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New eBook Fiction in April

Strange disruptions haunt this month’s new eBook fiction from Overdrive. Nightmares come to life in Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream. Disturbing images appear on rented videotapes in John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester. And in the Booker-nominated A General Theory of Oblivion, a woman bricks herself into her apartment, where she will stay for the next thirty years.

If you, too, are planning to seal yourself up for awhile, make sure you borrow some eBooks first – starting by signing in here to Wellington City Libraries!

Overdrive cover The Lucky One, by Caroline Overington
“For more than 150 years, a grand house known as Alden Castle has stood proudly in the hills above Paso Robles, home to a family weighed down by secrets and debt. When the castle is sold, billionaire developers move in, only to discover one skeleton after another, including a fresh corpse, rotting in the old family cemetery. As three generations of the well-respected Alden-Stowe family come in for scrutiny, detectives will discover a twisted web of rivalries, alliances, deceit and treachery.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Universal Harvester, by John Darnielle
“Jeremy works at the counter of Video Hut in Nevada, Iowa. It’s the 1990s, pre-DVD, and the work is predictable and familiar. But when a local schoolteacher comes in to return her copy of Targets, she has an odd complaint: ‘There’s something on it,’ she says. Curious, Jeremy takes a look. And what he sees on the video is so strange and disturbing that it propels him into a search for the tape’s creator…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover A General Theory of Oblivion, by José Eduardo Agualusa
“On the eve of Angolan independence, Ludo bricks herself into her apartment, where she will remain for the next thirty years. She lives off vegetables and pigeons, burns her furniture and books to stay alive and keeps herself busy by writing her story on the walls of her home. Then one day she meets Sabalu, a young boy from the street who climbs up to her terrace…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Just for Christmas, by Scarlett Bailey
“When Alex Munro learns the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants is to be alone. Moving to a Cornish cottage, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas festivities. Then she meets her sexy neighbour Ruan – and somehow Alex doesn’t want to be alone this Christmas after all.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bone Box, by Faye Kellerman
“On a crisp September morning, Rina Decker stumbles upon unearthed human remains. She calls her husband, Peter Decker, a former detective lieutenant with LAPD. Within hours, a woodland is transformed into a crime scene. And when more human remains are found, Decker knows this isn’t just a one-off murder case. Winding his way through a labyrinth of suspects, he races to protect their community from a psychopathic killer on the hunt for a fresh victim.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Perfect Days, by Alison Entrekin
“Teo meets Clarice at a party. Teo doesn’t really like people, but he immediately realises that he and Clarice are meant to be together. And if Clarice doesn’t accept that? Well, they just need to spend some time together. And yes, he has taken her prisoner and yes, he is lying to her mother, but it’s all for her own good. She’ll understand. She’ll fall in love. She’ll settle down and be his loving wife. Won’t she?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Bright Air Black, by David Vann
“It is 13th century B.C. and aboard the ship Argo, Jason and the Argonauts make their return journey across the Black Sea in possession of the Golden Fleece. David Vann, in brilliant poetic prose, tells their story through the eyes of Medea, a woman often cast as sorceress and monster – and one of Greek mythology’s most fascinating figures.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Scent of You, by Maggie Alderson
“Polly’s life is great. Her children are away at uni, her mother is happily settled in a retirement village and her perfume blog is taking off. Then her husband announces he needs some space and promptly vanishes. As Polly grapples with her bewildering situation, she clings to a few new friends to keep her going. And while she distracts herself with the heady world of perfume, she knows she can’t keep reality at bay forever…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Emperor of Lies, by Steve Sem-Sandberg
“In February 1940, the Nazis established what would become the second largest Jewish ghetto in the Polish city of Lódz. Its chosen leader: Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, a sixty-three-year-old Jewish orphanage director. The Emperor of Lies chronicles the tale of Rumkowski’s monarchical rule. Was he a ruthless opportunist, or a pragmatic strategist who managed to save Jewish lives?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Fever Dream, by Samanta Schweblin
“A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins and the power and desperation of family. Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

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Reading across genres – April Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the latest Fiction Newsletter from WCL. We have highlighted three of the most tempting reads from each genre that in turn demonstrates the diversity and depth of Wellington City Libraries fiction collection. This is also demonstrated by the debut novels selected for this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category. We do hope you will find some great reading, and perhaps a new author to enjoy.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

This month’s new Contemporary Fiction includes new novels from several award winning authors. One of these is George Saunders with his first novel, titled Lincoln in the bardo. He will be a guest at the Auckland Writers Festival in May.

Syndetics book cover 4 3 2 1 : a novel / Paul Auster.
“On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Days without end : a novel / Sebastian Barry.
“Thomas McNulty, barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas fights in the Indian Wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Lincoln in the bardo : a novel / George Saunders.
“February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.
Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

The Graphic Novel collection always provides a wide range of genres, a large variation in writing style and art work, so that devoted readers will find endless hours of entertaining reading. This month’s selection, with debut graphic novelist to the first volumes of new series again confirms the scope and diversity of this collection.

Syndetics book cover Carthago / [Christophe Bec, writer ; Eric Henninot, Milan Jovanovic, artists].
“The megalodon, the prehistoric ancestor of the great white shark, was the most ferocious predator of the seas, an 80-foot killing machine extinct for millions of years. But when divers drilling in an underwater cave are attacked by this living fossil, oceanographer Kim Melville discovers that this creature may not only have survived, but thrived, and is reclaiming its place at the top of the food chain.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Flying couch : a graphic memoir / Amy Kurzweil.
“Amy Kurzweil’s debut, tells the stories of three unforgettable women. Amy weaves her own coming-of-age as a young Jewish artist into the narrative of her mother, a psychologist, and Bubbe, her grandmother, a World War II survivor who escaped from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself as a gentile.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Huck [1] : All-American / Mark Millar, writer ; Rafael Albuquerque, artist ; created by Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque.
“In a quiet seaside town, a gas station clerk named Huck secretly uses his special gifts to do a good deed each day. But when his story leaks, a media firestorm erupts, bringing him uninvited fame. As pieces of Huck’s past begin to resurface, it’s no longer clear who his friends are, or whose lives may be in danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

This month’s selection of new mystery novels included many characters with a diverse range of occupations investigating crime and murder. These together with the very popular police procedural mysteries provide a great choice for readers.

Syndetics book cover Right behind you : a novel / Lisa Gardner.
“Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah is about to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner. A call comes in about a double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover City of strangers : a novel / Louise Millar.
“When Grace and her childhood sweetheart Mac come home from their honeymoon in Thailand, they’re shocked to find a dead body beside their pile of unopened wedding presents. The police are unable to ID the man, so it is assumed that he was a burglar who died from natural causes. Little do they know that evidence for a rather different story is hidden right beneath their apartment.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

In the new Science Fiction and Fantasy selection for this month there were new novels from several very popular writers. Greg Bear, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Charles Stross, just to name a few.

Syndetics book cover Take back the sky / Greg Bear.
“The conclusion to an epic interstellar trilogy of war. Marooned beneath the icy, waxy crust of Saturn’s moon, Titan, Skyrine Michael Venn and his comrades face double danger from Earth and from the Antagonists; both are intent on wiping out their growing awareness of what the helpful alien Gurus are really doing in our solar system. The former combatants must now team up with their enemies, forget their indoctrination and their training, and journey far beyond Pluto to the fabled Planet X, the Antagonists’ home world, a Sun-Planet in the comet-generating Kuiper belt. It’s here that Master Sergeant Venn will finally understand his destiny and the destiny of every intelligent being in the solar system-including the enigmatic Gurus.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A closed and common orbit / Becky Chambers.
“Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She’s never felt so alone. But she’s not alone, not really. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world, because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it’s anything but empty.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Empire games / Charles Stross.
“The year is 2020. It is seventeen years since the Revolution overthrew the last king of the New British Empire. But Miriam Burgeson, commissioner in charge of the shadowy Ministry of Intertemporal Research and Intelligence, has a problem. For years, she’s warned everyone: “The Americans are coming.” Now their drones arrive in the middle of a succession crisis. In another timeline, the U.S. has recruited Miriam’s own estranged daughter to spy across timelines in order to bring down any remaining world-walkers who might threaten national security. Two nuclear superpowers are set on a collision course. Two increasingly desperate paratime espionage agencies try to find a solution to the first contact problem that doesn’t result in a nuclear holocaust.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

The new ‘Other Genres’ category this month features Debut Novelists. All the first novels selected have received excellent reviews with great promise and expectation for future work.

Syndetics book cover Barking dogs / Rebekah Clarkson.
“If you took a bird’s-eye view of Mount Barker, you’d see ordinary Australians living on their ordinary suburban blocks in an ordinary regional town. Get closer. Peer through a window. You might see Nathan Long, obsessively recording the incessant bark of a neighbourhood dog, or the Wheeler family sitting down for a meal and trying to come to terms with a shocking discovery. If you listen, you may hear tales of fathers and their wayward sons, of widows who can’t forgive themselves, of children longed for and lost, of thwarted lust and of pure, incorruptible love. Within the shadows is an unspeakable crime.” (Adapted from Book cover)
Syndetics book cover Nina is not ok / Shappi Khorsandi.
“Nina does not have a drinking problem. She likes a drink, sure. But what 17-year-old doesn’t?Nina’s mum isn’t so sure. But she’s busy with her new husband and five year old Katie. And Nina’s almost an adult after all. And if Nina sometimes wakes up with little memory of what happened the night before, then her friends are all too happy to fill in the blanks. Nina’s drunken exploits are the stuff of college legend. But then one dark Sunday morning, even her friends can’t help piece together Saturday night. All Nina feels is a deep sense of shame, that something very bad has happened to her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Fish in exile / Vi Khi Nao.
“How do you bear the death of a child? with fish tanks and jellyfish burials, Persephone’s pomegranate seeds, and affairs with the neighbors. Fish in Exile spins unimaginable loss through classical and magical tumblers, distorting our view so that we can see the contours of a parent’s grief all the more clearly.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Contemporary Fiction

There are four award winning authors included in this month’s selection of new Contemporary Novels. These are Paul Auster, Sebastian Barry, Bernard Schlink, and George Saunders, an award winning short story writer with his first novel, titled Lincoln in the bardo.

Syndetics book cover4 3 2 1 : a novel / Paul Auster.
“On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDays without end : a novel / Sebastian Barry.
“Thomas McNulty, barely seventeen and having fled the Great Famine, signs up for the U.S. Army in the 1850s. With his brother in arms, John Cole, Thomas fights in the Indian Wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships, the men find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe book of mirrors / E.O. Chirovici.
“Princeton, 1987 : renowned psychologist Professor Joseph Weider is brutally murdered . New York, twenty-five years later : literary agent Peter Katz receives a manuscript. Or is it a confession ?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWar and turpentine : a novel / Stefan Hertmans ; translated from the Dutch by David McKay.
“The life of Urbain Martien–artist, soldier, survivor of World War I, lies contained in two notebooks he left behind when he died in 1981. His grandson, a writer, retells his story, the notebooks giving him the impetus to imagine his way into the locked chambers of Urbain’s memory.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Nowhere man / Gregg Hurwitz.
“He was once called Orphan X. As a boy, Evan Smoak was taken from a children’s home, raised and trained as part of a secret government initiative buried so deep that virtually no one knows it still exists. But he broke with the program, choosing instead to vanish off grid and use his formidable skill set to help those unable to protect themselves. One day, though, Evan’s luck ran out. Ambushed, drugged, and spirited away, Evan wakes up in a locked room with no idea where he is or who has captured him. As he tries to piece together what’s happened, testing his gilded prison and its highly trained guards for weaknesses, he receives a desperate call for help.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDear Mr M / Herman Koch.
“Mr M is being watched. As a famous writer, he is no stranger to the limelight, although interest in his work has been dwindling of late. His print runs are smaller than they used to be, and so are the crowds at his bookshop signings. But there is someone still interested in Mr M and keeping an extremely close eye on him, someone whose own story bears more than a passing resemblance to the plot of Mr M’s bestselling thriller, in which a teacher has an affair with a student, only to be brutally murdered by the girl and her teenage boyfriend. In Mr M’s book, the body is never found, but in real life, bodies have an awkward habit of turning up.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBehind her eyes / Sarah Pinborough.
“Since her husband walked out, Louise has made her son her world, supporting them both with her part-time job. But when she meets David Young, successful and charming, Louise cannot believe a man like him would look at her twice let alone be attracted to her. But that all comes to a grinding halt when she meets his wife Adele, beautiful, elegant and sweet, Louise’s new friend seems perfect in every way. As she becomes obsessed by this flawless couple, entangled in the intricate web of their marriage, they each, in turn, reach out to her. But only when she gets to know them both does she begin to see the cracks. Is David really is the man she thought she knew and is Adele as vulnerable as she appears? Just what terrible secrets are they both hiding and how far will they go to keep them?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLincoln in the bardo : a novel / George Saunders.
“February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.
Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe woman on the stairs / Bernhard Schlink ; translated from the German by Joyce Hackett and Bradley Schmidt. 
“For decades the painting was believed to be lost. But, just as mysteriously as it disappeared, it reappears, an anonymous donation to a gallery in Sydney. The art world is stunned, so are the three men who loved the woman in the painting, the woman on the stairs. One by one they track her down to an isolated cottage in Australia. Here they must try to untangle the lies and betrayals of their shared past, but time is running out.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCity of friends / Joanna Trollope.
“The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of the only life she’d ever known. For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London? As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new, one of long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home she at least has The Girls to fall back on. The girls, now women, had been best friends from the early days of university right through their working lives, and for all the happiness and heartbreaks in between. But these career women all have personal problems of their own, and when Stacey’s redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships will be pushed to their limits.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Fiction newsletter for March

Welcome to the Fiction newsletter where you will find great reading from selected new material received this month. We do hope that you will find many hours of reading pleasure and perhaps some new exciting new authors, previously unread.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

Contemporary Fiction always covers a very broad range of themes, and this month’s selection from our recently received new material is no exception. We have chosen, for this newsletter three examples of this diversification of theme.

Syndetics book cover General theory of oblivion / José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn.
“On the eve of Angolan independence, Ludo bricks herself into her apartment, where she will remain for the next thirty years. She lives off vegetables and pigeons, burns her furniture and books to stay alive and keeps herself busy by writing her story on the walls of her home. The outside world slowly seeps into Ludo’s life through snippets on the radio, voices from next door, glimpses of a man fleeing his pursuers and a note attached to a bird’s foot. Until one day she meets Sabalu, a young boy from the street who climbs up to her terrace.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The river at night / Erica Ferencik.
“Winifred Allen needs a vacation. Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings. What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Dating tips for the unemployed / Iris Smyles.
“Iris Smyles’s Dating Tips for the Unemployed is an urban odyssey, a wistful, wise, and wry look back at a young woman trying to find her home in the world. “Iris,” the narrator and heroine, guides the reader through twenty-four episodes from her life, pausing now and then for meditations on love, sex, work, loneliness, insomnia, arctic exploration, cannibalism, the Higgs boson, Greek mythology, memory, costumes parties, time travel, Rocky I, II, V, IV, VI, and III respectively, literary immortality, real estate trends, and growing up and growing old.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

This month’s selection of new Graphic Novels includes Sarah Laing’s brilliant debut graphic novel, titled, Mansfield and Me: a graphic memoir.

Syndetics book cover Alena / a graphic novel by Kim W. Andersson ; dialogue written in collaboration with C-M Edenborg.
“Alena’s life is a living hell. Since starting at the snobbish boarding school Alena’s been harassed every day by Philippa and the girls on the lacrosse team. But Alena’s best friend Josephine is not going to accept that anymore, not from the counsellor or principal, not from Philippa, and not from anyone at that horrid school. If Alena does not fight back then Josephine will take matters into her own hands. There’s just one problem, Josephine has been dead for a year.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The return of the honey buzzard / written and illustrated by Aimée de Jongh; translated from Dutch by Michele Hutchison.
“Simon, a bookseller, has hit hard times. The financial crisis has struck and sales have slumped; his store looks set to close, and he has become increasingly withdrawn. Returning from his storage facility in the woods, he stops at an isolated railroad crossing. There, he witnesses a suicide. The moment hits him like a bomb. Withdrawing deeper into himself, Simon is haunted by memories from his past, memories repressed, from a time he’d prefer to forget. It is only by chance that he meets Regina, a young girl who begins to provide the comfort and support he needs. But who is Regina, and can she help him come to terms with the loss of a childhood friend?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Mansfield and me : a graphic memoir / Sarah Laing.
“Sarah Laing wanted to be a real writer, a writer as famous as Katherine Mansfield, but not as tortured. Mansfield and Me charts her journey towards publication and parenthood against Mansfield’s dramatic story, set in London, Paris, New York and New Zealand. Part memoir, part biography, part fantasy, it examines how our lives connect to those of our personal heroes.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Our selection of new Mysteries this month again included many translated novels, proving a growth in their popularity with readers, especially for Scandinavian mysteries. Unfortunately only three titles could be chosen for this newsletter, so do visit the full selection option.

Syndetics book cover Black water lilies / Michel Bussi ; translated from the French by Shaun Whiteside.
“Giverny, is during the day, the home of the famous artist Claude Monet and the gardens where he painted his waterlilies. But once the tourists have gone, there is a darker side to the peaceful French village. This is the story of thirteen days that begin with one murder and end with another.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The falling detective / Christoffer Carlsson ; translated by Michael Gallagher.
“The second instalment in the internationally bestselling Leo Junker series. Leo Junker is back in the homicide unit, after a murder case where he was the intended victim. Still abusing prescription drugs and battling his inner demons, he’s doing his best to appear fit for duty. A sociologist named Thomas Heber is found murdered. The only clues the police have to work with are Heber’s cryptic research notes, which indicate that someone else’s life is also under threat, but who? Leo is put on the Heber case with his former nemesis Gabriel Birck, but when the case is abruptly reassigned to the Swedish Security Service, he realizes this is no ordinary street mugging.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover A very pukka murder : a Maharaja mystery / Arjun Raj Gaind.
“Major William Russell, the English Resident of the princely state of Rajpore, is found dead the morning after the 1909 New Year’s Ball. The fabulously wealthy Maharaja of Rajpore, a lover of luxury cars and beautiful women, cannot resist a mystery and, over the objections of the local Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police, attempts to solve the crime. As the British authorities dispatch their own investigator from Simla, His Highness deals with the growing hostility of the English Establishment, learning that Major Russell was not as pukka, as proper, as he liked to pretend.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

The selection from our recently received new Science Fiction & Fantasy included this genres most popular themes, genetic engineering, shapeshifting, space warfare, artificial intelligence and magic. Readers who love this genre will not be disappointed.

Syndetics book cover Into the guns / William C. Dietz.
“On May Day, 2018, sixty meteors entered Earth’s atmosphere and exploded around the globe with a force greater than a nuclear blast. Earthquakes and tsunamis followed, as China mistakenly attacked Europe, Asia, and the United States. As refugees across America band together and engage in open warfare with the military over scarce resources, a select group of individuals make a power play to rebuild the country.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Normal / Warren Ellis.
“When Adam Dearden, a foresight strategist, arrives at Normal Head, he is desperate to unplug and be immersed in sylvan silence. But then a patient goes missing from his locked bedroom, leaving nothing but a pile of insects in his wake. A staff investigation ensues; surveillance becomes total. As the mystery of the disappeared man unravels Adam uncovers a conspiracy that calls into question the core principles of how and why we think about the future, and the past, and the now.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Insurgence / Ken MacLeod.
“Die for the company , live for the pay. The ultimate pay-off is DH-17, an Earth-like planet hundreds of light years from human habitation. Ruthless corporations vie over the prize remotely, and war is in full swing. But soldiers recruited to fight in the extremities of deep space come with their own problems: from A.I. minds in full rebellion, to Carlos ‘the Terrorist’ and his team of dead mercenaries, reincarnated from a bloodier period in earth’s history for one purpose only to kill. But as old rivalries emerge and new ones form, Carlos must decide whether he’s willing for fight for the company or die for himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

This month we received many new titles from New Zealand writers that included the much praised, long awaited second novel by Karen Hay, titled the march of the foxgloves.

Syndetics book cover The march of the foxgloves / Karyn Hay.
“A late 19th century tale of triumph over obsession and humiliation. London, 1893, and Frances Woodward is tormented by the restrictions of her puritanical father and the cruelties of 19th century narcissist, Benedict Hunt. Having meted out a particularly creative form of revenge upon Hunt, Frances transcends the social norms of the late-Victorian era and travels alone to the far-flung colony of New Zealand, where she is forced to look beyond the establishment life seemingly pre-ordained for her. Falling in with other artists and non-conformists, and inspired by the revolution in thinking brought about by heroic literary figures and social reformers of the time, Frances forges a new path of her own making” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover We the ones / Julie Helean.
“Struggling with their own disparate agendas, members of this dysfunctional yet fervent anti-racism cell embark on an earnest quest to disrupt the celebrations planned for the 150-year anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi. As Waitangi Day draws near, Charlie, disgruntled with her Pakeha anti-racism group’s endless meetings, leadership squabbles and debates over rhetoric, joins her Maori flat mate Kat on a reckless journey to sabotage the 1990 celebrations and stop the Queen from attending. With growing disregard to consequences, the pair commits to do whatever it takes to have the Treaty honoured and the Maori flag flying at Waitangi.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Lewisville / Alexandra Tidswell.
“Martha Grimm has a sorrowful secret, and her daughter Mary Ann is the only other person in New Zealand who knows it. Growing up dirt-poor in Willoughby, Warwickshire, in 1814, Martha dared to imagine a different life. Now she is a wealthy and respectable Wellington settler half a world away. But the cost has been high. Martha cannot speak of the past or the people she left behind. The story of one woman’s ambition, of escape and reinvention, and the bittersweet consequences of achieving one’s dreams.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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February’s Fiction Newsletter

Welcome to the latest Fiction newsletter. We have selected a great range of fiction across all genres from our recently received new material guaranteed to provide many hours of pleasurable reading. Translated novels are featured in this month’s ‘Other Genre’ category and these provide an interesting and at times riveting view of other cultures, traditions, and people, whether historically or in the present day.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

In this month’s selection of New Contemporary fiction, there are several historical novels, and three debut novels from promising new talented writers. Also included are the latest novels by Zadie Smith, Jay McInerney and T. Coraghessan Boyle, all promising some great reading.

Syndetics book cover The story of a brief marriage / Anuk Arudpragasam.
“This haunting debut novel takes place in a Sri Lankan civil-war-evacuee camp. The opening scene in which a young boy’s shrapnel-damaged forearm is amputated with a kitchen knife prepares readers for what is to come, as newlyweds Dinesh and Ganga, who barely know each other, try to navigate the intimacies of marriage in the midst of great brutality.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Inch levels / Neil Hegarty.
“Patrick Jackson lies on his deathbed in Derry and recalls a family history marked by secrecy and silence, and a striking absence of conventional pieties. He remembers the death of an eight-year-old girl, whose body was found on reclaimed land called Inch Levels on the shoreline of Lough Swilly. And he is visited by his beloved but troubled sister Margaret and by his despised brother-in-law Robert, and by Sarah, his hard, unchallengeable mother. Each of them could talk about events in the past that might explain the bleakness of their relationships, but leaving things unsaid has become a way of life. Guilt and memory beat against them, as shock waves from bombs in Derry travel down the river to shake the windows of those who have escaped the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Swing time / Zadie Smith.
“Two brown girls dream of being dancers, but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. This is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Nearly all fiction genres and some biography are included in this month’s selection from the recently received additions to our Graphic Novel collection. Along with the first volumes in three new series, we promise some great reading experiences for fans of this very popular collection.

Syndetics book cover Carbon Grey / story, script & lettering, Paul Gardner ; created by Hoang Nguyen, Khari Evans, Mike Kennedy ; art, Khari Evans, Hoang Nguyen, Kinsun Loh.
“The Sisters Grey are warriors, sworn to protect their Kaiser. But as a great war rages, the Kaiser is found dead, and one sister, Giselle Grey is accused of his murder. Pursued by enemies, Giselle must unravel the prophecy of the Carbon Grey before history itself unravels.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Space-Mullet! [1] : one gamble at a time / written and illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson.
“Ex space marine Jonah and his co-pilot Alphius rove the galaxy, just trying to get by. Drawn into one crazy adventure after another, they forge a crew of misfits into a family that must face the darkest parts of the universe together.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover An Olympic dream : the story of Samia Yusuf Omar / by Reinhard Kleist.
“The image of Samia Yusuf Omar running for last place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics will forever be imprinted in the minds of all who saw it: The lean Somalian, wearing knee-length leggings and a baggy T-shirt, came in seconds behind her competitors. What the cheering crowd couldn’t know then was what it took to get there. An Olympic Dream follows Omar’s second attempt to represent her country at the Olympics, this time in London. Reinhard Kleist pictures the athlete training in one of the most dangerous cities in the world; her passage through Sudan and into Libya; and her fateful attempt to reach Europe” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

The second novel again set in Mumbai by Vaseem Khan, a new writer in this genre, who is becoming very popular, is included in this month’s selection of new mystery fiction. Also we have new mysteries from several popular authors, and two new Scandinavian mysteries, one Anne Holt and the other by Kjell Eriksson.

Syndetics book cover Stone coffin / Kjell Eriksson ; translated from the Swedish by Ebba Segerberg.
“One sunny summer morning a young woman and her six-year old daughter are run over by a car. Both are killed immediately. Is it an accident, or did someone kill them on purpose? The same morning the husband of the deceased young woman disappears. During the police investigation, it turns out that the husband had recently bought a property that nobody knew anything about. A few days later a macabre discovery is made in a forest nearby” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The perplexing theft of the jewel in the crown / Vaseem Khan.
“For centuries, the Koh-i-Noor diamond has set man against man and king against king. Now part of the British Crown Jewels, the priceless gem it is a prize that many have killed to possess. So when the Crown Jewels go on display in Mumbai, security is everyone’s principal concern. And yet, on the very day Inspector Chopra visits the exhibition, the diamond is stolen from under his nose.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The reckoning on Cane Hill / Steve Mosby.
“Every year, Detective David Groves receives a birthday card for his son–even though he buried him years ago. His son’s murder took everything from him, apart from his belief in the law, even though the killers were never found. This year, though, the card bears a different message: I know who did it. Uncovering the facts will lead him on a dark journey, where he must face his own wrongs as well as those done to those they love.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

There are new novels from science fiction and fantasy’s best known authors included in this month’s selection of new material. From Ben Bova, to David Webber, Marion Zimmer Bradley to Nora Roberts, and of course, Ken Lui and Lev Grossman, deciding who to start reading first, will prove to be the hardest problem

 

Syndetics book cover Warp / Lev Grossman.
“Twenty-something Hollis Kessler languishes in a hopelessly magician-less world (with the exception of a fleet-footed nymph named Xanthe) not too far from where he graduated college. His friends do, too. They sleep late, read too much, drink too much, talk too much, and work and earn and do way too little. But Hollis does have an obsession: there’s another world going on in his head, a world of excitement and danger and starships and romance, and it’s telling him that it’s time to stop dreaming and get serious.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The wall of storms / Ken Liu.
“Book 2 in the Dandelion dynasty series. Grace of Kings, Kuni Garu, now known as Emperor Ragin, runs the archipelago kingdom of Dara, but struggles to maintain progress while serving the demands of the people and his vision. Then an unexpected invading force from the Lyucu Empire in the far distant west comes to the shores of Dara and chaos results. But Emperor Kuni cannot go and lead his kingdom against the threat himself with his recently healed empire fraying at the seams, so he sends the only people he trusts to be Dara’s savvy and cunning hopes against the invincible invaders: his children, now grown and ready to make their mark on history.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The dark side / Anthony O’Neill.
“In this dark and gripping sci-fi noir, an exiled police detective arrives at a lunar penal colony just as a psychotic android begins a murderous odyssey across the far side of the moon. Purgatory is the lawless moon colony of eccentric billionaire, Fletcher Brass: a mecca for war criminals, murderers, sex fiends, and adventurous tourists. You can’t find better drugs, cheaper plastic surgery, or a more ominous travel advisory anywhere in the universe. But trouble is brewing in Brass’s black-market heaven. When an exiled cop arrives in this wild new frontier, he immediately finds himself investigating a string of ruthless assassinations in which Brass himself, and his equally ambitious daughter, are the chief suspects.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

With translated novels being the feature of this month’s ‘Other Genres’ selection some really fascinating reading is here for the choosing. Opening different worlds, cultures and characters, the novels in this section include some brilliant, internationally acclaimed writers.

Syndetics book cover This house is mine / Dörte Hansen ; translated from the German by Anne Stokes.
“All her life Vera has felt like a stranger in the old and drafty half-timbered farmhouse she arrived at as a five-year-old refugee from East Prussia in 1945, and yet she can’t seem to let it go. Sixty years later, her niece Anne suddenly shows up at her door with her small son. Anne has fled the trendy Hamburg, Germany neighborhood she never fit into after her relationship imploded. Vera and Anne are strangers to each other but have much more in common than they think. As the two strong-willed and very different women share the great old house, they find what they have never thought to search for: a family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The graveyard apartment / Mariko Koike ; translated from the Japanese by Deborah Boliver Boehm.
“A young family that believes it has found the perfect home to grow into, only to realize that the apartment’s idyllic setting harbors the specter of evil and that the longer they stay, the more trapped they become.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Moshi Moshi / Banana Yoshimoto ; translated by Asa Yoneda.
“Yoshie’s much-loved musician father has died in a suicide pact with an unknown woman. It is only when Yoshie and her mother move to Shimo-kitazawa, a traditional Tokyo neighborhood of narrow streets, quirky shops, and friendly residents that they can finally start to put their painful past behind them. However, despite their attempts to move forward, Yoshie is haunted by nightmares in which her father is looking for the phone he left behind on the day he died, or on which she is trying, unsuccessfully to call him. Is her dead father trying to communicate a message to her through these dreams?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New Contemporary Fiction for February

You will find the most exciting new fiction in this month’s selection of new Contemporary Fiction. From women hermits, to dating, missing persons to World War II espionage, acting to sea kayaking, there is an amazing variety of great reading for all fiction enthusiasts.

Syndetics book coverGeneral theory of oblivion / José Eduardo Agualusa, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn.
“On the eve of Angolan independence, Ludo bricks herself into her apartment, where she will remain for the next thirty years. She lives off vegetables and pigeons, burns her furniture and books to stay alive and keeps herself busy by writing her story on the walls of her home. The outside world slowly seeps into Ludo’s life through snippets on the radio, voices from next door, glimpses of a man fleeing his pursuers and a note attached to a bird’s foot. Until one day she meets Sabalu, a young boy from the street who climbs up to her terrace.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe other Einstein : a novel / Marie Benedict.
“This is the story of Einstein’s wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight. Mitza Maric has always been a little different from other girls. Most twenty-year-olds are wives by now, not studying physics at an elite Zurich university with only male students trying to outdo her clever calculations. But Mitza is smart enough to know that, for her, math is an easier path than marriage. When fellow student Albert Einstein takes an interest in her, the world turns sideways. Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTo the sea / Christine Dibley.
“On a clear summer’s day, Detective Inspector Tony Vincent answers a call-out to an idyllic Tasmanian beach house. Surrounded by family and calm waters, seventeen-year-old Zoe Kennett has inexplicably vanished .Four storytellers share their version of what has led to this moment, weaving tales which span centuries and continents. But Tony needs facts, not fiction: how will such fables lead him to Zoe and to the truth? As Tony’s investigation deepens, he is drawn into a world where myth and history blur, and where women who risk all for love must pay the price through every generation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe river at night / Erica Ferencik.
“Winifred Allen needs a vacation. Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings. What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFinisterre / Graham Hurley.
“Germany, October 1944: Dozens of cities lie in ruins. Enemy armies are at the gates. For the Thousand Year Reich, time is running out. Desperate to avoid the humiliation of unconditional surrender, German intelligence launch Operation Finisterre, a last-ditch plan to enable Hitler to deny the savage logic of a war on two fronts and bluff his way to the negotiating table. Success depends on two individuals: Stefan Portisch, a German naval officer washed ashore on the coast of Spain after the loss of his U-boat, and Hector Gomez, an ex-FBI detective, planted by Director J. Edgar Hoover in the middle of the most secret place on earth: the American atomic bomb complex. Both men will find themselves fighting for survival as Operation Finisterre plays itself out.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe unseen / Roy Jacobsen ; translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw.
“Ingrid Barroy is born on an island that bears her name, a holdfast for a single family, their livestock, their crops, their hopes and dreams. Her father dreams of building a quay that will connect them to the mainland, but closer ties to the wider world come at a price. Her mother has her own dreams, more children, a smaller island, a different life, and there is one question Ingrid must never ask her. When Ingrid comes of age, she is sent to the mainland to work for one of the wealthy families on the coast. But Norway too is waking up to a wider world, a modern world that is capricious and can be cruel. Tragedy strikes and Ingrid must fight to protect the home she thought she had left behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCove / Cynan Jones.
“Out at sea, in a sudden storm, a man is struck by lightning. When he wakes, injured and adrift on a kayak, his memory of who he is and how he came to be there is all but shattered. Now he must pit himself against the pain and rely on his instincts to get back to shore, and to the woman he dimly senses waiting for his return.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMister Monkey : a novel / Francine Prose.
“Mister Monkey, a screwball children’s musical about a playfully larcenous pet chimpanzee, is the kind of family favorite that survives far past its prime. Margot, who plays the chimp’s lawyer, knows the production is dreadful and bemoans the failure of her acting career. She’s settled into the drudgery of playing a humiliating part, until the day she receives a mysterious letter from an anonymous admirer, and later, in the middle of a performance, has a shocking encounter with Adam, the twelve-year-old who plays the title role. This effervescent comedy is told from the viewpoints of wildly unreliable, seemingly disparate characters whose lives become deeply connected as the madcap narrative unfolds.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDating tips for the unemployed / Iris Smyles.
“Iris Smyles’s Dating Tips for the Unemployed is an urban odyssey, a wistful, wise, and wry look back at a young woman trying to find her home in the world. “Iris,” the narrator and heroine, guides the reader through twenty-four episodes from her life, pausing now and then for meditations on love, sex, work, loneliness, insomnia, arctic exploration, cannibalism, the Higgs boson, Greek mythology, memory, costumes parties, time travel, Rocky I, II, V, IV, VI, and III respectively, literary immortality, real estate trends, and growing up and growing old.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Wednesday club / Kjell Westö ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“1938. Hitler’s expansionist policies are arousing both anger and admiration, not least in Helsinki’s Wednesday Club. The members of this relaxed gentleman’s club are old friends of lawyer Claes Thune. Thune has recently divorced and is at something of a loss, running his law practice with no great enthusiasm. Luckily he has the assistance of an efficient new secretary, Matilda Wiik. But behind her polished exterior Mrs Wiik is tormented by memories of the Finnish Civil War, when she experienced horrors she has been trying to forget ever since. One evening, with the Wednesday Club gathered in Thune’s office, she hears a voice she hoped she would never hear again and she is suddenly plunged back into the past. But this time she is no longer a helpless victim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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 coverInch levels / Neil Hegarty.
A poetic, wonderful debut novel, about the legacy of families, and how the past can influence the future. Haunting stays in the mind long after reading has ended.

Syndetics book coverNo echo : a Hanne Wilhelmsen novel / Anne Holt and Berit Reiss-Andersen ; translated from the Norwegian by Anne Bruce.
Another gripping mystery from an author who always succeeds with psychological analysis of human desires and weaknesses, an author who never disappoints.

Syndetics book coverThe dark side / Anthony O’Neill.
A dark, gripping sci-fi noir, with brutal crimes to be solved and thrilling adventure. Who could resist a psychotic android?

Syndetics book coverLovf : the illustrated diary of a man literally losing his mind / Jesse Reklaw.
Jammed with cartoons, mad schemes, psychedelic portraits, and notes from the road, this is a travel journal and a mirror of the post-traumatic dream world where the author can find no escape. Illustrated using with many varied mediums, this multi-layered graphic novel is a must read for enthusiast.

Syndetics book coverMoshi Moshi / Banana Yoshimoto ; translated by Asa Yoneda.
A moving story of loss, grief and recovery, through believable characters, brilliantly portrayed.

New Contemporary Fiction for January

In this month’s selection of new Contemporary fiction, there are several historical novels, and three debut novels from promising new talents. One of these, titled Inch Levels by Neil Hegarty is highly recommended, a very talented writer. Also recommended is Arudpragasam Anuk’s, beautifully written debut novel titled The story of a brief marriage, although quite heart breaking.

Syndetics book coverThe story of a brief marriage / Anuk Arudpragasam.
“This haunting debut novel takes place in a Sri Lankan civil-war-evacuee camp. The opening scene in which a young boy’s shrapnel-damaged forearm is amputated with a kitchen knife prepares readers for what is to come, as newlyweds Dinesh and Ganga, who barely know each other, try to navigate the intimacies of marriage in the midst of great brutality.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe terranauts / T. Coraghessan Boyle.
“It is 1994, and in the desert near Tillman, Arizona, forty miles from Tucson, a grand experiment involving the future of humanity is underway. As climate change threatens the earth, eight scientists, four men and four women dubbed the “Terranauts,” have been selected to live under glass in E2, a prototype of a possible off-earth colony. Their sealed, three-acre compound comprises five biomes, rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean, and marsh, and enough wildlife, water, and vegetation to sustain them. Closely monitored by an all-seeing Mission Control, this New Eden is the brainchild of ecovisionary Jeremiah Reed, aka G.C.–“God the Creator”–for whom the project is both an adventure in scientific discovery and a momentous publicity stunt. The Terranauts face increased scrutiny and a host of disasters, both natural and of their own making, their mantra: “Nothing in, nothing out,” becomes a dangerously ferocious rallying cry.” (Adaptrd from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe gentleman from Japan : an Inspector O novel / James Church.
“Under the guise of machinery for making dumplings, a Spanish factory near Barcelona is secretly producing a key component in the production of nuclear weapons. When information finds its way to the inboxes of Western intelligence agencies that this “dumpling maker” is meant for North Korea, orders go out that the shipment must be stopped. Carefully planted bits of information and bizarre events have led both the Spanish factory and those trying to intercept the machine to conclude that Japanese criminal organizations are involved in buying and transporting the “dumpling” machine in order to hide the involvement of North Korea.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverInch levels / Neil Hegarty.
“Patrick Jackson lies on his deathbed in Derry and recalls a family history marked by secrecy and silence, and a striking absence of conventional pieties. He remembers the death of an eight-year-old girl, whose body was found on reclaimed land called Inch Levels on the shoreline of Lough Swilly. And he is visited by his beloved but troubled sister Margaret and by his despised brother-in-law Robert, and by Sarah, his hard, unchallengeable mother. Each of them could talk about events in the past that might explain the bleakness of their relationships, but leaving things unsaid has become a way of life. Guilt and memory beat against them, as shock waves from bombs in Derry travel down the river to shake the windows of those who have escaped the city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Secret of Spandau / Peter Lovesey.
“Rudolf Hess was the most closely guarded prisoner in the world. Forty-five years after his capture in Scotland on a supposed peace mission he was still in Spandau Prison. Why was it necessary to keep him there so long? He was a Nazi, but one with a damaging tale to tell.If anyone can reach him it is Berlin correspondent Red Goodbody, known for his foolhardiness, but also for his daring and panache. The fear is that the stability of Western Europe may be undermined by what Hess can reveal; and so both the KGB and MI5 move into action to protect the extraordinary secret of Spandau.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBright, precious days / Jay McInerney.
“Even decades after their arrival, Corrine and Russell Calloway still feel as if they’re living the dream that drew them to New York City in the first place: book parties; high-society events; jobs they care about (and in fact love); twin children; a loft in TriBeCa and summers in the Hamptons. But all of this comes at a fiendish cost. Russell, an independent publisher, has superb cultural credentials yet minimal cash flow; as he navigates a business that requires, beyond astute literary judgment, constant financial improvisation, he encounters an audacious, potentially game-changing or ruinous opportunity. Corrine’s world is turned upside down when the man with whom she’d had an ill-fated affair in the wake of 9/11 suddenly reappears. The Calloways will find themselves and their marriage tested more severely than they ever could have imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe man with the poison gun : a Cold War spy story / Serhii Plokhy.
“In the fall of 1961, KGB assassin Bogdan Stashinsky defected to West Germany. After spilling his secrets to the CIA, Stashinsky was put on trial in what would be the most publicized assassination case of the entire Cold War. The publicity stirred up by the Stashinsky case forced the KGB to change its modus operandi abroad and helped end the career of Aleksandr Shelepin, one of the most ambitious and dangerous Soviet leaders. Stashinsky’s testimony, implicating the Kremlin rulers in political assassinations carried out abroad, shook the world of international politics. Stashinsky’s story is an unparalleled insight into the shadowy world of Cold War espionage.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverIdaho : a novel / Emily Ruskovich.
“A tale told from multiple perspectives traces the complicated relationship between Ann and Wade on a rugged landscape and how they came together in the aftermath of his first wife’s imprisonment for a violent murder.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSwing time / Zadie Smith.
“Two brown girls dream of being dancers, but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either. This is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWinter sky : a novel / Chris Stewart.
“Lucas is a fighter in the Polish Resistance Movement during World War II. But when he wakes up in the trenches after a long night of being shelled, he finds his ears bloody and his memory gone. All he has left is a torn photograph of a man and woman and a young boy. Could the child be him? Four days later, on December 20, Lucas is dropped off on the train platform of a bombed-out Polish village. Nothing is familiar, though his buddies assure him that this was his home town. All around him he finds death and destruction. He begins searching for his family.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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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