Annal: 2012 Costa Book Award for First Novel

Results of the Costa Book Award in the year 2012.

Book:The Innocents (Francesca Segal)

The Innocents

Francesca Segal

A smart and slyly funny tale of love, temptation, confusion, and commitment; a triumphant and beautifully executed recasting of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence.

Newly engaged and unthinkingly self-satisfied, twenty-eight-year-old Adam Newman is the prize catch of Temple Fortune, a small, tight-knit Jewish suburb of London. He has been dating Rachel Gilbert since they were both sixteen and now, to the relief and happiness of the entire Gilbert family, they are finally to marry. To Adam, Rachel embodies the highest values of Temple Fortune; she is innocent, conventional, and entirely secure in her community—a place in which everyone still knows the whereabouts of their nursery school classmates. Marrying Rachel will cement Adam’s role in a warm, inclusive family he loves.

But as the vast machinery of the wedding gathers momentum, Adam feels the first faint touches of claustrophobia, and when…[more]

Book:The Bellwether Revivals

The Bellwether Revivals

Benjamin Wood

A sophisticated debut novel about the hypnotic influence of love, the beguiling allure of money and the haunting power of music.

Bright, bookish Oscar Lowe has escaped the squalid urban neighborhood where he was raised and made a new life for himself amid the colleges and spires of Cambridge. He has grown to love the quiet routine of his life as a care assistant at a local nursing home, where he has forged a close friendship with its most ill-tempered resident, Dr. Paulsen.

All that changes one fateful day when Oscar, while wandering the bucolic grounds of Cambridge, is lured into the chapel at Kings College by the otherworldly sound of an organ. It is here that he meets and falls in love with Iris Bellwether, a beautiful and enigmatic medical student. Drawn into the world of scholarship and privilege, Oscar soon becomes embroiled in the strange…[more]

Book:The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder

The Notable Brain of Maximilian Ponder

J.W. Ironmonger

Maximilian Ponder is lying face up, dead, on the dining table in his own front room. This is something you really should know, right from the start.
Max would also have wanted you to know that this is a Henri II style, French, walnut extending dining table, standing on solid turned legs with fretwork decor to the middle, also with ebony and sandalwood inlay, designed by the French furniture maker Nicolas Rastin and probably dating from around 1900…

Maximilian Ponder shut himself away for thirty years in an attempt to record every memory he ever had. Now he lies dead, surrounded by his magnum opus—The Catalogue—an exhaustive set of notebooks and journals that he hopes will form the map of one human mind. But before his friend Adam Last can call the police and inform them of Max’s death, one rather gruesome task remains…[more]

Book:Snake Ropes

Snake Ropes

Jess Richards

No-one here goes to the main land, and no-one wants to. Our boats aren’t strong enough, we dun know the way, them can’t understand us, we’re fine as we are. We have so many reasons; them stretch as wide as the distance to cross to take us there.

The day the tall men come from the mainland to trade, Mary’s little brother goes missing. She needs to find him. She needs to know a secret that no-one else can tell her.

Jess Richards’ stunning debut will show you crows who become statues and sisters who get tangled in each other’s hair, keys that talk and ghosts who demand to be buried. In the tradition of Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood, she combines a page-turning narrative and a startlingly original voice with the creation and subversion of myths.

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