Having won the Costa Book Award of 2011, this is a book that will entrance those of you interested in the seamless intermingling of history and fiction. Our central character, Jean-Baptiste Baratte is given the job of demolishing the graveyard that is rapidly becoming an infinite mountain of bodies in pre-revolutionary France. This process takes Baratte on a journey where he encounters all the nuances of life: piety, friendship, and most hauntingly, the questioning of one’s own mortality. This is most certainly a book that will invert one’s personal beliefs and bring you to question the stains man has made on his own history.
Another novel from the critically acclaimed author of Room. After a passage of many years, two friends, ‘Fido’ and Helen meet each other once again on the streets of Victorian London to find that much has happened, and changed. Helen has grown increasingly unhappy in her marriage to an older, high ranking gentleman, and is pursuing an affair with a younger army officer. Fido, by contrast, has become a social pioneer, standing as a major advocate of women’s rights in Britain. The lives of the two women become increasingly intertwined, Fido helps Helen to hide her affair but it is discovered and allegations of betrayal and adultery ensue. But it is the mysterious ‘sealed letter’ that has the potential for the most destruction. This novel doesn’t quite live up to the literary success of Room but nevertheless, it is a page-turner, if a little shallow in its plot.