The Fortnight In September

By R. C. Sherriff

"Sherriff is best-known for his play, Journey's End, set in the trenches of the Great War. This quiet gem of a novel, published in 1931, couldn't be more different. It's about an ordinary London family going on an ordinary summer holiday to the English seaside. Nothing dramatic happens, and yet everything happens. Sherriff never patronises his family nor does he idealise them. But by the end he convinces us that their instinctive kindness and decency - towards each other and towards those they encounter during their holiday - has something to do with what is most important about being human." - Kazuo Ishiguro
‘The story was a simple one: a small suburban family on their annual fortnight’s holiday at Bognor. ... It was a day-by-day account of their holiday from their last evening at home until the day they packed their bags for their return; how they came out of their shabby boarding house every morning and went down to the sea; how the father found hope for the future in his brief freedom from his humdrum work; how the children found romance and adventure; how the mother, scared of the sea, tried to make the others think she was enjoying it.’


Crime And Punishment

By Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"Possibly not as great as his longer, more complex Demons (aka The Devils), but an excellent entry point to the work of one of the greatest novelists of all time. It concerns a student who, as many students do, gets a little carried away with an over-theoretical view of life and murders his landlady in the process, believing this may not greatly matter. What follows is a four hundred page lockdown inside this young man's tortured, fearful mind as he drifts around a vividly teeming St Petersburg, trying to elude suspicion and overpowering guilt, pursued latterly by an eccentric sleuth who is almost certainly the model for the 1970s TV detective Colombo." - Kazuo Ishiguro
Raskolnikov is a former student living in poverty, who, prompted by utilitarian morality and the belief that expectional individuals are not bound by the same moral code as everyone else, decides to commit a random murder. Despite the lack of remorse or regret, he is haunted by his own conscience and a crushing sense of guilt, leading to his eventual confession and a life-changing realisation.


Love In A Cold Climate

By Nancy Mitford

"Perhaps I'm not the only one for whom Nancy Mitford's considerable literary achievement has been blurred by the myths surrounding her family. I'd spent years assuming she'd be frothy and lightweight until being firmly corrected, relatively recently, by my daughter (novelist Naomi Ishiguro). In fact, Mitford is an important and original writer. This novel, like her earlier, only slightly less accomplished The Pursuit of Love, is a surprisingly dark work masquerading half-heartedly as an English high society comedy. There are very funny moments, to be sure, but the undertow of child abuse, trauma, emotional cruelty and the damage war brings to societies is bleak and profound." - Kazuo Ishiguro
This book is the sequel to The Pursuit of Love (1945). Groomed to be married in high society by her mother, Lady Leopoldina 'Polly' Hampton is expected to embark on a successful season as a debutante in London. However, she shows no interest in marriage, and, unbeknownst to all, harbours a secret love for her uncle, 'Boy' Dougdale, and elopes with him. The consequences of this decision will lead to a series of unexpected and surprising twists and turns...


Mr Wilder And Me

By Jonathan Coe

"A novel published recently to some acclaim, but so far missing the wider attention it deserves. An elegiac work narrated, in the late-1970s, by a naïve young girl hired as an interpreter on the Greek island set of a film being made by the great veteran director Billy Wilder. The ageing film-maker, one of a generation of talented Jewish artists who fled Nazi-dominated Europe, has for years been struggling to express his experience through the surreally mismatching vehicle of escapist Hollywood movies. An insightful and moving story about how memories can or cannot be passed down through the generations; how much an individual's past can or cannot be left behind." - Kazuo Ishiguro

Summer 1977. The young Calista leaves Athens and sets off on an adventure which will lead her to a Greek island that has been turned into a film set. Here, she will start working for famed Hollywood director Billy Wilder, following him to Germany on a journey into his own past and family history.