Needing and loving are two different things: New fiction

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Needing and loving are two different things. ― Armistead Maupin, Further Tales of the City

Welcome to this month’s selection of recently acquired general fiction. For this month we have selected a rich carnival of new titles that span a colourful range of styles, subjects, periods in time and genres.

First up on the list we have two Aotearoa highlights in the form of Ruin: and other stories by Emma Hislop and Bird life by Anna Smaill. Next, we spread our wings and travel to the Cotswolds via the streets of San Francisco to enjoy the tenth instalment of the hugely popular Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin, Mona of the manor. Then we have a chilling and scintillating horror set in a small town in Alberta called Bad Cree = Âcimowin by Jessica Johns.

Our next carnival of book titles takes us into the uncomfortable, compelling and delightfully weird Tokyo based world of Asako Yuzuki’s Butter. We round things off with a book that is currently being adapted into a major TV series starring Ella Purnell called Sweetpea by C. J Skuse, Helen Oyeyemi’s Parasol against the axe, and finally a chilling story from Manchuria called The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo.

All our selected titles this month can be all viewed and borrowed below:

Ruin : and other stories / Hislop, Emma
“Women and girls walk a perilously thin line between ruin and redemption in these stories as they try—with varying degrees of success—to out manouver the violence that threatens to define their lives.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Bird life / Smaill, Anna
“Bird Life, the second novel by Booker Prize longlisted author Anna Smaill, is a lyrical and ambitious exploration of madness and what it is like to experience the world differently. In Ueno Park, Tokyo, as workers and tourists gather for lunch, the pollen blows, a fountain erupts, pigeons scatter, and two women meet, changing the course of one another’s lives. Dinah has come to Japan from New Zealand to teach English and grieve the death of her brother, Michael, a troubled genius who was able to channel his problems into music as a classical pianist – until he wasn’t. In the seemingly empty, eerie apartment block where Dinah has been housed, she sees Michael everywhere, even as she feels his absence sharply.”(Adapted from Catalogue)

Mona of the manor : a novel / Maupin, Armistead
“The long-awaited tenth novel in Maupin’s beloved and bestselling Tales of the City series, Mona of the Manor follows the adventures of Mona Ramsey–now the widowed Lady of a glorious old manor in the Cotswolds–and her fabulous butler-slash-adopted-son Wilfred, as they work to help an American visitor who has gotten herself in trouble”- (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bad Cree = Âcimowin : a novel / Johns, Jessica
“A young Cree woman is tormented by vivid dreams from before her sister’s untimely death and wakes up with a severed crow’s head in her hands before returning to her rural hometown in Alberta seeking answers.”When Mackenzie wakes up with a severed crow’s head in her hands, she panics. Only moments earlier she had been fending off masses of birds in a snow-covered forest. In bed, when she blinks, the head disappears. Night after night, Mackenzie’s dreams return her to a memory from before her sister Sabrina’s untimely death…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Butter / Yuzuki, Asako
“Gourmet cook Manako Kajii sits in Tokyo Detention Centre convicted of the serial murders of lonely businessmen, who she is said to have seduced with her delicious home cooking. The case has captured the nation’s imagination but Kajii refuses to speak with the press, entertaining no visitors. That is, until journalist Rika Machida writes a letter asking for her recipe for beef stew and Kajii can’t resist writing back. Rika, the only woman in her news office, works late each night, rarely cooking more than ramen. As the visits unfold between her and the steely Kajii, they are closer to a masterclass in food than journalistic research. ” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook.

Sweetpea / Skuse, C. J
“The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead… Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list. A kill list. From the man on the checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge. Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder..” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Parasol against the axe / Oyeyemi, Helen
“For reasons of her own, Hero Tojosoa accepts an invitation she was half expected to decline, and finds herself in Prague on a bachelorette weekend hosted by her estranged friend Sofie. Little does she know she’s arrived in a city with a penchant for playing tricks on the unsuspecting. A book Hero has brought with her seems to be warping her mind: the text changes depending on when it’s being read and who’s doing the reading, revealing startling new stories of fictional Praguers past and present. Uninvited companions appear at bachelorette activities and at city landmarks, offering opinions, humor, and even a taste of treachery. When a third woman from Hero and Sofie’s past appears unexpectedly, the tensions between the friends’ different accounts of the past reach a new level.” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an eBook. 

The fox wife : a novel / Choo, Yangsze
“Manchuria, 1908. In the last years of the dying Qing Empire, a courtesan is found frozen in a doorway. Her death is clouded by rumors of foxes, which are believed to lure people by transforming themselves into beautiful women and handsome men. Bao, a detective with an uncanny ability to sniff out the truth, is hired to uncover the dead woman’s identity. Since childhood, Bao has been intrigued by the fox gods, yet they’ve remained tantalizingly out of reach until, perhaps, now…” (Adapted from Catalogue) Also available as an Audiobook.

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