Welcome to this month’s Fiction Newsletter. We present a selection of the best new work from each fiction category. We hope you will find some great reading and perhaps a new author or genre you have not tried before.
This month’s New Contemporary fiction showcases some great new novels by very talented writers. It also includes much acclaimed new novel by Kazuo Ishiguro titled The Buried Giant.
|Hausfrau : a novel / Jill Alexander Essbaum.
“Anna Benz, an American woman in her thirties, lives in comfort and affluence with her Swiss banker husband and their three young children in a picture-perfect suburb of Zurich. Despite the tranquillity and order of her domestic existence, Anna is falling apart. In an effort to restart her life, she turns to Jungian analysis, German language classes, and a series of extramarital affair, whose consequences she cannot foretell.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The ship / Antonia Honeywell.
“Oxford Street burned for three weeks. The British Museum is occupied by ragtag survivors. The Regent’s Park camps have been bombed. The Nazareth Act has come into force. If you can’t produce your identity card, you don’t exist. Lalla, sixteen, has grown up sheltered from the new reality by her visionary father, Michael Paul. But now the chaos has reached their doorstep. Michael has promised to save them. His escape route is a ship big enough to save five hundred people. But only the worthy will be chosen. Once on board, as day follows identical day, Lalla’s unease grows. Where are they going? What does her father really want? What is the price of salvation?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The buried giant : a novel / Kazuo Ishiguro.
“Set in Arthurian England, not the mythic land of knights, castles, and pageants, but a primitive gray and superstitious place. Here British peasants eke out a hardscrabble existence from caves dug into hillsides, while the recent Saxon invaders live in more-advanced villages of rudimentary huts. Ailing British couple, named Axl and Beatrice, embark on a pilgrimage in hope of finding a son they have not seen in years.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
This month’s selection of new Graphic Novels provides some great story lines, and of course brilliant art work throughout. For something weird and wonderful give The Beard that was Evil, by Stephen Collins a try.
|The gigantic beard that was evil / Stephen Collins.
“This is the mysterious and often wryly funny story of Dave, who lives on the Island of Here, a place of order, calm, and crushing boredom. There is a constant lurking threat of disorder coming from the outside world, from the dreaded There. One day, Dave unwittingly starts growing some major facial hair. He cuts I, but it grows back. It grows out of his window, through the yard, and threatens to consume the island. The solutions conceived to combat the beard are innovative, creative, and a bit out There. The effects of the beard, for Dave, for the people of Here, and for society, are at odds showing society’s viselike grip on its members, and examination of nonconformity.” (Adpated from Syndetic summary)
|Kill my mother : a graphic novel / Jules Feiffer.
“Bitchy teen, Annie Hannigan declares she wants to murder her mom, Elsie, assistant to a booze-soaked private eye. But as bodies fall dead and backstories come out of the closet, the network of vindictiveness among a broader and very quirky bunch of characters becomes clearer. This is noir tragicomedy in the grand manner, with a twisty plot confounding expectations most delightfully.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Kiss me, Satan! / script by Victor Gischler ; art by Juan Ferrerya.
“Cassian Steele is boss of the werewolf mafia in the Big Easy, and he’s got a problem. The old witch Verona has discovered his secret and gone into hiding. Cassian wants her dead. So he sends out the word: An open contract. The first monster to dust Verona gets a big payday. So an assortment of Werewolf mobsters, vampire maids, a voodoo cowboy, zombie ninjas, and even a playboy wizard show up to try to collect the bounty. What they don’t realize is that Barnabus Black, a demon desperately trying to regain his halo, is her protector.” (Adpated from Syndetics summary)
Another truly global selection of new Mysteries for this month, apart from the usual British and American settings, there are mysteries set in France, Australia, Sweden, Scotland and Kyrgyzstan.
|A killing winter / Tom Callaghan.
“When Inspector Akyl Borubaev of Bishkek Murder Squad arrives at the brutal murder scene of a young woman, all evidence hints at a sadistic serial killer on the hunt for more prey.But when the young woman’s father turns out to be a leading government minister, the pressure is on Borubaev to solve the case not only quickly but also quietly, by any means possible. Until more bodies are found.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The invisible man from Salem / Christoffer Carlsson ; translated by Michael Gallagher.
“In the final days of summer, a young woman is shot dead in her apartment. Three floors above, the blue lights of the police cars awaken disgraced ex-officer Leo Junker. Though suspended from the force, he can’t stay away for long. Bluffing his way onto the crime scene, he examines the dead woman and sees that she is clasping a cheap necklace a necklace he instantly recognises. As Leo sets out on a rogue investigation to catch the killer, a series of frightening connections emerge, linking the murder to his own troubled youth in Salem a suburb of Stockholm where social and racial tensions run high and forcing him to confront a long ago incident that changed his life forever.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk)
|Arab jazz / Karim Miské ; translated from the French by Sam Gordon.
“Kosher sushi, kebabs, a second hand bookshop and a bar: the 19th arrondissement in Paris is a cosmopolitan neighbourhood where multicultural citizens live, love and worship alongside one another. This peace is shattered when Ahmed Taroudant’s melancholy daydreams are interrupted by the blood dripping from his upstairs neighbour’s brutally mutilated corpse. The violent murder of Laura Vignole, and the pork joint placed next to her, set imaginations ablaze across the neighbourhood, and Ahmed finds himself the prime suspect. However detectives Rachel Kupferstein and Jean Hamelot are not short of leads. What is the connection between a disbanded hip-hop group and the fiery extremist preachers that jostle in the streets for attention? And what is the mysterious new pill that is taking the district by storm?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Some old favourite Science Fiction and Fantasy writers are included in this month’s selection. A new author added to our collection is Daniel Polansky, his novel titled Those above is highly recommended.
|Something coming through / Paul McAuley.
“The aliens are here and they want to help. The Jackaroo has given humanity 15 worlds and the means to reach them. They’re a chance to start over, but they’re also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroo’s previous clients. Miracles that could reverse the damage caused by war, climate change, and rising sea levels, nightmares that could forever alter humanity, or even destroy it. Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|Those above / Daniel Polansky.
“Tall, strong, perfect, for three thousand years Those Above have ruled over their human subjects. From the glittering palaces of their eternal city they enforce their will with fire and sword.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The mechanical / Ian Tregillis.
“The Calvinist Dutch empire, with the help of the mechanical soldiers (“Clakkers”) that are imbued with intelligence and enslaved through magic, has been dominant since defeating the French in the 17th century. Two centuries later, their only opponents are small French and Papal outposts in the New World. Against this background, French spymaster Berenice Charlotte de Mornay-Périgord, Vicomtesse de Laval, attempts to manage her secret agents abroad. One of those agents is Father Luuk Visser, a Catholic priest undercover as a pastor in The Hague, who knows he’s soon going to be exposed. He uses one of the Clakkers, Jax, to smuggle an item across the Atlantic.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
New Zealand writers are our ‘Other Genres’ fiction for this month. As always the variation in theme and style is extraordinary. All guaranteed great reading.
|Coming rain / Stephen Daisley.
“Lewis McLeod has been travelling with Painter Hayes since he was a boy, shearing, charcoal burning, anything that comes. Painter made him his first pair of shoes. But Lew’s a grown man by the time he and Painter arrive on Drysdale Downs to shear for John Drysdale and his daughter, Clara. And now everything will change.” (Adapted from Book cover)
|Rich Man Road / Ann Glamuzina.
“On a summer’s night in 1944, twelve-year-old Olga allows an untrue rumour to circulate and the repercussions of that misunderstanding reverberate through the final stages of World War II, the refugee camps of Egypt and, finally, a new life in New Zealand. Years later, as an old woman dying of cancer, she meets the much younger and vulnerable Samoan immigrant Pualele, someone who might understand her.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
|The legend of Winstone Blackhat / Tanya Moir.
“In Winstone’s imagination, the Kid and his partner ride through the Wild West on the trail of their quarry. In Winstone’s actual life, he’s had to abandon his ‘partner’ and is hiding out in the tough landscape of Central Otago. What has this boy run from, and how will the resilient and engaging twelve-year-old survive?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)