Saturday, 17 November 2018

BOOKS @ VOLUME #102 (17.11.18)

Find out what we've been reading and recommending. 

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The Long Take by Robin Robertson (published by Picador) is this week's Book of the Week. Scottish poet Robertson's remarkable novel traces the ongoing destruction of war through times of peace in the cities of mid-twentieth century America. 
>>Read Stella's review
>>Judges' chair Adam Mars Jones on why The Long Take was (just last week) awarded the 2018 Goldsmith's Prize for innovative fiction.
>> Part of The Long Take set against documentary footage
>> Robin Robertson speaks with Kim Hill.
>> Robertson's 'At Roane Head' won the 2009 Forward Prize
>> Find out about the other books short-listed for the Goldsmith's Prize.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman   {Reviewed by STELLA}
Living in a world where immortality is a reality may seem utopian to some. In Neal Shusterman’s latest teen novel, human society has advanced to this state thanks to great advances in medicine and technology. It’s an ideal society where threat is obsolete, where everyone has everything they need (and more), conflict and competition for resources are redundant issues,  and life carries on interrupted only by ‘turning the corner’ (rejuvenation - yes, you can become younger again - as young as 21 if you wish). There are no longer governments or state-controlled organisations - the mainframe is now something called the Thunderhead - an all-knowing data-based system that has consciousness: artificial intelligence at its zenith. Yet despite the utopian dream, population growth is still an issue and the Thunderhead’s analysis decrees the human/resource ratio, and this must be adhered to. Enter the Scythedom - a group of officials whose role is to determine who should die. Arbitrary death bringers! The Scythes act outside the jurisdiction of Thunderhead and have their own rules and charter. Quotas are expected to be reached, yet not exceeded, but the means of killing, called gleaning (merciful or otherwise), are at the behest of the individual scythe - and who they choose is completely their choice. The novel opens with a Scythe knocking on the door of teen Citra Terranova’s home. Thinking that he is there to glean a family member, the family try to protect the youngest, Ben, and offer the Scythe food. However, Scythe Faraday is there to glean the neighbour who hasn’t got home from work yet, but he is hungry so a meal is gratefully accepted. This is our first introduction to the Scythedom, and to the fear and wariness that the rest of humanity feel towards these cloaked and elite individuals who hold the power of life (they can grant immunity -  a year’s grace from gleaning) and death in their hands. When Citra gets an invitation to a show at the opera house she heads along and meets the Rowan Damisch, a fellow teen, who has also received an anonymous invite. They have been invited by Scythe Faraday, who offers them apprenticeships to the Scythedom. Tempted by the offer (family members of Scythes have complete immunity) but also repulsed by it, both Rowan and Citra rise to the challenge and begin their training in weapons, poisons, philosophy and compassion. Yet not all is honourable and well with the Scythedom, and soon both Citra and Damisch are placed in impossible situations and become pawns in a sinister game of corruption, ego and the conflict of ideas. Shusterman’s novel is brimming with ideas, action and dark intrigue. There’s the necessary romance to add spice, the depth of long-lasting loyalties as well as the bristling of enemies to feed the narrative, the good/evil duality and all the questions that come with that, as well as plenty of challenges to keep our teens on their toes. Add to this some great wordplay, humorous interludes, compelling central characters, and some tight, pacey writing, and you have an appealing and thought-provoking young adult's novel. The ending is made for a sequel, with its dramatic encounter between our two heroes and enough threads left hanging to pull you to the next instalment, Thunderhead. The 'Arc of a Scythe' series is perfect for dystopia fans and readers of the 'Hunger Games' and 'Chaos Walking' series.   


Limbo by Dan Fox   {Reviewed by THOMAS}
“Being in limbo is involuntary," writes Dan Fox in this discursive book on the importance of writer’s block to the creative process (so to call it). "It’s a state slipped into accidentally, or a condition into which you’ve been forced.” Joan Acocella, in her essay 'Blocked', points out that "the term 'writer's block' is so grandiose, with its implication that writers contain within them great wells of creativity to which their access is merely impeded.” (This fixation on liquidity and flow, this representation of the creative process as a form of plumbing, quips Geoff Dyer, is tellingly “lavatorial.”) To be in limbo, demonstrates Fox with many examples, whether it be creative, social, political or religious limbo, is to be in a holding place, or, rather, a holding state, for those to whom categories do not apply, or, rather, for those for whom categorisation has been suspended. Development is stopped, edges, borders and identities cannot be reached, agency is removed, exit cannot be achieved. Limbo is a temporal (rather than an atemporal) state: it will come to an end but that end is indefinitely postponed (plausibly beyond the lifespan of the subject in some cases). Limbo is a liminal state of indefinite duration, a place of transformation that seems like non-existence. But, says Fox, “there can be no growth without stagnancy, no movement without inactivity, and no progress without refusal.” Writer’s block “generates energy through obstruction, just as a hydroelectric dam blocks water to create power.” Fixity leads to suppression, which leads to sublimation, which leads, eventually, to creative resurgence. By this model, though, creativity is entirely a pathological state, a symptom of suppression or repression, of the disjunction between inner life and external reality that it tries and necessarily fails to bridge. Would there be literature in a happy world? Creative production is not necessarily desirable anyway: Kafka wrote of the torment of writing and “seeing pages being endlessly covered with things one hates, that fill one with loathing, or at an
y rate with dull indifference.” No redemption either way. 


Friday, 16 November 2018


Limbo by Dan Fox        $34
In a world that demands faith in progress and growth, Limbo is a companion for the stuck, the isolated, delayed, stranded, and trapped. Fusing family memoir with a meditation on creative block, depression, solitude, class, place and the intractable politics of our present moment, Fox considers the role that fallow periods and states of impasse play in art and life. Limbo employs a cast of artists, exiles, ghosts, hermits and sailors to reflect on the creative, emotional and political consequences of being stuck, and how these are also crucial to our understanding of inspiration, flow and productivity. Limbo argues that there can be no growth without stagnancy, no movement without inactivity, and no progress without refusal.
>> Read an extract
Patterson: Houses of Aotearoa by Andrew Patterson      $95
A stunning book featuring 20 of Andrew Patterson's recent houses, demonstrating the architect's sensitivity both to the landscape and to the personalities of his clients. This volume includes sections on Patterson's influences, such as the culture and lifestyles of New Zealand, and Maori architecture, art, and mythology. Spare and beautiful.

The End of the End of the Earth by Jonathan Franzen      $35

The essayist, according to Franzen, is like "a firefighter, whose job, when everyone else is fleeing the flames of shame, is to run straight into them." These essays address Franzen's great loves, literature and birds, and much else beyond and thereby. Where the new media tend to confirm one's prejudices, he writes, literature "invites you to ask whether you might be wrong, maybe even entirely wrong, and to imagine why someone else might hate you." The cumulative effect of the essays is strangely hopeful, however. Includes a meditation on New Zealand seabirds. 
Elizabeth Lissaman: New Zealand's pioneer studio potter by Jane Vial and Steve Austin            $60
Lissaman designed, threw, decorated, fired and sold her first significant collection of pots in 1927 and potted continuously until 1990, spanning New Zealand’s studio pottery movements. Her life, work and importance is explored in this superb new book.
>> Come and meet Jane Vial and Steve Austin, and find out more about the potter and the book. Monday 3 December, 5:30 PM at VOLUME

Short Poems of New Zealand edited by Jenny Bornholdt           $35
"I've begun to think of short poems as being the literary equivalent of the small house movement. Small houses contain the same essential spaces as large houses do. Both have places in which to eat, sleep, bathe and sit; they're the same, except small houses are, well, smaller." -Jenny Bornholdt
A beautifully presented and thoughtful selection of short verse from well-known poets, new voices and rediscovered poets. 
Family Lexicon by Natalia Ginzburg       $23
“Autobiography crept up on me like a wolf.” A new translation of Ginzburg's superb autobiographical novel, telling the story of a Jewish family in Italy from the 1920s to the 1950s, of surviving the fascist years, and of the importance of language to surviving change. 
"Ginzburg gives us a new template for the female voice and an idea of what it might sound like." - Rachel Cusk
"I am utterly entranced by Ginzburg's style - her mysterious directness, her salutary ability to lay things bare that never feels contrived or cold, only necessary, honest, clear." - Maggie Nelson
>>Hiding in plain sight
Rivers: A visual history from river to sea by Peter Goes       $40
Follow rivers around the world (including the Waikato!) and learn about the people and history that belong along their banks. This large-format picture book is packed with information that will suggest further exploration. 
>> Goes at work
>> Other wonderful books by Peter Goes

Nelson: Now and then by Peter Lukas        $40

When Norwegian photographer Peter Lukas visited Nelson, he was so impressed with the photographic collections at the Nelson Provincial Museum that he set out to photograph the same street views as they appear today. The result is this wonderful book: historical photographs paired with their modern equivalents.
The Silk Roads: A new history of the world by Peter Frankopan, illustrated by Neil Packer       $30
A beautifully illustrated book for children, showing how East and West have been tied together by people, trade, disease, war, religion, adventure, science and technology, along the trade routes of the Silk Roads. Frankopan's The Silk Roads (the adult history) is a remarkable book, showing that much often overlooked history should be central to our view of the past. This book does the same, for children. 

In My Mind's Eye: A thought diary by Jan Morris        $37
'I have never before in my life kept a diary of my thoughts, and here at the start of my ninth decade, having for the moment nothing much else to write, I am having a go at it. Good luck to me.'
"Morris is one of Britain's greatest living writers." - The Times
"Fascinating. Valuable and rare. This book is a writer's constitutional." - Kate Kellaway, Observer

The Patch by John McPhee          $37
"A bountiful cornucopia of insightful essays that display the wide range of his interests and tastes. McPhee delights in cracking open subjects, both ordinary and esoteric, and making them accessible to the layperson in works that testify to his virtuosity as one of the greatest living American essayists." - Publishers Weekly
Whaler by Providence: Patrick Norton in the Marlborough Sounds by Don Wilson        $50
Whaling in the Marlborough Sounds from the 1830s. Sealing and whaling in the Southern Ocean, sailing from New South Wales to New Zealand, Te Rauparaha’s battles with Ngāi Tahu, Jacky Guard and his Port Underwood and Kaikoura whaling stations. Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Toa, Ngāi Tahu and Rangitane history, the seige of Ngāmotu, New Zealand Company settlements, the naming of Pelorus Sound and Tory Channel, Picton fish factories and the Perano whalers, family life at Te Awaiti, Campbell Island whalers, Queen Charlotte Sound and early Marlborough history.
In Parenthesis by David Jones       $28
A lyrical epic based the author's experiences in World War One, culminating at the Somme. 
"The holy book of twentieth-century visionary modernism. Ancient and brand-new, In Parenthesis is Britain's book of all books, an incomparable and ever-intensifying masterpiece. It is radical, beautiful, humane and mysterious. It is a book about war that has the power to defeat death. It is a living breathing mythic miracle of a book." - Max Porter

The Artists by Carles Porta      $28
It's autumn in the hidden valley. Yula has painted a farewell picture for her friend Ticky, who is flying away for the winter, but a big wind tears it from her hands, starting an eccentric adventure that will find new friends (and unexpected art). Delightful. 
An Illustrated History of Filmmaking by Adam Allsuch Boardman        $33
A beautifully drawn history, from prehistoric times(!) to the latest special effects. 
Scenic Playground: The story behind New Zealand's mountain tourism edited by Peter Alsop, Dave Bamford and Lee Davidson       $80
Explores the story behind the promotion of New Zealand's mountains through posters, advertisements, hand-coloured photographs and more.
Monkey Grip by Helen Garner      $37
When Nora falls in love with Javo, she is caught in the web of his addiction; and as he moves between loving her and leaving, between his need for her and promises broken, Nora's life becomes an intense dance of loving and trying to let go. A very nice new hardcover edition of this important novel, first published in 1977, a novel that shines a light on a time and a place and a way of living never before presented in Australian literature: communal households, music, friendships, children, love, drugs, and sex.
>> Also available in this hardback series: The Children's Bach, Stories, True Stories
The Unconventional Career of Dr Muriel Bell by Helen Brown       $35
As a lecturer in physiology from 1923 to 1927, Bell had been one of the first women academics at Otago Medical School. In 1937 she became a foundation member of the Medical Research Council, serving for two decades, and was appointed New Zealand's first state nutritionist in 1940, a position she held for almost a quarter of a century. Muriel Bell was behind ground-breaking public health schemes such as milk in schools, iodised salt and water fluoridation. Why haven't we heard of her?

My Body, My Business: New Zealand sex workers in an era of change by Caren Wilton, with photographs by Madeleine Slavick        $45
Fifteen years after legislation passed in 2003 decriminalising the sex industry, this book, largely assembled from the accounts of interviewees representing the breadth and diversity of the sex workers, gives real insight into the experiences of women, men and transgender people involved in the industry. 

Ethiopia: Recipes and traditions from the Horn of Africa by Yohanis Gebreyesus     $55

Ethiopia contains some of the most fertile land in Africa, the produce that is grown here, and the cultural and historical backgrounds of the people who live here, have given rise to a distinctive cuisine. 

Hostages by Oisín Fagan    $23
A bomb is born, lives and dies in a demented rural school; Ireland experiences a rain of corpses falling from the sky; a strange tribal matriarchy on the banks of the River Boyne is threatened with extermination. In these five long stories the world breaks down in an endless cycle of hunger, desperation, violence and domination.
"The best new young writer in Ireland." - Colin Barrett
"Think Flann O'Brien on rocket fuel." - Joseph O'Connor

French Cinema by Charles Drazin       $40
Throughout the history of film, cinema has been considered a cause as much as an industry. 
The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin          $28
Uptight elfin historian Brangwain Spurge is on a mission: survive being catapulted across the mountains into goblin territory, deliver a priceless peace offering to their mysterious dark lord, and spy on the goblin kingdom (from which no elf has returned alive in more than a hundred years). Brangwain's host, the goblin archivist Werfel, is delighted to show Brangwain around. They should be the best of friends, but a series of extraordinary double crosses, blunders, and cultural misunderstandings throws these two bumbling scholars into the middle of an international crisis that may spell death for them - and war for their nations. A beautifully illustrated hardback. 
Mobility Justice: The politics of movement in an age of extremes by Mimi Sheller      $35
Mobility justice is one of the crucial political and ethical issues of our day. We are in the midst of a global climate crisis and extreme challenges of urbanisation. At the same time it is difficult to ignore the deaths of thousands of migrants at sea or in deserts, the xenophobic treatment of foreign-born populations, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as the persistence of racist violence and ethnic exclusions. This, in turn, is connected to other kinds of uneven mobility-relations between people, access to transport, urban infrastructures and global resources such as food, water, and energy.

How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green     $20
A charming book. "Never ever put your hand through a ghost. It can cause a serious tummy ache."
Brunt Boggart: A tapestry of tales by David Greygoose         $22
Greychild is abandoned in the woods. Mistaken for a wolf, he is taken to Brunt Boggart, a village steeped in legend and folklore, a village in which stories happen.
Don't/Do This - Game: A inspiration game for creative people by Donald Roos        $30
A card game stimulating thought exercises that are not only fun but release your creative energy. Recommended.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

BOOKS @ VOLUME #101 (10.11.18)

Find out what we think about various books in our latest newsletter.

Our Book of the Week this week may have just won the 2018 Man Booker Prize, but it also happens to be a very good book. 
Milkman by Anna Burns (published by Faber & Faber), apparently set in Belfast during the Troubles, is a sharp portrait of structures of conformity within a divided and traumatised society - and a remarkably enjoyable book to read. 
>> Read Thomas's review
>> "Incredibly original." 
>>Trading blows: on the populist assault on Milkman
>> "Completely stonked."
>> [Confused.]
>> The Man Booker judges' citation: "The language of Anna Burns’ Milkman is simply marvellous; beginning with the distinctive and consistently realised voice of the funny, resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist. From the opening page her words pull us into the daily violence of her world — threats of murder, people killed by state hit squads — while responding to the everyday realities of her life as a young woman, negotiating a way between the demands of family, friends and lovers in an unsettled time. The novel delineates brilliantly the power of gossip and social pressure in a tight-knit community, and shows how both rumour and political loyalties can be put in the service of a relentless campaign of individual sexual harassment. Burns draws on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles to portray a world that allows individuals to abuse the power granted by a community to those who resist the state on their behalf. Yet this is never a novel about just one place or time. The local is in service to an exploration of the universal experience of societies in crisis."


Milkman by Anna Burns  {Reviewed by THOMAS}
The reason this book has a sunset on the cover - a cover that postponed my considering reading it until I was challenged to pick a winner from this year’s Booker short list* (intolerant as I am of pictorial schmaltz) - becomes apparent in the third chapter, when the narrator’s French language evening class collectively denies that the sky can be any colour other than blue (or, at night, black), despite the evidence presented to them through the window by their teacher. It is the second time in a week that the narrator has been astonished at a coloured sky: her maybe-boyfriend had taken her to ‘watch the sunset’, an unheard-of and somewhat suspect activity for someone raised in a community in which every behaviour and opinion has been determined by convention, and in which, consequently, all behaviours and opinions immediately classify a person within the strict codes of those conventions. Although no particulars are given names, the book is apparently set in Belfast in the late 1970s, in the hopeless depths of the Troubles. The eighteen-year-old narrator has learned, as have all in her community except for those ‘beyond the pale’, to present only her “topmost mental level to those who were reading it,” to hide herself within the conventions of a divided society in which norms are structured, reinforced and policed by gossip, in which “not mentioning was my way to keep safe.” In her community, in which the ‘renouncers of the state’ [IRA] are both the instigators and the manifestation of the shared political and religious position, life, and to an even greater extent, death, only makes sense in terms of the conflict. From all families, active participants in the violence, innocent victims of the state’s responses and suicides (sufferers of what the narrator’s mother calls ‘the psychologicals are everywhere) all end up in ‘the usual place’ - the cemetery. Shame is a mechanism by which partisan orthodoxy is maintained. “Given that shame was such a complex, involved, very advanced feeling, most people here did all kinds of permutations in order not to have it: killing people, doing verbal damage to people and, not least, also not infrequently, doing those things to oneself.” The narrator is not as successful at hiding herself beneath convention as she would like, her habit of reading ‘great novels’ when walking, for instance, draws the attention of, and comment from, various quarters, most significantly from the character referred to as the milkman, seemingly a renouncer specialist in “shadowing and trailing and profiling” who has been responsible for numerous killings and has high standing in the community. “I didn’t know whose milkman he was. He wasn’t our milkman. I don’t think he was anybody’s. He didn’t take milk orders. There was no milk about him.” He does, however, have a white van (though he is opposite in every way from the 'real milkman'). No amount of not responding by the narrator can prevent him from ‘taking an interest’ in her, oppressing her and grooming her as a future mistress. “I’m going to curtail you and isolate you so that soon you’ll do nothing,” he says, persuading her to stop visiting her maybe-boyfriend by intimating that he, as a mechanic, would be vulnerable to a car-bomb. The ‘relationship’ between the narrator and her stalker proceeds faster in the gossip of the community than in reality, gossip that pre-forms and iterates the story and gives it a sort of inevitability. The milkman could be read as a manifestation of the community’s inherent sexism and gendered power imbalance (the personally political and the collectively political can never be entirely disentangled), but also as a manifestation of the narrator’s own psyche, deformed by the society in which she lives: the milkman seems to know everything about her, “picking up on my secret desires and dreams”. The fact that the end-point of a memory is known before the memory is recounted intimates the inevitability of any account in the past tense. Everything that happens in this novel is revealed in its first sentence, and both the awful tension of the book and its considerable enjoyability and humour (it is by no means a difficult book to read) arise from the fact that, although the novel is tightly plotted, the narrative works always against the plot, resisting it, incapable of averting the inevitable crises but attempting at least to postpone them, to ‘buy time’, by inserting more and more thoughts, speculations, and recollections into moments of urgency. The more urgent the moment - the closer the milkman - the more extensive or the more complex or the more pedantic the loops of narrative the narrator inserts, as if narrative could slow or postpone the plot’s inevitable slide towards crisis. It is the control of the speed of experience that is the narrator’s (and the author’s) primary mode of contention with ‘the facts’. Burns, in her wonderfully looping riffs of ever-increasing pedantry, uses precision to cumulatively humorous effect (if precision in itself is not a humorous effect). The pursuit of logic to the point of illogic mocks a community operating on spurious rationality, and the mix of high and low registers underscores the narrator’s ambiguous conformity with that community, a community in which the ‘logic’ of resistance to oppression creates a ‘logic’ of oppression, in which personal ends are only achieved through political means, subjecting the personal to the political rather than making the political a means by which the personal may find expression. As the novel ends, though, it is intimated that it is power’s derogation of women (and its other victims) that shows power’s vulnerability, and that provides opportunities to assert the personal in its political mode. 
*I should have put money on my choice. 


The Long Take by Robin Robertson   {Reviewed by STELLA}
A beautifully crafted novel, The Long Take is an epic narrative poem by renowned Scottish poet Robin Robertson. Kicking off in New York, 1946, it follows the life of Walker, a recently returned soldier. A survivor of D-Day, Walker is displaced by trauma, unable to return to his family, his life, his love in Nova Scotia. His life, like that of many others he encounters, has been turned inside out, and he carries a burden, a guilt he can not discharge. Unemployed, a friend suggests fronting up to a local newspaper,The Press, who are looking for reporters. Walker joins the city news desk, reporting on crime and street politics. Walker’s affinity with the streets, living on the edge, and contact with skid row leads to an assignment to document the lives of the poor and homeless: an investigative piece of work that takes him to LA and San Francisco. As we travel across America with Walker and along these cities’ streets over a decade, we are given an insight into the lives of the disenfranchised and into the impact of war trauma on a nation and an individual. Add to this the politics of the 40s and 50s - the era of cronyism, McCarthyism and mob rule, organised crime and state corruption - the novel is a cutting indictment of the ‘American Dream’, the rise of the automobile and the impact this had on communities (highways and parking lots that killed communities), the falsity of war as a democratic tool, and the injustice to those who fight for freedom yet become victims of power. It’s also a hymn to the film industry of this period - to film noir; the images and language of these films cleverly interweave with the tone of the streetscape and the atmosphere of the novel. Walker is a compelling man, a man who carries a history that he feels can only be understood by his comrades in arms, by those who have experienced similar trauma. He dulls his building emotional disintegration with liquor and by keeping his distance - never becoming entangled in relationships. His work colleagues find him unreadable, and those he has the most affinity live on skid row, particularly Billy Idaho - a well-read street philosopher who helps those he can survive the streets. Walker, like Idaho, is kind and has a compassion for his fellow humans: he is an anti-hero that we empathise with - an outsider who will get under your skin. Through the keenly observant Walker, we experience the city, its people and its neighbourhoods. We see desperation, violence and the strength of community. For Walker, burying his trauma is never going to be a solution. Violence simmers at his edges and guilt plays on his conscience, and as the decade progresses his past haunts him. Robertson’s writing is wonderful: evocative, enchanting, raw and affecting. From narrative verse -descriptions of the cityscape and dialogue between characters - to hard, almost unbearable, staccato-like images of war, to lyrical memories of Walker’s childhood and life in Nova Scotia, the poetry has clarity and visibility yet never removes the reader from the story. The Long Take is a novel about us now just as much as it is a filmic exposé of post-war America, exploring issues of poverty, racism, fascism and freedom. Powerful, inventive and uncompromising.

Friday, 9 November 2018

The Hole by José Revueltas     $27
Written when Revueltas, a life-long political dissident, was himself a prisoner in the infamous Palacio de Lecomberri prison in Mexico City in 1969, this novella, written in a single, torrential paragraph, concerns three prison inmates who plan to have heroin smuggled in to the prison. The book, now available in English for the first time, is an indictment of the deforming impact of institutions upon individuals.  
"A whirlwind: one of the greatest pieces of twentieth-century writing." - Álvaro Enrigue
"It is impossible to understand contemporary Latin American literature without Revuelta's masterpiece The Hole. Its current invisibility in the English language places works like Roberto Bolaño's 2666 and César Aira's political novellas in a bibliographic vacuum." - Valeria Luiselli
>> Read an extract.
Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants by Mathias Énard     $38
Who better to explore the uneasy relationship between the Renaissance Italy and the Muslim world than Mathias Enard, who won the 2017 Man Booker International Prize for Compass, a work calibrating experience across Europe and the Middle East? Constructed from real historical fragments, Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants pivots on Michelangelo's invitation to visit Constantinople at the behest of the Sultan, who wishes to commission a bridge. It is a novel about why stories are told, why bridges are built, and how seemingly unmatched pieces, seen from the opposite sides of civilization, can mirror one another.
"Necessary – no one writes like Mathias Enard." — Francine Prose
"All of Enard’s books share the hope of transposing prose into the empyrean of pure sound, where words can never correspond to stable meanings. He’s the composer of a discomposing age." — Joshua Cohen, New York Times
>> Read an extract
Sport 46        $30
Bill Manhire interviewed by Anna Smaill, plus six poems; ‘My Ten Guitars’, a comic by Barry Linton, with a note by Tim Bollinger; Essays by Pip Adam, Geoff Cochrane, Lynn Davidson, Lynn Jenner, Dean Parker, Giovanni Tiso, Rose Lu; Fiction by Antonia Bale, Airini Beautrais, Zoë Higgins, Anthony Lapwood, Eamonn Marra, Hannah Mettner, Clare Moleta, Rachel O’Neill, Ursula Robinson-Shaw, Maria Samuela, Michelle Tayler; Poetry by Jane Arthur, Morgan Bach, Sarah Jane Barnett, Nikki-Lee Birdsey, Jenny Bornholdt, Zarah Butcher-McGunnigle, Ruth Corkill, Uther Dean, Lynley Edmeades, Rata Gordon, Rebecca Hawkes, Andrew Johnston, Erik Kennedy, Brent Kininmont, Eleanor Rose King Merton, Emma Neale, Gregory O’Brien, Claire Orchard, Justin Paton, essa may ranapiri, Freya Daly Sadgrove, Frances Samuel, Kerrin P. Sharpe, Steven Toussaint, Oscar Upperton, Louise Wallace, Sugar Magnolia Wilson, Ashleigh Young; Cover by Elliot Elam. 
>>This Sporting Life
The Writing Life: Twelve New Zealand writers by Deborah Shepard, with photographs by John McDermott    $50
Thoughtful interviews with Patricia Grace, Tessa Duder, Owen Marshall, Philip Temple, David Hill, Joy Cowley, Vincent O'Sullivan, Albert Wendt, Marilyn Duckworth, Chris Else, Fiona Kidman and Witi Ihimaera, and excellent portraits and (even better) photographs of writing spaces by John McDermott. 

Inadvertent (Why I Write) by Karl Ove Knausgaard      $35
Knausgaard writes "to erode his own notions of the world," but also, by exhausting his preconceptions through writing them, to allow himself stumble inadvertently upon knowledge that they had been concealing. 

New Zealand and the Sea: Historical perspectives edited by Frances Steel         $60

As a group of islands in the far south-west Pacific Ocean, New Zealand has a history that is steeped in the sea. Its people have encountered the sea in many different ways: along the coast, in port, on ships, beneath the waves, behind a camera, and in the realm of the imagination. While New Zealanders have continually altered their marine environments, the ocean, too, has influenced their lives. A multi-disciplinary work encompassing history, marine science, archaeology and visual culture, New Zealand and the Sea explores New Zealand's varied relationship with the sea, challenging the conventional view that history unfolds on land. Atholl Anderson; Damon Salesa; Ben Maddison; Angela McCarthy; Tony Ballantyne; Peter Gilderdale; Alison MacDiarmid; Michael Stevens; David Haines; Jonathan West; Grace Millar; Chris Brickell; Douglas Booth; Susann Liebich; Julie Benjamin; Jonathan Scott. Well presented. 
Bird Cottage by Eva Meijar          $33
Len Howard, the daughter of a poet, and a successful concert violinist, was forty years old when she decided to devote the rest of her life to her true love: birds. She bought a small cottage in Sussex, where she wrote two international bestsellers, astonishing the world with her observations on the tits, robins, sparrows and other birds that lived in and around her house, and would even perch on her shoulder as she typed. This novel is based on her life. 
Work by Friederike Sigler        $55
What work is referred to in a work of art? How can art explore the meaning of work, both economically and in a wider social context? 
Living with Buildings and Walking with Ghosts: On health and architecture by Iain Sinclair          $33
We shape ourselves, and are shaped in return, by the walls that contain us. Buildings affect how we sleep, work, socialise and even breathe. They can isolate and endanger us but they can also heal us. We project our hopes and fears onto buildings, while they absorb our histories. Iain Sinclair embarks on a series of expeditions - through London, Marseille, Mexico and the Outer Hebrides. He explores the relationship between sickness and structure, and between art, architecture, social planning and health, taking plenty of detours along the way. 
"A remarkable book; surprisingly gripping and often very moving. Stories weave and unweave over the book's course, patterning thought into a complex built environment, at once disorientating and illuminating." - Robert Macfarlane
Theo Schoon: A biography by Damian Skinner        $60
An insightful account of the life and importance of the émigré artist who, from his arrival in New Zealand in 1939, became an aperture through which international and indigenous heritages entered art discourse and practice. 
The Bomb by Sacha Cotter and Josh Morgan        $23
A boy finds that with some help from his nana and a costume that gives him the confidence to be himself, he is at last able to make the perfect bomb into the water. 
Te Pohū by Sacha Cotter and Josh Morgan          $23
The same in te Reo. 
Mountains to Sea: Solving New Zealand's freshwater crisis by Mike Joy        $15
The state of New Zealand's fresh water has become a pressing public issue in recent years. From across the political spectrum, concern is growing about the pollution of New Zealand's rivers and streams.

The Eye: How the world's most successful creative directors develop their vision by Nathan Williams         $100
Mr Kinfolk introduces us to the unseen shapers of visual culture: Dries van Noten, Kris Van Assche, Spike Jonze, Melina Matsoukas, Grace Coddington, Linda Rodin and many more. Excellent photography and production inside. 

>>Look inside
Swim: A year of swimming outdoors in New Zealand by Annette Lees      $40
Lees began this book with the intention of swimming in natural outdoor water in New Zealand every day for a year. Around her account of this she has written what amounts to a history of wild swimming in New Zealand and the social history surrounding it. 
>>Immersive reading
200 Women by Ruth Hobday, Geoff Blackwell and Kieran Scott       $50
A new edition with new women, in a pleasing smaller format. 200 women from around the world, famous or unknown, answer the same five questions, such as “What really matters to you?” and “What would you change in the world if you could?” New Zealand interviewees include, Jacinda Ardern, Louise Nicholas, Marilyn Waring, Damaris Coulter, Kimbra Johnson, Lydia Ko, Marama Fox, Eva McGauley and Karen Walker.

Sick: A memoir by Porochista Khakpour           $25
Chronic illness, misdiagnosis, addiction, the myth of recovery. Is this everyone's story?
“Porochista Khakpour’s powerful memoir, Sick, reads like a mystery and a reckoning with a love song at its core. Humane, searching, and unapologetic, Sick is about the thin lines and vast distances between illness and wellness, healing and suffering, the body and the self. Khakpour takes us all the way in on her struggle toward health with an intelligence and intimacy that moved, informed, and astonished me.” — Cheryl Strayed

Crowds and Party by Jodi Dean        $33

Can the upwelling of dissenting energy be shaped into a collective political force or party? Can politics come to be seen as an expression of the people rather than a disempowering force? 

The Art of the City: Rome, Florence, Venice by Georg Simmel        $25
Seminal works of psycho-geography, first published at the turn of the twentieth century (but only now in English), from a pioneer of urban sociology and precursor the the Frankfurt School. 
Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif         $33
When an American pilot crashes in the desert he must seek refuge in the very camp it had been his mission to bomb. 
"Red Birds is an incisive, unsparing critique of war and of America’s role in the destruction of the Middle East. It combines modern and ancient farcical traditions in thrilling ways." - Guardian
The Downtown Pop Underground: New York City and the literary punks, renegade artists, DIY filmmakers, mad playwrights, and rock 'n' roll glitter queens who revolutionised culture by Kembrew McLeod    $45

A rejection of received norms and practices and the creation of new forms of connection and creation reach a quantum intensity in New York during the 1960s and early 1970s. 

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah    $30
A sharply satirical and fantastical collection of stories revealing the depth and breadth of racism in contemporary US. 
"An excitement and a wonder: strange, crazed, urgent and funny." -George Saunders

Photos of the Sky by Saradha Koirala        $25

Koirala has that knack of creating depth with a simple few lines — she creates images that seem to arise without effort, ideas that quietly lift off the page to settle in the mind of the reader. A new collection from the poet of Tear Water Tea.

The Jamestown Brides: The untold story of story of England's 'maids for Virginia' by Jennifer Potter         $45

In 1621, fifty-six English women crossed the Atlantic in response to the Virginia Company of London's call for maids 'young and uncorrupt' to make wives for the planters of its new colony in Virginia. The English had settled there just fourteen years previously and the company hoped to root its unruly menfolk to the land with ties of family and children. While the women travelled of their own accord, the company was in effect selling them at a profit for a bride price of 150 lbs of tobacco for each woman sold. The rewards would flow to investors in the near-bankrupt company. But what did the women want from the enterprise? Why did they agree to make the dangerous crossing to a wild and dangerous land, where six out of seven European settlers died within their first few years - from dysentery, typhoid, salt water poisoning and periodic skirmishes with the native population? What happened to them in the end?