Friday, 2 February 2018
A few of the books that have arrived at VOLUME this week.
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas $35
In an increasingly plausible dystopian future America, women's reproductive rights have been overturned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers.
"Leni Zumas here proves she can do almost anything. Red Clocks is funny, mordant, baroque, political, poetic, alarming, and inspiring -not to mention a way forward for fiction now." - Maggie Nelson
"A lyrical and beautifully observed reflection on women's lives." — Naomi Alderman, The New York Times
>> Read an extract.
>> Keri Hulme is an object of her gratitude.
Wait Till You See Me Dance by Deb Olin Unferth $34
"Deb Olin Unferth's stories are so smart, fast, full of heart, and distinctive in voice - each an intense little thought-system going out earnestly in search of strange new truths. What an important and exciting talent." - George Saunders
"This book is an astonishment - strange, brainy and loaded with feeling. Deb Olin Unferth shows, with brilliant force, the startling vitality of the short story. She is a master." - Ben Marcus
" Wild, funny and wonderful." - Geoff Dyer
The Dark Dark by Samantha Hunt $32
Girls turning into women, women turning into deer, people becoming doubles of themselves and each other - Hunt's sharply written stories concern characters on the verge of becoming something else. From the author of Mr Splitfoot.
"The Dark Dark reads like a feminist manifesto threaded through imaginative fiction; it's the most evocative, impressive collection I've read this year." - The Paris Review
>> A sample story.
Out of Nothing by Daniel Locke and David Blandy $33
A wonderful colourful graphic for children, covering the whole of history, from the Big Bang to an imagined future, showing how human progress is achieved through a combination of observation, imagination and communication.
Birds, Art, Life, Death: A field guide to the small and significant by Kyo Maclear $35
Meeting an urban musician with a passion for birds, Maclear became fascinated by the relationship between creativity and nature. In the year that they spent together, Maclear began to apply the principles and approaches of birdwatching to other areas of life, and made some gently profound discoveries. What is the gift that the small and the particular can give us that we are usually too busy and too 'big picture' focused to see? A lovely book.
"Original, charming, a little eccentric even. The book is a delight." - Nigel Slater
My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs by Kazuo Ishiouro $13
Ishiguro's Nobel Prize Lecture contains reflections on his own novels, reveals his sources of inspiration, explores his ambivalent relationship with his birthplace of Japan (which he left at age five), and emphasises the importance of literature to the world.
The Adulterants by Joe Dunthorne $35
Ray mostly did not cheat on his pregnant wife. He only sometimes despises every one of his friends. And though his career as a freelance tech journalist is dismal and he spends his afternoons churning out third-rate listicles, he dreams of making a difference. But Ray is about to learn that his special talent is for making things worse. Joe Dunthorne dissects the urban millennial psyche of a man too old to be an actual millennial.
Black Edge: Inside information, dirty money, and the quest to bring down the most wanted man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar $28
A revelatory look at the grey zone in which so much of Wall Street functions, and a window into the transformation of the worldwide economy. This is a true-life legal thriller that takes readers inside the US government's pursuit of hedge fund accumulator Steven Cohen and his employees, and raises urgent questions about power and wealth.
Homesick for Another World by Otessa Moshfegh $26
Moshfegh's stories expose the limitless range of self-deception that human beings can employ and, at the same time, infuse the grotesque and outrageous with tenderness and compassion. From the author of the Booker-short-listed Eileen.
"Razor-sharp." - Zadie Smith
Geis 2: A Game Without Rules by Alexis Deacon $33
The struggle for power continues in Alexis Deacon's excellent supernatural medieval graphic fantasy series. The contenders find themselves divided against their will and thrown into a mysterious game. Exciting and well-drawn. Start with Geis #1.
From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The evolution of minds by Daniel C. Dennett $30
How and why did what we call consciousness evolve in what became humans? What does it mean to have a mind, and to what extent is individual consciousness a cultural (communal) phenomenon?
"Required reading for anyone remotely curious about how they came to be remotely curious." - Observer
The Right to Have Rights by Alastair Hunt, Stephanie DeGooyer, Werner Hamacher, Samuel Moyn and Astra Taylor $30
In the light of the refugee crisis, the relevance has never been greater for Hannah Arendt's observation that before people can enjoy any of the inalienable Rights of Man, and before there can be any specific rights to education, work, voting, there must first be such a thing as the right to have rights. This book is a thoughtful consideration of human vulnerability.
This Idea is Brilliant: Lost, overlooked and underappreciated scientific concepts everyone should know edited by John Brockman $35
206 leading thinkers answer the question, "What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?" Interesting.
Supercommunity: Diabolical togetherness beyond contemporary art edited by Julieta Aranda, Anton Vidokle and Brian Kuan Wood $37
"I am the supercommunity, and you are only starting to recognize me. I grew out of something that used to be humanity. Some have compared me to angry crowds in public squares; others compare me to wind and atmosphere, or to software." A project by e-flux for the Venice Biennale, identifying the naked power that is revealed when the complex of art, the internet and globalisation shed their utopian guises.
The Rise of Wolves by Kerr Thomson $19
Innis Munro is walking home across the bleak wilderness of Nin Island when he hears the chilling howl of a wolf. But there are no wolves on the island - not since they were hunted to extinction, centuries ago. He decides to investigate the history of his Scottish island home and accepts an ancient challenge.
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers $38
Mokhtar grew up in San Francisco, raised by Yemeni immigrant parents. As a young man he learned of the true origins of coffee making - an ancient art born in Yemen, the secret stolen by European colonisers - and became determined to resurrect the ancient art of Yemeni coffee. Mokhtar dedicated himself to coffee, quickly becoming one of the world's leading experts, the first Arab in the world to qualify as a 'Q Grader'. But while visiting Yemen on a research trip, he was caught in the maelstrom of sudden civil war. The US Embassy closed its doors, and so Mokhtar embarked on a nail-biting adventure - to escape the country with his precious coffee samples intact.
The Wizard and the Prophet: Two remarkable scientists and their conflicting visions of the future of our planet by Charles C. Mann $40
In 40 years, the earth's population will exceed 10 billion. Will the planet be able to sustain us? Mann examines our attitudes towards this issue by contrasting the approaches of two twentieth century scientists: the Prophets are those like William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed we must change our lifestyle to live within the available resources; and the Wizards, who believe, like Norman Borlaug, that scientific advances will enable us to expand the capacity of the planet to deliver our demands upon it.
The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser $20
Amy Lennox doesn't know quite what to expect when she and her mother pick up and leave Germany for Scotland, heading to her mother's childhood home of Lennox House on the island of Stormsay. Amy's grandmother, Lady Mairead, insists that Amy must read while she resides at Lennox House—but not in the usual way. It turns out that Amy is a book jumper, able to leap into a story and interact with the world inside. As thrilling as Amy's new power is, it also brings danger: someone is stealing from the books she visits, and that person may be after her life.
Three Cheers for Women! by Marcia Williams $30
The wonderfully idiosyncratic Marcia Williams illustrates the lives of over 70 inspirational women in comic-book style.
I Am Thunder and I Won't Keep Quiet by Muhammad Khan $20
Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem is passionate about writing and dreams of becoming a novelist. There's just one problem - her super-controlling parents have already planned her life out for her: Step 1) Get educated Step 2) Qualify as a doctor Step 3) Marry a cousin from Pakistan. Oh, and boyfriends are totally haram. No one is more surprised than shy Muzna when schoolmate Arif Malik takes an interest in her.
The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead $28
A channeling of sorts of the thoughts and experiences, hopes and disappointments of long-time and new residents of New York. From the author of The Underground Railroad.
"A tour de force." - The New York Times
The One Inside by Sam Shepard $35
When a man realises he is ayear older than his father was when he died, he is thrown into the fugue of memories and re-configured experience. Foreword by Patti Smith.
"The narrator seeks authenticity, even as he creates art and artifice as a metier. Masculinity and its perils, the primitive drama of sibling and father-son rivalry, are the wellsprings of Shepard's work." - The New York Times
Dyschronia by Jennifer Mills $35
One morning, the residents of a small coastal town somewhere in Australia wake to discover the sea has disappeared. One among them has been plagued by troubling visions of this cataclysm for years. Is she a prophet? Does she have a disorder that skews her perception of time? Or is she a gifted and compulsive liar?
"This is a novel that is daring, original and ambitious. And in its near-apocalyptic vision, there’s an awful beauty but also a cautious hope." - The Australian
Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakama $23
A boy is smitten with a woman who works at his local supermarket, but when he tells his friend of his crush his visits end and so, in some ways, does his childhood.
The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a changing India, and a hidden world of art by Barb Rosenstock and Claire Nivola $28
A picture book telling the story of the man who built the astounding sculpture park and rock gardens in Chandigarh.
>> A virtual tour.
Potter's Boy by Tony Mitton $22
Ryo witnesses a lone warrior scare bandits away from the village in which he has grown up, and sets his heart on training to become like the hero he saw. He has much to learn.
Witchborn by Nicholas Bowling $19
It's 1577. When her mother is burned at the stake for witchcraft, Alyce flees to London. But it isn't just witchfinders she has to worry about. Powerful political forces are also on her trail, dragging her into the feud between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. As Alyce struggles to understand her own powers, she is drawn into a web of secrets, lies and dark magic that will change the fate of England.
The Book of Seeds: A life-size guide to six hundred species from around the world by Paul Smith $70
An awe-inspiring survey to the planet's botanical diversity, with both life-size and much-greater-than-life-size photographs.
Insomniac City: New York, Oliver Sacks, and me by Bill Hayes $22
A tender and insightful portrayal of neurologist Oliver Sacks, and of the grief his partner felt after his death. Now in paperback.
What's Your Favourite Colour? by Eric Carle et al $19
Leading children's illustrators use their favourite colour and tell us why they like it.