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Driving to Treblinka: A long search for a lost father by Diana Wichtel $45
When Diana Wichtel moved to New Zealand as a child with her mother and siblings, her father, a Polish Jew who had jumped off the train to the Treblinka extermination camp in World War II and who had hidden from the Nazis for the rest of the war, failed to follow them as planned. In adulthood, Wichtel began to wonder what had become of him, both before and after his brief presence in her life. Her search for answers led towards the Warsaw ghetto and to consider the ongoing consequences of trauma. Very well written.
>> Wichtel talks to Kim Hill.
Salt Picnic by Patrick Evans $30
It's 1956 and Iola arrives on the island of Ibiza, on the fringes of Franco's Spain, with little more than a Spanish phrasebook and an imagination shaped by literature and movies. Soon she meets a fascinating American photographer who falls in and out of focus: is he really a photographer, and who exactly is the German doctor he keeps asking her about? Nothing is stable or quite as it seems, and the mysterious doctor, when he appears, takes Iola for a picnic on a salt island, where she is brought close to a brighter, harsher reality.
From the author of Gifted.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the elements of good cooking by Samin Nosrat $55
Learn to cook instinctively by increasing your awareness of four variables and learning how their interaction can achieve delicious results whatever the ingredients.
"Samin Nosrat has managed to summarize the huge and complex subject of how we should be cooking in just four words. Everyone will be hugely impressed." - Yotam Ottolenghi
>> In her own words.
Dunbar by Edward St Aubyn $34
A contemporary rewriting of King Lear, as part of the 'Hogarth Shakespeare' series, from the acid-tipped pen of one of the sharpest (and blackly funniest) satirists of contemporary mores. Henry Dunbar has handed over control of his global media corporation to his two eldest daughters and is stuck in his dotage in a care home in the Lake District. When he escapes into the hills, who will find him first, the two daughters keen to strip him of his estate or his youngest daughter, Florence?
"Of all the novelist and play matches in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, that of Edward St Aubyn with King Lear seems the finest. Shakespeare’s blackest, most surreal and hectic tragedy sharpened by one of our blackest, most surreal and hectic wits. Our ur-text about the decay of patriarchal aristocratic power reimagined by a writer whose central subject is the decay of male aristocratic power." - Guardian
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan $38
Egan follows the Pulitzer-winning A Visit from the Goon Squad with this historical novel set in Depression era and post-Depression era New York, a period in which modern American history was put on a new track.
"This is a novel that will pull you in and under and carry you away on its rip tides. Its resonances continue to wash over the reader long after the novel ends." - Guardian
This Little Art by Kate Briggs $45
A completely absorbing consideration of the processes, impetus, experience and results of translating.
>> Translation in the first person.
Mrs Osmond by John Banville $37
In this sequel to Henry James's A Portrait of a Lady, Banville assumes not only James's mantle but his eye and pen.
“When I speak of style, I mean the style Henry James spoke of when he wrote that, in literature, we move through a blessed world, in which we know nothing except through style.” - John Banville
" Banville makes James something all his own." - Guardian
"Banville is one of the writers I admire the most - few people can create an image as beautifully or precisely." - Hanya Yanagihara (author of A Little Life)
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado $34
Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A sales assistant makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the dresses she sells. A woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest.
"Carmen Maria Machado is the best writer of cognitive dysphoria I’ve read in years. " - Tor
"Life is too short to be afraid of nothing." - Machado
The Longest Breakfast by Jenny Bornholt and Sarah Wilkins $30
Everyone wants something different for breakfast, but what will Malcolm give them? A lovely story.
Hoard by Fleur Adcock $25
Images, moments, feelings, persons. Hoard acts as a great poetic sieve, scooped through Adcock's life in New Zealand and the UK, through her reading, dreams and relationships.
Japan Easy: Classic and easy Japanese recipes to cook at home by Tim Anderson $37
Appealingly presented, fun to use, full of authentically easy and manifestly delicious dishes, each with an easiness rating (ranging from "not so difficult" to "so not difficult").
>> You can make this.
Good Night, Sleep Tight, Eleven-and-a-half good night stories with Fox and Rabbit by Kristina Andres $35
Fox and Rabbit live quite far away, in a bright little house beyond the molehills. In each of these 11-and-a-half stories they try new ways to go to sleep and say good night. Sometimes they swing from the ceiling.
What You Did Not Tell: A Russian past and the journey home by Mark Mazower $55
It was a family that fate drove into the siege of Stalingrad, the Vilna ghetto, occupied Paris, and even into the ranks of the Wehrmacht. Mazower's British father was the lucky one, the son of Russian Jewish emigrants who settled in London after escaping the civil war and revolution. Max, the grandfather, had started out as a socialist and manned the barricades against tsarist troops, but never spoke of it. His wife, Frouma, came from a family ravaged by the Great Terror yet somehow making their way in Soviet society. How did the confluence of these histories form the person Mark Mazower is?
The Hidden Ways: Scotland's forgotten ways by Alistair Moffat $45
Centuries of people moving about have left tracks on the landscape, many of them almost erased by other land use and movement patterns. Moffat follows some Roman roads, pilgrims' ways, drove roads, turnpikes, ghost railroads and sea roads to evoke for us a different and often surprising view of landscape and history.
Wolfy by Gregoire Solotareff $30
A wolf who has never seen a rabbit and a rabbit who has never seen a wolf become the best of friends. What happens when they play at scaring each other?
>> And here they are!
The Darkening Age: The Christian destruction of the Classical world by Catherine Nixey $38
Nixey shows that, far from being meek, the early Christians set about destroying as much of Classical culture as possible, and repressing, persecuting and murdering those who disagreed with their new religion.
Belonging: The story of the Jews, 1492-1900 by Simon Schama $40
"Simon Schama takes the reader through a grand sweep of Jewish history, but he makes it so personal you begin to feel you know the men and women whose lives shine out from the pages, and their foibles, and you get a sense of the fragility of their lives and their determination to survive. It's a brilliant piece of work" - Rabbi Julia Neuberger
"Profoundly illuminating." - Guardian
Short-listed for the 2017 Baillie-Gifford Prize.
>> An interview with Schama.
The Inner Life of Animals: Surprising observations of a hidden world by Peter Wohlleben $38
The aspects of ourselves that we hold as being the most human are in fact the ones that we share most widely with other animals.
From the author of The Hidden Life of Trees.
Pissing Figures, 1280-2014 by Jean-Claude Lebensztejn $20
An incisive illustrated essay on urinating figures in figurative and sculptural art.
>> No urinating in the streets of Belgium.
Hard Frost: Structures of feeling in New Zealand literature, 1908-1945 by John Newton $40
What is the relationship between Modernism and the development of literary nationalism in New Zealand? As colonial mores receded and gender and sexuality identities became more diverse, what did this mean for the production and reception of literature? Our literary history is not just about texts, but is a forgotten history of feelings and changing modes of experience.
Alt-America: The rise of the radical right in the age of Trump by David Neiwert $27
The appearance in the political arena of white supremacists, xenophobes, militia leaders, and mysterious 'Alt-Right' leaders was not as sudden as it might have seemed.
Louis Undercover by Isabelle Arsenault $45
A beautifully executed graphic novel telling of a sensitive boy's coming-to-terms with the complexities of the relationships within a family riven by unhappiness.
The Reader ('Sea of Ink and Gold' #1) by Traci Chee $23
Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin's been taken. The only clue to both her aunt's disappearance and her father's murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realise is a book, an item unheard of in her illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed.
If All the Seas Were Ink by Ilna Kurshan $45
A personal account of daily study of the Talmud, which contains the teachings and opinions of thousands of rabbis (dating from before the Common Era through the fifth century CE) on a variety of subjects, including Halakha (law), Jewish ethics, philosophy, customs, history, lore and many other topics. Can a life be entirely governed by text?
New Zealand Between the Wars edited by Rachael Bell $45
In shedding the last vestiges of colonial society in exchange for the trappings of a modern democratic nation, the 1920s and 1930s in New Zealand set a blueprint for state intervention and assistance that remained unchallenged for the next 50 years.
A selection of non-fiction and journalism, with topics ranging from sport to pornography to Princess Di.
"Amis is as talented a journalist as he is a novelist, but these essays all manifest an unusual extra quality, one that is not unlike friendship. He makes an effort; he makes readers feel that they are the only person there." - Rachel Cusk
Undreamed of... 50 years of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship by Priscilla Pitts and Andrea Hotere $60
Since Michael Illingworth assumed the first fellowship in 1966, Otago University has hosted a sequence of outstanding New Zealand artists. This book surveys, therefore, the changing flavour of New Zealand art in the last half century, and is supported with reproductions, commentaries and interviews.
Kahurangi Stories: More tales from North-West Nelson by Gerard Hindmarsh $40
A compelling blend of social and natural history, featuring a string of memorable characters from the back-country.
Cork Dork: A wine-fuelled journey into the art of sommeliers and the science of taste by Bianca Bosker $25
"A brilliant feat of screwball participatory journalism." - Jay McInerney
Quarrels with Himself: Essays on James K. Baxter as a prose writer edited by Peter Whiteford and Geoffrey Miles $40
Baxter's prose (like his poetry) wrestled with contradictions, anxieties and competing impulses - just as he wrestled with the society in which he lived, or from which he withdrew.
Essays by Janet Wilson, Sharon Matthews, Paul Millar, Lawrence Jones, John Davidson, Nicholas Wright, Hugh Roberts, Kirstine Moffat, Paul Morris, Doreen D'Cruz, Peter Whiteford, and Greg O'Brien
The Burning Hours by Kushana Bush $59
With influences ranging from illuminated manuscripts, Persian miniatures, naive artists, European art history and popular culture, this Dunedin artist's distinctive work teems with figures and throngs with disconcerting detail.
>> Visit the artist's website.