Fourth Estate

Know Your Booker!: Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies

Bring_Up_The_BodiesSo you think you know everything there is to know about Hilary Mantel’s Booker nominated novel Bring Up the Bodies? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!

What’s it about?

Bring Up the Bodies is described by the book’s publisher Fourth Estate as follows:

By 1535 Thomas Cromwell, the blacksmith’s son, is far from his humble origins. Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes have risen with those of Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, for whose sake Henry has broken with Rome and created his own church. But Henry’s actions have forced England into dangerous isolation, and Anne has failed to do what she promised: bear a son to secure the Tudor line. When Henry visits Wolf Hall, Cromwell watches as Henry falls in love with the silent, plain Jane Seymour. The minister sees what is at stake: not just the king’s pleasure, but the safety of the nation. As he eases a way through the sexual politics of the court, its miasma of gossip, he must negotiate a ‘truth’ that will satisfy Henry and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge undamaged from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.

In ‘Bring up the Bodies’, sequel to the Man Booker Prize-winning ‘Wolf Hall’, Hilary Mantel explores one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the destruction of Anne Boleyn. This new novel is a speaking picture, an audacious vision of Tudor England that sheds its light on the modern world. It is the work of one of our great writers at the height of her powers.

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Know Your Booker!: Nicola Barker’s The Yips

The_YipsSo you think you know everything there is to know about Nicola Barker’s Booker nominated novel The Yips? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!

What’s it about?

The Yips is described by the book’s publisher Fourth Estate as follows:

‘There was a rat in the bath’, Gene explains. ‘It’s a long story, but basically I fished it out and was carrying around by the tail, not quite sure how to dispose of it, when I managed to barge in on this woman having a genital tattoo’.

2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods’ reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defence League does not exist yet. Storm-clouds of a different kind are gathering above the bar of Luton’s less than exclusive Thistle Hotel. Among those caught up in the unfolding drama are a man who’s had cancer seven times, a woman priest with an unruly fringe, the troubled family of a notorious local fascist, an interfering barmaid with three E’s at A-level but a PhD in bullshit, and a free-thinking Muslim sex therapist and his considerably more pious wife. But at the heart of every intrigue and the bottom of every mystery is the repugnantly charismatic figure of Stuart Ransom – a golfer in free-fall.

Nicola Barker’s ‘The Yips’ is at once a historical novel of the pre-Twitter moment, the filthiest state-of-the-nation novel since Martin Amis’ ‘Money’ and the most flamboyant piece of comic fiction ever to be set in Luton.

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Know Your Booker!: Sam Thompson’s Communion Town

Communion_TownSo you think you know everything there is to know about Sam Thompson’s Booker nominated novel Communion Town? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!

What’s it about?

Communion Town is described by the book’s publisher Fourth Estate as follows:

Two travellers arrive in an unknown city: Ulya and Nicolas are asylum seekers, hoping for safety and a better life, but instead they find a haunted metropolis whose people live in fear of the monsters in the shadows. When her brother disappears, Ulya learns how easily anyone can fall into the city’s underworld.

Communion Town maps this imaginary city, and explores the ways in which it invents itself by creating outcasts and scapegoats. As the novel unfolds in different parts of the city, we encounter a lovelorn folk-singer, an introverted child, a repressed detective, a slaughterhouse worker, a lost tourist, a ghost and a gigolo. From their lonely voices we gather the many-faceted story of the city: a place imagined differently by each citizen as he or she searches for connection, transformation or escape.

Mixing the everyday with the gothic and the fantastic, Communion Town is a novel that deals in the uncanny: in doubles and repetitions; in things half-glimpsed; in desires half-acknowledged. It is a virtuosic piece of writing from a young writer of true talent.
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