Celebrate five years of Cityread London. This event brings together all four living writers whose books have been Cityread choices to date to discuss the joys and challenges of evoking our capital city - Sebastian Faulks with A Week in December, Louisa Young with My Dear I Wanted to Tell You, Ben Aaronovitch with Rivers of London, and Gillian Slovo with 2016's Cityread, Ten Days.
Summer, 1914. Young Englishwoman Vivian Rose Spencer is in an ancient land, about to discover the Temple of Zeus, the call of adventure, and love. 1000 of miles away a 20-year-old Pathan, Qayyum Gul, is learning about brotherhood and loyalty in the British Indian army. Summer, 1915. Viv has been separated from the man she loves; Qayyum has lost an eye at Ypres.
"A potent moment in time"
What is the moment, that exact moment when everything changes and the friends you have been become the lovers you might be? Soulmates from birth Karim and Raheen finish each other's sentences, speak in anagrams, and lie spine to spine as children. They are irrevocably bound to each other and to Karachi, Pakistan. It beats in their hearts - violent, polluted, corrupt, vibrant, brave, and ultimately, home. However, Raheen is fiercely loyal and naively blinkered and she resents Karim's need to map their city, his need to name its streets and to expand the privileged world they know.
In a prison cell in the US, a man stands trembling, naked, fearfully waiting to be shipped to Guantánamo Bay. How did it come to this? he wonders.... August 9th, 1945, Nagasaki. Hiroko Tanaka takes in the view of the terraced slopes leading up to the sky. Wrapped in a kimono with three black cranes swooping across the back, she is twenty-one and in love with the man she is to marry. In a split second, the world turns white.
The Dard-e-Dils are known for their clavicles and love of stories. The family is cursed by its not-quite twins, and Aliya, prey to her family's legends, begins to believe that she is another 'not-quite twin', cosmically connected with her aunt Mariam in a way that hardly bodes well.
"love, family, food in Karachi"
Hasan is 11 years old. He loves cricket, pomegranates, the night sky, his clever, vibrant artistic mother and his etymologically obsessed lawyer father, and he adores his next-door neighbour Zehra. One early summer morning, while lazing happily on the roof, Hasan watches a young boy flying a yellow kite fall to his death. Soon after, Hasan's idyllic, sheltered family life is shattered when his beloved uncle Salman, a dissenting politician, is arrested and charged with treason.
Fourteen years ago Aasmaani's mother, Samina, a blazing beauty and fearless activist, walked out of her house and was never seen again. Aasmaani refuses to believe she is dead and still dreams of her glorious return. Now grown up and living in Karachi, Aasmaani receives what could be the longed-for proof that her mother is still alive. As she comes closer to the truth she is also irresistibly drawn to Ed, her ally and sparring partner, and the only person who can understand the profound hurt - and the profound love - that drives her.
"Beautiful story, not for audio"
In the summer of 1914 a young Englishwoman, Vivian Rose Spencer, finds herself fulfilling a dream by joining an archeological dig in Turkey. Working alongside Germans and Turks, she falls in love with archaeologist, Tahsin Bey, and joins him in his quest to find an ancient silver circlet. The outbreak of war in Europe brings her idyllic summer to a sudden end, and her friends become her nation’s enemies.