In 1968, in a remote part of Canada, a mysterious child is born: a baby who appears to be neither fully boy nor girl, but both at once. Only three people share the secret - the baby's parents and a trusted neighbour. Together the adults make a difficult decision: to go through surgery and raise the child as a boy named Wayne. But as Wayne grows up within the hyper-male hunting culture of his father, his shadow-self - a girl he thinks of as 'Annabel' - is never entirely extinguished, and indeed is secretly nurtured by the women in his life. As Wayne approaches adulthood, and its emotional and physical demands, the woman inside him begins to cry out. The changes that follow are momentous not just for him, but for the three adults that have guarded his secret.
Michael and Pauline seemed like the perfect couple - young, good-looking, made for each other. The moment she walked into his mother's grocery store in Baltimore, he was smitten, and in the heat of World War II fervour, they marry in haste. From the sound of the cash register in the old grocery to the counter-culture jargon of the sixties, from the miniskirts to the multilayers of later years, we watch their lives unspool and see the consequences of their very mismatched marriage.
Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver . . . There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared. Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell...
Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is a note. At home, his family slowly begins to unravel. Poisonous rivalries grow, the once-thriving family business implodes and destructive secrets are unearthed. And all around them the sands are shifting as society fractures, for this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change.
Nick and her cousin, Helena, have grown up sharing sultry summer heat, sunbleached boat docks, and midnight gin parties on Martha's Vineyard in a glorious old family estate known as Tiger House. In the days following the end of the Second World War, the world seems to offer itself up, and the two women are on the cusp of their 'real lives': Helena is off to Hollywood and a new marriage, while Nick is heading for a reunion with her own young husband, Hughes, about to return from the war. Soon the gilt begins to crack. Helena's husband is not the man he seemed to be, and Hughes has returned from the war distant, his inner light curtained over. On the brink of the 1960s, back at Tiger House, Nick and Helena--with their children, Daisy and Ed--try to recapture that sense of possibility. But when Daisy and Ed discover the victim of a brutal murder, the intrusion of violence causes everything to unravel. The members of the family spin out of their prescribed orbits, secrets come to light, and nothing about their lives will ever be the same.
As a child in the 1960s, Luke Jennings was fascinated by the rivers and lakes around his Sussex home. Beneath their surfaces, it seemed to him, waited alien and mysterious worlds. With library books as his guide, he applied himself to the task of learning to fish. His progress was slow, and for years he caught nothing. But then a series of teachers presented themselves, including an inspirational young intelligence officer, from whom he learnt stealth, deception and the art of the dry fly. So began an enlightening but often dark-shadowed journey of discovery. It would lead to bright streams and wild country, but would end with his mentor's capture, torture and execution by the IRA. Blood Knots is about angling, about great fish caught and lost, but it is also about friendship, honour and coming of age. As an adult Jennings has sought out lost and secretive waterways, probing waters 'as deep as England' at dead of night in search of giant pike. The quest, as always, is for more than the living quarry. For only by searching far beneath the surface, Jennings suggests in this most moving and thought-provoking of memoirs, can you connect with your own deep history.