New Tales for Long Winter Nights

Our latest fiction offers a diverse range of titles, from embellished folk tales and Shakespearean plays to modern surrealist creations. Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi resonates with our deep familiarity of “once upon a time”, Mark Haddon’s The Porpoise riffs on a minor Shakespearean tale and in Improvement Joan Silber’s award-winning title explores the complex interweaving of small events affecting the lives around us.

We’ve also got eerie short stories from Argentinian author Samanta Sweblin and translator Megan McDowell, while New Zealand author Maxine Alterio delivers a swift, menacing tale with The Gulf Between. Great winter reading for those long, dark evenings!

The gulf between / Alterio, Maxine
“A foreigner is seriously injured not far from Julia’s safe Queenstown hideaway. Why does he have her name in his wallet? His unexpected arrival takes Julia back forty-five years to London, where as an impulsive young woman she first met Benito Moretti–a meeting that was to change her life, taking her to the glittering Gulf of Naples. There Julia found herself pitted against her belligerent mother-in-law and Benito’s sinister brother in a lethal battle for her husband and children.” (Catalogue)

The runaways / Bhutto, Fatima
“Anita’s mother is a maalish wali, paid to massage the tired bones of rich women. But Anita’s life will change forever when she meets her elderly neighbour. On the other side of Karachi lives Monty, whose father owns half the city. But when a rebellious girl joins his school, Monty will find his life going in a very different direction. Sunny’s father left India and went to England to give his son the opportunities he never had. Yet Sunny doesn’t fit in anywhere. These three lives will cross in the desert . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The braid / Colombani, Laetitia
“Smita is an untouchable, her job to clean with her bare hands the village latrines. Giulia is a worker in her father’s wig workshop. She washes, bleaches and dyes the hair. When her father is the victim of a serious accident, she quickly discovers her family have been living a lie. Sarah is a reputed lawyer. Just as she is about to be promoted, she learns she has breast cancer. Her seemingly perfect existence begins to show its cracks. Three lives, bound by a rare expression of courage.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The porpoise / Haddon, Mark
“A newborn baby is the sole survivor of a terrifying plane crash. She is raised in wealthy isolation by an overprotective father. She knows nothing of the rumours about a beautiful young woman, hidden from the world. When a suitor visits, he understands far more than he should. Forced to run for his life, he escapes aboard The Porpoise, an assassin on his tail. So begins a wild adventure of a novel, damp with salt spray, blood and tears.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Gingerbread / Oyeyemi, Helen
“Perdita Lee may appear your average British schoolgirl; Harriet Lee may seem just a working mother trying to penetrate the school social hierarchy; but there are signs that they might not be as normal as they think they are. And then there’s the gingerbread they make. Londoners may find themselves able to take or leave it, but it’s very popular in Druhástrana, the far-away (and, according to Wikipedia, non-existent) land of Harriet Lee’s early youth . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The altruists / Ridker, Andrew
“Arthur Alter is in trouble. A middling professor at a Midwestern college, he can’t afford his mortgage, he’s exasperated his much younger girlfriend, and his kids won’t speak to him. And then there’s the money–the small fortune his late wife Francine kept secret, which she bequeathed directly to his children. On the verge of losing the family home, Arthur invites his children back to St. Louis under the guise of a reconciliation . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Improvement / Silber, Joan (print) (eBook)
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. A novel that examines conviction, connection and the possibility of generosity in the face of loss, Improvement is as intricately woven together as Kiki’s beloved Turkish rugs and as colourful as the tattoos decorating Reyna’s body, with narrative twists and turns as surprising and unexpected as the lives all around us. Silber’s most shining achievement yet.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Mouthful of birds: stories / Schweblin, Samanta
“The crunch of a bird’s wing. Abandoned by the roadside, newlywed brides scream with rage as they are caught in the headlights of a passing car. A cloud of butterflies, so beautiful it smothers. Unearthly and unexpected, these stories burrow their way into your psyche with the feel of a sleepless night. Every shadow and bump in the dark takes on huge implications, leaving the pulse racing–blurring the line between the real and the strange.” (Catalogue)

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