'Exams tend to corrupt; final exams corrupt finally.' This novel is about exams, literature, sex, cancer and time. Part 1: 1961: Examining a mind. Pembroke College, Cambridge. Peter Green and his friends Jack (big, dangerous) and Casey (small, sinister) face final examinations in English. Keen, they discuss their literary ideas. Peter, whose main study-aid is sexual pleasure, discards lissom Arabella, one of his two girlfriends. Competitive exams apparently subvert left-wing ideals. He alienates a don, Haggerty.
Family history is a massive phenomenon of our times but what are we after when we go in search of our ancestors? Beginning with her grandparents, Alison Light moves between the present and the past, in an extraordinary series of journeys over two centuries, across Britain and beyond. Epic in scope and deep in feeling, Common People is a family history but also a new kind of public history, following the lives of the migrants who travelled the country looking for work.
Your life is dominated by your unconscious mind: by thoughts you're unaware of and movements you don't realise you are making. Words, colours, mannerisms and other cues you don't realise are affecting you, change what you think. The confidence you have in your ability to reason and to consciously choose what to do is caused by a series of illusions that scientists are only just beginning to understand. The discovery of these illusions will change the way we see ourselves more than the discoveries of Darwin and Copernicus.
Charles Goldforbes is the new Latin teacher at Rydon Hall, the third best boys' prep school in Churley, south-west London. Along with the job come two related problems. One is the hideous Florian Bavington, aged 13 but already a master of low-level disruption. The other is the disturbingly alluring Natasha Bavington, Florian’s mother. Drama unfolds as Charles accompanies Florian and the rest of Year 8 on the annual school trip to Egypt, a country which just happens to be on the brink of revolution. The Arab Spring is underway but the tour party’s problems are only just beginning.
This is a history of Mount Athos from pagan antiquity to the present day. It tells the story of the first monks who were hermits, living in caves and simple huts, often in the most inaccessible parts of the peninsula. The first monasteries were founded in the tenth century with support from the Byzantine emperors. Both traditions survive on Athos today, the anchorites in their desert cells and the monks in the twenty ruling monasteries, coexisting more or less happily as they have always done.
During a cold, British winter, three women reach crisis point. Each suffering their own demons, their lives have been torn open by betrayal: by other people, by themselves, by life itself. But as their paths interweave, they begin to unravel their beleaguered pasts, and inadvertently change each other's futures.