Alcemi - Publications catalogue
The Vagabond's Breakfast
In 2006, Richard Gwyn was given a year to live. He had lost nine years of his life to vagrancy and alcoholism in the Mediterranean, principally Spain and Crete. This memoir is an account of those years; redemption via friendship, imagination, intellect, love and fatherhood; recovery and a life-saving liver graft.
ISBN: 9780956012555 £9.99 full details
Gaia's husband Charles was an architect. Having discovered love letters after Charles' sudden death, Gaia is knocked back hard. She sets about organising a competition to design her perfect home, choosing the competitors from among her husband's former adversaries. The process gains her new friends and hard but rewarding lessons on the nature of erotic and artistic obsession.
ISBN: 9780956012524 £9.99 full details
Attacked as a boy by bullies, Tim is left with the most serious loss he will face as a man. As a man he is out to revenge himself one by one on the gang by enacting the perfect murder. But first of all he must become a supreme craftsman. A psychological thriller, set in Spain and south-east Wales, on obsession and the far-reaching evils of perfectionism.
ISBN: 9780956012531 £9.99 full details
The Deer Wedding
The Deer Wedding is a novel set in Croatia, spanning two generations, two brutal wars and two very special works of art. In 1941, artist Antun Fiskovic' experiences a sea-change in his fortunes following the dramatic revelation of the identity of his real parents, just as occupying forces take over the government of his country. Fifty years later, a young woman called Dagmar Petric' tries to solve the mystery surrounding her journalist father's premature death. "Antun knew it would work, the minute he caught sight of the block of stone left outside the courtyard. The sun picked out the sheen of the tiny seashells embedded in the soft cream stone. In his mind's eye, he saw Milan's torso emerge from its nubbly texture, as if he were a storybook genie softly shooting through a bottle's stem. He crouched down in front of the block and ran his hands over its surface. He could sense by touch alone where his lover's shoulders would break through." Antun and Dagmar's stories come together in 1998, three years after civil war has torn apart the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The citizens of a newly-independent Croatia are asking questions about its future; most urgently: can a country ravaged by war ever move beyond the dogma of vengeance? Dagmar learns that Antun met with her father just weeks before he died, a chance discovery that sets her on a collision course with what she thought she knew of her family's history. Antun is also coming face-to-face with the past, seeking to establish his legacy, but bitterly aware that his work has long been mired in controversy. Set in Zagreb, Split and late Nineties Hvar - a former tourist paradise now home to war refugees - this novel interweaves public and private history through the catalyst of family secrets unearthed, the fallout of war and the journey to personal and national reconciliation.
ISBN: 9780956012500 £9.99 full details
A pseudo-Buddhist monk, an illegal immigrant, a teenager with precarious mental health and a quixotic pair of young businessmen chancing their luck. All of them intricately, messily bound by the unique and rather dubious organization that is Eastern Vision. The empire has one foot in the seedier realms of metaphysical Surrey and the other amongst the slums and skyscrapers of Bangkok. From faux-Eastern objets to real estate, client-centred sperm-donation to gypsy magic, the tangled fortunes of Eastern Vision go from strength to strength and back again. Yingyang, first child of the dysfunctional troupe, tells us the story; from the day her mother Jessica tripped on a paving slab and never looked back, to her own quirky upbringing and island exile. In Bangkok, enigmatic entrepreneur Bristol takes the helm and in London, Romanian refugee Pippa claws her dainty way up the ladder to exploit the company's potential for her own ends. Moses, who prefers not to mention that he was born in Surrey, surrounds himself in mystic exoticism, building his own outrageous business-within-a-business. As they battle for control - of the company, of each other and of themselves - they hurtle towards an end none of them could have predicted. A black comedy about sex, financial boom and bust, corruption, cultural collision, fertility and altruism.
ISBN: 9780956012517 £9.99 full details
Always the Love of Someone
Sinister impulses lurk behind Greg's acclaimed portraits of his wife. Mair, an unemployed actress, loves her unemployed husband but sleeps with a television producer. A divorced couple find themselves staring at reunion. A talented tramp in a dirty pyjama jacket shares lentil soup with an architect in full view of the neighbourhood. Noi is an escapee Thai bride who learns just how different Britain really is. Fifteen stories on relationships: the nuances of class; exile; sexual exploitation; the civilising influence of women which can extend into interference, and the accommodations made necessary by old age. Voices range across gender, age and ethnicity. The tone of Always the Love of Someone is upbeat: as optimistic in spirit as Mike Leigh's Happy Go Lucky.
ISBN: 9780955527296 £9.99 full details
Faith, Hope and Love
Alun Brady was a bit of a Mummy's Boy, stuck at home at 30 in the suburbs. When grandfather Paddy makes his deathbed in their spare room, he brings fresh air into Al's cushy number and makes Al face the hardest decision of his life. Later, just out of prison, Al's world seems almost empty. Haunted by his brother Will's perfect new family, Al seeks in dangerous new friends what he needs from his lost kin. Drawn into Cardiff's underbelly, events take a turn towards the tragic as he discovers he cannot break free of his own blood ties. This is an authentic urban thriller with a strong colloquial voice, stepping between social classes to say important things about memory and identity.
ISBN: 9780955527272 £9.99 full details
Over at Nicky's place, somebody's dumped twenty stolen chairs in the backyard. What does she care? They call her a fat slag at school and all her mam can do is watch Relocation, Relocation and dream of being elsewhere. Nicky prefers to dream of Barry, who's a dab hand at picking locks. Meanwhile, Frank is doing his best to get on top of things at Pierce Constant Solutions, but bumping into an old school adversary is more than he can cope with. At the care home, Tom looks for the light to go off in his son's flat, because he's due a visit, but memories of wartime keep getting in the way. Neither Nicky, Frank, nor Tom realises that their lives are about to collide. Bumping is a novel of suspense, dark humour and richly-distinctive voices, set on contemporary Tyneside.
ISBN: 9780955527289 £9.99 full details
Soothing Music for Stray Cats
Mark's best friend Jim just jumped from the twentieth floor, forcing him to reassess the way he's been living. This contemporary rites of passage novel is a calm, cool, and well-controlled fiction debut flooded with warmth and humanity. With the reflection of "The Catcher in the Rye" and the depth of Anne Enright's "The Gathering", it captures the moment following disaster where things can swing either way. Music and literature save Mark as he faces the question: is it ever right to intervene in others' lives? Themes include friendship; class; compassion; altruism and intervention; trust and innocence; belonging. Soothing Music for Stray Cats is a reflective novel set in central and north London, which will appeal to a youthful male readership and NME fans, with its themes of male suicide, Samurai philosophy, male bonding, and songwriting. Driven by its distinctive colloquial voice, wacky monologues on subjects as diverse as Mike Skinner, Ellen MacArthur and Nelson, its philosophy is upbeat, committed to a world in which strangers still help each other, even though we can seldom intervene when it really matters. "Catcher in the Rye" meets Kenzaburo Oe's "An Echo of Heaven", by way of Anne Enright's "The Gathering", the text is framed by two suicides, but the messages are positive, in favour of altruism, male friendship, and the camaraderie of strangers in straightened circumstances (the latter a topical theme for the Credit Crunch era). Set in a chilly February in Finsbury Park and central London with its tourist landmarks, the author's background as an architecture journalist shows through in her strong sense of atmosphere and city spaces. Literary aspects include the shadowing of Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway", and beautiful imagery ranging from cricket, London Tube lines, failing shoes on city streets, naval heroes and monuments.
ISBN: 9780955527258 £9.99 full details
The Sleepwalkers Ball
Hans is a dreamer, a waiter, a security guard, a young man tending elderly parents, a layabout, an old man scribbling his memories. Driven out in his pyjamas into a strangely black and white Scottish town, Hans sets off in search of both his girl and the one mysterious thing that will solve the riddle of his life. Clara is the art school girl with the lovely round face and ants in her pants, the crazy girl from the pub, always hindered by luggage or her dodgy innards, the sleepy waitress at the ball in the castle grounds, the blowzy dame with the world's most beautiful mouth. But can they find each other in time? Set sometime around now, and yet also any time, this is a beautifully surreal romantic comedy wrapped around the forms of the silent film and the Gothic city ghost tour. A cross between Kafka and Mary Poppins, "The Sleepwalkers' Ball" is filmic, funny and lyrical in turns. Always moving, it follows two lives: a man and a woman, and their many attempts to hook up together.
ISBN: 9780955527265 £9.99 full details
Twenty Thousand Saints
Archaeologist Deian returns to the island of his childhood, where his mother disappeared without a trace. Sister Viv, closet heretic and host of the annual conference of hermits, has erected a gold plaque in her memory, declaring her official sainthood. Meanwhile, documentary-maker Leri is keen to portray the island's inhabitants as anything but saintly, pursuing a story that has less to do with birds and saints' bones than with real bloodshed. During this hot August week, a writer-in-residence observes lives colliding, as Bardsey Island twirls once more for the cameras... A black comedy about finds, losses, secrets, privacy and intrusion, and how the most important things always happen off-camera.
ISBN: 9780955527227 £9.99 full details
A short break in a shoreline cottage is an ideal place to struggle with your demons. For Elly and Martin it is the chance to forget their hasty exit from Paradise following scandal. But Elly makes a life-changing find on the tideline. It is a huge pink diamond ring, finger bones still attached. Scroll back a few months and at Martin's place of work - a Chester hospital - we meet new nurse Hayley. Twenty-five; gorgeous (even by her own admission); she is a player, and totally turned off by the ward surgeon, Richard Congreve. Until, that is, she catches a whiff of something expensive in his Jag and is ensnared by a gift so desirable it may prove fatal. As we begin to question who the ring and its finger belong to, the cottage collects the secrets of those friends and strangers who have stayed there. Why has Elly such power over them all? Ranging between Wales, the north of England and Goa, this is a novel about possession, betrayal, violence - and just how much we can afford to lose. JAMES TAIT BLACK MEMORIAL PRIZE FOR FICTION NOMINEE
ISBN: 9780955527203 £9.99 full details
Aled is used to his dad Geraint waxing lyrical about some saint's clifftop lookout; some Greek temple or another hosting a thousand sacred prostitutes; some village near Corinth. Geraint is the county archaeologist, after all. So when travel agent Aled takes a recce trip to that same Peloponnese village, his father is surprised. When Aled fails to return on the eve of his marriage, Geraint becomes alarmed and sets out on his trail. This quest, which is also a pilgrimage, will change all those involved.
ISBN: 9780955527210 £9.99 full details
The Banquet of Esther Rosenbaum
It is Berlin, 1929. The inflation-hungry city is edging towards disaster, but seven foot Jewish orphan Esther Rosenbaum is serving up a banquet for friends. They are the bohemians, artists and kabarett composers who have sampled her finest recipes in the legendary Schorns restaurant, and long declared her Germany's most celebrated chef. Except it is a life built on quicksand: Schorns' proprietor is owned by gay black marketeer Leon Wolf - but patronised by Nazis. The revolutionaries who briefly seized power ten years earlier are distracted by personal feuds and vendettas, manipulated by one Bertolt Brecht. Whilst Esther, once a towering presence clad in her peacock tapestry skirts, has started to dress as a man to blend into Berlin's vicious night streets. The cook capable of creating delicacies such as chocolate hearts stuffed with saffron pen nibs, has stopped eating and is reducing herself to bone. Using a burlesque brand of magic realism, Penny Simpson conjures fantastical elements to show how cookery can be an act of storytelling, and imagination itself an act of subversion and survival.
ISBN: 9780955527234 £9.99 full details
Jeb Loy Nichols
A Love story - intimate, warm, drily humorous - about the missing parts of our lives, and the things we fill them with... Lee is a grown man with a sweet tooth and a mild case of uniform fetish. A phone call from a distant hospital summons him to the bedside of his father, Arthur; a man he barely knew. He seeks solace in his father's nurses, despite being told they attend mandatory training on not dating the bereaved...
ISBN: 9780955527241 £7.99 full details
Submissions: Alcemi no longer accepts submissions
Distribution: Welsh Books Council,
Distribution Centre, Glanyrafon Enterprise Park,
Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3AQ
T: +44 (0) 1970 624455 www.gwales.com
Distribution (USA and Canada): Dufour Editions, PO Box 7, Chester Springs
Pennsylvania, 19425, USA
001 (610) 458-5005 or 800-869-5677 Fax: 001 (610) 458-7103
Rights Enquiries: Gwen Davies, email@example.com