Guardian First Book award longlist

Bricks and mortals: ten great buildings and the peoplethey madeWe love the Guardian First Book award as it throws up great new authors to try, both fiction and non fiction. Here’s the lists with some blurb about the books

Fiction
Young Skins by Colin Barrett

This collection takes us to Glanbeigh, a small town in rural Ireland – a town in which the youth have the run of the place. Boy racers speed down the back lanes; couples haunt the midnight woods; young skins huddle in the cold once The Peacock has closed its doors.

Here the young live hard and wear the scars. It matters whose sister you were seen with. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, it matters a very great deal

Young skins

 

In the Light of What we Know by Zia Haider Rahman

An investment banker approaching 40, in the midst of his career collapsing and marriage unravelling, receives a surprise visitor at his West London townhouse. Confronting the dishevelled figure of a South Asian male carrying a backpack, the banker recognises a long-lost college friend. From here, the novel takes us on a journey of exhilarating reach and scope

The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane

Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. She claims to be a care-worker and Ruth lets her in. But who exactly is she letting in?

After Me Comes the Flood by Sarah Perry

One hot summer’s day, John Cole decides to leave his life behind. He shuts up the bookshop no one ever comes to and drives out of London. When his car breaks down and he becomes lost on an isolated road, he goes looking for help, and stumbles into the grounds of a grand but dilapidated house. Its residents welcome him with open arms – but there’s more to this strange community than meets the eye…a bit sinister.

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

Stunning, heartbreaking – the intimate story of a family and an epic of the American Century. The product of a stormy upbringing in an Irish Catholic enclave of New York City, Eileen craves stability. Coming of age in the early Sixties, she meets and marries a young scientist named Edmund Leary. But while Eileen wants more for her family, Ed won’t give up teaching for a better-paid job. Inadvertently Eileen starts to climb her own career ladder in nursing. She pushes Ed into finding a new home, but it becomes clear that his resistance is part of a deeply troubling psychological shift.

Non-fiction
Iceberg by Marion Coutts

In 2008, Marion Coutts’ husband, the art critic Tom Lubbock, was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and told that he had not more than two years to live. He was 53 when he died, leaving Marion and their son Eugene, just two, alone. In short bursts of beautiful, textured prose, Coutts describes the eighteen months leading up to her partner’s death; an account of a family unit under assault, and how the three of them fought to keep it intact
Bricks and Mortals by Tom Wilkinson

We don’t just look at buildings: their facades, beautiful or ugly, conceal the spaces we inhabit. We are born, work, love and die in architecture. We buy and sell it, rent it and squat in it, create and destroy it. These aspects of buildings – economic, erotic, political and psychological – are crucial if we are to understand architecture properly. And because architecture moulds us just as much as we mould it, understanding architecture helps us to understand our lives and our world. Ten great buildings reveal the powerful and intimate relationship between society and architecture and asks: can architecture change our lives for the better.
Do No Harm by Henry Marsh
What is it like to be a brain surgeon? How does it feel to hold someone’s life in your hands, to cut through the stuff that creates thought, feeling and reason? How do you live with the consequences of performing a potentially life-saving operation when it all goes wrong? DO NO HARM is an unforgettable insight into the career of one of the country’s leading neurosurgeons, and into the countless human dramas that take place in a busy modern hospital.

Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos

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