Charles Lambert’s PRODIGAL acquired by Aardvark Bureau and TWO DARK TALES launching at Belgravia Books

Charles Lambert author pic by Patrizia Casamirra 3 PREFERRED.JPG

Hot on the heels of TWO DARK TALES: JACK SQUAT AND THE NICHE, Aardvark Bureau – an imprint of Gallic Books - has acquired Charles Lambert’s spectacular novel, PRODIGAL. Founder and MD Jane Aitken bought UK and British Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann.

Aardvark published Lambert’s chilling novel THE CHILDREN’S HOME in 2016, a title lauded by the likes of Owen King and New York Times. Demonstrating his striking versatility as a writer, Lambert’s latest offering takes a step away from the mysterious and macabre. Instead, he interrogates the nature of family, trust, death and what we do to one another in the name of love, all within the wider context of a beautiful, yet troubling, queer coming-of-age tale.

An innovative family drama told across three timelines, PRODIGAL plunges readers into the irregular life of the hapless Jeremy: a man in his late 50s trying to scrape together a living in Paris by writing ham-erotica under the lubricious guise of ‘Nathalie Cray’. When his all-but-estranged older sister, Rachel, calls to tell him that their father is on his deathbed, Jeremy reluctantly travels back to his family home in the depths of Whitstable. Confronted with a life that he was ever-eager to escape, his return marks the start of an emotionally-fraught journey into his – and Rachel’s – chequered past.

Marred by their mother’s death in a provincial Greek hospital some 20 years earlier, and, further back, by the moment at which their family fell apart, this reawakening of shared childhood and formative experience leads the siblings on a journey rife with misunderstanding and revelation, with secrets disclosed and not disclosed, with duplicity and confession, all culminating with something that may, or may not, be precarious reconciliation. PRODIGAL refuses to offer easy answers to the questions it poses: How does one live with what one has? How does one live with what one is? And, what does it mean to love and to be loved?

As ever, all the Lambert hallmarks are there: darkly polished prose, humane wit and acute psychological insights, shot throughout with threads of dark humour. The prodigal of the title – where love (and, by extension, life) is ‘a nice little tale where you have everything as you like it’ (from the DH Lawrence epigraph to the novel) – is undermined by a more complex, and ultimately more enriching, sense of humanity as something improvised, fragile and ultimately precious.

Aitken said: 'Charles Lambert’s writing just gets better and better. In tackling the complexities of familial love, he has written a novel reminiscent of St Aubyn or Hollinghurst, and the result is raw, provocative and deeply moving.’

This Thursday, Charles will attend Belgravia Books in London to celebrate the launch of the darkly intriguing TWO DARK TALES: JACK SQUAT AND THE NICHE. The novellas have already received a warm reception, with Charlotte Heathcote of S Magazine commending the stories as ‘intense and guaranteed to foster a sense of unease’. Houman Barekat of The Times Literary Supplement called JACK SQUAT ‘charming, elegantly written’ and THE NICHE ‘deeply poignant’.

 

Visit Charles’ blog

You can also follow Charles on Twitter.

 

About Charles Lambert 

 Born in England, Charles lives in Fondi, near Rome, working as a university teacher and freelance editor. He is the author of several novels including LITTLE MONSTERS and ANY HUMAN FACE (Picador) and the short story collection THE SCENT OF CINNAMON (Salt). His work is included in THE BEST OF BRITISH SHORT STORIES 2013 (Salt) and he has won an O. Henry Award and other short story prizes.

 Praise for Charles Lambert

 ‘Charles Lambert writes as if his life depends on it. He takes risks at every turn.’ –Hannah Tinti

‘Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer.' – Beryl Bainbridge

‘Compelling reading.’ – Patricia Duncker

 ‘Charles Lambert is a terrific, devious storyteller.’ – Owen King

CHARLES LAMBERT’S GROUND-BREAKING TWO DARK TALES: JACK SQUAT AND THE NICHE IS PUBLISHED BY AARDVARK TODAY

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Published in the UK today by Aardvark Bureau, ahead of Halloween, are two terrifying new novellas from the master of the literary uncanny, Charles Lambert.

As Owen King, author of DOUBLE FEATURE,  writes: ‘In these expertly-crafted stories the consequences of moral corrosion are truly frightening. There are terrible things in the shadows – and we made them. Charles Lambert is a terrific, devious storyteller.’

In JACK SQUAT, unemployed Gordon and his partner Omar see a money-making opportunity helping expats buy homes in southern Italy. But their scheme catches up with them after the first home they sell, curiously built with four entrances but no connecting doors inside, is revealed to have a dark history.

In THE NICHE, mercilessly bullied schoolboy Billy Lender finds a hiding place in a nook in the school corridor and begins to hear whispers: the voice of a mysterious friend who will help him to plot a devastating revenge.

Charles Lambert’s THE CHILDREN’S HOME was published by Aardvark Bureau in the UK and Scribner in the US in 2016, and in France by Anne Carrière.

 

More Praise for Charles Lambert:

‘Charles Lambert writes as if his life depends on it. He takes risks at every turn.’ -- Hannah Tinti

‘Charles Lambert is a seriously good writer.' – Beryl Bainbridge

‘Compelling reading.’ – Patricia Duncker

 ‘Charles Lambert is a terrific, devious storyteller.’ – Owen King

 

About Charles Lambert  
Born in England, Charles lives in Fondi, near Rome, working as a university teacher and freelance editor. He is the author of several novels including LITTLE MONSTERS and ANY HUMAN FACE (Picador) and the short story collection THE SCENT OF CINNAMON (Salt). His work is included in THE BEST OF BRITISH SHORT STORIES 2013 (Salt) and he has won an O. Henry Award and other short story prizes.

Find out more about Charles Lambert on his  Blog.

Follow him on  Twitter.

GREEN LION BY HENRIETTA ROSE-INNES OUT IN THE UK TODAY And catch her at Edinburgh International Book Festival!

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GREEN LION by Henrietta Rose-Innes is published in the UK today by Aardvark Bureau, who published her prize-winning NINEVEH last year. This masterful novel, published in South Africa by Umuzi and in France by Editions Zoe, has already drawn much praise and received a 5-star review from Lara Feigel in the Telegraph this weekend. Patrick Flanery described it as ‘poignant and unsentimental, an urgent story of quiet, lurking terror’, while Ivan Vladislavić says that ‘in GREEN LION Henrietta Rose-Innes has written another extraordinary novel, lyrical, deftly plotted, and as full of life as the Ark.’

When a lion at a breeding park mauls an old school friend, Con steps in as the keeper of Sekhmet, the last remaining Cape black-maned lioness in the world. As he grows steadily more bonded to his enigmatic charge, a cult of animal lovers with obscure alchemical aims seeks to claim the lioness as their own. When she escapes, Sekhmet engulfs the city’s imagination, stirring up rumours of terror and magic and in Con’s quest to track her down, he must enter the wilderness of a cordoned-off Table Mountain – and his own dark history.

On today’s publication day readers can also catch Henrietta at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. She will be talking about GREEN LION at 20:30 with author Cynan Jones at the Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre and will also take part in Amnesty International’s Imprisoned Writers series from 17:30-18:15, where readings will highlight the dangers of being a journalist on the front line. For tickets find the link here. At 18:30 on Tuesday 22 August Henrietta will be speaking at Golden Hare Books in Edinburgh. For more information see here.  For London readers Belgravia Books will launch GREEN LION on 5 September.

More praise for GREEN LION:
'Beautifully written, with prose that is mixed with poetry and power GREEN LION has sent me off looking for more work by Henrietta Rose-Innes.' – Paul McVeigh

'What’s being explored, and it’s a theme that feels oddly neglected in contemporary fiction, is the relationship between humans and animals and with nature more generally…[Henrietta uses these lions as] a lens in which to examine her country’s history as a troubled moment… In Rose Innes’s hands, the beast becomes less a political symbol than a personal one… This is a novel that is unafraid of symbolism but manages not to seem heavy handed… If there is an inner Lion in us all, as Rose Innes seems to suggest, her prose weaving between muscular and lyrical, is well equipped to capture what this might feel like… The question for [Rose-Innes’] characters is how to live without repressing its roar or succumbing to it fully.’ — Lara Feigel, The Telegraph, 5 star review

‘So many moments of glorious observations and beautifully rendered prose …GREEN LION is one of my favourite books of the year so far, and a journey I will certainly be taking again. On top of that, Henrietta Rose-Innes is a glorious writer who manages to write about mankind and the natural world, without taking sides.’ — Paul Dawson

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‘Rose-Inne s reveals an unflinching embrace of the messiness of human and animal life, and their troubled interactions … the depth of Rose-Innes' characterisation makes GREEN LION a satisfying read.’ – The Book Bag

‘In GREEN LION Henrietta Rose-Innes has written another extraordinary novel, lyrical, deftly plotted, and as full of life as the Ark. In the Cape Town of her imagination, a place both utterly strange and eerily familiar, wildness is always pressing up against the fence. The ‘animal’, she suggests, is not just out there but in here, shaping what we do and say, embedded in language itself like a stubborn gene.’ – Ivan Vladislavić

Praise for Henrietta Rose-Innes
'Rose-Innes is a writer almost in the Virginia Woolf mould – lateral of mind and poetic in her style of narration.' – Leon de Kock, Sunday Time

‘Henrietta Rose-Innes is a master of the beautifully thought-out metaphor. Her prose is elegant and liquid.’ – Cape Times

 About Henrietta Rose-Innes
Henrietta is the author of four novels and one book of short stories. She was winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing 2008 (for which she was shortlisted in 2007), the PEN Short Story Prize 2007, and awarded the Runner-Up prize for her short story 'Sanctuary' at the BBC International Short Story Awards 2012. Her novel, NINEVEH, was shortlisted for The Sunday Times Fiction Prize (South Africa), the M-Net Prize 2012 and won the Francois Sommer Literary Prize.

Find out more about Henrietta Rose-Innes on her  website.

Follow her on Twitter.

 

Aardvark Bureau acquires a new kind of book, a reading experience like no other!

LITTLE: THE STORY OF MADAME TUSSAUD

Aardvark Bureau, the world fiction imprint of the Belgravia Books Collective, has acquired Edward Carey’s extraordinary picaresque novel LITTLE, based on the incredible life story of the world’s most famous wax sculptor, Marie Tussaud.

LITTLE is to be illustrated by Edward Carey’s distinctive pencil drawings.

Aardvark Bureau has acquired UK, Europe and Commonwealth (ex Can) rights from Isobel Dixon at Blake Friedmann.

Born Marie Grosholtz in 1761 in Alsace but known as ‘Little’ in the novel for her diminutive size, Marie started out in the household of Dr Philippe Curtius in Berne, Switzerland . A physician skilled in creating anatomical wax models, it was Curtius who taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling and took her to pre-revolutionary France.

At the age of 17, Marie became the art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister, Madame Elisabeth, at Versailles. During the French Revolution she was imprisoned and narrowly escaped execution. She cast the heads of many of those who were not so lucky... She married François Tussaud in 1795 and later moved to London, where she set up her world-famous waxworks museum.

Far from being a chamber of horrors, Edward Carey’s telling of Marie’s story is an affecting and exuberant Dickensian tale crossing countries and covering a tumultuous period in history, through the eyes of a cast of quirky and sympathetic characters. It is an unconventional love story, the tale of a woman’s rise to success against the odds, and a hymn to the strange beauty of the human body.

Edward Carey first became fascinated by the story of Madame Tussaud while working at the London museum. He is the author of two previous works of literary fiction – OBSERVATORY MANSIONS (Picador, 2000, shortlisted for the Borders Discover New Writers Award) and ALVA AND IRVA (Picador, 2003, longlisted for the IMPAC) – as well as the acclaimed Iremonger Trilogy for young adults, beginning with HEAP HOUSE (chosen by The New York Times, NPR, and Kirkus for their Best Books of the Year and now optioned for film).

LITTLE will be published by Aardvark Bureau in autumn 2018, including illustrations by the author: chapters will be illustrated with line drawings of characters and objects mentioned, while the cover will feature Carey’s painting of LITTLE in the style of Jacques-Louis David, whom Marie encounters in the book when she is asked to make a waxwork of the murdered Marat.

Jane Aitken says: ‘There are so many reasons to be excited about publishing LITTLE. Such an original novel which marries the Gallic and Aardvark lists perfectly – rich with French history, but written in English with Edward’s wit and pathos. And we are thrilled at the prospect of publishing Edward’s wonderful illustrations.’

Edward Carey says: ‘I'm absolutely thrilled to have LITTLE published by Aardvark Bureau who know the French world so well, and who have been so enthusiastic about this story of a diminutive servant turned entertainment mogul. Aardvark are so inspiring to work with, full of ideas and enthusiasm, and with a tremendous encouragement have championed this novel spanning a big stretch of calamitous history told by a small bloodstained crumb...and they have let me populate it with pencil sketches. I couldn't be happier.’

Carey’s agent, Isobel Dixon, says: ‘Madame Tussaud’s journey was an extraordinary one, and in so imaginatively retracing her footsteps and the growth of her art, Edward Carey has created a novel of wonder. LITTLE is funny, dark, and moving, about the great violent sweep of revolution as well as the tender secrets of the heart.  I’m thrilled with this perfect match of innovative publisher with brilliant author and I look forward to more creative publishing adventures ahead in bringing this unforgettable novel to readers.’

 

Praise for Edward Carey:

‘Delightful, eccentric, heartfelt, surprising, philosophical’ - Eleanor Catton

‘It's hard to imagine a better subject for Edward Carey's particular genius than the life of Madame Tussaud’ - Charles Lambert

‘Edward Carey is an enormously talented writer’ - Publishers Weekly

‘Edward Carey is one of the strangest writers we are privileged to have in this country’ - Observer

‘Carey writes with such persuasive authority, and we are inclined to believe him’ - New York Times Review of Books

‘If this were music, Carey would be Eric Satie. If it were film, he would be Tim Burton’ - Newsday

 ‘Conveyed with so much sympathy and acute observation that it is hard not to be beguiled’ - The Times

 

About Edward Carey

Edward Carey is a novelist, visual artist and playwright. His acclaimed YA series the Iremonger Trilogy (HEAP HOUSE, FOULSHAM and LUNGDON) is published in thirteen countries and has been optioned for film adaptation. Born in England, Edward has lived in France, Romania, Lithuania, Germany, Ireland and Denmark. He now lives in the USA and teaches at the University of Austin, Texas.

 

Follow Edward Carey on Twitter
Visit Edward Carey's website

Aardvark Bureau signs two-book deal with prize-winning South African author Henrietta Rose-Innes

Aardvark Bureau has acquired UK and BC rights (ex Canada and Southern Africa) to the novels NINEVEH and GREEN LION by acclaimed South African author Henrietta Rose-Innes. The deal was brokered by Isobel Dixon of Blake Friedmann.

NINEVEH was shortlisted for South Africa’s most prestigious literary award, the Sunday Times Fiction Prize, in 2012. GREEN LION is currently a finalist for the same award, with the winner due to be announced this weekend.

Both novels convey a strong sense of the Cape Town where Rose-Innes grew up, with Table Mountain looming physically and symbolically large. They explore the tensions between the natural and man-made worlds, and the ways in which we perceive the animal kingdom – beguiling, semi-mystical, endangered and dangerous, familiar and unknowable.

NINEVEH, to be published simultaneously in November 2016 by Aardvark Bureau in the UK and BC and by Unnamed Press in the USA, tells the story of Katya Grubbs, Cape Town’s only ethical pest removal specialist. When called to tackle a mysterious infestation at a new luxury housing development on the fringes of the city, Katya finds herself having to deal with unwelcome intrusions from the past.

In GREEN LION (autumn 2017), Con steps in as the keeper of Sekhmet, the world’s last remaining black-maned lioness, when his school friend is mauled at a breeding zoo. Drawn to the powerful creature, he finds himself testing the boundaries that separate the animal and human worlds, and reliving dark moments of his own history.

Jane Aitken says: In these two masterful novels, Henrietta Rose-Innes’s beautiful prose intrigues, entrances and entertains. We are thrilled to bring Rose-Innes to the UK market.

Henrietta Rose-Innes says: I'm tremendously excited to introduce my books to readers in the UK and elsewhere – and I can't think of a better home for them than Aardvark Bureau, with its fresh and adventurous list of global titles.

Praise for Henrietta Rose-Innes:

‘Henrietta Rose-Innes writes an admirably taut, clean prose. … A welcome addition to the new South African literature.’ – J M Coetzee

‘GREEN LION sees humanity’s longing for the wildness of animals as a desire for what remains most alien in our rational selves ... Poignant and unsentimental, this is an urgent story of quiet, lurking terror.' – Patrick Flanery, author of Absolution

‘A gripping, thrilling allegory of a troubled nation, NINEVEH is executed with wit, panache, precision and something that I can only call wounded love for the country the author calls her home.’ – Neel Mukherjee, author of The Lives of Others

‘Rose-Innes’s writing is as entertaining as it is subtle – a rare combination.’ – Steven Amsterdam, author of Things We Didn’t See Coming

‘Henrietta Rose-Innes is a master of the beautifully thought-out metaphor. Her prose is elegant and liquid.’ – Cape Times

‘Rose-Innes is a writer almost in the Virginia Woolf mould – lateral of mind and poetic in her style of narration.’ – SA Sunday Times

‘With its crisp style, infused with caustic humour, NINEVEH places Henrietta Rose-Innes without contest among the most important voices of the new South African literature.’ – Le Monde

‘A compellingly enigmatic story, [2008 Caine Prize winner] POISON’s few pages are also an eloquent vignette of the “new” South Africa.’ – The Guardian

About the author:

Henrietta Rose-Innes is a novelist and short story writer from Cape Town, currently living in the UK while completing a PhD at the University of East Anglia. She won the Caine Prize for African Writing 2008 and the HSBC / PEN Short Story Prize 2007 and was runner-up in the BBC Short Story Award 2012. Her work is included in the Granta Book of the African Short Story (2011) and has been published in a number of languages, including French, Spanish and German.

For press enquiries and interview requests, please contact Sophie Goodfellow or Emma Draude: sophie@edpr.co.uk / emma@edpr.co.uk

For rights enquiries, please contact Isobel Dixon: isobel@blakefriedmann.co.uk