Lanny by Max Porter $30
The much anticipated new novel from the author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers taps deep veins of language and folklore as it tells of a young boy who becomes the focus of a mythical force.
"It's hard to express how much I loved Lanny. Books this good don't come along very often. It's a novel like no other, an exhilarating, disquieting, joyous read. It will reach into your chest and take hold of your heart." - Maggie O'Farrell
Guestbook: Ghost stories by Leanne Shapton $65
A wonderful, beautiful illustrated book in which Shapton demonstrates how memories accumulate and images haunt us, how stories and histories perpetuate themselves through residues that become increasingly firmly lodged in our minds. From the author of the innovative novel Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris: Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry.
“Guestbook reveals Shapton as a ventriloquist, a diviner, a medium, a force, a witness, a goof, and above all, a gift. One of the smartest, most moving, most unexpected books I have read in a very long time.” – Rivka Galchen
>> Leanne Shapton's website.
Where Reasons End by Yiyun Li $38
A woman's teenage son takes his own life. It is incomprehensible. The woman is a writer, and so she attempts to comprehend her grief in the space she knows best: on the page, as an imagined conversation with the child she has lost. He is as sharp and funny and serious in death as he was in life itself, and he will speak back to her, unable to offer explanation or solace, but not yet, not quite, gone.
"As always, Li writes with a shimmering and deeply felt precision. The tone is both astringent and faintly mischievous, recalling the dialogue in a J.M. Coetzee novel or the wordplay of Ali Smith and Lydia Davis." - Guardian
"Controlled understatement, scrupulous and unsparing lucidity - a work of great moral poise and dignity. I have not read such a compelling work in years." - Independent
>> Li wrote the book following the suicide of her own son.
>> Read Thomas's review of Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life.
Spring by Ali Smith $34
What unites Katherine Mansfield, Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Rilke, Beethoven, Brexit, the present, the past, the north, the south, the east, the west, a man mourning lost times, a woman trapped in modern times? Spring. The great connective. With an eye to the migrancy of story over time, and riffing on Pericles, one of Shakespeare's most resistant and rollicking works, Ali Smith tells the impossible tale of an impossible time. In a time of walls and lockdown Smith opens the door.
"Her best book yet." - Observer
Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley $48
"There are some writers who never let you down. They’re not big stars and their books are not preceded by a tsunami of hype. They simply do what writers do best, producing novels that are so apparently effortless that a wise reader recognises just how difficult they must be to construct. Tessa Hadley is one such writer. Throughout her career, Hadley has explored the middle-class existence, its ennui and its deceptions, with great skill. She has a keen psychological insight that allows her to create multifaceted characters that remain with the reader long after the story has come to an end. It’s no surprise, then, that Late in the Day is a powerful addition to her already distinguished body of work. Really, a rather brilliant novel." - John Boyne, Irish Times
>>Listed for the 2019 Folio Prize.
The Baby by Marie Darrieussecq $35
The Baby is a mother's project and a writer's project - how to reconcile these two demanding roles? What is a baby? And why are there so few of them in literature?
"Vintage Darrieussecq: tender, disturbing and indelible." - Chloe Hooper
How to Take Off Your Clothes by Hadassah Grace $25
Hadassah's poetry deals with themes of love, sex and depression. She describes it" "Politically it's about leaning in to the negative stereotypes projected onto women, and exploring what it means to embrace and humanise them. Personally it's about me working through the loss of the life I thought I would have. Overall it's about how, no matter what happens, women always have shared experiences of moving through the world."
Halibut on the Moon by David Vann $37
The new utterly convincing and compelling novel from Whangaroa resident David Vann, reimagining his father's final days. Middle-aged and deeply depressed, Jim arrives in California from Alaska and surrenders himself to the care of his brother Gary, who intends to watch over him. Swinging unpredictably from manic highs to extreme lows, Jim wanders ghost-like through the remains of his old life, attempting to find meaning in his tattered relationships with family and friends. As sessions with his therapist become increasingly combative and his connections to others seem ever more tenuous, Jim is propelled forwards by his thoughts, which have the potential to lead him, despairingly, to his end.
>> Read an extract.
Still Water: The deep life of the pond by John Lewis-Stempel $40
Superb nature writing about the animals and plants that live in and around an English pond.
"Britain's finest living nature writer." - The Times
>>Also available: The Wood.
Contre-Jour: A triptych after Pierre Bonnard by Gabriel Josipovici $32
Written with great subtlety and economy, Josipovici's novel, told from the perspectives of Pierre Bonnard, his wife and their daughter, reveals the depths of pain and harm that not only give rise to art but also result from the circumstances of its production. From the author of the Goldsmiths shortlisted The Cemetery in Barnes.
"What is caught in the paintings and the novel is a pristine look, a moment between words." - Michael Rosen
"Its translucence fosters an extraordinary purity of form and concept. It is serious, even challenging about the conditions of artistic production." - Observer
"Josipovici proves once again to be one of the very best writers now at work in the English language." - Guardian
Dig. by A.S. King $24
An estranged family’s tragic story is incrementally revealed in this surreal young adults' novel. Family abuse and neglect and disordered substance use are part of the lives of many of the characters here, but, at the root, this white family has been poisoned by virulent racism.
"Heavily meditative, this strange and heart-wrenching tale is stunningly original." - Kirkus
>>A.S. King on identifying the author's purpose.
Potato by Rebecca Earle $22
Everyone eats potatoes, but what do they mean? To the United Nations they mean global food security (potatoes are the world's fourth most important food crop). To 18th-century philosophers they promised happiness. Nutritionists warn that too many increase your risk of hypertension. For the poet Seamus Heaney they conjured up both his mother and the 19th-century Irish famine. The potato is entangled with the birth of the liberal state and the idea that individuals, rather than communities, should form the building blocks of society. Potatoes also speak about family, and our quest for communion with the universe. Thinking about potatoes turns out to be a good way of thinking about some of the important tensions in our world.
Loving Sylvie by Elizabeth Smither $37
Sylvie rows across a lake to her wedding. Madeleine flees to Paris and works in Le Livre Bleu bookshop. Isobel is summoned to her doctor's surgery late one afternoon. Smither weaves the stories of three generations of women and life in three cities - Auckland, Paris, Melbourne - into this well-observed novel.
"Elizabeth Smither brings wit, warmth and wisdom to this absorbing and beautifully written inter-generational story." - Peter Simpson
>> Someone we know reviews the book.
Blooms: Contemporary floral design $80
A survey of work by more than 70 contemporary floral designers who are truly extending the boundaries of their art. Your mouth will drop open.
>> Have a look inside and resist if you can.
High Heel by Summer Brennan $22
Fetishised, demonized, celebrated, outlawed, the high heel is central to the iconography of modern womanhood. But are high heels good? Are they feminist? What does it mean for a woman (or a man) to choose to wear them? Meditating on the labyrinthine nature of sexual identity and the performance of gender, Brennan moves from film to fairytale, from foot binding to feminism, and from the golden ratio to glam rock.
Selected Writings by René Magritte $23
Available for the first time in English, these various writings (letters, apologia, appreciations of fellow artists, interviews, farcical film scripts, prose poems, manifestos) give insight into the various incarnations of the artist: Surrealist, literalist, celebrity, rascal.
Mind on Fire: A memoir of madness and recovery by Arnold Thomas Fanning $30
''Mind on Fire is a truly powerful, arresting, haunting account. Arnold Thomas Fanning has reckoned with the darkest matter of his heart and mind, and I challenge anyone not to be moved by that.'' - Sara Baume
''In this strange and singular book, Fanning mercilessly excavates the infernal underworld of his own years of madness. The book is ultimately not quite like anything else I've read, and brought me as close to the lived reality of mental illness as I have ever been. It's a significant achievement: a painful, inexorable work of autobiography, whose existence is its own form of redemption.'' - Mark O'Connell
''Incredibly important.'' - Emilie Pine
>> Short-listed for the 2019 Wellcome Prize.
The Unnamable Present by Roberto Calasso $40
Tourists, terrorists, secularists, hackers, fundamentalists, transhumanists, algorithmicians - in this book Roberto Calasso considers the tribes that inhabit and inform the world today, a world that feels more elusive than ever before. Yet once contrasted with the period between 1933 and 1945, when the world made a partially successful attempt at self-annihilation, the new millennium begins to take on an unprecedented form. What emerges is something illusory, ever-shifting and occasionally murderous - the unnamable present.
Novels in Three Lines by Félix Fénéon $36
Posing as news snippets, which may or may not represent actual events, Fénéon's briefest-of-brief 'novels' appear originally in the Paris daily newspaper Le Matin in 1906. They still read as Molotov cocktails of irony hurled against both literature and life.
>> Read a selection.
Home Child: A child migrant to New Zealand by Dawn McMillan and Trish Bowles $28
A beautiful picture book telling the story of Pat Brown, a post-WW2 child migrant from London who now lives in Nelson.
>>The book will be launched at VOLUME at 4:30 PM on Wednesday 24 April on Pat's 80th birthday. All welcome (there will be cake).
The New Faces of Fascism: Populism and the far right by Enzo Traverso $35
Traverso puts the current cocktail of right-wing populism, identitarianism, Islamophobia, and regressive nationalist anti-globalism into a historical context: what we are seeing is neither the reproduction of old fascisms nor something wholly new.
Homemade by Eleanor Ozich $40
Clever, eco-conscious recipes for daily household goods: mayonnaise, crackers, yoghurt, bread, muesli bars, hummus, cheese, food wraps, cleaners, air fresheners, balms, hand scrubs and candles.
The Night Book and Soon in one vicious volume. An unflinching look at politics and power, contemporary New Zealand society and the arid morality of the privileged.
>>And a TV series!
Shimshal by Pam Henson $30
An insightful an sympathetic account of life in a remote Muslim village in the highlands of Pakistan. Henson has also recorded villagers' autobiographical stories in Women of Shimshal.
Degradation, childhood trauma, unrequited love, irreconcilable relationships - what more could you want?
Death Wins a Goldfish: Reflections from a grim reaper's year-long sabbatical by Brian Rea $30
Death never has a day off, so he has accumulated a lot of leave entitlement. HR insists he use it up, so off Death goes to take a break in the Land of the Living. How do the living relax and enjoy themselves? Graphic novel.