Nicole Flattery - Show Them a Good Time
An urgent and unforgettable collection of stories, Show Them a Good Time explores types - men and women, their assigned roles and meanings - in modern society. A young, broke Irish woman narrates her relationship with a successful comedian in New York; two hapless university students take to the stage in a bid to assert their autonomy; a school teacher makes her way through a series of dead-end dates, gamely searching for love or distraction as the world teeters towards ruin. The characters in all of these short stories are haunted as much by the future as they are by their pasts. Loaded with dark humour, Show Them a Good Time marks the arrival of a strikingly original new Irish voice in fiction.
Shirley Jackson - We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Living in the Blackwood family home with only her sister Constance and her Uncle Julian for company, Merricat just wants to preserve their delicate way of life. But ever since Constance was acquitted of murdering the rest of the family, the world isn’t leaving the Blackwoods alone. And when Cousin Charles arrives, armed with overtures of friendship and a desperate need to get into the safe, Merricat must do everything in her power to protect the remaining family.
Various - Victorian Fairy Tales
The Victorian fascination with fairyland vivified the literature of the period, and led to some of the most imaginative fairy tales ever written. They offer the shortest path to the age’s dreams, desires, and wishes. This anthology brings together fourteen of the best stories to show the vibrancy and variety of the form and its abilities to reflect our deepest concerns. In tales of whimsy and romance, witty satire and uncanny mystery, love, suffering, family, and the travails of identity are imaginatively explored.
Molly Keane - Good Behaviour
Narrated by the daughter of the family, nothing is as it initially seems in Molly Keane’s Good Behaviour: a cold mother, gay brother and similarly inclined love interest all go unseen because society is focused on preserving good behaviour. To Aroon St Charles, the large and unlovely daughter of the house, the fierce forces of sex, money, jealousy and love seem locked out by the ritual patterns of good behaviour. But behind the gates of Temple Alice crumbling codes of conduct cannot hope to save the members of the St Charles family from their own unruly and inadmissible desires.
Read our full review here.
Sarah Perry - The Essex Serpent
Set in 1893 and firmly rooted in the author’s home county of Essex, The Essex Serpent centres on the character of Cora Seaborne, a widow freed from a controlling and unhappy marriage. Retreating to the Essex countryside with her son, she hears the rumours surrounding the so-called ‘Essex Serpent’, a creature of folklore being blamed for a spate of deaths and disturbances and the cause of escalating panic in the local community. Her ensuing investigations bring her into contact with the clergyman, William Ransome, a man convinced of finding the answer to local hysteria in faith, just as Cora is on finding it in science. Despite their differing opinions, their lives become enmeshed as they find themselves bound to each other in ways neither could have anticipated.
The one on our wish list: Muriel Spark’s Memento Mori (Virago Modern Classic 40th anniversary series - in fact we’d take any one of these beautiful editions)