Friday, 5 May 2017

A few of the interesting books that arrived at VOLUME this week.

House of Names by Colm Tóibín      $35
Tóibín retells, reinvigorates and reinterprets the legendary cluster of  Clytemnestra, Orestes and Electra with his hallmark sensitivity and depth of perception. 
"A story of revenge, violence, pain and love. So much drama, so many voices screaming for revenge and power cast across a panorama of violence and death. Beautifully written." - Stella
The Hideout by Ego Hostovsky        $28
When a Czech engineer arrives in Paris in 1939, he cannot know that three years later he will be in hiding, confined to the damp, dark cellar of a French doctor. Alone with his memories, he writes to his "dearest Hanichka", confessing everything: the hope of a love affair for which he travelled to Paris, the discovery of the German warrant for his arrest, and the murder he was forced to commit. As he contends with his failing eyesight and the loss of his teeth, so too must he grapple with the guilt of leaving his family and the dwindling hope of ever returning home. A claustrophobic classic of Czech literature.
Torpor by Chris Kraus         $23
More wonderful ironic positioning incompletely concealing devastating observation, from the author of I Love Dick
"Crappy feelings about messed-up relationships cut back and forth with painful proddings of historical events, all rendered in a kind of open prose that allows a dirt road to lead to Desert Storm and wind up in an analysis of thirtysomething without wandering astray. The effect is so startling that it resuscitates words long fallen out of fashion: Torpor is honest and true. Though history is the master trope of Torpor, inner turmoil always bubbles up, most often in the form of Sylvie chastising herself. Though they often come off as clichés, Sylvie’s lamentations resist the streamlining of life around her; her insistent self-doubt, -scrutiny, and -torture are antidotes to the culture of empty-headed sure-footedness in which she moves." - The Believer
Tax and Fairness by Deborah Russell and Terry Baucher        $15
The world has changed a lot in the last thirty years, but New Zealand's tax system hasn't. Since the 1980s New Zealand's taxation policy has remained the same, despite substantial economic and social changes. The system may be familiar, but is it fair? Answers to this question cut to the heart of whether or not New Zealand can be considered an egalitarian country. 
Notes on Blindness: A journey through the dark by John M. Hull       $25
Just before the birth of his first child, Hull began losing his sight. He documented the passage of his world through vagueness and into darkness in a series of cassette tapes, leading up to the point where he had passed beyond loss and into a new way of thinking about his world, a point where he had become psychologically as well as optically blind. 
>> Hull's audio records were also made into a very interesting film
Release by Patrick Ness     $28
Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. Ness's most personal novel yet is inspired by his love for Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.
Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin        $35
Told through the eyes of an anonymous narrator nicknamed Lazi, Qiu Miaojin's cult classic novel, ostensibly the coming-of-age story of a group of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university, is a postmodern pastiche of diaries, vignettes, mash notes, aphorisms, exegesis, and satire by an incisive prose stylist and countercultural icon.
The Aleppo Cookbook: Celebrating the legendary cuisine of Syria by Marlene Matar       $55
Aleppo is one of the world's oldest inhabited cities, and has a deep and varied cuisine. This book is the perfect introduction. 
Hell's Traces: One murder, two families, thirty-five holocaust memorials by Victor Ripp        $40
Two axes define the space of the Jewish Museum in Berlin: the 'axis of exile' and the 'axis of the Holocaust'. Ripp's mother's family chose the axis of exile, whereas his father's was consumed by the axis of the Holocaust. Ripp uses the stories of both sides of his family, and a journey he made to visit memorials through Europe, to give deft and subtle insight into the fatal spasm of anti-Semitism that emerged in the middle of the twentieth century. 
Putin Country: A journey into the real Russia by Anne Garrels         $30
"Quiet but excellent. Garrels' clear, patient, sympathetic portraits of teachers, children, prostitutes, doctors the whole raft of Russian humanity provide a pointillist landscape and an understanding of the country, and its mentalities, that eludes many more overtly political books." - The New Yorker
"A quiet masterwork. Garrels seems to have talked to everyone. She marshals her reporting, character after character, to build the evidence." - Bookforum
Masterworks by Karl Blossfeldt          $95
The botanical photographs of Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932) are outstanding in their capture of of the forms of plants. First published as Art Forms in Nature (1928-32), these images have inspired generations of artists and botanists. 
The Lady with the Borzoi: Blanche Knopf, literary tastemaker extraordinaire by Laura Claridge      $33
With her finger on the pulse of a rapidly changing culture, Blanche Knopf quickly became a driving force behind the firm. A conduit to the literature of Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, Blanche also legitimized the hard- boiled detective fiction of writers such as Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain, and Raymond Chandler; signed and nurtured literary authors like Willa Cather, Elizabeth Bowen, and Muriel Spark; acquired momentous works of journalism by John Hersey and William Shirer; and introduced American readers to Albert Camus, Andre Gide, and Simone de Beauvoir. Alfred A. Knopf remains one of the United States of America's most esteemed publishing houses. 
The Man Who Walked Through Walls by Marcel Aymé        $23
A mild-mannered clerk gets driven to a life of crime on account of his facility for intramural travel, a woman finds she can duplicate herself at will, a writer is permitted only 15 days of life per month under wartime rationing. An excellent translation of stories from the French Gogol. 
Journals, Part 2: 1945-1957 by Charles Brasch, edited by Peter Simpson        $60
Brasch returned to New Zealand after World War 2 with the intention of establishing a literary journal to be printed by the Caxton Press. This volume covers his first decade of editorship of Landfall, and provides rich commentary on many of the writers, artists and intellectuals he was in contact with, including Frank Sargeson, A.R.D. Fairburn, Keith Sinclair, Eric McCormick, James Bertram, J.C. Beaglehole, Maria Dronke, Fred and Evelyn Page, Alistair Campbell, Bill Oliver, Toss and Edith Woollaston, Denis Glover, Allen Curnow, Leo Bensemann, Lawrence Baigent, Ngaio Marsh, Colin McCahon, James K. Baxter, Janet Frame and Ruth Dallas. Much also is also revealed of his personal life, including his relationships with Rose Archdall, Rodney Kennedy and Harry Scott. 
>> Also available: Volume 1, and Brasch's Selected Poems
Landfall 233 edited by David Eggleton       $30
Brasch's legacy lives on. Aimee-Jane Anderson-OConnor, Nick Ascroft, Claire Baylis, Miro Bilbrough, Victoria Broome, Iain Britton, Owen Bullock, Christine Burrows, Brent Cantwell, Marisa Cappetta, Joanna Cho, Stephanie Christie, Makyla Curtis, Doc Drumheller, Mark Edgecombe, Lynley Edmeades, Johanna Emeney, Riemke Ensing, Ciaran Fox, Michael Gould, Sarah Grout, Shen Haobo, Paula Harris, Rene Harrison, Stephen Higginson, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Amanda Hunt, Anna Jackson, Ted Jenner, Anne Kennedy, Erik Kennedy, Jessica Le Bas, Wes Lee, Michele Leggott, Carolyn McCurdie, Robert McLean, Fardowsa Mohamed, Kavita Ivy Nandan, Emma Neale, Piet Nieuwland, Claire Orchard, Bob Orr, Jenny Powell, Chris Price, Helen Rickerby, Ron Riddell, L E Scott, Iain Sharp, Charlotte Simmonds, Peter Simpson, Tracey Slaughter, Laura Solomon, Barry Southam, Matafanua Tamatoa, Philip Temple, Dunstan Ward, Elizabeth Welsh, Sue Wootton, Mark Young, Karen Zelas. Includes the winner of the inaugural Charles Brasch Young Writers Essay Competition. 
A Tale of Love by Linda Lê          $35
Ylane and Ivan meet in the library of a psychiatric hospital and fall in love. In the shelter of the clinic they find happiness, but release into the outside world is frightening and love becomes a struggle. This is a novel as much about the power of reading and writing to transform as it is about the transformation of love. Translated by New Zealander Sian Robyns. 
Map of Days by Robert Hunter         $30
Richard can’t stop thinking about the clock. He lies in bed each night listening to its tick-tocking, to the pendulum’s heavy swing. Why does his granddad open its old doors in secret and walk into the darkness beyond? One night, too inquisitive to sleep, Richard tiptoes from his bed, opens the doors, and steps inside... 
"A bewitching graphic novel with alien landscapes and rich hues that speak of dreams and mystery." - Guardian 

Close to the Knives: A memoir of disintegration by David Wojnarowicz          $28
A new edition of this electric account of living as an artist and activist and dying of AIDS, with am introduction by Olivia Laing. 
"David Wojnarowicz has caught the age-old voice of the road, the voice of the traveller, the outcast, the thief, the whore." Pick up this book and listen." - William S. Burroughs 
"My book of a lifetime, my book for these dark times, an antidote to stupidity, cruelty and oppression of all kinds." - Olivia Laing
The Secret Diary of Charlotte Gatland by Patricia Charlotte Dennis        $39
In 1847, Gatland left London high society and travelled first to California during the gold rush, and then to New Zealand, about which she makes some very fresh observations. 
Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal'd by Mary Losure        $28
An intelligent illustrated biography for young readers, giving insight into Newton's boyhood and the set of conceptions about nature from which he undertook his experiments and formed his theories.
Five Strings by Apirana Taylor        $35
Puti and Mack live out their hopeless lives in a haze of smoke and alcohol addiction, accompanied by a host of others eking out a barren existence on the fringes of society. Who will be redeemed and who will fail to get out alive?
The Moth: All these wonders, True stories about facing the unknown edited by Catherine Burns    $33
The concept is simple: get people in front of an audience to tell a true story from their own experience. The Moth as a performance evening soon became a popular phenomenon. This is the second book flung from the storytelling centrifuge, the first being, simply, The Moth
"Enthralling, funny and moving." - The Times
>> There is a wide selection of Moth stories to watch on their video channel.
Let Go My Hand by Edward Docx           $35
A dying man sets off on a final road trip across Europe with his middle-aged sons. Will they survive the unspoken presence of corrosive family secrets?
"Unforgettable. Not since What a Carve Up! has there been such an absorbing indictment of the family." - Independent
"Docx has a gift for assessing 'the exact shape and weight of other people's inner selves, the architecture of their spirit' and even his most ancillary characters flare into being, vital and insistent." - The New Yorker

Hoopla Poetry Series #4         $25 each
Emerging and established New Zealand voices. 
Family History by Johanna Emeny
Dylan Junkie by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman
Wolf by Elizabeth Morton

Walt Whitman's Guide to Manly Health and Training by Walt Whitman       $25
Shortly before the third edition of Leaves of Grass was published, Whitman pseudononymously published a series of newspaper columns on everything from diet to exercise to grooming to alcohol to dancing to sports. Rediscovered and attributed after 150 years, this work is, today, endlessly amusing. 

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