Friday 19 March 2021


The Twilight Zone by Nona Fernández         $35
How do crimes vanish in plain sight? How does one resist a repressive regime? Who gets to shape the truths we live by and take for granted? In Fernández's novel, it is 1984 in Chile, in the middle of the Pinochet dictatorship. A member of the secret police walks into the office of a dissident magazine and finds a reporter, who records his testimony. The narrator is a child when she first sees this man's face on the magazine's cover with the words "I Tortured People." His complicity in the worst crimes of the regime and his commitment to speaking about them haunt the narrator into her adulthood and career as a writer and documentarian. Like a secret service agent from the future, through extraordinary feats of the imagination, Fernández follows the "man who tortured people" to places that archives can't reach, into the sinister twilight zone of history where morning routines, a game of chess, Yuri Gagarin, and the eponymous TV show of the novel's title coexist with the brutal yet commonplace machinations of the regime.
>>Read an extract.
A Burning by Megha Majumdar                     $35
A young Muslim woman in Kolkata is accused of a terrorist outrage, in a novel about poverty and social aspiration that is also a moral drama. 
"Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism."
"Brilliant." —Guardian
"Indelible." —Washington Post
"Fierce and assured." —New York Times
How We Are Translated by Jessica Gaitán Johannesson           $37
Swedish immigrant Kristin won't talk about the Project growing inside her. Her Brazilian-born Scottish boyfriend Ciaran won't speak English at all; he is trying to immerse himself in a Swedish språkbad language bath, to prepare for their future, whatever that means. Their Edinburgh flat is starting to feel very small. 
As this young couple is forced to confront the thing that they are both avoiding, they must reckon with the bigger questions of the world outside, and their places in it.
"How We Are Translated is the most contemporary of novels; set somehow both in the now and in the distant past; in one city that could be many cities, and in two different languages, though also in defiance of language, with as much focus on the silences between words as the words themselves. It's a novel that maintains just the right balance of oddity, intimacy and illumination. It's a novel that anyone interested in the future of the English novel needs to read!" —Sara Baume
"One of the gentlest and most patient, humane, and quirky things I have read in a long time. Hugely original." —Niamh Campbell
Poor by Caleb Femi             $28
"Lyrical, heart-breaking and hopeful, the Peckham poet’s debut collection celebrating the lives of young black boys and the architecture that shapes them." —Judges' citation for the 2021 Rathbones Folio Prize
Murder in the Age of Enlightenment by Ryunosuke Akutagawa           $28
The stories in this fantastical, unconventional collection are subtly wrought depictions of the darkness of human desires. From an isolated bamboo grove, to a lantern festival in Tokyo, to the Emperor's court, they offer glimpses into moments of madness, murder, and obsession. Translated by Bryan Karetnyk, they unfold in elegant, sometimes laconic, gripping prose.
>>Read Thomas's review of Patient X, David Peace's outstanding. novel of Akutagawa's life

Poems to Night by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Will Stone          $28
In 1916 Rainer Maria Rilke presented the writer Rudolf Kassner with a notebook containing twenty-two poems meticulously copied out in his own hand which bore the title Poems to Night. This cycle of poems are now thought to represent one of the key stages of the poet's development. Never before translated into English, this collection brings together all Rilke's significant night poems in one volume.

Kate Edger: The life of a pioneering feminist by Diana Morrow           $40
In 1877, Kate Edger became the first woman to graduate from a New Zealand university. The New Zealand Herald enthusiastically hailed her achievement as 'the first rays of the rising sun of female intellectual advancement'. Edger went on to become a pioneer of women's education in New Zealand. In 1883, she was the founding principal of Nelson College for Girls. She also worked to mitigate violence against women and children and to fortify their rights through progressive legislation. She campaigned for women's suffrage and played a prominent role in the Women's Christian Temperance Union and in Wellington's Society for the Protection of Women and Children. Later in life she advocated international diplomacy and co-operation through her work for the League of Nations Union.
A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago             $33
Frances Howard has beauty and a powerful family and is the most unhappy creature in the world. Anne Turner has wit and talent but no stage on which to display them. Little stands between her and the abyss of destitution. When these two very different women meet in the strangest of circumstances, a powerful friendship is sparked. Frankie sweeps Anne into a world of splendour that exceeds all she imagined—a Court whose foreign king is a stranger to his own subjects; where ancient families fight for power, and where the sovereign's favourite may rise and rise so long as he remains in favour. Based on the true scandal that rocked the court of James I.

The Octopus Man by Jasper Gibson           $33
Once an outstanding law student, Tom is now lost in the machinery of the British mental health system, talking to a voice no one else can hear: the voice of Malamock, the Octopus God—part-comforter, part-autarch, part-guide. After Tom is coerced into a drugs trial, his loving sister, along with his doctors and carers, all celebrate the loss of Malamock. However, Tom's own sense of relief soon turns to despair. He was Jacob, wrestling with the angel. Now he is just Tom, struggling on benefits. Tom decides to get his voice back.
"The Dharma Bums meet Clozapine." —DBC Pierre

Entitled: How male privilege hurts women by Kate Manne           $26
Philosopher Kate Manne offers a new framework for understanding misogyny. The idea that a privileged man is tacitly deemed to be owed something is a pervasive problem, manifesting in society in all sorts of unexpected and unrecognised ways. Manne shows that male entitlement can explain a wide array of phenomena, from mansplaining and the undertreatment of women's pain to mass shootings by incels, and sheds new light on gender and power. 

The Arabesque Table: Contemporary recipes from the Arab world by Reem Kassis             $60
The Arabesque Table takes inspiration from the traditional food of the Arab world, weaving Reem Kassis's cultural knowledge with her contemporary interpretations of an ancient, diverse cuisine. She opens up the world of Arabic cooking today, presenting 130 delicious, achievable home recipes. Organised by primary ingredient, her narratives formed by her experiences and influences bring the dishes to life, as does the book's vivid photography. From the author of The Palestinian Table
>>"Food is more than just sustenance."
You Don't Belong Here: How three women rewrote the story of war by Elizabeth Becker           $37
Catherine Leroy, Frankie Fitzgerald and Kate Webb were the first female frontline journalists in the history of the US war reporting. Over the course of the Vietnam War they challenged the rules imposed on them in an effort to get the story straight. Kate Webb, an Australian reporter was captured by the Vietcong only to continue her reporting after her release. American Frankie Fitzgerald's coverage earned her bylines in The New Yorker, and she became the first female war reporter for the magazine. And at only twenty-two, the French Catherine Leroy was the only female photojournalist covering the war. 
Office by Sheila Liming          $22
From its origins in the late 19th century to its decline in the 21st, Sheila Liming's Office narrates a cultural history of a place that has arguably been the primary site of labor in the postmodern economy.
>>Other 'Object Lessons'.

October Mourning: A song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman         $20
On the night of October 6, 1998, a gay twenty-one-year-old college student named Matthew Shepard was lured from a Wyoming bar by two young men, savagely beaten, tied to a remote fence, and left to die. October Mourning, a novel in verse, is Lesléa Newman's response to the events of that day. The author creates fictitious monologues from various points of view, including the fence Matthew was tied to, the stars that watched over him, the deer that kept him company, and Matthew himself.
Game Changer by Neal Shusterman            $22
A football head injury triggers an interesting YA exploration of parallel worlds from the author of the 'Arc of Scythe' series. 

Seven (and a Half) Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett          $40
An excellent introduction to the latest developments in brain science. Why do we have brains, why are the formed the way that they are, how do our brains relate to our thoughts? 

I Am In Bed With You by Emma Barnes            $25
Playful and fluid but completely serious, Emma Barnes’s surreal poetry collection I Am in Bed with You leads us through the very personal worlds of sex, gender and the body. Barnes cracks jokes, makes us uncomfortable, shows us a little tenderness, leaves a lot unsaid and does it all with language that provokes and confounds.
How to Live. What to Do. In search of ourselves in life and literature by Josh Cohen          $40
What can Alice in Wonderland teach us about childhood? Could reading Conversations with Friends guide us through first love? Does Esther Greenwood's glittering success and subsequent collapse in The Bell Jar help us understand ambition? And what can we learn about death from Tolstoy? Not only does literature provide escapism and entertainment, it also holds a mirror up to our lives to show us aspects of ourselves we may not have seen or understood. From jealousy to grief, fierce love to deep hatred, our inner lives become both stranger and more familiar when we explore them through fiction.
Couch Fiction: A graphic tale of psychotherapy by Philippa Perry and Flo Perry          $48
Have you ever wanted to know what goes on in a psychotherapist's consulting room? This compelling study of psychotherapy in the form of a graphic novel vividly explores a year's therapy sessions as a search for understanding. 
"I loved it. I smiled and laughed. And nodded. One to read." —Susie Orbach
"Full or wit and good sense. Philippa is a tonic even if you're not her patient." —Rachel Cooke, Observer

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