Saturday, 15 February 2020



BOOKS @ VOLUME #165 (15.2.20)

Read our newsletter. Find out what we've been reading, about upcoming events, about our Book of the Week, and about some of the books that have just arrived on our shelves. 





























 

Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica by Rebecca Priestley        {Reviewed by STELLA}
What is it about Antarctica that both repels and fascinates us? It’s the place of, for most of us, the unknown: a dangerous, fragile and expansive place; a place of exploration and on-going discovery, one where you can now more easily ‘tourist’ to. In Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica, science writer Rebecca Priestley takes us with her on her journeys into the great white terrain. Built around her three trips to the ice, the first in 2011 and the final one in 2018, we are not only taken on three very different trips but also travel alongside Priestley with her increasing knowledge of the science that is being carried out there, and her fears and concerns, personal and professional. This is not just a science book, although it will satisfy the rational and fact-acquiring reader; this is an appreciation, a very human and often humorous one, of those who work on the ice, and an admiration of their painstaking work: data collection, analysis and projections. It is a nod to early explorers and their fortitude, as well as an awareness of the cultural significance of Antarctica — its role in our imagination, and through the work (text and art) that has emerged from the Artists to Antarctica programme which has been running since 1957.
Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica draws us in due to Priestley’s deft observations of the landscape and the people. We, with her, feel despairing and hopeful, concerned and elated. And while the descriptions of the ‘cold’ and how to pee on the ice will become repetitive, this is all part of our immersion in this landscape. Anxiety runs like a constant companion throughout the book — Rebecca Priestley’s anxiety, I think, is a hound bounding beside her — sometimes distracted by prey in the distance but always returning to haunt. She is scared of flying, something that several successful journeys to the ice does not diminish. She is anxious about getting cold and disorientated, a real and constant concern for an extreme climate; and she is anxious in the greater sense about our future and the climate changes occurring — a real and constant threat. Yet, still this fascination with this extreme place, with the wonder that is the earth and the way in which we live on it. Priestley writes with a direct style that will appeal to a wide readership — to anyone who wonders what it would be like visit the ice and to anyone concerned about our future — and she asks questions of herself and her reader about our human role in fragile ecologies. 











































The Writing of the Disaster by Maurice Blanchot   {Reviewed by THOMAS}
“The disaster ruins everything, all the while leaving everything intact.” The Writing of the Disaster concerns the effect upon language, upon literature, of what Blanchot (thinking of the Holocaust  and Hiroshima (though this book can also be 'about' climate emergency or any unassimilable personal or collective trauma)) calls the disaster: something beyond the reach of language yet sucking language towards it to the ultimate nullification of the meaning that language is usually thought to bear. The disaster does not concern itself with content, the disaster possesses the writing and is not and cannot be the subject of the writing. The writing of the disaster is not so much writing about the disaster as writing in the force-field of the disaster: The Writing of the Disaster concerns itself with the ways in which trauma takes ownership of writing. The ‘of’ in the title signals possession in the same way, perhaps, that all objects possess their subjects and by this relationship contend with them for agency. The disaster is a grammatical phenomenon, a loss of agency through grammar, a relation between elements rather than an element itself. Blanchot is remarkable for identifying the shifts of agency that result from grammatical alteration. It is in grammar, perhaps, that our problems lie, and it is in grammar, perhaps, that we must agitate for their solution. But it is in the nature of the disaster to protect itself with our passivity. “We are passive with respect to the disaster, but the disaster is perhaps passivity.” The disaster robs the writer of agency, cauterises meaning, averts all gazes and renders the usual useless. As Blanchot demonstrates, writing in the ambit of the disaster can only proceed in fragments. Failure and incompletion are both results of and assaults upon the impossible. “It is not you who will speak; let the disaster speak in you, even if it be by your forgetfulness or silence.” When writing of the reading of the writing of the disaster, the semantic degeneration of the disaster exercises itself even through the intervening writer, rendering them transparent. To re-read a passage of Blanchot is to read without recognition, to entertain thoughts quite different from, and rightly quite different from, those entertained on the first reading, or prior readings, of that passage. Thinking about reading about Blanchot writing about how the disaster affects everything but cannot be perceived, I write, “The disaster is that no distinction can be made between disaster and the absence of disaster,” but I cannot determine where this sentence comes from. I cannot find it in the text. Whose thoughts are those thoughts thought when reading? If the thoughts cannot be located in the text, are they then the thoughts of the reader? If the thoughts would not have been thought by the reader without the text, to what extent are they the writer’s thoughts? (Do not ask if these thoughts are in fact thoughts. Let us call thought that which does the work of thought, regardless.) Blanchot proceeds in a fragmentary style, aphoristic but without the sense of completion aphorisms provide, he writes koans — or antikoans — that do not prepare the mind for enlightenment so much as relieve the mind of the possibility of, and even the concept of, enlightenment. Taken in small doses Blanchot is full of meaning but as the dose increases the meaning becomes less, until at the point of his complete oeuvre, I extrapolate, Blanchot means nothing at all. This liberation from semantic burden is entirely in accord with Blanchot’s project. 
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, our Book of the Week this week, is fascinating on many levels.
To the people on the island, a disappeared thing no longer has any meaning. It can be burned in the garden, thrown in the river or handed over to the Memory Police. Soon enough, the island forgets it ever existed. When a young novelist discovers that her editor is in danger of being taken away by the Memory Police, she desperately wants to save him. For some reason, he doesn't forget, and it's becoming increasingly difficult for him to hide his memories. Who knows what will vanish next?
>>Read Stella's review
>>The curse of memory
>>Power and metaphor
>>How The Memory Police makes you see
>>Click and collect.
>>Other books by Yoko Ogawa

Friday, 14 February 2020

NEW RELEASES
Untold Night and Day by Bae Suah          $37
For two years, 28-year-old Ayami has worked at Seoul's only audio theatre for the blind. But Ayami has just been made redundant, and thinking about the future feels like staring into the unknown. Her life moves forward, but in multiple parallel strands. The characters are propelled forward by their actions, yet also this throws them into a chaotic state which is like a fever with its twin traits of clarity and disorientation. 
>>Read Stella's review
>>"I was practising my typing and wrote my first story by accident.
2000ft Above Worry Level by Eamonn Marra           $30
"Eamonn Marra writes about trying to grow into a complete human being in a world that wants only selected parts of you. He does it better than anyone I can think of. His stories are thoughtful and introspective, but each contains a wallop of insight that comes from forgetting that anyone but you exists, and looking up to suddenly see someone close to you in a flash of complex vulnerability." —Annaleese Jochems
>>"When I was nineteen I started a blog about my depression. It was the founding of my brand.
>>At the Cavern Club
Strange Hotel by Eimear McBride         $33
The much-anticipated new novel from the author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. A hotel room is a no-place that could be any place. When there, the occupant has only the forces of their past to provide momentum. Destabilised by loss, the protagonist becomes increasingly uncertain of her identity. 
"Strange Hotel evokes a precariousness that flits between the physical, the mental and the linguistic — specifically, the narrator’s identity as a woman. Reading Strange Hotel is indeed a matter of strange immersion, and one that will often puzzle and sometimes frustrate the reader, but its portrait of sadness and alienation is, in the end, also strangely revivifying." —The Guardian
>>Read Thomas's review of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
Patience by Toby Litt          $35
Elliott is something of a genius. More than that, Elliott is an ideal friend, and to know him is to adore him. But few people do know Elliott, because he is also stuck. He lives in a wheelchair in an orphanage. It's 1979. Elliott is forced to spend his days in an empty corridor, either gazing out of the window at the birds in a tree or staring into a white wall wherever the Catholic Sisters who run the ward have decided to park him. So when Jim, blind and mute but also headstrong, arrives on the ward and begins to defy the Sisters' restrictive rules, Elliott finally sees a chance for escape.
"Fresh, unusual and completely charming." —The Irish Times
“A genuine revelation.” —The TLS
>>Read an extract
Dark Satellites by Clemens Meyer           $36
A devastatingly well-written set of short stories focussing on the experiences of persons living on the margins of contemporary German society. Meyer's spare and clean prose is unsentimental, yet each story packs an emotional wallop. 
>>Read an extract


An Apartment on Uranus by Paul B. Preciado           $36
Uranus is the coldest planet in the solar system, a frozen giant named after a Greek deity. It is also the inspiration for Uranism, a concept coined by the writer Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in 1864 to define the 'third sex' and the rights of those who 'love differently'. Following in Ulrichs's footsteps, Paul B. Preciado dreams of an apartment on Uranus where he can live, free of the modern power taxonomies of race, gender, class or disability. In this bold and transgressive book, Preciado recounts his transformation from Beatriz into Paul B, and examines other processes of political, cultural and sexual transition, reflecting on socio-political issues including the rise of neo-fascism in Europe, the criminalisation of migrants, the harassment of trans children, the technological appropriation of the uterus, and the role artists and museums might play in the writing of a new social contract. 
"Paul B. Preciado has the magic ability to fire off imperatives that don’t feel bossy, but rather incite us to join him in whatever crackling energy, urgent curiosity, and dynamic nomadism is flowing through him. Reading these chronological missives offers the real pleasure of Preciado’s company in time, and inspires us not just to stay with our trouble, but to greet it with unstoppable speech, complex solidarity, glitter, and defiance." —Maggie Nelson
>>Read an extract.
Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai        $45
"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
>>Obsessive fictions
>>"I thought that real life, true life was elsewhere."
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado          $37
Machado's devastating (and devastatingly well-written) memoir of a relationship gone wrong covers wide ground, exploring societal mechanisms of psychological abuse while remaining both playful and grounded in the personal and particular. Along with Her Body and Other Parties, Machado is claiming her own corner in the field of contemporary queer literature. 
Head Girl by Freya Daly Sadgrove         $25
"The first time I read Freya’s work I thought . . . uh oh. And then I thought, you have got to be kidding me. And then I thought, God fucking dammit. And then I walked around the house shaking my head thinking . . . OK – alright. And then – finally – I thought, well well well – like a smug policeman. Listen – she’s just the best. I’m going to say this so seriously. She is, unfortunately, the absolute best. Trying to write a clever blurb for her feels like an insult to how right and true and deadly this collection is. God, she’s just so good. She’s the best. She kills me always, every time, and forever." —Hera Lindsay Bird
Will and Testament by Vigdis Hjorth         $23
When a dispute over her parents' will grows bitter, Bergljot is drawn back into the orbit of the family she fled twenty years before. Her mother and father have decided to leave two island summer houses to her sisters, disinheriting the two eldest siblings from the most meaningful part of the estate. To outsiders, it is a quarrel about property and favouritism. But Bergljot, who has borne a horrible secret since childhood, understands the gesture as something very different. The novel has caused immense controversy in Norway when the author's siblings 'revealed' that the book is autobiographical. "Unsettling and beautifully constructed." —Guardian
>>"I won't talk about my family. I'm in enough trouble." 
Escape Routes by Naomi Ishiguro          $40
A space-obsessed child conjures up a vortex in his mother's airing cupboard. A musician finds her friendship with a flock of birds opens up unexpected possibilities. A rat catcher, summoned to a decaying royal palace, is plunged into a battle for the throne of a ruined kingdom. Two newlyweds find themselves inhibited by the arrival in their lives of an outsized and watchful stuffed bear.
"Stories that start like delicate webs and finish like unbreakable wire traps." —Neil Gaiman
"A writer whose voice I hope to be following for many years to come." —Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
The Living Days by Ananda Devi          $34
A chance encounter on Portobello Road incites an unsettling, magnetic attraction between Mary, an elderly white woman, and Cub, a British-Jamaican boy, and drives her crumbling world into heightened delusion. The two struggle to keep their footing as white supremacy, desperation and class conflict collide on the streets of London. 
"Devi is alert to the ways in which social forces, such as racism and ageism, are reshaping London's already complex post-colonial landscape, and her fluid, poetic language memorably conjures a union of two outcasts." —The New Yorker
"A demanding and important book by a true artist and a great writer'." —Lara Pawson (author of This Is the Place To Be)
>>Read an extract
>>Read another extract
>>"If there is a characteristic that unites all my protagonists, it is their ambiguity.
>>How does a place become a home? 
>>Read Thomas's review of Eve Out of Her Ruins.
The Music of Time: Poetry in the twentieth century by John Burnside      $60
A wonderfully idiosyncratic, wide-ranging, acute and vital consideration of the sweep of a century as snagged upon poets whose calling made them incapable of 'going with the flow'. 
"Burnside's thoroughly human prose makes him a great companion and guide. As this inspiring, persuasive book argues the case for poetry it comes close to being poetry itself." —Fiona Sampson
"A rich and pugnacious plea for the necessity of poetry which takes in autobiography, medieval Swiss irrigation channels, the viewpoint in Romantic landscape, Rilke's itineraries, cruising with Hart Crane, attacks by zoo animals." —Jonathan Meades
New Transgender Blockbusters by Oscar Upperton       $25
This first collection introduces a poet reconstituting the ordinary as strange and activating hitherto passive portions of our daily lives. 


Don't Look at Me Like That by Diana Athill           $23
A new edition of Athill's only novel, about love, betrayal, and a young woman finding herself in 1950s London.  
How to Read a Suit: A guide to changing men's fashion, from the 17th to the 20th century by Lydia Edwards        $55
Improve your sartorial literacy. Well illustrated and full of good information. 



This is Your Real Name by Elizabeth Morton        $28
Underneath the surface of the contemporary world of Pokémon, The Cosby Show and hospital cubicles, the reader of these poems is drawn into a dreamscape of creeks and bogs, a fiery meadow and the guts of the sea. A blindman circles a Minotaur; a black horse rides through the pages.
>>Also available: Wolf
How to Argue With a Racist: History, science, race and reality by Adam Rutherford            $35
Examines the social constructs behind the perceived idea of 'race' and shows the factual and systemic flaws in the thinking behind so-called 'race science'. 
>>Read also Superior by Angela Saini. 
>>A scientific toolkit to separate fact from myth


A Place for Everything: The curious history of alphabetical order by Judith Flanders       $40
Our most widespread system of ordering is also — seemingly — the most arbitrary. 
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey         $38
"Are you a coward or a librarian?" Gailey's novel reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer librarian identity. Fun. 
"A good old-fashioned horse opera for the 22nd century. Gunslinger librarians of the apocalypse are on a mission to spread public health, decency, and the revolution." —Charles Stross

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann        $38
Kehlmann's resetting of the adventures of the folkloric prankster Tyll Ulenspiegel during the Thirty Years' War delivers a book that is funny, frightening, dirty, informative, both alien and familiar, and completely engrossing. 
"This energetic historical fiction, featuring a folkloric jester in a violent, superstitious Europe, is the work of an immense talent. It’s a testament to Kehlmann’s immense talent that he has succeeded in writing a powerful and accessible book about a historical period that is so complicated and poorly understood. He never pushes the parallels between present and past, but there are many ways in which this strife-torn Europe, fractured by religion, intolerance and war, is a reflection of our own times." —Guardian
>>Hmm
>>Hmm #2

Saturday, 8 February 2020




BOOKS @ VOLUME #164 (8.2.20)

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Untold Night and Day by Bae Suah     {Reviewed by STELLA}
Untold Night and Day is a surreal two-day looped tale. We meet Ayami on her final day of work at the small, only and virtually unknown audio theatre in Seoul. It’s mid-summer and there is a heat-wave. The last visitors to the theatre are a group of high school students who are studying the play, a man who Ayami presumes is their teacher, and a visually impaired girl. The play is The Blind Owl by Iranian author Sadeq Hedayat, a book Ayami is currently reading and discussing with her friend and German teacher, Yeoni. From the first page, Suah creates an unease. Ayami tells the director about the audio that turns itself on sometimes — what she believes is a radio, and the voices remind her of the shipping news in their tone and texture. Ayami has been an actor but, unable to find work, she has been in the menial role at the theatre for two years. Now, she is about to be made redundant and this uncertainty is played out in the heat of a day and a night. As she goes to leave the theatre for the last time she is confronted by a strange occurrence. A man is on the other side of the glass door, seemingly mad, desperately trying to communicate with her. Despite the glass, she feels as though she can hear him. She can lip-read and what she deduces it that he wants revenge, but what for and why is unknown to her.  This stranger seems to know her, but she does not recognise him. The man, Buha, has his own story that runs parallel to Ayami’s, and he is tenuously linked to her by a connection with Yeoni. In his mind, Ayami is a the poet-woman and his obsession with this woman disrupts his perspective. There are further references to poets later — Ayami must meet a foreign poet at the airport, the director goes to a poetry reading, and there is a poet's exhibition held in the now ex-audio theatre. After Buha is taken away by security guards, Ayami goes to meet the director at a ‘blackout’ restaurant where you eat in the dark — your senses of touch and taste enhanced and the waiters are all blind. It is as if the writer wants us to turn off our expectations of what a conventional novel is and tune in other antennae to navigate our way through Untold Night and Day. Here you have the groundwork for the novel — a place where dream and reality are superimposed, where there is a  stretching of time, as well as a concentration of repeated actions. This makes the text both clever and confusing, so much so that I felt at times the puzzle was still to be solved if solving it was the aim. Suah uses a repetitive motif — repeated descriptions of characters, multiple roles, repeated lines, repeated but slightly adjusted actions, objects and images that reoccur (a white bus, a statue with a raised arm (sometimes a man), the book called The Blind Owl, barking dogs) — to superimpose the linked dimensions: all happenings are valid and real, yet surreal and dream-like. The characters are propelled forward by their actions, yet also this throws them into chaos: a chaotic state which is like a fever with its twin traits of clarity and disorientation. Suah’s writing is intriguing and mind-bending — be ready to be taken somewhere else.  

























































Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss    {Reviewed by THOMAS}
Does anything that happens extinguish by the fact of happening all the things that could have happened in its place (extinguishing thereby also all the things that could have been going to happen as a result of any of those things)? Whether everything that can happen does happen (each possibility in its own universe) may be a matter of serious discussion among quantum physicists and multiversalists but it is self-evident to writers and readers of fiction and forms the basis of their shared practice. In Forest Dark, a novelist named Nicole, who evidently shares the memories, circumstances and history of the author (at least up until the moment the book is written), despairs both about her relationship with the father of her children and about her seeming inability to write another novel. “I could no longer write a novel, just as I could no longer bring myself to make plans, because the trouble in my work and in my life came down to the same thing: I had become distrustful of all the possible shapes that I might give things. Or I’d lost faith in my instinct to give things shape at all.” She despairs of the novelistic conventions that bind both writer and reader, obscuring greater with lesser truths. “Chaos is the truth the narrative must always betray, for in the creation of its deliberate structures that reveal many truths about life, the portion of truth that has to do with incoherence and disorder must be obscured.” One day Nicole has the sensation that she is already in her house, that she is a double of herself, and leaves New York to stay in the brutalist Hilton hotel in Tel Aviv, a place she had stayed many times in her childhood, ostensibly to start writing her novel. She meets an enigmatic retired academic (or Mossad agent), who convinces her of the possibility that Franz Kafka did not die in Austria in 1924 but emigrated to Palestine and lived out his life quietly and pseudonymously as a gardener. Nicole recognises that this alternative history is fraught with implausibilities, but “between the two stories of Kafka’s life and death, the one Friedman had drawn struck me as having the most beautiful shape — more complex but also more subtle, and so closer to the truth. In the light of it, the familiar story now seemed clumsy, overblown, and steeped in cliché.” Soon she resigns herself to being driven by Friedman into the desert, with a suitcase seemingly containing the unpublished Kafka papers (that at the time of the novel were in the possession of Kafka’s friend and de facto literary executor Max Brod’s secretary’s daughters and the subject of a complex court case concerning ownership (of Kafka as much as of the papers)). The chapters of Nicole’s first person account are alternated with those concerning Jules Epstein, a prominent and wealthy New York lawyer, who, following the deaths of his parents, leaves his wife and his practice, sells off his art collection and travels to the Tel Aviv Hilton, ostensibly to fund a fitting memorial to his parents if he can find something worth funding (trying to overcompensate, perhaps, for the hatred he feels for his parents but cannot admit even to himself). Like Nicole, he has been accustomed to living in an active mode: “All his life he had turned what wasn’t into what was, hadn’t he? He had pressed what did not and could not exist into bright existence.” And, also like Nicole, his progress through the novel is characterised and enabled by his relinquishment of this active mode, relinquishment leading to the desert and dissolution. There are many resonances between the two strands of the novel, and the reader wonders whether perhaps the characters might meet (though it is likely that they inhabit parallel universes rather than a shared universe), or whether the third-person Epstein thread has been written by the Nicole character in the other thread (though it is likely that both the Nicole thread and the Epstein thread were written by the Nicole from whom the Nicole of the Nicole thread split at the time the novel was begun (well, obviously, we know this to be the case)). All this makes for a wonderfully supple and inventive (and often funny) exploration of the possibilities of fiction. Krauss is ambivalent about fiction in the same way that she feels the ambivalences of her Jewishness: tradition, expectation and understanding are forms of binding, losses of freedom, traps, but the struggle to be free of tradition, of expectation, of understanding, to break the binding, to invert the trap, to unmake and remake, are also inherent in being a writer and a Jew. 
Get to grips with Māori grammar with this week's Book of the Week. David Kārena-Holmes's Te Reo Māori: The basics explained is a clear, essential and much-needed book, perfect for any learner. 
>>A unique world view exists in the structure of a language
>>Te reo's different take on place and time (one of David's series of columns in the Nelson Mail). 
>>Click and collect
>>Other Māori resources at VOLUME. 
>>Where to learn te reo
>>Some of David Kārena-Holmes's poetry books
>>An extract from From the Antipodes

Friday, 7 February 2020

NEW RELEASES

Te Reo Māori: The basics explained by David Kārena-Holmes        $35
The use of te reo Māori in daily New Zealand life is snowballing, as is demand for resources to make learning the language efficient and enjoyable. This book helps answer that demand. Here in simple terms is a thorough guide to the building blocks of grammar in te reo, showing how to create phrases, sentences and paragraphs. The book employs real-life examples to illustrate how Māori grammar works day to day, and draws on David Kārena-Holmes's decades of experience teaching and writing about Māori language. 
>>Hear David talk at 2 PM this Saturday (8 February) at the Nelson Public Library Te Whare Mātauranga o Whakatū in Halifax Street
Orlanda by Jacqueline Harpman        $35
Triggered by her reading of Woolf's Orlando, Aline, an academic and Proust specialist, finds herself suddenly transferred into the body of a young man sitting opposite her at a cafe. From the author of I Who Have Never Known Men, the novel is a subtle, insightful and funny exploration of androgyny, projection, and psychological and literary doubles.
"Jacqueline Harpman displays incredible confidence in juggling identities and meshing together yearnings and phobias, fantasies and frustrations." —l'Express
>>Read Stella's review of I Who Have Never Known Men.
Cleanness by Garth Greenwell            $35
A compelling novel exploring the emotional life of an American teacher in Sofia, Bulgaria.
"An unbearably wonderful, eloquently sexual, thoughtful, emotional delight of a novel — Garth Greenwell writes like no one else." —Eimear McBride
"Cleanness is stunning, provocatively revelatory and atmospherically profound. Here is love and sex as art, as pulse, as truth." —Lisa Taddeo
"Garth Greenwell is an intensely beautiful and gorgeous writer. I can think of no contemporary author who brings as much reality and honesty to the description of sex-locating in it the sublime, as well as our deepest degradations, our sweetness, confusion, and rage." —Sheila Heti
Greenwood by Michael Christie           $37
A multigenerational family story in which the unexpected legacies of a remote island off the coast of British Columbia link the fates of five people over a hundred years. Cloud Atlas meets The Overstory in this ingenious nested-ring epic set against the devastation of the natural world.


Flèche by Mary Jean Chan          $28
Much like the fencer who must constantly read and respond to her opponent's tactics during a fencing bout, this debut collection by Mary Jean Chan deftly examines relationships at once conflictual and tender. Flèche (the French word for 'arrow') is an offensive technique commonly used in epee, a competitive sport of the poet's teenage and young adult years. This cross-linguistic pun presents the queer, non-white body as both vulnerable ('flesh') and weaponised ('flèche') in public and private spaces.
Winner of the 2019 Costa Award for Poetry. 
>>Parry riposte
>>Fleche attack!
Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau          $28
If you could go back in time and see any band play, what would you choose? This novel provides it characters with the opportunity to do just that, but when the time machine delivers one of its clients a thousand years too early, things begin to get complicated. 
Here in the Real World by Sara Pennypacker         $17
An introverted boy and a tough, secretive girl fight to save an abandoned section from being sold in this children's novel from the author of Pax
Big Mamma's Cucina Popolare: Contemporary Italian recipes        $60
Fresh and exciting Italian cuisine. 
The Plays of Bruce Mason by John Smythe        $40
The first comprehensive survey of the work of this outstanding playwright, whose plays are packed with socio-political insight. 
 The Gorse Blooms Pale: Southland stories and The General and the Nightingale: War stories by Dan Davin         $45 each
The Gorse Blooms Pale gathers together twenty-six stories and a selection of poems reflecting Davin's experiences while growing up in an Irish-New Zealand farming family in Southland.
Davin was also the author of the only substantial body of war fiction written by a New Zealand soldier during any of the wars of the 20th century in which the nation was engaged. The General and the Nightingale brings together Davin's 20 war stories, some drawn from his war diaries and loosely based on his experiences as a wartime scholar-soldier and those of his fellow soldiers in the British and New Zealand armies. They yield insight into the experiences of the ANZAC soldier at war during the Mediterranean and African desert campaigns of World War II. 
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld          $37
A rock off the coast of Scotland stands witness to the lives of three women over the centuries in this suitably angry novel. 
"A modern gothic triumph. Spectacularly well-observed, profoundly disquieting and utterly riveting. Like all Evie Wyld's work it is startlingly insightful about psychological and physical abuse. It is a haunting, masterful novel." —Max Porter
>>The terror of men's violence against women
A Delayed Life: The powerful memoir of the Librarian of Auschwitz by Dita Kraus           $28
Kraus's experiences as the custodian of books smuggled in by the concentration camp's inmates is retold by Antonio Iturbe as The Librarian of Auschwitz
Agency by William Gibson            $37
San Francisco, 2017. In an alternate time track, Hillary Clinton won the election and Donald Trump's political ambitions were thwarted.
London, 22nd century. Decades of cataclysmic events have killed 80 per cent of humanity. A shadowy start-up hires a young woman named Verity to test a new product: a 'cross-platform personal avatar' that was developed by the military as a form of artificial intelligence.
Meanwhile, characters in the distant future are using technological time travel to interfere with the election unfolding in 2017. Will they succeed? 


The Hidden Girl, And other stories by Ken Liu            $35
16 new science fiction and fantasy stories.
"Ken Liu has done more than anyone to bridge the gap between Chinese science fiction and Western readers." — New York Times


Dreamers: When the writers took power, Germany, 1919 by Volker Weidermann          $28

At the end of the First World War in Germany, the journalist and theatre critic Kurt Eisner organised a revolution which overthrew the monarchy, and declared a Free State of Bavaria. In February 1919, he was assassinated, and the revolution failed. But while the dream lived, it was the writers, the poets, the playwrights and the intellectuals who led the way. As well as Eisner, Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, and many other prominent figures in German cultural history were involved.
19 Love Songs by David Levithan           $24
Levithan has written a short story for his friends each Valentine's Day; this book presents them all. 


Universal Love by Alexander Weinstein           $26
A boy and his father find music in a drowned city. A lonely twenty-something gets addicted to comfort porn. A man is given a choice to have his trauma surgically removed. A mourning daughter brings her dead mother back to life as a hologram—but the source material isn't quite right. Inventive stories about the human thirst for connection amid rapid technological advancement. 
>>Read Stella's review of Children of the New World
Le Corbusier Paper Models          $40
10 kirigami buildings to cut and fold. Fun.