The Angels of Paul Klee
Throughout his life, Paul Klee created images of angels in several different formats, extending the historical interpretation of them to express a variety of sentiments. Boris Friedewald explores the significance of these representations for Klee, from his colourful lithographs of Angel Brings the Desired to his pastel Doubting Angel, drawn just before he died.
1989: The Berlin Wall
My Part in Its Downfall
From the excitement of the night the Wall came down, Peter Millar looks back over his eight years as a foreign correspondent in East Berlin. He revisits his life and work in the communist state – the conversations in bars, visits to people’s homes, walks in the country – with humour and sympathy for those living under a totalitarian regime.
A Very British Ending
Often compared to Le Carré, Edward Wilson’s series of intelligent, skilfully plotted Cold War thrillers follows the career of MI6 officer William Catesby. In this book, his task is to outwit agents on both sides of the Atlantic as they plot to remove the British PM – Harold Wilson – from power.
City Tales from a London Bicycle Courier
After a six-month journey, cycling around the world, Julian Sayarer returned to London and started working as a bicycle courier, ‘making deliveries that don’t mean anything’, although one of them was flowers for an incoming prime minister. His stories of cycling the city streets reveal a community of riders and give a kerb-side perspective on everyday life in London.
Concerned with the theme of identity – both individual and national – Skujins' narrative switches between a carnivalesque depiction of aristocratic life in 18th-century Vidzeme in Latvia and an unnamed orphan's experience of growing up under Nazi occupation in Riga, the country’s capital.
Found in a second-hand suitcase, an old Polaroid of two Danish girls standing on the England ferry intrigues the London-based journalist Nora Sand. Lisbeth and Lulu went missing 20 years ago; revisiting the mystery of their disappearance draws Nora into the hunt for a serial killer. Translated from the Danish by Charlotte Barslund. Off-mint.
Slow Train to Guantanamo
A Rail Odysesy through Cuba in the Last Days of the Castros
The award-winning foreign correspondent Peter Millar journeys through Cuba aboard a decaying railway system that was once the pride of Latin America. From the capital Havana, he travels with ordinary Cubans to the US naval base and detention camp at Guantanamo, sharing anecdotes, life stories and political opinions. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Serbian Dane
A successful journalist, a crack secret-service agent and Vuk, a highly skilled assassin who was raised in Denmark, but of Serbian descent: in a chilling political thriller, these three lonely people become trapped in a world of secret deals, private passions and organized crime. Translated from the Danish by Barbara J Haveland.
The third part of Kjærstad’s award-winning trilogy finds Jonas Wergeland aboard the Voyager, a boat named after a space probe, with a group of young geographers exploring the Sognefjord; but Jonas is also exploring his own past to discover the truth of his life and of his wife’s death. Translated from the Norwegian by Barbara J Haveland. Off-mint.
Death of a Translator
Ed Gorman has spent 25 years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, the Balkans and the Gulf, but it is his experiences as a young reporter in Afghanistan in particular that haunt him. He recounts his time with the mujaheddin launching hit-and-run attacks on Soviet troops, and offers a frank account of the PTSD that resulted.
Darkness Over Germany
A Warning from History
As a young Christian teacher, Amy Buller made several visits to Germany in the 1930s to foster dialogue and international understanding. First published in 1943, this book recounts her conversations with Nazis and anti-Nazis, Catholics, Protestants and Jews. It offers a chilling insight into how an authoritarian regime can establish itself, and how the general population can be persuaded to support it.
Tales of Two Londons
Stories from a Fractured City
In fiction, reportage and verse, writers including Iain Sinclair, Ali Smith, Jacob Ross and Andrew O’Hagan reflect on the diversity of contemporary London, its extremes of wealth and poverty, its streets and pubs, and its constantly evolving social landscape.
The Whitehall Mandarin
In Wilson’s critically acclaimed Cold War thriller, MI6 agent William Catesby is given the job of finding – then burying – a secret from the past of Lady Somers, who is the new head of the Ministry of Defence; but the search takes a dangerous turn, even confronting him with the enigma of China’s emergence as a superpower.
How Religion Deprives Us of Happiness
In this appeal for us to reject religion’s ‘chimeras’, the businessman and philanthropist Vitaly Malkin argues that the adoption of monotheistic doctrines slowed down the progress of human civilization and has failed to make people happier. Examining the big questions of evil, death, suffering and ‘the great battle against pleasure’, he encourages the reader to question what benefit religious practices offer and to live in the present rather than wait for life after death. Slightly off-mint.