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Old 18th January 2013
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Carol Lee Lorenzo - Nervous Dancer (v5) (epub)

The lives on view in Nervous Dancer are complex and precarious. Speaking their familial idioms in tones and cadences determined well before they ever appeared in these stories, Carol Lee Lorenzo's characters surge into moments of change for reasons initially not apparent. In the quirky, hard-edged ways in which they stumble, beg, come of age, fall apart, and reunite, they reveal no simple notions about life.

The way women and children see men is often the focus of these stories, and female voices are the most numerous in Nervous Dancer. Singularity of character can be found in anyone, however, such as the nameless father in "Unconfirmed Invitations," whose guilt over his drinking and marital infidelities leads to a bizarre hunter-gatherer compulsion. Lorenzo's women are often mothers, like LuAnn Wilson Hunter in "Something Almost Invisible," who says of herself and her son that they are "divorced from everything, we are all living in slow motion, not at home anywhere." Others find themselves in double binds with generational friction compounding their troubles, such as Eulene in "Nervous Dancer," who informs her mother, "Just because I'm in your house doesn't mean I've lost the right to fight with my husband."

Lorenzo says that her characters are "in the throes of love with its impurities or as sterling as it comes, and sometimes they trip the spring and the hard face of hate appears." She believes that "it's not always the outside force, someone else's doing, that changes things or brings confrontation. It's our stranger within--our unspoken self that frightens and engages us. That's what story allows us to see."



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Cary Fagan - My Life Among the Apes (v5) (epub)

Cary Fagan began his literary career writing short stories, and now, after five novels, he returns to his first love.

A woman leaves her husband, a retired judge, when he refuses to give up his passion for performing as a magician ("The Floating Wife").

A young man exiled from the downtown arts scene finds himself living in the suburbs in a community of new immigrants ("Shit Box").

A widow moves to New York to confront the woman who was her late husband's mistress ("The Brooklyn Revenge").

A bank manager in a bad situation turns to his childhood obsession with Jane Goodall for inspiration ("My Life Among the Apes").



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Margot Singer - The Pale of Settlement (v5) (epub)

In settings from Jerusalem to Manhattan, from the archaeological ruins of the Galilee to Kathmandu, The Pale of Settlement gives us characters who struggle to piece together the history and myths of their family’s past.This collection of linked short stories takes its title from the name of the western border region of the Russian empire within which Jews were required to live during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Susan, the stories’ main character, is a woman trapped in her own border region between youth and adulthood, familial roots in the Middle East and a typical American existence, the pull of Jewish tradition and the independence of a secular life.

In “Helicopter Days,” Susan discovers that the Israeli cousin she grew up with has joined a mysterious cult. “Lila’s Story” braids Susan’s memories of her grandmother--a German Jew arriving in Palestine to escape the Holocaust--with the story of her own affair with a married man and an invented narrative of her grandmother’s life. In “Borderland,” while trekking in Nepal, Susan meets an Israeli soldier who carries with him the terrible burden of his experience as a border guard in the Gaza Strip. And in the haunting title story, bedtime tales are set against acts of terrorism and memories of a love beyond reach. The stories of The Pale of Settlement explore the borderland between Israelis and American Jews, emigrants and expatriates, and vanished homelands and the dangerous world in which we live today.



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Stuart Neville - Ratlines (v5) (epub)

Ireland 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German national is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate. The German is the third foreigner to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey wants the killing to end lest a shameful secret be exposed: the dead men were all Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government in the years following World War II.

A note from the killers is found on the dead German's corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler's favorite commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe. The note simply says: "We are coming for you."

As Albert Ryan digs deeper into the case he discovers a network of former Nazis and collaborators, all presided over by Skorzeny from his country estate outside Dublin. When Ryan closes in on the killers, his loyalty is torn between country and conscience. Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before? Ryan learns that Skorzeny might be a dangerous ally, but he is a deadly enemy.



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Jim Lehrer - The Last Debate (v5) (epub)

For the first time in paperback, just in time for the 2000 presidential election: the renowned PBS anchor's page-turning fictional look into the brutal truths of presidential politics and journalism.. It is the night of the presidential debate. The election is eight days away. Republican nominees James Meredith, a fundamentalist Christian whose ambitions border on white supremacy, is pitted against four reporters who have just discovered damaging information that could ruin his career. What unfolds during The Last Debate will change the course of electoral politics and the news business forever.As "the ultimate insider-outsider" ( Washington Post ), and as a moderator of presidential debates past and present, journalist and PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer knows the world he writes about only too well. His novel--a satirical and absorbing story of the behind-the-scenes world of news journalism--also exposes the duplicitous posing and posturing of made-for-TV political events. And with the 2000 elections looming ahead, the targets of his satire--religious fundamentalists, self-important journalists, feral network programming heads--could not be more timely.



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Elaine Coffman - Let Me Be Your Hero (v5) (epub)

Claire Lennox, Countess of Errick and Mains, is a powerful woman in a man's world. Her slender beauty belies the strong shoulders upon which she carries much responsibility, guarding her clan against greed, betrayal and treachery. Confident and courageous, she refuses to marry--ever again. Eight years ago, when she was an impulsive young girl, she lost her heart and her husband to foolish pride. Now, as desperate rivals plot to seize her title and lands, one man is willing to risk everything to save her.

Fraser Graham tells himself there is nothing left between him and Claire but memories. Yet his heart dictates otherwise when ruthless enemies kidnap the woman who was once his innocent bride. After his daring rescue sends them running for their lives through the wild, windswept hills, he and Claire surrender to remembered passion. . .but pride and past hurts silence sweet words of love and forgiveness. As the noose of treachery tightens and a deadly plot unfolds to destroy everything Claire has sworn to protect, Fraser must decide if he will pledge his sword, his strength and his heart to the one woman he was always loved--or resign himself to losing her forever.



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JMG Le Clezio - Desert (v5) (epub)

The Swedish Academy, in awarding J.M.G. Le Clezio the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature, praised Desert as Le Clezio's definitive breakthrough as a novelist. Published in France in 1980, Desert received the Grand Prix Paul Morand from the Academie Francaise, was translated into twenty-three languages, and quickly proved to be a best-selling novel in many countries around the world.

Available for the first time in English translation, Desert is a novel composed of two alternating narratives, set in counterpoint. The first takes place in the desert between 1909 and 1912 and evokes the migration of a young adolescent boy, Nour, and his people, the Blue Men, notorious warriors of the desert. Driven from their lands by French colonial soldiers, Nour's tribe has come to the valley of the Saguiet El Hamra to seek the aid of the great spiritual leader known as Water of the Eyes. The religious chief sends them out from the holy city of Smara into the desert to travel still further. Spurred on by thirst, hunger, and suffering, Nour's tribe and others flee northward in the hopes of finding a land that can harbor them at last.

The second narrative relates the contemporary story of Lalla, a descendant of the Blue Men. Though she is an orphan living in a shantytown known as the Project near a coastal city in Morocco, the blood of her proud, obstinate tribe runs in her veins. All too soon, Lalla must flee to escape a forced marriage with an older, wealthy man. She travels to France, undergoing many trials there, from working in a brothel to success as a highly paid fashion model, but she never betrays the blood of her ancestors.



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Josephine Cox - Born Bad (v5) (epub)

THE POWERFUL NEW BESTSELLER FROM ONE OF THE NATION'S FAVOURITE STORYTELLERS

Harry always knew he would go back one day ! Eighteen years ago when he was a boy, he had made a decision that drove him from the pace he knew and loved. In those early years, between boy and man, he had carved out a life for himself, and somehow, he had found a semblance of peace.Yet through every waking moment during those long aching years, he was haunted by what happened when he was a boy. He had never forgotten that warm, carefree girl with the laughing eyes. Then he recalled the sadness, the bad timings and even now, he could not forgive himself. They say you never forget your first love and it's true. You could have a dozen loving relationships and even settle down with someone you would die for, but your first love is always there, safe and protected in your heart and soul. Now for the first time in all those years, Harry is heading back. Excited, afraid, and full of doubts, he knows he has no choice. Rightly or wrongly, he needs to know the outcome of what happened all those years ago. And most importantly, he needs to find forgiveness.



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Leo Francis McKay - Twenty Six (v5) (epub)

Leo McKay Jr.’s bestselling novel is set in a small Nova Scotia town, where a family is changed forever after a devastating mining accident claims the lives of twenty-six men. As the story shifts back and forth in time and between characters, we meet the men and women of the Burrows family: brothers Ziv and Arvel, drawn to the mine for different reasons; their father, a former union organizer; Ziv’s ex-girlfriend, now living in Japan; and Arvel’s wife, who hopes for a better life for herself in the city. In the aftermath of the explosion, and as the investigation into its causes unfolds, the members of the Burrows family are forced to confront each other – and themselves – bringing the novel to its moving and redemptive conclusion. Written in spare, hard-hitting prose, and inspired in part by the Westray mining disaster, Twenty-Six is a novel of universal human struggle and understanding that evokes in all its drama and pathos a community transformed by tragedy.



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Randy F Nelson - The Imaginary Lives of Mechanical Men (v5) (epub)

The mechanical men in these stories—Industrial Age holdovers, outsiders wanting for relevance and respect, or overwhelmed people who confuse the certainties of one reality with the doubts of another—are cut off in some way from contemporary culture.
Sometimes in these stories, which Randy F. Nelson calls "thought experiments about values in conflict," the characters are like the Native American prison guard in "Escape": Rifkin thinks that atonement is possible even for fugitive killers. Others are less sanguine. In "Breakers," a corporate hitman arrives on a forgettable island off the African coast. His mission: to shut down a hellish, polluting, ship-demolition business. His nemesis: a lawyer, now gone Heart-of-Darkness crazy, who preceded him years earlier for the same purpose. The bottom drops out in other stories, rearranging all reference points to good and bad, true and false. In "Abduction," for instance, a distraught young woman summons a tabloid reporter to a grubby hotel room, where the now-lifeless alien who had invaded her body lies wrapped in a sheet.

Nelson once explained his motivations by alluding to a line in a Gabriel García Márquez story. A crowd of villagers are gazing upon a man, "but even though they were looking at him, there was no room for him in their imagination." "Stories and characters and situations that ask the imagination to accommodate something bigger, further, deeper—that's what I'm after," said Nelson.



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