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Book of the Month
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2020
Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree. But this gives her a vantage point from which to practise her other calling: as an unofficial shrink. For years she has supported her God-haunted mother and her recovering addict brother. They have both stabilized for the moment but then her old mentor Sylvia Liller makes a proposal.
Sylvia has become famous for her prescient podcast Hell and High Water and wants to hire Lizzie to answer the mail she receives: from left-wingers worried about climate change and right wingers worried about the decline of western civilization.
As she dives into this polarized world she begins to wonder what it means to keep tending your own garden once you’ve seen the flames beyond its walls. When her brother becomes a father, and Sylvia a recluse, Lizzie is forced to acknowledge the limits of what she can do. But if she can’t save others then what or who might save her? And all the while the voices of the city keep floating in–funny disturbing and increasingly mad.
“This is so good. We are not ready or worthy.” Ocean Vuong
“The end times don’t deserve such exquisite literary investigation. I folded down every page until I realised there was no point. I would fold them all. I would read the book again the second I was finished. A gorgeous, funny, deadly serious and warmly revelatory mesh of perfect paragraphs.” Max Porter
The follow-up to Blue Bird, Blue Bird. An excellent crime novel with set against the racial violence and contemporary politics of the US.
Propulsive and compelling … digs deep into the tension between “the impulse to police crimes against black life and to protect black life from police” … loving, elegiac evocations of Texas set alongside extended meditations on displacement, reconciliation and forgiveness, and on what “home” means in a place where it’s an idea you can’t “exactly touch” – Sara Collins in The Guardian. “A powerful, angry, important book. Attica Locke is a major talent” – Mick Herron.
We’re looking forward to reading and discussing this seminal piece of gay fiction. James Baldwin is as well known for his powerful essays and comment as he is for his fiction and this is one of his most famous pieces of works.
Now feels like the ideal time to read this classic love story set in 1950s Paris, to continue the conversation about black history and black writers.
One of our recent guests, Benjamin Myers, called it ‘one of the greatest love stories ever written’.