two roads JOHn murray press
available in audio
In a gentrifying corner of London, four women live in their flats in a new building. They live side-by-side as strangers yet they know each other intimately, the way people in big cities know their neighbours – through grocery deliveries, trips to the laundry, glimpses in windows, and overheard conversations in corridors. Penny can never leave her flat because of her agoraphobia triggered by the loss of her daughter. Carla, an American expat with two children, can never leave her controlling husband. Mable, a lonely pensioner and devout Jehovah’s Witness, can never leave the religion that’s taken everything. And Woman, a housekeeper and nanny for the family on the second floor, can never leave the building because her employers – and her fear of them – will not allow it. She’s been trafficked and forced to work against her will.
As lockdown looms over London, each woman will try to escape her private purgatory, through her perseverance, courage, faith, or strength. To succeed, they will each need to reach beyond the anonymity of urban life to uncover the incredible humanity that thrives within it and to connect with each other through small kindnesses and great compassion.
Little Prisons is a story of migration, mental illness, and the sacrifices of mothers. It is about what happens when we take time to look at the people who we never really see. It is the story of women with invisible lives and the enormous strength they possess.
when i ran away
uk/two roads - us/doubleday
A rich, bighearted debut that takes us from working-class Staten Island in the wake of the September 11th attacks to moneyed London a decade later, revealing a story of loss, motherhood, and love.
As the Twin Towers collapse, Gigi Stanislawski flees her office building and escapes lower Manhattan on the Staten Island Ferry. Among the crying, ash-covered, and shoeless passengers, Gigi, unbelievably, finds someone she recognizes--Harry Harrison, a British man and a regular at her favorite coffee shop. Gigi brings Harry to her parents' house, where they watch the television replay the planes crashing for hours, and she waits for the phone call that will never come: the call from Frankie, her younger brother.
Ten years later, Gigi, now a single mother consumed with bills and unfulfilled ambitions, meets Harry, again by chance, and they fall deeply, headlong in love. But their move to London and their new baby--which Gigi hoped would finally release her from the past--leave her feeling isolated, raw, and alone with her grief. As Gigi comes face-to-face with the anguish of her brother's death and her rage at the unspoken pain of motherhood, she must somehow find the light amid all the darkness. Startlingly honest and shot through with unexpected humor, When I Ran Away is an unforgettable first novel about love--for our partners, our children, our mothers, and ourselves--pushed to its outer limits.