Adam Lang has been Britain’s longest serving and most controversial prime minister of the last half century. And now that he’s left office, he’s accepted one of history’s largest cash advances to compose a tell-all (or at least, tell-some) memoir of his life and years of power. As pressure mounts for Lang to complete this magnum opus, he hires a professional ghostwriter to finish the book. As he sets to work, the ghostwriter discovers many more secrets than Lang intends to reveal, secrets with the power to alter world politics, secrets with the power to kill.
This laugh-out-loud, darkly intelligent debut suggests that Thewlis might meet with considerable success should he decide to quit acting and take up the pen full-time. London artist Hector Kipling paints huge canvases dominated by a single head. He’s doing well, but he’s not nearly as famous as his best friend, conceptualist Lenny Snook. Eaten up by jealousy, Hector believes that Lenny has made his fortune with stolen ideas. As Hector struggles to cope with an absent girlfriend, his parents’ insane expenditures and a vandal attacking his most valuable painting, things begin to go very wrong indeed. Readers who have mourned the end of Sue Townsend’s wonderful, long-running Adrian Mole series will find solace of a sort here, as will anyone who enjoys a thought-provoking skewering of modern art by a knowledgeable writer and an inescapably doomed but appealing hero.
This gently humorous essay collection by Outdoor Life columnist McManus (The Bear in the Attic) explores hunting and fishing in the Pacific Northwest. As he wryly explains in The Kind of Guy I Am, McManus’s literary persona is an aw-shucks middle-aged married guy with four daughters who dreams of his flies, reels, waders and snowshoes while on vacation with his wife in Venice. Hoping to someday be like Rancid Crabtree, an old man who lives in a slab shack against the mountain and does nothing all day but hunt and fish (The Ideal Life), McManus and his buddy Fenton Quagmire jettison the high-tech camping gear and attempt to rough it Thoreau-style (Back to Basics), with predictably hilarious results. Other tales involve learning how to be patient while fishing (A Dimple in Time) and enlightening one’s fishing partners on how the moon determines the tides (Where’s Mr. Sun?). McManus narrates his woodsy stories with a laid-back style that will earn many smiles of fond recognition from anyone who’s heard a guide say, I know there used to be a trail here.