Saturday 30 November 2019

List #1: FICTION
Have a look through this selection of books we are recommending for summer reading and as seasonal gifts. Click through to read our reviews. Use the 'click and collect' function on our website to reserve your copies. 
If you don't find what you're looking for here, come and talk to us: we have many other interesting books on our shelves.

Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi         $28
In the village of al-Awafi in Oman, where we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries Abdallah after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla who rejects all offers while waiting for her beloved, who has emigrated to Canada. These three women and their families witness Oman evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex present. 
Winner of the 2019 Booker International Prize.

The Wind That Lays Waste by Selva Almada        $32
“What knocks me out about The Wind That Lays Waste—a novel that starts in the great pause before a storm—is how it delivers exactly that compressed pressurised electricity of a gathering thunderstorm: it sparks and sputters with live-wire tension. The story centres around a reverend who is evangelising across the Argentinian countryside with his teenage daughter, when their car breaks down. This act of God, or fate, leads them to an ageing, atheist mechanic and his young helper. As a long, strangely intimate day passes, curious tensions ebb and flow, until finally the storm breaks over the plains. Perfectly translated by Chris Andrews, this is a book for readers who like that metallic taste and the feeling of the hairs on the back of their necks rising.”—Barbara Epler
The Testaments ('The Handmaid's Tale' #2) by Margaret Atwood      $48
Unfortunately, the dystopia of Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale seems more plausible now than it was when the book was first published in 1985. The recent television series and the graphic novel are now followed by this sequel written by Atwood to further explore the workings of Gilead and to disclose what happens to Offred after the van door slams at the end of the first book. Atwood is one of the sharpest observers of power imbalances in human relationships and of injustice in society, and her books provide liberating ways of thinking about these issues. One of the most anticipated books of the year. 
Joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.
>>Read Stella's review
Malina by Ingeborg Bachmann           $30
In the wholly remarkable Malina, originally published in German in 1971, Bachmann draws the reader into a world stretched to the very limits of language. An unnamed narrator, a writer in Vienna, is torn between two men, who may or may not exist outside her head. Viewed through the tilting prism of obsession, she travels further into her own madness, anxiety — and genius. 
"If I was permitted to keep only one book it would be MalinaMalina has everything." —Claire-Louise Bennett
"Malina continually reveals new possibilities in literature and new impossibilities in living. The best book I've read this year." —Thomas
>>Read Thomas's review
The Divers' Game by Jesse Ball           $30
A strange, elegant and compelling new novel from the author of the Census (one of our favourite books of 2018). What happens when a society renounces the pretence of equality, when small acts of kindness are practically unknown, when what we would see as cruelty is sanctioned? This book is a subtle, spare and affecting meditation on violence, longing and beauty. 
>>Read Stella's review

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry         $33
Two middle-aged Irish gangsters in a Spanish port await a ferry from Tangier in their search for the wayward daughter of one of them. Barry is brilliant at catching the voices of the two, and at capturing lives that resonate with both pathos and humour. Charlie and Maurice are Barry's equivalents of Beckett's Vladimir and Estragon, opening depths of humanity despite their limitations as persons. 
"A true wonder." —Max Porter
"Visionary. What distinguishes the book beyond its humour, terror and the beauty of description is its moral perception." —Guardian
"Brilliantly funny and terrifying at once, I was completely lost inside its dark craziness. Barry blends glorious voluptuous prose with entrancing storytelling." —Tessa Hadley
>>Read Thomas's review
The Train Was On Time by Heinrich Böll      $26
First published in 1949, Böll's novel centres on the story of a German soldier, Andreas, taking a train from Paris (France) to Przemyśl (Poland). The story focuses on the experience of German soldiers during the Second World War on the Eastern Front where fighting was particularly vicious and unforgiving.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite      $33
A blackly comic novel about lies, love, Lagos, and how blood is thicker - and more difficult to get out of the carpet - than water. 
When Korede's dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what's expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This'll be the third boyfriend Ayoola's dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the fit doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede's long been in love with him, and isn't prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other.
Short-listed for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction
The New Me by Halle Butler         $25
30-year-old Millie is overwhelmed by her unexpressed feelings of rancour - to the extent that she cannot express or achieve anything.  "A skewering of the 21st-century American dream of self-betterment. Butler has already proven herself a master of writing about work and its discontents, the absurdity of cubicle life and office work in all of its dead ends. The New Me takes it to a new level." -The Millions
"A definitive work of millennial literature." - The New Yorker
“A dark comedy of female rage. Halle Butler is a first-rate satirist of the horror show being sold to us as Modern Femininity. She is Thomas Bernhard in a bad mood, showing us the futility of betterment in an increasingly paranoid era of self-improvement. Hilarious.” - Catherine Lacey
"Masterfully cringe-inducing. Makes the reader squirm and laugh out loud simultaneously.” —Chicago Tribune
All My Goodbyes by Mariana Dimópulos      $30
a novel told in overlapping vignettes, which follow the travels of a young Argentinian woman across Europe (Malaga, Madrid, Heidelberg, Berlin) and back to Argentina (Buenos Aires, Patagonia) as she flees from situation to situation, job to job, and relationship to relationship. Within the complexity of the narrator's situation, a backstory emerges about a brutal murder in Patagonia which she may or may not be implicated in, but whether this is the cause of her flight is never entirely clear — she is driven as much by psychological concerns, her relationship with her father, uncertainty about her identity and purpose in life.
>Read Stella's review
Murmur by Will Eaves           $23
A completely remarkable novel providing access to the mind of Alan Turing (here 'Alec Pryor') as he undergoes chemical castration after being convicted of homosexuality. Eaves's insights into the nature of consciousness and identity, and their implications for artificial intelligence, are subtle and humane. New edition. Highly recommended. 
"A really extraordinary book, unlike any other." —Max Porter
"A shining example of the moral and imaginative possibilities of the novel." —The Guardian
Winner of the 2019 Wellcome Prize. Co-winner of the 2019 Republic of Consciousness Prize. 
>>Read Thomas's review
Your Duck is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg         $35
Each of Eisenberg's perfectly poised, preternaturally aware, precisely composed  and enjoyable stories carries the heft and resonance of novels (and take her about as long to write). 
>>"Reality is not conventional."

>>"I do feel myself to be anaesthetised."
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann          $40
An Ohio mother bakes pies while the the world bombards her with radioactivity and fake facts. She worries about her children, caramelisation, chickens, guns, tardigrades, medical bills, environmental disaster, mystifying confrontations at the supermarket, and the best time to plant nasturtiums. She regrets most of her past, a million tiny embarrassments, her poverty, the loss of her mother, and the genocide on which the United States was founded. Lucy Ellmann's scorching indictment of the ills of modern life is also a plea for kindness, a remarkable virtuoso sentence, and an unforgivably funny evocation of the relentlessness of one person's thoughts. 
"A triumph." —Guardian
Winner of the 2019 Goldsmiths Prize. 
>>Read Thomas's review
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo         $40
A novel in which twelve interconnected stories chart the lives and experiences of black women in contemporary Britain.   
"Bernadine Evaristo can take any story from any time and turn it into something vibrating with life." —Ali Smith
"Bernadine Evaristo is one of those writers who should be read by everyone, everywhere. Her tales marry down-to-earth characters with engrossing storylines about identity and the UK today." —Elif Shafak
Joint winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.
Scented by Laurence Fearnley          $38
Can a person's life and identity by captured or constructed by the careful creation of a signature perfume? What would a novel be like if it was constructed according to the sense of smell? A new novel from the author of The Hut Builder, Edwin and Matilda and The Quiet Spectacular

This is Pleasure by Mary Gaitskill         $17
"In fewer than 100 pages, Gaitskill achieves a superb feat. She distils the suffering, anger, reactivity, danger and social recalibration of the #MeToo movement into an extremely potent, intelligent and nuanced account. She pares a single story from the chorus of condemnations, with their similarities, varieties, truths and perceptions, and through select incidents and emotional focus we see the complex details of the wider picture. It takes an expert in short fiction to condense such a difficult subject, while allowing the reader interpretive space. Gaitskill is phenomenally gifted at the metaphysical microcosmic. She makes the abstruse world clearer. There are many ways the topic will be tackled in literature. This Is Pleasure sensitively and confidently holds its fury, momentum, contrary forces and imperfect humanity within a perfect frame." —Sarah Hall, Guardian
Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah         $33
The story of the body of Bwana Daudi, 'the Doctor', the explorer David Livingstone — and the sixty-nine men and women who carried his remains for 1,500 miles so that he could be borne across the sea and buried in his own country. In Petina Gappah's novel, it is those in the shadows of history — those who saved a white man's bones; his faithful retinue on an epic funeral march — whose voices are conjured. 
"Engrossing, beautiful and deeply imaginative." —Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing

Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh            $38
Bengali legend meets history meets politics meets adventure as Ghosh breaks new ground in this novel addressing crises of our time: climate change and migration. The novel is his first since The Great Derangement, his book that examines our inability — at the level of literature, history, and politics — to grasp the scale and violence of climate change.

Granta #148: Summer fiction           $28
New fiction from Andrew O'Hagan, Elif Shafak, Adam Foulds, David Means, Jem Day Calder, Magododi OuMphela Makhene, Caroline Albertine Minor, Thomas Pierce, Adam O'Fallon Price, Amor Towles. And Tom Bamforth on the refugee camp in Bangladesh known as 'Cox's Bazaar'.

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday         $23
A tripartite story of relationships across boundaries of age, gender, politics and nationality.
“Asymmetry is extraordinary. Halliday has written, somehow all at once, a transgressive roman a clef, a novel of ideas and a politically engaged work of metafiction.” — The New York Times Book Review
"A scorchingly intelligent first novel...Asymmetry will make you a better reader, a more active noticer. It hones your senses." - The New York Times
"A book unlike any you've read." - Chuck Harbach
>>Read Stella's review
Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick         $23
First published in 1979, Sleepless Nights is a unique collage of fiction and memoir, letters and essays, portraits and dreams. Hardwick's experience of living in the twentieth century is indelibly presented in the most remarkable sentences. 
"A series of fleeting images and memories united by the high intelligence and beauty of Hardwick's prose." —Sally Rooney
"Extraordinary and haunting." —Joan Didion
""Brilliant, brittle and strange, unlike any preconceived notion of what a novel could be. Few new books have felt so revolutionary or so brave." —Lauren Groff
"A novel of mental weather that enchants by the scrupulousness and zip of the narrative voice, its lithe, semi-staccato descriptions and epigrammatic dash." —Susan Sontag
>>Read Thomas's review
I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman        $26
"I am the sterile offspring of a race about which I know nothing, not even whether it has become extinct.'' Deep underground, thirty-nine women live imprisoned in a cage. Watched over by guards, the women have no memory of how they got there, no notion of time, and only vague recollection of their lives before. As the burn of electric light merges day into night and numberless years pass, a young girl — the fortieth prisoner — sits alone and outcast in the corner. Soon she will show herself to be the key to the others' escape and survival in the strange world that awaits them above ground. A compelling feminist science fiction novel, first published in Belgium in 1997.
"A small miracle." —The New York Times
>>Read Stella's review
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes        $35
A fiercely feminist novel of the Trojan War, seen through the eyes of the women and goddesses caught up in it.

Pūrākau: Māori myths retold by Māori writers edited by Whiti Hereaka and Witi Ihimaera     $38
An important new collection, written by Jacqueline Carter, David Geary, Patricia Grace, Briar Grace-Smith, Whiti Hereaka, Keri Hulme, Witi Ihimaera, Kelly Joseph, Hemi, Kelly, Nic Low, Tina Makereti, Kelly Ana Morey, Paula Morris, Frazer Rangihuna, Renee, Robert Sullivan, Apirana Taylor, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Clayton Te Kohe, Hone Tuwhare and Briar Wood.

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman       $38
When Ettie the Rabbi's daughter conjures a golem named Ava to protect Lea from the Nazis, can the three of them do more good than just survive? Can they even survive?
"Hoffman's exploration of the world of good and evil, and the constant contest between them, is unflinching. The book builds and builds, as she weaves together, seamlessly, the stories of people in the most desperate of circumstances - and then it delivers with a tremendous punch." —Elizabeth Strout

The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson        $34
“Wilson’s Odyssey feels like a restoration of an old, familiar building that had over the years been encrusted with too much gilt. She scrapes away at old encrusted layers, until she exposes what lies beneath.” - Financial Times
"This translation will change the way the poem is read in English." - The Guardian
"Wilson's project is basically a progressive one: to scrape away all the centuries of verbal and ideological buildup — the Christianising (Homer predates Christianity), the nostalgia, the added sexism (the epics are sexist enough as they are), and the Victorian euphemisms — to reveal something fresh and clean." - NPR
Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt       $38
The much anticipated autofictional novel from the author of What I Loved. The process by which an author looks back on her earlier self and turns their mutual regard into fiction is utterly compelling. 
"Among the many riches of Siri Hustvedt's portrait of a young woman finding her way as an artist are her reflections on how acts of remembering, if they reach deep enough, can heal the broken present, as well as on the inherent uncanniness of feeling oneself brought into being by the writing hand. Her reflections are no less profound for being couched as philosophical comedy of a Shandean variety." - J. M. Coetzee
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James          $38
Marlon James follows his remarkable 2015 Man Booker-winning A Brief History of Seven Killings with this remarkable fusion of African mythology, history and fantasy. 
"Black Leopard, Red Wolf is the kind of novel I never realized I was missing until I read it. A dangerous, hallucinatory, ancient Africa, which becomes a fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made, with language as powerful as Angela Carter's." —Neil Gaiman
>>Read Stella's review. 

Stillicide by Cynan Jones           $33
Jones turns his spare, effective prose to good effect in this devastating climate change novel. Water is commodified. The Water Train that serves the city increasingly at risk of sabotage. As news breaks that construction of a gigantic Ice Dock will displace more people than first thought, protestors take to the streets and the lives of several individuals begin to interlock. A nurse on the brink of an affair. A boy who follows a stray dog out of the city. A woman who lies dying. And her husband, a marksman: a man forged by his past and fearful of the future, who weighs in his hands the possibility of death against the possibility of life.

"Urgent." —Guardian 
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones         $26
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of the American Dream. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. Until one day they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Devastated and unmoored, Celestial finds herself struggling to hold on to the love that has been her centre, taking comfort in Andre, their closest friend. When Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, he returns home ready to resume their life together.
Winner of the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction. 
“The prose is luminous, striking and utterly moving." —Judges' citation
For the Good Times by David Keenan        $33
Keenan's madcap and brutal novel hinges on the comradery between the members of a Provisional IRA cell in Belfast in the 1970s, whose madcap and brutal activities include kidnap, violence, arguing about the relative merits of Perry Como and Frank Sinatra, and running a comics shop. Interesting to read in comparison with Anna Burns's Milkmanalso set in Catholic Belfast in the 1970s. 

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox       $35
The much-anticipated new novel from Elizabeth Knox is an epic fantasy that draws us deep into actuality, and is a book powerful on many levels. 
"An angelic book, an apocalyptic book, an astounding book." —Francis Spufford
"The master is present. To read Knox on such a huge canvas – to be immersed in her worlds, wrapped in her intelligence and craft so completely – is an experience not to be missed. Lessing, Le Guin, Knox – books where the best hearts meet the best minds meet the best imaginations are few and far between. The Absolute Book is a triumph of fantasy grounded in the reality and challenges of the moment we live in." —Pip Adam
>>Read Stella's review.
The Penguin Book of Italian Short Stories edited by Jhumpa Lahiri       $55
An excellent, wide and thoughtful selection, beautifully presented. More than half the stories appear here in English for the first time. 
Lonely Asian Woman by Sharon Lam      $29
Paula is lazy young woman mired in a rut. In the shallows of the internet she is pushed to a moment of profound realisation: she, too, is but a lonely Asian woman looking for fun. The debut novel of Wellington author Sharon Lam (currently living in Hong Kong) is a wildly sentimental book about a life populated by doubles and transient friends, whirrs of off-kilter bathroom fans and divinatory whiffs of chlorine. Lonely Asian Woman is not the story of a young woman coming to her responsibilities in the world. Funny from the first sentence on. 
>> Read an excerpt
The Wall by John Lanchester          $33
In a not-too-distant (and, metaphorically, not-too-different) future, Britain is surrounded by a vast wall that keeps out not only the higher seas that are the result of climate change, but also the refugees and other 'Others' who want to get in. In atrocious conditions, the walls are guarded by the young, but if any Others get in , the same number of Defenders are put adrift in the sea. Will Kavanagh and Hifa survive? 
"The Wall is something new: almost an allegory, almost a dystopian-future warning, partly an elegant study of the nature of storytelling itself. I was hugely impressed by it." - Philip Pullman
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner         $33
An insightful and well written novel about the impossibility of raising a son well in an age of toxic masculinity, from the author of pleasingly inventive Leaving the Atocha Station and 10:04
"A novel of exhilarating intellectual inquiry, penetrating social insight and deep psychological sensitivity. The future of the novel is here." —Sally Rooney
"The Topeka School is what happens when one of the most discerning, ambitious, innovative, and timely writers of our day writes his most discerning, ambitious, innovative and timely novel to date. It's a complete pleasure to read Lerner experimenting with other minds and times, to watch his already profound talent blooming into new subjects, landscapes, and capacities. This book is a prehistory of a deeply disturbing national moment, but it's written with the kind of intelligence, insight, and searching that makes one feel well-accompanied and, in the final hour, deeply inspired." —Maggie Nelson
"In Ben Lerner's riveting third novel, Midwestern America in the late nineties becomes a powerful allegory of our troubled present. The Topeka School deftly explores how language not only reflects but is at the very center of our country's most insidious crises. In prose both richly textured and many-voiced, we track the inner lives of one white family's interconnected strengths and silences. What's revealed is part tableau of our collective lust for belonging, part diagnosis of our ongoing national violence. This is Lerner's most essential and provocative creation yet." —Claudia Rankine
The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy         $37
Levy's new novel is both subtle and audacious, exposing power play on both personal and epochal levels in the story of a man hit twice by cars on the same crossing but in different decades, causing his life to turn under itself like a Möbius strip.
"Brilliant." —Sam Byers, Guardian

Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli        $37
A family from New York take a road trip into the parts of the US that used to be Mexico as a convoy of children approach the dangerous US border from the Mexican side, and an inhumane reception.
"Beautiful, pleasurable, engrossing, beguiling, brilliantly intricate and constantly surprising." - James Wood, New Yorker
"A mould-breaking new classic. The novel truly becomes novel again in Luiselli's hands - electric, elastic, alluring, new." - New York Times
"Valeria Luiselli offers a searing indictment of America's border policy in this roving and rather beautiful form-busting novel. Among the tale's many ruminative ideas about absences, vanished histories and bearing witness, it offers a powerful meditation on how best to tell a story when the subject of it is missing." - Daily Mail
"A novelist of a rare vitality." - Ali Smith
The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde         $38
From the author of The History of Bees comes another remarkable novel dealing with environmental catastrophe, this time a global shortage of water. Parallel narratives in 2019 and 2041 chart depths of human resilience, and reveal a love story, too. 
The Cockroach by Ian McEwan        $20
When Jim Sams woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed (from a cockroach) into the most powerful man in Britain. Once reviled by all, he now sets off to enact the will of the people. Nothing — legality, decency, common sense or the rules of parliamentary democracy — will stand in his way. Does this sound somehow familiar?
>>Read the first section

Machines Like Me by Ian McEwan           $37
Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In this alternative 1980s London, Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. What happens when a love triangle develops between these three? 

"Intelligent mischief." - Guardian 
>>Read Stella's review
The Father of Octopus Wrestling, And other small fictions by Frankie McMillan          $28
Darkly comic, surreal and full of explorations of human vulnerability and eccentricity.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado         $23
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
Auē by Becky Manawatu         $35
Auē is the sound of sorrow. Sorrow resonates through this multivocal novel about damaged childhoods and the strength that gets children through them. 
Auē is a novel I could not stop reading” —Renée

To Calais, in Ordinary Time by James Meek         $33
In a 14th century England a group of quite various individuals set off for France and into the oncoming disaster of the Black Death. 
"One of the many deep and destabilising pleasures Meek’s rich and strange new novel offers comes from trying to work out precisely what kind of a book – and what kind of a world – you are in at any particular moment. At the centre of this beautiful novel is an exploration of the difference between romance and true love, allegory and reality, history and the present. It plays out in unexpected and delightful ways." —Guardian

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern          $38
A strange old book in the library stacks sends its finder on a perplexing quest, including to a subterranean library. From the author of The Night Circus
Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss        $23
It is high summer in rural Northumberland. Seventeen-year-old Silvie and her parents have joined an encampment run by an archaeology professor with an interest in the region's dark history of ritual sacrifice. As Silvie finds a glimpse of new freedoms with the professor's students, her relationship with her overbearing father begins to deteriorate, until the haunting rites of the past begin to bleed into the present.

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez        $28
When a friend dies, a woman inherits his Great Dane. As she gets to know this dog, so large, so inconvenient, so representative of her grief, she comes to understand the dog's grief, too, and their lives begin to change in subtle ways.
 "Nunez's prose itself comforts us. Her confident and direct style uplifts--the music in her sentences, her deep and varied intelligence." - The New York Times 
US National Book Award winner.

Girl by Edna O'Brien             $33
"By an extraordinary act of the imagination we are transported into the inner world of a girl who, after brutal abuse as a slave to Nigerian jihadis, escapes and with dogged persistence begins to rebuild her shattered life. Girl is a courageous book about a courageous spirit." —J.M. Coetzee 

Selected Stories by Vincent O'Sullivan             $40
Thirty-five stories from seven collections published over forty years.
"For here is the artist, who, through the wide play and finish of his art, lit as it is by the bright loveliness of the world and its humours and warmth, its pleasures of the body and the mind, and by compassion and grace, can only give – of his wisdom, erudition, sensibility – in the utter, utter precision and delicacy of every sentence." —Kirsty Gunn
>>Read Kirsty Gunn' s perceptive assessment of O'Sullivan
An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma       $26
Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice. Bonded by this strange night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family, and when they officially object to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a small college in Cyprus. Once in Cyprus, he discovers that all is not what it seems. Furious at a world that continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further and further away from his dream, from Ndali and the place he called home. Partly based on a true story, An Orchestra of Minorities is also a contemporary twist on Homer’s Odyssey. In the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, Chigozie Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about the tension between destiny and determination.
Inland by Téa Obreht      $38
The Wild West might well be wilder than expected in this novel in which a woman waits with her youngest son and her husband's 17-year-old cousin for her husband to return from seeking water, and for her older sons to return after an argument. Is a mysterious beast stalking the land? What lies beyond the safety of the homestead? The decision is made to set off on an expedition that will change everything.
"This exquisite frontier tale from the author of The Tiger’s Wife is a timely exploration of the darkness beneath the American dream. Inland’s message is a rebuke to isolationist US policies written with a panache and heart." —Guardian
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa        $35
Hat, ribbon, bird, rose. 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?

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi        $38
A boundlessly imagined novel using fairy tale tropes, talking dolls, immigrants from forgotten countries and brushes with death to create a compelling and deeply satisfying story.
"A writer of sentences so elegant that they gleam." - Ali Smith
"Exhilarating. A wildly imagined, head-spinning, deeply intelligent novel." - The New York Times Book Review

"Is there an author working today who is comparable to Helen Oyeyemi? She might be the only contemporary author for whom it’s not hyperbole to claim she’s sui generis, and I don’t think it’s a stretch either to say she’s a genius, as opposed to talented or newsworthy or relevant or accomplished, each of her novels daring more in storytelling than the one before. After reading any of her novels or her short story collection, you emerge as if from a dream, your sense of how things work pleasurably put out of order. If we read procedurals to enjoy a sense of order restored, everything put it in its place, we read Oyeyemi for the opposite reason, yet she is no less suspenseful." - Los Angeles Review of Books
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett          $33
The much-anticipated new novel from the author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto: a story of love, family, sacrifice, and the power of place.
""Irresistible. As always, Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life rather than literature." —Guardian 

The Burning River by Lawrence Patchett      $30
In a radically changed Aotearoa New Zealand, Van's life in the swamp is hazardous. Sheltered by Rau and Matewai, he mines plastic and trades to survive. When a young visitor summons him to the fenced settlement on the hill, he is offered a new and frightening responsibility: a perilous inland journey that leads to a tense confrontation and the prospect of a rebuilt world.

Lanny by Max Porter        $30
The much anticipated new novel from the author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers taps deep veins of language and folklore as it tells of a young boy who becomes the focus of a mythical force. 
"It's hard to express how much I loved Lanny. Books this good don't come along very often. It's a novel like no other, an exhilarating, disquieting, joyous read. It will reach into your chest and take hold of your heart." - Maggie O'Farrell
>>Read Stella's and Thomas's reviews

The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann         $33
When Gilbert Silvester, a journeyman lecturer on beard fashions in film, awakes one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him, he flees - immediately, irrationally, inexplicably - for Japan. In Tokyo he discovers the travel writings of the great Japanese poet Basho. Suddenly, from Gilbert's directionless crisis there emerges a purpose: a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the poet to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima. Falling into step with another pilgrim - a young Japanese student called Yosa, clutching a copy of The Complete Manual of Suicide - Gilbert travels with Yosa across Basho's disappearing Japan, one in search of his perfect ending and the other the new beginning that will give his life meaning.
Short-listed for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize
"Almost miraculous in its successful blending of potentially clashing tones. The Pine Islands is a story that doesn’t tie up loose ends but leaves themes scattered as needles on the forest floor, allowing the reader to spot their patterns. The best approach to this beguiling, unpredictable book is to follow Gilbert’s advice on reciting poetry: 'to let it affect you, and simply accept it in all its striking, irrational beauty'." - The Guardian
The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine       $40
The Grammarians are Laurel and Daphne Wolfe, identical, inseparable redheaded twins who share an obsession with words. They speak a secret "twin" tongue of their own as toddlers; as adults making their way in 1980s Manhattan, their verbal infatuation continues, but this love, which has always bound them together, begins instead to push them apart. Daphne, copy editor and grammar columnist, devotes herself to preserving the dignity and elegance of Standard English. Laurel, who gives up teaching kindergarten to write poetry, is drawn, instead, to the polymorphous, chameleon nature of the written and spoken word. Their fraying twinship finally shreds completely when the sisters go to war, absurdly but passionately, over custody of their most prized family heirloom: Merriam Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition.
Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin            $33
Schweblin manages to bury deep into the darkest recesses of her characters' and her readers' minds and find some small detail that inverts their reading of their situations. These superb stories demonstrate how unexpected events and situations bring to the fore aspects of their characters that the characters had hitherto been unaware. 
>> Read Thomas's review of Schweblin's Fever Dream

The Tempest by Steve Sem-Sandberg        $33
Andreas Lehman returns to the island off the coast of Norway on which he grew up, and starts to unravel the secrets of his past. What was the island's owner's connection with the Nazis via the wartime Quisling government? What horrendous experiments were made upon the island's inhabitants? Well and tightly written, disconcerting and complex. 
>> Read Stella's review

A Mistake by Carl Shuker         $30
What happens when a surgeon makes a mistake? The consequences and the contributing factors of and to misadventure reach deeply into the personal and professional lives of those involved. Elizabeth Taylor's life has been defined by her perfectionism but now it is dominated by her mistake. 
>>Read Stella's review

Spring by Ali Smith          $34
What unites Katherine Mansfield, Charlie Chaplin, Shakespeare, Rilke, Beethoven, Brexit, the present, the past, the north, the south, the east, the west, a man mourning lost times, a woman trapped in modern times? Spring. The great connective. With an eye to the migrancy of story over time, and riffing on Pericles, one of Shakespeare's most resistant and rollicking works, Ali Smith tells the impossible tale of an impossible time. In a time of walls and lockdown Smith opens the door.
"Her best book yet." - Observer
>>Read Stella's review

Doggerland by Ben Smith           $33
Doggerland supposes a world in the not so distant future suffering the effects of climate change, pollution, surveillance  and decay. It tells the story of an old man (who isn't really that old) and a boy (who isn't really still a boy) living alone in a post apocalyptic world tending to a vast wind farm. 
"An unremittingly wet book, damp and cold and rusted, blasted by waves and tempests, but also warm, generous and often genuinely moving. It is a debut of considerable force, emotional weight and technical acumen." -Guardian
"The Road meets Waiting for Godot: powerful, unforgettable, unique." - Melissa Harrison
Grand Union by Zadie Smith        $38
Smith's first short story collection showcases her restless intellect, eclectic interests and verbal prowess, ranging through forms from Chekhovian neatness to autofiction to speculative delimitation. 

The Boyfriend by Laura Southgate        $30
The story of a young woman who finds herself subject to the gravitational field of a charismatic older man, The Boyfriend is a cautionary tale about blindly accepting traditional love narratives. This is a clear-eyed, dismaying and often hilarious examination of sexual desire, trauma and growth.
Winner of the 2018 Adam Foundation Prize. 
“This is a scalp-prickling dazzler of a novel, fizzing with quotable lines and remarkable characters—an astute comedy of manners combined with wrenching events that charts a new path through one of humanity’s oldest stories. Laura is an enormously exciting new writer.” —Emily Perkins
The Faculty of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg       $35
In April 1988, Valerie Solanas - the writer, radical feminist and would-be assassin of Andy Warhol - was discovered dead in her hotel room, in a grimy corner of San Francisco. She was 52, alone, penniless and surrounded by the typed pages of her last writings. Through imagined conversations and monologues, reminiscences and rantings, Stridsberg reconstructs this most intriguing and enigmatic of women, articulating the thoughts and fears that she struggled to express in life and giving a voice to the writer of the SCUM Manifesto.
>>Read Thomas's review

Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout          $35
Strout's new novel follows the lovably blunt Olive Kitteridge through the second half of her life, as she responds to changes both in her own life and in the wider community of Crosby, Maine. 
"Writing of this quality comes from an attention to reality so exact that it goes beyond a skill and becomes a virtue." —Hilary Mantel 

Muscle by Alan Trotter          $25
In a hard-boiled city of crooks, grifts and rackets lurk a pair of toughs: Box and _____. They're the kind of men capable of extracting apologies and reparations, of teaching you a chilling lesson. They seldom think twice, and ask very few questions. Until one night over the poker table, they encounter a pulp writer with wild ideas and an unscrupulous private detective, leading them into what is either a classic mystery, a senseless maze of corpses, or an inextricable fever dream.
"Muscle unfolds like a series of Russian dolls, each more Beckettian, winding and wonderful than the one before. Compelling enough to read in one gulping go." - Daisy Johnson
"Rare and accomplished - it teases out classic noir riffs and set-ups but in a language sinuous enough, and with invention ripe enough, to make them feel new." - Kevin Barry
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead          $35

Following his Booker Prize-winning The Underground Railroad, Whitehead unearths another shocking strand of US history, setting his novel in a hellish reform school in Jim-Crow-era Florida.
Doxology by Nell Zink          $33
No-one's sanity is safe from the pen (or, plausibly, keyboard) of novelist Nell Zink. This novel tackles the 90s music scene, hipsterdom, climate change and political misadventures on the minimal and maximal scale. It is hugely funny, audacious, sharp and indelible (as you would expect). 
"Doxology is superb. In terms of its author’s ability to throw dart after dart after dart into the center of your media-warped mind and soul, it’s the novel of the summer and possibly the year. It’s a ragged chunk of ecstatic cerebral-satirical intellection. It’s bliss." —The New York Times
>>Read Stella's review
Faber Stories series         $10 each
A nicely presented series of outstanding short stories from Kazuo Ishiguro, Djuna Barnes, Sally Rooney, Samuel Beckett, Flannery O'Connor, Robert Aickman, Edna O'Brien, P.D. James, Akhil Sharma, Sylvia Plath, and others. 


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