“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” – J.R.R. Tolkien.
There’s an abundance of treasures and rich pickings in our December fiction showcase. These include Huia Short Stories 12, a fabulous edition of the Māori fiction collection of short stories now in its twelfth outing, From the Ashes, a tale of friendship and family set in fifties Auckland from Deborah Challinor, TV celebrity Graham Norton’s witty A Keeper and another scintillating Tudor tome from C.J. Sansom called Tombland. So why not enjoy the feast and indulge yourself in a great read!
From the ashes / Deborah Challinor.
“A captivating story of family and friendship through one decade of incredible change. In 1950s Auckland things are changing – and fast. Women are joining the workforce in numbers, whitegoods are readily available and the age of rock’n’ roll has arrived. Allie Manaia works the Elizabeth Arden counter at Smith and Caughey’s. It’s been two years since the Dunbar and Jones fire, where some of her friends perished, but she still has nightmares. From the Ashes follows the fortunes of the women of three families through one decade of incredible change.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
An island Christmas / Jenny Colgan.
“Christmas on the remote Scottish island of Mure is bleak, stark – and incredibly beautiful. It’s a time for hunkering down, getting cosy in front of whisky barrel wood fires, and enjoying a dram with the people you love – unless, of course, you’re accidentally pregnant to your ex-boss, and don’t know how to tell him. In what should be the season of peace and goodwill on earth, will Joel think Flora is a bearer of glad tidings? Travel to the beautiful northern edge of the world and join the welcoming community of Mure for an unforgettable Christmas.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The wych elm / Tana French.
“For me it all goes back to that night, the dark corroded hinge between before and after, the slipped-in sheet of trick glass that tints everything on one side in its own murky colours and leaves everything on the other luminous and untouchable. One night changes everything for Toby. A brutal attack leaves him traumatised, unsure even of the person he used to be. He seeks refuge at the family’s ancestral home, the Ivy House, filled with cherished memories of wild-strawberry summers and teenage parties with his cousins.But not long after Toby’s arrival, a discovery is made. A skull, tucked neatly inside the old wych elm in the garden. As detectives begin to close in, Toby is forced to examine everything he thought he knew about his family, his past, and himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Red birds / Mohammed Hanif.
“An American pilot crash lands in the desert and takes refuge in the very camp he was supposed to bomb. Hallucinating palm trees and worrying about dehydrating to death isn’t what Major Ellie expected from this mission. Still, it’s an improvement on the constant squabbles with his wife back home. In the camp, teenager Momo’s money-making schemes are failing. His brother left for his first day at work and never returned, his parents are at each other’s throats, his dog is having a very bad day, and an aid worker has shown up wanting to research him for her book on the Teenage Muslim Mind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Huia short stories 12 : contemporary Māori fiction.Server ErrorYour request could not be completed.
“Here are the best short stories and novel extracts from the Pikihuia Awards for Māori writers 2017 as judged by Whiti Hereaka, Paula Morris, Poia Rewi amd Rawinia Higgins. The book contains the stories from the finalists for Best Short Story written in English, Best Short Story written in te reo Māori and Best Novel Extract categories. This writing competition, held every two years, is organised by the Maori Literature Trust and Huia Publishers as a way to promote Māori writers and their work. The awards and the collection of finalists’ fiction celebrate Māori writing and bring new writers to light.” — Provided by publisher.
Berta Isla / Javier Marías ; translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
“Berta Isla and Tomás Nevinson meet in Madrid. Young and in love, they quickly decide to spend their lives together – never suspecting that they will grow to be total strangers, both living under the shadow of disappearances.Tomás, half-Spanish and half-English, has an extraordinary gift for languages and accents. Leaving Berta to study at Oxford, he catches the interest of a certain government agency, and its mysterious agent, Bertram Tupra. Tomás is determined to evade the agent’s attentions but his fate is sealed by a series of escalating events that will affect the rest of his life – and that of his beloved Berta. Finishing his time at Oxford, he returns to Madrid to marry her, already knowing that the life they planned has been lost forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
A keeper / Graham Norton.
“Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her; she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother’s presence already fading. And perhaps, had she not found the small stash of letters, the truth would never have come to light. 40 years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Melmoth / Sarah Perry.
“Twenty years ago Helen Franklin did something she cannot forgive herself for, and she has spent every day since barricading herself against its memory. But the sheltered life she has crafted for herself is about to change. A strange manuscript has come into her possession, and its contents have the power to unravel every strand of her fragile safety net. It is filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet: Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Tombland / C.J. Sansom.Tombland
“Summer, 1549.Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos . . . The nominal king, Edward VI, is eleven years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Archangel’s Prophecy / Singh, Nalini.Archangel’s Prophecy
“Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind . . . and now they’re failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill. Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before it’s too late, and Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering in New York and across the world. This time, survival may not be possible . . . not even for the consort of an archangel.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)