On the windswept front of Morecambe Bay, Cy Parks spends his childhood years first in a guest house for consumptives run by his mother and then as apprentice to alcoholic tattoo-artist Eliot Riley. Thirsty for new experiences, he departs for America and finds himself in the riotous world of the Coney Island boardwalk, where he sets up his own business as 'The Electric Michelangelo'. In this carnival environment of roller-coasters and freak-shows, Cy becomes enamoured with Grace, a mysterious immigrant and circus performer who commissions him to cover her entire body in tattooed eyes. Hugely atmospheric, exotic and familiar, The Electric Michelangelo is a love story and an exquisitely rendered portrait of seaside resorts on opposite sides of the Atlantic by one of the most uniquely talented novelists of her generation.
This book offers readings of five of the most interesting and original voices to have emerged in Britain since the millennium as they tackle the challenges of portraying the new century. Through close readings of the work of Ali Smith, Andrew O'Hagan, Tom McCarthy, Sarah Hall and Jon McGregor, Daniel Lea opens a window onto the formal and thematic concerns that characterise a literary landscape troubled by both familiar and unfamiliar predicaments. These include questions about the meaning of humanness in an age of digital intercourse; about the need for a return to authenticity in the wake of postmodernism; and about the dislocation of self from the other under neoliberal individualism. By relating its readings of these authors to the wider shifts in contemporary literary criticism, this book offers in-depth analysis of important landmarks of recent fiction and an introduction to the challenges of understanding the literature of our time.
Focuses on the novels published since 2000 by twenty major British novelistsThe Contemporary British Novel Since 2000 is divided into five parts, with the first part examining the work of four particularly well-known and highly regarded twenty-first century writers: Ian McEwan, David Mitchell, Hilary Mantel and Zadie Smith. It is with reference to each of these novelists in turn that the terms arealist, apostmodernist, ahistorical and apostcolonialist fiction are introduced, while in the remaining four parts, other novelists are discussed and the meaning of the terms amplified. From the start it is emphasised that these terms and others often mean different things to different novelists, and that the complexity of their novels often obliges us to discuss their work with reference to more than one of the terms.Also discusses the works of: Maggie OFarrell, Sarah Hall, A.L. Kennedy, Alan Warner, Ali Smith, Kazuo Ishiguro, Kate Atkinson, Salman Rushdie, Adam Foulds, Sarah Waters, James Robertson, Mohsin Hamid, Andrea Levy, and Aminatta Forna.
Walking ahead of him on the heath, his wife turns to look at him over her shoulder, 'Topaz eyes glinting. Scorched face. Vixen.' In language harvested from nature, Sarah Hall tells a story of metamorphosis, of wildness and fecundity, and of a man reaching for reason, who cannot let go of the creature he loves.
Featuring a stunning gallery of portraits by the world's finest poets, essayists, and fiction writers--including Walt Whitman, Stephen Crane, José Martí, Maxim Gorky, Federico García Lorca, Isaac Bashevis Singer, E. E. Cummings, Djuna Barnes, Colson Whitehead, Robert Olen Butler, and Katie Roiphe--this anthology is the first to focus on the unique history and transporting experience of a beloved fixture of the New York City landscape. Moody, mystical, and enchanting, Coney Island has thrilled newcomers and soothed native New Yorkers for decades. With its fantasy entertainments, renowned beach foods, world-class boardwalk, and expansive beach, it provides a welcome respite from the city's dense neighborhoods, unrelenting traffic, and somber grid. Coney Island has long offered a kaleidoscopic panorama of people, places, and events, creating, as Lawrence Ferlinghetti once wrote, "a Coney Island of the mind." This anthology captures the highs and lows of that sensation, with works that imagine Coney Island as a restful resort, a playground for the masses, and a symbol of America's democratic spirit, as well as a Sodom by the sea, a garish display of capitalist excess, and a paradigm of urban decay. As complex as the city of which it is a part, Coney Island engenders limitless perspectives, a composite inspiring everyone who encounters it to sing its electric song.
Antonio Meucci represents an unlikely story in American history. Having come of age in Florence, Italy, he immigrated to America by way of Cuba, where he lived for many years and where he worked with the Italian Opera Company. Familiar with telegraphy, wherein intelligence (information) was being transmitted through a wire, he proposed to transmit human voice through the same type of wire. Having come to New York, and having established several kinds of business, he experimented with his telettrofono (electric phone). Satisfied with the results of having transmitted voice intelligence from one end to the other end of copper wire, Meucci applied for a patent and received a caveat instead. A. Graham Bell, however, received a patent for a similar invention. Now, finally, after more than 160 years, Meucci is being vindicated: 1) A Silver and Bronze Medal were struck by The Italian American Bicentennial Society. 2. The Meucci-Garibaldi Museum has been established in New York. 3. The US Postal Services has published a commemorative stamp, and, 4. The 107th Congress of the United States resolved to recognize Meucci as the inventor of the telephone.
It is 1936 in a remote dale in the old, northern county of Westmorland. For centuries the rural community has remained the same and the Lightburn family have been immersed in the harsh hill-farming tradition - unchanged by the advent of modernity. Then a man from the city of Manchester arrives, spokesman for a vast industrial project which will devastate both the landscape and the local community. Mardale will be flooded to create a new reservoir, supplying water to the Midland cities. In the coming year this corner of Lakeland will be evacuated and transformed. Jack Liggett, the Waterworks' representative, further compounds the problems faced by the village as he begins a troubled affair with Janet Lightburn. A woman of force and strength of mind, her natural orthodoxy deeply influences him. Finally, in tragic circumstances, a remarkable, desperate act on Janet's part attempts to restore the valley to its former state. Told in luminous prose with an intuitive sense for period and place, Haweswater remembers a rural England that has been disappearing for decades. It is a novel about love, obsession and the destruction of a community, told with grace and artistry by a young storyteller of great imaginative and emotional power.
Italy in the early 1960s: a dying painter considers the sacrifices and losses that have made him an enigma, both to strangers and those closest to him. He begins his last life painting, using the same objects he has painted obsessively for his entire career - a small group of bottles. In Cumbria 30 years later, a landscape artist - and admirer of the Italian recluse - finds himself trapped in the extreme terrain that has made him famous. And in present-day London, his daughter, an art curator struggling with the sudden loss of her twin brother while trying to curate an exhibition about the lives of the twentieth-century European masters, is drawn into a world of darkness and sexual abandon. Covering half a century, this is a luminous and searching novel, and Hall's most accomplished work to date.
For almost a decade Rachel Caine has turned her back on home, kept distant by family disputes and her work monitoring wolves on an Idaho reservation. But now, summoned by the eccentric Earl of Annerdale and his controversial scheme to reintroduce the Grey Wolf to the English countryside, she is back in the peat and wet light of the Lake District. The earl's project harks back to an ancient idyll of untamed British wilderness - though Rachel must contend with modern-day concessions to health and safety, public outrage and political gain - and the return of the Grey after hundreds of years coincides with her own regeneration: impending motherhood, and reconciliation with her estranged family. The Wolf Border investigates the fundamental nature of wilderness and wildness, both animal and human. It seeks to understand the most obsessive aspects of humanity: sex, love, and conflict; the desire to find answers to the question of our existence; those complex systems that govern the most superior creature on earth.
The world has changed. War rages in South America and China, and Britain - now entirely dependent on the US for food and energy - is run by an omnipresent dictatorship known simply as The Authority. Assets and weapons have been seized, and women are compulsorily fitted with contraceptive devices. This is Sister's story of her attempt to escape the repressive regime. From the confines of her Lancaster prison cell she tells of her search for The Carhullan Army, a quasi-mythical commune of 'unofficial' women rumoured to be living in a remote part of Cumbria . . .