Saraband titles to look out for: Spring 2021
Posted on January 13, 2021
We’re starting the new year with two magnificent debuts. A memoir of endings and beginnings from Jill Hopper, The Mahogany Pod, and the inaugural NorthBound Book Award-winning novel by J.A. Mensah, Castles from Cobwebs.
Now for the Saraband Spring 2021 List
I’m still alive, and if you’re reading this, you’re still alive too. That’s something.
My name is Haley Cooper Crowe and I am in lockdown in a remote location I can’t tell you about – because if I do, then you and any people you come in contact with could endanger me and the ones I love, plus some of the ones I less than love.
Haley and Ben live with their mother. But their dad has good reason to believe there’s a new, much deadlier pandemic coming. He’s determined to get them to the safety of his lockdown hideaway. NOW. The only problem is, there is no way their mother will go along with this plan.
Kidnapped by their father, they have no contact with the outside world. Can they survive? Will they save their mother? This is one teenage girl’s survival guide for negotiating the collapse of everything she knows – including her family and sanity.
“One of the most provocative, intelligent and original novelists working in Britain today.” Irvine Welsh
“Terrifying … a terrifically written thriller that puts a very contemporary dysfunctional family at the heart of a very contemporary dystopian reality.” Lynda Obst, Producer of Interstellar
A poisoned breeze blows across the waves…
Operation Cauldron, 1952: Top-secret germ warfare experiments on monkeys and guinea pigs are taking place aboard a vessel moored off the Isle of Lewis. Local villagers Jessie and Duncan encounter strange sights on the deserted beach nearby and suspect the worst. And one government scientist wrestles with his own inner anguish over the testing, even if he believes extreme deterrent weapons are needed.
When a noxious cloud of plague bacteria is released into the path of a passing trawler, disaster threatens. Will a deadly pandemic be inevitable?
A haunting exploration of the costs and fallout of warmongering, Donald S Murray follows his prize-winning first novel with an equally moving exploration of another little-known incident in the Outer Hebridean island where he grew up.
“One of the great lyrical writers of our time” Cathy Macdonald
Evocative, poignant literary fiction exploring the human cost of war and the Cold War arms race: the perfect follow-up to Murray’s Paul Torday Prize-winning first novel.
“A beautiful memoir of life and wildlife from one of the UK’s finest nature writers.” Chris Packham
As spring arrives, Stephen Moss’s Somerset garden is awash with birdsong: chiffchaffs, wrens, robins and more. Overhead, buzzards soar, ravens tumble and the season gathers pace.
But this equinox is unlike any other. As the nation goes into lockdown, Stephen records the wildlife around his home, with his fox-red Labrador, Rosie, by his side. When old routines fall away, and blue skies are no longer crisscrossed by contrails, they discover the bumblebees, butterflies and birdsong on their local patch.
This evocative account underlines how a global crisis changed the way we relate to the natural world, giving us hope for the future. And it puts down a marker for a new normal: when, during that brief but unforgettable spring, nature gave us comfort, hope and joy.
From Great Yarmouth to Aberystwyth, Westering is a coast-to-coast journey crossing the Fens, Leicester, the Black Country and central Wales. It connects landscape, place and memory to evoke a narrative unravelling the deep topography, and following a westerly route that runs against the grain of the land, its geology, culture and historical bedrock.
With the industrial Midlands sandwiched between bucolic landscapes in East Anglia and Wales, here we explore places too often overlooked. Along the way we encounter deserted medieval villages, battlefield sites, the ghosts of Roman soldiers, valleys drowned for reservoirs, ancient forests, John Clare’s beloved fields, and the urban edgelands.
Notions of home and belonging, landscapes of loss and absence, birds and the resilience of nature, the psychology of walking, and the psychogeography of liminal places all frame the story.
“A rich level of local detail.” Wanderlust magazine
“Shocked Earth exquisitely captures the way our lives and identities are interwoven with the land we live on, and how its destruction will ultimately be our own. A powerful portrait of a family, an exploration of love and grief, it is perhaps most of all an essential call to action – I was both heartbroken and inspired.” Helen Sedgwick
Femke, her mother Trijn and her grandfather have very different ideas about how to run their family farm. Tensions between mother and daughter are growing; Femke wants to switch to sustainable growing practices, whilst her mother considers this an attack on tradition. To make matters worse, their home province of Groningen is experiencing a series of earthquakes caused by a fracking operation near their farm. While the cracks and splinters in their farmhouse increase, the authorities and the state-owned gas company refuse to offer the local farming community any help.
In Shocked Earth, Saskia Goldschmidt investigates what it means to have your identity intensely entwined with your place of birth and your principles at odds with your closest kin. And how to keep standing when the world as you know it is slowly falling apart.
Widely known as England’s most scenic line, the Settle & Carlisle Railway was built by the Midland Railway between 1869 and 1876 as part of its quest to forge its own, independent route to Scotland.
It is, uniquely for a railway in the UK, a Conservation Area – with special protection for its viaducts, tunnels, bridges and stations. By walking all or parts of this historic route, you get the chance to get up close to the railway’s magnificent architecture – but also to see the lonely and lofty fells, and stunning scenery from the limestone Dales through the Pennines to the lush Eden Valley.
In the company of this knowledgeable author, you’ll also discover centuries’ worth of history: Roman remains, medieval castles, and the Romani who still meet at the annual Appleby Horse Fair.
Also publishing on 8 April, is a revised and updated version of Settle & Carlisle with a forward from Michael Palin.