Long novels to lose yourself in

Reading a book has never been a more useful distraction. Why not completely shut off from the outside world with some of those longer novels you’ve always wanted to read . . . 

 

Red or Dead

David Peace 

Red or Dead is the story of the rise of Liverpool Football Club and Bill Shankly. And the story of the retirement of Bill Shankly. Of one man and his work. And of the man after that work. A man in two halves. Home and away. Red or dead.

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The Observations

Jane Harris

Scotland, 1863. A darkly humorous and intriguing story of one woman’s journey from a difficult past into an even more disturbing present . . .

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4 3 2 1

Paul Auster

On March 3rd, 1947, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous paths. Four Fergusons will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and passions contrast. Each version of Ferguson’s story rushes across the fractured terrain of mid-twentieth-century America, in this sweeping story of birthright and possibility, of love and the fullness of life itself.

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The Book of Chocolate Saints

Jeet Thayil

Approaching late middle-age, Francis Newton Xavier leaves Manhattan with his partner, Goody Lol. Their journey to India becomes a delirious voyage into the past, but Xavier must also contemplate an uncertain future of salvation and damnation. Told in a dazzling range of voices, The Book of Chocolate Saints is an epic novel of contemporary life set in the mysterious margins where art bleeds into the occult.

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The Carhullan Army

Sarah Hall

England is in a state of environmental and economic crisis. Under the repressive regime of the Authority, citizens have been herded into urban centres, and all women of child-bearing age fitted with contraceptive devices. A woman, known as ‘Sister’, leaves her oppressive marriage to join an isolated group of women in a remote northern farm at Carhullan, where she intends to become a rebel fighter. But can she follow their notion of freedom and what it means to fight for it?

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Stallo

Stefan Spjut

In the summer of 1978, a young boy disappears without trace from a cabin in the Dalecarlian woods of Sweden. His mother claims he was abducted by a giant. Twenty-five years later, Susso runs a web page dedicated to searching for creatures whose existence have not yet been proven: the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot. But Susso’s true obsession is trolls. When an old woman claims that a small furry animal has been standing outside her house, Susso picks up her camera and leaves for what will become a terrifying adventure into the unknown.

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My Name Is Red

Orhan Pamuk

A thrilling murder mystery set amid the splendour of the Ottoman Empire and Istanbul in the late 1590s. The Sultan secretly commissions a great book: a celebration of his life and his empire, to be illuminated by the best artists of the day – in the European manner. At a time of violent fundamentalism, however, this is a dangerous proposition. When one of the miniaturists is murdered, their master has to seek outside help. Did the dead painter fall victim to professional rivalry, romantic jealousy or religious terror?

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The Poisonwood Bible

Barbara Kingsolver

This story is told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil.

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A Fine Balance

Rohinton Mistry 

India, 1975. An unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a state of emergency. Amidst a backdrop of wild political turmoil, the lives of four unlikely strangers collide forever.

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