The Collected Stories of Diane Williams $42
Diane Williams’s short, energetic, hugely disorienting short stories pass as sal volatile through the fug of relationships, defamiliarising the ordinary elements of everyday lives to expose the sad, ludicrous, hopeless topographies of what passes for existence. This is not a nihilistic enterprise, however, for Williams has immense sympathies and her stories themselves demonstrate the possibility of connection through the very act of delineating its impossibility. With the finest of needles, the most ordinary of details, Williams picks out the unacknowledged, unacknowledgeable but familiar hopeless longing that underlies our unreasoned and unreasonable striving for human relations, a longing that makes us more isolated the harder we strive for connection. So much is left unsaid in these stories that they act as foci for the immense unseen weight of their contexts, precisely activating pressure-points on the reader’s sensibilities. These are some of the finest stories you will read.
I Remain in Darkness by Annie Ernaux $32
Ernaux's remarkable text evokes her mother's attrition of memory and personality through Alzheimer's disease, and her experience of the slow, terrible loss of her mother.
"Acute and immediate, I Remain in Darkness is an unforgettable exploration of love, memory and the journey to loss." —Eimear McBride, author of A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing
>>Read an extract.
>>Read Thomas's review of The Years.
Sontag: Her life by Benjamin Moser $75
A unique, restless and wide-ranging intellect, unassimilable in her own time or since, Sontag continues to reward both close and not-so-close study. Moser is best known for his outstanding biography of Clarice Lispector.
>>Lauren Elkin, Lisa Appignanesi and Benjamin Moser debate Sontag.
Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai $58
"With this novel I can prove that I really wrote just one book in my life. This is the book—Satantango, Melancholy, War and War, and Baron. This is my one book." —László Krasznahorkai
"Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming is not a conclusion to Krasznahorkai’s quartet, but it is a completion. It is his longest book by some measure, his funniest, and probably his darkest. It draws together and illuminates its predecessors. The vision is complete, even as its constituent pieces fall apart." —David Auerbach
>>The spider web and the abyss.
>>"I thought that real life, true life was elsewhere."
This Tilting World by Collette Fellous $36
A subtle exploration of loss, displacement and translation, drawing on the author's roots in the Jewish community of Tunisia.
"Colette Fellous' beautiful book, humming and dancing with sensual intelligence, newly vivid in Sophie Lewis's deft, delicate, agile version, takes change and translation as its very themes. It asks us to imagine leaving home, searching for a new home. That home may simply be language itself, a web of knotted meanings. However, if that web serves as a rope bridge slung between places and people, and the bridge is cut and falls, survival is put at stake. This Tilting World explores how, after such a rupture, one woman tries to re-compose the meanings of her life and thereby go on living." —Michele Roberts
Huia Short Stories 13: Contemporary Maori fiction $25
'Murray's Special Day' by Tracey Andersen, 'Tunnelling' by Cassandra Barnett, 'Botched' by Marino-Moana Begmen, 'Para Pounamu' by Pine Campbell, 'Tangaroa Pūkanohi Nui' by Hineteahurangi Merenape Durie Ngata, 'Storked' by Paipa Edmonds, 'Tiakina! Tiakina!' by Tiahomarama Fairhall, 'Mumsy' by Olivia Aroha Giles, 'Rocket Ship Pyjamas and Plum Jam' by Olivia Aroha Giles, 'Kokiri ki mua - Charge forward!' by K M Harris, 'My Three Friends at School' by Josh Hema, 'The Pledge' by Nadine Hura, 'Dust' by Kelly Joseph, 'The School of Life' by Lauren Keenan, 'Tina's Coming on Tuesday' by Lauren Keenan, 'Ko te Ao tō Marae' by Hēmi Kelly, 'Just Holden Together' by Colleen Maria Lenihan, 'One of the Good Ones' by Moira Lomas, 'Aunty's Teeth' by Annette Morehu, 'Te Kai a te Rangatira, he Mahi' by Zeb Nicklin, 'Te Kurī Hīroki o te Āporo Nui' by Zeb Nicklin, 'The Guises of Death Kahuru Pumipi The Bartender' by Michelle Rahurahu Scott, 'White Sheep' by Penny Smits, 'Whakaurupā Taku Aroha' by Amiria Stirling, 'No te uku - From the Clay' by Bronwyn Te Koeti.
A Moth to a Flame by Stig Dagerman $26
In a working-class neighbourhood in 1940s Stockholm, a young man named Bengt falls into deep, private turmoil with the unexpected death of his mother. As he struggles to cope with her loss, his despair slowly transforms to rage when he discovers that his father had a mistress. Bengt swears revenge on behalf of his mother's memory, but he soon finds himself drawn into a fevered and forbidden affair with the very woman he set out to destroy.
"A startling novel of ferocious psychological acumen, which, to my mind, deserves a large, international readership. Very much a book for our times." —Siri Hustvedt
Cornelia and the Jungle Machine by Nora Brech $30
When Cornelia goes out to play from her parents' new house, she meets a boy in a strange tree house, a boy with a "jungle machine"!
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett $33
The much-anticipated new novel from the author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto: a story of love, family, sacrifice, and the power of place.
""Irresistable. As always, Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life rather than literature." —Guardian
Women Mean Business: Colonial businesswomen in New Zealand by Catherine Bishop $45
From Kaitaia in Northland to Oban on Stewart Island, New Zealands nineteenth-century towns were full of entrepreneurial women. Contrary to what we might expect, colonial women were not only wives and mothers or domestic servants. A surprising number ran their own businesses, supporting themselves and their families, sometimes in productive partnership with husbands, but in other cases compensating for a spouse's incompetence, intemperance, absence or all three. The pages of this book overflow with the stories of hard-working milliners and dressmakers, teachers, boarding-house keepers and laundresses, colourful publicans, brothelkeepers and travelling performers, along with the odd taxidermist, bootmaker and butcher and Australasia's first woman chemist (Nelson's Clara Macshane).
>>Come and hear Catherine Bishop talk about the book, and about the Nelson women featured in it: Nelson Provincial Museum, Tuesday 8 October, 5:30. See you there!
The Europeans: Three lives and the making of a European culture by Orlando Figes $75
In the 19th century aesthetic, economic, technological and legal changes created, for the first time, a genuinely pan-European culture. Figes's astounding and timely book is the story of a singer, Pauline Viardot, a writer, Ivan Turgenev, and a connoisseur, Pauline's husband Louis. Through their lives he refreshes our understanding of forces that gave rise to the concept of 'Europe'.
How I Take Photographs by Daido Moriyama $35
Take an inspiring walk with photographer Daido Moriyama while he explains his approach to street photography. For over half a century, Moriyama has provided a distinct vision of Japan and its people. Here he offers a unique opportunity to learn about his methods, the cameras he uses, and the journeys he takes with a camera.
The Confession by Jessie Burton $35
A reclusive novelist in her 70s, after decades of silence, hires an amanuensis and begins an exploration of the relationship between fiction and 'real life'.
"An understated triumph." —Guardian
Mum's Jumper by Jayde Perkin $30
A beautifully and sensitively illustrated story about a girl coming to terms with the loss of her mother.
The Reinvention of Humanity: A story of race, sex, gender and the discovery of culture by Charles King $40
In the early twentieth century, a group of pioneering anthropologists, most of them women, made intrepid journeys that overturned our assumptions about race, sexuality, gender and the nature of human diversity. From the Arctic to the South Pacific, from Haiti to Japan, they immersed themselves in distant or isolated communities, where they observed and documented radically different approaches to love and child-rearing, family structure and the relationship between women and men. With this evidence they were able to challenge the era's scientific consensus — and deep-rooted Western belief — that intelligence, ability and character are determined by a person's race or sex, and show that the roles people play in society are shaped in fact according to the immense variety of human cultures.
Learning from the Germans: Considering race and the memory of evil by Susan Neiman $50
In the wake of white nationalist attacks, the ongoing debate over reparations, and the controversy surrounding Confederate monuments and the contested memories they evoke, Susan Neiman's Learning from the Germans delivers an urgently needed perspective on how a country can come to terms with its historical wrongdoings. Neiman is a white woman who came of age in the civil rights-era South and a Jewish woman who has spent much of her adult life in Berlin. Working from this unique perspective, she combines philosophical reflection, personal stories, and interviews with both Americans and Germans who are grappling with the evils of their own national histories.
The Fate of Fausto: A painted fable by Oliver Jeffers $35
There was once a man who believed he owned everything and set out to survey what was his. "You are mine," Fausto said to the flower, the sheep, and the mountain, and they all bowed before him. But they were not enough for Fausto, so he conquered a boat and set out to sea...
>>On the making of Fausto.
Anatomicum by Katy Wiedemann and Jennifer Z. Paxton $50
A beautifully presented large-format guide to the human body and its wonders.