Charles Lambert’s PRODIGAL longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019

PRODIGAL by Charles Lambert UK cover.jpg

Charles Lambert’s novel PRODIGAL, published by Gallic Books in August 2018, has been longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. The prize honours writers “whose work explores the LGBT experience, whether in poetry, prose, fiction, or nonfiction”. While there has previously been a Polari First Book Prize, this year is the first time that there will be an award given to an established writer also. The shortlist will be announced at a special Polari Salon at the Southbank Centre on 26 July and the winner announced in October during the London Literature Festival.

PRODIGAL is a fearless, elegantly written exploration of family, trust, death, and what we do to one another in the name of love, told within the wider context of a beautiful yet troubling, queer coming-of-age tale.

Jeremy, a hapless man in his late 50s, scrapes together a living in Paris by writing soft-core pornography under the saucy guise of ‘Nathalie Cray’. When his all-but-estranged sister tells him their father is on his deathbed, Jeremy reluctantly travels back to his parental home in the depths of the English countryside.

Confronted with a life that he had always been eager to escape, his return marks the start of an emotionally fraught journey into the family’s chequered past. The journey takes him back to the unexpected death of his mother in a provincial Greek hospital years earlier and, further back, to the moment at which the Eldritch family fell apart.

It’s a journey composed of revelations, of secrets disclosed and not disclosed, and of something that might, or might not, be reconciliation...

Last year Charles’s novel THE CHILDREN’S HOME was included in a New York Times list of 13 Haunted Books to read before watching THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE.

Born in England, Charles lives in Fondi, near Rome, working as a university teacher and freelance editor. His first novel, LITTLE MONSTERS, a Good Housekeeping selection, was published in 2008 by Picador, the same year as THE SCENT OF CINNAMON AND OTHER STORIES (Salt Publishing), the title story of which was an O. Henry Prize winner. His second novel, ANY HUMAN FACE (Picador), was described by the Telegraph as 'a slow-burning, beautifully written crime story that brings to life the Rome that tourists don't see - luckily for them.'

In 2014, Charles’s experimental autobiography WITH A ZERO AT ITS HEART (The Friday Project) was one of the Guardian's top ten books of that year. THE CHILDREN’S HOME, a dystopic story of a haunted house, was published in 2016 to widespread praise, followed by TWO DARK TALES, in 2017, both by Gallic Books.


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.' – Dame Beryl Bainbridge

‘Compelling reading.’ – Patricia Duncker

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


Praise for THE CHILDREN’S HOME

‘A thoroughly original entry into the tradition of ghost stories, eschewing convention …compulsively readable…A one-of-a-kind literary horror story.’ – Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

‘Lambert carefully constructs the restricted sphere that Fletcher inhabits, leaving the chaotic larger world and the source of his family fortune largely a mystery. After slowly unfolding Fletcher’s story, Lambert then accelerates the pace to a breathtaking climax. THE CHILDREN’S HOME is a magical, mesmerizing tale about the courage it takes to confront the unknown.’ – Booklist, Starred Review

‘THE CHILDREN’S HOME is like a strange dream in which you can’t quite tell if you’re awake…The resulting story is a weird, poignant journey reminiscent of Calvino that explores fear, power, revenge and redemption. Lambert’s story is addictive … its potent, often brutal, images have a lasting power.’ – Sheri Bodoh, BookPage


Visit Charles’ blog

You can also follow Charles on Twitter.

Blake Friedmann Authors in Best of 2018 Lists

With 2018 drawing to a close, everyone is sharing their favourite books of the year. At Blake Friedmann, we are so proud that our authors have been featured in so many of these selections. In celebration of these amazing achievements, we have compiled this summary of the lists in which our authors were included, along with the praise that accompanied their selection.

SILENCE IS MY MOTHER TONGUE Final Cover.jpg

SILENCE IS MY MOTHER TONGUE by Sulaiman Addonia

Brittle Paper, African Books of 2018

'Mesmerizing story…  It's impossible not to fall in love with Saba. She brings a ton of emotional texture to the story.'

SLAY IN YOUR LANE cover.jpg

SLAY IN YOUR LANE by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinene

Grazia, The 12 Books We Couldn’t Stop Talking About This Year

‘Guide to be­ing a black girl in mod­ern ur­ban Britain which is es­sen­tial read­ing for both the women it de­scribes and any­one who could do with a crash course in un­der­stand­ing their lives. Un­miss­able.’

The Guardian, Favourite Books of 2018

‘Never would I have thought a modern take on the British black female experience would be covered so wonderfully and with such excitement by two British black females. The range of topics were discussion worthy, and filled me for weeks with talking points … BUY A COPY FOR THE NEW YEAR AND BE SURPRISED AND EXCITED.’

Kimberley Sheehan, The Reading Agency, Books of the Year 2018

‘This book is a brilliant starting point to understand what it's like to be woman, black and a Londoner in 2018. It ultimately left me feeling hopeful about the future for women and empowered -- which has been a nice change compared to the rest of the year!’

Forbes, The Most Empowering Books by Female Authors of 2018

‘In this highly anticipated work from award-winning journalist Yomi Adegoke and her best friend, marketer Elizabeth Uviebinene SLAY IN YOUR LANE celebrates the gains that black women have already made in Britain whilst also highlighting the work that still needs to be done. It’s an encouraging and honest account of their own lives and a celebration of the achievements of some of Britain’s most successful black women that’ll leave you feeling fired up and hopeful for the future. For black women it serves as an inspiration and for other women and men a guide on how we can better support women of colour.’

CITY WITHOUT STARS - BAKER Tim - UK Faber.jpg

CITY WITHOUT STARS by Tim Baker

Jake Kerridge, Crime Time,  Best of the Year 2018

Raven Crime Reads, Top 10 Crime Reads of the Year 2018

 ‘CITY WITHOUT STARS is an intense, emotive and completely absorbing read, suffused with a violent energy, and with an unrelenting pace to its narrative. It heightens the reader’s senses and imagination throughout, completely enveloping the reader in this corrupt and violent society, with instances of intense human frailty and moments of strength, underpinned by precise description, and flurries of dark humour. I thought it was absolutely marvellous.’

The Telegraph, 50 Best Books of 2018

‘A grim but unputdownable thriller set in Mexico, where the homicide rate is so high that a prolific serial killer goes nearly unnoticed.’

UNCOVERED cover.jpg

UNCOVERED by Ian Birch

Steve Smith, Folio Magazine, The Best Books for Print Lovers 2018

‘This is the book true magazine geeks will appreciate most this holiday… a deft and deep compendium of provocations from titles large and small.’

LITTLE by Edward Carey

LITTLE hb front cover.JPG

The Times, Books of the Year (Historical Fiction)

'Told with extraordinary panache, and illustrated by Edward Carey, this tale of the founder of Madame Tussauds is a macabre joy.'

Sunday Times Culture Magazine, Books of the Year

'Edward Carey's LITTLE is weird, wonderful and unlike any other historical novel this year. Enriched by the author's own illustrations, this retelling of the early life of Marie Grosholtz (aka Madame Tussaud) is both macabre and moving.'

Kirkus, Best Historical Fiction

Amal El-Mohtar, NPR, Best Books of 2018

'Picking up on the same themes of bodies and objects as his Iremonger trilogy, Edward Carey's LITTLE is a tenderly macabre fictional memoir written in the voice of Anne Marie Grosholtz, the woman who would become Madame Tussaud… her life is full of deep sadness mixed with fabulous incident, and compassionate insight punctuated by the author's whimsical illustrations.'

William Ryan, Irish Independent, Authors Top Books of 2018

'A gripping novel of shy wit and darkly humorous occurrences and is mesmerising in its virtuosity. On top of which the author's own illustrations are wonderfully bizarre, as indeed is the story he tells.'

GOOD SAMARITANS - CARVER Will - UK Orenda.jpg

GOOD SAMARITANS by Will Carver

Jon Coates, Crime Time,  Best of the Year 2018

Jake Kerridge, Crime Time, Best of the Year 2018

HoldCOVER.JPG

HOLD/HOUSEGIRL by Michael Donkor

Melissa Gray, NPR, Best Books of 2018

‘I hate novels. This is a strong statement, I know – here’s why I make it before telling you about HOUSEGIRL: I hate novels because too often, I know exactly where the story is heading, where the characters are heading. I loved HOUSEGIRL because Michael Donkor's storytelling and character building were so exquisite… Two days after I finished the book, I found myself actually missing the characters. This is a rare accomplishment for a first-time author, which is why I recommend HOUSEGIRL – even though it's a novel.'

The Observer, Best Books of 2018

‘Exquisite debut’

Brittle Paper, African Books of 2018

'A unique take on the classic "housegirl" narrative.'

PRETEND YOU DON'T KNOW ME cover.jpg

PRETEND YOU DON’T KNOW ME by Finuala Dowling

Jackie Kay, The Guardian, Best Books of 2018

‘A witty and wise collection. Her sequence about her mother’s dementia is very touching. Elsewhere, these vital works will have you crying with laughter.’

 

DESERTER_front.jpg

TODAY SOUTH LONDON, TOMORROW SOUTH LONDON by Andrew Grumbridge and Vincent Raison

 Evening Standard, Best Comedy Books and DVDs of 2018

 

THE CHILDREN'S HOME UK final cover.jpg

THE CHILDREN’S HOME by Charles Lambert

New York Times, Before Watching ‘The Haunting of Hill House,’ Read These 13 Haunted Books

‘”Abandoned children of varying ages begin showing up at the sprawling estate of a disfigured recluse, Morgan Fletcher,” Carmela Ciuraru wrote, calling it “one of the year’s most bizarre stories.” “Lambert’s subtle prose enhances the novel’s creepiness, as does his refusal to fully resolve or explain its many mysteries.”’

BOOKWORM final.JPG

BOOKWORM by Lucy Mangan

Den of Geeks, Top Books of 2018

‘I’d like to report a robbery. Under cover of darkness, writer and Guardian TV critic Lucy Mangan crept into my soul, pocketed my memories and wrote them up beautifully in the guise of her “memoir of childhood reading.”… Lucy Mangan’s funny, warm BOOKWORM is personal and universal in the way that the very best books are… [It] rekindles old obsessions and sends you in search of any stories you may have missed at the time. I loved this book so much, I ate it.’

THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK.JPG

THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK by Deon Meyer

The Times, Books of the Year 2018

'Are novellas making a comeback? If they can match the elegance of [THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK], let's hope so. THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK is a delicate story of a Dutch paining and the death of a naked woman in Cape Town. As usual, DI Benny Griessel inquires.'

WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT ppbk front.JPG

WHAT HAPPENED THAT NIGHT by Sheila O’Flanagan

One of Ireland’s best-selling books of 2018

CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS - front.JPG

THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPWRECKED BOOKS by Edward Wilson Lee

The Spectator, Books of the Year  

‘the fascinating history of Christopher Columbus’s illegitimate son Hernando, guardian of his father’s flame, courtier, bibliophile and cataloguer supreme, whose travels took him to the heart of 16th-century Europe.’

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

DL8diBzXUAE05bM.jpg

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.

Paperback of Charles Lambert’s THE CHILDREN’S HOME published in US today

Charles Lambert’s ‘genre-defying dream of a novel’ THE CHILDREN’S HOME is published in paperback in North America today. Pre-empted by Nan Graham and John Glynn of Scribner, Lambert’s first US publication is one of the American Bookseller's Association Indie Next Preview January 2017 Paperbacks and has received praise from writers and reviewers alike.

THE CHILDREN’S HOME was featured in a number of “Best of 2016” lists. Isabel Costello of Literary Sofa chose it as part of ‘My Year in Books’, saying that the book ‘Left me in awe of the beauty and potential of the English language... exudes gothic atmosphere and contains one of the most visually arresting and profoundly sinister scenes I’ve ever encountered.’

It was also chosen as one of the Litreactor Staff picks of 2016: ‘An ideal read for the winter season, especially if you have a fireplace and a wingback chair (but no less enjoyable if your furnishings are a bit more modern).’

Eric Karl Anderson AKA Lonesome Reader also chose it as one of his Ten Great Books of Experimental Fiction 2016, calling it ‘as seductive as it was terrifying.’

THE CHILDREN’S HOME is a beguiling and disarming novel about a mysterious group of children who appear to a disfigured recluse and his country doctor. It was published in the UK by Aardvark Bureau on 2 March and in France by Éditions Anne Carrière. Aardvark Bureau will also publish two of Charles Lambert’s novellas in a single volume, TWO DARK TALES, in time for Halloween 2017.

Born in England, Charles Lambert 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 autobiographical work WITH A ZERO AT ITS HEART (The Friday Project). He has won an O. Henry Award and other prizes for his short fiction.

Follow Charles on Twitter

Visit Charles' blog.

More praise for THE CHILDREN’S HOME:

‘A beautiful and uncanny novel by a writer who never ceases to surprise.’ – Jenny Offill, author of DEPT OF SPECULATION

‘Sometimes heart-stopping, sometimes heart-warming, it is a provocative tale, ripe with intrigue and atmosphere. I loved every weird moment of it.’ – Nuala O’Connor, author of MISS EMILY

‘Dark and nuanced, eerie and quiet, THE CHILDREN’S HOME creeps behind the curtains of your imagination. This book stays with you.’ – Amelia Gray, author of THREATS AND GUTSHOT

 ‘THE CHILDREN’S HOME is a not-nice sort of fairy tale, where the magic doesn't sparkle prettily but boils and oozes, where the Prince has a face of tatters, where the children take grown-up revenge on their monsters. It's also, somehow, a searching, empathetic narrative about forgiveness.’ – Owen King, author of DOUBLE FEATURE: A Novel

 ‘A thoroughly original entry into the tradition of ghost stories, eschewing convention …compulsively readable…A one-of-a-kind literary horror story.’ – Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

‘Lambert carefully constructs the restricted sphere that Fletcher inhabits, leaving the chaotic larger world and the source of his family fortune largely a mystery. After slowly unfolding Fletcher’s story, Lambert then accelerates the pace to a breathtaking climax. THE CHILDREN’S HOME is a magical, mesmerizing tale about the courage it takes to confront the unknown.’ –Booklist, Starred Review.