Hilary Mantel’s new novel The Mirror & The Light to be published by 4TH ESTATE, 5th March 2020
With The Mirror & the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.
Hilary Mantel on The Mirror & the Light:
‘When I began work on my Thomas Cromwell books back in 2005, I had high hopes, but it took time to feel out the full scope of the material. I didn’t know at first I would write a trilogy, but gradually I realised the richness and fascination of this extraordinary life. Since then I have been on a long journey, with the good companionship of archivists, artists, booksellers, librarians, actors, producers, and - most importantly - millions of readers through the world. I hope they will stay with me as we walk the last miles of Cromwell’s life, ascending to unprecedented riches and honour and abruptly descending to the scaffold at Tower Hill. This book has been the greatest challenge of my writing life, and the most rewarding; I hope and trust my readers will find it has been worth the wait.’
Africa Reimagined is a passionately argued appeal for a rediscovery of our African identity. Going beyond the problems of a single country, Hlumelo Biko calls for a reorientation of values, on a continental scale, to suit the needs and priorities of Africans. Building on the premise that slavery, colonialism, imperialism and apartheid fundamentally unbalanced the values and indeed the very self-concept of Africans, he offers realistic steps to return to a more balanced Afro-centric identity.
Historically, African values were shaped by a sense of abundance, in material and mental terms, and by strong ties of community. The intrusion of religious, economic and legal systems imposed by conquerors, traders and missionaries upset this balance, and the African identity was subsumed by the values of the newcomers.
Biko shows how a reimagining of Africa can restore the sense of abundance and possibility, and what a rebirth of the continent on Pan-African lines might look like. This is not about the churn of the news cycle or party politics – although he identifies the political party as one of the most pernicious legacies of colonialism. Instead, drawing on latest research, he offers a practical, pragmatic vision anchored in the here and now.
By looking beyond identities and values imposed from outside, and transcending the divisions and frontiers imposed under colonialism, it should be possible for Africans to develop fully their skills, values and ingenuity, to build institutions that reflect African values, and to create wealth for the benefit of the continent as a whole.
Buy Africa Reimagined here:
Two Weeks in November is the thrilling, surreal, unbelievable and often very funny true story of four would-be enemies – a high- ranking politician, an exiled human rights lawyer, a dangerous spy and a low-key white businessman turned political fixer – who team up to help unseat one of the world's longest serving dictators, Robert Mugabe.
What begins as an improbable adventure destined for failure, marked by a mixture of bravery, strategic cunning and bumbling naiveté, soon turns into the most sophisticated political-military operation in African history. By virtue of their being together, the unlikely team of misfit rivals is suddenly in position to spin what might have been seen as an illegal coup into a mass popular uprising that the world – and millions of Zimbabweans – will enthusiastically support.
Impeccably researched, deftly written, and told in the style of a political thriller, Two Weeks in November is Ocean’s 11 meets Game of Thrones: a real-world life or death chess match for the future of a country where the political endgame is never a forgone conclusion.
Buy Two Weeks in November here:
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick
For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens.
Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Celeste Ng, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
Buy Where the Crawdads Sing here:
RW Johnson’s bestselling book How Long Will South Africa Survive? was described by Alec Hogg as ‘a masterpiece in unblemished reality’. Published at the height of the Zuma presidency it offered a chilling warning: the ANC appeared determined to drive South Africa into the abyss.
Since then, Cyril Ramaphosa has taken over as president and there have been some attempts to clean up government. But the brief period of ‘Ramaphoria’ is over and the threat to both the economy and the dream of a non-racial democracy is as real as ever.
As national elections loom, Johnson examines the state of the nation with pinpoint accuracy. On the one hand state-owned institutions are near collapse, municipalities are defunct and civil strife is rampant. On the other, Ramaphosa and his team have come up with a plan to curb corruption and create growth and prosperity. But will it work? Johnson, in trademark style, picks it apart and, while doing so, offers some ideas of what he thinks is required to get us out of this morass.
Buy Fighting for the Dream here: