The People's Act of Love by James Meek

In the outer reaches of a country recently torn apart by civil war lives a small Christian sect and its enigmatic leader, Balashov. Stationed nearby is a regiment of Czech soldiers, desperate to get home but on the losing side of the recent conflict. Uncertainty prevails.

A Bowl of Cherries by Shena Mackay

Daphne and Rex live lives of well-to-do elegance while Rex's brother Stanley scrimps for tobacco and Camp coffee. Rex's daughter has also become a victim; her cruel husband has turned her into an eccentric skivvy. If life is a bowl of cherries, there are always those left with the bruised remnants.