Friday 17 September 2021


Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney          $33
A hugely successful young novelist is having trouble writing her third book. She meets Felix, who works in a distribution warehouse, and asks him if he'd like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Can these people find or remember or create what is supposed to be good about being alive in this world? The eagerly awaited third novel from the author of the hugely successful Conversations with Friends and Normal People
>>Author of her own discontent
No. 91/92: Notes on a Parisian commute by Lauren Elkin           $33
Commuting between English and French, Lauren Elkin chronicles a life in transit in this book written on her cellphone during her daily commute. From musings on Virginia Woolf and Georges Perec, to the discovery of her ectopic pregnancy, her diary sketches a portrait of the author, not as an artist, but as a pregnant woman on a Parisian bus. In the troubling intimacy of public transport, Elkin queries the lines between togetherness and being apart, between the everyday and the eventful, registering the ordinary makings of a city and its people.
"Perhaps one of the most interesting voices claiming the streets for women at the moment." — Will Self
"Paris in intense, dramatic closeup — an insider's entrancing view. Lauren Elkin turns her phone outwards, like a camera to see with, she writes about the outside world while inside a glass container (the bus), she maps the inner world of self and indeed of the bus onto the outer world she is travelling through. She allows herself to catch moments most writers would think don't belong in a text. The book's form perfectly embodies its content. It is disarmingly modest and that is part of its charm. She is thinking about self / community. Re-making it." — Michèle Roberts
An Island by Karen Jennings          $36
Samuel has lived alone for a long time; one morning he finds the sea has brought someone to offer companionship and to threaten his solitude... A young refugee washes up unconscious on the beach of a small island inhabited by no one but Samuel, an old lighthouse keeper. Unsettled, Samuel is soon swept up in memories of his former life on the mainland: a life that saw his country suffer under colonisers, then fight for independence, only to fall under the rule of a cruel dictator; and he recalls his own part in its history. In this new man's presence he begins to consider, as he did in his youth, what is meant by land and to whom it should belong.
"An Island concerns itself with lives lived on the margins, through the story of a man who has exiled himself from the known world only to find himself called to the service of others, themselves exiled from the world by cruelty and circumstance. It is on these grounds that this writer deftly constructs a moving, transfixing novel of loss, political upheaval, history, identity, all rendered in majestic and extraordinary prose." —judges' citation on long-listing for the Booker Prize
Bill Hammond: Across the Evening Sky             $70
A beautifully presented book of this outstanding artist. Includes an interview between the Bill Hammond and fellow artist Tony de Lautour; Texts by Rachael King, Nic Low, Paul Scofield, Ariana Tikao and Peter Vangioni: Images and details of some of Hammond’s finest paintings; Responses to Hammond’s practice by other artists, including Fiona Pardington, Marlon Williams and Shane Cotton. 
Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen               $33
1618, in the German duchy of Württemberg. Plague is spreading. The Thirty Years' War has begun, and fear and suspicion are in the air throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In the small town of Leonberg, Katharina Kepler is accused of being a witch. Katharina is an illiterate widow, known by her neighbors for her herbal remedies and the success of her children, including her eldest, Johannes, who is the Imperial Mathematician and renowned author of the laws of planetary motion. It's enough to make anyone jealous, and Katharina has done herself no favors by being out and about and in everyone's business. So when the deranged and insipid Ursula Reinbold (or as Katharina calls her, the Werewolf) accuses Katharina of offering her a bitter, witchy drink that has made her ill, Katharina is in trouble. Her scientist son must turn his attention from the music of the spheres to the job of defending his mother. Facing the threat of financial ruin, torture, and even execution, Katharina tells her side of the story to her friend and next-door neighbor Simon, a reclusive widower imperiled by his own secrets. Drawing on actual historical documents but infused with the intensity of imagination, sly humor, and intellectual fire for which Rivka Galchen is known, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch is the story of how a community becomes implicated in collective aggression and hysterical fear. It is a tale for our time. 
>>Rivka Galchen's unsettling powers. 
>>The heart of a prickle bush
>>History feels modern. 
After the Sun by Jonas Eika (translated by Sherilyn Nicolette Hellberg)        $36
Under Cancun's hard blue sky, a beach boy provides a canvas for tourists' desires, seeing deep into the world's underbelly. An enigmatic encounter in Copenhagen takes an IT consultant down a rabbit hole of speculation that proves more seductive than sex. The collapse of a love triangle in London leads to a dangerous, hypnotic addiction. In the Nevada desert, a grieving man tries to merge with an unearthly machine. After the Sun opens portals to our newest realities, haunting the margins of a globalised world that's both saturated with yearning and brutally transactional. Infused with an irrepressible urgency, Eika's fiction seems to have conjured these far-flung characters and their encounters in a single breath. Juxtaposing startling beauty with grotesquery, balancing the hyperrealistic with the fantastical, he has invented new modes of storytelling for an era when the old ones no longer suffice.
"Eika's prose flexes a light-footed, vigilant, and unpredictable animalism: it's practically pantheresque. After the Sun is an electrifying, utterly original read." —Claire-Louise Bennett 
"Political fictions aren't supposed to be this personal. Satires aren't supposed to be this heartbreaking. Surrealism isn't supposed to be this real. Giving a damn isn't supposed to be this fun. From slights of hand, to shocks to the heart, After the Sun is doing all the things you don't expect it to, and leaving a big bold mark in what we call literature." —Marlon James
"Striking literary craftsmanship in an experimental mix of shock-lit, sci-fi, dada and Joycean glints presented as loose time-scenes that slide in and out like cards in the hands of the shuffler. By the end, this reader had the impression of having been drawn through a keyhole." —Annie Proulx
Hellzapoppin'! The art of Flying Nun edited by Peter Vangioni            $39
Does this look like your record collection? Published to mark the fortieth anniversary of the founding of Flying Nun Records in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Hellzapoppin’! brings together original artwork and design, film, record covers, posters and photography from the label’s early years. From rare collectible records and vintage posters to original artworks and paste-up designs, this book explores the art and artists behind some of New Zealand’s favourite bands. Essays from Peter Vangioni, Kath Webster, Russell Brown and Flying Nun founder Roger Shepherd will be interspersed with brief interview-style contributions from some of the people responsible for creating the art of the label. Heavily illustrated with original artwork for the records and posters, photography from the archives, and rarely seen vinyl releases and posters.
&c, &c, &c.
Night As It Falls by Jakuta Alikavazovic          $33
Paul, a student who works as a night guard in a hotel to make ends meet, falls under the spell of Amelia, the young woman who rents room 313. Everything about her is a mystery: where she goes, what she does - and where she comes from. Paul and Amelia enter into a love affair, but it is an ill-fated dance informed by sex, power and class struggles. One day Amelia suddenly disappears. Unknown to Paul, she has traveled to Sarajevo in search of her mother and to attempt to uncover the links that connect her personal history to the civil war that created ruptures that still affect Europe today.
>>Read an extract. 
Post Growth: Life after Capitalism by Tim Jackson         $36
The relentless pursuit of more has delivered climate catastrophe, social inequality and financial instability — and left us ill-prepared for life in a global pandemic. Tim Jackson's passionate and provocative book dares us to imagine a world beyond Capitalism — a place where relationship and meaning take precedence over profits and power.
"Empowering and elegiac." —Yanis Varoufakis
Broken Greek: A story of chip shops and pop songs by Pete Paphides         $28
When Pete's parents moved from Cyprus to Birmingham in the 1960s in the hope of a better life, they had no money and only a little bit of English. They opened a fish-and-chip shop in Acocks Green. The Great Western Fish Bar is where Pete learned about coin-operated machines, male banter and Britishness. Shy and introverted, Pete stopped speaking from age 4 to 7, and found refuge instead in the bittersweet embrace of pop songs, thanks to Top of the Pops and Dial-A-Disc. From Brotherhood of Man to UB40, from ABBA to The Police, music provided the safety net he needed to protect him from the tensions of his home life. It also helped him navigate his way around the challenges surrounding school, friendships and phobias.
Over billions of years, ancient fish evolved to walk on land, reptiles transformed into birds that fly, and apelike primates evolved into humans that walk on two legs, talk, and write. For more than a century, paleontologists have traveled the globe to find fossils that show how such changes have happened. We have now arrived at a remarkable moment—prehistoric fossils coupled with new DNA technology have given us the tools to answer some of the basic questions of our existence: How do big changes in evolution happen? Is our presence on Earth the product of mere chance? This new science reveals a multibillion-year evolutionary history filled with twists and turns, trial and error, accident and invention.
The Sky by Hélène Druvert                         $45
This gorgeous, large-format book is filled with astounding laser cutouts that take readers away through the clouds, through the atmosphere and to the planets, the stars and beyond. On the way they'll learn about birds, insects and pollination, witness a tornado and an eclipse, and see all kinds of flying machines. 
>>Other books by Druvert.

Learning to Love Blue by Saradha Koirala              $25
The sequel to the excellent YA novel Lonesome When You Go.  With Vox Pop and high school behind her, 18-year-old Paige arrives in Melbourne with her suitcase and bass guitar; a copy of Bob Dylan's Chronicles and Joni Mitchell's Blue - a gift from her estranged mother that she's still learning to love. Following in the footsteps of her musical heroes, all of whom left home to make it in 1960s New York, Paige knows Melbourne's the new rock and roll capital of the world: if she can't make it here, she can't make it anywhere. Besides, her high school crush Spike lives here... Paige has always had music, but realises she still has a lot to learn about relationships: how to be vulnerable and how to be blue.
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead          $35
From the author of The Underground RailroadHarlem Shuffle’s story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem. 

Everyone in this Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin           $33
Meet Gilda. She cannot stop thinking about death. Desperate for relief from her anxious mind and alienated from her repressive family, she responds to a flyer for free therapy at a local church and finds herself abruptly hired to replace the deceased receptionist Grace. It's not the most obvious job - she's queer and an atheist for starters - and so in between trying to learn mass, hiding her new maybe-girlfriend and conducting an amateur investigation into Grace's death, Gilda must avoid revealing the truth of her mortifying existence.
"So fundamentally kind that you can feel the warmth coming off each page." —Rowan Hisayo Buchanan

The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You by Maurice Carlos Ruffin            $40
Perspectival, character-driven stories center on the margins and deeply rooted in New Orleanian culture.
China in One Village by Liang Hong           $37
After a decade away from her ancestral family village, during which she became a writer and literary scholar in Beijing, Liang Hong started visiting her rural hometown in landlocked Hebei province. What she found was an extended family torn apart by the seismic changes in Chinese society, and a village hollowed-out by emigration, neglect, and environmental despoliation. Combining family memoir, literary observation, and social commentary, Liang's by turns moving and shocking account became a bestselling book in China and brought her fame. Across China, many saw in Liang's remarkable and vivid interviews with family members and childhood acquaintances a mirror of their own families, and her observations about the way the greatest rural-to-urban migration of modern times has twisted the country resonated deeply. China in One Village tells the story of contemporary China through one clear-eyed observer, one family, and one village.
When You Were Small by Sarah O'Leary and Julie Morstad               $19
For all children there is a whole early period of their life that they cannot remember and, for all they know, it could have been the most magical time of their life. Was it like this? Completely delightful. 

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