Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann $30
In the wholly remarkable Malina, originally published in German in 1971, Bachmann draws the reader into a world stretched to the very limits of language. An unnamed narrator, a writer in Vienna, is torn between two men, who may or may not exist outside her head. Viewed through the tilting prism of obsession, she travels further into her own madness, anxiety — and genius.
"If I was permitted to keep only one book it would be Malina. Malina has everything." —Claire-Louise Bennett
"Malina continually reveals new possibilities in literature and new impossibilities in living." —Thomas
>>Read an extract.
>>Detonating the container of consciousness.
>>"A singular woman adrift."
>>"We could call her happiness self-deception."
>>"I don’t understand how one can live."
Happiness, as Such by Natalia Ginzburg $34
In this hypersharp, subtle and humane novel, Ginzburg portrays a family drawn to the brink of an abyss by one of its member's absence.
>>Read an extract.
>>"The novel’s new English title is evocative. That comma is like the pre–big bang universe shrunk to a pinhead."
>>Read other books by Ginzburg.
I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman $26
"I am the sterile offspring of a race about which I know nothing, not even whether it has become extinct.'' Deep underground, thirty-nine women live imprisoned in a cage. Watched over by guards, the women have no memory of how they got there, no notion of time, and only vague recollection of their lives before. As the burn of electric light merges day into night and numberless years pass, a young girl — the fortieth prisoner — sits alone and outcast in the corner. Soon she will show herself to be the key to the others' escape and survival in the strange world that awaits them above ground. A compelling feminist science fiction novel, first published in Belgium in 1997.
"A small miracle." —The New York Times
Peat by Lynn Jenner $35
Lynn Jenner’s deeply thoughtful book enlists the help of deceased cultural eminence Charles Brasch to explore the tensions between words and land, and between society and ecology, as a response to the recent development of the Kāpiti Expressway, a so-called ‘Road of National Significance’.
>>Book your ticket to hear Lynn Jenner in conversation with with environmental planner and social scientist Charlotte Šunde at the VOLUME MAPUA LITERARY FESTIVAL in September.
The Runaways by Ulf Stark, illustrated by Kitty Crowther $20
Grandpa’s in the hospital and hating it. He swears at the nurses and makes trouble for everyone. Dad finds it too stressful to visit, but Gottfried Junior visits Grandpa as often as he’s allowed, and when he’s not allowed, he goes anyway. Grandpa thinks only of the place he was happiest—the island where he lived with Grandma. He wants to go back one last time, but they won’t let him out of the hospital. Gottfried Junior and Grandpa take things into their own hands. If running away is the only way to the island, then they’ll be runaways.
A remarkable collection of accounts, collected by Alexievich since the 1970s, in which the subjects recall life as Soviet children during the upheavals and horrors of World War 2.
Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen by Alix Kates Shulman $23
Shulman's Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen created a profound impact on the cultural landscape when it was originally published in 1972. A sardonic portrayal of one white, middle-class, US Midwestern girl's coming-of-age, the novel takes a wry and prescient look at a range of experiences treated at the time as taboo but which were ultimately accepted as matters of major political significance: sexual harassment, job discrimination, the sexual double standard, rape, abortion restrictions, the double binds of marriage and motherhood, and the frantic quest for beauty. The book is one of the first and exemplary pieces of fiction born of the women's liberation movement.
"An extraordinary novel. Women will like it and men should read it for the good of their immortal souls." —The New York Times (1972)
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead $35
Following his Booker Prize-winning The Underground Railroad, Whitehead unearths another shocking strand of US history, setting his novel in a hellish reform school in Jim-Crow-era Florida.
>>From unmarked graves to a novel.
The Making of Poetry: Coleridge, the Wordsworths and their year of marvels by Adam Nicholson $60
From June 1797 to the autumn of 1798, while Britain was at war with revolutionary France, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth and Dorothy Wordsworth lived on the edge of the Quantock Hills in Somerset and began to explore a new way of looking at the world — and their place in it — as devotees of nature and of the unfettered mind, effectively inventing the Romantic movement.
"The perfect marriage of poetry and place." —Robert McCrum, Guardian
She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore $37
A novel dramatising Liberia's early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.
The Clockill and the Thief by Gareth Ward $20
The sequel to the immensely exciting The Traitor and the Thief is, as you would guess, also immensely exciting. Sin is dying, poisoned by his blue blood. His troubles deepen when the traitor who poisoned him escapes from the custody of the Covert Operations Group and sets out for revenge. COG tasks Sin, his friend Zonda Chubb and their frenemy Velvet Von Darque with recapturing the traitor, whatever the cost. Taking to the air in pursuit, they must battle skypirates and the terrifying Clockill to complete their mission. But with his condition worsening, can Sin survive long enough to save his friends, himself and the day?
>>Here they come!
Lucky Hans, And other Merz fairy tales by Kurt Schwitters $40
Kurt Schwitters revolutionized the art world in the 1920s with his Dadaist Merz collages, theatre performances, and poetry. But at the same time he was also writing extraordinary fairy tales that were turning the genre upside down and inside out. This book is the first collection of these subversive, little-known stories in any language and the first time all but a few of them have appeared in English.
The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino by Hiromi Kawakama $28
From the author of Strange Weather in Tokyo and The Nakano Thrift Shop, a new novel about an elusive ladies' man and the women who have loved him.
Remembered Words: A specimen concordance by Roni Horn $35
Much of artist Roni Horn’s work revolves around language. In a series of watercolours produced in 2013 and 2014, she remembered words and pairs them with dots, adding the words to the dots like footnotes or captions, creating a kind of personal, even autobiographical dictionary. The combination of the dots with the words creates unexpected relations and meanings, endless strings of associations, absurd and beautiful at the same time. This book provides a key to the artworks (not included), and to Horn's mind and working methods.
Starling Days by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan $35
Mina is found by police staring over the edge of the George Washington Bridge. When her husband takes her to London, she seeks to overcome her despair first in the women on Classical mythology, and then in the arms of the living.
"Buchanan has achieved that rare feat of writing a convincing novel about depression which manages, miraculously, not to be in itself depressing." —The Spectator
The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde $24
Filled with rage and tenderness, Audre Lorde's most acclaimed poetry collection speaks of mothers and children, female strength and vulnerability, renewal and revenge, goddesses and warriors, ancient magic and contemporary America.
Attention Seeking! by Adam Phillips $21
What does it mean to give our attention to something? What does it mean to seek attention?
"Adam Phillips is that rarest of phenomena, a trained clinician who is also a sublime writer. Reading Phillips, you may be amused, vexed, dazzled. But the one thing you will never be is bored." —Observer
Three Women by Lisa Taddeo $35
"This is one of the most riveting, assured and scorchingly original debuts I've ever read. Taddeo's beautifully written and unflinching portraits of desire allow her protagonists to be wholly human and wholly, blessedly complex. I can't imagine a scenario where this isn't one of the more important — and breathlessly debated — books of the year." —Dave Eggers
Zanzibar by Catharina Valckx $20
Zanzibar cooks a fine mushroom omelette,and he is a crow who wears his feathers well. At least he thought so, until a spectacled lizard knocks at his door, wanting to write an article about a remarkable person. Is Zanzibar remarkable? The lizard seems to doubt it. Zanzibar thinks: To be remarkable, I must achieve something incredible, an extraordinary feat. What will he do? An enjoyable early chapter book.
Out of Our Minds: A history of what we think and how we think it by Felipe Fernández-Armesto $35
Imagination is the faculty that distinguishes homo sapiens most from other species, but just how do we form images of things that are not, and then how do we convert these into things that are?
Hobo Mom by Charles Forsman and Max de Radigues $27
A thoughtful, understated graphic novel. After a dangerous encounter riding the rails, Natasha chooses to show up on the doorstep of the family she abandoned years ago and finds an upset husband and a little girl yearning for a mother. Can someone who covets independence settle down?
"This is a remarkable graphic novel. Forsman and Radiguès seem to understand instinctively that while one person’s search for happiness may be the cause of another’s deep pain, accepting daily sadness as a kind of life tax won’t, in the end, make things better for anyone." —Guardian
Mud and Stars: Travels in Russia with Pushkin and other geniuses of the Golden Age by Sara Wheeler $40
Wheeler travelled across eight time zones, guided by the writers of the Golden Age: Pushkin to Tolstoy via Gogol and Turgenev.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power $20
Sixteen-year-old scholarship student Hetty was one of the first to show signs of the Tox. Over the last 18 months, she’s watched it ravage her classmates and teachers as they wait, quarantined within school grounds, for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and deliver a cure. The Tox affects everyone differently: Hetty’s right eye sealed itself shut; her best friend, Byatt, grew a second, exterior spine; Reese has a sharp, silver-scaled left hand and glowing hair. Why is this happening? What does this mean?
The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas $26
This is the story of Mattis, a mentally handicapped man who lives with and is cared for by his older sister, Hege. Within their isolated, lakeside existence, Mattis cannot make sense of his tangled thoughts, frightening apparitions, surges of emotion and clever insights. When a travelling lumberjack attracts Hege's affections, the disruption is too much for Mattis to bear. This spare Norwegian novel by the author of The Ice Palace sensitively captures the presence of the natural world, the prison of unfulfilled time and the fragility of the human mind.
Portraits Destroyed: Power, ego and history's vandals by Julie Cotter $55
Portraits are often painted to represent the power of the powerful. What does it mean when such portraits are destroyed, either by their subjects or by those who wish to undo their power?
An Unquiet Heart by Martin Sixsmith $35
A novel of the life of early 20th-century Russian poet Sergei Yesenin, acclaimed both before and after the Revolution.
Otto Goes North by Ulrika Kestere $20
Far up in the north is a blueberry-blue house with a grass roof, where Lisa and Nils live. One day a tourist arrives: Otto has cycled for months, maybe years, to visit his friends. Otto wants to do a spectacular painting of the Northern Lights to remember his visit, but he is from a hot country and it is very cold here, but he can’t paint for shivering so hard. His friends decide to knit him a jersey.