When Andree joins her school, Sylvie is immediately fascinated. Andree is small for her age, but walks with the confidence of an adult. Under her red coat, she hides terrible burn scars. And when she imagines beautiful things, she gets goosebumps… Secretly Sylvie believes that Andree is a prodigy about whom books will be written. The girls become close. They talk for hours about equality, justice, war and religion; they lose respect for their teachers; they build a world of their own. But they can’t stay like this forever. Written in 1954, five years after The Second Sex, the novel was never published in Simone de Beauvoir’s lifetime. This first English edition includes an afterword by her adopted daughter, who discovered the manuscript hidden in a drawer, and photographs of the real-life friendship which inspired and tormented the author.
The Women of Troy by Pat Barker
Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors – all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo – camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it. Masterful and enduringly resonant, ambitious and intimate, The Women of Troy continues Pat Barker’s extraordinary retelling of one of the greatest classical myths, following on from the critically acclaimed The Silence of the Girls.
The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair
The Secret Lives of Colour tells the unusual stories of the 75 most fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso’s blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history. In this book Kassia St Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colours and where they come from (whether Van Gogh’s chrome yellow sunflowers or punk’s fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilisation.
Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali
‘It is, perhaps, easier to dismiss a man whose face gives no indication of an inner life. And what a pity that is: a dash of curiosity is all it takes to stumble upon treasures we never expected.’
A shy young man leaves his home in rural Turkey to learn a trade in 1920s Berlin. The city’s crowded streets, thriving arts scene, passionate politics and seedy cabarets provide the backdrop for a chance meeting with a woman, which will haunt him for the rest of his life. Emotionally powerful, intensely atmospheric and touchingly profound, Madonna in a Fur Coat is an unforgettable novel about new beginnings and the unfathomable nature of the human soul.
A History of the Universe in 100 Stars by Florian Freistetter
Astronomer Florian Freistetter has chosen 100 stars that have almost nothing in common. Some are bright and famous, some shine so feebly you need a huge telescope. There are big stars, small stars, nearby stars and faraway stars. Some died a while ago, others have not even yet come into being. Collectively they tell the story of the whole world, according to Freistetter. There is Algol, for example, the Demon Star, whose strange behaviour has long caused people sleepless nights. And Gamma Draconis, from which we know that the earth rotates around its own axis. Then there are certain stars used by astronomers to search for extra-terrestrial life, to explore interstellar space travel, or to explain why the dinosaurs became extinct. In 100 short, fascinating and entertaining chapters, Freistetter not only reveals the past and future of the cosmos, but also the story of the people who have tried to understand the world in which we live.