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An exhilarating, clever, funny debut novel from a prize-winning talent, chronicling the misadventures of a lovelorn Victorian lexicographer and the young woman who decodes his trail of made-up words a century later. Will enthrall readers of CS Richardson, Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. Mountweazel n. the phenomenon of false entries within dictionaries and works of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement. Peter Winceworth is a lexicographer in Victorian-era London, toiling away at the letter "S" for a multi-volume Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Secretly, he begins to insert unauthorized fictitious entries into the dictionary in an attempt to assert some artistic freedom. In the present day, Mallory is a young intern employed by the same publisher. Her task is to uncover these mountweazels before the dictionary is digitized. She also has to contend with threatening phone calls from an anonymous caller. Why, she wonders, is the change in the definition of "marriage" so upsetting to the caller? And does the caller really intend for the publisher's staff to "burn in hell"? As these two narratives, characters and times entwine, both Winceworth and Mallory discover how they might negotiate the complexities of the nonsensical, relentless, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn and undefinable path we call life. An exhilarating debut from a formidably brilliant young writer, The Liar's Dictionary celebrates the rigidity, fragility, absurdity and joy of language.
"The Liar's Dictionary is the book I was longing for. So eudaemonical, so felicific and habile! A harlequinade of cachinnation! It's hilarious and smart and charming and I loved it. Read it. It's the book you're longing for." --Andrew Sean Greer, 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner for Less An exhilarating and laugh-out-loud debut novel from a prize-winning new talent which chronicles the misadventures of a lovelorn Victorian lexicographer and the young woman put on his trail a century later to root out his misdeeds while confronting questions of her own sexuality and place in the world. Mountweazel n. the phenomenon of false entries within dictionaries and works of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement. Peter Winceworth, Victorian lexicographer, is toiling away at the letter S for Swansby's multivolume Encyclopaedic Dictionary. His disaffection compels him to insert unauthorized fictitious entries into the dictionary in an attempt to assert some sense of individual purpose and artistic freedom. In the present day, Mallory, a young intern employed by the publisher, is tasked with uncovering these mountweazels before the work is digitized. She also has to contend with threatening phone calls from an anonymous caller. Is the change in the definition of marriage really that upsetting? And does the caller really intend for the Swansby's staff to 'burn in hell'? As these two narratives combine, both Winceworth and Mallory discover how they might negotiate the complexities of the often nonsensical, relentless, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn, and undefinable path we call life. An exhilarating debut novel from a formidably brilliant young writer, The Liar's Dictionary celebrates the rigidity, fragility, absurdity, and joy of language.
'Made me almost tearful with gratitude that a book as clever as this could give such uncomplicated pleasure ... And when you find a book like this, you grab it, and you hold it close.' JOHN SELF 'A delight ... As funny and vivid as Dickens, as moving and memorable as Nabokov ... An extraordinarily large-hearted work.' THE CRITIC _____________________________________ mountweazel, noun: a fake entry deliberately inserted into a dictionary or work of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement. In the final year of the nineteenth century, Peter Winceworth has reached the letter 'S', toiling away for the much-anticipated and multi-volume Swansby's New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. Overwhelmed at his desk and increasingly uneasy that his colleagues are attempting to corral language and regiment facts, Winceworth feels compelled to assert some sense of individual purpose and exercise artistic freedom, and begins inserting unauthorised, fictitious entries into the dictionary. In the present day, young intern Mallory is tasked with uncovering these mountweazels as the text of the dictionary is digitised for modern readers. Through the words and their definitions she finds she has access to their creator's motivations, hopes and desires. More pressingly, she must also field daily threatening anonymous phone calls. Is a suggested change to the dictionary's definition of marriage (n.) really that controversial? What power does Mallory have when it comes to words and knowing how to tell the truth? And does the caller really intend for the Swansby's staff to 'burn in hell'? As their two narratives combine, Winceworth and Mallory must discover how to negotiate the complexities of an often nonsensical, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn and undefinable life. _____________________________________ The Liar's Dictionary explores themes of trust and creativity, naming the unnameable, and celebrates the rigidity, fragility and absurdity of language. It is an exhilarating debut novel from a formidably brilliant young writer. _____________________________________ 'Eley Williams's debut novel, The Liar's Dictionary, is a lexicographical delight.' OBSERVER 'Deft and clever, refreshing and rewarding ... An assured and satisfying writer, her language rich and intricate and her characters rounded enough to be sympathetic and lampoonist enough to be terribly funny.' LITERARY REVIEW '[The] most exciting of young British writers ... Williams luxuriates in words and wordplay, in definition and precision and invention ...The Liar's Dictionary is a public joy, and Eley Williams a free-spirited literary kook with bags of potential.' BIG ISSUE 'A singular, hilarious, word-drunk novel, which I suspect will be seen in the future as a classic comic novel.' DAVID HAYDEN, IRISH TIMES 'The Liar's Dictionary is the book I was longing for ... Positively intoxicated with the joy and wonder of language ... Eley Williams brings erudition and playfulness - and lovely sweetness - to every page.' BENJAMIN DREYER, New York Times bestselling author of DREYER'S ENGLISH 'This tale of lexical intrigues is an absolute joy to read! It's gloriously inventive and playful, but with just the right amount of heart.' LUCY SCHOLES
Outlawed by Anna North
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK A BELLETRIST BOOK CLUB PICK "A masterpiece." - R.O. Kwon The Crucible meets True Grit in this riveting adventure story of a fugitive girl, a mysterious gang of robbers, and their dangerous mission to transform the Wild West. In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw. The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada's life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows. She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she's willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all. Featuring an irresistibly no-nonsense, courageous, and determined heroine, Outlawed dusts off the myth of the old West and reignites the glimmering promise of the frontier with an entirely new set of feminist stakes. Anna North has crafted a pulse-racing, page-turning saga about the search for hope in the wake of death, and for truth in a climate of small-mindedness and fear.
The Penguin Book Of The Contemporary British Short Story by Philip Hensher
'Sometimes - not often - a book comes along that feels like Christmas. Philip Hensher's timely, but timeless, selection of the best short stories from the past 20 years is that kind of book. His introduction is as enriching as anything that has been published this year' Sunday Times A spectacular treasury of the best British short stories published in the last twenty years We are living in a particularly rich period for British short stories. Despite the relative lack of places in which they can be published, the challenge the medium represents has attracted a host of remarkable, subversive, entertaining and innovative writers. Philip Hensher, following the success of his definitive Penguin Book of British Short Stories, has scoured a vast trove of material and chosen thirty great stories for this new volume of works written between 1997 and the present day.
The Lover S Dictionary by David Levithan
basis, n. There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you're in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself. If the moment doesn't pass, that's it—you're done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it's even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover's face. How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
The Liar by Stephen Fry
The brilliant and outrageous debut novel from British actor, comedian, author, presenter, journalist and national treasure, Stephen Fry. _______ Adrian Healey is magnificently unprepared for the long littleness of life; unprepared too for the afternoon in Salzburg when he will witness the savage murder of a Hungarian violinist; unprepared to learn about the Mendax device; unprepared for more murders and wholly unprepared for the truth. The Liar is a thrilling, sophisticated and laugh out loud hilarious novel from a brilliantly talented writer. Praise for The Liar: 'A quite brilliant first novel' Sunday Times 'Brilliantly entertaining and consistently outrageous' Daily Mail 'The Liar is hilarious - page after page of the most outrageous and often filthy jokes, delicious conceits, instant, brilliant ripostes that would only occur to ordinary mortals after days of teeth-grinding lunacy' Literary Review
When You See Me by Lisa Gardner
#1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner unites three of her most beloved characters—Detective D. D. Warren, Flora Dane, and Kimberly Quincy—in a twisty new thriller, as they investigate a mysterious murder from the past...which points to a dangerous and chilling present-day crime. FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren have built a task force to follow the digital bread crumbs left behind by deceased serial kidnapper Jacob Ness. When a disturbing piece of evidence is discovered in the hills of Georgia, they bring Flora Dane and true-crime savant Keith Edgar to a small town where something seems to be deeply wrong. What at first looks like a Gothic eeriness soon hardens into something much more sinister...and they discover that for all the evil Jacob committed while alive, his worst secret is still to be revealed. Quincy and DD must summon their considerable skills and experience to crack the most disturbing case of their careers—and Flora must face her own past directly in the hope of saving others.
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
A riveting, feminist debut about four women navigating contemporary South Korea, a world of strict social hierarchies, extreme plastic surgery and K-pop fan mania. "Even as a girl, I knew the only chance I had was to change my face. When I looked into the mirror, I knew everything in it had to change, even before a fortune-teller told me so." This utterly compelling novel follows the interconnected lives of four young women balancing on the edge of survival in contemporary Seoul, Korea. Kyuri is a heartbreakingly beautiful woman with a hard-won job at a "room salon," an exclusive bar where she entertains wealthy businessmen while they drink. Though she prides herself on her cold, clear-eyed approach to life, an impulsive mistake with a client one evening suddenly threatens her livelihood. Her roomate, Miho, is a talented artist who grew up in an orphanage but won a scholarship to study art in New York. Returning to Korea after college, she finds herself in an impossible relationship with the super-wealthy heir to one of Korea's biggest companies. Down the hall from their apartment building lives Ara, a hair stylist whose obsession with a boy-band pop star drives her to desperate extremes. And Wonna, on the floor just below, is a newlywed trying to get pregnant with a child that she and her husband will not be able to afford to raise and educate in the cutthroat economy of Seoul. Together, they give us a gripping picture of their unfamiliar world of cultural hierarchies, yet unmistakably universal in the ways their tentative friendships will prove their saving grace.
Word By Word by Kory Stamper
“We think of English as a fortress to be defended, but a better analogy is to think of English as a child. We love and nurture it into being, and once it gains gross motor skills, it starts going exactly where we don’t want it to go: it heads right for the goddamned electrical sockets.” With wit and irreverence, lexicographer Kory Stamper cracks open the obsessive world of dictionary writing, from the agonizing decisions about what to define and how to do it to the knotty questions of ever-changing word usage. Filled with fun facts—for example, the first documented usage of “OMG” was in a letter to Winston Churchill—and Stamper’s own stories from the linguistic front lines (including how she became America’s foremost “irregardless” apologist, despite loathing the word), Word by Word is an endlessly entertaining look at the wonderful complexities and eccentricities of the English language.