How I Get Ready by Ashleigh Young $25
In her new poetry collection, Ashleigh Young (author of the Wyndham-Campbell prize-winning Can You Tolerate This?) fails to learn to drive, vanishes from the fossil record, and finally finishes writing a book.
Ashleigh Young will be appearing at the 2019 VOLUME Mapua Literary Festival, 20-22 September. Save the date.
>> Read Thomas's review of Can You Tolerate This?
Feebleminded by Ariana Harwicz $32
Harwicz drags us to the most uncomfortable and fascinating aspects of love, need and dependency, by analysing the dynamics between a mother and her adult daughter, both searching through their own past and present as they try to give meaning to their lives and relationship. Feebleminded is the second book in Harwicz's 'involuntary trilogy', following the astounding Die, My Love.
"A kick up the arse to the literary novel. Feebleminded disassembles form, sensibility, everything." - Joanna Walsh
>>Read an extract.
>> Harwicz talks about the book at our Paris branch.
>>Read Thomas's review of Die, My Love.
Debths by Susan Howe $29
A collection in five parts, Susan Howe's new book opens with a preface by the poet that lays out some of Debths' inspirations: the art of Paul Thek, the Isabella Stewart Gardner collection, and early American writings; and in it she also addresses memory's threads and galaxies, "the rule of remoteness," and "the luminous story surrounding all things noumenal." Following the preface are four sections of poetry: 'Titian Air Vent', 'Tom Tit Tot' (her newest collage poems), 'Periscope', and 'Debths'. As always with Howe, Debths brings what she terms "a not-being-in-the-no."
"Howe’s critical poetics are based, like Duchamp’s, in the powerful way in which we can reframe, re-contextualize what has been excluded from our traditional frames of attention." —Literary Hub
"Howe is bringing everything to the table, including poetry, history, research, politics, autobiography, imagination, obsession and love, all the while demonstrating how strange, puzzling, and untamed writing and thinking can be." —Maggie Nelson (Artforum)
>> Susan Howe reads from Debths.
The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann $33
When Gilbert Silvester, a journeyman lecturer on beard fashions in film, awakes one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him, he flees - immediately, irrationally, inexplicably - for Japan. In Tokyo he discovers the travel writings of the great Japanese poet Basho. Suddenly, from Gilbert's directionless crisis there emerges a purpose: a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the poet to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima. Falling into step with another pilgrim - a young Japanese student called Yosa, clutching a copy of The Complete Manual of Suicide - Gilbert travels with Yosa across Basho's disappearing Japan, one in search of his perfect ending and the other the new beginning that will give his life meaning.
Short-listed for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize
"Almost miraculous in its successful blending of potentially clashing tones. The Pine Islands is a story that doesn’t tie up loose ends but leaves themes scattered as needles on the forest floor, allowing the reader to spot their patterns. The best approach to this beguiling, unpredictable book is to follow Gilbert’s advice on reciting poetry: 'to let it affect you, and simply accept it in all its striking, irrational beauty'." - The Guardian
Minor Monuments by Ian Maleney $37
Set around a small family farm on the edge of a bog, a few miles from the river Shannon, Minor Monuments is a collection of essays unfolding from the landscape of the Irish midlands. Taking in the physical and philosophical power of sound and music, and the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on a family, Ian Maleney questions the nature of home, memory, and the complex nature of belonging.
"Minor Monuments is brilliant, pulsing with intellect and insight, with each observation composed so beautifully as to be deeply moving. This is the kind of book that changes its reader." – Lisa McInerney
>> Ian Maleney, Sinead Gleeson and Emilie Pine on the new wave of Irish personal essays.
Attraction by Ruby Porter $37
Porter's unnamed narrator is on a road trip between Auckland, Whangara and Levin with her friends Ashi and Ilana, haunted by the spectre of her emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend, her complicated family background and New Zealand's colonial history. Jealousies intensify as the young women work out who they are and who they might become.
Winner of the 2018 Michael Gifkins Prize.
"Attraction peels back the landscape to reveal deeper truths. The writer is right inside her material—a road trip that delivers a political and sexual coming-of-age narrative. The book is a slow-burning fuse that brims with intensely felt experience. Porter is an exciting new talent." - Lloyd Jones
>> Ruby Porter talks.
Don't Forget to Feed the Cat: The travel letters and sketches of Stewart Bell Maclennan by Mary Bell Thornton $40
Stewart Bell Maclennan was the first director of New Zealand's National Art Gallery (from 1946 to 1968). In 1958 he travelled to America and Europe to visit and learn from leading galleries. His letters home from this trip are marked by great personal charm and are presented here with sketches made while travelling (he was also an accomplished artist).
>> Mary Bell Thornton, The Cuba Press and VOLUME would be delighted if you attended the launch of Don't Forget to Feed the Cat at VOLUME on Tuesday 14 May at 5:30.
Dead People I Have Known by Shayne Carter $40
New Zealand musician Shayne Carter tells the story of a life in music, taking us deep behind the scenes and songs of his riotous teenage bands Bored Games and the Doublehappys and his best-known bands Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer.
"Life life life. Music music music. Girls girls girls. Funny, painful, reflective and raw." - Emily Perkins
>> Shayne Carter talks with Kim Hill.
>> DoubleHappys live, Dunedin, 1984.
Philosopher of the Heart: The restless life of Søren Kierkegaard by Claire Carlisle $55
Ambivalence, angst, excoriating self-observation, the individual assailed by and assailing the crowd. The works of Kierkegaard prefigured the modern condition and still reward and surprise.
"Compelling." - Guardian
Tunnel Vision by Kevin Breathnach $33
A lethal cocktail of memoir and criticism. A documentary through the speaker's post-adolescent relationships. An arrangement of time in Chemnitz, Bergen, Dublin, Paris, Gwangju, Munich and Madrid. An intimate portrayal of unstable masculinity and sexual repression. A study in artifice, honesty, faith and the image. An autobiography of a compulsive liar.
"One of the most interesting writers working in Ireland today. His essays demonstrate not only an impressive depth of learning, but an even more necessary depth of feeling." - Sally Rooney
Kudos by Rachel Cusk $23
Kudos forms, with Outline and Transit, one of the most remarkable literary projects of this decade. Cusk's effective removal of her narrator from the books, using her as an aperture through which the characters reveal their worst characteristics while trying to display their best, gives the books an austere clarity which liberates the reader from impediments in their own thought and perception. Highly recommended. Thomas's favourite book of 2018, now in paperback.
>>Read Thomas's "review".
Landfall 237 edited by Emma Neale $30
Featured artists: Sharon Singer, Ngahuia Harrison, Peter Trevelyan. Results and winning essays from the 2019 Charles Brasch Young Writers’ Essay Competition, and judge’s report by Emma Neale. Writers: John Adams, Peter Bland, Laura Borrowdale, Bill Bradford, Iain Britton, Medb Charleton, Stephen Coates, Carolyn DeCarlo, John Dennison, Lynley Edmeades, David Eggleton, Joan Fleming, Jasmine Gallagher, John Gallas, Brett Gartrell, John Geraets, Tim Grgec, Michael Hall, Rebecca Hawkes, Joy Holley, Aaron Horrell, Gail Ingram, Claudia Jardine, Sam Keenan, Erik Kennedy, Arihia Latham, Jessica Le Bas, Wes Lee, Tina Makereti, Ria Masae, Cilla McQueen, Zoë Meager, Robynanne Milford, Sean Monaghan, Art Nahill, Kavita Nandan, Rachel O’Neill, Maris O’Rourke, Claire Orchard, Joanna Preston, essa may ranapiri, Anna Rankin, Jeremy Roberts, Leanne Radojkovich, Carrie Rudzinski, Kerrin P. Sharpe, Sarah Shirley, Rachel Smith, Elizabeth Smither, Catherine Trundle, Kirsteen Ure, Tam Vosper, Tom Weston, Anna Woods, Kirby Wright. Reviews.
Horizon by Barry Lopez $45
The author of Arctic Dreams searches for meaning in a natural world increasingly damaged by the actions and inaction of humans.
"Horizon is magnificent; a contemporary epic, at once pained and urgent, personal and oracular. It tells the story of Lopez’s life through six main landscapes – from Cape Foulweather on the Oregon coast to the Queen Maud Mountains of Antarctica, by way of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic, the Turkana Uplands of East Africa and Port Arthur in Tasmania. Place becomes the means of fathoming time. Horizon is long, challenging and symphonic. Its patterns only disclose themselves over the course of a full, slow reading. Rhythms rise and surge across 500 pages; recursions and echoes start to weave. This is a book to which one must learn to listen. If one does, then – to borrow phrases from Lopez – 'it arrives as a cantus, tying the faraway place to the thing living deep inside us'. He has given us a grave, sorrowful, beautiful book, 35 years in the writing but still speaking to the present moment: 'No one can now miss the alarm in the air.'" - Guardian
This Searing Light, the Sun and Everything Else: Joy Division, the oral history by Jon Savage $45
Jon Savage's oral history of Joy Division is the last word on the band that ended with the suicide of Ian Curtis in Macclesfield on 18 May, 1980. It weaves together interviews conducted by the author, but never used in the making of the film Joy Division (2007) which told the story of the band in their own words, as well as those of their peers, collaborators, and contemporaries.
>>'I Remember Nothing'.
Outpost: A journey to the wild ends of the Earth by Dan Richards $37
Following a route from the Cairngorms of Scotland to the fire-watch lookouts of Washington State, from Iceland's 'Houses of Joy' to the Utah desert; frozen ghost towns in Svalbard to shrines in Japan; Roald Dahl's Home Counties writing hut to a lighthouse in the North Atlantic, Richards explores landscapes which have inspired writers, artists and musicians, and asks: why are we drawn to wilderness? What can we do to protect them? And what does the future hold for outposts on the edge?
Conventional Weapons by Tracey Slaughter $25
A poetry collection from the author of Deleted Scenes for Lovers. "It's probably best described as a bit of heavy artillery - an ode to female adolescence and the ongoing challenges of female embodiment. If the collection had an overarching theme, it would be one of giving voice to a group of strong female characters of different ages. It's constructed around different stories. It has a backbone of three long cycles of poems, of different people who have had different traumatic experiences." - Tracey Slaughter
Pūrākau: Māori myths retold by Māori writers edited by Whiti Hereaka and Witi Ihimaera $38
An important new collection, written by Jacqueline Carter, David Geary, Patricia Grace, Briar Grace-Smith, Whiti Hereaka, Keri Hulme, Witi Ihimaera, Kelly Joseph, Hemi, Kelly, Nic Low, Tina Makereti, Kelly Ana Morey, Paula Morris, Frazer Rangihuna, Renee, Robert Sullivan, Apirana Taylor, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Clayton Te Kohe, Hone Tuwhare and Briar Wood.
Animalia by Jean Baptiste Del Amo $38
Animalia retraces the history of a modest peasant family through the twentieth century as they develop their small plot of land into an intensive pig farm. In an environment dominated by the omnipresence of animals, five generations endure the cataclysm of war, economic disasters, and the emergence of a brutal industrialism reflecting an ancestral tendency to violence. Only the enchanted realm of childhood and the innate freedom of the animals offer any respite from the visible barbarity of humanity.
"Del Amo’s prose throws a bucket of slurry from some unspeakable mire over the conventions of pastoral fiction." - Boyd Tonkin, Financial Times
>>Read an extract.
Taverna: Recipes from a Cypriot kitchen by Georgina Hayden $60
A delightful book blending Greek and Turkish influences into a distinctive relaxed cuisine.
Infinite Powers: The story of calculus, the most important discovery in mathematics by Steven Strogatz $33
Without calculus, there would be no computers, no microwave ovens, no GPS, no space travel. But before it gave us almost infinite powers, calculus was behind centuries of controversy, competition, and even death. One of the most anticipated books on mathematics of the year.
To the Occupant by Emma Neale $28
Poems that challenge the open and latent violence of contemporary life, from refugee crises to rape, poverty and mental illness to climate change, while revealing the extraordinary in the everyday, where a childs-eye view of the world can witness the wonder of the new or the shadow of darkness.
People. Power and Profits: Progressive capitalism for an age of dissent by Joseph E. Stiglitz $50
Emphasises the importance of economic justice, both within countries and internationally, to the survival of democracy. Unless structural economic bias in favour of corporate interests is addressed at a governmental level, advances in technology will benefit only the elite, and increase disaffection.
Everything's Something in Place: Writings, 1980-2015 by John Gevaerts $42
Includes generous selections of the poetry, literary and other essays of this influential critic, poet and editor.
Beneath the Underdog by Charles Mingus $25
Bass player extraordinaire Charles Mingus, who died in 1979, is one of the essential composers in the history of jazz. Beneath the Underdog is his celebrated, wild, funny, demonic, anguished, shocking and moving memoir. New edition.
Tragedy, the Greeks and Us by Simon Critchley $40
Tragedy permits us to come face to face with the things we don't want to know about ourselves, but which still make us who we are. It articulates the conflicts and contradictions that we need to address in order to better understand the world we live in. Critchley demolishes our common misconceptions about the poets, dramatists and philosophers of Ancient Greece - then presents these writers to us in an unfamiliar and original light.
>>Critchley on tragedy.
Postcard Stories by Richard von Sturmer $35
Postcard Stories uses the arrangement of a collection of 100 remarkable postcards (all reproduced in slightly more than full colour) as a way of constructing stories in the form of brief sequential texts, often reaching a haiku-like intensity. Lots of slightly sad fun. "Putting a hand-tinted postcard of the Shanghai Gas Co. next to one of the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem creates a certain frisson. Places far removed in space and time suddenly form an unexpected relationship and a story begins."
"At once sweeping and intricate, gorgeous and austere." - Gregory O'Brien
"Original, readable and charming." - Murray Edmond.
>> Gregory O'Brien's launch speech.
>> Meet Richard von Sturmer.