MacLehose Press

Marie NDiaye IMPAC Dublin Shortlisting

Three Strong Women

Many congratulations to Marie NDiaye, whose novel Three Strong Women  – translated by John Fletcher – has been shortlisted for the Impac Dublin Award. Three Strong Women was the winner of the Prix Goncourt in 2009, and Marie NDiaye was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize last year.

The shortlist includes five novels in translation – from France, Colombia, Norway, The Netherlands and Argentina. In contrast the Folio Prize shortlist announced earlier this year, only one of the ten books whittled down from a longlist of 152 hails from the United States.

The Shortlist in Full

  • The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker
  • Questions of Travel by Michelle De Kretser
  • Absolution by Patrick Flanery
  • A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard
  • Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye
  • Traveller of the Century by Andrés Neuman
  • The Light of Amsterdam by David Park
  • The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
  • The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
  • The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

Look Who’s Come to London

This week we’ve been delighted to host Timur Vermes, author of LOOK WHO’S BACK, as he’s toured Great Britain and Ireland to talk about his quite wonderful new book.

The first stop was a literary dinner in Hardy’s restaurant in London, where Timur and his translator, Jamie Bulloch, read from the novel, as well as discussing it with acclaimed documentary film-maker Rex Bloomstein.

Hardy's Books

Hardy's performance

Rex Bloomstein1

Then (via the Newsnight studio) it was off on the road to Bath, Bristol and Dublin, where Timur signed books and performed at the Bristol Festival of Ideas

Goldsboro signingBristol Festival of IdeasAnd then it was back to London, for the book’s launch at Waterstones London Wall.

Reading at WatersonesJamie Bulloch and Timur VermesAnd along the way, several bookshops showed their support, notably Foyles and Blackwell’s in Oxford.

Blackwells Oxford  Foyles

Huge thanks to everyone who made the tour happen (particularly Corinna Zifko, our magnificent publicist), and we hope you all enjoy the book!

COMPETITION – Win all three of our March titles!

We’re hugely excited to be publishing two fantastic paperbacks today: A SPLENDID LITTLE WAR by Derek Robinson (described in the Guardian as “a remarkable coup”), and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize-longlisted BRIEF LOVES THAT LIVE FOREVER by Andrei Makine (translated by Geoffrey Strachan), which the Evening Standard described yesterday as “powerful – you see shafts of humanity shining through the bleakness.”

To celebrate, as is becoming a tradition, we’re having a GIVEAWAY! All you have to do is tell us which of the two books you’re most excited about (either to our Twitter or our Facebook or in the comments below), and you can win all our March titles, including something rather special . . .

April Competition

And, as an added bonus, if you comment AND retweet/share, you’ll get two entries for the price of one! More information on both titles below, and you have until 11.59pm on Tuesday 8th April to enter

A Splendid Little WarA SPLENDID LITTLE WAR – Derek Robinson

The war to end all wars, people said in 1918. Not for long. By 1919, White Russians were fighting Bolshevik Reds for control of their country, and Winston Churchill (then Secretary of State for War) wanted to see Communism ‘strangled in its cradle’. So a volunteer R.A.F. squadron, flying Sopwith Camels, went there to duff up the Reds. ‘There’s a splendid little war going on,’ a British staff officer told them. ‘You’ll like it.’ Looked like fun.

But the war was neither splendid nor little. It was big and it was brutal, a grim conflict of attrition, marked by incompetence and corruption. Before it ended, the squadron wished that both sides would lose. If that was a joke, nobody was laughing.

Buy now from Amazon ¦ Waterstones ¦ MacLehose Press ¦ The Hive

Brief Loves that Live ForeverBRIEF LOVES THAT LIVE FOREVER – Andrei Makine (translated by Geoffrey Strachan)

In Soviet Russia the desire for freedom is also a desire for the freedom to love. Lovers live as outlaws, traitors to the collective spirit, and love is more intense when it feels like an act of resistance.

Looking back after the fall, an orphan recalls with haunting clarity the handful of fleeting moments that came to define him – furtive, thwarted passions played out under the watchful eye of Communism. Lost to introspection, he stumbles upon the truth behind the life of Dmitri Ress – for fifteen years a guest of the state – whose tragic fate embodies the unbreakable bond between love and freedom.

Buy now from Amazon ¦ Waterstones ¦ MacLehose Press ¦ The Hive

Who is Paulette?

And Then Came PauletteHave you heard about Paulette? Barbara Constantine’s first novel in English (translated by Justin Phipps), AND THEN CAME PAULETTE is a charming story of friendship and community in small-town France, beginning when an elderly man finds his neighbour in need of a friend. Dr Lucile Ducroquet, a translation professor, tells us why she loved the novel.

Who is Paulette? To find out, you will have to read the whole book! But this is no hardship – Barbara Constantine’s novel is gripping from the very start, with its immediacy, its fluid style, its remarkably well observed characters, its delightful humour. Here there are no gratuitous descriptions, no unnecessary lengths – the reader is thrown straight into the unusual action. The “hero” is a pretty unlikely character: a very ordinary retired farmer, struggling to come to terms with living on his own after the death of his wife, followed by the departure of his son, daughter-in-law and young grandchildren to the next village. But this is not a book with a single hero. The novel develops in equal measure a range of characters of all kinds, from 6-year-old children through to impecunious students, adults struggling with their relationships, lonely old people trying to survive, and various animals too: cats, dogs, chickens, a donkey, all seemingly effortlessly brought to life .

The theme of the book develops pretty rapidly – helping each other out, through illness, loneliness, poverty, senility – with a particular focus on the lives of older people, and a totally unexpected way of solving the issues that the various characters face. AND THEN CAME PAULETTE is a delightful and riveting read – full of humanity and humour – suggesting a new and richer way of living for all of us.

Heard enough? You can get hold of a copy now via the links below!

MacLehose Press ¦ Waterstones ¦ Amazon ¦ The Hive

Dr Lucile Ducroquet teaches translation at City University in London and previously taught at the University of Bristol. She has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) for many years and is a member of the CIOL Educational Trust board.

Photograph of donkey courtesy of Amazone7

Three chances to meet Timur Vermes, author of LOOK WHO’S BACK

(c) missBehaviour de_farbigTimur Vermes’s brilliant new satire, LOOK WHO’S BACK – with the stunningly original premise of Adolf Hitler waking up in Berlin in 2011, finding himself in a work of reality television and female presidents – has already been attracting attention in the British media ahead of its publication next week.

We’re delighted to announce that Timur is coming to the UK for publication, and if you’re based in England you’ll have several chances to see him discuss the book. Timur is as intelligent and entertaining as you would expect, and the chance to hear him explain his thoughts on this controversial masterpiece is not to be missed.

Firstly, on Monday 31st March, Timur will be speaking over dinner at Hardy’s, a restaurant in Marylebone. Tickets are £35, and include a bespoke German menu, including Wiener Schnitzel and Trout mit Riesling. Full menu and booking information are here, the restaurant is close to Baker Street and Bond Street stations.

On Tuesday 1st April Timur travels west for the Bristol Festival of Ideas. He will be appearing in conversation with Andrew Kelly, with an opportunity for questions from the audience, and tickets are available here for just £4.

And finally Thursday 3rd April sees Timur back in London for the book’s launch, at Waterstones London Wall. Tickets cost only £3, which entitles you to a free glass of wine and money off the book, and can be booked by calling 02076289708.

And if you can’t make it to any of those events, signed copies of the book will be available at the following shops:

Foyles Charing Cross, Goldsboro Books, Waterstones Bristol, Toppings Bath, Mr B’s, Waterstones Piccadilly and Waterstones London Wall.

hitlerwithbordersLOOK WHO’S BACK
Timur Vermes, translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch

Berlin, Summer 2011. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of open ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman.

People certainly recognise him, albeit as a flawless impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable happens, and the ranting Hitler goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own T.V. show, and people begin to listen. But the Führer has another programme with even greater ambition – to set the country he finds a shambles back to rights.

LOOK WHO’S BACK stunned and then thrilled 1.5 million German readers with its fearless approach to the most taboo of subjects. Naive yet insightful, repellent yet strangely sympathetic, the revived Hitler unquestionably has a spring in his step.

Amazon | Waterstones | MacLehose Press | The Hive

[Note, some online vendors are listing the book as out of stock following higher than expected pre-orders - if you're having problems please try another link!]


Justin Phipps introduces And Then Came Paulette

And Then Came PauletteLast week saw the publication of AND THEN CAME PAULETTE, a charming French novel that’s perfect for fans of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, about an elderly man, and the relationships he forms when his family leave him alone on a big empty farm. Translator Justin Phipps introduces the novel:

Barbara Constantine’s fourth novel is a charming tale of life in the French countryside.  If the “zeitgeist” is our longing for community, the author suggests that rediscovering neighbourliness might be the answer.  She describes how people from different generations stumble on a collective solution to the problems facing their small rural community.  Together they are able to overcome some of the isolation of old age, and the shortage of jobs and affordable housing for young people.

The book is warm and optimistic, but there is no attempt to gloss over the downside of living in a remote village.  Most of the characters in the book have difficulty communicating with one another.  Talking about the past or expressing feelings does not come easily to them.  But when they succeed in overcoming their natural reserve, they find that there are opportunities for helping each other and even falling in love.

The writer’s style is light and understated.  Gentle wit is balanced by poignant scenes, describing death or relationship breakdown.  The book has a deceptively simple structure.  The author uses recurring motifs to suggest that the characters share similar experiences at different stages of their lives.

The original French text is idiomatic and colloquial.  An overly literal translation of the figures of speech could seem leaden or dated in English.  I hope I have managed to retain the lightness and the richness of the original.

Heard enough? You can get hold of a copy now via the links below!

MacLehose Press ¦ Waterstones ¦ Amazon ¦ The Hive


It’s now just three weeks to go until the release of LOOK WHO’S BACK by Timur Vermes – the most exciting novel of the year (and definitely the most exciting cover!).

We’ve put early copies into the hands of booksellers across the country, and the response has been brilliant, but we just didn’t think that was fair on everyone else. So, for a chance to win one of ten precious early copies of the book, simply enter the competition below!

And if you needed further persuasion, check out this feedback from bookseller Ian Farnell:

“…the idea of using Hitler to satirise modern standards is unique, unorthodox and astounding.  The jokes were hilarious, and a great range of jokes from simple misunderstandings (Hitler mistaking “posters and flyers” to be a Luftwaffe reference) to downright farce (Hitler trying to get his head round email). The book also became increasingly more plausible and chilling - the scene where his TV station colleagues joined in with the shouting of Sieg Heil was pretty horrifying, adding further to the satire but sending a few chills down the spine.”

Need we say more?

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Mitchell Library in Sydney under threat

In a climate of cuts to libraries across the world, we’d like to spread the word abouta potentially damaging move taking place in Sydney, where the Mitchell Library Reading Room is to be converted into a multi-purpose “hub”, with the rather unfortunate side-effect of removing most of the books.

Obviously as book lovers we’re very concerned about this, but in particular it seems like the decision has been taken very swiftly without adequate consultation, and thus the aims of the change have not been subject to discussion. Evelyn Juers, essayist, biographer and co-publisher at Giramondo books, has put together a petition requesting the Chief Librarian publically answer several of the key concerns of the opponents of the changes:

  • What exactly is proposed and on what grounds?
  • Who determined those grounds?
  • On whose decision and order is this proposal made?
  • What/whose interest does it serve?


Whether or not you’re from Sydney, we’d like to direct you to the petition, and also to Evelyn’s eloquent explanation of her concerns on the ABC Blog:

“Let’s show faith in the significance of Australian culture and one of its oldest and greatest symbols of learning, by keeping an underused Mitchell Library Reading Room as a place of books and readers and intellectual exchange. Let’s improve it, by all means, but let’s not transform it into a hub. We urgently need to have a more open discussion about the future of Sydney’s Mitchell Library before it’s too late.”

The Life of Rebecca Jones

The Life of Rebecca JonesThis month sees the paperback release of Angharad Price’s wonderful The Life of Rebecca Jones, translated from the Welsh by Lloyd Jones. This elegant evocation of life in the Welsh valleys accumulated a host of stellar reviews when it was published in hardback in 2012, not least from Tom Payne in the Daily Telegraph who proclaimed it “a classic novel”, and from Boyd Tonkin in the Independent who lauded it as “a gem of a short novel” and named it one of his books of the year.

Amidst all this praise, one of our favourite pieces was written by Marla Johnson on the World Literature Today, who chose it as an Editor’s Choice:

Welsh author Angharad Price offers us a welcome respite from our frenzied twenty-first-century lives in her absorbing recent novel, The Life of Rebecca Jones (2012), a fictionalized account of Price’s great aunt who was born in 1905 in rural Maesglasau Valley in Wales. Although the book is properly classified as a novel, it contains an accurate history of the Jones family, along with striking personal photographs of family members and the surrounding countryside. These elements alone would recommend the book as worthwhile reading, but Price’s lyrical prose breathes an almost magical life into the narrative. Her descriptions are so artistically rendered that I was transported in time and place as I read. Instead of hearing the constant beeping and buzzing that makes up the background noise of modern life, I heard “the echo of wheel and hoof on road” and “the valley’s stream as it whispers past.”

Click here to read the rest of her wonderful review, or follow any of the links below to get your hands on a copy now.

MacLehose Press ¦ Waterstones ¦ Amazon ¦ The Hive

(Author photo copyright: Angharad Elen)

COMPETITION: Win all of our brilliant March releases, including IRÈNE

Thanks for all the entries, the competition is now closed!

The winner, drawn on the morning of March 14, was Tracey Redfern-Jones, who entered via Facebook. Congratulations Tracey!


We’re very excited to be publishing some truly brilliant titles on World Book Day! So excited, in fact, that we have a brilliant competition for you – for a chance to win all four books, simply tweet to @MacLehosePress or comment on our Facebook Page to tell us which you’re most excited about.

untitled Irene Pierre Lemaitre untitled








Front and centre, we’re enormously excited to be publishing IRÈNE, the prequel to Pierre Lemaitre’s bestselling ALEX, which sees Camille Verhoeven facing a brutal killer, who seems to be basing his crimes on classic crime novels. Naturally we think all our books are brilliant, but even we’ve been bowled over by the enthusiasm of the early reviews for IRÈNE: Sarah Ward at Crimepieces described it as “truly wonderful. It’s easily shaping up to be my book of the year,” while Matthew Craig at Reader Dad was even more enthusiastic: “Sheer genius that will leave the reader, jaw slack in admiration, realising that as well as penning a love letter to the genre, Lemaitre has set out to prove that he can go one better than anything that has gone before, and succeeds with verve . . . While Alex received critical acclaim on its release last year, Irène, Pierre Lemaitre’s first novel, will be the book that people will remember in years to come.” Buy it now here!

But obviously, such grisly drama is not for everyone, and our other new hardback is perfect for those of a calmer persuasion. AND THEN CAME PAULETTE tells the story of an elderly grandfather, Ferdinand, left alone on his farm when his family finally move out. However Ferdinand’s solitude is short-lived – soon he begins to realise he’s not the only one in need of company. A runaway bestseller in France, this is a charming book that’s perfect for fans of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Jean De Florettes or The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out of a Window and Disappeared. Buy it now here.

We also have two wonderful new paperbacks out today. If you’ve never read a book in Welsh before, Cywilydd ar chi! Luckily, your moment has arrived, with Angharad Price’s THE LIFE OF REBECCA JONES. This wonderful semi-autobiographical novel of life in the Welsh valleys has an astonishing 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and the critics agree too: Boyd Tonkin in The Independent described it as “A peak of modern British writing”. Get your hands on a copy here.

OutsidersAnd, last but by no means least, we have OUTSIDERS, a collection of short Italian fiction that had no less than two stories shortlisted for the C.W.A. Short Story Dagger last year. With stories from the likes of Roberto Saviano (author of Gomorrah, the inspiration for the Cannes-lauded film) and Carlo Lucarelli, the stories centre around those on the fringes of society, whether they be recently returned Afghanistan veterans or humble cheese-makers. And, not to brag, it’s the first in a series that will soon feature the most exciting translated short fiction event of the decade: the meeting of Andrea Camilleri and the MacLehose Press . . . Buy it here!

Excited yet?  Now hop over to Twitter (@MacLehosePress) or comment on our Facebook Page to tell us which you’re most excited about before midnight next Thursday 13th March, and we’ll draw the winner on Friday and send them the books.

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