Artemis Cooper has written several books, including wartime histories of Cairo and Paris (the latter with her husband, Antony Beevor) and biographies of the cookery writer Elizabeth David, the traveller and war hero Patrick Leigh Fermor, and the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard. Athough old enough to know better she has now embarked on a novel, set in St Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai.
The Buried Giant
A collective loss of memory; an old couple trying to remember; a broken knight, a dragon, a hero, a ferryman. Like so many of Ishiguro's novels it works on any number of levels, while remaining mysteriously open-ended, so there is lots to mull over. What's it about? You decide.
Night of Fire
A group of loosely-connected people live in separate rooms, in an old house with dodgy wiring. In the quiet of the night they think about their lives and dreams, unaware of the crackling sparks in the fuse box. The characters bear similar names, and there's a curious fluidity about them - in fact the further you go beneath the surface of this novel, the more you will feel the profound enigma at its heart.
New York, 1746: a muddy, quarelsome little outpost on the edge of a vast unknown continent. Mr Smith, fresh from London, arrives with a bill of exchange for £1,000. Such a staggering sum can't be raised at once; but what will he do with the money? This is the question pulls you along, and everyone in the book is asking him too but he won't say, even as winter is approaching and he gets deeper into debt. An ebullient, beautifully-written novel which holds its secret to the very end, and I bet you'll never guess.
The Discovery of France
Until very recently, France was not so much one country as a series of inward-looking regions whose inhabitants rarely ventured into the next village, let alone Paris. This rare treasure-trove of a book follows roads and tracks, language, traditions, superstitions and identities, and every page brings a revelation. If your reading group enjoys travel, this one won't disappoint.