Saturday 28 November 2020

 List #1: FICTION

We recommend these books as seasonal gifts and for summer reading. Click through to our website to reserve or purchase your copies—we will have them delivered anywhere or aside for collection. Let us know if you would like them gift-wrapped. 
If you don't find what you're looking for here, browse our website, e-mail us, or come and talk to us: we have many other interesting books on our shelves

Nothing to See by Pip Adam         $30
The new novel from the winner of the 2018 Acorn Prize for Fiction unsettles as it compels, undermining the reader's conceptions of the workings of reality in the age of surveillance capitalism. Adam both attracts and deflects attention to her characters, effective or abandoned doubles, shrinking from the twin monstrosities of alcohol and boredom in a novel both mathematical and disconcerting. 
"Adam has advanced even further as a writer. There is an evenness to her writing that is hypnotic rather than monotonous, steady rather than flat, and the sustained melancholy recalls the sadder end of science-fiction — films like Her and Never Let Me Go. At its heart, this is a novel about shame, loneliness, about wanting to do good and hoping for second chances — or third or fourth chances. It’s about finding new ways of being. That it can cover all this, and be deeply affecting as it does so, while also pushing at the traditional limits of fiction, is a real achievement." —Philip Mathews (ANZL)

The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar        $30
Set in Iran in the decade following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this novel is narrated by the ghost of Bahar, a 13-year-old girl whose family is compelled to flee their home in Tehran for a new life in a small village, hoping in this way to preserve both their intellectual freedom and their lives. But they soon find themselves caught up in the post-revolutionary chaos that sweeps across the country, a madness that affects both living and dead, old and young.
"The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree speaks of the power of imagination when confronted with cruelty, and of our human need to make sense of the world through the ritual of storytelling. Through her unforgettable characters and glittering magical realist style, Azar weaves a timely and timeless story that juxtaposes the beauty of an ancient, vibrant culture with the brutality of an oppressive political regime." —judges' citation, 2020 International Booker Prize

Bug Week by Airini Beautrais              $30
A scalpel-sharp short story collection: A science educator in domestic chaos fetishises Scandinavian furniture and champagne flutes. A group of white-collar deadbeats attend a swinger's party in the era of drunk Muldoon. A pervasive smell seeps through the walls of a German housing block. A seabird performs at an open-mic night. 

A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom by John Boyne         $37
Some stories are universal. Some are unique. They play out across human history. This story starts with a family. For now, it is a father and a mother with two sons. One with his father's violence in his blood. One with his mother's artistry. One leaves. One stays. They will be joined by others whose deeds will determine their fate. It is a beginning. Their stories will intertwine and evolve over the course of two thousand years. They will meet again and again at different times and in different places. From Palestine at the dawn of the first millennium and journeying across fifty countries to a life among the stars in the third, the world will change around them, but their destinies remain the same. Can this pattern be escaped? An astounding new novel from the author of The Heart's Invisible FuriesA History of Loneliness and A Ladder to the Sky. 
"John Boyne brings a completely fresh eye to the most important stories. He is one of the greatest craftsmen in contemporary literature." —Colum McCann
>>Read Stella's review. 

The Adventures of China Iron by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara      $38
A remarkable reimagining of Argentina's macho national origin myth from a female perspective; a joyful, hallucinatory journey across the pampas of 19th century.
"The Adventures of China Iron sets British industry and Argentine expansion against the sisterhood of the wagon and an indigenous society of fluid genders and magic mushrooms. Sentences bound on from one page to another, seeming almost as long as the vignette-like chapters, in a thrilling and mystical miniature epic. This story, drunk on words and visions, is an elegy to the land and its lost cultures." —Guardian

Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey       $35
The compelling new novel from the author of The Wish Child. The eyes of the wife of the new Buchenwald concentration camp administrator are opened to the actualities of her situation when she forms an alliance with one of the inmates, the inventor of a machine he claimed would cure cancer. Whether the machine works or not, it may yet save a life...
"Chidgey's compellingly gentle and empathetic treament of the consequences of very disturbing patterns of human behaviour serves to maintain her position as one of our 'must read' novelists." —Otago Daily Times

Shakti by Rajorshi Chakraborti          $36
Amid a political climate of right-wing, nationalist leadership, three very different women in the city of Calcutta find themselves gifted with magical powers that match their wildest dreams. There is one catch — the gifts come with a Faustian price. 
"Chakraborti has embarked on one of the most interesting career trajectories seen in recent times." —The Sunday Guardian
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>>Read Stella's review

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke           $30
An astounding new novel, reaching right to the shared core of fantasy and loneliness, from the author of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.  Piranesi's house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house. There is one other person in the house—a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.
"A remarkable feat, not just of craft but of reinvention." —Guardian

Dance Prone by David Coventry              $35
The much-anticipated new novel from the author of The Invisible MileDuring their 1985 tour, two events of hatred and stupidity forever change the lives of a band's four members. Neues Bauen, a post-hardcore Illinois group homing in on their own small fame, head on with frontman Conrad Wells sexually assaulted and guitarist Tone Seburg wounded by gunshot. The band staggers forth into the American landscape, investigating each of their relationships with history, memory, authenticity, and violence. With decades passed and compelled by his wife's failing health to track down Tone, Conrad flies to North Africa where her brother is rumoured to be hiding with a renowned artist from their past. There he instead meets various characters including his former drummer, Spence. Amongst the sprawl and shout of Morocco, the men attempt to recall what happened to them during their lost years of mental disintegration and emotional poverty.
"A gorgeous panegyric to the purity, poison and impossibly high stakes of punk. Funny, filthy, erudite and rude." —Carl Shuker
>>VOLUME feature
>>Read Stella's review. 

The Innocents by Michael Crummey       $23
A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland's northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family's boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them. As they fight for their own survival through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested. The long-awaited new novel from the author of the wonderful Sweetland

The Silence by Don DeLillo          $30
Five people are meeting for dinner in a Manhattan apartment, but when all the screens go dark they are forced to face what is left of themselves without the internet. 
"DeLillo is a master stylist, and not a word goes to waste. DeLillo looks for the future as it manifests in the present moment." —Anne Enright, Guardian
"Mysterious and unexpectedly touching. DeLillo offers consolation simply by enacting so well the mystery and awe of the real world." —Joshua Ferris, The New York Times Book Review
"DeLillo has almost Dayglo powers as a writer." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Brilliant and astonishing...a masterpiece...manages to renew DeLillo's longstanding obsessions while also striking deeply and swiftly at the reader's emotions...The effect is transcendent." --Charles Finch, Chicago Tribune

Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi             $35
In her youth, Tara was wild. She abandoned her loveless marriage to join an ashram, endured a brief stint as a beggar (mostly to spite her affluent parents), and spent years chasing after a dishevelled, homeless 'artist' - all with her young child in tow. Now she is forgetting things, mixing up her maid's wages and leaving the gas on all night, and her grown-up daughter is faced with the task of caring for a woman who never cared for her.
"Taut, unsettling, ferocious." —Fatima Bhutto
"Crystalline, surgical, compulsively readable. An examination of toxic relationships and the ties that bind us." —Sharlene Teo
"Raw, wise and cuttingly funny on love and cruelty, marriage and motherhood, art and illness, and one woman's fight for her sense of self." —Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
>>Read Stella's review

Actress by Anne Enright         $35
Looking back on her mother's life and career as an actor, both in Ireland and in Hollywood, a woman finds herself reassessing her own life and her relationship with her parents. 
"This novel achieves what no real actor’s memoir could. Enright triumphs as a chameleon: memoirist, journalist, critic, daughter – her emotional intelligence knows no bounds. This is a study of possession that includes the subtly implied pain of having to share your mother with a crowd." —Guardian

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante          $37
Giovanna's pretty face has changed: it's turning into the face of an ugly, spiteful adolescent. But is she seeing things as they really are? Into which mirror must she look to find herself and save herself? She is searching for a new face in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, which professes to be a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, the city seems to offer no answer and no escape. An astounding new novel from the author of the quartet that began with My Brilliant Friend
"An astonishing, deeply moving tale of the sorts of wisdom, beauty and knowledge that remain as unruly as the determinedly inharmonious faces of these women." —Guardian

No Man's Land by A.J. Fitzwater          $30
Dorothea 'Tea' Gray joins the Land Service and is sent to work on a remote farm in North Otago, one of many young women who filled the empty shoes left by fathers and brothers serving in the Second World War. But Tea finds more than hard work and hot sun in the dusty North Otago nowhere—she finds a magic inside herself she never could have imagined, a way to save her brother in a distant land she never thought she could reach, and a love she never knew existed. Inspired by feminist and LGBTQ+ history and family wartime memories, A.J. Fitzwater has turned a piece of forgotten women's history into a tapestry of furious pride and love that crosses cultures, countries and decades.

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan             $37
In a world of perennial fire and growing extinctions, Anna's aged mother is dying—if her three children would just allow it. Condemned by their pity to living she increasingly escapes through her hospital window into visions of horror and delight. When Anna's finger vanishes and a few months later her knee disappears, Anna too feels the pull of the window. She begins to see that all around her others are similarly vanishing, but no one else notices. All Anna can do is keep her mother alive. But the window keeps opening wider...
"This novel is a revelation and triumph, from a writer demonstrating, yet again, the depths of his talent, while revelling in a new, unfamiliar register. It is at once timely and timeless, full of despair but leavened by hope, angry and funny and sad and a bit magical. This book is vintage Flanagan. It is urgent and angry and fierce. But it is also a kind book, a sorrowful book. It is a book that offers notes of grace and gratitude in the face of beauty, asking its readers to be vigilant in how we take care of our world, of each other, of ourselves. Nothing disappears, it suggests, if we’re brave enough to pay it the attention and regard it deserves. What an astonishing book this is." —Sydney Morning Herald

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ni Ghriofa         $38
A blend of essay and autofiction exploring the inner life and the deep connection felt between two writers centuries apart. In the 1700s, an Irish noblewoman, on discovering her husband has been murdered, drinks handfuls of his blood and composes an extraordinary poem. In the present day, a young mother narrowly avoids tragedy. On encountering the poem, she becomes obsessed with its parallels with her own life, and sets out to track down the rest of the story. By reaching into the past and finding another woman's voice, a woman frees her own. 
>>VOLUME feature. 

Sprigs by Brannavan Gnanalingam         $35
It is Saturday afternoon and two boys’ schools are locked in battle for college rugby supremacy. Priya — a fifteen year old who barely belongs — watches from the sidelines. Then it is Saturday night and the team is partying, Priya's friends have evaporated and she isn't sure what to do. Gnanalingam's new novel addresses New Zealand's culture of masculinity, racism and sexual predation, and the ways in which institutions seem often to have priorities than acknowledging victims' needs.  

A Lover's Discourse by Xiaolu Guo            $35
An exploration of romantic love told through fragments of conversations between the two lovers. Playing with language and the cultural differences that her narrator encounters as she settles into life in a Britain still reeling from the Brexit vote, Xiaolu Guo shows us how this couple navigate these differences, and their relationship, whether on their unmoored houseboat or in a cramped and stifling flat share in east London. Full of resonances with Roland Barthes's book by the same name and with Xiaolu Guo's own novel A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again by M. John Harrison           $38
"That M. John Harrison is not a Nobel laureate proves the bankruptcy of the literary establishment. Austere, unflinching and desperately moving, he is one of the very great writers alive today. And yes, he writes fantasy and sf, though of a form, scale and brilliance that it shames not only the rest of the field, but most modern fiction." —China Mieville
Shaw had a breakdown, but he's getting himself back together. He has a single room, a job on a decaying London barge, and an on-off affair with a doctor's daughter called Victoria, who claims to have seen her first corpse at age fourteen. It's not ideal, but it's a life. Or it would be if Shaw hadn't got himself involved in a conspiracy theory that, on dark nights by the river, seems less and less theoretical. Victoria is up in the Midlands, renovating her dead mother's house. But what, exactly, happened to her mother? Why has the local waitress disappeared into a shallow pool in a field behind the house? And why is the town so obsessed with that old Victorian morality tale, The Water Babies? As Shaw and Victoria struggle to maintain their relationship, the sunken lands are rising up again, unnoticed in the shadows around them.
Winner of the 2020 Goldsmiths Prize.

The Harpy by Megan Hunter         $40
A man calls one afternoon with a shattering message for Lucy: his wife has been having an affair with Lucy's husband, he wants her to know. The revelation marks a turning point. Lucy and Jake decide to stay together, but in a special arrangement designed to even the score and save their marriage: she will hurt him three times. Jake will not know when the hurt is coming, nor what form it will take. As the couple submit to a delicate game of crime and punishment, Lucy herself begins to change, surrendering to a transformation of both mind and body from which there is no return.
"The Harpy is brilliant. Hunter imbues the everyday with apocalyptic unease. A deeply unsettling, excellent read." —Daisy Johnson
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>>Read Stella's review

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi       $20
In this sequel to the wildly popular Before the Coffee Gets Cold, four more customers avail themselves of the time-travelling offered by the Cafe Funiculi Funicula. 

People from My Neighbourhood by Hiromi Kawakami           $28
Take a story and shrink it. Make it tiny, so small it can fit in the palm of your hand. Carry the story with you everywhere, let it sit with you while you eat, let it watch you while you sleep. Keep it safe, you never know when you might need it. In Kawakami's super short 'palm of the hand' stories the world is never quite as it should be: a small child lives under a sheet near his neighbour's house for thirty years; an apartment block leaves its visitors with strange afflictions, from fast-growing beards to an ability to channel the voices of the dead; an old man has two shadows, one docile, the other rebellious; two girls named Yoko are locked in a bitter rivalry to the death. Short stories from the author of Strange Weather in Tokyo

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami          $38
A novel exploring the inner conflicts of an adolescent girl who refuses to communicate with her mother except through writing. Through the story of these women, Kawakami paints a portrait of womanhood in contemporary Japan, probing questions of gender and beauty norms and how time works on the female body.
>>Read Stella's review

Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann        $38
Kehlmann's resetting of the adventures of the folkloric prankster Tyll Ulenspiegel during the Thirty Years' War delivers a book that is funny, frightening, dirty, informative, both alien and familiar, and completely engrossing. 
"This energetic historical fiction, featuring a folkloric jester in a violent, superstitious Europe, is the work of an immense talent. It’s a testament to Kehlmann’s immense talent that he has succeeded in writing a powerful and accessible book about a historical period that is so complicated and poorly understood. He never pushes the parallels between present and past, but there are many ways in which this strife-torn Europe, fractured by religion, intolerance and war, is a reflection of our own times." —Guardian

Monsters in the Garden: An anthology of Aotearoa New Zealand science fiction and fantasy edited by Elizabeth Knox and David Larsen       $35
Casting its net widely, this anthology of Aotearoa-New Zealand science fiction and fantasy ranges from the satirical novels of the 19th-century utopians one of which includes the first description of atmospheric aerobreaking in world literature to the bleeding edge of now. Includes Godfrey Sweven, Janet Frame, Margaret Mahy, Maurice Gee, Patricia Grace, Owen Marshall, Phillip Mann, Witi Ihimaera, Keri Hulme, Juliet Marillier, Elizabeth Knox, Dylan Horrocks, Bernard Beckett, Anon, Craig Gamble, Danyl Mclauchlan, Pip Adam, Kirsten McDougall, Tina Makereti, Lawrence Patchett, Octavia Cade, Rachael Craw, Karen Healey, Jack Barrowman, Emma Martin, Samantha Lane Murphy, Jack Larsen, Tamsyn Muir, and some worried sheep
Red Pill by Hari Kunzru            $38
A writer on a residency in Berlin falls into a web of frightening associations through the internet. Red Pill is a novel about the alt-right, online culture, creativity, sanity and history. It tells the story of the 21st century through the prism of the centuries that preceded it, showing how the darkest chapters of our past haunt our present. More than anything, though, this is a novel about love and how it can endure in a world where everything else seems to have lost all meaning.    
>>Read Stella's review

The Swimmers by Chloe Lane       $30
Erin's mother has motor neurone disease and has decided to take her fate into her own hands. As Erin looks back at her twenty-six-year-old self, she can finally tell the story of the unimaginable task she faced one winter.
"The Swimmers has the kind of intelligent and beautiful quiet that explodes a brightness deep within the reader. It's an incredibly humane book that looks closely at love — not the easy, conventional love but the complicated, brutal love that invites us at once to forget ourselves and know ourselves completely. We are faulty and perfect in our faults. Sad and buoyant with our sorrows. I can't remember the last time I read a more generous book about care, courage and figuring it out." —Pip Adam

Strange Hotel by Eimear McBride         $33
The much-anticipated new novel from the author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing. A hotel room is a no-place that could be any place. When there, the occupant has only the forces of their past to provide momentum. Destabilised by loss, the protagonist becomes increasingly uncertain of her identity. 
"Strange Hotel evokes a precariousness that flits between the physical, the mental and the linguistic — specifically, the narrator’s identity as a woman. Reading Strange Hotel is indeed a matter of strange immersion, and one that will often puzzle and sometimes frustrate the reader, but its portrait of sadness and alienation is, in the end, also strangely revivifying." —The Guardian
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>>Read Thomas's review

The Animals in that Country by Laura Jean McKay         $37
Hard-drinking, foul-mouthed Jean is not good at getting on with other humans, apart from her beloved granddaughter, Kimberly. Instead, she surrounds herself with animals, working as a guide in a wildlife park. As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu — its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals — first mammals, then birds and insects, too.
>>Read Stella's review

Auē by Becky Manawatu        $35
Winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2020 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. Judges' commendation: "Auē, by first-time novelist Becky Manawatu, introduces readers to the orphaned Arama, who is deposited in rural Kaikōura with relatives, and his brother Taukiri, a young man fending for himself in the big smoke. There is violence and sadness and rawness in this book, but buoyant humour, too, remarkable insights into the minds of children and young men, incredible forgiveness and a massive suffusion of love. With its uniquely New Zealand voice, its sparing and often beautiful language, the novel patiently weaves the strands of its tale into an emotionally enveloping korowai, or cloak. In the words of Tara June Winch, 'There is something so assured and flawless in the delivery of the writing voice that is almost like acid on the skin.'”

The Mirror and the Light ('Wolf Hall' #3) by Hilary Mantel        $50
"If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?"*
The intensely and long-anticipated and superlatively wonderful conclusion of Mantel's trilogy based on the life of Thomas Cromwell (1485—1540).
*Apologies for the spoiler! 
"A novel of epic proportions, every bit as thrilling, propulsive, darkly comic and stupendously intelligent as its predecessors. This is a masterpiece that will keep yielding its riches, changing as its readers change, going forward with us into the future." —Guardian

2000ft Above Worry Level by Eamonn Marra           $30
"Eamonn Marra writes about trying to grow into a complete human being in a world that wants only selected parts of you. He does it better than anyone I can think of. His stories are thoughtful and introspective, but each contains a wallop of insight that comes from forgetting that anyone but you exists, and looking up to suddenly see someone close to you in a flash of complex vulnerability." —Annaleese Jochems

Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor          $37
The Witch is dead. After a group of children playing near the irrigation canals discover her decomposing corpse, the village of La Matosa is rife with rumours about how and why this murder occurred. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, Fernanda Melchor paints a moving portrait of lives governed by poverty and violence, machismo and misogyny, superstition and prejudice. 
"Brutal, relentless, beautiful, fugal, Hurricane Season explores the violent mythologies of one Mexican village and reveals how they touch the global circuitry of capitalist greed. This is an inquiry into the sexual terrorism and terror of broken men. This is a work of both mystery and critique. Most recent fiction seems anaemic by comparison." —Ben Lerner, author of The Topeka School

The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste        $33
A compelling novel concerning women soldiers defending Ethiopia during the Italian invasion of 1935. 
"Devastating." —Marlon James
"Magnificent." —Aminatta Forna

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell         $38
Utopia Avenue are the strangest British band you've never heard of. Emerging from London's psychedelic scene in 1967 and fronted by folksinger Elf Holloway, guitar demigod Jasper de Zoet and blues bassist Dean Moss, Utopia Avenue released only two LPs during its brief and blazing journey from the clubs of Soho and draughty ballrooms to Top of the Pops and the cusp of chart success, to glory in Amsterdam, prison in Rome and a fateful American fortnight in the autumn of 1968.
>>VOLUME feature. 

Summerwater by Sarah Moss       $35
On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. In twenty-four hours they reveal their capacity not only for kinship but for cruelty. 
"Moss’s ability to conjure up the fleeting and sometimes agonised tenderness of family life is unmatched. ... A great part of a novelist’s skill lies in the breadth of their sympathies and their ability to enter into the lives of people unlike themselves. Moss does this so naturally and comprehensively that at times her simple, pellucid prose and perfectly judged free indirect speech feel almost like documentary or nonfiction – there is an artfulness to her writing so accomplished as to conceal itself." —Guardian 
Earthlings by Sayaka Murata          $33
The remarkable new novel from the author of Convenience Store Woman. Natsuki isn't like the other girls. She has a wand and a transformation mirror. She might be a witch, or an alien from another planet. Together with her cousin Yuu, Natsuki spends her summers in the wild mountains of Nagano, dreaming of other worlds. When a terrible sequence of events threatens to part the two children forever, they make a promise: survive, no matter what. Now Natsuki is grown. She lives a quiet life with her asexual husband, surviving as best she can by pretending to be normal. But the demands of Natsuki's family are increasing, her friends wonder why she's still not pregnant, and dark shadows from Natsuki's childhood are pursuing her.

The Bell in the Lake by Lars Mytting          $38
The new novel from the author of The Sixteen Trees of the Somme (and Norwegian Wood), is fitted together live the staves of a Norwegian stave church. As long as people could remember, the stave church's bells had rung over the isolated village of Butangen, Norway. Cast in memory of conjoined twins, the bells are said to ring on their own in times of danger. In 1879, young pastor Kai Schweigaard moves to the village, where young Astrid Hekne yearns for a modern life. She sees a way out on the arm of the new pastor, who needs a tie to the community to cull favor for his plan for the old stave church, with its pagan deity effigies and supernatural bells. When the pastor makes a deal that brings an outsider, a sophisticated German architect, into their world, the village and Astrid are caught between past and future, as dark forces come into play.

Escape Path Lighting by John Newton         $25
Rock Oyster Island. It's a slack kind of place, but that's the way the locals like it: lifestyle farmers, pensioned-off bikers, seekers and healers, meth cooks and fishing guides. It's only a ferry ride to the city but the modern world feels blessedly remote. Working hard is not greatly valued. Mild Pacific sunshine pours down unfailingly. When Arthur Bardruin, fugitive poet, washes up on Marigold Ingle's beach, he dares to hope he may be safe from the gaze of the Continence Police. With Marigold and her parrot, Chuck, he finds an indulgent sanctuary. But the reach of aesthetic decorum is long. A chilly wind is blowing through Paradise. Meanwhile, at the Blue Pacific Wellness Farm, Juanita Diaz, Lacanian analyst, has problems with dissolute musician Frank Hortune, who has problems with his mother and a glad eye for Juanita's lover. Where did Chuck learn his bad-tempered Spanish? Can Juanita keep her man on the couch? Can Bardruin keep his trousers on? Will poetry be the winner on the day? John Newton's verse novel Escape Path Lighting is a throwaway epic, a romp, a curmudgeonly manifesto. Every blow rings true. 

Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell         $38
Set in a plague-stricken Elizabethan England, O'Farrell's tender and incisive novel looks at the effects on William Shakespeare and his wife Agnes of the death of their son Hamnet. 
Winner of the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction. 
"Dazzling. Devastating." —Kamila Shamsie
>>VOLUME feature. 
>>Read Stella's review

Mayflies by Andrew O'Hagan         $33
In the summer of 1986, in a small Scottish town, James and Tully ignite a brilliant friendship based on music, films and the rebel spirit. With school over and the locked world of their fathers before them, they rush towards the climax of their youth: a magical weekend in Manchester, the epicentre of everything that inspires them in working-class Britain. There, against the greatest soundtrack ever recorded, a vow is made: to go at life differently. Thirty years on, half a life away, the phone rings. Tully has news — news that forces the life-long friends to confront their own mortality head-on. What follows is a moving examination of the responsibilities and obligations we have to those we love.
"This funny and plangent book is shot through with an aching awareness that though our individual existence is a 'litany of small tragedies', these tragedies are life-sized to us. It’s difficult to think of any other novelist working now who writes about both youth and middle age with such sympathy, and without condescending to either." —Guardian
>>VOLUME feature. 

Weather by Jenny Offill         $33
Very funny on top of an underlying anxiety, Offill's new novel is absolutely on the pulse. The burdens and ironies of contemporary urban life — motherhood, sisterhood, wifehood, workerhood — are exemplified in Lizzie's endless surges of underachievement and misdirection. 
"Perhaps the most powerful portrait of Trump’s America yet." —Guardian
>>VOLUME feature. 
>>Read Thomas's review

Mordew by Alex Pheby         $38
God is dead, his corpse hidden in the catacombs beneath Mordew. In the slums of the sea-battered city a young boy called Nathan Treeves lives with his parents, eking out a meagre existence by picking treasures from the Living Mud and the half-formed, short-lived creatures it spawns. Until one day his desperate mother sells him to the mysterious Master of Mordew. The Master derives his magical power from feeding on the corpse of God. But Nathan, despite his fear and lowly station, has his own strength - and it is greater than the Master has ever known. Great enough to destroy everything the Master has built. One of the most fascinating books published this year. A book unlike any other. 
"Mordew is a darkly brilliant novel, extraordinary, absorbing and dream-haunting. That it succeeds as well as it does speaks to Pheby’s determination not to passively inhabit his Gormenghastly idiom but instead to lead it to its most extreme iteration, to force inventiveness and grotesqueness into every crevice of his work." —Guardian 

The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld    $33
This memorable novel, short-listed for the 2020 Booker International Prize, tells of the impact of a tragic accident on the the world-view of a ten-year-old growing up in a religious family on a rural dairy farm. The book is shot through with memorable images, unsettling moments, and passages of remarkable linguistic power. 
Winner of the 2020 International Booker Prize. 
>>VOLUME feature. 

The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel         $35
Mirage and subterfuge, reality and counterlives, transformation and invention are the players in Emily St.John Mandel’s latest novel. Set in a hotel on Vancouver Island and in New York, the book explores the fragility of both capital and esteem when crises both financial and personal are triggered by the collapse of a ponzi scheme. A devastating look at emotional turbulence in the age of late capitalism.
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>>Read Stella's review

The Dominant Animal by Kathryn Scanlan        $23
Anonymous people in anonymous towns; mothers screaming inside their houses, unapologetic doctors, mournful dogs, hungry girls, grandmothers on the couch tethered in a blue spell, steaks in soft sacks of blue blood, rare breeds of show cats in big black sedans, baby rabbits beneath heavy boots; and lonesome men crouched among the thorny shrubs and the rough, wild grasses... With the economy of Lydia Davis and Grace Paley, and the unsettling verve of Mary Gaitskill and Claire-Louise Bennett, The Dominant Animal is a powerful short story collection.
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>>Read Thomas's review

Minor Detail by Adania Shibli        $35
Minor Detail begins during the summer of 1949, one year after the war that the Palestinians mourn as the Nakba—the catastrophe that led to the displacement and exile of some 700,000 people—and the Israelis celebrate as the War of Independence. Israeli soldiers murder an encampment of Bedouin in the Negev desert, and among their victims they capture a Palestinian teenager and they rape her, kill her, and bury her in the sand. Many years later, in the near-present day, a young woman in Ramallah tries to uncover some of the details surrounding this particular rape and murder, and becomes fascinated to the point of obsession, not only because of the nature of the crime, but because it was committed exactly twenty-five years to the day before she was born. Adania Shibli overlays these two translucent narratives of exactly the same length to evoke a present forever haunted by the past.
"All novels are political and Minor Detail, like the best of them, transcends the author’s own identity and geography. Shibli’s writing is subtle and sharply observed. The settlers and soldiers she describes in the second half of the novel are rendered with no malice or artifice, and as an author Shibli is never judgmental or didactic. The book is, at varying points, terrifying and satirical; at every turn, dangerously and devastatingly good." —Fatima Bhutto, Guardian
"An extraordinary work of art, Minor Detail is continuously surprising and absorbing: a very rare blend of moral intelligence, political passion, and formal virtuosity." —Pankaj Mishra
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>>Read Thomas's review

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld         $37
What if Hilary Rodham had turned down Bill Clinton's proposal of marriage? How might things have turned out for them, for America, for the world itself, if Hillary Rodham had really turned down Bill Clinton?
"Brilliantly re-imagined and enjoyable." —Guardian

Summer by Ali Smith        $34
Smith's outstanding quartet, written 'in real time' comes to its conclusion with this eagerly anticipated volume. 
"These novels, in straddling immediacy and permanence, the personal as well as the scope of a world tilting toward disaster, are the ones we might well be looking back on years from now as the defining literature of an indefinable era. And the shape the telling takes is, if not salvation, brilliance itself." —The New York Times
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>>Read Stella's review. 

Rat King Landlord by Murdoch Stephens           $25
Colossal rats invade from the Wellington town belt. Your rent is going up but everyone is calling it a summer of love. Cryptic posters appear around town inciting people to join an evening of mayhem. Until now the rats have contented themselves with scraps. But as summer heats up and the cost of living skyrockets, we can no longer ignore that our friends are seeking their own rung on the property ladder.
>>Read Stella's review

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart            $38
The winner of the 2020 BOOKER PRIZE is informed by the author's own coming-of-age in Glasgow in the 1980s with an alcoholic mother, and was described by the judges as “destined to be a classic: a moving, immersive and nuanced portrait of a tight-knit social world, its people and its values.”

Here We Are by Graham Swift          $33
A relationship triangle between a young show magician, his assistant, and their compère threatens not only their show (in Brighton, in 1959), but also those things they hold most dear. Both intimate and coolly observed, Swift's writing retains its economical power. 
"The variety of voices and its historical and emotional reach are so finely entwined, it is as perfect and smooth as an egg. Passages leap out all the time, demanding to be reread, or committed to memory. It is perhaps too simple to say that Swift creates a form of fictional magic, but what he can do with a page is out of the ordinary, far beyond most mortals’ ken. —The Herald
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Real Life by Brandon Taylor          $23
Wallace has spent his summer in the lab breeding a strain of microscopic worms, a slow and painstaking process. He is four years into a biochemistry degree at a lakeside Midwestern university, a life that's a world away from his childhood growing up in Alabama. His father died a few weeks ago, but Wallace has not been home, and he hasn't told his friends. For reasons of self-preservation, he has become used to keeping a wary distance even from those closest to him. Over the course of one blustery end-of-summer weekend, a catastrophic mishap and a series of intense confrontations force Wallace to grapple with intimacy, desire, the trauma of the past and the question of the future.

The Reed Warbler by Ian Wedde         $35
Drawing from his own family history, and the experiences of others, Wedde's new novel tells of a young woman from northern Germany who straddled two worlds and ended up in New Zealand at the turn of the twentieth century, and asks, how reliable are memories? and what is the nature of stories? 
"Epic, engrossing and richly patterned, The Reed Warbler explores complex migrations: the way human lives move inexorably towards their futures while at the same time doubling back on their pasts. In tracing the story of Josephina and her family, Ian Wedde invites us to consider the threads that tether us to our own histories." —Catherine Chidgey

The Liar's Dictionary by Eley Williams           $35
mountweazel n. a fake entry deliberately inserted into a dictionary or work of reference. Often used as a safeguard against copyright infringement. 
It is the final year of the nineteenth century and Peter Winceworth has reached the letter 'S', toiling away for the much-anticipated and multi-volume Swansby's New Encyclopaedic Dictionary. He is overwhelmed at his desk and increasingly uneasy that his colleagues are attempting to corral language and regiment facts. Compelled to assert some sense of individual purpose and exercise artistic freedom, Winceworth begins inserting unauthorised, fictitious entries into the dictionary. In the present day, young intern Mallory is tasked with uncovering these mountweazels as the text of the dictionary is digitised for modern readers. Through the words and their definitions she finds she has access to their creator's motivations, hopes and desires. More pressingly, she must also field daily threatening anonymous phone calls. Is a suggested change to the dictionary's definition of marriage (n.) really that controversial? What power does Mallory have when it comes to words and knowing how to tell the truth? And does the caller really intend for the Swansby's staff to 'burn in hell'? As their two narratives combine, Winceworth and Mallory must discover how to negotiate the complexities of an often nonsensical, untrustworthy, hoax-strewn and undefinable life. From the author of Attrib. (winner of the 2018 Republic of Consciousness Prize). 

The New York Times, aware that only fiction could help readers grasp reality in strange times, commissioned these stories. Includes Caitlin Roper, Rivka Galchen, Victor LaValle, Mona Awad, Kamila Shamsie, Colm Tóibín, Liz Moore, Tommy Orange, Leila Slimani, Margaret Atwood, Yiyun Li, Etgar Keret, Andrew O'Hagan, Rachel Kushner, Téa Obreht, Alejandro Zambra, Dinaw Mengestum Karen Russell, David Mitchell, Charles Yu, Paolo Giordano, Mia Cuoto, Uzodinma Iweala, Rivers Solomon, Laila Lalami, Julián Fuks, Dina Nayeli, Matthew Baker, Esi Edugyan, John Wray, Edwidge Danticat.

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