from one imprisoned body to another.
About the book: When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances,
she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies.
Searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree.
A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets.
But as Faith’s untruths spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter....
What the judges said: “We all loved this dark, sprawling, fiercely clever novel that blends
history and fantasy in a way that will grip readers of all ages.”
From the Costa Book Awards.
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