Housegirl: A Novel

Sold by Picador
Free sample

Shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize Nominated for the Edinburgh First Book Award One of The Observer's "New Faces of Fiction" One of The Millions' "Most Anticipated Books of the Year" One of The Guardian's "Best Summer Books" (Selected by Kayo Chingonyi and Joe Dunthorne) One of Library Journal's "Most Anticipated Fall Debuts" One of The Observer's Best Books of the YearAn NPR "Staff Pick" and One of the NPR Book Concierge's "Best Books of the Year"

A Go On Girl! Book Club Selection

"Immensely readable...A refreshing story about coming of age in spite of conflicting ideas of what 'growing up' means."—Buzzfeed (The Best Books of Fall)

A moving and unexpectedly funny exploration of friendship and family, shame and forgiveness, Michael Donkor's debut novel follows three adolescent girls grappling with a shared experience: the joys and sorrows of growing up.

Belinda knows how to follow the rules. As a housegirl, she has learned the right way to polish water glasses, to wash and fold a hundred handkerchiefs, and to keep a tight lid on memories of the village she left behind when she came to Kumasi.

Mary is still learning the rules. Eleven-years-old and irrepressible, the young housegirl-in-training is the little sister Belinda never had.

Amma has had enough of the rules. A straight-A student at her exclusive London school, she has always been the pride of her Ghanaian parents—until now. Watching their once-confident teenager grow sullen and wayward, they decide that sensible Belinda is the shining example Amma needs.

So Belinda must leave Mary behind as she is summoned from Ghana to London, where she tries to impose order on her unsettling new world. As summer turns to autumn, Belinda and Amma are surprised to discover common ground. But when the cracks in their defenses open up, the secrets they have both been holding tightly threaten to seep out.

Read more
Collapse

About the author

Michael Donkor was born in London, to Ghanaian parents. He studied English at Wadham College at the University of Oxford, undertook a masters in creative writering at Royal Holloway, and now teaches English literature to secondary school students. In 2014, his writing won him a place on the Writers' Centre Norwich Inspires Scheme, where he received a year's mentoring from Daniel Hahn. Housegirl is his first novel, and many of the issues in it are close to his heart.
Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Picador
Read more
Collapse
Published on
Aug 28, 2018
Read more
Collapse
Pages
288
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9781250305190
Read more
Collapse
Features
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Cultural Heritage
Fiction / Literary
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
A special two-in-one edition of National Book Award finalist Padgett Powell’s acclaimed southern novels: Edisto and Edisto Revisited
In Edisto, Simons Everson Manigault is not a typical twelve-year-old boy in tiny Edisto, South Carolina, in the late 1960s. At the insistence of his challenging mother, who believes her son to possess a capacity for genius, Simons immerses himself in great literature and becomes as literate and literary as any English professor. When Taurus, a soft-spoken African American stranger, moves into the cabin recently vacated by the Manigaults’ longtime maid, a friendship forms. The lonely, excitable Simons and the quiet, thoughtful Taurus, who has appointed himself Simons’s guide in the ways of the grown-up world, bond over the course of a hot southern summer.
In Edisto Revisited, Simons Manigault is newly graduated from Clemson University, bored, unfocused, and idling his summer away at his mother’s home in Edisto, South Carolina. Not yet ready to fully embrace adulthood, Simons finds himself surrendering to cynicism. To avoid sinking further into his rut, Simons embarks on a road trip through the South. After a disastrous stint as a Corpus Christi fisherman, he exits the Lone Star State, doubling back to the Louisiana bayou to spend some quality time with his former friend and mentor—and his mother’s ex-lover—Taurus. But as even Taurus’s once sought-after wisdom wears thin, Simons begins to suspect that the grass is not greener on the other side—it may be burnt, brown, and dead wherever he goes.
"At once mordantly funny and achingly sad, L.I.E. is a soul map for modern suburbia."
--Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger

Long Island, New York, 1987: Harlan Kessler--raised in Medford, a product of blue-collar Suffolk County, of housing developments and concrete strip malls--graduates from high school. He hangs out, he parties, he plays guitar for the Dayglow Crazies (the local rock-and-roll phenomenon), and he struggles diligently to lose his virginity. He doesn't think about the future much. The Long Island Expressway (L.I.E.) cleaves the landscape, permitting passage west, to the tonier climes of Nassau County and New York City, but to Harlan, this seems like an impossible journey, something beyond his Long Island birthright. And what's worse, evidence is accumulating that Harlan may not exist at all, that he may merely be a character in someone else's story, a fleeting thought in the mind of God.
        L.I.E. follows Harlan, his family, and his friends through two years of love, sex, death, betrayal, salvation, and enlightenment. In ten intimately interwoven stories, in prose that swings fluidly from gritty realism to heightened metafiction, David Hollander maps an American landscape that is at once vividly familiar and highly exotic, creating an unforgettable portrait of the passage to adult-hood and the search for identity, certain to resonate with legions of readers. By turns dark, funny, raw, and elegant, L.I.E. is the striking debut of a singular voice.

The last wisps of afternoon streak and evaporate into blue-gray dusk, submersing Long Island in twilight. Harlan and Rik Giannati sit on the curb outside Rik's house, precisely 211 yards northeast of Harlan's house, the distance punctuated by no fewer than fourteen subtly distinct houses of three ilks: the square, steeple-roofed Granada; the split-level LaSalle; the two-story, three-bedroom Monte Carlo. This last model was the choice of Kessler and Giannati alike some ten years ago when they, too, were assimilated in the mass exodus from Queens to Suffolk County that had gripped the hearts and genitals of so many. The streetlamps began to glow along Rustic Avenue, a cold blue flicker spaced at even intervals, like isolated members of the same species, each shivering in its cage of frosted glass. --From L.I.E.
Includes an interview featuring Dagmara Dominczyk and Adriana Trigiani

A vibrant, engaging debut novel that follows the friendship of three women from their youthful days in Poland to their complicated, not-quite-successful adult lives
 
Because of her father’s role in the Solidarity movement, Anna and her parents immigrate to the United States in the 1980s as political refugees from Poland. They settle in Brooklyn among immigrants of every stripe, yet Anna never quite feels that she belongs. But then, the summer she turns twelve, she is sent back to Poland to visit her grandmother, and suddenly she experiences the shock of recognition. In her family’s hometown of Kielce, Anna develops intense friendships with two local girls—brash and beautiful Justyna and desperately awkward Kamila—and their bond is renewed every summer when Anna returns. The Lullaby of Polish Girls follows these three best friends from their early teenage years on the lookout for boys in Kielce—a town so rough its citizens are called “the switchblades”—to the loss of innocence that wrecks them, and the stunning murder that reaches across oceans to bring them back together after they’ve grown and long since left home.
 
Dagmara Dominczyk’s assured narrative flashes from the wild summers of the girls’ youth to their years of self-discovery in New York and Europe. Her writing is full of grit and guts, and her descriptions of the emotional experiences of her characters resonate with honesty. The Lullaby of Polish Girls captures the passion and drama of friendship, the immigrant’s yearning to be known, and the exquisite and wistful transformation of young women coming of age.
 
Praise for The Lullaby of Polish Girls

“A coming-of-age tale of three young Polish women [that is] brimming with teary epiphanies, betrayal and love, as well as the grit of both New York and Kielce. [It’s] Girls with a Polish accent.”—The New York Times

“The Lullaby of Polish Girls will make you swoon. Dagmara Dominczyk has written a glorious debut novel inspired by her own emigration from Poland to Brooklyn with depth, intensity, humor, and grace.”—Adriana Trigiani

“An ennui-stricken actress returns to the old country—and to the friends of her youth—in Dagmara Dominczyk’s The Lullaby of Polish Girls, in which solidarity is all about summer evenings under the stars with a vodka bottle and a radio playing ‘Forever Young.’ ”—Vogue
 
“Compelling . . . an original portrait of friendship and identity . . . Dominczyk uses a fresh, confident style.”—People
 
“In this arresting debut novel, Polish American film and TV actress Dominczyk pays homage to her native city of Kielce while capturing the joys, insecurities, and struggles of three girlfriends coming of age. Spanning thirteen years, Dominczyk’s absorbing story is a triptych of tsknota (Polish for a kind of yearning) and a profound desire for acceptance, freedom, and home.”—Booklist (starred review)
 
“The Lullaby of Polish Girls is sexy and sensitive, with a raw, openhearted center. Dominczyk’s love for her complicated characters is apparent from the first page to the last, and by the novel’s end the reader cares for them just as deeply.”—Emma Straub

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.
2019 First Novelist Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association

An “urgent and heartrending novel about an America on the brink” (Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood), They Come in All Colors follows a biracial teenage boy who finds his new life in the big city disrupted by childhood memories of the summer when racial tensions in his hometown reached a tipping point.

It’s 1968 when fourteen-year-old Huey Fairchild begins high school at Claremont Prep, one of New York City’s most prestigious boys’ schools. His mother had uprooted her family from their small hometown of Akersburg, Georgia, leaving behind Huey’s white father and the racial unrest that ran deeper than the Chattahoochee River.

But for our sharp-tongued protagonist, forgetting the past is easier said than done. At Claremont, where the only other nonwhite person is the janitor, Huey quickly realizes that racism can lurk beneath even the nicest school uniform. After a momentary slip of his temper, Huey finds himself on academic probation and facing legal charges. With his promising school career in limbo, he begins to reflect on his memories of growing up in Akersburg during the Civil Rights Movement—and the chilling moments leading up to his and his mother’s flight north.

With Huey’s head-shaking antics fueling this coming-of-age narrative, the novel triumphs as a tender and honest exploration of race, identity, family, and homeland, and a work that is “emotionally acute…eye-opening and rewarding for a wide range of readers” (Library Journal, starred review).
The #1 International Bestseller & New York Times Bestseller

This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project

In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.

Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.

One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

A New York Times Top Ten Book of the Year and National Book Award finalist, Pachinko is an "extraordinary epic" of four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family as they fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan (San Francisco Chronicle).

NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017 * A USA TODAY TOP TEN OF 2017 * JULY PICK FOR THE PBS NEWSHOUR-NEW YORK TIMES BOOK CLUB NOW READ THIS * FINALIST FOR THE 2018 DAYTON LITERARY PEACE PRIZE* WINNER OF THE MEDICI BOOK CLUB PRIZE

Roxane Gay's Favorite Book of 2017, Washington Post

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * #1 BOSTON GLOBE BESTSELLER * USA TODAY BESTSELLER * WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER * WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER

"There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones."

In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant--and that her lover is married--she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan's finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee's complex and passionate characters--strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis--survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.

*Includes reading group guide*
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.