What’s it about: ‘Jersey 1987, and the storm clouds are gathering over Colin Bygate. Sitting on a headland stewing over the discovery that his wife used to date Rob de la Haye, a brash hotelier who is everything that Colin is not, he spots a pupil near the edge of the cliff. Worried that the boy may have intended to jump, he drives him home, hoping that his gloomy imagination was playing tricks. But when the boy fails to turn up to school the next day, Colin feels duty bound to track him down, pitting him against the Island establishment who would rather there was a little less noise around this particular absence. A web of characters is spun around this mystery, each with their own secrets. For living in Jersey, where everyone knows everyone else’s business, you must become your own island.’ Read more…
Delving into the wonderful world of American home-baking, Life is Sweet is the brilliant new collection of recipes from The Hummingbird Bakery. It includes everything from classics you know and love, such as Buttermilk Pancakes, Shaker Lemon Pie, Tunnel of Fudge Cake, to those you’ll love discovering, like an indulgent Lady Baltimore Cake, Sticky Molasses Pecan Crumb Cake, and a chocolate cake with a twist. There are home-made versions of all-American favourites – Vanilla and Chocolate Cookies, Peanut Butter Ice-cream, Toasted Marshmallow Cupcakes – as well as new takes on Hummingbird classics, such as Red Velvet Brownies and Black Bottom Pancakes.
We have 5 early copies to give away, so enter now for a chance to get your hands on a copy before it hits the shops on the 26th February. Be quick, the competition closes at midnight on the 15th February. Good luck and happy baking!
We have a brand new series on the blog this year – we’re calling it ‘Write Here’. The series will take us into our authors’ writing spaces across the globe, where they’ll tell us about how they go about their craft; we’ll mark each location on the map at the bottom of each post. To start us off, we travel to Belfast, Ireland, where Ian Sansom writes the County Guides books…
As we await the release of Hadley Freeman’s much anticipated Life Moves Pretty Fast, we’ve been re-watching the cult classics that form the basis of Freeman’s book and formed the basis of her (our) young adult education. American movies of the 1980s and 90s covered all bases, teaching us of love, life, loss, aliens, mermaids and much more. To really get to grips with Freeman’s insightful catalogue, you need to experience these timeless works first hand. We’ve selected our favourites and given you a taster to show why they’re just simply the best – they’ll make you laugh, make you cry and set you up for the trials and tribulations of adult life… Read more…
Occupation: Assistant Editor of Arete
Book: Left of the Bang
What’s it about: For failing concert pianist Tamsin Jarvis, the pressure is mounting. She thought she was happy with her adoring schoolteacher boyfriend Callum, but when Chris comes into their lives, that starts to change. In a few months Chris will be gone, leaving for his first tour of Afghanistan. Nothing seems to be working out the way Tamsin wants it to – in fact, she’s not even sure what it is she wants. Read more…
‘Dahl. Daal. Dal. Spicy stuff made using lentils. The charming lady at the Indian High Commission assured us it’s ‘dal’. Our local curry house (The Kathmandu) reckon it’s ‘daal’. Our Aslam is adamant you spell it ‘dahl’. Who’s right? We have no idea.’
Name: Scott Blackwood
Occupation: Blackwood teaches fiction writing in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University
Book: See How Small
What’s it about: One late autumn evening in a Texas town, two strangers walk into an ice cream shop shortly before closing time. They bind up the three teenage girls who are working the counter, set fire to the shop, and disappear. ‘See How Small’ tells the stories of the survivors – family, witnesses, and suspects – who must endure in the wake of atrocity. Justice remains elusive in their world, human connection tenuous.
January always brings with it a sense of regeneration, and this year at 4th Estate that sense was heightened as the date of our office move drew near. We spent December in a state of flux, archiving hundreds of books and packing up our things, in doing so unearthing a wunderkammer’s worth of bizarre items including a giraffe jawbone, a piñata, an artillery shell, and a cut-out of Dolly Parton. We were admittedly nervous about moving from our cosy Hammersmith home, and reticent about moving to the open-plan, glass-walled heights of London Bridge. After all, T.S. Eliot compared the commuters of London Bridge to the lost souls of Dante’s limbo in The Wasteland: