Results of the Costa Book Award in the year 2007.
It is the 1980s, and Kate Meaney is a serious-minded and curious young girl—who spends her time with her toy monkey acting out the role of a junior detective. She notes goings-on at the Green Oaks shopping centre and in her street, particularly the newsagent’s where she is friends with the owner’s son Adrian. When she disappears, Adrian falls under suspicion and is hounded by the press.
It’s 2004 and thirty-something Lisa is at work in a cut-price record store, tearing her hair out at customers’ bizarre requests and the even more bizarre behaviour of her colleagues. While at home, the futility of her relationship is slowly becoming apparent. Over shared fishpaste sandwiches, she strikes up a friendship with security guard Kurt—and, following CCTV glimpses of Kate, they become entranced by the lost little girl and her connections with the strange history of Green Oaks itself.
Numbers have filled Rumi Vasi’s world since she first learned to count. But it was on a trip to India at the age of 8 that her mathematical powers acquired their almost supernatural significance. When she returned home to Cardiff her destiny was sealed: she was now, and would forever be, the town’s ‘maths prodigy’.
At 14 Rumi is firmly set on the path of a gifted child, speeding headlong towards Oxford University. As her father sees it, discipline is everything if the family has any hope of making its mark on its adoptive country. However, as Rumi gets older and the family’s stark isolation intensifies, numbers start to lose their magic for the young teenager: she abandons the rigid timetable of her afternoons to seek out friendship and replaces equations with rampant spice abuse. As her longing for love and her parents’ will to succeed deepen so too does the rift between generations.
As young widow Rehana Haque awakes one March morning, she might be forgiven for feeling happy. Today she will throw a party for her son and daughter. In the garden of the house she has built, her roses are blooming, her children are almost grown, and beyond their doorstep, the city is buzzing with excitement after recent elections. Change is in the air.
But none of the guests at Rehana’s party can foresee what will happen in the days and months ahead. For this is 1971 in East Pakistan, a country on the brink of war. And this family’s life is about to change forever.
Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, A Golden Age is a story of passion and revolution, of hope, faith and unexpected heroism. In the chaos of this era, everyone—from student protesters to the country’s leaders, from rickshaw’wallahs to the army’s soldiers—must make choices. And as she struggles to keep her family safe, Rehana will be forced to face a heartbreaking dilemma.
This is a lyrical and profoundly moving story of love, loss and civil war, set in Sri Lanka, London and Venice.
When author, Theo Samarajeeva returns to his native Sri Lanka after his wife’s death, he hopes to escape his gnawing loss amidst the lush landscape of his increasingly war-torn country. But as he sinks into life in his beautiful, tortured land, he also finds himself slipping into friendship with an artistic young girl, Nulani, whose family is caught up in the growing turmoil—a friendship that gradually blossoms into love. Under the threat of civil war, their affair offers a glimmer of hope to a country on the brink of destruction!
But all too soon, the violence which has cast an ominous shadow over their love story explodes, tearing them apart. Betrayed, imprisoned and tortured, Theo is gradually stripped of everything he once held dear—his writing, his humanity and, eventually,…[more]