Friday, 14 February 2020

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 #2

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