We’re so excited that Between the Covers is back for a third series. Each week, host Sara Cox is joined on BBC Two each week with four celebrity guests. They’ll be discussing two books; a newly-published book and, for the first time, hot on the heels of the Booker Prize, a shortlisted title that didn’t win the prestigious prize, but still deserve to be celebrated.
Episode 3 – Wednesday 24 November
This week, Sara is joined by actors Ben Miller and Kacey Ainsworth, TV judge Rob Rinder and comedian Sindhu Vee. They will be sharing their favourite books and reviewing this week’s book club choices: new book Still Life by Sarah Winman, and Booker-shortlisted Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.
Still Life by Sarah Winman
Still Life is a big-hearted story of people brought together by love, war, art and the ghost of E.M. Forster.
1944, in the ruined wine cellar of a Tuscan villa, as bombs fall around them, two strangers meet and share an extraordinary evening.
Ulysses Temper is a young British soldier, Evelyn Skinner is a sexagenarian art historian and possible spy. She has come to Italy to salvage paintings from the wreckage and relive memories of the time she encountered EM Forster and had her heart stolen by an Italian maid in a particular Florentine room with a view.
Evelyn’s talk of truth and beauty plants a seed in Ulysses’ mind that will shape the trajectory of his life – and of those who love him – for the next four decades.
Moving from the Tuscan Hills and piazzas of Florence, to the smog of London’s East End, Still Life is a sweeping, joyful novel about beauty, love, family and fate.
‘The sheer joy in Sarah Winman’s storytelling is completely infectious. I’ve loved spending time with this unforgettable cast of characters in extraordinary times and places’ – Graham Norton
‘Readers will want to prolong the pleasure of Sarah Winman’s beautiful novel Still Life for as long as possible. It is a book to get lost in, the kind of story that bolsters the heart and soul. I loved it’ – Donal Ryan, author of From a Low and Quiet Sea
’Embodies the full generosity of the human spirit. This vast, ambitious, galloping bear-hug of a book unashamedly celebrates love in all its many forms. Love of art, love of strangers, love of a good glass of Italian wine and a bowl of pasta cooked with enough salt to taste like the sea. Love of stories. Love of love’ – Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing – to fall in love – in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.
Civil war has come to the city which Nadia and Saeed call home. Before long they will need to leave their motherland behind – when the streets are no longer useable and the unknown is safer than the known. They will join the great outpouring of people fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world…
An extraordinary story of desire and hope, travelling from the Middle East to London and beyond, this is a love story that considers what makes ordinary people flee their homes and how the world might change if borders were broken down.
’Writing in spare, crystalline prose, Hamid conveys the experience of living in a city under siege with sharp, stabbing immediacy. – Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
‘Immediately canonical’ – New Yorker
‘As with the very best literature, its crystalline readability fast eclipses its topicality.’ – Mail on Sunday