Fiction: The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller

If you’ve read Unsettled Ground, Claire Fuller’s Costa Award winning novel, you will know that her writing combines heart and melancholy without sentimentality, her quiet storytelling all the more powerful for its restraint, and this is equally true of her latest novel.

The Memory of Animals feels breathtakingly relevant and uncomfortable; a modern day pandemic, a young woman entering a medical trial and the sudden termination of contact with the outside world.

Interspersed with memories of childhood visits to her father in Greece, and of her work as an aquarium research assistant, Neffy’s story explores grief, observes the physicality of loss, the way memories can be both comfort and pain, and how freedom always carries risk. One to read if you loved Never Let Me Go, The Day of the Triffids or Station Eleven, this is hopeful, humane storytelling which resonates long after the final page.

Non-Fiction: Hands of Time by Rebecca Struthers

A watchmaker’s world is not much bigger than a thumbnail.

I spend whole days working on mechanisms which can contain hundreds of tiny components. Each of them has a specific task to perform. Every morning when I sit at my bench, it is an adventure into a new timepiece with its own history to lose myself in. And in their history, we can find the history of time itself.

Timepieces are one of humanity’s most ingenious innovations. Their invention was more significant for human culture than the printing press, or even the wheel. They have travelled the world with us, from the depths of the oceans to the summit of Everest, and even to the Moon. They regulate our daily lives and have sculpted the social and economic development of society in surprising and dramatic ways.

In Hands of Time watchmaker and historian Rebecca Struthers welcomes us into the hidden world of watchmaking, offering a personal history of watches that spans centuries and continents. From her workshop bench, Rebecca explores the ways in which timekeeping has indelibly shaped our attitudes to work, leisure, trade, politics, exploration and mortality, and introduces us to some extraordinary and treasured devices, each with their own story to tell.

Hands of Time is an intricate and uniquely personal exploration of the history, science, philosophy, and craft of timekeeping.

  • Ruth