When once you have tasted flight: New fiction

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When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

– Leonardo DaVinci

Welcome to this month’s selection of recently acquired fiction titles. To make this month’s choices we have employed a broad and panoramic approach, picking titles that convey the wide variety of subject matters, literary styles and approaches present in all our new intake books.

This month’s collection of titles includes a new historical fiction novel by Sara Ackerman called The uncharted flight of Olivia West, inspired by the Dole Air Race of 1927. This is a gripping story, based on true events, about a young pioneering aviator participating in the race. Literary legend Isabel Allende has released a new novel, called The wind knows my name. We have two highlights from Aotearoa, an outstanding collection of new short stories from the iconic Aotearoa author Patricia Grace, titled Bird child & other stories, and the much-anticipated debut novel from Olive Nuttall called Kitten. There’s also The Tearsmith by Erin Doom, which is currently being adapted into a Netflix series. To round things off in style, we have the Booker shortlisted and winner of the An Post Irish Book of the Year, The Bee Sting by Paul Murray.

Links to all these titles, and a few others, can be found below.

The uncharted flight of Olivia West / Ackerman, Sara
“This extraordinary novel, inspired by real events, tells the story of a female aviator who defies the odds to embark on a daring air race across the Pacific. 1927. Olivia “Livy” West is a fearless young pilot with a love of adventure. She yearns to cross oceans and travel the skies. When she learns of the Dole Air Race–a high-stakes contest to be the first to make the 2,400 mile Pacific crossing from the West Coast to Hawai’i–she sets her sights on qualifying. But it soon becomes clear that only men will make the cut. In a last-ditch effort to take part, Livy manages to be picked as a navigator for one of the pilots, before setting out on a harrowing journey that some will not survive.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The wind knows my name / Allende, Isabel
” Vienna, 1938. Samuel Adler was six years old when his father disappeared during Kristallnacht-the night their family lost everything. Samuel’s mother secured a spot for him on the last Kindertransport train out of Nazi-occupied Austria to the United Kingdom, which he boarded alone, carrying nothing but a change of clothes and his violin. Arizona, 2019. Eight decades later, Anita Diaz, a blind seven-year-old girl, and her mother board another train, fleeing looming danger in El Salvador and seeking refuge in the United States. However, their arrival coincides with the new family separation policy, and Anita finds herself alone at a camp in Nogales…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.
Bird child & other stories / Grace, Patricia
“The titular story ‘Bird Child’ plunges you deep into Te Kore, an ancient time before time. In another, the formidable goddess Mahuika, Keeper of Fire, becomes a doting mother and friend. Later, Grace’s own childhood vividly shapes the world of the young character Mereana; and a widower’s hilariously human struggle to parent his seven daughters is told with trademark wit and crackling dialogue” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Kitten / Nuttall, Olive
“Rosemary, a trans girl, has many conflicting qualities. She’s super smart but flawed, polyamorous but timid, promiscuous but inexperienced. She’s surprising, and surprised by herself. A call that Rosemary’s grandmother is dying puts her on the bus from Te Whanganui-a-Tara back to Kirikiriroa. There, with her mother, half-sister, and other family and friends, she remembers the damage of her past. And then Thorn – Rosemary’s long-distance daddy – shows up.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The bee sting / Murray, Paul
“The Barnes family is in trouble. Dickie’s once-lucrative car business is going under – but rather than face the music, he’s spending his days in the woods, building an apocalypse-proof bunker with a renegade handyman. His wife, Imelda, is selling off her jewellery on eBay and half-heartedly dodging the attentions of fast-talking cattle farmer Big Mike, while their teenage daughter Cass, formerly top of her class, seems determined to binge-drink her way to her final exams. And twelve-year-old PJ, in debt to local sociopath ‘Ears’ Moran, is putting the final touches to his grand plan to run away from home…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as a Book Club Kete title and an eBook.

The Ukraine / Chapeye, Artem
“The Ukraine is a collection of 26 pieces that deliberately blur the line between nonfiction and fiction, conjuring the essence of a beloved country through its tastes, smells, and sounds, its small towns and big cities, its people and their compassion and indifference, simplicities and complications. The Ukraine conveys to readers a place that Chapeye and his countrymen are currently fighting for with their lives. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

This impossible brightness : a novel / Klagmann, Jessica Bryant
” After the mysterious disappearance of her fiancé, Alma Hughes moves to a remote island in the North Atlantic, where she hopes to weather her grief and nurture her ailing dog. But the strange town of Violette has mysteries as well. Townsfolk say that the radio tower overlooking their town broadcasts messages through their home appliances, their dreams, even the sea itself. When lightning strikes the tower, illuminating the sky in a brilliant flash, Alma finds herself caught in the unexplainable aftermath of one of Violette’s deadliest storms…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The tearsmith : a novel / Doom, Erin
“Growing up in an orphanage, Nica’s imagination burned with fantastical stories. When she’s adopted, Nica thinks she’s leaving the orphanage, and her world of otherworldly tales, behind her. That is, until Rigel – as mesmerising and handsome as he is troubled – joins the family. It isn’t long before their shared hardships spark something magical between them. But before their fantasies for a brighter future can become reality, they’ll have to face the darkness of their past.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

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