From Emma Donoghue, the international bestselling author of Room, comes Akin, a brilliant tale of love, loss and family, enjoyed by our evening book group in August.
A retired New York professor’s life is thrown into chaos when he takes his great-nephew to the French Riviera, in hopes of uncovering his own mother’s wartime secrets.
Noah is only days away from his first trip back to Nice since he was a child when a social worker calls looking for a temporary home for Michael, his eleven-year-old great-nephew. Though he has never met the boy, he gets talked into taking him along to France. This odd couple, suffering from jet lag and culture shock, argue about everything from steak hache to screen time, and the trip is looking like a disaster. But as Michael’s ease with tech and sharp eye help Noah unearth troubling details about their family’s past, both of them come to grasp the risks that people in all eras have run for their loved ones, and find they are more akin than they knew.
Written with all the tenderness and psychological intensity that made Room a huge bestseller, Akin is a funny, heart-wrenching tale of an old man and a boy who unpick their painful story and start to write a new one together.
‘If Room forced home truths on us, about parenthood, responsibility and love, Akin deals with similar subject matter more subtly, but in the end just as compellingly‘ – Guardian
A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, set in the fascinating, unforgettable world of the formidable female pearl divers of Jeju, a small Korean island.
Mi-ja and Young-sook are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother.
As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger. Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village.
The Island of Sea Women is an epic set over many decades, beginning during the period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, through World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, right up to the modern era of cell phones and wetsuits for the women divers.
Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point. This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a fascinating upside-down world, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the
‘No one writes about female friendship… with more insight and depth than Lisa See‘ Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees