Annal: 2008 Costa Book Award for Novel

Results of the Costa Book Award in the year 2008.

Book:The Secret Scripture

The Secret Scripture: A Novel

Sebastian Barry

A gorgeous new novel from the author of the Man Booker finalist A Long Long Way

As a young woman, Roseanne McNulty was one of the most beautiful and beguiling girls in County Sligo, Ireland. Now, as her hundredth year draws near, she is a patient at Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital, and she decides to record the events of her life.

As Roseanne revisits her past, hiding the manuscript beneath the floorboards in her bedroom, she learns that Roscommon Hospital will be closed in a few months and that her caregiver, Dr. Grene, has been asked to evaluate the patients and decide if they can return to society. Roseanne is of particular interest to Dr. Grene, and as he researches her case he discovers a document written by a local priest that tells a very different story of Roseanne’s life than what she recalls. As doctor and patient attempt…[more]

Book:The Other Hand

The Other Hand

Chris Cleave

We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it so we will just say this: It is extremely tunny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn’t. And it’s what happens afterwards that is most important. Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

Book:A Partisan's Daughter

A Partisan's Daughter

Louis de Bernières

From the acclaimed author of Corelli’s Mandolin and Birds Without Wings (“de Bernières has reached heights that few modern novelists ever attempt” —The Washington Post Book World) comes an intimate new novel, a love story at once raw and sweetly funny, wry and heartbreakingly sad.

He’s Chris: bored, lonely, trapped in a loveless, sexless marriage. In his forties, he’s a stranger inside the youth culture of London in the late 1970s, a stranger to himself on the night he invites a hooker into his car.

She’s Roza: Yugoslavian, recently moved to London, the daughter of one of Tito’s partisans. She’s in her twenties but has already lived a life filled with danger, misadventure, romance, and tragedy. And although she’s not a hooker, when she’s propositioned by Chris, she gets into his car anyway. …[more]

Book:Trauma (McGrath)

Trauma

Patrick McGrath

Charlie Weir’s family is comprehensively dysfunctional—abandoned by his father, his mother ravaged by that betrayal, and his brother, Walt, a successful artist, less Charlie’s ally than his rival. So it’s hardly surprising that he should find a vocation in psychiatry in New York City, counseling traumatized war veterans returning home from Vietnam. Agnes Magill, the sister of one damaged soldier, soon becomes Charlie’s wife. But the suicide of her brother, Danny, ends the marriage, leaving Charlie to endure a corrosive loneliness even as Manhattan grows steadily more dirty and dangerous around him.

Then, in the haunting aftermath of Charlie’s mother’s death, Agnes returns to offer him the solace that he has never been able to provide for her. Almost simultaneously, he is presented with a quite different anodyne—a volatile woman whose irresistible beauty, tinged though it is with an air of grievous suffering, jeopardizes everything he has hoped might restore his dwindling…[more]

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