Missing Fay

Missing Fay

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

A spirited, restless fourteen-year-old, Fay, goes missing from a Lincoln council estate. Is she a runaway, or a victim – another face on a poster gradually fading with time? The story of her last few days before she vanishes is interwoven with the varied lives of six locals – whether aware or unaware of her presence or absence, all touched in life-changing ways. David is an eco-campaigner on a family holiday on the bleak Lincolnshire coast; Howard, a retired steel worker with some dodgy friends; Cosmina, a Romanian immigrant struggling as a care-home nurse; Sheena, middle-aged and single, running a kiddies' clothes shop, is sexually entangled with the peculiar Gavin, while dreaming of Paul, up the lane; Mike, the misanthropic owner of the haunted second-hand bookshop, is secretly in love with Cosmina; and Chris, a TV producer become Trappist monk, can't quite leave the ordinary world behind. All are involuntary witnesses to the lost girl; paths cross, threads...
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Birds With a Broken Wing

Birds With a Broken Wing

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

Adam Thorpe's fifth collection finds purpose in the discarded, the secretive, the failed. Juxtaposing creation and destruction, hope and grief -- a small boy deep down a lead mine; an unlit, nocturnal path set against the 'insomniac' motorway; industrialised apples against wrinkled windfalls -- his poems argue for bewilderment and 'the slight bruise of doubt'. Whether walking an abandoned road or considering a friend's suicide, his poems remind us of our abdications, of our collapsed relationships with nature, with history, with ourselves.There are, however, all the vestiges of connective tissue -- memories and mementoes, sudden, miraculous leaps of beauty. The book is full of such traces, delicate and fugitive: the poet's grandmother retrieved through her ninety-year-old bookmark of rose petals; the unvoiced suggestion of his mother's voice on an answerphone; the memory of a vanished native chief in a Canadian mountain's shadow...
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Pieces of Light

Pieces of Light

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

Hugh Arkwright's remote childhood in the Central African bush, and its sudden disruption, leaves him with a legacy of magic, mystery, and tragic loss. Late in his life, he returns to the gaunt house in Ulverton where he was brought up by his eccentric uncle, and finds that the old ghosts still walk. The more he excavates his own past, the deeper he finds the traces of ancient horrors. The autumnal air of Ulverton begins to take on the taint of corruption, and a mystery starts that ends with vengeance, murder and a sudden, staggering revelation. The mild English manners of the village of darkness beneath the heart of oak. PIECES OF LIGHT is a modern novel steeped in a resonant past; where rural England and colonial Africa collide. Densely wrought and vividly imagined, Adam Thorpe's return to Ulverton is a fictional triumph - thrilling and unforgettable.
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Hodd

Hodd

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

Who was Robin Hood? Romantic legend casts him as outlaw, archer, and hero of the people, living in Sherwood Forest with Friar Tuck, Little John and Maid Marian, stealing from the rich to give to the poor - but there is no historical proof to back this up. The early ballads portray a quite different figure: impulsive, violent, vengeful, with no concern for the needy, no merry band, and no Maid Marian.Hodd provides a possible answer to this famous question, in the form of a medieval document rescued from a ruined church on the Somme, and translated from the original Latin. The testimony of an anonymous monk, it describes his time as a boy in the greenwood with a half-crazed bandit called Robert Hodd - who, following the thirteenth-century principles of the 'heresy of the Free Spirit', believes himself above God and beyond sin. Hodd and his crimes would have been forgotten without the boy's minstrel skills, and it is the old monk's cruel fate to know...
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The Standing Pool

The Standing Pool

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

Two Cambridge academics, the historians Nick and Sarah Mallinson, take a sabbatical with their three small and lively girls in a remote Languedoc farmhouse. But the farmhouse contains its own histories, far darker and murkier than the Mallinsons are used to dealing with. As the illusion of Eden retreats, the couple begin to feel the vulnerability of being among strangers...
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Ulverton

Ulverton

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

At the heart of this novel lies the fictional village of Ulverton. It is the fixed point in a book that spans three hundred years. Different voices tell the story of Ulverton: one of Cromwell's soldiers staggers home to find his wife remarried and promptly disappears, an eighteenth century farmer carries on an affair with a maid under his wife's nose, a mother writes letters to her imprisoned son, a 1980s real estate company discover a soldier's skeleton, dated to the time of Cromell...Told through diaries, sermons, letters, drunken pub conversations and film scripts this is a masterful novel that reconstructs the unrecorded history of England.
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Nine Lessons From the Dark

Nine Lessons From the Dark

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

Adam Thorpe's fourth collection continues his engagement with history: the living continuum that connects us with our near and distant past, nourishing and illuminating our present. Here are traces left of presence: Indian scratchings on rock, the nail-marks of destroyed frescoes, spoken fragments of war memories - petroglyphs that function as both memorials and re-awakenings, traceable with the finger of the imagination. And here, too, are images of the stilled, the stopped life: a snowed-up village, the paralysed victim of motor-neurone disease, a soft drink fermented in an old village cafe. From this rueful equilibrium of mid-life, Thorpe circles his own personal history, allowing regret and anticipation their Janus-like say. These are erudite, generous poems, formally versatile yet rich in startlingly original observation and a natural lyric grace. Performing his unique archaeology on lives lived, Adam Thorpe once again displays the range of his imagination and...
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The Rules of Perspective

The Rules of Perspective

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

It is April 1945, and the historic town of Lohenfelde is about to be overrun by the Allied Third Army. Huddled in the vaults of the Kaiser-Wilhelm Museum are Heinrich Hoffer and his three colleagues. Their petty rivalries and resentments surface quickly in this claustrophobic confinement as the four prepare themselves for their fate. Above the ground, picking through the rubble, is Corporal Neal Parry, who wishes he was back in West Virginia studying art. When he finds an exquisite painting in what remains of the museum vaults, he is immediately reconnected with a lost world of beauty and order. It is this small 18th-century oil that is the poignant link between the young American soldier and the four charred corpses he finds at the same time. As the narratives interweave, the story of the painting reveals the hidden story of Herr Hoffer and his three associates -- and in doing so uncovers other, darker mysteries.
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Is This the Way You Said?

Is This the Way You Said?

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

Celebrated as a novelist of breathtaking historical range and depth, Adam Thorpe is also an accomplished and celebrated writer of short fiction, and the stories collected here show his deftness with character, his enormous versatility of voice.In the title story, an expectant first-time novelist meets the publisher who has asked him to lunch, only to find himself drawn, unwittingly and inexorably, into a terrible personal tragedy. In 'The Concert Interval' Rob, an orchestral tympanist, sees his life crumble over the half-time coffee and sandwiches. In 'Heavy Shopping' a business executive is called in the middle of an important conference in Scotland with the news that his wife has given birth prematurely; his inability to cope with the resulting divided loyalties, and the way he deals with his own passive indecisiveness, reveals the terrifying emotional vacuum in his life.Exquisitely written, these stories breathe life into their characters,...
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Flight

Flight

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

Bob Winrush was a freight dog, flying consignments of goods and sometimes people to all the corners of the world.Until, one day, he walked away from a deal that didn't smell right - something a 'freight dog' should never do.Now working as a private pilot for an Emirate prince in Dubai, he finds that moment of refusal catching up with him. Caught between those who want to find out more and those who want to cover their traces, he becomes a marked man, and flees to a remote Scottish island. Pursued by both armed assassins and a ruinous, bitter divorce, he struggles to re-fashion himself in this barren, beautiful place, taking on another identity.But back in the world of smuggled AK-47s and heroin, the stakes are rising. Even in the furthest Hebrides his past catches up with him, and the predators are closing in.
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Voluntary

Voluntary

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

From an abandoned rowing boat in Estonia full of wild flowers to a swimming pool in the Congo full of drowned insects, Adam Thorpe's new collection takes us on a wide-ranging journey through states of gain and loss, alienation and belonging. In the title poem, the poet disturbs a flock of geese by his mere presence, and one goose takes the wrong direction, away from the flock, as a 'voluntary exile'. A bid for freedom, or a mistake? These poems explore our chances, record our traces - in the marks on skin, home movies, stone walls, the pressure of our blood, or the clearing of a dying father's study: 'foraging backwards' until something is revealed, however tentative. As always in Thorpe's work, history's violence lurks in the margins: in the silent oppression of Roman roads, a polluting pipeline in Africa or the bombing of the Alcala train, he takes the gauge of our wider compulsions, of all that decides things for us. Against this he sets what, through the...
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No Telling

No Telling

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

Set in 1968 in the Parisian suburbs, No Telling is narrated by twelve-year-old Gilles as he approaches his Solemn Communion, puberty, and some sense of the chaos around him. His home is deeply dysfunctional: a dithering mother, a hard-drinking, womanising uncle who becomes his stepfather, and an older sister, Carole - an unbalanced revolutionary who hasn't danced her ballet steps since the death of their real father. Gilles is blithely unaware that any of this is out of the ordinary, as he and his friend Christophe try and piece together a world from fragments of rumour and hushed adult conversation. There is a deeper trauma here, however, far more shocking than anything Gilles could have dreamt of - a mystery it will take the events of the novel and eight years to resolve. --'Meticulously observed-.a riveting tour de force-Impossible to put down' Daily Telegraph --'A wonderful, clear-eyed portrayal of a child's bewildered negotiations with the adult world, shot through with...
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Between Each Breath

Between Each Breath

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

Jack Middleton, once 'England's most promising young composer' now lives comfortably in Hampstead with his wife Milly, an heiress. Jack is no longer young nor has he ever quite fulfilled his remarkable promise. And then he visits Estonia, in search of inspiration, and falls for a young waitress, Kaja. Six childless years on and Jack and Milly's marriage shows the strain, but they battle on better than most - until the past returns with a vengeance...
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From the Neanderthal

From the Neanderthal

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

The poems in Adam Thorpe's latest collection are concerned with the continuum between two worlds: the lived present and the felt past. With the attentive care of an archaeologist he uncovers and examines fragments - from a personal history or the historic past - and rebuilds the narrative: a fossil in Hitler's stadium, a wedding photograph, marks on the wall where an eighteenth-century priest was shot. With formal dexterity and rhythmic assurance, these versatile, subtle poems investigate the vertiginous dynamic of history - where a shard of stone stands for civilisation, where a silver of memory becomes a life re-lived. After nine years, during which time he has emerged as one of Britain's most powerful and innovative novelists, Adam Thorpe now returns - triumphantly - to poetry.
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Still

Still

Adam Thorpe

Fiction / Poetry

' outwardly the unfilmable script of a would-be English cineste, one Richard Arthur Thornby currently lecturing in Texas on the cinema. He airs a hypothetical movie of both his own American present and his middle-class English families past. . ' John Fowles
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