Welcome to the Fiction Newsletter. Another month has passed and summer is approaching. Long lazy days are ahead and there’s plenty of time for some wonderful hours of reading pleasure. This month’s selection of new material across all genres offers many exciting works from well-known and new writers. In our ‘Other Genres’ category translated novels have been selected. These will provide a wonderful perspective on new fiction from around the world.
There were so many top class writers in this month’s selection of new contemporary fiction that deciding on just three for this newsletter was difficult. So please be sure to check the complete selection as there are many other wonderful novels that will provide many hours of enjoyable reading.
|Origin : a novel / Dan Brown.
“In keeping with his trademark style, Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code and Inferno, interweaves codes, science, religion, history, art, and architecture into this new novel. Origin thrusts Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon into the dangerous intersection of humankind’s two most enduring questions, and the earthshaking discovery that will answer them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Manhattan Beach : a novel / Jennifer Egan.
“This novel begins in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a nightclub, she chances to meet Dexter Styles again, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Home fire / Kamila Shamsie.
“Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Handsome and privileged, he inhabits a London that is worlds away from theirs. As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birthright to live up to or defy. Is he to be a chance at love, the means of Parvaiz’s salvation? Two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined, in this searing novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love?” (Adpated from Syndetics summary)
There was a stunning variation of genre in this month’s new graphic novels selection. The highlight would be M. H. McKinely’s historical graphic novel about the land wars in Wairau in 1843.
|Dept. H. Volume 1, Pressure / story and art, Matt Kindt ; colors, Sharlene Kindt ; letters, Marie Enger.
“A special investigator hired to uncover possible sabotage taking place at a deep-sea research station uncovers a crime scene filled with suspects with terrible secrets, strange deep-sea creatures, and an impending flood.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Wars in the whitecloud : Wairau, 1843 / MH McKinley.
“The New Zealand wars 1843-1847 and the Ngati Toa of the Wairau Valley, an accomplished visual treat.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The Electric Sublime / written by W. Maxwell Prince ; art by Martin Morazzo.
“When a mysterious change in the composition of a famous painting begins poisoning the minds of its spectators, Margot Breslin, director of the Bureau of Artistic Integrity, must pull famed “art detective” Arthur Brut out of a mental institution and back into the insanity that sent him there in the first place.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
This month many leading mystery writers were included in our selection of recently received new material. Several of these mysteries were not for the faint heated, so for this newsletter we have chosen three mysteries that range from mild to horrific.
|The missing masterpiece / Jeanne M. Dams.
“When Dorothy Martin goes to France alone because Alan is stuck back home in Sherebury with a broken ankle, she worries about her ability to get along in a language she barely speaks, and in a country she hasn’t seen for over fifty years. But by the time Alan joins her a week later, Dorothy has found herself embroiled in one mystery after another: a woman drowning in quicksand; a man suffering a near fatal fall in the abbey at Mont Saint Michel; and a missing American archaeologist, all seemingly connected to a monk named Abelard who has been dead for almost nine hundred years. It isn’t until another body is discovered that Dorothy’s ability to ‘think outside the box’ finally unravels the threads of a despicable scheme.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The Mitford murders / Jessica Fellowes.
“It’s 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle. Louisa’s salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nursery maid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy, an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories. But when a nurse, Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake, is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The silent girl : a Sebastian Bergman thriller / [Michael] Hjorth & [Hans] Rosenfeldt ; translated by Marlaine Delargy.
“An idyllic white, two-storey, beautiful house in Sweden. Inside, a family has been brutally murdered, mother, father and two young children all shot in broad daylight. And the killer has got away. Sebastian Bergman has been brought in to solve the crime, but with no credible suspects, he is at a dead end. Until he discovers that there was a witness to the crime. A young girl who saw it all happen and she has disappeared. Bergman has to track the young girl down before it’s too late. But the killer is chasing her too and he is determined to finish what he started.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The selection of new science fiction and fantasy novels covers many well-loved themes of this genre from interplanetary wars to alternative histories. Also included is the multiple award winning novel by Naomi Alderman titled The Power, which is of course highly recommended.
|The power / Naomi Alderman.
“Suddenly tomorrow or the day after, girls find that with a flick of their fingers they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. With this single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s extraordinary, visceral novel are utterly transformed, and we look at the world in an entirely new light. What if the power were in women’s hands?” (Adapted from Sydetics summary)
|Walkaway / Cory Doctorow.
“Hubert, Seth, and their ultra-rich heiress friend Natalie are getting a little old to hang out at the “Communist parties,” techno-raveups in abandoned industrial spaces, full of insta-printed drugs and toys. Natalie was finished, years ago, with her over controlling zillionaire dad and now that anyone can manufacture food, clothing, shelter with equipment comparable to a computer printer, there seems to be little reason to stick with the world of rules and jobs. So, like hundreds of thousands of others in the mid-21st century, the three of them walk away. Mind you, it’s still dangerous out there. Much of the countryside is wrecked by climate change, and predators are with us always. Yet when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).
|A man of shadows : a Nyquist mystery / Jeff Noon.
“Below the neon skies of Dayzone, where the lights never go out, and night has been banished, lowly private eye John Nyquist takes on a teenage runaway case. His quest takes him from Dayzone into the permanent dark of Nocturna. As the vicious, seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver haunts the streets, Nyquist starts to suspect that the runaway girl holds within her the key to the city’s fate. In the end, there’s only one place left to search: the shadow-choked zone known as Dusk.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Translated novels feature in this month’s selection of fiction from other genres, with a comprehensive representation from many countries. There are many debut writers included and hopeful many readers will find new authors to pursue in future.
|Penance / Kanae Minato ; translated by Philip Gabriel.
“The tense, chilling story of four women haunted by a childhood trauma. When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emili by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emili is found murdered hours later. Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emili’s body was discovered. Asako, Emili’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The history of bees / Maja Lunde.
“England, 1852. William is a biologist and seed merchant, who sets out to build a new type of beehive one that will give both him and his children honor and fame. United States, 2007, George is a beekeeper fighting an uphill battle against modern farming, but hopes that his son can be their salvation. China 2098, Tao hand paints pollen onto the fruit trees now that the bees have long since disappeared. When Tao’s young son is taken away by the authorities after a tragic accident, she sets out on a grueling journey to find out what happened to him. Three very different narratives lead into one gripping and thought-provoking story that is just as much about the powerful bond between children and parents as it is about our very relationship to nature and humanity.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The red-haired woman / Orhan Pamuk ; translated from the Turkish by Ekin Oklap.
“On the outskirts of a town thirty miles from Istanbul a master well digger and his young apprentice are hired to find water on a barren plain. As they struggle in the summer heat, the two will develop a filial bond neither has known before. In the nearby town, the boy will find an irresistible diversion. The Red Haired woman, an irresistibly alluring member of a travelling theatre company, catches his eye and seems as fascinated by him as he is by her. The young man’s wildest dream will be realized, but, when in his distraction, a horrible accident befalls the well-digger; the boy will flee, returning to Istanbul. Only years later will he discover whether he was in fact responsible for his master’s death and who the redheaded enchantress was.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)