Annal: 2006 Costa Book Award for First Novel

Results of the Costa Book Award in the year 2006.

Book:The Tenderness of Wolves

The Tenderness of Wolves: A Novel

Stef Penney

1867, Canada. As winter tightens its grip on the isolated settlement of Dove River, a man is brutally murdered and a seventeen-year-old boy disappears. Tracks leaving the dead mans cabin head north towards the forest and the tundra beyond. In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the township journalists, Hudson Bay Company men, trappers, traders but do they want to solve the crime, or exploit it?

Book:The Amnesia Clinic

The Amnesia Clinic: A novel

James Scudamore

Anti and Fabián are best friends and classmates at the Quito International School. Anti (short for Anthony) is the quiet, asthmatic English kid, and Fabián is the charismatic and flamboyant local. Anti lives in the dull ex-pat world inhabited by his parents, while Fabián lives with his cool, eccentric Uncle Suarez. Suarez, a storyteller par excel­lence, infects the boys with his passion for outlandish tales. Before long, the relationship between these two fifteen-year-olds becomes one conducted entirely through the medium of storytelling, and they lose sight of the boundaries between fact and fiction.

With confused emotions and a tenuous grip on reality, the boys embark on a quixotic voyage across Ecuador in search of an “Amnesia Clinic” that may or may not exist. A complex and beautifully crafted piece of storytelling about storytelling itself, The Amnesia Clinic explores how truth can be so very much more fanciful than fact, and how the collision between fantasy and reality can lead to harmful delusions.

Book:Cloth Girl

Cloth Girl

Marilyn Heward Mills

Matilda Quartey is fourteen years old when sophisticated black Gold Coast lawyer Robert Bannerman sets eyes on her and resolves to take her as his second wife. For Julie, his first wife, this is a colossal slap in the face that she is not willing to tolerate. For Matilda it is an abrupt—and cruel—end to childhood. On the other side of the colony, Audrey Turton, wife of the new ADC to the Governor, is appalled by her new life in Africa, where the reality has borne no relation to her dream of glamour and adventure. Angry, flirtatious and reckless, she drinks away the days, dreaming of home leave and waiting for something to happen.

This first novel, by turns funny and heartbreaking, is set on the Gold Coast in the 1940s, during the ten years leading up to independence. Her Africa is a cauldron of contradictions: fatalistic but brimming with optimism; outwardly Christian, yet profoundly superstitious and reliant on fetish priests; poverty-stricken but rich in pride and family values; vibrant with colour,…[more]

Book:The Meaning of Night

The Meaning of Night: A Confession

Michael Cox

The atmosphere of Bleak House, the sensuous thrill of Perfume, and the mystery of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell all combine in a story of murder, deceit, love, and revenge in Victorian England.

“After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper.” So begins the extraordinary story of Edward Glyver—booklover, scholar, and murderer. As a young boy, Glyver always believed he was destined for greatness. A chance discovery convinces him that he was right: greatness does await him, along with immense wealth and influence. Overwhelmed by his discovery, he will stop at nothing to win back a prize that he knows is rightfully his.

Glyver’s path to reclaim his prize leads him from the depths of Victorian London, with its foggy streets, brothels, and opium dens, to Evenwood, one of England’s most beautiful and enchanting country houses, and finally to a consuming love for…[more]

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