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The Best of the Best: must reads from this month’s fiction selection

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverThe wish child / Catherine Chidgey.
This wonderfully authentic novel is compelling reading, a great accomplishment.

Syndetics book coverHot dog taste test : a cook [crossed out] book / by Lisa Hanawalt.
A very funny exploration of the author’s anxieties and obsessions, making the mundane disturbing and the strange normal.

Syndetics book coverMagpie murders / Anthony Horowitz.
A brilliantly multilayered thriller with a very satisfying twist.

Syndetics book coverDeath and the seaside / Alison Moore.
A dark unsettling novel, at times funny, that you will want to read again.

Syndetics book coverThe gradual / Christopher Priest.
A challenging, but thought provoking novel from this much acclaimed skillful writer.

Fiction Newsletter for the new year

Welcome to this month’s Fiction Newsletter. New Zealand writers feature in our ‘Other Genres’ category. We only have room for three titles from each genre’s selection of new material, just as a sample, so do visit the complete lists, where you will find more great reading.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

There is some great entertaining reading in this month’s new contemporary fiction, perfect for the long hot, lazy days of summer. From the new additions to the collection, we have selected new novels from three of the most popular writers for this newsletter, but do check out all the other great reads chosen.

Syndetics book cover Moonglow / Michael Chabon.
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact and the creative power of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The dark flood rises / Margaret Drabble.
“Fran may be old but she’s not going without a fight. So she dyes her hair, enjoys every glass of red wine, drives around the country for her job with a housing charity and lives in an insalubrious tower block that her loved ones disapprove of. And as each of them, her pampered ex Claude, old friend Jo, flamboyant son Christopher and earnest daughter Poppet, seeks happiness in their own way, what will the last reckoning be? Will they be waving or drowning when the end comes?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The whole town’s talking : a novel / Fannie Flagg.
“Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking. This is an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

There was another fabulous selection of Graphic Novels added to the Wellington City Libraries collection this month. There is as always a diverse range of genre and art work, making this collection one of our library’s most popular and heavily read, and therefore difficult to select just three for this newsletter.

Syndetics book cover We stand on guard / Brian K. Vaughan, Steve Skroce.
“A subversive, action-packed military thriller. Set 100 years in our future, the story follows a heroic band of Canadian civilians turned freedom fighters who must defend their homeland from invasion by a technologically superior opponent, the United States of America.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Day of the magicians / Michelangelo La Neve and Marco Nizzoli ; introduction by Alexandro Jodorowsky.
“Drazen; a child kidnapped, trained by a mysterious band of magicians, and destined to seek out and destroy his own father. Lancaster; a father who will stop at nothing to achieve his own plans, including manipulating his son’s childhood friend. Torn between destiny and desire, the young magician will be forced to confront these conflicts, with terrible consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Cruising through the Louvre / David Prudhomme ; translation by Joe Johnson.
“Author David Prudhomme meanders through the Louvre, feeling as if in the panels of a giant comic while he himself is creating his own. In this institution, all manner of people from all over the world rub elbows quietly. So he decides to cruise through the Louvre at a quick pace, not to look at the art but to observe the people and their interaction with it.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Although police procedural mysteries were predominant in this month’s selection of recently arrived novels, we have chosen three with very different plots for this edition of the fiction newsletter.

Syndetics book cover Without mercy / Jefferson Bass.
“Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton has spent twenty-five years solving brutal murders but none so horrific and merciless as his latest case: A ravaged set of skeletal remains is found scattered in the woods of nearby Cook County. They are all that is left of a victim who had been chained, hand and foot, to a tree on a remote mountainside. The bones tell Brockton and his longtime graduate assistant, Miranda, that the victim was a young male under the age of thirty. As they dig deeper to establish his identity, they uncover warning signs that long-simmering hatred is about to explode into violence, engulfing the region in chaos.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Between the crosses / Matthew Frank.
“Now a freshly-minted DC, war-hero-turned-copper Joseph Stark is called to the scene of a double murder. The husband and wife victims were shot dead in their own home. It looks like a tragic burglary gone wrong. But Stark has a creeping feeling that the killings might be something more chilling. And when new evidence points to a twenty-year-old cold case the hunt is on.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Rather be the devil / Ian Rankin.
“For John Rebus, forty years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand and it still preys on his mind. Murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, Maria’s killer has never been found. Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

There were some amazing new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels received this month. The three selected here for this newsletter illustrate the scope of imagination writers of this genre possess.

Syndetics book cover Night without stars : Chronicle of the Fallers / Peter F. Hamilton
“The planet Bienvenido is in crisis. It has finally escaped the Void, emerging into regular space. But it’s millions of light-years from Commonwealth assistance, and humans are battling the Fallers for control of their world. This rapacious adversary, evolved to destroy all sentient life, has infiltrated every level of human society, hijacking unwilling bodies so its citizens fear their leaders, friends and family. A mysterious figure known as the Warrior Angel leads a desperate resistance. But the government obstructs the Angel’s efforts at every turn, blinded by prejudice and technophobia. Then astronaut Ry Evine uncovers one last hope. On a mission against the enemy, his spacecraft damages an unidentified vessel carrying unexpected cargo: a baby. This extraordinary Commonwealth child possesses knowledge that could save them all. But if the Fallers catch her, the people of Bienvenido will not survive.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Death’s end / Cixin Liu ; translated by Ken Liu.
“Book three of the Three-Body Trilogy concludes with Death’s End . Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Mort(e) : a novel / by Robert Repino.Mort(e)
“After the War With No Name, a cat assassin searches for his lost love in this strange, moving fantasy epic. The colony of ants has risen up to set about creating a human-free Utopia on Earth. Former housecat turned war hero, Mort is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend, a dog named Sheba.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

New Zealand fiction is featured in this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category, showcasing great writing and a diverse range of subjects. This month we received the much acclaimed new Catherine Chidgey novel, and new work from Deborah Challinor and Emma Neale. So with the novels we have selected for this newsletter we are highlighting three different, but just as skillful writers.

Syndetics book cover Daylight second / Kelly Ana Morey.
“In a new novel about the Australian race horse Phar Lap, award -winning writer, Kelly Ana Morey recreates the short life of the gigantic chestnut gelding who became the darling of the Australian race tracks during the Depression years. From Timaru in New Zealand where he was born, to Australia where he rewrote track and race records and finally Mexico where he would run his last race, Daylight Second chronicles the death threats and attempts on Phar Lap’s life that were made before the running of two of the three Melbourne Cups he contested, his many triumphs including winning the Melbourne Cup in 1930 and the Agua Caliente Handicap in 1932, and finally his death in America in mysterious circumstances.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Strip / Sue Wootton.
“Their dreams of parenthood dashed, Harvey and Isobel go for dream jobs instead. Harvey hangs up his stethoscope to become a cartoonist and Isobel takes a promotion at the local museum. Then an abandoned baby comes up for adoption, and Harvey and Isobel discover a family is more work than they bargained for. By Fleur’s eighth birthday it’s all come together nicely, but that’s before a voice from the past threatens to nuke their hard-won happiness. Harvey doesn’t stop to think. He acts, and with tragic consequences” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The student body / written by former police detective Simon Wyatt.
“A popular fifteen-year-old girl is strangled to death at a school camp on Auckland’s west coast. The posing of the body suggests a sexual motive. Nick Knight, a week into his role as a newly promoted detective sergeant, is tasked with the critical job of leading the Suspects Team. Nick, who turned his back on a lucrative career as a lawyer, is well-versed at dealing with the dark sides of human nature. With no shortage of suspects, he sets a cracking pace on the trail of the murderer, grappling his own personal demons along the way. But are things really as they seem?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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The best of the best: must reads from this month’s fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverRinse, spin, repeat : a graphic memoir of loss and survival / Edith Fassnidge.
An amazing memoir, told in simple graphics about survival and loss.

Syndetics book coverThose who leave and those who stay / Elena Ferrante ; translated from the Italian by Ann Goldstein.
Another Neapolitan about a novel by this elusive author, about power, beauty and human relationships.

Syndetics book coverThe tidal zone / Sarah Moss.
A novel parental love, overwhelming fear, illness, recovery and the challenges of marriage. This novel is quite unforgettable.

Syndetics book coverSleeping giants / Sylvain Neuvel.
A wonderful debut novel, a political thriller and part apocalyptic fiction, a gripping page turner.

Syndetics book coverHolding / Graham Norton.
A brilliant debut novel from this famous comedian. A black comedy cleverly plotted that is a joy to read.

New Contemporary Fiction for December

In this selection of new Contemporary Fiction we have included new work from several celebrated authors: the Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon, award winning Margaret Drabble, ever popular Diana Gabaldon, and the much praised debut novelist Francis Spufford. The latest novel from Alison Moore, titled Death and the seaside, comes highly recommend for readers who enjoy a darker type of fiction.

Syndetics book coverThe hanging tree / Ben Aaronovitch.
“Suspicious deaths are not usually the concern of PC Peter Grant or the Folly, even when they happen at an exclusive party in one of the most expensive apartment blocks in London. But Lady Ty’s daughter was there, and Peter owes Lady Ty a favour. Plunged into the alien world of the super-rich, where the basements are bigger than the house and dangerous, arcane items are bought and sold on the open market, a sensible young copper would keep his head down and his nose clean. But this is Peter Grant we’re talking about. He’s been given an unparalleled opportunity to alienate old friends and create new enemies at the point where the world of magic and that of privilege intersect. Assuming he survives the week.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMoonglow / Michael Chabon.
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact and the creative power of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe spy : a novel / Paulo Coelho ; translated from the Portuguese by Zoë Perry.
“When Mata Hari arrived in Paris she was penniless. Within months she was the most celebrated woman in the city. As a dancer, she shocked and delighted audiences; as a courtesan, she bewitched the era’s richest and most powerful men. But as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari’s lifestyle brought her under suspicion. In 1917, she was arrested in her hotel room on the Champs Elysees, and accused of espionage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAfter disasters / Viet Dinh.
“Told through the eyes of four people in the wake of a life-shattering earthquake in India, this is an intricate story of love and loss weaving together the emotional and intimate narratives of Ted, a pharmaceutical salesman turned member of the Disaster Assistance Response Team; his colleague Piotr, who still carries with him the scars of the Bosnia conflict; Andy, a young firefighter eager to prove his worth; and Dev, a doctor on the ground racing against time and dwindling resources. Through time and place, hope and tragedy, love and lust, these four men put their lives at risk in a country where danger lurks everywhere.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dark flood rises / Margaret Drabble.
“Fran may be old but she’s not going without a fight. So she dyes her hair, enjoys every glass of red wine, drives around the country for her job with a housing charity and lives in an insalubrious tower block that her loved ones disapprove of. And as each of them, her pampered ex Claude, old friend Jo, flamboyant son Christopher and earnest daughter Poppet, seeks happiness in their own way, what will the last reckoning be? Will they be waving or drowning when the end comes?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe whole town’s talking : a novel / Fannie Flagg.
“Lordor Nordstrom created, in his wisdom, not only a lively town and a prosperous legacy for himself but also a beautiful final resting place for his family, friends, and neighbors yet to come. “Resting place” turns out to be a bit of a misnomer, however. Odd things begin to happen, and it starts the whole town talking. This is an unforgettable story of life, afterlife, and the remarkable goings-on of ordinary people.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverVirgins / Diana Gabaldon.
“Young Jamie Fraser has left Scotland and, with his best friend Ian Murray, is running with a band of mercenaries in France. Both men have good reason not to go back to their homeland: both are nursing wounds, and despite their best efforts to remedy the situation, both are still virgins. So when a Jewish doctor hires them to escort his granddaughter to Paris, they readily agree. Both men are instantly drawn to the beautiful young lady. What neither know is that their lives and their friendships are about to become infinitely more complicated and a lot more dangerous.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeath and the seaside / Alison Moore.
“With an abandoned degree behind her and a thirtieth birthday approaching, amateur writer Bonnie Falls moves out of her parent’s home into a nearby flat. Her landlady, Sylvia Slythe, takes an interest in Bonnie, encouraging her to finish one of her stories, in which a young woman moves to the seaside, where she comes under strange influences. As summer approaches, Sylvia suggests to Bonnie that, as neither of them has anyone else to go on holiday with, they should go away together to the seaside, perhaps.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEcholand / Per Petterson ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett.
“12-year-old Arvid and his family are on holiday, staying with his grandparents in Denmark. Arvid is confused by the underlying tension between his mother and grandmother, and is grappling with his own sense of self: he’s on the cusp of becoming a teenager, feeling awkward in his own skin, and is unsure of his emotions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGolden Hill / Francis Spufford.
“New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan island, 1746.One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat pitches up at a counting-house door in Golden Hill Street: this is Mr Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion simmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge amount, and he won’t explain why, or where he comes from, or what he can be planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money. Should the New York merchants trust him? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him; maybe even kill him?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Fiction Newsletter for the holiday season

Welcome to our latest fiction newsletter where we tempt you with some highlights across all genres from our selection of recently received new fiction. This month we are featuring translated novels in our ‘Other Genres’ category. We are certain there will be many new novels for readers to enjoy, and new authors to discover. You’re sure to find something new to delve into for the holidays.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This month’s new Contemporary fiction included many award winning writers. We hope the three chosen for this newsletter will tempt you to check the complete selection from the recently received new material.

Syndetics book cover My name is Leon / Kit De Waal
“Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. Their mum isn’t feeling herself, so they’ve gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers, since Jake is white and Leon is not.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Siracusa / Delia Ephron.Siracusa
“Two couples on vacation in Siracusa, a town on the coast of Sicily, where the secrets they have hidden from each other are exposed and relationships are unravelled. New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine,-Finn, his wife Taylor, and their daughter Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Do not say we have nothing : a novel / Madeleine Thien.
“In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-Ming. As her relationship with Marie deepens, Ai-Ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians, the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Once again, choosing three new Graphic novels for this month’s newsletter has been difficult, as they were all brilliant. The three chosen demonstrate the diversity of imagination and artwork always found in this collection

Syndetics book cover The infinite loop / written and lettered by Pierrick Colinet ; illustrated and colored by Elsa Charretier.
“A science-fiction series that asks the age-old question, “What would you risk for a chance at true love?” Teddy is a young woman who lives in a faraway future where time traveling is a common practice and her job is to maintain the status quo by correcting time paradoxes. But when she meets Ano, “a time paradox” and the girl of her dreams, Teddy must decide between fixing the time stream or the love of her life, both of which have unique consequences.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Pride & joy / Garth Ennis, writer ; John Higgins, artist & colorist.
“Still mourning the loss of his wife, Jimmy Kavanagh lives quietly in the backwoods of New England, raising his devoted daughter and resentful teenage son. But fate has come calling in the worst possible way, as Jimmy’s criminal past threatens to destroy his entire family, raising the spectra of his crushing guilt for an old and awful crime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Different ugliness, different madness / Marc Malès, writer & artist ; Jonathan Tanner, translator.
“A radio star of the 1930s returns to the airwaves after a yearlong absence. A dying woman tells her life story to her daughter on a deserted railway platform. These dual stories spin together in Malés’ moody, mysterious tale, spotlighting the enigmatic nature of identity and personal reflection. In a flashback, Helen, a woman with a possibly-imaginary twin, travels Depression-era roads in search of her own identity, a journey that eventually uncovers the radio star’s secret.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Avid fans of mystery novels need no introduction to this section of the newsletter, as once again there are many new novels from favourite writers. Included also some new talented writers that will no doubt over time become established favourites.

Syndetics book cover The wrong side of goodbye / Michael Connelly.
“Harry Bosch is still working, both as a volunteer at a suburban cop shop and as a PI, but he’s very picky about his cases, which is why when a billionaire of dubious reputation comes calling, Harry is weary. But the mogul, nearing death, has a compelling story to tell: a dalliance with a Latina student decades ago may have produced a child, who may or not still be alive but who may have produced a grandchild. Harry’s job is to determine if there is an heir and then to report only to the mogul, not to any of his greedy underlings. The first part goes relatively easily yes, there is an heir but the mogul is murdered before Harry has a chance to talk to him. Juggling his investigation with the responsibilities of his volunteer gig, Harry finds himself caught between the sometimes contradictory demands of finding bad guys and helping victims.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Chameleon people / Hans Olav Lahlum ; translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.
“1972. On a cold March morning the weekend peace is broken when a frantic young cyclist rings on Inspector Kolbjorn ‘K2′ Kristiansen’s doorbell, desperate to speak to the detective. Compelled to help, K2 lets the boy inside, only to discover that he is being pursued by K2′s colleagues in the Oslo police. A bloody knife is quickly found in the young man’s pocket: a knife that matches the stab wounds of a politician murdered just a few streets away. The evidence seems clear-cut, and the arrest couldn’t be easier. But with the suspect’s identity unknown, and the boy refusing to speak, K2 finds himself far from closing the case. And then there is the question that K2 can’t get out of his head: why would a guilty man travel directly to a police detective from the scene of his own brutal crime?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Goodwood / Holly Throsby.
“Goodwood is a small town where everyone knows everything about everyone. It’s a place where it’s impossible to keep a secret. In 1992, when Jean Brown is seventeen, a terrible thing happens, two terrible things. Rosie White, the coolest girl in town, vanishes overnight. One week later, Goodwood’s most popular resident, Bart McDonald, sets off on a fishing trip and never comes home. People die in Goodwood, of course, but never like this. They don’t just disappear. As the intensity of speculation about the fates of Rosie and Bart heightens, Jean, who is keeping secrets of her own, and the rest of Goodwood are left reeling.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

This month’s new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels recently added to the collection included many well known great writers. There are also several exciting new writers making their debut in this genre.

Syndetics book cover Ninth City burning / J. Patrick Black.
“Generations after Earth has been attacked by an unknown alien force, the world is a different place. Most cities were instantly destroyed by the invaders using an element known as “thelemity,” and human survival depends on a few who can wield this power as well. In the intervening centuries, those who use thelemity are sought and put into military service. But while the surviving cities lead the ongoing war efforts, the rural settlements resent being employed as a supply source of resources and soldiers. Two young sisters from the unincorporated wild country are dragged into the conflict.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The obelisk gate / N.K. Jemisin.
“In the world called the Stillness-which the first book hints may actually be our world, thousands of years in the future-orogenes are hated and feared for their ability to control the geological forces that shape the land. Powerful orogene Essun desperately searches for her eight-year-old daughter, Nassun, who was stolen away by her father. He hopes to find someone to “fix” the girl and excise her burgeoning orogene talent. But Essun’s search is interrupted by her old mentor, Alabaster. Alabaster is dying, and he hopes to use Essun’s powers to end the current “season,” a disastrous change in global climate that could destroy all life, by recapturing the planet’s long-lost moon, whose absence is the cause of the ironically named Stillness’s geological instability.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Infomocracy / Malka Older.
“In the (slightly implausible) future, most of the world is part of a massive democracy divided into “centenals” of 100,000 people. Governments are global and overlapping, and each centenal decides which government to belong to. A worldwide organization known as Information manages elections and attempts to keep governments’ campaign promises in check; the governments themselves range from corporate ones such as PhilipMorris to more traditional ones with names like Liberty and Policy1st. Ken, a Brazilian of Japanese descent who works for the Policy1st government, is attempting to research non-Policy1st centenals that might be willing to change governments in the upcoming election. After he learns of a potential conspiracy involving the election, he ends up working with (and falling for) Information agent Mishima.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

Translated novels are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category, with fascinating examples of modern global fiction covering all genres. Our selection for this newsletter showcases this diversity.

Syndetics book cover Men / Marie Darrieussecq ; translated from the French by Penny Hueston.
“It’s love at first sight for French actress Solange when she lays eyes on enigmatic Cameroonian actor Kouhouesso at a party in the Hollywood Hills. Solange takes him to bed but wants more than a tryst, much more. But Kouhouesso remains elusive, focusing his energies on his passion project: directing a new version of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Solange angles for the role of the Intended, Kurtz’s fiancée, who appears in only one scene. Kouhouesso considers several better-known actresses before finally settling on Solange. And so lovesick Solange follows Kouhouesso to his native Cameroon, hoping the film shoot will allow her to peel back his protective layers and truly bring them closer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The explosion chronicles / Yan Lianke ; translated from the Chinese by Carlos Rojas.
“With the Yi River on one side and the Balou Mountains on the other, the village of Explosion was founded more than a millennium ago by refugees fleeing a seismic volcanic eruption. But in the post-Mao era the name takes on a new significance as the community grows explosively from a small village to a vast metropolis. Behind this rapid expansion are members of the community’s three major families, including the four Kong brothers. Linked together by a complex web of loyalty, betrayal, desire, and ambition, these figures are the driving force behind their hometown’s transformation into an urban superpower.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The brother / Joakim Zander ; translated from the Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessel.
“Growing up poor, Yasmine vowed she would always protect her little brother from harm. She broke her promise on the day she left home, abandoning Fadi to his life in the Stockholm slums. Now, five years later, Yasmine still carries the guilt of leaving him behind. She hears a rumor that he is dead, killed by a US drone in Syria. What happened to turn her sweet-natured brother into one of the CIA’s most wanted men? The answer will shock her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Contemporary Fiction

There are many widely acclaimed and award winning authors in this month’s selection of New Contemporary Fiction. These include Robert Olen Butler, James Kelman, Elimear McBride and Ali Smith. Combined with other outstanding writers, this selection will provide many hours of reading enjoyment.

Syndetics book coverPerfume River : a novel / Robert Olen Butler.
“In 1967, Robert Quinlan enlists, hoping to secure a noncombatant role in Vietnam, while his younger brother, Jimmy, cuts family ties after his father violently rebukes his antiwar stance. While dining out in Tallahassee, Fla., 47 years later, Robert-now 70 and a university professor-meets a mentally ill homeless man, also named Bob, whom he takes for a Vietnam veteran. He is wrong, but the encounter reawakens memories of the Tet Offensive, when a split-second decision burdened Robert with secrets and guilt. The day after the encounter, Robert’s father, William, shatters his hip, and Jimmy, a resident of Canada since his flight to avoid the draft, is told of William’s uncertain prognosis. As the brothers and those around them face the possibility of a reunion, they look at their relationships anew; meanwhile, an increasingly delusional Bob crosses paths with the family again.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMy name is Leon / Kit De Waal
“Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. Their mum isn’t feeling herself, so they’ve gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers, since Jake is white and Leon is not.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSiracusa / Delia Ephron.Siracusa
“Two couples on vacation in Siracusa, a town on the coast of Sicily, where the secrets they have hidden from each other are exposed and relationships are unravelled. New Yorkers Michael, a famous writer, and Lizzie, a journalist, travel to Italy with their friends from Maine,-Finn, his wife Taylor, and their daughter Snow. “From the beginning,” says Taylor, “it was a conspiracy for Lizzie and Finn to be together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverConclave : a novel / Robert Harris.
“The Pope is dead. Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.” (Adapted from Syndetic summary)

Syndetics book coverDirt road / James Kelman.
“Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, dreams of a life beyond his Scottish island home. His dad Tom has recently lost his wife and stumbles towards the future, terrified of losing control of what remains of his family life. Both are in search of something as they set out on an expedition into the American South. As they travel they encounter a new world and we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe lesser bohemians / Eimear McBride.The Lesser Bohemians
“An Irish girl, just moved to London for theater school in the mid-1990s, meets a charming stranger, a well regarded actor and much older than her. The tumultuous relationship that ensues risks undoing them both.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe tidal zone / Sarah Moss.
“Adam is a stay-at-home dad who is also working on a history of the bombing and rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. He is a good man and he is happy. But one day, he receives a call from his daughter’s school to inform him that, for no apparent reason, fifteen-year-old Miriam has collapsed and stopped breathing. In that moment, he is plunged into a world of waiting, agonizing, not knowing. The story of his life and the lives of his family are rewritten and re-told around this shocking central event, around a body that has inexplicably failed.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverAutumn : a novel / Ali Smith.
“This is the first installment in a quartet. Seasonal, comprised of four stand-alone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as are the seasons), explores what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDo not say we have nothing : a novel / Madeleine Thien.
“In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-Ming. As her relationship with Marie deepens, Ai-Ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao’s ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians, the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai struggle during China’s relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYesternight / Cat Winters.
“In 1925, child psychologist Alice Lind travels to the stormy coast of Oregon to test the learning abilities of the local children. Michael O’Daire picks her up at the station and offers her a place to stay while she’s in town. He hopes that Alice can help his seven-year-old daughter, Janie, who believes she lived a past life. As Alice learns more of Janie’s story and gathers evidence that the girl might really be experiencing something beyond scientific explanation, she is also drawn into the lives of the child’s parents, particularly the dangerously handsome Michael.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

November Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the monthly Fiction Newsletter. Here you will find our top three choices from each genre’s selected list of newly received fiction. This month we feature Suspense/Thriller fiction in our ‘Other Genres’ category all are guaranteed gripping page turners.

We sincerely hope you will enjoy our selections, and discover new writers, and genres you may not have tried before, happy reading.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This month’s selection of New Contemporary Novels was comprised entirely of Award winning, international acclaimed writers; therefore selecting just three novels for this newsletter was extremely difficult. We hope you will be tempted to view the complete list of selections as there is great reading be found there.

Syndetics book cover Hag-seed : The tempest retold / Margaret Atwood.
“It’s got a thunderstorm in it. And revenge. Definitely revenge Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda, and also brewing revenge. After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The wonder : a novel / Emma Donoghue.
“Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl and soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Black rock white city / A. S. Patrić.
“During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children. This is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Although this month’s selection of new Graphic novels included seven first volumes of new series, we have chosen the only three stand-alone titles for this newsletter. As you can see all three are highly accomplished, much praised graphic novelists and artists.

Syndetics book cover Something new : tales from a makeshift bride / by Lucy Knisley.
“DIY maven Lucy Knisley was fascinated by American wedding culture, but also sort of horrified by it. So she set out to plan and execute the adorable DIY wedding to end all adorable DIY weddings. And she succeeded.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Cigarette girl / Masahiko Matsumoto ; foreword by Yoshihiro Tatsumi ; translated by Spencer Fancutt, with assistance of Atsuko Saisho.
“Welcome to the quiet, evocative urban dramas of Masahiko Matsumoto, one of the leading lights of the Japanese alternative-comics movement known as “gekiga.” Originally published in 1974, these eleven stories now form the first English-language collection of Matsumoto’s mature work. His shy, uncertain heroes face broken hearts, changing families, money troubles, sexual anxiety, and the pressures of tradition, but with a whimsy and lightness of touch that is Matsumoto’s trademark.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Paul up North / Michel Rabagliati.
“Rabagliati continues his award-winning semi-autobiographical Paul series in this coming of age story. The action takes place in 1975-76 just before and during the summer Olympics in Montreal. Paul is now 16, a teenager, and he finds new experiences, changes schools, hitchhikes, falls deeply in love, gets dumped, smokes pot and drinks beer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Mysteries this month included three translated Scandinavian mysteries and several historical mysteries mixed with the customary cold cases, missing persons and kidnappings, found with in this genre. We have selected a mixed assortment for your enjoyment.

Syndetics book cover The owl always hunts at night / Samuel Bjork ; translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund.
“When a young woman is found dead, the police are quick to respond. But what they find at the scene is unexpected. The body is posed, the scene laboriously set. And there is almost no forensic evidence to be found. Detective Mia Kruger has been signed off work pending psychological assessment. But her boss has less regard for the rules than he should. Desperate to get Mia back in the office, Holger Munch offers her an unofficial deal.But the usually brilliant Mia is struggling and the team is unable to close the case. Until a young hacker uncovers something that forces the team to confront the scope of the murderer’s plans and face the possibility that he may already be on the hunt for a second victim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Malice of waves / Mark douglas-Home.
“Cal McGill is the sea detective: an oceanographer and one-of-a-kind investigator who uses his knowledge of the waves to find where objects came from, or track where they’ve gone. For five years Priest’s Island has guarded the mystery of Max Wheeler’s disappearance. In this isolated township on the edge of the Atlantic, there are no secrets, except what really happened to fourteen-year-old Max. Now Cal McGill has taken up the quest. A grieving father, a community riven by tragedy and resentful of the suspicion all make a powder keg of secrets and vengeance ready to explode.” (Adapted from Syndectics summary)
Syndetics book cover Blind sight / Carol O’Connell.
“A blind child and a Catholic nun disappear from a city sidewalk in plain sight of onlookers. There, then gone, vanished in seconds. Those who witnessed the event still cannot believe it happened. Detective Kathy Mallory and the NYPD’s Special Crimes Unit enter the investigation when the nun’s body is found with three other corpses in varying stages of decomposition left on the lawn of Gracie Mansion, home to the mayor of New York City. Sister Michael was the last to die. The child, Jonah Quill, is still missing. Behind her back, the squad’s name for her is Mallory the Machine, yet she has a dark understanding of what it is to be human. A child is waiting, time is running out, and atop her list of liars is the mayor himself, and a theory of the crimes in which no sane cop could believe.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy included some well-known much acclaimed writers. With all the usual plots found in this genre, from alternative histories to zombies, there is no limit to the imaginations of these writers, giving readers a truly out of world experience.

Syndetics book cover Obelisk / Stephen Baxter.
“This collection contains stories set in the worlds of the bestselling duology ULTIMA and PROXIMA, which expand on the characters and worlds of that series, including two brand new short stories. There is also a selection of alternate histories and possible futures, building on Baxter’s work with Terry Pratchett on the LONG EARTH series.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The span of empire / Eric Flint, David Carrico ; with K.D. Wentworth.
“A new novel in the Jao Empire series. It has become clear to both the Jao and their human and Lleix partners that if they are going to defeat the Ekhat who have been terrorizing the galaxy for eons, they need more allies. To that end, Preceptor Ronz, guardian of Earth and greatest living strategist of the Jao, has harnessed the energy of Earth’s humans to create and send out an exploration fleet under the command of Caitlin Kralik. But after a long search, all the expedition has found are dead worlds and now-extinct intelligent species slaughtered by the genocidal Ekhat. Do they continue to search down the galactic arm in which Earth and the Jao worlds lie, or do they make an astounding leap in another direction?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The ghoul king / Guy Haley.
“The Knight, Quinn, is down on his luck, and he travels to the very edge of the civilized world, whatever that means any more, to restock his small but essential inventory. After fighting a series of gladiatorial bouts against the dead, he finds himself in the employ of a woman on a quest to find the secret to repairing her semi-functional robot. But the technological secret it guards may be one truth too many.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

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Other genres

With Suspense/thriller being the feature of this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category, there was a great variation in location, time, character. The three selected for this newsletter are good examples of the amazing variation in the suspense/thriller genre.

Syndetics book cover Home / Harlan Coben.
“A decade ago, kidnappers grabbed two boys from wealthy families and demanded ransom, then went silent. No trace of the boys ever surfaced. For ten years their families have been left with nothing but painful memories and a quiet desperation for the day that has finally, miraculously arrived: Myron Bolitar and his friend Win believe they have located one of the boys, now a teenager. Where has he been for ten years, and what does he know about the day, more than half a life ago, when he was taken? And most critically: what can he tell Myron and Win about the fate of his missing friend?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Out of bounds.
“When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car, a routine DNA test could be the key to unlocking the mystery of a twenty-year-old murder inquiry. Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is an expert at solving the unsolvable. With each cold case closed, justice is served. So, finding the answer should be straightforward, but it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Breaking cover / Stella Rimington.
“Liz Carlyle, still reeling from the aftershocks of a botched anti-terrorist operation in Paris, has been posted to MI5′s counter-espionage desk, where her bosses hope the relative calm might give her the chance to find her feet again. But they hadn’t counted on the fallout from Russia’s incursions into the Crimea and President Putin’s determination to silence those who would oppose him, wherever they may be living in the world. So it is not long before Liz finds herself on the hunt for a Russian spy on British soil, a spy whose intentions are unknown, and whose presence is a threat not only to Russian dissidents living in England but also to the security of the nation itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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The best of the best: must reads from this month’s fiction selections

The following titles have been chosen from our monthly new fiction selections. They are all highly recommended for great reading.

Syndetics book coverThe ice beneath her / Camilla Grebe ; translated by Elizabeth Clark Wessel.
A very clever psychological murder mystery that will have any reader locked in from the first sentence to the last.

Syndetics book coverRazor girl / Carl Hiaasen.l
A typical Carl Hiaasen racy, wacky, thriller, with an wonderful assortment of weird characters, in unbelievable situations, a great joyous, hilarious read.

Syndetics book coverSomething new : tales from a makeshift bride / by Lucy Knisley.
Lucy Knisley never fails to delight with her clever precise graphic novels. This memoir just sparkles.

Syndetics book coverNutshell / Ian McEwan.
This novel is just brilliant. Similar story line to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this a real page turner, from a master fiction writer.

Syndetics book coverThe last days of new Paris : a novella / China Miéville.
An alternative history, that showcases Mieville’s fabulous imagination, love of language and writing skill. Totally engrossing.

New Contemporary Fiction for October

The selections for this month’s new contemporary fiction are all written by prize winning, internationally acclaimed writers, therefore all come highly recommended for amazing reading experiences. Included in this selection is the Australian debut novelist, and winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award for 2016 A. S. Patric for his novel titled Black Rock, white city. A truly stunning novel.

Syndetics book coverHag-seed : The tempest retold / Margaret Atwood.
“It’s got a thunderstorm in it. And revenge. Definitely revenge Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda, and also brewing revenge. After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSelection Day / Aravind Adiga.
“Manju is fourteen. He knows he is good at cricket, if not as good as his elder brother Radha. He knows that he hates his domineering and cricket-obsessed father, admires his brilliantly talented brother and is fascinated by CSI and curious and interesting scientific facts. But there are many things, about himself and about the world, that he doesn’t know. Everyone around him, it seems, has a clear idea of who Manju should be, except Manju himself. But when Manju begins to get to know Radha’s great rival, a boy as privileged and confident as Manju is not, everything in Manju’a world begins to change and he is faced by decisions that will challenge both his sense of self and of the world around him.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe schooldays of Jesus / by J. M. Coetzee.
“David is the small boy who is always asking questions. Simon and Ines take care of him in their new country. He is learning the language; he has begun to make friends. He has the big dog Bolivar to watch over him. But he’ll be seven soon and he should be at school. So David is enrolled in the Academy of Dance in Estrella. It’s here, in his new golden dancing slippers, that he learns how to call down the numbers from the sky. But it’s here too that he will make troubling discoveries about what grown-ups are capable of.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe wonder : a novel / Emma Donoghue.
“Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl and soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHot milk : a novel / Deborah Levy.
“Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s unexplainable illness. She is frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints, but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and her mother travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultant, their very last chance, in the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis. But Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to do with physical medicine, and as the treatment progresses, Sofia’s mother’s illness becomes increasingly baffling. Sophia’s role as detective, tracking her mother’s symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain, deepens as she discovers her own desires in this transient desert community.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNutshell / Ian McEwan.
“Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She’s still in the marital home, a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse, but not with John. Instead, she’s with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old resident of Trudy’s womb.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCommonwealth / Ann Patchett.
“One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly, thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack rock white city / A. S. Patrić.
“During a hot Melbourne summer Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children. This is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAnother Brooklyn : a novel / Jacqueline Woodson.
“Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything, until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant, part of a future that belonged to them.But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverResolution / A. N. Wilson.
“This powerful novel explores the life and times of one of the greatest British explorers, Captain Cook, and the golden age of Britain’s period of expansion and exploration. Witness to Cook’s brilliance and wisdom, is George Forster, who travelled with Cook as botanist on board the HMS Resolution, on Cook’s second expedition to the southern hemisphere, and penned a famous account of the journey. The novel moves back and forth across time, to depict Forster’s time with Cook, and his extraordinary later life, which ended with his death in Paris, during the French Revolution.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

New Contemporary Fiction

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.

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverHeroes 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)

Syndetics book coverBelgravia / 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)

Syndetics book coverTo 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)

Syndetics book coverArrowood : 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)

Syndetics book coverWhat 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)

Syndetics book coverWhy 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)

Syndetics book coverParadise 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)

Syndetics book coverThe 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)


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