Fiction to film: #NZIFF 2018

Disobedience book cover

The New Zealand International Film Festival 2018 is nearly here! Tickets are booked, cinemas mapped out and movies selected and re-selected! The festival has such a range of fantastic movies that you wonder where all the ideas come from! Some can be found between the covers of some popular, and some more obscure literary works.  If you really enjoy something at the festival and want to read the inspiration source, some of them can be found here in our libraries.


Disobedience, directed by Sebastián Lelio, based on:
Disobedience / Alderman, Naomi
Disobedience is a novel that illuminates a culture that has existed in Britain for centuries, yet remains almost entirely hidden. Naomi Alderman offers a contemporary take on the search for love, faith and understanding in a world filled with conflicting moral and sexual ideals.” (Catalogue)

Border, directed by Ali Abbasi, based on:
Let the old dreams die / Ajvide Lindqvist, John
This short story collection includes Burning adapted and expanded by Iranian-born Swedish filmmaker Ali Abbasi.
“A classic short story collection from the writer called Sweden’s Stephen King that continues the breathtaking story begun in the internationally acclaimed classic Let the Right One In, also in “Final Processing,” Lindqvist reveals the next chapter in the lives of the characters he created in Handling the Undead.” (Catalogue)

Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders, directed by Joe Berlinger, based on:
In cold blood / Capote, Truman
“Truman Capote’s masterpiece, In Cold Blood, created a sensation when it was first published, serially, in The New Yorker in 1965. The intensively researched, atmospheric narrative of the lives of the Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas, and of the two men, Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, who brutally killed them on the night of November 15, 1959, is the seminal work of the “new journalism.” Capote’s account is so detailed that the reader comes to feel almost like a participant in the events.” (Catalogue)

Piercing, directed by Nicolas Pesce, based on:
Piercing / Murakami, Ryū
“The follow up to In the Miso Soup, Piercing confirms Ryu Murakami as the master of the psycho-thriller.” (Catalogue)

Wildlife, directed by Paul Dano, based on:
Wildlife / Ford, Richard
“Ford’s fourth novel is set in the same Western landscape that so distinguished his acclaimed collection Rock Springs, and with it he extends his reputation as one of the most compelling and eloquent storytellers of his generation, providing us with both the pleasures of narrative and the sad wisdom of art. Wildlife is the story of coming out into the world as it resolutely is, never the world we hope it is.” (Catalogue)

Juliet, Naked, directed by Jesse Peretz, based on:
Juliet, naked / Hornby, Nick
“This novel is about the nature of creativity and obsession, and how two lonely people can gradually find each other.” (Catalogue)

Burning, directed by Lee Chang-dong, based on:
The Elephant vanishes / Murakami, Haruki
This collection includes Barn Burning which has been translated into the film Burning by Korean director Lee Chang-dong.
“By turns haunting and hilarious, The Elephant Vanishes is further proof of Murakami’s ability to cross the border between separate realities — and to come back bearing treasure.” (Catalogue)

No Shame, directed by Brendan Donovan, based on:
The lazy boys : a novel / Shuker, R. Carl
The film No Shame by directed by Brendan Donovan is one of the New Zealand’s Best short film finalists of 2018.
“Like a punch in the stomach or a sustained cry, Carl Shuker’s risky and harrowing first person narrative is as visceral as Fight Club and as brutal as A Clockwork Orange. On the surface Richey’s actions are unforgivable, but his unformed and distorted world is immediate and recognizable to a generation brought up in a society indifferent to its own nihilism.” (Catalogue)

Lean on Pete, directed by Andrew Haigh, based on:
Lean on Pete : a novel / Vlautin, Willy
“Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson wants a home; food on the table; a high school he can attend for more than part of a year; and some structure to his life. But as the son of a single father working at warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, he’s been pretty much on his own for some time. Lean on Pete opens as he and his father arrive in Portland, Oregon and Charley takes a stables job, illegally, at the local race track. It’s there that Charley meets Pete, an old horse who becomes his companion as he’s forced to try to make his own way in the world. A portrait of a journey, Lean on Pete is also the unforgettable story of a friendship and of hope in dark times.” (Adapted from fishpond.co.nz)

Breath, directed by Simon Baker, based on:
Breath / Winton, Tim
“Bruce Pike, or ‘Pikelet’, has lived all his short life in a tiny sawmilling town from where the thundering sea can be heard at night. He longs to be down there on the beach, amidst the pounding waves, but for some reason his parents forbid him. It’s only when he befriends Loonie, the local wild boy, that he finally defies them. Intoxicated by the treacherous power of the sea and by their own youthful endurance, the two boys spurn all limits and rules, and fall into the company of adult mentors whose own addictions to risk take them to places they could never have imagined.” (Catalogue)

We also have to mention a documentary we’re very excited about seeing: Ex Libris: The New York Public Library. “Standing in for libraries everywhere, the magnificent New York Public Library is explored and extolled in the great Frederick Wiseman’s latest ode to the importance of essential institutions in politically tumultuous times.” We can’t wait! In the meantime, you might enjoy this book, featuring NYPL in its pages:

The public library : a photographic essay / Dawson, Robert
“Many of us have vivid recollections of childhood visits to a public library: the unmistakable musty scent, the excitement of checking out a stack of newly discovered books. Over the last eighteen years, photographer Robert Dawson has crisscrossed the country documenting hundreds of these endangered institutions. The Public Library presents a wide selection of Dawson’s photographs from the majestic reading room at the New York Public Library to Allensworth, California’s one-room Tulare County Free Library built by former slaves. Accompanying Dawson’s revealing photographs are essays, letters, and poetry by some of America’s most celebrated writers. A foreword by Bill Moyers and an afterword by Ann Patchett bookend this important survey of a treasured American institution.” (Catalogue)

Short stories at Central are on the move

Bibliomysteries book cover

Short stories at Wellington Central Library are being integrated into the general fiction collection. Authors’ short stories collections have always been a part of the browsing experience amidst the author’s other books on the fiction shelves; the anthologies and compilations are found by their title.

Here are some interesting fiction short story compilations, new and not so new, spanning a variety of subjects, themes, collections, countries and continents.  Closer to home, this year’s Matariki theme Te Ahi Ka – The Home Fires, relates to the title of our first anthology Te Korero Ahi Kā: To speak of the home fires burning. Great for the long winter evenings, these compilations will give readers something new to explore.


Te korero ahi kā : To speak of the home fires burning
Te Korero Ahi Kā: To speak of the home fires burning is an anthology of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, showcasing work from award-winning and emerging members Aotearoa/New Zealand authors, poets, artists of speculative fiction. Here, between the realms of the Sky Father and Earth Mother, hellhounds race, ghosts drift and the taniwha stalks. Home fires drive them back, sparking stories and poems that traverse seconds, eons, and parsecs.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bloody Scotland
“A collection of crime stories set in iconic Scottish structures.” (Catalogue)
Bloody Scotland is Scotland’s international crime writing festival. This year New Zealand writers Fiona Sussman and Paul Cleave distinguished in the Ngaio Marsh awards are taking part.

Cli-fi : Canadian tales of climate change
“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. 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 Catalogue)

Best British short stories
Best British Short Stories invites you to judge a book by its cover – or more accurately, by its title. This new series aims to reprint the best short stories published in the previous calendar year by British writers, whether based in the UK or elsewhere.” (Catalogue)

Australian short stories. No 66.
“After 65 issues of Australian Short Stories from 1982-2000 we are back with a sparkling new collection of stories. In this collection we feature Gillian Mears’ last story. We published Gillian’s first story when she was 23 and followed up with examples of her work for 16 years. There are also new stories by old favourites, Kim Scott, Carmel Bird and Barry Dickins plus a series of stories from writers in the early stages of their careers. Open at the first page and savour Australia.” (Catalogue)

Robots vs fairies
“It’s the ultimate death match between the mechanical and the magical! When the lasers cease firing and the fairy dust settles, who will triumph in these epic battles between the artificial and the supernatural? Choose a side…” (Catalogue)

Bibliomysteries : crime in the world of books and bookstores
“An anthology of specially commissioned stories set in literary venues includes contributions by such writers as Loren D. Estleman, Anne Perry, and Laura Lippman.” (Catalogue)

PEN America best debut short stories. 2017
Poets, Essayists and Novelists America promote literature and freedom of expression.  This collection features twelve authors from publications around the Unites States of America.  An interesting mix, with selection discussed by the editors behind their handpicked choices.


These short stories are perfect for summer holidays

This month, short stories are the feature of our ‘Other Genres’ category of fiction recent picks. There are collections from many much acclaimed writers including William Boyd, Helen Garner, P.D. James and our own Paula Morris. There are several debut short story collections also, one notably from Emily Fridlund whose first novel History of Wolves was shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize.

Syndetics book coverTell tale / Jeffrey Archer.
“Fourteen gripping and rewarding short stories from the master of short story writing. Find out what happens to the hapless young detective from Naples who travels to an Italian hillside town to solve a murder and the pretentious schoolboy whose discovery of the origins of his father’s wealth changes his life forever. Follow the stories of the woman who dares to challenge the men at her Ivy League university during the 1930s, and another young woman who thumbs a lift and has an encounter of a lifetime.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe dreams of Bethany Mellmoth / William Boyd.
“A philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs, seeking only passionate kisses as a substitute. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. Couple charts the journey of their five year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24-year old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful and tentative self-discovery. Original, funny, surprising and moving stories from a much acclaimed writer.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe relive box and other stories / T. Coraghessan Boyle.
“Known as one of our greatest American novelists, Boyle’s sharp wit and rich imagination combine with a penetrating social consciousness to produce raucous, poignant, and expansive short stories defined by an inimitable voice. The twelve stories in this collection speak to the humor, the pathos, and the struggle that is part of being human while relishing the whimsy of wordplay and the power of a story well told.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverCatapult : stories / Emily Fridlund.
“Following Emily Fridlund’s acclaimed debut novel History of Wolves . The characters in these stories are sometimes calculating, at other times bewildered, they orbit around each other, enacting a deeply human tragicomedy of wit, misunderstanding, and loss. With dexterous, atmospheric, and darkly comic prose, Fridlund conjures worlds where longing is open-ended, intentions misfire, and the line between comfort and cruelty is often difficult to discern. This is a gripping collection, unsettling as much in its familiarity as in its near-gothic strangeness.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverStories : the collected short fiction / Helen Garner.
“This collection of short fiction celebrates the seventy-fifth birthday of one of Australia’s most loved authors. These stories delve into the complexities of love and longing, of the pain, darkness and joy of life, are all told with her characteristic sharpness of observation, honesty and humour. Each one a perfect piece, together they showcase Garner’s mastery of the form.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUncommon type : some stories / Tom Hanks ; photographs by Kevin Twomey.
“A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor. In this first collection the stories are surprising, intelligent, and heartwarming.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSleep no more : six murderous tales / P. D. James ; foreword by Peter Kemp.
“From this brilliant crime writer, who is acknowledged as a past master of the short story, who weaves together motifs of crime-writing with deep psychological insight to create gripping, suspenseful tales. As the six murderous tales unfold, the dark motive of revenge is revealed at the heart of each.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThat was a shiver : and other stories / James Kelman.
“A trucker passes through a town he used to know and a local tries to sell him his sister; a couple put their children to bed and hear a loud scratching at the wall; a Principal and his associate examine the dead body before them; a man looks into a mirror and reflects on becoming more like his father. Sparky, touching and brilliantly daring, these stories uncover human feeling in the ordinary and the everyday.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverHer body and other parties : stories / Carmen Maria Machado.
“ In these stories the writer blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulist. There is a bending of bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFalse river : stories, essays, secret histories / Paula Morris.
“Fictional characters muse upon the truth behind real people, non-fiction pieces contain short interludes of fiction, fiction is written to read like an essay, made-up elements slip into true accounts. These pieces range the world, from America, to Antwerp to Aoteoroa, and talk about writers and writing, famous figures, family members, witch-burning in Denmark, cyclones and numerous pertinent and stimulating topics.”(Adapted from Syndeitics summary)

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)

The best of the best: must reads from recent fiction selections

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

Syndetics book coverCompany Town / Madeline Ashby.
“A brilliantly twisted science fiction mystery.”

Syndetics book coverWaking lions / Ayelet Gundar-Goshen ; translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston.
“A thrilling novel from an award winning author that explores the boundaries between love and hate, guilt and forgiveness, good and evil.”

Syndetics book coverReader, I married him : stories inspired by Jane Eyre / edited by Tracy Chevalier.
“Twenty one short stories celebrating Charlotte Bronte, published in the year of her bicentenary and stemming from the now immortal words from her great work Jane Eyre. The stories are by many much acclaimed authors, original and very entertaining.”

Syndetics book coverThe crow girl / Erik Axl Sund ; translated by Neil Smith.The Crow Girl
“Another international sensation, this new Scandinavian murder mystery will not disappoint.”

Syndetics book coverGahan Wilson’s Out there / editor, Gary Groth.
“The joy of the science fiction and fantasy cartoons and writing of Gahan Wilson, guaranteed to make you laugh.”

Fiction newsletter for August

Welcome to the latest Fiction newsletter where we are pleased to keep you updated about new additions to our Fiction collection. We have selected the most highly regarded new works from some highly talented authors (some well-known and others debut) to tempt your reading preferences and perhaps also to try a different genre.

Library News

Contemporary fiction

Our selection from this month’s New Contemporary fiction recently added to the collection was truly global, with each novel’s location set in a vast number of countries. This assured many hours of thought provoking, fascinating reading.

Syndetics book cover Waking lions / Ayelet Gundar-Goshen ; translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverston.
“A neurosurgeon runs an illegal immigrant over in his car. There are no witnesses, and the man will die in any case-so why endanger his career and report the accident? But the next day, the victim’s wife knocks on the doctor’s door and makes him an offer which will completely derail his well-ordered life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Barkskins : a novel / Annie Proulx.
“In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, René Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a “seigneur”, for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters, barkskins. René is forced to marry a Mi’kmaw woman and their descendants live trapped between two inimical cultures. But Duquet, crafty and ruthless, runs away from the seigneur, becomes a fur trader, and then sets up a timber business. Barkskins tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years, their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditions, the revenge of rivals, and cultural annihilation.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The Gustav sonata / Rose Tremain.
“Gustav Perle grows up in a small town in ‘neutral’ Switzerland, where the horrors of the Second World War seem a distant echo. But Gustav’s father has mysteriously died, and his adored mother Emilie is strangely cold and indifferent to him. Gustav’s childhood is spent in lonely isolation, as time goes on, an intense friendship with a boy of his own age, Anton Zwiebel, begins to define Gustav’s life. Jewish and mercurial, a talented pianist tortured by nerves when he has to play in public, Anton fails to understand how deeply and irrevocably his life and Gustav’s are entwined.” (Adapted from Syndetics Summary)

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Graphic novels

As always expected this selection of new Graphic novels goes form the sublime to the bizarre, and everything in between. This genre not only provides some great reading, but always wonderful visual satisfaction.

Syndetics book cover Invisible Republic. Volume 01 / created by Gabriel Hardman & Corinna Bechko.
“Arthur McBride’s regime has fallen. His planet has been plunged into chaos, his story shrouded in mystery, until reporter Croger Babb discovers the journal of Arthur’s cousin, Maia. Inside is the violent, audacious, hidden history of the legendary freedom fighter. Erased from the official record, Maia alone knows how dangerous her cousin really is, and what truly happened to bring him to power.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Headspace / writen by Ryan K. Lindsay ; illustrated by Eric Zawadzki & Sebastian Piriz.
“The inhabitants of Carpenter Cove discover their strange town is actually a construct in the mind of a killer. Shane, the sheriff, wants to get back to his real life but one dark connection between him and the killer is going to make him rethink everything.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Gahan Wilson’s Out there / editor, Gary Groth.
“Out There features the over 250 cartoons that Wilson drew during his tenure with the magazines as well as all four covers he rendered,none of which have seen the light of day since their first appearance 50 years ago. Wilson also contributed short stories, movie, and book reviews, which are included as well. Out There resurrects hundreds of virtually unseen cartoons by one of the 20th century’s masters of the form.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

Many hours of thrilling entertainment are provided with the selection of new Mystery novels this month. They included some very popular writers of this genre and were set in a vast range of countries.

Syndetics book cover The dove’s necklace : a novel / Raja Alem ; translated from the Arabic by Katharine Halls and Adam Talib.
“When a dead woman is discovered in Abu Al Roos, one of Mecca’s many alleys, no one will claim the body because they are ashamed by her nakedness. Following Detective Nassir’s investigation of the case, the secret life of the holy city of Mecca is revealed, a city, and a civilization, at once beholden to brutal customs, and reckoning (uneasily) with new traditions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Apothecary Melchior and the mystery of St Olaf’s Church / Indrek Hargla.
“Set in fifteenth-century Tallinn when Estonia is at the edge of Christian lands and the last foothold before the East: a town of foreign merchants and engineers, dominated by the mighty castle of Toompea and the construction of St Olaf’s Church, soon to become the tallest building in the world. Apothecary Melchior is a divisive figure in the town: respected for his arcane knowledge and scientific curiosity but also slightly feared for his mystical witchdoctor aura. When a mysterious murder occurs in the castle, Melchior is called in to help find the killer and reveals a talent for detection.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The final word : a novel / Liza Marklund ; translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith.
“Annika Bengtzon has spent her career telling stories that need to be heard. As a journalist, she’s always been at the front line of criminal reporting, alongside the investigating officers. And now a court case that she’s been reporting on, the savage murder of a homeless man, has begun to attract a lot of attention. With the stakes rising by the day, Annika is once again flung to the heart of a complex case. But nagging at the back of her mind is her sister’s mysterious absence. After a series of anxious text messages, she’s not heard another word. In the midst of a tense public situation, Annika’s own complicated past looks set to rear its head. Some voices refuse to be silenced.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

This month’s selection of new Science Fiction and Fantasy novels brings as always imaginative narratives, characters and themes, from many highly acclaimed writers.

Syndetics book cover Company Town / Madeline Ashby.
“New Arcadia is a city-sized oil rig off the coast of the Canadian Maritimes, now owned by one very wealthy, powerful, byzantine family: Lynch Ltd. Hwa is of the few people in her community (which constitutes the whole rig) to forgo bio-engineered enhancements. Still, her expertise in the arts of self-defense and her record as a fighter mean that her services are yet in high demand. When the youngest Lynch needs training and protection, the family turns to Hwa. But can even she protect against increasingly intense death threats seemingly coming from another timeline?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The blood red city / Justin Richards.
“The alien Vril are waking, and the Never War is heating up. Colonel Brinkman and his team at Station Z desperately need answers; they have to discover exactly what they are facing and how the attack will come. But the information doesn’t come easily. With a major Vril offensive imminent, the Nazis step up their own project to exploit Vril weapons and technology. Major Guy Pentecross must travel to the ruined deathtrap of the most dangerous city in the world to track down the one man who can help. This the second book of the Never War series continues a secret history of the Second World War in which humanity itself is fighting for survival.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Central Station / Lavie Tidhar.
“A worldwide diaspora has left a quarter of a million people at the foot of a space station. Life is cheap, and data is cheaper. When Boris Chong returns to Tel Aviv from Mars, much has changed. Boris’s ex-lover is raising a strangely familiar child who can tap into the data stream of a mind. His cousin is infatuated with a robotnik, a damaged cyborg soldier. His father is terminally-ill with a multigenerational mind-plague. And a hunted data-vampire has followed Boris to where she is forbidden to return. Rising above them is Central Station, the interplanetary hub between all things. Everything is connected by the Others, powerful alien entities who, through the Conversation, a shifting, flowing stream of consciousness, are just the beginning of irrevocable change.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

Short story reading is so satisfying when reading time is limited and with Short Stories being this month’s highlighted genre in our ‘Other Genres’ category we offer a wonderful selection. There are many different writers, relating a diverse variation of short Fiction.

Syndetics book cover The pier falls : and other stories / Mark Haddon.
“Nine brilliant stories from a much acclaimed writer. Set in the Victorian era and the future, in commonplace and supernatural worlds, the stories are united by a cast of dispossessed characters plagued by violence or despair.” (Adapted from Book cover)
Syndetics book cover Some possible solutions : stories / Helen Phillips.
“A spine-tingling new collection, the “unique”and “wickedly funny” Helen Phillips offers an idiosyncratic series of “what-ifs” about our fragile human condition. Forced to navigate these bizarre scenarios, Phillips’ characters search for solutions to the problem of how to survive in an irrational, infinitely strange world. In dystopias that are exaggerated versions of the world in which we live, these characters strive for intimacy and struggle to resolve their fraught relationships with each other, with themselves, and with their place in the natural world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Deleted scenes for lovers / Tracey Slaughter.
“Seventeen powerful stories of contemporary New Zealand life from a writer whose penetrating gaze reveals the full experience of her characters’ lives, tragic, comic, rich.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New ‘Other Genres’ fiction, this month featuring short stories

This month’s ‘Other Genres’ fiction features Short Stories. In this selection several edited collections of short stories have been included, with one by New Zealand writers, titled At the edge. Highly recommended is the much acclaimed author Mark Haddon’s debut collection titled The pier falls: and other stories.

Syndetics book coverAt the edge / edited by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray.
“A new collection of short stories by twenty-one New Zealand writers.” (Adapted from book cover)

Syndetics book coverMultitudes : eleven stories / Lucy Caldwell.
Multitudes is the beautiful debut story collection from the acclaimed, prize-winning novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell. From Belfast to London and back again the ten stories that comprise Caldwell’s first collection explore the many facets of growing up, the pain and the heartache, the tenderness and the joy, the fleeting and the formative, or ‘the drunkenness of things being various’.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDesperate Detroit : and stories of other dire places / Loren D. Estleman.
Desperate Detroit and Stories of Other Dire Places represents forty years of suspense writing in the short form. Previously published in a host of magazines and anthologies, with a new Preface and introductions to the stories written especially for this collection, these eighteen tales feature gangsters, private eyes, psychotic killers, hitmen, feuding families, prostitutes, prizefighters, bodyguards, corrupt cops, the walking dead, and ordinary people driven by desperation to commit acts of violence.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe pier falls : and other stories / Mark Haddon.
“Nine brilliant stories from a much acclaimed writer. Set in the Victorian era and the future, in commonplace and supernatural worlds, the stories are united by a cast of dispossessed characters plagued by violence or despair.” (Adapted from Book cover)

Syndetics book coverThe paper menagerie and other stories / Ken Liu.
“Ken Liu now shares his finest short fiction in The Paper Menagerie. This mesmerizing collection features all of Ken’s award-winning and award-finalist stories, including: “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” (Finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon Awards),and “Mono No Aware” (Hugo Award winner).” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe doll-master and other tales of terror / Joyce Carol Oates.
“Six terrifying tales to chill the blood from the unique imagination of Joyce Carol Oates. A young boy plays with dolls instead of action figures. But as he grows older, his passion takes on a darker edge. A white man shoots dead a black boy creating a media frenzy. But could it be that it was self-defense as he claims? A nervous woman tries to escape her husband. He says he loves her, but she’s convinced he wants to kill her. These quietly lethal stories reveal the horrors that dwell within us all.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSome possible solutions : stories / Helen Phillips.
“A spine-tingling new collection, the “unique”and “wickedly funny” Helen Phillips offers an idiosyncratic series of “what-ifs” about our fragile human condition. Forced to navigate these bizarre scenarios, Phillips’ characters search for solutions to the problem of how to survive in an irrational, infinitely strange world. In dystopias that are exaggerated versions of the world in which we live, these characters strive for intimacy and struggle to resolve their fraught relationships with each other, with themselves, and with their place in the natural world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverReader, I married him : stories inspired by Jane Eyre / edited by Tracy Chevalier.
“The twenty-one stories in Reader, I Married Him, one of the most celebrated lines in fiction are inspired by Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre. This collection, published in the year of her bicentenary, is shaped by its perennially fascinating themes of love, compromise and self-determination.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverDeleted scenes for lovers / Tracey Slaughter.
“Seventeen powerful stories of contemporary New Zealand life from a writer whose penetrating gaze reveals the full experience of her characters’ lives, tragic, comic, rich.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverUnder thunderous skies : eight tales of China meeting non-China / Miodrag Kojadinović.
“A girl in Shanghai in high-heels holds a doomed rabbit at the bequest of a client in Germany. The consul of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Canton talks with his mistress about their future of their son. A Chinese man cleans up the fingerprints around his European boyfriend’s body in an apartment in Macao. These unusual and intriguing stories of interactions between Chinese and non-Chinese are the work of author Miodrag Kojadinovic, born in Serbia and for eight years a teacher of English in a remote corner of China.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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.

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When the moon is low / Nadia Hashimi.
An amazing book that tells of the harrowing and dangerous journeys refugees face in their search for safety. This is a brilliantly written novel about one brave Afghan woman’s odyssey.

The night sister : a novel / Jennifer McMahon.
Set in Vermont, this is atmospheric, gripping, and suspenseful tale that probes the bond between sisters and the peril of keeping secrets. A true page turner.

Straits of hell / Taylor Anderson.
The latest in the alternate history Destroyermen series. It continues as a game-changing conspiracy throws the hope of honor, trust, and survival into chaos. Pure escapism.

Your father sends his love / Stuart Evers.
A book of powerful emotion: of vulnerability, duty, betrayal, loss, anger, fear and joy, of parental love and parental mistakes.

March of the crabs. Volume 1, The crabby condition / written and illustrated by Arthur de Pins ; translation by Edward Gauvin.
The diversity of graphic novel themes never ceases to amaze. This one is just fabulous, with more volumes to look forward to.

Fiction newsletter for October

Welcome to the October Fiction newsletter, where we highlight the best of our best new fiction selection for the month. This month in our ‘other genres’ category we feature Short Stories, this is a wonderful selection of recently published collections by some well-known authors. We are sure you will find many hours of pleasurable reading.

Contemporary fiction

As with all contemporary fiction, there are as many different themes, characters, set in as many different places as there as many new titles we receive. Choose just what to read first is difficult, but hopefully our selection will make this easier.

Syndetics book cover The girl who slept with God / Val Brelinski.
“The story of three sisters: young Frances, gregarious and strong-willed Jory, and moral-minded Grace. Their father, Oren, is a respected member of the community and science professor at the local college. Yet their mother’s depression and Grace’s religious fervor threaten the seemingly perfect family, whose world is upended when Grace returns from a missionary trip to Mexico and discovers she’s pregnant with, she believes, the child of God. Distraught, Oren sends Jory and Grace to an isolated home at the edge of the town. There, they prepare for the much-awaited arrival of the baby while building a makeshift family that includes an elderly eccentric neighbor and a tattooed social outcast who drives an ice cream truck.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The flicker men : a novel / Ted Kosmatka.
“Eric Argus has one last chance. His earlier scientific work, groundbreaking and infamous, jeopardized his reputation and threatened his sanity. But an old university friend hires him at Hansen Research, a Boston laboratory that provides researchers a probationary period of free reign. Argus has a final opportunity to regain his standing and renew his faith in science. He replicates Feynman’s double-slit experiment that famously demonstrated the mysterious dual nature of light and matter. Building upon that work, Argus discovers a staggering and elemental difference between humanity and the rest of the animal kingdom: he proves the existence of the human soul.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The house at the edge of the world / Julia Rochester.
“Twins Morwenna and Corwin are eighteen when their father falls to his death near their beloved family home in Devon. While the twins flee in opposite directions to try to begin new lives, their mother, enraged by years of unhappy marriage, seeks freedom from the family home that has oppressed her. But for all of them, the connections to the house, and family, are not so easy to break. When, seventeen years after their father’s death, Corwin returns to the house again, he will force Morwenna to confront a terrifying truth from the past, one that will destroy everything they thought they knew about their childhood home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Graphic novels

This month’s new Graphic Novels selection covers the range of this genre, from light hearted to thought provoking, with everything in-between.

Syndetics book cover The age of selfishness : Ayn Rand, morality, and the financial crisis / Darryl Cunningham ; introduction by Michael Goodwin.
“Tracing the emergence of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism in the 1940s to her present-day influence, this graphic-nonfiction investigation leads readers to the heart of the global financial crisis of 2008. Tackling the complexities of economics by distilling them down to a series of concepts accessible to all age groups, that ultimately delivers a devastating analysis of our current economic world.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover March of the crabs. Volume 1, The crabby condition / written and illustrated by Arthur de Pins ; translation by Edward Gauvin.
“All species in the world evolve except one. Cancer Simplicimus Vulgaris, or the square crab, has suffered with the same evolutionary defect for millennia: it cannot change direction. Condemned to walk in one straight line forever, these crabs living along the Gironde estuary have largely resigned themselves to their fate. However, one seemingly ordinary summer, three crabs decide to take matters into their own claws and rebel against the straight and narrow path they have been sentenced to, upending the entire ecosystem in the process.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The returning / written by Jason Starr ; art by Andrea Mutti.
“It’s the near future, and some people who have had Near-Death Experiences have come back “changed.” They exhibit extreme behavioral changes, becoming increasingly paranoid and violent, and no one knows why. People who have had NDE’s fall immediately under suspicion, and in some cases, are murdered by justice-seeking vigilantes. It is in this world where Beth, a quiet high school student with a bright future, will learn just how quickly friends and family will turn on her when she has the bad luck of surviving the worst night of her life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Mysteries

The selection for this month’s new mysteries includes several long standing popular writers, and as always for avid mystery readers, some new writers to try.

Syndetics book cover X / Sue Grafton
“X: The number ten. An unknown quantity. A mistake. A cross. A kiss. X: The shortest entry in Webster’s Unabridged. Derived from Greek and Latin and commonly found in science, medicine, and religion. X: The twenty-fourth letter in the English alphabet. Sue Grafton’s X : Perhaps her darkest and most chilling novel, it features a remorseless serial killer who leaves no trace of his crimes. Once again breaking the rules and establishing new paths, Grafton wastes little time identifying this sociopath. The test is whether Kinsey can prove her case against him before she becomes his next victim.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Vixen : a Nameless Detective novel / Bill Pronzini.
“When Nameless is hired by Cory Beckett, a beautiful young woman who claims to be a model, to find her missing brother, Kenneth, it seems to be a routine matter. When agency operative Jake Runyon locates and questions the frightened young man, Cory Beckett’s motives come into question and the case takes on darkly sinister complexities. A series of twists and turns drive the story to a truly shocking climax. For not until then do the detectives realize how devilish Cory Beckett really is, a femme fatale who has brought something new to the species–new, and terrible.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover Ice cold / Andrea Maria Schenkel ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
“Set in 1930s Munich, this is another chilling novel from the author of ‘The Murder Farm‘. A rapist and murderer is at large in the city. Kathie has come to Munich looking for work, but is drawn into a world of casual sex and prostitution. As she tries to make her way in the world, it becomes clear that she is in grave danger.” (Syndetics summary)

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Science fiction/fantasy

Science Fiction and Fantasy novel readers, will not be disappointed with this month’s selection of new material almost every theme imaginable has been represented.

Syndetics book cover Straits of hell / Taylor Anderson.
“Matt Reddy’s old Asiatic Fleet destroyer USS Walker has been mysteriously transported to an alternate version of earth. Here WWII is no longer raging and Reddy and his crew have been trying to find a new place for themselves in this strange new world.Along with the felinoid Lemurians and Imperial allies, they fight to keep the reptilian Grik, a race growing in supremacy, from reconquering the Lemurians’ ancestral home on Madagascar. Reddy and his crew are exhausted, far from reinforcements, and wildly outnumbered, so the odds seem greater than ever before.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The iron assassin, or, A clockwork Prometheus / Ed Greenwood.
“London, the capitol of the Empire of the Lion, is a filthy, crowded, fast-growing city where a series of shocking murders threatens the throne itself. Energetic young inventor Jack Straker believes he has created a weapon to defend the Crown: a reanimated, clockwork-enhanced corpse he can control. He introduces “the Iron Assassin” to the highly placed Lords who will decide if Straker’s invention becomes a weapon of the Lion, or something to be destroyed. It quickly becomes apparent that the Iron Assassin is more self-willed than Straker intended, and that the zombie’s past life is far more sinister than Straker thought.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The library at Mount Char / Scott Hawkins.
“Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She was a normal American herself, once. That was a long time ago, of course, before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father. Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible. In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn’t gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient Pelapi customs. They’ve studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power. Sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library, and with it, power over all of creation. As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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Other genres

Short stories are the feature of this month’s new ‘Other Genres’ fiction, and includes New Zealand writer David McDougall’s collection titled The Abyssinian mountain lion & other stories.

Syndetics book cover Your father sends his love / Stuart Evers.
“Eleven unforgettable stories of parental love and parental mistakes. Set in the past, present and future, they are unified by their compassion, animated by the unsaid and distinguished by how beautifully they extract the luminous from the ordinary.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Syndetics book cover The complete stories / Clarice Lispector ; translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson ; introduction by Benjamin Moser ; edited by Benjamin Moser.
“For the first time in English, are all the Clarice Lispector stories that made her a Brazilian legend: from teenagers coming into awareness of their sexual and artistic powers to humdrum housewives whose lives are shattered by unexpected epiphanies to old people who don’t know what to do with themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The Abyssinian Mountain Lion The Abyssinian mountain lion & other stories / David McDougall.
“David McDougall reintroduces the reader to that most excellent thing: the good yarn. Meet the neighbour with a war history who can’t help interfering with goings-on over the fence, a woman on a train who’ll go to any lengths to clear her student debt, a bunch of mates on a hunting trip who fear dire consequences after shooting a fantail, and a retired husband whose wife irons his shorts for Valentine’s Day and leaves him perplexed about how to return the favour. These are stories of humour and melancholy, love and vice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

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New ‘Other Genres’ for September, this month featuring short stories

Short stories are the feature of this month’s new ‘Other Genres’ fiction, and this selection of collections showcases the talent and skill of each author. Included is the New Zealand writer David McDougall’s collection, titled The Abyssinian mountain lion & other stories.

Syndetics book coverA manual for cleaning women : selected stories / Lucia Berlin ; edited and with an introduction by Stephen Emerson ; foreword by Lydia Davis.
“A collection of the best work of the legendary short-story writer Lucia Berlin. With the grit of Raymond Carver, the humor of Grace Paley, and a blend of wit and melancholy all her own, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday, uncovering moments of grace in the Laundromats and halfway houses of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Bay Area upper class, among switchboard operators and struggling mothers, hitchhikers and bad Christians.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverYour father sends his love / Stuart Evers.
“Eleven unforgettable stories of parental love and parental mistakes. Set in the past, present and future, they are unified by their compassion, animated by the unsaid and distinguished by how beautifully they extract the luminous from the ordinary.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverBlack glass : short fictions / Karen Joy Fowler.
“Black Glass showcases the extraordinary talents of this prizewinning author. In fifteen gemlike tales, her wit and vision roam freely, turning accepted norms inside out and fairy tales upside down, pushing us to reconsider our unquestioned verities and proving once again that she is among our most subversive writers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete stories / Clarice Lispector ; translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson ; introduction by Benjamin Moser ; edited by Benjamin Moser.
“For the first time in English, are all the Clarice Lispector stories that made her a Brazilian legend: from teenagers coming into awareness of their sexual and artistic powers to humdrum housewives whose lives are shattered by unexpected epiphanies to old people who don’t know what to do with themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The Abyssinian Mountain LionThe Abyssinian mountain lion & other stories / David McDougall.
“David McDougall reintroduces the reader to that most excellent thing: the good yarn. Meet the neighbour with a war history who can’t help interfering with goings-on over the fence, a woman on a train who’ll go to any lengths to clear her student debt, a bunch of mates on a hunting trip who fear dire consequences after shooting a fantail, and a retired husband whose wife irons his shorts for Valentine’s Day and leaves him perplexed about how to return the favour. These are stories of humour and melancholy, love and vice.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverMusic for wartime : stories / Rebecca Makkai.
“This award-winning writer’s collection bears her signature mix of intelligence, wit, and heart. A reality show producer manipulates two contestants into falling in love, even as her own relationship falls apart. Just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a young boy has a revelation about his father’s past when a renowned Romanian violinist plays a concert in their home. When the prized elephant of a traveling circus keels over dead, the small-town minister tasked with burying its remains comes to question his own faith. In an unnamed country, a composer records the folk songs of two women from a village on the brink of destruction.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThree moments of an explosion : stories / China Miéville.
“The fiction of multiple award-winning author China Miéville is powered by intelligence and imagination, using a variety of genres with equal facility, employing the fantastic not to escape from reality, but instead to interrogate it in provocative, unexpected ways. Of such concepts and unforgettable images are made the twenty-eight stories in this collection. By turns speculative, satirical, and heart-wrenching, fresh in form and language, and featuring a cast of damaged yet hopeful seekers who come face-to-face with the deep weirdness of the world, and at times the deeper weirdness of themselves.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverViral : stories / Emily Mitchell.
“A strange guidebook tells foreign visitors how to travel in a recognizable but dreamlike United States where mirrors are haunted and the Statue of Liberty wears a bowler hat; a supervisor in a department store must discipline his employees for failing to smile enough at their customers and finds himself unexpectedly drawn to the saddest of them all; a woman agrees to buy her daughter a robot pet to help her cope after a divorce, then is horrified when her little girl chooses an enormous spider for a companion. The characters in these mesmerizing stories find that the world they thought they knew has shifted and changed, become bizarre, disorienting, and, occasionally, miraculous. Told with absurdist humor and sweet sadness, is about being lost in places that are supposed to feel like home.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverA Paris affair / Tatiana de Rosnay ; translated from the French by Sam Taylor.
“This collection of eleven stories examines our most intimate and forbidden desires. What takes place in Paris when husbands and wives tangle with infidelity?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe All Saints’ Day lovers / Juan Gabriel Vasquez ; translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean.
“Achingly sad and beautifully crafted, The All Saints’ Day Lovers is a remarkable and intense exploration of relationships, loneliness and cruelty. The seven stories are set mainly in the starkly beautiful landscape of Belgium’s Ardennes. A Colombian writer is witness to a murder which will mark him forever. A woman sits alone in her house, waiting for her husband to return, while he lies in another woman’s bed twenty kilometers away.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)