Celebrating Fifty Years of Picador Books In this acclaimed travel memoir Jamaica Kincaid chronicles a spectacular and exotic three-week trek through the Himalayan land of Nepal, where she and her companions are gathering seeds for planting at home. The natural world and, in particular, plants and gardening are central to Kincaid’s work. Among Flowers intertwines meditations on nature and stunning descriptions of the Himalayan landscape with observations on the ironies, difficulties and dangers of this magnificent journey. For Kincaid and three botanist friends, Nepal is a paradise, a place where a single day’s hike can traverse climate zones, from subtropical to alpine, encompassing flora suitable for growing at their homes, from Wales to Vermont. Yet as she makes clear, there is far more to this foreign world than rhododendrons that grow thirty feet high. Danger, too, is a constant companion – and the leeches are the least of their worries. Unpredictable Maoist guerrillas live in these perilous mountains, and when they do appear – as they do more than once – their enigmatic presence lingers long after they have melted back into the landscape. And Kincaid, who writes of the looming, lasting effects of colonialism in her works, necessarily explores the irony of her status as memsahib with Sherpas and bearers. A wonderful blend of introspective insight and beautifully rendered description, Among Flowers is a vivid, engrossing, and characteristically frank memoir from one of the most striking voices in contemporary literature. Part of the Picador Collection, a new series showcasing the best in modern literature.
A taste of Japanese manga: Being invisible can’t be that hard, can it? High school student Hikaru Saito is in trouble. She is failing English because she’d much rather bury her nose in the latest manga than study pronouns and prepositions. To keep her from getting kicked out of school, she is assigned a tutor in the form of the most popular boy in school: golden-haired genius Takeshi Hinata. You’d think Takeshi would be Hikaru’s surefire way to academic success, but her stubbornness, lack of concentration, and general disinterest in things other than her precious manga frustrate Takeshi to no end. To make matters worse, a young, pretty boy teacher is determined to rescue Hikaru every chance he gets, riling Takeshi up even more—and confusing the hell out of Hikaru. But as they spend more time together and get to know each other beyond their high school reputations, Hikaru and Takeshi enter a situation neither of them expected to find themselves in—one that factors in stolen kisses, controlling parents, a princess-in-hiding, and the deepest yearnings of a teenage heart.