Contemporary fiction covers a wide range of different themes and subjects, not only young up-coming writers, but also some well-established acclaimed writers. This month’s selection from our new material is no exception, with psychological thrillers, satire and humour, romantic suspense and historical novels all represented, by authors as well-known as Dave Eggers to young authors such as Eowyn Ivey with her highly praised second novel. All will prove a delight for avid fiction readers.
The last photograph / Emma Chapman.
“Rook Henderson is an award-winning photojournalist, still carrying the hidden scars of war. Now, suddenly, he is also a widower. Leaving his son Ralph to pick up the pieces, Rook packs his belongings and flies to Vietnam for the first time in fifty years. As Rook reconnects with the changed landscape of a place he once knew so well, he reflects upon a life defined through his work in wartime Vietnam, and then further back in time through rural life in the 1970s, fashionable London in the 1960s, a post-war working class childhood in a Yorkshire mining town, and a secret grief he’s never been able to forget. When Ralph follows him to Vietnam, seeking answers from the father he barely knows, Rook is forced to reconsider his marriage to the unforgettable June and the price he has paid for a life behind the lens.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Heroes of the frontier : a novel / Dave Eggers.
“Josie and her children’s father have split up, she’s been sued by a former patient and lost her dental practice, and she’s grieving the death of a young man senselessly killed. When her ex asks to take the children to meet his new fiancée’s family, Josie makes a run for it, figuring Alaska is about as far as she can get without a passport. Josie and her kids, Paul and Ana, rent a rattling old RV named the Chateau, and at first their trip feels like a vacation. But as they drive, pushed north by the ubiquitous wildfires, Josie is chased by enemies both real and imagined, past mistakes pursuing her tiny family, even to the very edge of civilization.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Belgravia / Julian Fellowes.
“On the evening of 15 June 1815, the great and the good of British Society have gathered in Brussels at what is to become one of the most tragic parties in history, the Duchess of Richmond’s ball. For this is the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, and many of the handsome young men attending the ball will find themselves, the very next day, on the battlefield. For Sophia Trenchard, the young and beautiful daughter of Wellington’s chief supplier, this night will change everything. But it is only twenty-five years later, when the upwardly mobile Trenchards move into the fashionable new area of Belgravia, that the true repercussions of that moment will be felt.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
To the bright edge of the world / Eowyn Ivey.
“Authorized to lead an 1885 winter exploratory expedition up the Wolverine River into the Alaska interior, Lt. Col. Allen Forrester leaves his wife of a few short months to travel more than 1,000 miles over the most hostile terrain imaginable. Woefully unprepared for the climate, scarcity of food, and potentially hazardous exchanges with the native inhabitants, he and his men find a land that is as deadly as it is mysterious and beautiful. Meanwhile, bride Sophie faces a difficult pregnancy alone in Vancouver, WA. The entire novel consists of the correspondence between the couple-neither of them knowing if those letters will even reach the other. Interspersed are other letters between an exhibitor in Alaska and Allen’s great nephew who wants the Forresters’ story to be curated and preserved.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The invoice : a novel / Jonas Karlsson ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“A passionate film buff, whose life revolves around his part-time job at a video store, the company of a few precious friends, and a daily routine that more often than not concludes with pizza and movie in his treasured small space in Stockholm. When he receives an astronomical invoice from a random national bureaucratic agency, everything will tumble into madness as he calls the hotline night and day to find out why he is the recipient of the largest bill in the entire country. What is the price of a cherished memory? How much would you pay for a beautiful summer day? How will our carefree idealist, who is content with so little and has no chance of paying it back, find a way out of this mess?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Arrowood : a novel / by Laura McHugh.
“Arrowood is the most ornate and grand of the historical houses that line the Mississippi River in southern Iowa. But the house has a mystery it has never revealed: It’s where Arden Arrowood’s younger twin sisters vanished on her watch twenty years ago, never to be seen again. After the twins’ disappearance, Arden’s parents divorced and the Arrowoods left the big house that had been in their family for generations. Now Arden’s own life has fallen apart. She has held on to the hope that her sisters are still alive, and it seems she can’t move forward until she finds them. When her father dies and she inherits Arrowood, Arden returns to her childhood home determined to discover what really happened to her sisters that traumatic summer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
What we become : a novel / Arturo Pérez-Reverte ; translated by Nick Caistor and Lorenza García.
“En route from Lisbon to Buenos Aires in 1928, Max and Mecha meet aboard a luxurious transatlantic cruise ship. There Max teaches the stunning stranger and her erudite husband to dance the tango. A steamy affair ignites at sea and continues as the seedy decadence of Buenos Aires envelops the secret lovers. Nice, 1937. Still drawn to one another a decade later, Max and Mecha rekindle their dalliance.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Why did you lie? / Yrsa Sigurdardóttir ; translated from the icelandic by Victoria Cribb.
“A journalist on the track of an old case attempts suicide. An ordinary couple returns from a house swap in the states to find their home in disarray and their guests seemingly missing. Four strangers struggle to find shelter on a windswept spike of rock in the middle of a raging sea. They have one thing in common: they all lied. And someone is determined to punish them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Paradise Lodge : a novel / Nina Stibbe.
“Fifteen-year-old Lizzie Vogel takes a job as an “auxiliary nurse” at Paradise Lodge, a home for the elderly, and learns that her job entails helping the patients (frequently) to the bathroom. What begins as a way to avoid school and earn some spending money (for the finer things in life, like real coffee and beer shampoo) quickly becomes the education of a lifetime as Lizzy wades through the day-to-day humdrum and drama of this ramshackle refuge for the elderly. And when a rival nursing home threatens, Lizzie discovers that the staff and residents of Paradise Lodge have become her surrogate family, and the only place she’s ever felt she belongs.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The underground railroad : a novel / Colson Whitehead.
“Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood, where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)