Friday 13 May 2022


Bordering on Miraculous by Lynley Edmeades and Saskia Leek         $45
In this luscious collaboration poet Lynley Edmeades and painter Saskia Leek explore ideas of the quotidian and its everyday miracles. Their close, intense domestic observations merge with the philosophical, in a quest for deeper meaning. Leek's high-colour palette and symbolic investigation of the domestic provide Edmeades with a starting point, to which she writes back with a chromatic and vivid pen. In repetitive and evolving processes, artist and poet speak to each other through a prismatic renewal of familiar objects and images — fruit bowls, ceramic cups, sleeping babies, the view from a window — holding them up to the light and presenting them anew. This fascinating collaboration between writer and artist is the fourth in Massey University Press's beautifully designed and produced 'Kōrero Series' of pairings, edited by Lloyd Jones. 
>>Look inside!
>>Out of the blue and exciting
>>The other books in the 'Kōrero Series': High Wire by Lloyd Jones & Euan Macleod; Shining Land by Paula Morris and Haru Sameshima; The Lobster's Tale by Chris Price and Bruce Foster. 
The Child Who by Jeanne Benameur (translated from French by Bill Johnston)           $32
In an anonymous French village a child loves to wander a forest where his mother may have disappeared. His father is speechless with anger; his grandmother is concealing her own story. Beautifully written.
"The Child Who beautifully explores the power and powerlessness of language, but I was struck most of all by its haunting depiction of intergenerational silence, and the way we have to live with those silences." —Tash Aw
"Existential beyond any philosophical system, the book carefully, lyrically explores the phenomenon of being as it occurs in each of three unnamed family members in an unnamed French village at an unnamed time." —Lynn Hoggard
The Imagination Chamber: Cosmic rays from Lyra's universe by Philip Pullman            $36
Philip Pullman cuts new windows into his worlds for the reader to step through, and reveals new truths about many of the iconic characters from Lyra's universe. In this beautifully produced book, brief texts reveal the inner thoughts of Serafina Pekkala sitting quietly on her cloud pine broom, listening to Dust, ahead of the epic battle with the Angels, and of a young Lyra speculating about her mother's identity.

Robin White: Something Is Happening Here edited by Sarah Farrar, Nina Tonga, and Jill Trevelyan         $70
A landmark publication on one of Aotearoa's most loved and engaged artists. The book's assessment of her remarkable 50 years as an artist includes fresh perspectives by 24 writers and interviewees from Australia, the Pacific, and Aotearoa New Zealand and celebrates her status as one of our most important artists. Including more than 150 of her artworks, from early watercolour and drawings through to the exquisite recent collaborations with Pasifika artists, as well as photographs from throughout Robin White's career, this book captures the life of a driven, bold, much-loved artist whose practice engages with the world and wrestles with its complexities.
>>See a few pages of the book
>>A selection of Robin White's works
Portable Magic: A history of books and their readers by Emma Smith           $50
Most of what we say about books is really about the words inside them: the rosy nostalgic glow for childhood reading, the lifetime companionship of a much-loved novel. But books are things as well as words, objects in our lives as well as worlds in our heads. And just as we crack their spines, loosen their leaves and write in their margins, so they disrupt and disorder us in turn. All books are, as Stephen King put it, "a uniquely portable magic". Emma Smith unfurls an exciting and iconoclastic new story of the book in human hands, exploring when, why and how it acquired its particular hold over us. Gathering together a millennium's worth of pivotal encounters with volumes big and small, Smith reveals that, as much as their contents, it is books' physical form — their 'bookhood' — that lends them their distinctive and sometimes dangerous magic. 
The Unreality of Memory: Notes on life in the pre-Apocalypse by Elisa Gabbert           $25
A series of lyrical essays on what our culture of catastrophe has done to public discourse and our own inner lives. Gabbert focuses in on our daily preoccupation and favorite pastime: desperate distraction from disaster by way of a desperate obsession with the disastrous. Moving from public trauma to personal tragedy, from the Titanic and Chernobyl to illness and loss, The Unreality of Memory alternately rips away the facade of our fascination with destruction and gently identifies itself with the age of rubbernecking. Gabbert's essays are a hauntingly perceptive analysis of the anxiety intrinsic in our new, digital ways of being, and also a means of reconciling ourselves to this new world. 
"Gabbert's essays have a clarity and prescience that imply a sort of distant, retrospective view, like postcards sent from the near future." —New York Times
>>What is 'reality' anyway? 
Echidna by essa may ranapiri            $25
Echidna is a dangerous animal; she pokes holes in men just to remind them what kind of monster she is wakes up every single morning and chooses violence cos what choice does she really have? essa may ranapiri's second poetry collection follows the story of Echidna, their own interpretation of the Greek Mother of Monsters, as she tries to figure out life and identity living in a colonised world. Alongside this Māui and Prometheus get into a very hot relationship. Echidna contends with three strands of tradition; Greek mythology, Christianity and Māori esoteric knowledge, and through weaving them together attempts to create a queerer whole. It is a book that is in conversation with the work of many others; from Milton and R.S. Thomas to jayy dodd and Joshua Whitehead to Hinemoana Baker and Keri Hulme. Situating and building its own world out of a community of queer and Māori/Pasifika writing, it carefully places itself in a whakapapa of takatāpui story-telling. 
>>Meet Echidna
Home Theatre by Anthony Lapwood              $30
Welcome to the Repertory Apartments—where scenes of tenderness and trouble, music and magic, the uncanny and the macabre play out on intimate stages. A mother and her young son battle an infestation of ants. A bass player is beset by equine hallucinations. A widow seeks a new home with a spare room for guests. A radio factory foreman intercepts queer broadcasts from the future. And a time-traveller stranded in a distant corner of the multiverse tries to find his way home. Moving between the early 20th century and the modern day, this genre-bending collection, spanning the fantastical and the keenly real, introduces an ensemble of remarkable characters—and the fateful building that connects them all.
Canzone di Guerra by Daša Drndić (translated from the Croatian by Celia Hawkesworth)       $34
Tea Radan, the narrator of the novel Canzone di Guerra, reflects on her own past and in doing so, composes a forgotten mosaic of historical events that she wants to first tear apart and then reassemble with all the missing fragments. In front of the readers eyes, a collage of different genres takes place — from (pseudo) autobiography to documentary material and culinary recipes. With them, the author Daša Drndić skillfully explores different perspectives on the issue of emigration, the unresolved history of the Second World War, while emphasizing the absurdity of politics of differences between neighboring nations. The narrator subtly weaves the torturous story of searching for her own identity with a relaxed, sometimes disguised ironic style, which takes the reader surprisingly easily into the world of persecution and the sense of alienation between herself and others.
>>The racing mind of the narrator
Puripāha: Te Pane Kaewa by Witi Ihimaera (translated from the English by Ruth Smith)         $40
He whakamāoritanga i te pukapuka o Puripāha nā Witi Ihimaera mō ētahi whānau hoariri e rua ki Te Tairāwhiti. Ko Puripāha te tapanga ka tukuna ki Te Pane Kaewa, ā, ki Te Tairāwhiti o Aotearoa e pakanga ana ētahi kokoro tokorua kia whakawahia hai pane. Ko Tamihana te upoko o te whānau toa o Mahana, he whānau kuti hipi, he whānau hākinakina hoki. Ko Rupeni Poata tōna ito. He rite tonu te tūtakitaki a ngā whānau nei i ngā mahi hākinakina, i ngā whakataetae ā-ahurea me te whakataetae Piriho Kōura e kitea ai te māpu kuti hipi toa katoa o Aotearoa. I waenganui pū, ko te taitama, ko Himiona, ko te mokopuna a te kokoro rāua tahi ko tōna kuia, ko Ramona, e pakanga ana i ōna ake kare ā-roto, i ōna ake whakapono anō hoki i te riri e tutū ana i ngā wāhi katoa. Ko te toa o te 1995 Montana New Zealand Book Award, kua whakatinanatia hirahiratia ki te kiriata o Mahana, ā, e aroha nuitia ana e ngā whakareanga kaipānui maha. Mā tēnei whakamāoritanga e tūtaki ai tētahi minenga hou ki a Puripāha, ki tētahi o ngā tino pukapuka o roto i tōna momo. A te reo Māori translation of the landmark 1994 novel Bulibasha, King of the Gypsies
All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami (translated from the Japanese by Sam Bett and David Boyd)           $38
The new novel from the author of Breasts and Eggs and of the International Booker-shortlisted Heaven. Fuyuko Irie is a freelance copy editor in her mid-thirties. Working and living alone in a city where it is not easy to form new relationships, she has little regular contact with anyone other than her editor, Hijiri, a woman of the same age but with a very different disposition. When Fuyuko stops one day on a Tokyo street and notices her reflection in a storefront window, what she sees is a drab, awkward, and spiritless woman who has lacked the strength to change her life and decides to do something about it. As the long overdue change occurs, however, painful episodes from Fuyuko's past surface and her behavior slips further and further beyond the pale.
"Mieko Kawakami is a genius." —Naoise Dolan
Life As We Made It: How 50,000 years of human innovation refined — and redefined — Nature by Beth Shapiro             $43
Virus-free mosquitoes, resurrected dinosaurs, designer humans - such is the power of the science of tomorrow. But this idea that we have only recently begun to manipulate the natural world is false. We've been meddling with nature since the last ice age. It's just that we're getting better at it. Beth Shapiro reveals the surprisingly long history of human intervention in evolution through hunting, domesticating, polluting, hybridising, conserving and genetically modifying life on Earth. Looking ahead to the future, she outlines the true risks and incredible opportunities that new biotechnologies will offer us in the years ahead.
"Very few people write about the insane complexities and power of biology with greater clarity, insight and levity than Beth Shapiro." —Adam Rutherford
Indelible City: Dispossession and defiance in Hong Kong by Louisa Lim           $40
The story of Hong Kong has long been obscured by competing myths — to Britain, a 'barren rock' with no appreciable history; to China, a part of Chinese soil from time immemorial that had at last returned to the ancestral fold. To its inhabitants, the city was a place of refuge and rebellion, whose own history was so little taught that they began mythmaking their own past. When protests erupted in 2019 and were met with escalating suppression from Beijing, Louisa Lim — raised in Hong Kong as a half-Chinese, half-English child, and now a reporter who had covered the region for a decade — realised that she was uniquely positioned to unearth Hong Kong's untold stories.
Land of Snow and Ashes by Petra Rautiainen (translated from the Finnish by David Hackston)             $33
A haunting novel about Lapland's buried history of Nazi crimes against the Sami people. Finnish Lapland, 1944: a young Finnish soldier is called to work as an interpreter at a Nazi prison camp. Surrounded by cruelty and death, he struggles to hold on to his humanity. When peace comes, the crimes are buried beneath the snow and ice. A few years later, journalist Inkeri is assigned to investigate the rapid development of remote Western Lapland. Her real motivation is more personal: she is following a lead on her husband, who disappeared during the war. But the villagers don't want to dwell on the past, and Inkeri's questions provoke hostility and suspicious silences. As she learns more about her mysterious tenant, Olavi, and tries to befriend a young Sami girl, she begins to uncover traces of disturbing facts that were never supposed to come to light.
The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini          $30
Alethea Lopez is about to turn 40. Fashionable, feisty and fiercely independent, she manages a boutique in Port of Spain, but behind closed doors she's covering up bruises from her abusive partner and seeking solace in an affair with her boss. When she witnesses a woman murdered by a jealous lover, the reality of her own future comes a little too close to home. Bringing us her truth in an arresting, unsparing Trinidadian voice, Alethea unravels memories repressed since childhood and begins to understand the person she has become. Her next step is to decide the woman she wants to be.

The King of China by Tilman Rammstedt (translated from the German by Katy Derbyshire)           $30
When Keith Stapperpfennig and his family give their grandfather the trip of a lifetime — an all expenses paid holiday to any destination in the world — the eccentric old man arbitrarily chooses China, and he asks Keith to accompany him. But when Keith loses all the money for the journey at a casino, he goes into hiding — mostly under his desk — and his grandfather — equally uninterested in actually traveling to China — heads down the road to engage in a similar subterfuge. And it is here that the novel opens, two men in hiding, mere miles apart. But when his grandfather dies unexpectedly, Keith is left to continue the farce alone. With the aid of a guidebook, Keith writes a series of letters home to his brothers and sisters, detailing their imaginary travels and the bizarre sights they see. These start off harmlessly, but before long he starts adding invented details: non-stop dental hygiene shows on television, dog vaccinations at the post office — and the letters get longer and longer. Engaging, strange, and ultimately moving, this hilarious novel from Tilman Rammstedt won him the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize in 2008.
Strangers I Know by Claudia Durastanti (translated from the Italian by Elizabeth Harris)              $37
Every family has its own mythology, but in this family none of the myths match up. Claudia's mother says she met her husband when she stopped him from jumping off a bridge. Her father says it happened when he saved her from an attempted robbery. Both parents are deaf but couldn't be more different; they can't even agree on how they met, much less who needed saving.Into this unlikely union, our narrator is born. She comes of age with her brother in this strange, and increasingly estranged, household split between a village in southern Italy and New York City. Without even sign language in common, family communication is chaotic and rife with misinterpretations, by turns hilarious and devastating. An outsider in every way, Claudia longs for a freedom she's not even sure exists. Only books and punk rock-and a tumultuous relationship-begin to show her the way to create her own mythology, to construct her version of the story of her life.
"Formally innovative and emotionally complex, this novel explores themes of communication, family, and belonging with exceptional insight. Durastanti, celebrated in Italy for her intelligent voice and her hybrid perspective, speaks to all who are outside and in-between. Strangers I Know, in a bracing translation by Elizabeth Harris, is stunning." —Jhumpa Lahiri
No-One Around Here Reads Tolstoy: Memoirs of a working-class reader by Mark Hodkinson          $37
Mark Hodkinson grew up among the terrace houses of Rochdale in a house with just one book. His dad kept it on top of a wardrobe with other items of great worth — wedding photographs and Mark's National Cycling Proficiency certificate. If Mark wanted to read it, he was warned not to crease the pages or slam shut the covers. Today, Mark is an author, journalist and publisher. He still lives in Rochdale, but is now snugly ensconced (or is that buried?) in a 'book cave' surrounded by 3,500 titles — at the last count. No One Round Here Reads Tolstoy is his story of growing up a working-class lad during the 1970s and 1980s. It's about schools (bad), music (good) and the people (some mad, a few sane), and pre-eminently and profoundly the books and authors (some bad, mostly good) that led the way, and shaped his life. It's also about a family who just didn't see the point of reading, and a troubled grandad who, in his own way, taught Mark the power of stories. In recounting his own life-long love affair with books, Mark also tells the story of how writing and reading has changed over the last five decades, starting with the wave of working-class writers in the 1950s and 60s, where he saw himself reflected in books for the first time.
The Thief ('The Queen's Thief' #1) by Megan Whaeln Turner            $25
Eugenides, the queen's thief, can steal anything - or so he says. Then his boasting lands him in the king's prison, and his chances of escape look slim. So when the king's magus invites him on a seemingly impossible quest to steal a legendary object and win back his freedom, Gen in no position to refuse. The magus has plans for his king and his country. Gen has plans of his own.
"Endlessly entertaining, deeply deceptive, and very, very clever." —Garth Nix
Here and Now: Letters, 2008—2011 between Paul Auster and J.M. Coetzee           $45
Although Paul Auster and J. M. Coetzee had been reading each other's books for years, the two writers did not meet until February 2008. Not long after, Auster received a letter from Coetzee, suggesting they begin exchanging letters on a regular basis and, 'God willing, strike sparks off each other'. Here and Now is the result of that proposal: an epistolary dialogue between two great writers who became great friends. Over three years their letters touched on nearly every subject, from sports to fatherhood, literature to film, philosophy to politics, from the financial crisis to art, eroticism, marriage, friendship, and love.
Birding Without Borders: An obsession, a quest, and the biggest year in the world by Noah Stryker      $25
In 2015, Noah Strycker set himself a lofty goal: to become the first person to see half the world's birds in one year. For 365 days, with a backpack, binoculars, and a series of one-way tickets, he traveled across forty-one countries and all seven continents, eventually spotting 6,042 species — the biggest birding year on record.

Bittersweet: How longing and sorrow make us whole by Susan Cain            $40
Susan Cain, the author of Quiet, shows the power of the "bittersweet" — the outlook that values the experiences of loss and pain, which can lead to growth and beauty. Understanding bittersweetness can change the way we work, the way we create and the way we love. Each chapter helps us navigate an issue that define our lives, from love to death and from authenticity to creativity. Using examples ranging from music and cinema to parenting and business, as well as her own life and the latest academic research, she shows how understanding bittersweetness will allow us, in a flawed world, to accept the loss of past identities and to weather life's transitions. Bittersweet reveals that vulnerability and melancholy can be strengths, and that embracing our inevitable losses makes us more human and more whole. 
"A profound book about some of the most important feelings in human life — ones that our culture averts its gaze from." —Johann Hari
Brother of the More Famous Jack by Barbara Trapido            $23
A fortieth anniversary edition of this much-loved novel, with new introductions by Rachel Cusk and Maria Semple. Eighteen-year-old Katherine — bright, stylish, frustratedly suburban — doesn't know how her life will change when the brilliant Jacob Goldman first offers her a place at university. When she enters the Goldmans' rambling bohemian home, presided over by the beatific matriarch Jane, she realises that Jacob and his family are everything she has been waiting for. But when a romantic entanglement ends in tears, Katherine is forced into exile from the family she loves most. And her journey back into the fold, after more than a decade away, will yield all kinds of delightful surprises.
"There are few modern tales of first love and its disillusions that are as thoroughly realised, as brilliantly lewd, and as hilariously satisfying to men and women of all ages as this one." —Rachel Cusk
Nakate exposes the shortcomings of our global discussions around climate change, which consistently envisage the environmental crisis as a problem for future generations. Such an image is only possible through the erasure of the voices of people living in the Global South, where environmental disasters are already having a devastating impact on communities, and especially on women. This is one of the great injustices of the climate crisis: those who have contributed the least to its creation are now suffering its consequences most severely. Despite this, people from the Global South — and people of colour from across the world — are often expunged from the picture of climate activism, as typified by Vanessa's own erasure from a press photograph at Davos in 2020. As she explains, "We are on the front line, but we are not on the front page".
"Vanessa Nakate continues to teach a most critical lesson. She reminds us that while we may all be in the same storm, we are not all in the same boat." —Greta Thunberg

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