It's 1939, and Mary, a young socialite, is determined to shock her blueblood political family by volunteering for the war effort. She is assigned as a teacher to children who were evacuated from London and have been rejected by the countryside because they are infirm, are mentally disabled, or - like Mary's favorite student, Zachary - have colored skin.
Little Bee, the young female refugee from the Nigerian delta, must master the Queen's English and the Queen's England if she is to escape her past and make a life in the UK after two years in a refugee detention center. The novel opens on the day Little Bee is released from the center with no identification papers and only the address of an English couple, Andrew and Sarah, whom she once met on a Nigerian beach. All three of their lives were horribly changed by that meeting on the beach.
In this exclusive interview at Audible Studios in London, Chris Cleave provides an insight into how he as an author constructs his novels. He describes how he made Everyone Brave Is Forgiven as authentic as possible, the painstaking research and adding his own personal touches.
"A Real Gem of a Novel!"
Written as an open letter to Osama bin Laden from a distraught woman whose husband and son were killed in a massive suicide bombing, Incendiary was published in the UK on July 7, 2005 - eerily, the day of the London underground bombings. It went on to win the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award; was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; won the United States’ Book-of-the-Month Club’s First Fiction Award; and won the Prix Special du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007.
Building on the tradition of Little Bee, Chris Cleave again writes with elegance, humor, and passion about friendship, marriage, parenthood, tragedy, and redemption. Gold is the story of Zoe and Kate, world-class athletes who have been friends and rivals since their first day of Elite training. They've loved, fought, betrayed, forgiven, consoled, gloried, and grown up together. Now on the eve of London 2012, their last Olympics, both women will be tested to their physical and emotional limits.
"Very Good--but not great--"
When war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up. Tom Shaw decides to give it a miss - until his flatmate, Alistair, unexpectedly enlists, and the conflict can no longer be avoided. Young, bright and brave, Mary is certain she'd be a marvelous spy. When she is - bewilderingly - made a teacher, she instead finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.
Kate und Zoey, beste Freundinnen und größte Konkurrentinnen, trainieren seit Jahren für ihren großen Traum: olympisches Gold...
Little Bee ist 16 Jahre alt und etwas ganz Besonderes. Die Flucht aus Afrika hat ihrer Lebensfreude und ihrem Witz ebenso wenig anhaben können wie zwei Jahre in englischer Abschiebehaft. Nach ihrer Entlassung ruft sie die beiden einzigen Menschen an, die sie in England kennt: Sarah und Andrew. Der Anruf hat unvorhersehbare Folgen: Andrew bringt sich um. Als Little Bee wenig später vor der Tür steht, ist sie alles andere als willkommen. Doch sie bleibt und gibt der zurückgelassenen Familie neuen Lebensmut.
Usually, this is where we'd tell you what this book is about. But with Chris Cleave, it's a bit different. Because if you've read The Other Hand or Incendiary, you'll know that what his books are about is only part of the story - what really matters is how they make you feel. Gold is about the limits of human endurance, both physical and emotional. It will make you cry. Gold is about what drives us to succeed - and what we choose to sacrifice for success. It will make you feel glad to be alive.
We don't want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn't. And it's what happens afterwards that is most important. Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.
"A waste of time"
You aren't stupid. You know there's no such thing as a perfect mother. Plenty of other books will tell you there is, but this one won't lie to you. I was weak and I cheated and I was punished, but, my god, I loved my child through all of it. Love means you never break, and it means you're stronger than the things they do to you. I know this is true because I have been through fire, and I am the proof that love survives. I am not a perfect mother but I will tell you the perfect truth, because this is you and me talking. This is my story.
"Blew me away"
Guld er en intens beretning om grænserne for venskab og ekstremerne for menneskelig udholdenhed - både fysisk og mentalt. Guld er beretningen om Zoe og Kate, verdensklasseatleter, som har været venner og rivaler lige siden deres første elitetræningsdag på cykelbanen. De har elsket, kæmpet, svigtet, tilgivet, trøstet, fejret og er vokset op sammen. Nu, umiddelbart før de olympiske lege i London 2012, vil begge kvinder få testet deres fysiske så vel som følelsesmæssige grænser. De må konfrontere hinanden og deres egen dødelighed: Hvad er du villig til at ofre for de mennesker, du elsker, hvis det samtidig betyder, at du må opgive det, der er allervigtigst for dig?