Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter. This month we feature New Zealand writers in our ‘Other Genres’ category, as there are some talented new writers emerging. We have highlighted some wonderful novels from all our categories of recent picks, to ensure many hours of great reading during the long nights of mid-winter.
Deciding on the novels to highlight in this month’s newsletter has been difficult due to the extraordinary number of brilliant writers recently received into the fiction collection. The following titles are just a taste of some great reading from the recent selection.
|Zero K : a novel / Don DeLillo.
“Jeffrey Lockhart’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say “an uncertain farewell” to her as she surrenders her body.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
|The Loney / Andrew Michael Hurley.
“When the remains of a young child are discovered during a winter storm on a stretch of the bleak Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, a man named Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family, along with members of their parish, embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine. But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites… Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The bricks that built the houses / Kate Tempest.
“Becky, Harry, and Leon are leaving London in a fourth-hand Ford with a suitcase full of stolen money, in a mess of tangled loyalties and impulses. But can they truly leave the city that’s in their bones? This novel reaches back through time, through tensely quiet dining rooms and crassly loud clubs–to the first time Becky and Harry meet. It sprawls through their lives and those they touch, of their families and friends and faces on the street, revealing intimacies and the moments that make them. And it captures the contemporary struggle of urban life, of young people seeking jobs or juggling jobs, harboring ambitions and making compromises.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Chosen for this newsletter are the only three stand-alone stories, from this month selection of new Graphic Novels, as the others were all the first volumes of new series.
|My degeneration : a journey through Parkinson’s / Peter Dunlap-Shohl.
“How does one deal with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease at the age of forty-three? My Degeneration, by former Anchorage Daily News staff cartoonist Peter Dunlap-Shohl, answers the question with humor and passion, recounting the author’s attempt to come to grips with the “malicious whimsy” of this chronic, progressive, and disabling disease.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Beef with tomato / Dean Haspiel.
“A native New York bruiser is fed up with life in the dregs of a drug-addled Alphabet City where his neighbors are shut-ins and his bicycle is always getting stolen. He escapes from Manhattan to make a fresh start in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, only to face a new strain of street logic, where most everything he encounters is not as it seems.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Becoming unbecoming / Una.
“A devastating personal account of gender violence told in comic book form, set against the backdrop of the 1970s Yorkshire Ripper man-hunt. It’s 1977 and Una is 12. A serial murderer is at large in West Yorkshire and the police, despite spending more than two million man-hours hunting the killer and interviewing the man himself no less than nine times, are struggling to solve the case. As this national news story unfolds around her, Una finds herself on the receiving end of a series of violent acts for which she feels she is to blame. Unbecoming explores gender violence, blame, shame, and social responsibility.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
This month’ new Mysteries includes the first novel by Chinese writer Song Ying, titled Apricot’s revenge: a crime novel, is set in China. It promises an ingenious plot, providing captivating reading, and is highly recommended.
|Little Sister / David Hewson
“Kim and Mia Timmers were ten years old when they were accused of murdering the rest of their family and the lead singer of the world famous band, The Cupids. The sisters, who have been in a Marken institution for ten years, are now due for release. Pieter Vos, DI in the Amsterdam police, is given cause to re-open the case when the girls disappear along with a nurse who was supposed to escort them to a half-way house. It soon becomes evident that there is more than meets the eye at Marken, and senior staff at the institution are beginning to panic as they fear certain secrets might come to light. When the dead body of the nurse washes up on the beach at Marken, it becomes clear that someone is posing as the third sister, Little Jo, who died ten years ago.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|In the cold dark ground / Stuart MacBride.
“Sergeant Logan McRae is in trouble. His missing-persons investigation has just turned up a body in the woods, naked, hands tied behind its back, and a bin bag duct-taped over its head. The Major Investigation Team charges up from Aberdeen, under the beady eye of Logan’s ex-boss Detective Chief Inspector Steel. And, as usual, she wants him to do her job for her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Apricot’s revenge : a crime novel / Song Ying ; translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin.
“A business tycoon in China is found dead; he apparently suffered a heart attack while swimming. But soon it becomes clear that he was murdered. Three immediate beneficiaries of his death become the suspects: the vice president of the company, Zhou, who is in line to take over his position; his young widow, Zhu, who stands to inherit a huge amount of wealth; and his arch business rival, Hong. Nie Feng, a young investigative reporter for a magazine, interviewed the victim just a few days before he died. Through his own research, Nie Feng discovers a new suspect who is not on the police’s radar.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
As readers of this genre expect they will be transported to new worlds, populated by a wide range of diverse characters, and placed in the most amazing situations. Each novel in this selection illustrates the brilliant imagination shown by each author.
|Transgalactic / James Gunn.
“When Riley and Asha finally reached the planet Terminal and found the Transcendental Machine, a matter transmission device built by an ancient race, they chose to be “translated.” Now in possession of intellectual and physical powers that set them above human limitations, the machine has transported them to two, separate, unknown planets among a possibility of billions. Riley and Asha know that together they can change the galaxy, so they attempt to do the impossible, find each other.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The map of bones / Francesca Haig
“Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha, physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega, burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies so does the other.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Barren Cove : a novel / Ariel S. Winter.
“The robot Sapien is a relic of a bygone age, searching for meaning in a world where his outdated allegiances to a time long past have left him isolated and hopeless. Seeking peace and quiet, he retires to a beach house at Barren Cove, a stately Victorian manor even more antiquated than he. He becomes increasingly fascinated with the family whose lives are entwined with the home, angry and rebellious Clark: flamboyant Kent: fragile, beautiful Mary; and most of all, Beachstone, the mysterious man whose history may hold all the answers Sapien has been searching for.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)
The New Zealand writers featuring this month in our ‘Other Genre’ category reflect a wide range of theme. From historical to contemporary national issues, romance to time travel, all open some new and thought provoking views on our society.
|The blackbird sings at dusk / Linda Olsson.
“One winter evening, Elias, a young artist, watches a woman move into his apartment building. After closing her door, however, she is not seen again. A misdirected letter finally gives Elias the opportunity to make contact. But inside her dark apartment, Elisabeth refuses to respond to his knock. Her only company is the Woman in Green, an unbidden vision from her childhood dreams. Elias, meanwhile, is not to be deterred and draws his friend Otto, an elderly widower, into his attempts to entice Elisabeth into the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Something else / David Parkyn.
“In a city threatened by drought, in a country wracked by unusual weather patterns, in an empty building about to be demolished, a fugitive from art contemplates a blank canvas, a jar of old brushes and a fresh page in his journal. As he surveys the grounds on which he’s lived and worked ‘a mutinous crew’ conspires to take him on a voyage of salvage and recovery, into inner city Auckland of the ‘sixties to revisit the deaths in which he believes his early obsession is implicated. A voyage to illuminate a looming personal and global disaster, to navigate the boundaries of art and politics, obsession and friendship and the shifting shores of modern art movements.” (Adapted from Book cover)
|The last time we spoke / Fiona Sussman.
“One mild summer evening in rural New Zealand the lives of Carla Reid, a middle-aged farmer’s wife, and Ben Toroa, an illiterate teen, brutally collide. Neither will be the same again, their futures forever linked. In the bleak aftermath of this home invasion, this novel traces both Carla and Ben’s journey as they each try to make sense of their new reality. Carla’s long road from rage and resentment interleaves with Ben’s time in prison as he hardens into manhood. Set again these parallel stories is also the voice of a Maori ancestor who looks down from Beyond, transporting the story to a wider historical stage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)