A mixed bag of new Contemporary Fiction

All the novels in this month’s selection of new contemporary fiction come highly recommended. With psychological thrillers, translated novels, romantic fiction, historical and gothic fiction, this selection will provided hours of enjoyable reading.

Syndetics book coverThe Pacific room / Michael Fitzgerald.
“This remarkable debut novel tells of the last days of Tusitala, ‘the teller of tales’, as Robert Louis Stevenson became known in Samoa where he chose to die. In 1892 Girolamo Nerli travels from Sydney by steamer to Apia, with the intention of capturing something of Jekyll and Hyde in his portrait of the famous author. Nerli’s presence sets in train a disturbing sequence of events. More than a century later, art historian Lewis Wakefield comes to Samoa to research the painting of Tusitala’s portrait by the long-forgotten Italian artist. On hiatus from his bipolar medication, Lewis is freed to confront the powerful reality of all the desires and demons that R. L. Stevenson couldn’t control.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe music shop / Rachel Joyce.
“1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre, classical, jazz, punk, as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need. Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann. Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYou should have left : a novel / Daniel Kehlmann ; translated from the German by Ross Benjamin.
“A journal kept by the narrator that is a record of the seven days that he, his wife, and his four-year-old daughter spend in a house they have rented in the mountains of Germany, a house that thwarts the expectations of his recollection and seems to defy the very laws of physics. The narrator is eager to finish a screenplay, entitled Marriage, for a sequel to the movie that launched his career, but something he cannot explain is undermining his convictions and confidence, a process he is recording in this account of the uncanny events that unfold as he tries to understand what, exactly, is happening around him and in himself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverGoodbye, vitamin : a novel / Rachel Khong.
“Freshly disengaged from her fiancé; and feeling that life has not turned out quite the way she planned, thirty-year-old Ruth quits her job, leaves town and arrives at her parents’ home to find that situation more complicated than she’d realized. Her father, a prominent history professor, is losing his memory and is only erratically lucid. Ruth’s mother, meanwhile, is lucidly erratic. But as Ruth’s father’s condition intensifies, the comedy in her situation takes hold, gently transforming her all her grief.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThree days and a life / Pierre Lemaitre ; translated from the French by Frank Wynne.
“In 1999, in the small provincial town of Beauval, France, twelve-year-old Antoine Courtin accidentally kills a young neighbor boy in the woods near his home. Panicked, he conceals the body and to his relief and ongoing shame, he is never suspected of any connection to the child’s disappearance. More than a decade later, Antoine is living in Paris, now a young doctor with a fiancée and a promising future. Meanwhile, the newly discovered body of Antoine’s childhood victim means that the case has been reopened, and all of his old fears rush back. Will Antoine finally be forced to confront his crime? And what is he prepared to do to keep his secrets buried in the past?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe sixteen trees of the Somme / Lars Mytting ; translated from the Norwegian by Paul Russell Garrett
“Edvard grows up on a remote mountain farmstead in Norway with his taciturn grandfather, Sverre. The death of his parents, when he was three years old, has always been shrouded in mystery, he has never been told how or where it took place and has only a distant memory of his mother. But he knows that the fate of his grandfather’s brother, Einar, is somehow bound up with this mystery. One day a coffin is delivered for his grandfather long before his death, a meticulous, beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Perhaps Einar is not dead after all. Edvard’s desperate quest to unlock the family’s tragic secrets takes him on a long journey, from Norway to the Shetlands, and to the battlefields of France, to the discovery of a very unusual inheritance.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe boy in the earth / Fuminori Nakamura ; translated from Japanese by Allison Markin Powell.
“An unnamed taxi driver in Tokyo has experienced a rupture from his everyday life. He cannot stop daydreaming of suicide, envisioning himself returning to the earth in what soon become terrifying blackout episodes. His live-in girlfriend, Sayuko, is in a similarly bad phase, surrendering to alcoholism to escape the memory of her miscarriage. He meets with the director of the orphanage where he once lived, and must confront awful memories of his past and an abusive family before determining what to do next.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe secrets she keeps / Michael Robotham.
“Everyone has an idea of what their perfect life is. For Agatha, it’s Meghan Shaughnessy’s. These two women from vastly different backgrounds have one thing in common, a dangerous secret that could destroy everything they hold dear. Both will risk everything to hide the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in a shocking act that cannot be undone.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA boy in winter / Rachel Seiffert.
“Otto Pohl, an engineer overseeing construction of a German road in Ukraine, awakens to the unexpected sight of SS men herding hundreds of Jews into an old brick factory. Inside the factory, Ephraim anxiously scans the growing crowd, looking for his two sons. As anxious questions swirl around his mind he can’t quell the suspicion that it would be just like his oldest son to hole up somewhere instead of lining up for the Germans, and just like his youngest to follow. Yasia, a farmer’s daughter who has come into town to sell produce, sees two young boys slinking through the shadows of the deserted streets and decides to offer them shelter. An unflinching story, about compassion, courage, conflicting senses of duty and survival.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Starting over & facing fears : New eAudiobook Fiction

The characters in this month’s new eAudiobook fiction from Overdrive are a restless bunch. Some are battling unstable relationships, others unreliable friends. A few are struggling to discover the truth about devastating events, while others are erasing those events by going back in time. And while time-travel might not be an option for us right now, there are bound to be other solutions to life’s problems – read your way towards them with our eLibrary.

Overdrive cover George and Lizzie, by Nancy Pearl
“George and Lizzie have radically different understandings of what love and marriage should be. George grew up in a warm and loving family, while Lizzie grew up as the only child of two famous psychologists. Over the course of their marriage, nothing has changed—George is happy; Lizzie remains…unfulfilled. When a shameful secret from Lizzie’s past resurfaces, she’ll need to face her fears in order to accept the true nature of the relationship.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Impossible Views of the World, by Lucy Ives
“Stella Krakus, curator at Manhattan’s Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her ex-husband is stalking her, a workplace romance is in free-fall and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. But the appearance of a mysterious map sends Stella on an all-consuming research mission. She discovers the unbearable secret that Paul’s been keeping, and charts a course out of the chaos of her own life.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Looking Glass War, by John le Carré
“When word reaches ‘The Department’ – an ailing section of British intelligence – that Soviet missiles are being installed close to the West German border, it seems the perfect opportunity to show their rivals that The Department still has value. Former spy Fred Leiser is lured back from retirement to investigate, but the world has changed since The Department’s glory days, and there is no place for heroes…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Goddesses, by Swan Huntley
“When Nancy and her family arrive in Hawaii, they are desperate for a fresh start. Nancy’s husband has cheated on her; they sleep in separate bedrooms and their twin sons have been acting out. But Hawaii is paradise. Nancy starts taking a yoga class and there she meets Ana, the charismatic teacher. As Nancy grows closer to Ana she feels a happiness unlike anything she’s ever experienced, and knows she will do anything Ana asks of her…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover The Exorcist, by William Peter Blatty
“Summoned to a case of apparent possession, Father Karras is at first sceptical, then horrified. The victim – a 12-year-old girl named Regan – seems to be controlled by a malign supernatural force that makes her swear, blaspheme, scream in agony and perform appalling acts. Attempting to find a rational explanation, Karras finds himself locking horns with the demon inside her head. He must turn to the ultimate solution: exorcism…” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Tornado Weather, by Deborah E. Kennedy
“Five-year-old Daisy Gonzalez’s father is always waiting for her at the bus stop. But today, he isn’t, and Daisy disappears. Nearly everyone in town suspects or knows something different about what happened. And they also know a lot about each other. They are all connected, in ways small and profound, open and secret.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover Edge of Tomorrow (Movie Tie-in Edition), by Hiroshi Sakurazaka
“When the alien Mimics invade, Keiji Kiriya is just one of many recruits shoved into a suit of battle armour called a Jacket and sent out to kill. Keiji dies on the battlefield, only to be reborn each morning to fight and die again and again. On his 158th iteration, he gets a message from a mysterious ally. Is she the key to Keiji’s escape or his final death?” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Overdrive cover All Our Wrong Todays, by Elan Mastai
“Tom lives in a perfect world: no war, no poverty, no under-ripe avocados. . . oh, and time travel. When he loses the love of his life, going back to fix it seems like the only answer. . . what could possibly go wrong? Elan Mastai’s breakthrough novel brings a whole new dimension to a classic love story.” (Adapted from the Overdrive description.)

Lovecraftian bureaucracy : New Science Fiction and Fantasy

Included in our selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels recently added to Wellington City Libraries collection is the second novel from the highly acclaimed Russian author Dimitry Glukovsky, titled Metro 2024. With wonderfully vivid characters, tension that is almost claustrophobic and much dark humour, this proves an exciting read.

Syndetics book coverKangaroo too / Curtis C. Chen.
“Set in the same world as Waypoint Kangaroo , bursting with adrenaline and intrigue this is another unique outer space adventure. On the way home from his latest mission, secret agent Kangaroo’s spacecraft is wrecked by a rogue mining robot. The agency tracks the bot back to the Moon, where a retired asteroid miner–code named “Clementine”-might have information about who’s behind the sabotage. Clementine will only deal with Jessica Chu, Kangaroo’s personal physician and a former military doctor once deployed in the asteroid belt. Kangaroo accompanies Jessica as a courier, smuggling Clementine’s payment of solid gold in the pocket universe that only he can use.What should be a simple infiltration is hindered by the nearly one million tourists celebrating the anniversary of the first Moon landing.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMetro 2034 / Dmitry Glukovsky ; translated from Russian by Andrew Bromfield.
“A year after the events of METRO 2033 the last few survivors of the apocalypse, surrounded by mutants and monsters, face a terrifying new danger as they hang on for survival in the tunnels of the Moscow Metro.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe management style of the Supreme Beings : A novel / Tom Holt.
“When the Supreme Being and his son decide that being supreme isn’t for them anymore, it’s inevitable that things get a bit of a shake-up. It soon becomes apparent that our new owners, the Venturi brothers, have a very different perspective on all sorts of things. Take good and evil, for example. For them, it’s an outdated concept that never worked particularly well in the first place. Unfortunately, the sudden disappearance of right and wrong, while welcomed by some, raises certain concerns amongst those still attached to the previous team’s management style. In particular, there’s one of the old gods who didn’t move out with the others. A reclusive chap, he lives somewhere up north, and only a handful even believe in him. But he’s watching. And he really does need to know if you’ve been naughty or nice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverShattered minds / Laura Lam.
“Carina used to be one of the best biohackers in Pacifica. But when she worked for Sudice and saw what the company’s experiments on brain recording were doing to their subjects, it disturbed her, especially because she found herself enjoying giving pain and contemplating murder. She quit and soon grew addicted to the drug Zeal, spending most of her waking moments in a horror-filled dream world where she could act out her depraved fantasies without actually hurting anyone. One of her trips is interrupted by strange flashing images and the brutal murder of a young girl. Even in her drug-addicted state, Carina knows it isn’t anything she created in the Zealscape. On her next trip, she discovers that an old coworker from Sudice, Max, sent her these images before he was killed by the company. Encrypted within the images are the clues to his murder, plus information strong enough to take down the international corporation. Carina’s next choice will transform herself, San Francisco, and possibly the world itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverExodus / Alex Lamb.
“The Photurians, a hive mind of sentient AIs and machines, were awakened by humanity as part of a complex political trap. But they broke free, evolved, and now the human race is almost finished. Once we spanned dozens of star systems; now only four remain, and Earth is being evacuated. But the Photes can infect us, and among the thousands rescued from our home world may be enemy agents. Tiny colonies struggle to house the displaced. Our warships are failing. The end of humanity has come. But on a distant planet shielded from both humanity and the Photurians, one hope may still live. There is only person who might be able to intervene, the roboteer. He is trapped in a hell of his own making, and does not know he is needed. So a desperate rescue mission is begun. But can he be reached in time? Or will he be the last remnant of humanity in the universe?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRaven stratagem / Yoon Ha Lee.
“When the hexarchate’s gifted young captain Kel Cheris summoned the ghost of the long-dead General Shuos Jedao to help her put down a rebellion, she didn’t reckon on his breaking free of centuries of imprisonment and possessing her. Even worse, the enemy Hafn are invading, and Jedao takes over General Kel Khiruev’s fleet, which was tasked with stopping them. Only one of Khiruev’s subordinates, Lieutenant Colonel Kel Brezan, seems to be able to resist the influence of the brilliant but psychotic Jedao. Jedao claims to be interested in defending the hexarchate, but can Khiruev or Brezan trust him? For that matter, will the hexarchate’s masters wipe out the entire fleet to destroy the rogue general?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverNoumenon / Marina J. Lostetter.
“In 2088, humankind is at last ready to explore beyond Earth’s solar system. Astrophysicist Reggie Straifer has discovered an anomalous star that appears to defy the laws of physics, and proposes the creation of a deep-space mission to find out whether the star is a weird natural phenomenon, or something manufactured. The journey will take eons. In order to maintain the genetic talent of the original crew, humankind’s greatest ambition, to explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy– is undertaken by clones. But a clone is not a perfect copy, and each new generation has its own quirks, desires, and neuroses. As the centuries fly by, the society living aboard the nine ships (designated Convoy Seven) changes and evolves, but their mission remains the same: to reach Reggie’s mysterious star and explore its origins and implications.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe White City / Simon Morden.
“Since escaping London’s inferno, Mary and Dalip have fought monsters and won, though in the magical world of Down, the most frightening monsters come from within. Now they hold the greatest of treasures: maps that reveal the way to the White City, where they can find the answers they’re looking for, and learn the secrets of Down. But to get there they must rely on Crows, who has already betrayed them at every turn. As they battle their way towards the one place in all of Down without magic, they must ask themselves how far they will go to find their way home. After all, if there’s one thing the White City offers those brave enough to enter, it’s more than they bargained for.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDelirium brief.
“Bob Howard’s career in the Laundry, the secret British government agency dedicated to protecting the world from the supernatural, has involved brilliant hacking, ancient magic and combat with creatures of pure evil. Now the Laundry’s existence has become public, and Bob is being trotted out on TV to answer pointed questions about elven asylum seekers. What neither Bob nor his managers have foreseen is that their organisation has earned the attention of a horror far more terrifying than any demon: a government looking for public services to privatise. There are things in the Laundry’s assets that big business would simply love to get its hands on.Inch by inch, Bob Howard and his managers are forced to consider the truly unthinkable: a coup against the British government itself.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAll systems red / Martha Wells.
“In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid, a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Reichs, La Plante and Grafton : New Mysteries for September

This month we have included in our selection the latest mystery novels from many very popular, much acclaimed writers. These include Andrea Camilleri, Arne Dahl, Sue Grafton, Lynda La Plante, Kathy Reichs and Fred Vargas. There are also two debut authors, who show much promise for continuing their main characters’ development in future mysteries.

Syndetics book coverA nest of vipers / Andrea Camilleri ; translated by Stephen Sartarelli.
“On what should be a quiet Sunday morning, Inspector Montalbano is called to a murder scene on the Sicilian coast. A man has discovered his father dead in his Vigatan beach house: his body slumped on the dining room floor, his morning coffee spilt across the table, and a single gunshot wound at the base of his skull. First appearances point to the son having the most to gain from his father’s untimely death, a notion his sister can’t help but reinforce. But when Montalbano delves deeper into the case, and learns of the dishonourable life the victim led, it soon becomes clear half of Vigata has a motive for his murder and this won’t be as simple as the Inspector had once hoped.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWatching you / Arne Dahl ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“Someone is watching. At each abandoned crime scene there’s a hidden clue: a tiny metal cog, almost invisible to the naked eye. Someone is sending Detective Sam Berger a message, and that someone knows that only he will understand the cryptic trail. Someone knows. When another teenaged girl disappears without trace, Sam must convince his superiors that they’re dealing with a serial kidnapper and possible killer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGlass souls : moths for commissario Ricciardi / Maurizio de Giovanni ; translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar.
“In the abyss of a profound personal crisis, Commissario Ricciardi feels unable to open himself up to life. He has refused the love of both Enrica and Livia and the friendship of his partner. Contentment for Ricciardi proves as elusive as clues to his latest case. The beautiful countess Bianca, pleads with him to investigate an officially closed case. In the tense, charged atmosphere of 1930s Italy, where Benito Mussolini and his fascist thugs monitor the police, an unauthorized investigation is grounds for immediate dismissal. But Ricciardi’s thirst for justice cannot be sated.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPerfect remains / Helen Fields.
“Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverY is for yesterday / Sue Grafton.
“The darkest and most disturbing case report from the files of Kinsey Millhone, Y is for Yesterday begins in 1979, when four teenage boys from an elite private school sexually assault a fourteen-year-old classmate and film the attack. Not long after, the tape goes missing and the suspected thief, a fellow classmate, is murdered. In the investigation that follows, one boy turns state’s evidence and two of his peers are convicted. But the ringleader escapes without a trace. Now, it’s 1989 and one of the perpetrators, Fritz McCabe, has been released from prison. Moody, unrepentant, and angry, he is a virtual prisoner of his ever-watchful parents until a copy of the missing tape arrives with a ransom demand. That’s when the McCabes call Kinsey Millhone for help.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOrdeal / Jorn Lier Horst ; translated by Anne Bruce.
“Together with her one year old daughter Maja, single mother Sofie Lund moves into the house she inherited from her grandfather. Sofie has such painful memories that she has had every trace of the old man removed, every trace but a locked safe that has been bolted to the basement floor. Inside the safe, Sofie finds something shocking that will also become crucial evidence in a case that has plagued Inspector William Wisting for a long time. Following this lead though, he will cut across important loyalties and undermine confidence in the police force.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCold death in Amsterdam / Anja De Jager
“Set in Amsterdam, the novel introduces Lotte Meerman, a Cold Case detective still recovering from the emotional devastation of her previous investigation. A tip-off leads Lotte to an unresolved ten-year-old murder case in which her father was the lead detective. When she discovers irregularities surrounding the original investigation that make him a suspect, she decides to cover for him. She doesn’t tell her boss about the family connection and jeopardizes her career by hiding evidence. Now she has to find the real murderer before her cover up is discovered, otherwise her father will go to jail and she will lose her job, the one thing in life she still takes pride in.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverGood Friday / Lynda La Plante.
“On the way to court, Jane passes through Covent Garden Underground station and is caught up in a bomb blast that leaves several people dead. Jane is a key witness, but she can’t identify the bomber. When a photograph appears in the newspapers, showing Jane assisting the injured at the scene, it puts her and her family at risk from IRA retaliation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOnly human / Kristine Næss ; translated from the Norwegian by Seán Kinsella.
“Bea Britt lives alone in her grandmother’s house in west Oslo. Early one morning, she wakes to find a police hunt outside her window and drama unfolding on her TV. Volunteers are scouring the local woods looking for Emilie, a missing schoolgirl. Emilie’s rucksack is found in Bea Britt’s garden. But as her spiraling doubts and suspicions take over, is she a suspect, a witness or a potential second victim?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTwo nights : a novel / Kathy Reichs.
“A childhood spent in a dangerous cult left Sunday Night never with a bone-deep instinct for survival that’s kept her alive into adulthood but left her mostly friendless. Forced into early retirement from the police force due to an injury, Sunnie retreats from an outside world she doesn’t trust and sees little use for, until a wealthy woman contacts her with a plea: her teenage granddaughter has been missing since the day of a bombing near a Jewish school. Suspecting the work of religious extremists, she believes Sunnie’s unique first-hand experience may make her the ideal woman to track down the girl and bring her captors to justice. As much as Sunnie would rather stay isolated, she won’t turn her back on an innocent life in jeopardy not when her haunted past cries out for her to take action.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe accordionist / Fred Vargas ; translated from the French by Siân Reynolds.
“When two Parisian women are shockingly murdered in their homes, the police suspect young accordionist Clement Vauquer, who was seen outside both of the apartments in question. It seems on the surface like an open-and-shut case. But now Clement has disappeared from public view. His likeness has appeared in the papers and detectives from Paris to Nevers are on his tail. To have a chance of proving his innocence, he seeks refuge with old Marthe, a former prostitute and the only mother figure he has known. Marthe calls ex-special investigator Louis Kehlweiler to help Clement. But what Louis uncovers is anything but straightforward, and he must call on some unconventional friends to help him solve his most complex case yet.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Wellington author spotlight: Geoff Cochrane

Author image by Grant Maiden

A city’s image is always complex, and Wellington is no exception. For over 150 years it’s had to contend with being a capital city; being in the middle of the country; being on unstable ground. From these complexities an identity has emerged, what Lonely Planet described as “a little city with a big rep”. But beside this identity is another, more marginal Wellington, and one writer has been described as the “keeper of its keys”: Geoff Cochrane.

Public Relations

My barista asks me where he can find my books, and
I’m not exactly thrilled by this development. My barista
thinks I’m a great bloke, currently, and I don’t want him
reading my books and changing his mind.

Cochrane has lived in Wellington for most of his life. While he started writing at an early age, it wasn’t until Victoria University Press released Aztec Noon: Poems 1976-1992 that he first found a home at a mainstream publisher. He has gone on to win numerous awards, including the Janet Frame Prize for Poetry and a 2014 Laureate Award, as well as regular appearances in Best New Zealand Poems.

Despite these accolades, Cochrane’s work continues to evoke Wellington’s physical–and literary–boundaries. His latest poetry collection, RedEdits, takes the reader to the Warehouse in Rongotai, to A&E, to his barista. It reveals the butt of his cigarettes, a drop of his blood, a verandah in Levin.

Points of Interest

Sand and water make up 99% of fracking fluid.
Winston Churchill did without a close male friend.
Nembutal is the trade name of sodium pentobarbital.
Michelangelo completed his Pietà at the age of 25.

(According to Martin Amis, wars get old.
Get grizzled and smelly and rotten and mad,
and the bigger they are the faster they age.)

Cochrane’s writing has been called “one of the great pleasures” of New Zealand literature. Writer Pip Adam has described it as “a joy to me, a solace, a proof that art can be made in New Zealand which shows ourselves in new ways.” To discover this proof for yourself, check out RedEdits at Wellington City Libraries.

 

The 2017 Man Booker Prize shortlist has been announced

The shortlist for the 2017 Man Booker Prize has recently been announced. Six novels from the long list of thirteen have been chosen by the panel of judges. Two American authors, Paul Auster and George Saunders, are included in the selection, along with two previously shortlisted authors, Pakistani Mohsin Hamid and Scottish Ali Smith. Two debut British authors complete the list. The winner of the £50,000 award will be announced on 17th October 2017 in London.

Syndetics book cover Syndetics book cover Syndetics book cover

New Graphic Novels for September

This month’s selection of new Graphic novels illustrates the diversity of this collection. The narratives range from comedy to tragedy, from modern life to horror, from the sublime to the surreal, and all with extraordinary art work. Highly recommended this month, but not for the faint hearted is Little Tulip, by Jerome Charryn and Francois Boucq.

Syndetics book coverHerman Melville’s Moby Dick / Chabouté ; translation, Laure Dupont.Moby Dick
“In striking black-and-white illustrations, Chaboute retells the story of the Great American Novel. Captain Ahab strikes out on a voyage, obsessively seeking revenge on the great white whale that took his leg.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLittle Tulip / Jerome Charyn and François Boucq.
“A serial killer haunts the city streets, a stalker of isolated women who leaves a Santa Claus hat at the scene of his crimes. Pavel, a Russian emigre assists the police investigation as a sketch artist. But Pavel’s true calling is as a tattoo artist, and the so-called Bad Santa killings conjure up memories of the nightmarish world in which he learned his craft: a Russian prison camp that shattered his childhood and destroyed his family. Shifting between the living hell of a 1940s Siberian gulag and the crime-ridden chaos of New York City during the 1970s, this graphic novel’s stunning artwork provides an atmospheric backdrop to its tale of corruption, murder, and revenge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSpaniel rage / Vanessa Davis.
“Semi-autobiographical but more observational than confessional, a young single Jewish woman in New York accounts of dating woes, misunderstandings between her and her mother, and conversations with friends, anecdotes about her anxieties and wry truths about the contradictions of life in the big city.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPretending is lying / Dominique Goblet ; translated by Sophie Yanow in collaboration with the author.
“The first book to appear in English by the acclaimed Belgian artist Dominique Goblet, Pretending is Lying is a memoir unlike any other. In a series of dazzling fragments–skipping through time, Goblet examines the most important relationships in her life: with her partner, Guy Marc; with her daughter, Nikita; and with her parents.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe Black Monday murders. Volume 1, All hail, God Mammon / words by Jonathan Hickman ; art by Tomm Coker.
“A new crypto-noir series about the power of dirty, filthy money and exactly what kind of people you can buy with it. THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS is classic occultism where the various schools of magic are actually clandestine banking cartels that control all of society: a secret world where vampire Russian oligarchs, Black popes, enchanted American aristocrats, and hitmen from the International Monetary Fund work together to keep global control.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe coldest winter / written by Antony Johnston ; illustrated by Steven Perkins.
“A pre-equal to The Coldest City, again set in Cold War-ear Berlin. After a string of botched assignments for MI6 in Berlin, David Perceval is being sent home. His final mission before leaving, the defection of a Soviet scientist, goes badly wrong, as the coldest winter for 30 years descends on Europe. With transport out of Berlin impossible, and the KGB searching everywhere for their lost scientist, Perceval must improvise a deadly game of cat and mouse through the frozen city to keep the Russians at bay, and deliver his own unique brand of revenge.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSnotgirl. Vol. 1, Green hair don’t care / script, Bryan Lee O’Malley ; art, Leslie Hung ; created by Bryan Lee O’Malley & Leslie Hung.
“Who is Lottie Person? Is she a gorgeous, fun-loving social media star with a perfect life or a gross, allergy-ridden mess?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSeven to Eternity. Vol. 1, The god of whispers / written by Rick Remender ; drawn by Jerome Opeña ; edited by Sebastian Girner.
“The God of Whispers has spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdom of Zhal; his spies hide in every hall spreading mistrust and fear. Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, must decide about joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperate bid to free their world of the evil God.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWeird detective / script by Fred Van Lente ; art by Guiu Villanova.
“The streets of New York have been plagued by a pattern of crimes too weird and bizarre for the average detective. Lurking in the evidence are shadows of loathsome horrors from beyond space and time, seeking to usher in the unimaginable evil of the Old Ones. The only man capable of fighting against the unspeakable terrors isn’t a man at all. Detective Sebastian Green is one of them it takes a monster to catch a monster.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSnow day / Pierre Wazem, writer ; Antoine Aubin, artist ; Mark Bence, translator.
“A young outsider sheriff struggles in a small, isolated, snow-covered town populated by hard, brutal people who don’t take kindly to strangers. It’s a place where everyone minds their own business and folks do as they please. That is, until the calm, quiet sheriff decides to do his job properly and uphold the law.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Fact or fiction? Definitely fiction! This month’s top picks

Welcome to the to the Fiction Newsletter for August. Each month we feature three titles from the selected new material recent received in each genre. Therefore the following list of featured novels is just a sample of all the new exciting reading available. For the complete list of selection, just use the see more option. We hope you find many hours of enjoyment.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

There was a truly international aspect to the new contemporary novels selected this month, with novels set in countries from India to Scotland, Sweden to Australia. The three novels chosen for this newsletter highlight the diversity of contemporary fiction.

Syndetics book cover Sealskin / Su Bristow.
“Donald is a young fisherman, eking out a lonely living on the west coast of Scotland. One night he witnesses something miraculous and makes a terrible mistake. His action changes lives not only his own, but those of his family and the entire tightly knit community in which they live. Can he ever atone for the wrong he has done, and can love grow when its foundation is violence?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover When I hit you ; or, A portrait of the writer as a young wife / Meena Kandasamy.
“Seduced by politics and poetry, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor and agrees to be his wife, but what for her is a contract of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealized version of a kept woman, bullying her out of her life as an academic and writer in the process, she attempts to push back, a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Mirror, shoulder, signal / Dorthe Nors ; translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra.
“A poignant, sharp-witted tale of one woman’s journey in search of herself when there’s no one to ask for directions. Sonja’s over forty, and she’s trying to move in the right direction. She’s learning to drive. She’s joined a meditation group. And she’s attempting to reconnect with her sister. But Sonja would rather eat cake than meditate. Her driving instructor won’t let her change gear. And her sister won’t return her calls.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

Almost all genres of fiction are represented in the Graphic Novels collection from mystery to science fiction, fantasy to thrilling suspense. All are these themes are brilliant expressed with outstanding art work. Our monthly selection provides a reading pleasure for all.

Syndetics book cover Laid waste / Julia Gfrörer.
“In a plague-ravaged medieval city, survival is a harsher fate than death. As corpses accumulate around her, Agnes, a young widow possessed of supernatural strength, must weigh her obligations to the dead and dying against her desire to protect what little remains. Laid Waste is a graphic novella about love and kindness among vermin in the putrid miasma at the end of the world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The abominable Mr. Seabrook / Joe Ollmann.
“In the early twentieth century, travel writing represented the desire for the expanding bourgeoisie to experience the exotic cultures of the world past their immediate surroundings. Journalist William Buehler Seabrook was emblematic of this trend-participating in voodoo ceremonies, riding camels cross the Sahara desert, communing with cannibals and most notably, popularizing the term “zombie” in the West. He had a list of bestselling books, but of course, there was a dark side. Seabrook was a barely functioning alcoholic who was deeply obsessed with bondage and the so-called mystical properties of pain and degradation. What led the popular and vivid writer to such a sad state? Cartoonist Joe Ollmann spent seven years researching Seabrook’s life, accessing long neglected archives in order to piece together the peripatetic life of a forgotten American writer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Some brilliant armchair travel was provided with our selection of new mystery novels received this month, as each mystery was set in a different county. For this newsletter we have chosen the three most exotic locations.

Syndetics book cover Sleep baby sleep / David Hewson.
“Annie Schrijver is just twenty-two-years-old. She works in the picturesque Albert Cuyp flower market where her father has a stall. Brimming with personality, she’s always been popular with the customers. But then she goes missing, only to be found barely alive, tied to a stone angel in a graveyard, surrounded by a ring of fire. Her body contains traces of a drug which connect the police to a previous case: the Sleeping Beauty murders. But Annie seems to have been the lucky one, as a body is found nearby, freshly tattooed with three words: Sleep Baby Sleep.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover When It Grows Dark / Jorn Lier Horst ; translated by Anne Bruce.
“Stavern 1983: Christmas is approaching, snow is falling heavily, and a young ambitious policeman named William Wisting has just become the father of twins. After a brutal robbery he is edged off the investigation by more experienced officers, but soon he is on another case that is not only unsolved but has not even been recognised as murder. Forgotten in a dilapidated barn stands a bullet riddled old car, and it looks as if the driver did not get out alive. This case will shape William Wisting as a policeman and give him insight that he will carry with him for the rest of his professional career: generations form an unbroken chain.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Among the ruins / Ausma Zehanat Khan.
“On leave from Canada’s Community Policing department, Esa Khattak is traveling in Iran, reconnecting with his cultural heritage and seeking peace in the country’s beautiful mosques and gardens. But Khattak’s supposed break from work is cut short when he’s approached by a Canadian government agent in Iran, asking him to look into the death of renowned Canadian-Iranian filmmaker Zahra Sobhani. Zahra was murdered at Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where she’d been seeking the release of a well-known political prisoner. Khattak quickly finds himself embroiled in Iran’s tumultuous politics and under surveillance by the regime, but when the trail leads back to Zahra’s family in Canada, Khattak calls on his partner, Detective Rachel Getty, for help.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels from our recently received new material included four debut writers. All show much promise for future additions to this genre.

Syndetics book cover The black elfstone : the fall of Shannara / Terry Brooks.
“The first book of the triumphant and epic four-part conclusion to the Shannara series, from one of the all-time masters of fantasy. Across the Four Lands, peace has reigned for generations. But now, in the far north, an unknown enemy is massing. More troubling than the carnage is the strange and wondrous power wielded by the attackers, a breed of magic unfamiliar even to the Druid order. Fearing the worst, the High Druid dispatches a diplomatic party under the protection of the order’s sworn guardian, Dar Leah, to confront the mysterious, encroaching force and discover its purpose. But another crucial journey is being undertaken.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Ninefox gambit / Yoon Ha Lee.
“Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next. Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress. The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao, because she might be his next victim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

Short story collections were the feature of this month’s ‘Other Genres’ category. This included anthologies and collections from many new and some well know writers. These provide sometimes humorous, thrilling, chilling and at times thought provoking reading.

Syndetics book cover The redemption of Galen Pike / Carys Davies.
“From remote Australian settlements to the snows of Siberia, from Colorado to Cumbria, restless teenagers, middle-aged civil servants, and Quaker spinsters traverse expanses of solitude to reveal the secrets of the human heart. Stories that remind us how little we know of the lives of others.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The refrigerator monologues / Catherynne M. Valente ; with illustrations by Annie Wu.
“A series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Sour heart : stories / Jenny Zhang.
“A debut story collection that conjures the experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City, frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. Narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants who fled imperiled lives as artists back home only to struggle to stay afloat, dumpster diving for food and scamming Atlantic City casino buses to make a buck, these seven stories showcase Zhang’s compassion, moral courage, and a perverse sense of humor.” (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 coverAustralia Day / Melanie Cheng.
A wonderful debut collection of stories, that explore the universal themes of family and identity, love and loss as reflected in today’s Australian multicultural society.

Syndetics book coverThe kill society : a Sandman Slim novel / Richard Kadrey.
Another stunning thriller from a fantasy writer, whose imagination knows no bounds.

Syndetics book coverMirror, shoulder, signal / Dorthe Nors ; translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra.
A witty, very entertaining debut novel.

Syndetics book coverThe abominable Mr. Seabrook / Joe Ollmann.
After seven years of research into the life and writing of William Seabrook, at times a repulsive and yet fascinating character, Joe Ollmann has produced what must become an award winning graphic biography.

Syndetics book coverRupture / Ragnar Jónasson ; translated by Quentin Bates.
A chilling, atmospheric mystery from a much acclaimed Icelandic author.

New Short Stories in August

This month we have selected new short story collections as the feature for our ‘Other Genres’ category. Included are three anthologies, one from Canada, with fictional stories about climate change, another a collection of stories from Icelandic writers and lastly an interesting concept of very short stories written on Twitter. This selection also includes the latest horror stories from the prolific writer Joyce Carol Oates.

Syndetics book coverAustralia Day / Melanie Cheng.
Australia Day is a collection of stories by debut author Melanie Cheng. The people she writes about are young, old, rich, poor, married, widowed, Chinese, Lebanese, Christian, and Muslim. What they have in common, no matter where they come from, is the desire we all share to feel that we belong. The stories explore universal themes of love, loss, family and identity, while at the same time asking crucial questions about the possibility of human connection in a globalized world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCli-fi : Canadian tales of climate change / edited by Bruce Meyer ; afterword by Dan Bloom.
“With the world facing the greatest global crisis of all time, climate change, personal and political indifference has wrought a series of unfolding complications that are altering our planet, and threatening our very existence. Reacting to the warnings sounded by scientists and thinkers these stories of Climate Fiction (Cli-fi) feature perspectives by culturally diverse Canadian writers of short fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and futurist works, and transcend traditional doomsday stories by inspiring us to overcome the bleak forecasted results of our current indifference.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary

Syndetics book coverThe redemption of Galen Pike / Carys Davies.
“From remote Australian settlements to the snows of Siberia, from Colorado to Cumbria, restless teenagers, middle-aged civil servants, and Quaker spinsters traverse expanses of solitude to reveal the secrets of the human heart. Stories that remind us how little we know of the lives of others.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLetters from Klara and other short stories / Tove Jansson ; translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal.
“The rich seam that is Jansson’s adult prose continues with this penultimate collection of short stories, written in her seventies at the height of her Moomin fame and translated into English for the first time. In these light-footed, beautifully crafted yet disquieting stories, Jansson tells of discomfiting encounters, unlooked for connections and moments of isolation that span generations and decades.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDis mem ber : and other stories of mystery and suspense / Joyce Carol Oates.
“Joyce Carol Oates is renowned for her rare ability to “illuminate the mind’s most disturbing corners”. That genius is on full display in her new collection of seven feverishly unsettling works, that includes “The Crawl Space,” winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction and a finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Short Story.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverOut of the blue : new short fiction from Iceland / Helen Mitsios, editor ; foreword by Sjón.
“This extraordinary collection, the first anthology of Icelandic short fiction published in English translation, features work by twenty of Iceland’s most popular and celebrated living authors. Included is a story titled, Self Portrait by Auaur Jonsdottir granddaughter of Halldor Laxness, who won the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature. This collection is an excursion to an island where almost two million travelers descend yearly on a population of 345 thousand natives. This promises to be a seminal collection that will define Icelandic literature in translation for decades to come.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTales on tweet : illustrated short fiction / edited & curated by Manoj Pandey.
“Manoj Pandey tweeted out several stories. Then others began tweeting tales right back at him: Margaret Atwood and Kabir Bedi with death tales, Salman Rushdie and Jeet Thayil with their dark humour, Teju Cole meditating on loneliness, Prajwal Parajuly on literature, Shashi Tharoor on India. It was a literary moment of sorts: spontaneous, changeable, tangential and then, just like Twitter itself, surprisingly poignant in bursts and flashes. But it was when these stories came together with Yuko Shimizu’s phantasmagorical images that Tales on Tweet stepped off the scrollable vortex of a webpage and into the tactile intimacy of the reading experience.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverWait till you see me dance : stories / Deb Olin Unferth.
“For more than ten years, Deb Olin Unferth has been publishing startlingly askew, wickedly comic, cutting-edge fiction in magazines such as Granta, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s and The Paris Review. Her stories are revered by some of the best American writers of our day, but until now there has been no stand-alone collection of her short fiction. This unforgettable collection consists of several extraordinary longer stories as well as a selection of intoxicating very short stories.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe refrigerator monologues / Catherynne M. Valente ; with illustrations by Annie Wu. 
“A series of linked stories from the points of view of the wives and girlfriends of superheroes, female heroes, and anyone who’s ever been “refrigerated”: comic book women who are killed, raped, brainwashed, driven mad, disabled, or had their powers taken so that a male superhero’s storyline will progress.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSour heart : stories / Jenny Zhang.
“A debut story collection that conjures the experience of adolescence through the eyes of Chinese American girls growing up in New York City, frank and subversive interpreter of the immigrant experience in America. Narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants who fled imperiled lives as artists back home only to struggle to stay afloat, dumpster diving for food and scamming Atlantic City casino buses to make a buck, these seven stories showcase Zhang’s compassion, moral courage, and a perverse sense of humor.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)