The Story Orchestra: Four Seasons in One Day
From the dawn chorus to an icy sunset, follow one girl and her dog as they adventure through spring, summer, autumn, and winter in just one day.
On each page you can hear the story come to life with music from Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’, then listen to all the sounds again at the back of the book.
A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality―the black Chinese restaurant.
Born in the “agrarian ghetto” of Dickens―on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles―the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: “I’d die in the same bedroom I’d grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that’ve been there since ’68 quake.” Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral.
Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident―the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins―he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.
A universal story of love and aspiration, betrayal and disappointment, the prose is masterful, simple and moving. The characters are utterly believable and complex in their ordinariness. The author’s portrayal of hard physical tasks in conjunction with the mental effort required to carry on in the face of everyday obstacles and heartbreak is a thing of beauty.
“Coming Rain is a universal story of love and aspiration, betrayal and disappointment. The prose is masterful, simple and moving. The characters are utterly believable and complex in their ordinariness. It was a book that all three judges came across joyfully and read with the ease of those who know they’re in the hands of a confident writer.” Jill Rawnsley, convenor of the 2016 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Fiction category