The Man Booker International Prize 2016
The Man Booker International Prize was established in 2005, biennially rewarding an author for a body of work originally written in any language as long as it was widely available in English.
From 2016 the Man Booker International Prize has evolved to encourage more publishing and reading of quality fiction in translation. From this date the prize is to be awarded annually on the basis of a single book.
This year's prize has been awarded to Han Kang for 'The Vegetarian'.
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, decides to become a vegetarian, prompted by grotesque recurring nightmares. In South Korea, where vegetarianism is almost unheard-of and societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision is a shocking act of subversion. Her passive rebellion manifests in ever more bizarre and frightening forms, leading her bland husband to self-justified acts of sexual sadism. His cruelties drive her towards attempted suicide and hospitalisation. She unknowingly captivates her sister's husband, a video artist. She becomes the focus of his increasingly erotic and unhinged artworks, while spiralling 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.
Book of the Week
Van Gogh's Ear: The True Story by Bernadette Murphy
On a dark night in Provence in December 1888 Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear. It is an act that has come to define him. Yet for more than a century biographers and historians seeking definitive facts about what happened that night have been left with more questions than answers. In Van Gogh's Ear Bernadette Murphy sets out to discover exactly what happened that night in Arles. Why would an artist at the height of his powers commit such a brutal act? Who was the mysterious 'Rachel' to whom he presented his macabre gift? Was it just his lobe, or did Van Gogh really cut off his entire ear? Her investigation takes us from major museums to the dusty contents of forgotten archives, vividly reconstructing the world in which Van Gogh moved - the madams and prostitutes, cafe patrons and police inspectors, his beloved brother Theo and his fellow artist and house-guest Paul Gauguin. With exclusive revelations and new research about the ear and about 'Rachel', Bernadette Murphy proposes a bold new hypothesis about what was occurring in Van Gogh's heart and mind as he made a mysterious delivery to her doorstep that fateful night. Van Gogh's Ear is a compelling detective story and a journey of discovery. It is also a portrait of a painter creating his most iconic and revolutionary work, pushing himself ever closer to greatness even as he edged towards madness - and one fateful sweep of the blade that would resonate through the ages.
Book at Bedtime
Dirt Road by James Kelman
Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, dreams of a life beyond his Scottish island home. His dad Tom has recently lost his wife and stumbles towards the future, terrified of losing control of what remains of his family life Both are in search of something as they set out on an expedition into the American South. As they travel they encounter a new world and we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age. Dirt Road is a major novel exploring the brevity of life, the agonising demands of love and the lure of the open road. It is also a beautiful book about the power of music and all that it can offer.
The Global Minotaur by Yanis Varoufakis
If the outcome of the EU Referendum has left you wondering about the economic future, you might be interested in this recently published paperback by the former finance minister of Greece.
In this remarkable and provocative book, Yanis Varoufakis, explodes the myth that financialisation, ineffectual regulation of banks, greed and globalisation were the root causes of both the Eurozone crisis and the global economic crisis. Rather, they are symptoms of a much deeper malaise which can be traced all the way back to the Great Crash of 1929, then on through to the 1970s: the time when a Global Minotaur was born. Today's deepening crisis in Europe is just one of the inevitable symptoms of the weakening Minotaur; of a global system which is now as unsustainable as it is imbalanced. Going beyond this, Varoufakis reveals how we might reintroduce a modicum of reason into what has become a perniciously irrational economic order. An essential account of the socio-economic events and hidden histories that have shaped the world as we now know it.
These are the books that were most popular with our customers last week......
1.Where my Heart Used to Beat by Sebastian Faulks (now in paperback)
2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
3. All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
4. The Little Red Chairs by Edna O'Brien
5. Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
6. The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel
7. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
8. Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens
9. Sweet Caress by William Boyd (now in paperback)
10.The World's Worst Children by David Walliams
If you would like to read any of these books, please send us a message from our contacts page, and we will reserve a copy for you.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.