New fictional excursions

This month our new fiction selection offers humour and tragedy with authors that craft tales to confront and amuse. Travelling to new lives, the characters of Christy Lefteri and polyglot Pajtim Statovci reveal two very different tales of escape from Syria in The Beekeeper of Aleppo and European peregrinations in Crossings as politics and violence carve new and unexpected paths. These authors have lived the lives of their characters through emigration and profession, the absurd coincidences of real life enhance their writing.

Colson Whitehead relates the brutal reality of a segregation era reform school in The Nickel Boys. Inspired by horrific events that transpired at the real-life Dozier School for Boys, Whitehead’s brilliant examination of America’s history of violence is a stunning novel of impeccable language and startling insight.

The talented Deborah Moggach, script writer and serial inspiration for movies, Tulip Fever and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has written on the ever expanding care for the elderly in The Carer. And the transformative Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame writes on female self determination with a flair for the theatrical 1940’s. Other selections delve into espionage, undertaking and small town justice, a wealth of enjoyment to discover. Enjoy!

The carer / Moggach, Deborah
“James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy’s virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day? Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Nickel boys : a novel / Whitehead, Colson
“Elwood Curtis has taken the words of Dr Martin Luther King to heart: he is as good as anyone. But given the time and the place, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy his future, and so Elwood arrives at The Nickel Academy. Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Joe Country / Herron, Mick
“If Spook Street is where spies live, Joe Country is where they go to die. In Regent’s Park, Diana Taverner’s tenure as First Desk is running into difficulties. If she’s going to make the Service fit for purpose, she might have to make deals with a familiar old devil. Jackson Lamb would sooner be left brooding in peace, but even he can’t ignore the dried blood on his carpets. So when the man responsible breaks cover at last, Lamb sends the slow horses out to even the score.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Beirut Hellfire Society : a novel / Hage, Rawi
“When his father meets a sudden and untimely death, Pavlov, the son of a local undertaker is approached by a colorful member of the mysterious Hellfire Society, an anti-religious sect that, among many rebellious and often salacious activities, arranges secret burial for outcasts who have been denied last rites because of their religion or sexuality. Deftly combining comedy with tragedy, gritty reality with surreal absurdity, Beirut Hellfire Society asks: What, after all, can be preserved in the face of certain change and imminent death?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The care and feeding of ravenously hungry girls / Gray, Anissa
“The Butler family has had their share of trials, as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest.  Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Syndetics book coverThe beekeeper of Aleppo / Christy Lefteri.
“Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. As Nuri and Afra travel, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

City of girls / Gilbert, Elizabeth (print) (eBook) (eAudiobook)
“In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.” (Catalogue)

Crossing / Statovci, Pajtim
“In the devastation of post-Communist Albania, Bujar and Agim feel trapped: Bujar struggling to come to terms with the loss of his father, Agim facing dangerous realizations about his sexuality and his feelings for Bujar. When shame and guilt push Bujar and Agim to leave everything behind, the unfamiliar life of an immigrant and asylum seeker sets Bujar on a path of reinvention. But Bujar’s quest for identity and belonging is haunted by the mystery of what happened to Agim–his one, true beloved.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Confession with blue horses / Hardach, Sophie
“Tobi and Ella’s childhood in East Berlin is shrouded in mystery, their past in full of unanswered questions. Both remember their family’s daring and terrifying attempt to escape. Where did their parents disappear to, and why? And was there ever a painting of three blue horses? In contemporary Germany, Aaron works for the archive, piecing together the tragic history of thousands of families. But one file in particular catches his eye, unravelling the secrets at its heart becomes an obsession.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Booker Longlist is Here!

Booklists–who doesn’t love a booklist? Especially when it’s the just-released Booker longlist! This year’s selection includes The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to her celebrated 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale. With The Testaments not due for publication until September, it’s being kept thoroughly under wraps by the Booker judges, so the rest of us will have to wait to draw our own conclusions. Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything is also yet to be released, and will be her third entry in the Booker listings. September will also bring us the menace and banter of Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier.

Check out the full ‘Booker’s dozen’ below!

Margaret Atwood (Canada), The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
Kevin Barry (Ireland), Night Boat to Tangier (Canongate Books)
Oyinkan Braithwaite (UK/Nigeria), My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)
Lucy Ellmann (USA/UK), Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
Bernardine Evaristo (UK), Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)
John Lanchester (UK), The Wall (Faber & Faber)
Deborah Levy (UK), The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton)
Valeria Luiselli (Mexico/Italy), Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria), An Orchestra of Minorities (Little Brown)
Max Porter (UK), Lanny (Faber & Faber)
Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)
Elif Shafak (UK/Turkey), 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World (Viking)
Jeanette Winterson (UK), Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape)

The Testaments / Atwood, Margaret
“In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the question that has tantalized readers for decades: what happens to Offred? When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story fifteen years later, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

 My sister, the serial killer : a novel / Braithwaite, Oyinkan  (print) (eBook)
“Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works is the bright spot in her life. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Girl, woman, other / Evaristo, Bernardine
“Teeming with life and crackling with energy – a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.” (Catalogue)

The wall / Lanchester, John (print) (eBook)
“Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he’s lucky, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights. The best thing that can happen is that he survives and gets off the Wall and never has to spend another day of his life anywhere near it. He longs for this to be over; longs to be somewhere else. He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. But somewhere, in the dark cave of his mind, he thinks: wouldn’t it be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if you had to fight for your life?” (Adapted from the catalogue)

The man who saw everything / Levy, Deborah
“It is 1988 and Saul Adler, a narcissistic young historian, has been invited to Communist East Berlin to do research. As a gift for his translator’s sister, a Beatles fanatic who will be his host, Saul’s girlfriend will shoot a photograph of him standing in the crosswalk on Abbey Road. As he waits for her to arrive, he is grazed by an oncoming car, which changes the trajectory of his life . . .” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLost children archive / Valeria Luiselli (print) (eBook), (eAudiobook)
“A family in New York packs the car and sets out on a road trip. They head south west, to the Apacheria, the regions of the US which used to be Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of children are journeying north, travelling to the US border from Central America and Mexico. They have been met by a coyote: a man who speaks to them roughly. They cross a river on rubber tubing and walk for days. Then they climb to the top of a train and travel precariously in the open container on top.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

An orchestra of minorities : a novel / Obioma, Chigozie
“Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death. Horrified, Chinonso hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice. Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family, and when they officially object to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. But once there, he discovers that all is not what it seems.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Syndetics book coverLanny / Max Porter (print) (eBook)
“Not far from London, there is a village. This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. It belongs to Mad Pete, the grizzled artist. To ancient Peggy, gossiping at her gate. To families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort, who is listening to them all.” (Syndetics summary)

Quichotte / Rushdie, Salman
“Quichotte, an ageing travelling salesman obsessed with TV, is on a quest for love. Unfortunately, his daily diet of reality TV, sitcoms, films, soaps, comedies and dramas has distorted his ability to separate fantasy from reality. He wishes an imaginary son, Sancho, into existence, while obsessively writing love letters to a celebrity he knows only through his screen. Together the two innocents set off across America in Quichotte’s trusty Chevy Cruze to find her and convince her of his love.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Frankissstein : a love story / Winterson, Jeanette
“Funny and furious, bold and clear-sighted, Frankissstein sees Jeanette Winterson take on identity, technology and sexuality to breathe new life into Mary Shelley’s classic story. Told in part through Shelley’s eyes as she dreams up her monstrous creation, Winterson launches us into a modern-day nightmare where consumerism and politics are set to bring humanity to breaking point. Spanning three centuries and multiple narratives, Frankisssteinis at once a moving love story and a feminist rallying cry for our times.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

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)

Intelligence, human and otherwise!

Did you know Ian McEwan has written a novel on artificial intelligence, or AI? People have struggled with the concept of AI since the idea was first imagined at least 3000 years ago, and Machines Like Me and People Like You continues this tradition. McEwan examines the fuzzy logic and morals of the human form, and the best intentions that AI contains. But intelligence of its own kind will develop in its own way–human or machine.

Our collection offers some other great creations focussed on artificial intelligence and how humans rationalise and interact with them. These can be found in science fiction and general fiction in a range of formats. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverMachines like me and people like you / Ian McEwan
Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Britain has lost the Falklands war, Margaret Thatcher battles Tony Benn for power and Alan Turing achieves a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. In a world not quite like this one, two lovers will be tested beyond their understanding. This provocative and thrilling tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.” (Syndetics summary)

All systems red / Wells, Martha (print), (eBook)
The first of four award winning novellas. “On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.” (Catalogue)

Plum rains / Romano-Lax, Andromeda
“2029: In Tokyo, Angelica Navarro, a Filipina nurse who has been in Japan for the last five years, works as caretaker for Sayoko Itou, a moody, secretive woman about to turn 100 years old. One day, Sayoko receives a present: a cutting-edge robot “friend” that will teach itself to anticipate Sayoko’s every need. Angelica wonders if she is about to be forced out of her much-needed job by an inanimate object–one with a preternatural ability to uncover the most deeply buried secrets of the humans around it…” (Catalogue)

The municipalists : a novel / Fried, Seth
“Henry Thompson has dedicated his life to improving America’s infrastructure as a proud employee of the United States Municipal Survey. So when the agency comes under attack, he dutifully accepts his unexpected mission to visit Metropolis looking for answers. But his plans to investigate quietly, quickly, and carefully are interrupted by his new partner: a day-drinking know-it-all named OWEN, who also turns out to be the projected embodiment of the agency’s supercomputer.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover I Still Dream, James Smythe (ebook)
“Laura Bow invented Organon, a rudimentary artificial intelligence. Now she and her creation are at the forefront of the new wave of technology, and Laura must decide whether or not to reveal Organon’s full potential to the world. If it falls into the wrong hands, its power could be abused. Will Organon save humanity, or lead it to extinction?” (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover Guardian Angels and Other Monsters, Daniel H. Wilson (eAudiobook)
“In All Kinds of Proof, a down-and-out drunk makes the unlikeliest of friends when he is hired to train a mail-carrying robot; in Blood Memory, a mother confronts the dangerous reality that her daughter will never assimilate in this world after she was the first child born through a teleportation device; in Miss Gloria, a robot comes back to life in many different forms in a quest to save a young girl. Guardian Angels and Other Monsters examines how artificial intelligence both saves and destroys humanity.” (Overdrive description)

The soldier / Asher, Neal L. (print)
“A corner of space swarms with alien technology, a danger to all sentient life. It’s guarded by Orlandine, who must keep it contained – as it could destroy entire civilizations. An alien intelligence shares her vigil. But she doesn’t share everything with Dragon . . . Orlandine is hatching a plan to obliterate this technology, removing its threat forever.” (Catalogue)

The Crying Machine / Chivers, Greg (print), (eBook) or (eAudiobook)
“The world has changed, but Jerusalem endures. Overlooked by new superpowers, the Holy City of the future is a haven of spies and smugglers, exiles and extremists. A refugee with strange technological abilities searches for a place to disappear. An ambitious young criminal plots the heist. A corrupt minister harnesses the power of the past in a ruthless play for complete control. And the wheels of another plan begin to turn…” (Catalogue)

Our latest new New Zealand fiction showcase

In dividing the light, things are seen. And we notice ourselves.”
― John Allison New Zealand poet. 

New Zealand literature is a rich and diverse field one full of many voices and many stories. This range and diversity is well represented in our latest fiction showcase to focus  on new New Zealand fiction releases.

Our latest showcase ranges from the compulsive, tense, nail biting  page turner that is Call me Evie by J.P. Pomare to the more gentle captivating A dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino there is also the latest outing from best selling  author Catherine Robertson called What you wish for and Pearly Gates set in and celebrating small town New Zealand by Owen Marshall.  As well as  a veritable  host of  wonderful other voices and stories to be experienced and enjoyed.

Call me Evie / J.P. Pomare
“Meet Evie, a young woman held captive by a man named Jim in the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu. Jim says he’s hiding Evie to protect her, that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. In a house that creaks against the wind, Evie begins to piece together her fractured memories of the events that led her here. Jim says he’s keeping her safe. Evie’s not sure she can trust Jim, but can she trust her own memories?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

A dream of Italy / Nicky Pellegrino.
“The picturesque mountain town of Montenello is selling off some of its historic buildings for just one euro each. To be considered as a future resident of Montenello contact the town’s mayor, Salvio Valentini. Many people read Salvio’s advertisement with excitement. Elise is in her twenties and desperate to get on the property ladder. Edward wants to escape a life he finds stifling. Mimi is divorced and starting afresh. And there is one person whose true motivation won’t be clear for some time. These four people all have a dream of Italy. And it’s going to change their lives.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Julian calendar / William Henry.
“A bright young photojournalist returns to London with the aim of releasing himself from a profound love affair that has stalled without explanation. Instead, he is derailed by memories of the secretive nurse who broke his heart, and rejuvenated by a man whose unexpected and intense friendship challenges the fundamental notion of love itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Photos of you / Tammy Robinson.
“People are here for me, to celebrate the anniversary of the day I was given life. On the very same day I’d just been told my life was all but over.’ When Ava Green turns twenty-eight, she discovers this will be her last birthday. The cancer she thought she’d beaten three years ago is back, only this time it’s terminal. But she is not going to let the cancer define her last, precious months, she is going to make her childhood dream come true: her wedding.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWhat you wish for / Catherine Robertson.
“Dr Ashwin Ghadavi, the newly imported GP, is trying hard to fit into Gabriel’s Bay. His challenges include the immovable force of his office manager, Mac, the ambiguities of the Kiwi idiom, and his unrequited attraction to Mac’s daughter, Emma. Having returned home, Emma is determined to help her old friend, Devon, whether he wants it or not. She’s also on a mission to right eco wrongs, and her targets include local farmer Vic Halsworth, who’s already neck deep in the proverbial and, to make matters worse, seems to be having visions of moose.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPearly Gates : a novel / Owen Marshall.
“This entertaining and insightful novel both skewers and celebrates small-town New Zealand. Pat `Pearly’ Gates has achieved a lot in his life and evinces considerable satisfaction in his achievements. He has a reputation as a former Otago rugby player and believes he would have been an All Black but for sporting injuries. He runs a successful real-estate agency in a provincial South Island town, of which he is the second-term mayor. Popular, happily married, well established, he cuts an impressive figure, especially in his own eyes. But will his pride and complacency come before a fall?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRotoroa / Amy Head.
“On tiny, isolated Rotoroa Island in the Hauraki Gulf is a treatment facility for alcoholic men. It’s here, at the Salvation Army-run home, that three characters at very different points in their lives will find themselves gathered, each for reasons of their own. There is Katherine, known to history as Elsie K. Morton, famous journalist and author; Jim, a sleepless alcoholic sent to the island by his family; and Lorna, a teenage mother who joins the Salvation Army looking for a fresh start. As the stories of their lives are revealed, so too are their hopes and vulnerabilities.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Ice Shelf / Anne Kennedy.
“The Ice Shelf: an eco-comedy” On the eve of flying to Antarctica to take up an arts fellowship, thirty-something Janice, recently separated, has a long night of remembrance, regret and realisation as she goes about the city looking for a friend to take care of her fridge while she’s away. En route she discards section after section of her novel in the spirit of editing until there is nothing left to edit. The Ice Shelf, a novel written as Acknowledgements, is an allegory for the dangers of wasting love and other non-renewable resources.” (Syndetics summary)

Admissions : tales of life, death & love in a hospital not far from here … / Mira Harrison.
“Here are the stories of eight women doctors, nurses, cooks and cleaners at the heart of a hospital that connects them all in a city that could be anywhere. Inspired by Mira Harrison’s experiences in healthcare in the UK and NZ, these engrossing narratives unveil the shifting balance between professional and private worlds. Our scrupulous or haphazard plans are disrupted by falling in love; by our connections to others; by the birth of our children; by loss, grief, and ultimately death.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The latest fiction from the Zambezi river to Graceland

This autumn find a great new read from the libraries latest acquisitions.  Indulge in romance, challenging assumptions, voyage through family sagas or prepare for a gripping ride with an unexpectedly disconcerting thriller these tales from new and experienced adept authors have something for everyone.

Queenie / Carty-Williams, Candice
“Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?” All of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.” (Catalogue)

Schoolgirl missing / Fortin, Sue (eBook) (eAudiobook) (print)
“A gripping portrayal of a family caught on the wrong side of the law. When fourteen-year-old Poppy vanishes on a family boating trip, suspicion soon turns close to home – to the two people who should do everything to keep her safe, her parents, Kit and Neve.
Neve has a secret. Kit is lying. Everyone is watching. Who do you believe? (Catalogue)

 

Syndetics book coverThe parade : a novel / Dave Eggers.The Parade: A Novel
“An unnamed country is leaving the darkness of a decade at war, and to commemorate the armistice the government commissions a new road connecting two halves of the state. Two men, foreign contractors from the same company, are sent to finish the highway. While one is flighty and adventurous, wanting to experience the nightlife and people, the other wants only to do the work and go home. But both men must eventually face the absurdities of their positions, and the dire consequences of their presence.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKaddish.com / Nathan Englander.
“Larry is the secular son in a family of Orthodox Brooklyn Jews. When his father dies, it’s his responsibility to recite the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, every day for eleven months. To the horror and dismay of his sister, Larry refuses, imperiling the fate of his father’s soul. To appease her, Larry hatches an ingenious if cynical plan, hiring a stranger through a website called kaddish.com to recite the prayer and shepherd his father’s soul safely to rest.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMemories of the future : a novel / Siri Hustvedt.
Memories of the Future tells the story of a young Midwestern woman’s first year in New York City in the late 1970s.  S.H., aka “Minnesota,” transcribes her neighbor’s bizarre and increasingly ominous monologues in a notebook. One frightening night Lucy bursts into her apartment on a rescue mission. Forty years later, S.H., now a veteran author, discovers her old notebook while moving her aging mother from one facility to another.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLost children archive / Valeria Luiselli.
“Suppose you and Pa were gone, and we were lost. What would happen then? A family in New York packs the car and sets out on a road trip. A mother, a father, a boy and a girl, they head south west, to the Apacheria, the regions of the US which used to be Mexico. Meanwhile, thousands of children are journeying north, travelling to the US border from Central America and Mexico. A grandmother or aunt has packed a backpack for them, putting in a bible, one toy, some clean underwear. They have been met by a coyote: a man who speaks to them roughly. They cross a river on rubber tubing and walk for days. Then they climb to the top of a train and travel precariously in the open container on top. In a breath-taking feat of literary virtuosity, Lost Children Archive intertwines these two journeys to create a masterful novel.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe old drift : a novel / Namwali Serpell.The Old Drift: A Novel
“1904. On the banks of the Zambezi River, a few miles from the majestic Victoria Falls, there is a colonial settlement called The Old Drift. In a smoky room at the hotel across the river, an Old Drifter named Percy M. Clark, foggy with fever, makes a mistake that entangles the fates of an Italian hotelier and an African busboy. This sets off a cycle of unwitting retribution between three Zambian families (black, white, brown) as they collide and converge over the course of the century, into the present and beyond.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGraceland / Bethan Roberts.
“What happens when your only son becomes The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll? From the moment she first holds him, after his twin brother is stillborn, Gladys Presley loves her son Elvis ferociously. And he will love her back, even as his heart is turned by the blues, clothes and girls. But while he makes it big in Hollywood, brings audiences across the land to their knees and achieves unimagined wealth and fame, there is another story – of drinking and diet pills, loneliness and loss. While the heat and music of the American South in the 40s and 50s play in the background, a heartbreaking portrait of a mother’s love and a son’s devotion takes centre stage. When Elvis reaches the height of his power, he buys his family the ultimate mansion on the hill, Graceland, where he hopes his mother will be happy. The reality, though, is very different, and Elvis finds that even kings must go on alone.” (Syndetics summary)

 

Hope, Cults and Lyrical Dystopias: New General Fiction!

New to our libraries in March: a scintillating selection of new fiction titles! While the Central Library has become a no-go zone, our recently acquired fiction material is still available through branches, and in some cases online as eBooks with Overdrive or on your Libby App. We’re getting great new material to you any way we can!

This month we have titles from the much anticipated Tom Barbash and a debut Gothic novel from Sophie Draper which you can read in print or electronically and listen to as a downloadable audiobook. Poet Natasha Carthew, a writer dedicated to creating in the outdoors, has created a lyrical dystopian tale of human resilience and hope.

Our selection also features tales to set the pulse racing with the latest international thrillers. Writing duo Hendricks and Pekkanen’s An Anonymous Girl is available electronically or in print, while Fog Island, the first in a new trilogy from Swedish writer Mariette Lindstein, draws the reader into the world of an isolated cult under the thrall of a charismatic leader.

Reserves are now free! So select what you like and collect from any open branch. Go wild!

All rivers run free / Carthew, Natasha
“A woman on the edge of the sea finds a girl on the edge of life. On the flooded coast of Cornwall, Ia Pendilly ekes out a fierce life in a childless marriage, as rough and stubborn as the sea. When a strange young girl washes up on the beach, Ia’s rescue is only the beginning of a dangerous journey, one that will take them downriver, into the fringes of a collapsing society and for Ia, towards something she hopes might be love. A vision of the near-future and an odyssey of motherhood, All Rivers Run Free is a true original from a powerful new voice.” (Catalogue)

Damnation / Beck, Peter
“Dead clients are bad for business, something Tom Winter, head of security for a discrete Swiss private bank, knows all too well. After a helicopter explodes, leaving behind the charred bodies of a client and a colleague, he teams up with Fatima, a mysterious Egyptian businesswoman. Together they follow the money trail around the world and back into the Swiss mountains, the NSA watching their every move. When taciturn Winter, a former special forces commander, closes in on the truth, they turn from being the hunters to the hunted and realize they are in a deadly, high-stakes race against the clock.” (Catalogue)

Overdrive cover Cuckoo, Sophie Draper (ebook) (print) (eAudio)
“There’s a stranger in your house… When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again. But going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do. As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?” (Overdrive description)

Islands / Frew, Peggy (print) (eBook)
“Helen and John’s relationship is collapsing and they don’t notice their daughters suffering. Junie is growing up brittle and defensive while Anna is difficult and rebellious. When Anna fails to return home one night, her mother isn’t too worried as it has happened before and she has always returned. Helen waits three days before she reports Anna’s disapperance” (Catalogue)

 

Overdrive cover The Dakota Winters, Tom Barbash (eBook) (print)
“It’s the fall of 1979 when 23-year-old Anton Winter, back from the Peace Corps and on the mend from a nasty bout of malaria, returns to his childhood home in the Dakota Building in New York City. Anton’s father, the famous late-night host Buddy Winter is there to greet him, himself recovering from a breakdown. Before long Anton is swept up in an effort to reignite Buddy’s stalled career, a mission that takes him from the gritty streets of New York, to the slopes of the Lake Placid Olympics, to the Hollywood Hills, to the blue waters of the Bermuda Triangle, and brings him into close quarters with the likes of Johnny Carson, Ted and Joan Kennedy, and a seagoing John Lennon.”  (Overdrive description)

Overdrive cover An Anonymous Girl, Greer Hendricks (ebook) (print)
“When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave. But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding. As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what is real in her life, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.” (Overdrive description)

Cemetery Road : a novel / Iles, Greg
“Sometimes the price of justice is a good man’s soul.When Marshall McEwan left his Mississippi hometown at eighteen, he vowed never to return. The trauma that drove him away spurred him to become one of the most successful journalists in Washington, DC. But as the ascendancy of a chaotic administration lifts him from print fame to television stardom, Marshall discovers that his father is terminally ill, and he must return home to face the unfinished business of his past. And by the time Marshall grasps the long-buried truth, he would give almost anything not to have to face it.” (Catalogue)

A version of the truth / Walter, B. P. (print) (eBook) (eAudio)
“Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be. A devastating secret has simmered beneath the surface for over twenty-five years. Now it’s time to discover the truth. But what if you’re afraid of what you might find?” (Catalogue)

Celebrate Wellington Pride – Queer Fiction 2019

New Zealand Queer fiction lost a significant voice with the death of Peter Wells in February 2019. Both in film and writing Wells explored, exposed and celebrated the variety of queer experience from a New Zealand perspective. To celebrate the upcoming two weeks of Pride celebrations in Wellington you can find a swathe of queer fiction at the Central Library.

Our queer fiction selection features classics through to new material across time and place by LGBTQI+ authors, and works including characters with a queer viewpoint. Explore lives, orientations, identities and experiences outside the binary. 

In addition to library print material there is an online lending collection through OverDrive LGBTIQ+ Reads for a great range of reading and listening material.

Willa & Hesper / Feltman, Amy
“Willa’s darkness enters Hesper’s light late one night in Brooklyn. Theirs is a whirlwind romance until Willa starts to know Hesper too well, to crawl into her hidden spaces, and Hesper shuts her out. Told from alternating perspectives, and ending in the shadow of Trump’s presidency, Willa & Hesper is a deeply moving, cerebral, and timely debut” (adapted from Catalogue)

Call me by your name / Aciman, André
“Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff side mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.” (Catalogue)

The Beatrix gates : PM Press outspoken authors / Pollack, Rachel
“A queer cult favorite, The Beatrix Gates is a colorful mix of science fiction, magic realism, memoir, and myth exploring themes of spirituality and transformation. Courage and cowardice contend in a literary odyssey unlike any other.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Annabel / Winter, Kathleen
“Kathleen Winter’s stunning debut novel, a #1 national bestseller, is a beautifully sensitive story of family, identity, and the yearning to belong. A child born in 1968 in Labrador, Canada, seems to be both boy and girl-a secret kept by the midwife and the parents, who opt to raise him as Wayne. Eventually, Wayne must acknowledge his second self, a girl he privately calls Annabel.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Boy overboard / Wells, Peter
“An achingly insightful coming-of-age novel about discovering sexuality and selfhood. Jamie is eleven, on the threshold of discovery. But he can’t find the map that will explain where he fits in or who he is. His parents are away and he is staying with family friends. The sea is rising towards high tide, and he is a boy overboard.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The price of salt / Highsmith, Patricia
“Therese, a struggling young sales clerk, and Carol, a homemaker in the midst of a bitter divorce, abandon their oppressive daily routines for the freedom of the open road, where their love can blossom. But their newly discovered bliss is shattered when Carol is forced to choose between her child and her lover. Erotic, eloquent, and suspenseful, this story offers an honest look at the necessity of being true to one’s nature.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Disobedience / Alderman, Naomi
“In suburban north-west London the Orthodox Jewish community of Hendon quietly conducts its daily life. When a beloved rabbi dies, his passing brings his wayward daughter home. For the past ten years Ronit has been living the life of a modern New York woman; returning home, she’s looking forward to catching up with old friends, perhaps settling old scores. But it soon becomes clear that Hendon and Ronit don’t fit.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Our young man : a novel / White, Edmund
Our Young Man follows the life of a gorgeous Frenchman, Guy, as he goes from the industrial city of Clermont-Ferrand to the top of the modeling profession in New York City’s fashion world, becoming the darling of Fire Island’s gay community. Surveying the full spectrum of gay amorous life through the disco era and into the age of AIDS, Edmund White (who worked at Vogue for ten years) explores the power of physical beauty to fascinate, to enslave, and to deceive with sparkling wit and pathos.” (adapted from Catalogue)

The house of impossible beauties / Cassara, Joseph
The House of Impossible Beauties follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene and the Christopher Street Piers as they flee their traumatic pasts and band together to form the city ‘s first all-Latino House. Told in a voice that brims with wit, rage, tenderness and fierce yearning. The House of Impossible Beauties is a tragic story of love, family and the resilience of the human spirit.” (adapted from Catalogue)

Bingo love / Franklin, Tee
“When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage.” (Amazon.com)

My brother’s husband. Volume 1 / Tagame, Gengoroh
“Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki, father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it. (Please note: This book is a traditional work of manga, and reads back to front and right to left.)” (Catalogue)

Wandering son. Volume one / Shimura, Takako
“Shuichi and his friend Yoshino have a secret: Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. A sensitive masterpiece from Japan’s most prominent creator of LGBT manga. Wandering Son is a sophisticated work of literary manga translated with rare skill and sensitivity by veteran translator and comics scholar Matt Thorn.” (Catalogue)

 

Fresh February Fiction a go-go

The library fiction shelves show fleeting glimpses of new material before it’s whisked away by our literature loving patrons. Luckily, we have a list of some of the great new fiction titles for you to peruse at your leisure. These bring you the lives of people informed by authors exploring the cultures of Mexico, Ireland, Australia, Nigeria and Aotearoa New Zealand. Debut author Joshua Pomare has been drawing acclaim for Call me Evie, his work of suspense is set in the small coastal community of Maketu. Delving into our fallible memories this book takes the reader through layers of reality and plot twists that leave you guessing until the very end.

Syndetics book coverCall me Evie / J.P. Pomare.
“Meet Evie, a young woman held captive by a man named Jim in the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu. Jim says he’s hiding Evie to protect her, that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. In a house that creaks against the wind, Evie begins to piece together her fractured memories of the events that led her here. Jim says he’s keeping her safe. Evie’s not sure she can trust Jim, but can she trust her own memories? An incredible literary thriller for readers of bestsellers such as Gone Girl, Before I Go to Sleep and Girl on the Train from an exciting new Australian voice.” (Syndetics summary)

Not bad people / Scott, Brandy
“It’s New Year’s Eve. Three thirty-something women – Aimee, Melinda and Lou – best friends for decades, let off sky lanterns filled with resolutions: for meaning, for freedom, for money. As the glowing paper bags float away, there’s a bright flare in the distance. It could be a sign of luck – or the start of a complete nightmare. The day after their ceremony, the newspapers report a small plane crash – two victims pulled from the wreckage, one a young boy. Were they responsible? Aimee thinks they are, Melinda won’t accept it, and Lou has problems of her own. It’s a toxic recipe for guilt trips, shame, obsession, blackmail and power games. They’re not bad people. But desperate times call for desperate measures.” (Catalogue)

Music love drugs war / Quigley, Gerladine
“The end of the school year is approaching, and siblings Paddy and Liz McLaughlin, Christy Meehan, Kevin Thompson and their friends will soon have to decide what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives. But it’s hard to focus when there’s the allure of their favourite hangout place, the dingy ‘Cave’, where they go to drink and flirt and smoke. Most days, Christy, Paddy and Kevin lie around listening to Dexys and Joy Division. But this is Derry in 1981, and they can’t ignore the turmoil of the outside world. A friend is killed, and Christy and Paddy, stunned out of their stupor, take matters into their own hands. Some choices are irreversible, and choosing to fight will take hold of their lives in ways they never imagined.” (Catalogue)

Golden child: a novel / Adam, Claire
“Rural Trinidad: a brick house on stilts surrounded by bush; a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long, exhausting shifts at the petroleum plant in southern Trinidad; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their twin sons Paul and Peter, thirteen years old, wake early every morning to travel to the capital, Port of Spain, for school. When Paul goes walking in the bush one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him, this child who has caused him endless trouble already, and who he has never really understood. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters–leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.” (Catalogue)

Hark: a novel / Lipsyte, Sam
“In an America convulsed by political upheaval, cultural discord, environmental collapse, and spiritual confusion, many folks are searching for peace, salvation, and, perhaps most immediately, just a little damn focus. Enter Hark Morner, an unwitting guru whose technique of “Mental Archery”… is set to captivate the masses and raise him to near-messiah status. It’s a role he never asked for, and one he is woefully underprepared to take on. Hark is a smart, incisive look at men, women, and children seeking meaning and dignity in a chaotic, ridiculous, and often dangerous world.” (Catalogue)

My sister, the serial killer: a novel / Braithwaite, Oyinkan
Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favourite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works is the bright spot in her life. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.” (Catalogue)

Among the lost / Monge, Emiliano
“A devastating and surreal novel about the defining issue of the 21st century: illegal immigration. In this grim inferno, a fierce love blossomed – one that was born in pain and cruelty and one that will live or die on this day. Estela and Epitafio too were trafficked, they grew together in the brutal orphanage, fell in love, but were ripped apart. They have played an ugly role in the very system that abused them and done the bidding of the brutal old priest for too long. They have traded in migrants, put children to work as slaves, hacked off limbs and lives without a thought, though they have never forgotten the memory of their own shackles. Like the immigrants whose hopes they extinguish, they long to be free; free to be together and alone.” (Catalogue)

Night train: new and selected stories / Jones, Thom
“A posthumous and definitive collection of new and selected stories by short-fiction icon and National Book Award finalist Thom Jones, with a stunning introduction by Amy Bloom Thom Jones’s stories are high-octane, prose-drunk entertainment. His characters are grifters and drifters, rogues and ne’er-do-wells – some lovable, some not – but each with a voice that never fails to grab you by the collar. They include Vietnam soldiers, amateur boxers, psych ward veterans and an unforgettable adolescent DJ radio host, among others. Perfectly capturing the essence of this icon of the American short story, Night Train showcases the sheer breadth and power of his inimitable stories.” (Catalogue)

The killer collective / Eisler, Barry
“When a joint FBI-Seattle Police investigation of an international child pornography ring gets too close to certain powerful people, sex-crimes detective Livia Lone becomes the target of a hit that barely goes awry–a hit that had been offered to John Rain. Suspecting that the FBI themselves were behind the attack, Livia reaches out to former marine sniper Dox. Together, they assemble an ad hoc team to identify and neutralize the threat. With uncertain loyalties, conflicting agendas, and smouldering romantic entanglements, this group is hardly a team. But in a match as uneven as this one, a collective of killers might be just what they need.” (Catalogue)

A change of key / Jansen, Adrienne
“Marko has come to the ends of the earth to escape a once illustrious past in Bulgaria. So why does a Polish bookstore owner call him a traitor? And who covertly photographed him for the newspaper? Someone knows who he is. They are trying to expose him in his new country, and there is nothing he can do to prevent it. A Change of Key tells the story of a multicultural group of migrants living in an inner-city block of social housing flats in New Zealand. It explores themes of social change and the hardships associated with existing in isolation from one’s family and culture. As they struggle through the realities of living in deprivation, Marko and the other migrants find salvation in friendship, community and classical music.” (Catalogue)

The lost girls of Paris / Jenoff, Pam
“1946, Manhattan Grace Healy is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs, each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station. Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances.” (Catalogue)

 

Focus on Maori writers for Waitangi day

Kōrero paki Aotearoa, New Zealand fiction has a flavour like no other. The place and the people have a unique creative influence.

Jacquie (J C Sturm) at the Wellington Central Library

We have a selection of Māori novelists based around Wellington, Apirana Taylor, Tina Makereti, Hinemoana Baker and Patricia Grace. Including the remarkable J C Sturm, who began writing in 1940’s, working for many years at Wellington Public Library where we knew her as Jacquie Baxter. The house of the talking cat, her collection of short stories was crafted in the 1960’s finding a publisher in the 1980’s to much success and acclaim.

 

These writers have turned their hand to myth and contemporary fiction, bringing characters to life in situations from history to current times, using personal relationships, family interactions and events that have swept through people’s lives leaving marked changes on potential futures and a mysterious past to be unveiled. Our selection also includes the piercing writing of Alice Tawhai (pen name) and Paula Morris’s excellently drawn characters.

Short story compilations are a great way of discovering new authors. Huia Short stories : Contemporary Māori fiction showcases a variety of winners from the Pikihuia awards. This recent collection features a diverse range of voices including Genesis Te Kuru White, Olivia Aroha Giles and Iraia Bailey, writing in English and te reo.  Explore the journey to becoming a writer with Te Papa Tupu where Te Waka Taki Kōrero / The Māori Literature Trust support emerging writers.

There is more to discover on our New Zealand Fiction page, just scroll down to Māori writer/Māori life.

Syndetics book coverHuia short stories 12 : contemporary Māori fiction.
“Here are the best short stories and novel extracts from the Pikihuia Awards for Maori writers 2017 as judged by Whiti Hereaka, Paula Morris, Poia Rewi and Rawinia Higgins. The book contains the stories from the finalists for Best Short Story written in English, Best Short Story written in te reo Maori 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 Maori writers and their work. The awards and the collection of finalists fiction celebrate Maori writing and bring new writers to light.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack marks on the white page / edited by Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti.
“Here are the glorious, painful, sharp and funny 21st century stories of Maori and Pasifika writers from all over the world. Vibrant, provocative and aesthetically exciting, these stories expand our sense of what is possible in Indigenous Oceanic writing. Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti present the very best new and uncollected stories and novel excerpts, creating a talanoa, a conversation, where the stories do the talking. Join us as we deconstruct old theoretical maps and allow these fresh Black Marks on the White Page to expand our perception of the Pacific world.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe imaginary lives of James Pōneke / Tina Makereti.
“While exhibited as a curiosity, a Maori boy turns his gaze on Victorian London. ‘The hour is late. The candle is low. Tomorrow I will see whether it is my friends or a ship homewards I meet. But first I must finish my story for you. My future, my descendant, my mokopuna. Listen.’ So begins the tale of James Poneke- orphaned son of a chief; ardent student of English; wide-eyed survivor. When James meets the man with laughing dark eyes and the woman who dresses as a man, he begins to discover who people really are beneath their many guises. Although London is everything James most desires, this new world is more dark and dazzling than he could have imagined.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFive strings / Apirana Taylor.
“Mack is a larger-than-life street philosopher and Puti¿s a former gang member looking for something more. Together, they¿re at the bottom of the heap. They live out their lives in a haze of smoke and alcohol, accompanied by a host of other characters scraping by on the fringes of society. Will any of them be redeemed? A poignant and humorous love story.” (Syndetics summary)

 

Syndetics book coverChappy / Patricia Grace
“Uprooted from his privileged European life and sent to New Zealand to sort himself out, twenty-one-year-old Daniel pieces together the history of his Maori family. As his relatives revisit their past, Daniel learns of a remarkable love story between his Maori grandmother Oriwia and his Japanese grandfather Chappy. The more Daniel hears about his deceased grandfather, the more intriguing – and elusive – Chappy becomes.
In this touching portrayal of family life, acclaimed writer Patricia Grace explores racial intolerance, cross-cultural conflicts and the universal desire to belong. Spanning several decades and several continents and set against the backdrop of a changing New Zealand, Chappy is a compelling story of enduring love.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLuminous / Alice Tawhai.
“Tawhai’s tales combine characters and occurrences that are at once cripplingly dark and yet also tinged with a quiet beauty and optimism and she deftly covers subjects such as identity, addiction, devotion and abandonment.” (Syndetics summary)

 

 

Syndetics book coverFalse river : stories, essays, secret histories / Paula Morris.
“Riffing on truth, lies and secrets, this collection uses fiction to explore fact, and fact to explore fiction. These pieces range the world – from America, to Antwerp to Aotearoa – and talk about writers and writing, famous figures, family members, witch-burning in Denmark, cyclones and numerous pertinent and stimulating topics. All brilliantly written, each will leave you thinking and desperate to jump back in for more.” (adapted from Syndetics summary)