Fiction

sellout194x300The Sellout (Winner of 2016 Man Booker Prize)

by David Beatty

The black narrator of The Sellout is raised by his single father, a controversial sociologist. Led to believe that his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family’s financial woes, he discovers that, after his father is killed in a police shoot-out, there never was a memoir. In addition, the narrator’s hometown has been removed from the map to save California embarrassment due to its disrepair. In response, he reinstates slavery and segregates the local high school. What follows is a remarkable journey that challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life and the civil rights movement. A caustic satire on US racial politics.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $26.99

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His Bloody Project book coverHis Bloody Project

by Graeme Macrae Burnet

His Bloody Project, Graeme Macrae Burnet’s Booker Prize shortlisted second novel, is a tightly constructed historical page turner. Though entirely a work of fiction, it is presented as a collation of documents relating to a triple murder that took place in the Scottish Highlands in 1869. A young crofter, Roderick Macrae, brutally murdered 3 members of a neighbouring family, confessed immediately to the crime and was prosecuted. The novel includes Roderick’s own account of the event, case notes from visiting physicians, witness statements, and an account of the trial. As there is no doubt about Roderick’s guilt, the real focus is on his sanity at the time, and in this matter there is much disagreement. His Bloody Project is just that – bloody. It is also clever, at times funny, and often tragic.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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Out of Bounds by Val McDermid book coverOut of Bounds

by Val McDermid

Late one night in Scotland four boys steal a car and take it for a joyride. Hitting a roundabout at full speed, the driver loses control and crashes, killing the three passengers. As part of routine procedure, a blood test is run on the survivor to check for alcohol, and the results reveal a familial DNA hit to an open unsolved rape and murder case from two decades ago. Karen Pirie, head of Police Scotland’s Historic Crime Unit, takes on the case and quickly finds herself in the midst of legal and ethical quandaries. The boy is adopted, and his adoptive parents do not want his birth records revealed. Much to the annoyance of her boss and some colleagues, Karen also takes an interest in a current case that doesn’t rightly belong to her. A man has been found dead on a park bench, gun in hand. Karen thinks the detective assigned to the case is lazy and too inclined jump to the conclusion that the death is a suicide. When she discovers the victim’s mother was killed some years ago in what was assumed to be an IRA attack, but never proven, Karen can’t stop herself from interfering in the case.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $32.99

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My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout book coverMy Name is Lucy Barton

by Elizabeth Strout

After a routine operation young New York mother of two Lucy Barton picks up an infection that sees her hospitalised  for weeks. One afternoon she turns to find her own mother sitting in a chair at the end of the bed. It is years since the two have seen each other and Lucy is overwhelmed with emotion. Her mother stays by her bedside for five days and the two women talk, in a restrained way, about the past. Lucy’s childhood in rural Illinois had been one of extreme poverty and occasional violence. Although she found a way out and eventually made a new life as a writer, Lucy knows she is a product of her past. Many years later she will reflect on those pivotal five days spent with her mother and the glimpse she had into the other woman’s life. Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction with the wonderful Olive Kitteridge and in My Name Is Lucy Barton she has again produced a stunning portrait of motherhood, loneliness, strength and frailty. There aren’t many writers who combine such tough clear sightedness and gentle generosity, and Strought deserves her place on this year’s Booker Prize longlist.

FORMAT: Hardback | PRICE: $35.00 Paperback | PRICE: $22.99

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Nutshell by Ian McEwan book coverNutshell

by Ian McEwan

Heavily pregnant Trudy has betrayed her poet husband John with his brother Claude. The pair have hatched a murderous plot to rid themselves of husband and brother, thus gaining a valuable London house as well as their freedom. There are several problems however. Firstly, Claude, apart from being monumentally boring, is also quite stupid. Trudy knows this, but cannot control her attraction to him. Secondly, there is a witness to everything they do – John and Trudy’s unborn child, who eavesdrops on his mother’s life from her womb and who narrates the Hamlet-like story, with revenge in mind. Part comedy, part tragedy, Nutshell manages to keep you guessing right to the last page.

FORMAT: Hardback | PRICE: $32.99

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The Dry by Jane Harper book coverThe Dry

by Jane Harper

Federal police officer Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funeral of his oldest friend Luke Hadler, whose body, along with those of his wife Karen and son Billy, has been found on his farm in the small rural community. It looks very much like a double murder suicide, presumably brought about by the extreme stress being experienced by farmers in the never ending drought. Twenty years earlier Ellie Deacon, a friend of both Falk and Luke’s, had drowned in the local river and the town had blamed Falk. He and his dad had fled Kiewarra for Melbourne and never returned. Now Luke’s parents want his help. They are not convinced their son did kill himself and his family, and it turns out the local cop might agree with them.

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Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers book coverHeroes of the Frontier

by Dave Eggers

Beset by what feel like insurmountable problems, single mother Josie flees her home in Ohio and sets off with her two kids, Paul and Ana, in an old RV to explore Alaska. Imagining a new life without the lawsuits, the guilty conscience, the next to useless ex-partner and the infuriating other parents at her kids’ school, Josie drifts across the state encountering a litany of kooky characters and situations. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to matter how far she goes or how many glasses of wine she drinks, Josie cannot avoid her own past or the reality of present day America. By turns hilariously funny, biting and poignant, Dave Eggers’ new novel is a fabulous read.

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Hope Farm by Peggy Frew book coverHope Farm

by Peggy Frew

The year she turned thirteen Silver and her mother Ishtar moved to Hope Farm, a dilapidated commune in rural Victoria. It wasn’t the first time Ishtar had decided they needed a fresh start, and Silver was old enough now to know it wouldn’t be the last. However the way Ishtar gazed at Miller, the latest man in her life, was new, and Silver worried at the power he seemed to exercise over her mother. From the distance of adulthood Silver recalls her memories of that fateful year, and these recollections are interspersed with snippets from Ishtar’s own journal to make up Hope Farm, shortlisted for this year’s Miles Franklin Award.

 

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $29.99

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Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty book coverRain Dogs

by Adrian McKinty

Detective Inspector Sean Duffy begins every day with a quick check under his car for a bomb. It’s standard practice for a policeman in Northern Ireland in 1987 and he’s known more than one copper who died after forgetting the check. When a young English journalist is found dead in the courtyard of Carrickfergus castle it seems likely she suicided, but Duffy has a couple of doubts in his mind. It turns out that Lily Bigelow was investigating a tip off about a paedophile ring operating in the uppermost echelons of British society and a possible connection to a visiting business delegation from Sweden. When the forensic results raise more questions and another death occurs, he and his team set out to find a murderer.

 

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Bunting Quest (web)The Bunting Quest

by Steven Marcuson

A Claremont map dealer, Steven Marcuson, was fascinated by Bunting’s World Map. How could the west coast of Australia be depicted so accurately 25 years before the accepted date of European discovery? His research led to him to write a fictional thriller concerning the theft of the priceless map and a 400 year old religious mystery that results in people being prepared to kill to obtain the map.. The question is why?

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $29.95

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Music and Freedom by Zoe Morrison book coverMusic and Freedom

by Zoe Morrison

What a wonderful debut novel this is. In Oxford in 2005 an elderly woman, Alice Murray, spends her days performing four tasks. She files away sheet music; she burns all her husband’s books and papers; she makes mysterious phone calls and she strikes notes on a Steinway. Alice is also slowly starving herself to death. And then she hears music, a piano being played. It sounds as though it is coming from next door, but she knows the house to be vacant. Whoever is playing the music is making mistakes and Alice can not stop herself from sounding out corrections on her own piano, thus beginning a musical conversation that will save her life.

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Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler book coverVinegar Girl

by Anne Tyler

Twenty nine year old Kate Battista lives in her childhood home with her scientist father Louis and teenage sister Bunny. Years ago she was expelled from college and has never bothered to re-apply, instead slowly sliding into a life of caring for her father and sister while working as an aid at a nearby pre-school. Not one to suffer fools gladly, Kate is sharp, witty and abrupt with practically no social skills. When Louis thinks he is in danger of losing the best assistant he’s ever had – Russian Pyotr Shcherbakov, in the US on a special visa about to expire – he hatches a plan for Kate and Pyotr to marry, thus providing the latter with a green card. Needless to say, Kate is not thrilled and drama ensues. Pyotr’s language skills and Kate’s hilarious exchanges with both parents and children at her school provide much of the comedy in this light romance, loosely based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

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Barkskins by Annie Proulx book coverBarkskins

by Annie Proulx

Late in the 17th century two Frenchmen, Charles Duquet and René Sel, travel to New France as indentured labourers. In exchange for three years work felling trees they are promised land of their own. Duquet does a bunk, becomes a fur trader and eventually founds a timber empire Duke & Sons. Sel remains, marries a native woman and lives a tough life. Annie Proulx’s new novel follows these two men and their descendants over the following three hundred years as the forests of North America suffer a decimation equaled by that of the native population. Large in scope and length, Barkskins is dramatic, grisly and utterly absorbing.

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Dictator by Robert Harris book coverDictator

by Robert Harris

Ancient Rome is once again brought to life by Robert Harris in Dictator, the final book in his Ciceronian trilogy. As the book opens the statesman is fleeing Rome, persecuted by Clodius and seeking refuge where he can find it. Over the next fifteen years Cicero’s fortunes wax and wane as he returns to Rome and attempts to regain his position. The Roman Republic in which he so fiercely believes is crumbling, the age of the Julio Claudians and the Empire is coming, and there is not a lot men such as Cicero can do about it. Narrated by Cicero’s secretary Tyro, Dictator is a wonderful blend of the personal and the political.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $22.99

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A Divided Spy by Charles Cumming book coverA Divided Spy

by Charles Cumming

Ex MI6 operative Thomas Kell blames Russian spy Alexander Minasian for the death of his lover Rachel. When an old colleague tells Tom that he’s spotted Minasian in a very compromising situation, he realises he may be in a position to extract revenge. Unfortunately a man dies before the trap Tom sets produces any results and he then hears about a possible terrorist attack about to be launched on British soil by ISIS. Unable to convince MI6 that the threat is real, Tom embarks on a solo mission to find the terrorist and prevent countless deaths.

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LaRose by Louise Erdrich book coverLaRose

by Louise Erdrich

While out walking his North Dakota property, Landreaux Iron spots a deer he has been keeping an eye on all summer. The animal, now nicely fattened up, is grazing on the border of his neighbour’s land. Landreaux has his gun with him and takes the shot, surprised when the buck runs off unharmed. When he gets closer however, he discovers he has killed his neighbour’s young son, Dusty. Drawing on their Ojibwe traditions, Landreaux and his wife Emmaline take their own young son, LaRose, and give him to their grieving neighbours. “Our son will be your son now” they say. Over the coming months and years the two families teeter on the edge, full of grief, guilt and anger. Young LaRose however, like his ancestors, is a gifted healer. Slowly but surely his presence takes effect.

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Ravenspur by Conn Iggulden book cover imageRavenspur

by Conn Iggulden

This is the fourth and final book in Conn Iggulden’s Wars of the Roses series. Margaret of Anjou and her supporters return from France to join her husband, Henry VI, who has been freed from the tower. Edward IV, who had grown fat and complacent, is driven, along with other Yorkists, from the country. With the support of the Duke of Burgundy, Edward regroups and prepares to once again challenge the house of Lancaster for the throne. Landing at Ravenspur they wage battle, defeating Henry’s forces and killing his son. Edward IV will reign for another decade, but when he dies and his brother Richard takes the throne, the house of York is once again vulnerable and the the last of the Lancasters, Henry Tudor, believes the time is right for his challenge to begin.

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Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson book coverShylock is My Name

by Howard Jacobson

Two Jewish men meet in a cemetery in the north of England. Simon Strulovitch is visiting his mother’s grave. He is distracted by worry over his rebellious daughter, Beatrice. The other man, Shylock, is talking to his dead wife Leah, but he doesn’t mention their daughter, from whom he has become estranged. Discovering they have much in common, Strulovitch invites Shylock home and over the coming days they discuss everything from raising a child alone to what it means to be a Jew. Meanwhile, local reality tv star Plurabelle and her new friend D’Anton amuse themselves by introducing a not too bright soccer player with a penchant for young Jewish girls to an arts student D’Anton knows – Beatrice. When the pair run off to Venice together and Strulovitch finds out, things really get complicated. Howard Jacobson’s reimagining of The Merchant of Venice is a delight to read, irrespective of whether you know the original or not.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $29.99

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The Other Side of Silence by Philip Kerr book cover The Other Side of Silence

by Philip Kerr

Bernie Gunther has survived WWII. The ex-soldier, ex-cop and ex-private detective is now living under a false name in the south of France, working as the concierge in the Grand Hotel du St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. He lives a quiet life, playing bridge a couple of times a week with friends and just trying to keep his head down. Then one day he is introduced to the famous British writer Somerset  Maugham and Bernie’s quiet life is turned upside down. Maugham wants Bernie’s help in dealing with a blackmailer, and it turns out the blackmailer is someone from Bernie’s past. In addition, his friend and lover Anne French wants him to introduce her to Maugham, about whom she is writing. To complicate matters further, the blackmail attempt involves members of the infamous Cambridge spy ring, not all of whom have been discovered, and British Intelligence wants in on the act.

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The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith book coverThe Last Painting of Sara de Vos

by Dominic Smith

Ellie Shipley is curating an exhibition of paintings by female Dutch painters for the Art Gallery of New South Wales. When her boss excitedly informs her an American collector,  Marty de Groot, has offered the loan of At the Edge of a Wood by Sara de Vos for the exhibition, she has to inform the gallery that she has already secured the loan of this particular painting, but from a private collection in Amsterdam. Obviously one of the two is a fake, an embarrassing but not unique problem in the art world, and the gallery decides to ascertain which one is genuine before informing the owner. What is embarrassing for the gallery however, could spell professional disaster for Ellie, who decades previously in New York City forged a copy of At the Edge of the Wood herself, which she knows was substituted for the original belonging to Marty.  For years she has feared discovery and now she is convinced her secret is about to be revealed and public humiliation will follow. Alternating between the  seventeenth, twentieth and twenty first centuries, Dominic Smith tells the stories of the painter, the forger and the collector.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $32.99

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The Waters of Eternal Youth by Donna Leon book coverThe Waters of Eternal Youth

by Donna Leon

At a dinner party one evening Contessa Lando-Continui, an old friend of Commissario Guido Brunetti’s mother-in-law, asks for his help. Years previously her teenage granddaughter Manuela had fallen into a canal and nearly drowned. She was rescued by drunk who claimed he had seen another man push her into the water, but the next morning he couldn’t remember anything and his story was dismissed by the police. Manuela survived, but suffered brain damage from which she never recovered. The Contessa wants to know if there was any truth to the drunk’s story. Out of politeness and a sense of pity Brunetti agrees to investigate, but when the drunk is murdered he begins to think there may indeed be a real case to answer. Published on April 18, this is the 25th Commissario Brunetti mystery from Donna Leon.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $29.99

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Little Life(web)A Little Life

by Hanya Yanagihara

Four young men meet and become friends at college. Their friendship will last a lifetime, undergoing many changes but sustaining them through thick and thin. Each becomes successful in their chosen field – JB as an artist, Malcolm an architect, Willem an actor and Jude a lawyer. One of them however has been severely damaged as a child, both physically and emotionally. He finds it impossible to believe he is worthy of other people’s love and this isolates him, even within the group, while the other three struggle to convince him of their love. Is some damage so traumatic that it becomes irreparable and simply cannot be survived? Hanya Yanagihara’s Booker shortlisted novel is both grueling in its portrayal of abuse and self harm, and beautiful in its depiction of love and friendship.

FORMAT: Paperback| PRICE: $19.99

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Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift book coverMothering Sunday

by Graham Swift

This is a beautiful novella from Booker Prize-winning novelist Graham Swift. On Mothering Sunday in 1924 Jane Fairchild, a young housemaid, has no mother to visit. She is an orphan, a foundling, left on the doorstep of an orphanage 22 years previously. Thinking she will spend her day of freedom reading, Jane’s plans change when she is summoned by Paul Sheringham, the son of a neighbouring estate, Upleigh. Paul and Jane have been secret lovers for years now. At first he used to slip her a sixpence, but nowadays no money changes hands, “mutual interest in the transactions cancelling any need for purchase”. Paul is soon to be wed to the daughter of another local family and today, the house at Upleigh being entirely empty, he brings Jane into his own home for the first time ever. It will be their last day together, a turning point in Jane’s life and one she will reflect back on for all her remaining days.

FORMAT: Hardback | PRICE: $29.99

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The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes book coverThe Noise of Time

by Julian Barnes

In his new novel Julian Barnes fictionalises the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and examines the nature of courage and cowardice. Divided into three parts The Noise of Time is structured around three episodes in Shostakovich’s life when he had direct contact with the regime ( his ‘conversations with Power’ as he called them). Unlike his fellow artists Stravinsky and Solzhenitsyn, Shostakovich stayed in Russia and compromised with the regime. Fully aware he was not strong enough to resist pressure of any kind, he spent his life bending to the whims of power in order to stay alive and keep composing. Is there a certain kind of courage in just surviving, even if that survival entailed all manner of unpleasant compromises?

FORMAT: Hardback | PRICE: $32.99

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The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop Price book coverThe Other Side of the World

by Stephanie Bishop

Charlotte is a painter. Her husband Henry is an academic and writer. Their daughter Lucie is not yet one when Charlotte falls pregnant again. Life for the young parents is difficult, not what they imagined it would be. Their cottage in Cambridge is cold and damp, winter never seems to end in England and Charlotte is overwhelmed by motherhood. Today she would be diagnosed with postnatal depression, but in the early 1960s she flounders on her own. Henry thinks he can not stand the cold any longer and believes moving to Australia will solve their problems, so the family cross the world for a new life in Perth, only to discover that no amount of sunshine and warmth can heal the wounds that lie deep inside themselves.

FORMAT: Paperback | PRICE: $19.99

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