Thursday 19 May 2011

Lindsay Clarke's The Water Theatre

The Water Theatre was sent to me by Lindsay Clarke’s agent in February 2010. The book was originally called Sun at Midnight, and it was presented as “a powerful story of loyalty and loss, of betrayal and reconciliation”. It was described as partly being set in Italy, and I must admit this put me off a bit. Being Italian, it’s very rare for me to find an English novel with an Italian setting which feels authentic enough to make me believe completely in the story. Nonetheless I was particularly attracted by this author, compared by the agent to John Fowles, one of my favourite writers. It also mentioned his previous successful novel The Chymical Wedding, winner of the 1989 Whitbread Award, which in actual fact didn’t ring any bells with me, as I have come to this country only fourteen years ago. I started reading The Water Theatre the same day it was sent to me and I couldn’t stop. The story and the writing urged me to read it to the very end. I really loved the power of Lindsay writing. It made me feel I was reading E.M. Foster, another of my favourite British writers.

I felt that Lindsay deserved to be brought to the attention of British readers again, and I am glad we also republished The Chymical Wedding and are about to relaunch Sunday Whiteman and Alice’s Masque, two other acclaimed novels of his. I am convinced that Lindsay is an important author who will be read in years to come.

Elisabetta Minervini
Publisher - Alma Books

Monday 16 May 2011

Wealth of Reviews

We're happy to see that our books are getting positive reviews from every quarter, be it national newspapers, academic magazines and/or fellow bloggers. Here are just a handful:

The Water Theatre by Lindsay Clarke
"Bold, tenacious characters and vivid, distinct landscapes give The Water Theatre a strong hold on the imagination as Clarke skilfully draws out the betrayals searing his characters’ lives."
The Financial Times, read full review
Read Review from the blog The Truth about Lies

All Men are Liars by Alberto Manguel,
"This playful, ingenious but finally tragic novel invites us... into a labyrinth of rival narratives with an all-too-real monster at its heart." - The Independent, read full review
Read Review from Desperate Reader Blog

The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard
"A gently transgressive, transatlantic quest that conjures up both the languid heat of LA and the confusions of a young woman on the cusp." - The Lady
Portrait of a City: Los Angeles, Anna Stothard writes about her time in LA and how it inspired her novel, article in BA Highlife

The Art of Struggle by Michel Houellebecq
"Houellebecq’s poetry is absorbing and demonstrates a rare tenderness coupled with an unflinching eye that excavates the body, searching for the core of being, exposing the bare roots of feelings." - MPT

The Girl Who Leapt through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui
Read reviews from Nayu's Reading Corner, The Bookbag, Keeper of the Snails, Bookwitch, The Truth about Books and Writing from the Tub

One final note, tonight is the Bookseller Industry awards, Alma Books is nominated for Independent Publisher of the Year, fingers crossed.

Monday 9 May 2011


After a lovely break in Champagne and Bourgogne – oh Reims, oh Dijon!– back to the grind. The burglars hit our building again, this time running away empty-handed after attempting breaking into another office. As a result, the building's manager has employed full-time guards, installed a new CCTV system, scattered a few mousetraps around and asked if we want to take part in a vigilante scheme Rambo-style. We all agreed. I am writing from the office now, with a dagger between my teeth. We can all sleep placidly from now on.

I have been working on my new novel – I'm just about halfway through, and very happy about it. I'll probably destroy it in a week or two. I have also received the Czech edition (hardback) of Bestseller – and what a glorious production it is. Lovely cover too. Unfortunately I can't read Czech, but I have noticed a funny typo on p.38: Cannongate. That doesn't diminish the beauty of the book. And I can see that Talbot's mumblings are not lost in translation: "Grrnf… trrrnf… frrrnf." And I love all those accents.

We had some great books in – for example the Lampedusa paperback, a real beauty – and some excellent books off to the printers – from Peter Benson's Two Cows and a Vanful of Smoke to Pushkin's Queen of Spades and other Stories.

We've been shortlisted for the Independent Publisher of the Year at the Bookseller Industry Awards (after being shortlisted for the IPG prize). And guess where the event is going to be held? You just need to read the prophetic chapter 7 in Bestseller again . . .

Went to the circus the other day with Elisabetta and kids, and we recognized Rob Brydon behind us – perhaps getting some inspiration? I hope not. I don't think he found the Dutch clown particularly funny.

We had a few literary luncheons over the past couple of weeks – a memorable seven- (or was it eight-) wine bash in Wandsworth with one of our author and friends, a treat from another author which included artichokes, fragoline, rabbit, borlotti and Sangiovese – and my ears are still buzzing with gossip.

But the talk of the day was of course the royal wedding and Osama's assassination (that's right – that is the word being used by the intelligentsia, which I neither discount nor condone), and it was interesting to hear – as outsiders – the point of view of "real" (not "royal" – in Italian it's the same word) England.

Busy-busy weeks and lots of interesting things coming up. I'll try to blog and tweet a bit more often than I have done recently. Stay tuned.

Now back to keeping watch.