How to be both is the dazzling new novel by Ali Smith. This book is the winner of the Goldsmiths Prize 2014. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014. It is the winner Of The 2014 Costa Novel Award, winner of the Saltire Society Literary Book Of The Year Award, and in 2014 was nominated for the Folio Prize 2015. Passionate, compassionate, vitally inventive and scrupulously playful, Ali Smith’s novels are like nothing else. How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance. “Smith can make anything happen, which is why she is one of our most exciting writers today”. (Daily Telegraph).
Missing Person by Patrick Modiano recipient of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature
For ten years Guy Roland has lived without a past. His current life and name were given to him by his recently retired boss, Hutte, who welcomed him, a one-time client, into his detective agency. Guy makes full use of Hutte’s files – directories, yearbooks, and papers of all kinds going back half a century – but leads to his former life are few. Could he really be that person in a photograph, a young man remembered by some as a South American attache? Or was he someone else, perhaps the disappeared scion of a prominent local family? He interviews strangers and is tantalized by half-clues until, at last, he grasps a thread that leads him through the maze of his own repressed experience.On one level Missing Person is a detective thriller, a 1950s film noir mix of smoky cafes, illegal passports, and insubstantial figures crossing bridges in the fog. On another level, it is also a haunting meditation on the nature of the self.
Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges & H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
Alan Turing was the mathematician whose cipher-cracking transformed the Second World War. Taken on by British Intelligence in 1938, as a shy young Cambridge don, he combined brilliant logic with a flair for engineering. In 1940 his machines were breaking the Enigma-enciphered messages of Nazi Germany’s air force. He then headed the penetration of the super-secure U-boat communications. But his vision went far beyond this achievement. Before the war he had invented the concept of the universal machine, and in 1945 he turned this into the first design for a digital computer. Turing’s far-sightd plans for the digital era forged ahead into a vision for Artificial Intelligence. However, in 1952 his homosexuality rendered him ea criminal and he was subjected to humiliating treatment. In 1954, aged 41, Alan Turing took his own life.
Destined to be a classic of nature writing, H is for Hawk is a record of a spiritual journey – an unflinchingly honest account of Macdonald’s struggle with grief during the difficult process of the hawk’s taming and her own untaming. At the same time, it’s a kaleidoscopic biography of the brilliant and troubled novelist T. H. White, best known for The Once and Future King. It’s a book about memory, nature and nation, and how it might be possible to try to reconcile death with life and love.This book was the winner of the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize. It was the winner of the 2014 Costa Book of the Year Award. It was shortlisted for the 2014 Duff Cooper Prize. It was Shortlisted for the 2014 Thwaites Wainwright Prize.