Mistry Law and More: New Mystery Fiction

This month’s new mystery titles include the latest novel from author Sujata Massey, best known for her Agatha Award-winning Rei Shimura series. Massey’s most recent work is A Murder at Malabar Hill, described by The Spinoff as “a sumptuous crime story starring a rule-breaking badass in a sari”.

We’ve also got great new work from Berlin and London-based writer Jessica Moor. Moor’s debut novel The Keeper centres on a women’s refuge, and is based on Moor’s own experiences. For more on her time writing The Keeper, have a read of this interview at Crimespree Magazine.

A murder at Malabar Hill / Massey, Sujata
“1920s Bombay: Perveen Mistry, the daughter of a respected Zoroastrian family, has just joined her father’s law firm, becoming one of the first female lawyers in India. Mistry Law has been appointed to execute the will of Mr. Omar Farid, a wealthy Muslim mill owner who has left three widows behind. But as Perveen examines the paperwork, she notices something strange: all three of the wives have signed over their full inheritance to a charity. What will they live on? Perveen is suspicious…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Temple House vanishing / Donohue, Rachel
“In an elite Catholic girls’ boarding-school, the pupils live under the repressive, watchful gaze of the nuns. Seeking to break from the cloistered atmosphere, two of the students – Louisa and Victoria – quickly become infatuated with their young, bohemian art teacher, who encourages their flirtation. Then, he and Louisa vanish. Years later, a journalist uncovers the troubled past of the school and determines to resolve the mystery of the missing pair.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The guest list / Foley, Lucy
“On a remote island, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater. The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped. All have a secret. All have a motive. One guest won’t leave this wedding alive…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The keeper / Moor, Jessica
“When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police are ready to write it off as a standard-issue suicide. But the residents of the domestic violence shelter where Katie worked disagree. These women have spent weeks or even years waiting for the men they’re running from to catch up with them. They know immediately: this was murder. Still, Detective Dan Whitworth expects an open-and-shut case–until they discover evidence that suggests Katie wasn’t who she appeared.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The recovery of Rose Gold / Wrobel, Stephanie
“For the first 18 years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold. Turns out her mom, Patty, was just a really good liar. After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We begin at the end / Whitaker, Chris
“30 years ago, Vincent King became a killer. Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed. Duchess Radley, Star’s 13-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The lizard / Bruce-Lockhart, Dugald
“Obsessed with his ex-girlfriend, Alistair Haston heads off to Greece, where she is on holiday, to try and rekindle their relationship. On the ferry from Athens he is offered a lucrative job, recruiting tourists to pose for and, he later discovers, to sleep with, Heinrich a wealthy and charismatic, German artist. Swept away on a tide of wild parties, wild sex, fine food and drugs Haston sheds his reserve and throws himself headlong into the pursuit of pleasure. Until, a body is found and the finger of blame points to Haston.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little disasters / Vaughan, Sarah
When Jess arrives at hospital with a story that doesn’t add up, Liz is the doctor on call. Jess has devoted her life to family and home. But she is holding so many secrets. As the truth begins to emerge, Liz is forced to question everything she thought she knew: about Jess, and about herself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The clutter corpse / Brett, Simon
“Ellen Curtis runs her own business as a declutterer, helping people who are running out of space. When Ellen stumbles across the body of a woman in an over-cluttered flat, suspicion immediately falls on the deceased homeowner’s son, who has recently absconded from prison. No doubt Nate Ogden is guilty of many things – but is he really the killer?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The City We Became: New Sci-Fi and Fantasy

What do you do when your past three books have all won the Hugo Award for Best Novel? In N.K. Jemisin’s case, you write The City We Became–a speculative fiction love letter to New York. Jemisin’s ninth novel has been described as “a celebration and an expression of hope and belief that a city and its people can and will stand up to darkness, will stand up to fear, and will, when called to, stand up for each other.” Perfect reading right now! (For more, check out this review in Vox.)

The city we became / Jemisin, N. K
“Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got six. But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ghost species / Bradley, James
“When scientist Kate Larkin joins a secretive project to re-engineer the climate by resurrecting extinct species she becomes enmeshed in another, even more clandestine program to recreate our long-lost relatives, the Neanderthals. But when the first of the children, a girl called Eve, is born, Kate cannot bear the thought her growing up in a laboratory, and so elects to abduct her, and raise her alone.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

To be taught if fortunate / Chambers, Becky
“Adriane is one such explorer. As an astronaut on an extrasolar research vessel, she and her fellow crewmates sleep between worlds, and wake up each time with different features. Her experience is one of fluid body and stable mind, and of a unique perspective on the passage of time. Back on Earth, society changes dramatically from decade to decade, as it always does. But the moods of Earth have little bearing on their mission: to explore, to study, and to send their learnings home.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Across the void / Vaughn, S. K.
“It’s Christmas Day, 2067. Silent Night drifts across the ruins of a wrecked spaceship, listing helplessly in the black. A sole woman, May, stirs within–the last person left alive. There is only one person who can help her–her ex-husband Stephen, a NASA scientist. As May fights for life, Stephen finds his own life is under threat, putting both of them at risk. In this gasp-inducing thriller, their relationship is the difference between life and death.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The ice house / Clare, Tim
“War doesn’t end. It sleeps. Delphine Venner is an old woman now. She is old, but she remembers everything. She remembers what it is to be a child of war, she remembers fighting for her life and she remembers what the terrifying creatures from another world took from her all those years ago. She remembers the gateway, and those she lost. And in that other world, beast-filled and brutal, someone waits for her.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Sisters Grimm / Praag, Menna van
“This is the story of four sisters Grimm – daughters born to different mothers on the same day, each born out of bright-white wishing and black-edged desire. They found each other at eight years-old, were separated at thirteen and now, at nearly eighteen, it is imperative that they find each other once again. In thirty-three days they will meet their father in Everwhere. Only then will they discover who they truly are, and what they can truly do.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Firewalkers / Tchaikovsky, Adrian
“The Earth is burning. Nothing can survive at the Anchor; not without water and power. But the ultra-rich, waiting for their ride off the dying Earth? They can buy water. And thanks to their investment, the sun can provide power. But someone has to repair the solar panels when they fail, down in the deserts below. Kids like Mao, and Lupe, and Hotep; kids with brains and guts but no hope.” (Catalogue)

Seaward Stories: New Fiction

The ocean looms large in this month’s new general fiction selection. Lemuel Gulliver seemingly lost at sea in Gulliver’s Wife; Captain Cook’s Endevour wrecked on a coral reef in On a Barbarous Coast; wisdom from octopuses in The Octopus and I; a deadly sea crossing in We are Made of Earth.

Also this month: the French literary sensation All About Sarah by Pauline Delabroy-Allard and Love by Roddy Doyle. Love has been compared to James Joyce’s Dubliners, and has received great reviews from the New York Times, Boston Globe and more. Enjoy!

Gulliver’s Wife / Chater, Lauren
“London, 1702. When her husband is lost at sea, Mary Burton Gulliver is forced to rebuild her life without him. But three years later when Lemuel Gulliver is brought home, fevered and communicating only in riddles, her ordered world is turned upside down. In a climate of suspicion, Mary is caught in a crossfire of superstition and fear driven by her husband’s outlandish claims of the wonders he has seen, and it is up to her to navigate a passage to safety for herself, her daughter and the vulnerable women in her care.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

On a Barbarous Coast / Cormick, Craig and Ludwick, Harold
“On a night of raging winds and rain, Captain Cook’s Endeavour lies splintered on a coral reef off the coast of far north Australia. A disparate band of survivors huddle on the shore. Watching these mysterious white beings, the Guugu Yimidhirr people cannot decide if they are ancestor spirits to be welcomed–or hostile spirits to be speared. One headstrong young boy, Garrgiil, determines to find out what exactly they are. On a Barbarous Coast is the story of a past and future that might have been.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All About Sarah / Delabroy-Allard, Pauline
“A thirty-something teacher drifts through her life in Paris, lonely in spite of a new boyfriend. And then one night at a friend’s New Year’s Eve party, Sarah enters the scene like a tornado–a talented young violinist, she is loud, vivacious, appealingly unkempt. Thus begins an intense relationship, tender and violent, that will upend both women’s lives. Delabroy-Allard perfectly captures the pull of a desire so strong that it blinds us to everything else.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Love / Doyle, Roddy
“One summer’s evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant. Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be. Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rest and be thankful / Glass, Emma
“Laura is a nurse in a pediatric unit. On long, quiet shifts, she and her colleagues care for sick babies, handling their exquisitely fragile bodies, calibrating the machines that keep them alive. Laura may be burnt out. Her hands have been raw from washing as long as she can remember. When she sleeps, she dreams of water; when she wakes, she finds herself lying next to a man who doesn’t love her any more. And there is a strange figure dancing in the corner of her vision, always just beyond her reach.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Eighth Life (for Brilka) / Haratischwili, Nino
“On the edge of the Russian empire, a family prospers. It owes its success to a delicious chocolate recipe, passed down the generations with great solemnity and caution. Stasia learns it from her Georgian father and takes it north, following her new husband, Simon, to his posting at the center of the Russian Revolution in St Petersburg. Stasia’s is only the first in a symphony of grand but all too often doomed romances that swirl from sweet to sour in this epic tale of the red century.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Octopus and I / Hortle, Erin
“Lucy and Jem live on the Tasman Peninsula, where Lucy is recovering from surgery. As she tries to navigate her new body, she develops a deep fascination with the local octopuses, and in doing so finds herself drawn towards the friendship of an old woman and her son. As the story unfolds, the octopuses come to shape Lucy’s body and her sense of self in ways even she can’t quite understand. The Octopus and I is a stunning debut novel that explores the wild, beating heart at the intersection of human and animal.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Little Gods: a Novel / Jin, Meng
“Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother Su Lan’s ashes to China. In a territory inhabited by the ghosts of the living and the dead, Liya’s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman last to know Liya’s mother before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never known. In this way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes and unmakes Liya’s own sense of displacement.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We are Made of Earth / Karnezis, Panos
“When an overcrowded dinghy capsizes at sea, a doctor is among those refugees thrown overboard. The doctor and a boy he has saved eventually reach a tiny Greek island where they are offered shelter by the owner of a travelling circus. Debt-ridden, the circus owner knows that his most valuable asset is an Asian elephant, lovingly tended by the owner’s wife even as she mourns their 10-year old daughter. The doctor is drawn to his host’s wife, all the while keeping his young companion at arm’s length.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

StayAtHomeFest 2020: Day Two

It’s day two of quarantine and you’ve already eaten all the Toffee Pops. And the Squiggles. And the Chocades. (Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.) And besides, you’ve still got StayAtHomeFest 2020 to help you get through!

StayAtHomeFest 2020 combines talks from some of our favourite authors with links to eBooks of their work via Overdrive. We’ve also added links to associated digital resources in case you want to do a bit more exploring. So make yourself a mug of lapsang souchong, dig out that old packet of Chit Chats from the back of the cupboard and settle in for Day Two of this socially-distanced digital event!

(Day One of StayAtHomeFest 2020 can be found here.)


TOMMY ORANGE

The pressure has been on Tommy Orange since the success of There There in 2018. Luckily for readers, he’s not only running 10 kilometres a day, he’s also in the process of finishing the sequel to his debut novel! While you’re waiting, check out this great profile he recently wrote in Esquire.

Overdrive coverThere There, by Tommy Orange
“Jacquie Red Feather is newly sober and hoping to reconnect with her estranged family. That’s why she is there. Dene is there because he has been collecting stories to honour his uncle’s death, while Edwin is looking for his true father and Opal came to watch her boy Orvil dance. All of them are here for the celebration that is the Big Oakland Powwow. But Tony Loneman is also there. And Tony has come to the Powow with darker intentions.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Lynda.com: Did you know that as well as writing, Tommy Orange also composes music?! Develop your own music composition skills (and more) with Lynda.com.

ProQuest Research Library: Learn more about the 1969 Alcatraz Occupation featured in There There via our in-depth research database.


SELINA TUSITALA MARSH

“What if I forget my lines, trip up the holy steps, or accidentally step back onto the sacred Cosmati Pavement, causing the Abbey ministers to cry out (like I did during rehearsal)?” It’s not easy to perform in Westminster Abbey, but for poet, academic and former New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, it’s just part of life!

(And if you haven’t seen it already, check out Mophead, Tusitala Marsh’s recently-released graphic memoir–featured below.)

Overdrive cover Fast Talking PI, by Selina Tusitala Marsh
Fast Talking PI is the first ‘singular, confident and musical’ collection of poetry by Auckland writer Selina Tusitala Marsh. ‘Tusitala’ means writer of tales in Samoan, and Marsh here lives up to her name with stories of her life, her family, community, ancestry, and history. Her poetry is sensuous and strong, using lush imagery, clear rhythms and repetitions to power it forward. The list poem is a favourite style, but she also writes with a Pacific lyricism entirely her own.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

MasterFILE Complete: Read more about Selina Tusitala Marsh’s work via this collection of full-text magazines, journals and reference books.

DigitalNZ: DigitalNZ has millions of local texts, videos and audio recordings–including fantastic performances from Tusitala Marsh. Check them out via the link.

Story Box Library: “All 11-year-olds should have the opportunity to see and hear poetry in a way that explodes their world.” Discover more poetry and stories for kids via Story Box Library!


KILEY REID

You know you’ve written something interesting when your book causes shoving matches between strangers, but that’s exactly the impact Kiley Reid’s debut novel Such a Fun Age has been having since its release. It’s been called “a bold, urgent, essential exploration of race, class, labor, friendship, identity and self-delusion, both deliciously readable and incredibly complex.” Check it out before the movie arrives!

Overdrive coverSuch a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
“When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer, Alix, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know about themselves, each other, and privilege.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Kanopy: As well as working on her second novel, Reid is also writing the screenplay for Such a Fun Age. Discover more book-to-movie adaptions via Kanopy, our free film streaming service.

BWB Books: Kiley Reid describes her writing as addressing “class, money, and race”. For more works looking at these topics, check out the BWB Books database.


ILIANA REGAN

Did you know that Iliana Regan’s culinary memoir Burn the Place was the first food title to be longlisted for a National Book Award since Julia Child’s nomination in 1980? But then, not every work about food explores such a powerful range of topics (while still having time to take readers foraging for mushrooms in the fairy-tale forests of childhood!).


Overdrive coverBurn the Place, by Iliana Regan
Burn the Place is a galvanizing culinary memoir that chronicles Iliana Regan’s journey from foraging on the family farm to opening her Michelin-starred restaurant, Elizabeth. Her story is alive with startling imagery, raw like that first bite of wild onion, and told with uncommon emotional power. It’s a sure bet to be one of the most important new memoirs of 2019.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Gale Archives of Sexuality & Gender: Burn the Place has been described as a book that combines stories about gender and sexuality with food and cooking. Discover more stories of gender and sexuality via our fantastic new database.

Lynda.com: Did you know that Lynda.com has resources specifically for restaurant owners–as well as for a range of other businesses?!

Gale Health and Wellness Resource Center: Burn the Place has also been described by the New Yorker as a “memoir of addiction”. Investigate more addiction-focussed resources via one of our key health databases.


FRANCISCO CANTÚ

Between 2008 and 2012, Francisco Cantú worked as a US border patrol agent on the US-Mexico border. His book The Line Becomes a River exposes the violence of past immigration policies towards both migrants and refugees, as well as his own psychological well-being. “This is work that endangers the soul…”

Overdrive coverThe Line Becomes a River, by Francisco Cantú
“In this extraordinary account, Francisco Cantú describes his work in the desert along the Mexican border. He tracks humans through blistering days and frigid nights. He detains the exhausted and hauls in the dead. The line he is sworn to defend, however, begins to dissolve. Haunted by nightmares, Cantú abandons the Patrol for civilian life – but he soon faces a final confrontation with the world he believed he had escaped.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Mango Languages: As well as writing and teaching, Francisco Cantú is also a translator. Begin your own language exploration with our free language-learning database.

RBdigital: Francisco Cantú’s essays have appeared in Best American Essays and magazines including Harper’s. Download the latest copy of Harper’s via our free eMagazine resource.

StayAtHomeFest 2020: Day One

It can be tough being stuck at home. You need plenty of food, you need exercise, you need social support (and, it seems, you need a large stockpile of toilet paper). But there’s something else you need, too–the arts! Presenting: StayAtHomeFest 2020!

StayAtHomeFest 2020 combines talks from some of our favourite authors with links to eBooks of their work via Overdrive. We’ve also added links to associated digital resources in case you want to do a bit more exploring. So make yourself a coffee, move the cat from the best spot on the couch and settle back for Day One of this socially-distanced digital event!


ISABEL ALLENDE

What better way to start than with the legendary Isabel Allende? The Chilean-American author has written 24 books, sold more than 74 million copies of her work and won over 60 awards. Her latest novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, has been described as “a masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile and belonging”–perfect for times like these.

Overdrive cover A Long Petal of the Sea, by Isabel Allende
“Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War. Together with his sister-in-law he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile. When opportunity to seek refuge arises, they board a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to Chile, the promised ‘long petal of sea and wine and snow’. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a web of characters who come together in love and tragedy over four generations.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Kanopy Films: As well as writing for the page, Allende has authored numerous screenplays, and had several novels adapted for the screen. Discover more via one of our free film streaming services!

Mango Languages: Want to read Allende’s work in the original Spanish? Check out Mango Languages, our free database for learning languages on the go.

Gale World History In Context: Did you know Isabel Allende’s stepfather was one of the first people to meet the SS Winnipeg when it reached Chilean waters? Learn more at one of our premiere historical databases.


MAX PORTER

Next up is UK writer Max Porter. Porter is primarily known for his debut novel Grief is the Thing with Feathers, winning him the Sunday Times PFD Young Writer of the Year Award and a shortlisting for the Guardian First Book Award–but did you know he also edited Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries? His most recent work, Lanny, has been described as “a joyously stirred cauldron of words.”

Overdrive cover Lanny, by Max Porter
“Not far from London, there is a village. This village belongs to the people who live in it and to those who lived in it hundreds of years ago. It belongs to England’s mysterious past and its confounding present. It belongs to families dead for generations, and to those who have only recently moved here, such as the boy Lanny, and his mum and dad. But it also belongs to Dead Papa Toothwort, who has woken from his slumber in the woods. Dead Papa Toothwort, who is listening to them all.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Beamafilm: Did you know Lanny is being made into a film starring Rachel Weisz? Discover more book adaptations with the second of our two film streaming services, Beamafilm.

Oxford Art Online: Explore Oxford Art Online’s images, drawings and maps and you’ll be drawing like Lanny and Mad Pete in no time!

Gale Literature Center: Porter’s use of language has been compared to James Joyce’s Ulysses. Discover more about the connection via our comprehensive online literary site.


SUKETU MEHTA

Pulitzer finalist Suketu Mehta burst into Best-of lists last year with his groundbreaking This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifesto, a book laying out a powerful argument for mass migration as a form of global justice. The work has been called “among the most comprehensive, clearest, lucid and persuasive arguments in favour of immigrant rights yet written.”

Overdrive cover This Land Is Our Land, by Suketu Mehta
“Drawing on his family’s own experience, and years of reporting around the world, Suketu Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny. The West, he argues, is being destroyed not by immigrants but by the fear of immigrants. He juxtaposes the phony narratives of populist ideologues with the ordinary heroism of labourers, nannies and others, and explains why more people are on the move today than ever before.”
(Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

New York Times: Suketu Mehta lives in Manhattan, and luckily we’ve got access to his hometown newspaper and its archives! Explore the New York Times via the link.

RBdigital: Mehta’s work has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books and Harper’s. Check out the latest copies via RBdigital, our free eMagazine resource.


VINCENT O’MALLEY

Over the last four years, Vincent O’Malley has helped to fundamentally change how many people view the New Zealand Wars, arguing that the Waikato War should be seen as the defining conflict in New Zealand history. Both The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 and The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa have been bestsellers across the country.

Overdrive cover The Treaty of Waitangi Companion, by Vincent O’Malley
“Since the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 it has become the defining document in New Zealand history. From the New Zealand Wars to the 1975 Land March, from the Kingitanga to the Waitangi Tribunal, from Captain Cook to Hone Harawira, The Treaty of Waitangi Companion tells the story of the Treaty and Māori and Pākehā relations through the many voices of those who made this country’s history.” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

BWB Books: Go deeper into Aotearoa’s history with free access to some of Bridget Williams Books’ most popular titles, including O’Malley’s fantastic The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800-2000 and The New Zealand Wars/Ngā Pakanga o Aotearoa.

Raraunga Kōrero–Māori Databases: Browse an index of clippings collected by T.F. Grey, as well as an index to articles from the Dominion and Evening Post dating back to 1930. Rohe/iwi mentioned include Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Mataatua.

Wellington City Recollect: The team at Wellington City Libraries have been digitising historic photos, pamphlets and postcards from the Wellington region–look through them right here!


OLGA TOKARCZUK

Before the US publication of Flights in 2017, Polish author Olga Tokarczuk was described as “probably one of the greatest living writers you have never heard of.” Two years and one Nobel Prize later, Tokarczuk has become a powerful literary figure beyond her country of origin, with English language readers waiting eagerly for the translation of The Books of Jacob, due in 2021.

Overdrive cover Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk
Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead takes place in a remote Polish village, where Duszejko, an eccentric woman in her sixties, recounts the events surrounding the disappearance of her dogs. When members of a hunting club are found murdered, she becomes involved in the investigation. Duszejko is reclusive, preferring the company of animals; she’s unconventional, and is fond of the poetry of William Blake…” (Adapted from Overdrive description)

Discover More:

Pressreader: Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize win was covered extensively by some of Poland’s media–but not by the newspapers of the country’s nationalist right. Compare the difference via Pressreader, our free full-page newspaper database.

Gale in Context: Environmental Studies: Looking for the most up-to-date environmental info after reading Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead? Check out Gale in Context: Environmental Studies, including full-text articles from New Zealand and around the world.

Gale LitFinder: Suddenly hooked on William Blake? Read his complete works via Litfinder!

Body Tourists: New Sci-Fi and Fantasy

‘We only do one per day,’ says Dr Butler, ‘so we can monitor everything very carefully.’ That made me feel better about it, which–looking back–was bloody stupid. — Body Tourists by Jane Rogers

It’s hard to know where to start with this month’s new sci-fi and fantasy titles: there’s work from big hitters including William Gibson and Terry Goodkind, the debut novel of The Who’s Pete Townshend and Highfire by Eoin Colfer of Artemis Fowl fame.

But the novel that’s really caught our attention is Jane Rogers’ Body Tourists, the story of a clinic in London that specialises in bringing the dead back to life for two weeks. The catch? The process requires a robust conduit body, sourced from poor teenagers from the local Estate. Check out the Readings review here!

Body tourists / Rogers, Jane
“In this version of London, there is a small, private clinic. Behind its layers of security, procedures are taking place on poor, robust teenagers from northern Estates in exchange for thousands of pounds – procedures that will bring the wealthy dead back to life in these young supple bodies for fourteen days. It’s an opportunity for wrongs to be righted, for fathers to meet grandsons, for scientists to see their work completed. Old wine in new bottles. But at what cost?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Agency / Gibson, William
“Verity Jane, gifted app whisperer, takes a job as the beta tester for a new product: a digital assistant, accessed through a pair of ordinary-looking glasses. Eunice, the disarmingly human AI in the glasses, manifests a face, a fragmentary past, and a canny grasp of combat strategy. Realizing that her cryptic new employers don’t yet know how powerful and valuable Eunice is, Verity instinctively decides that it’s best they don’t…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Highfire / Colfer, Eoin
Squib Moreau’s intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way–like when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him. An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way out. But Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou–and neither of them have taken into account the dragon…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The vanished birds / Jimenez, Simon
“Nia Imani is a woman out of place. Traveling through the stars condenses decades into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her. She lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy. The past hungers for him, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Heart of black ice / Goodkind, Terry
“As emissaries to the Old World, Nicci and her companions have travelled far into uncharted territories. Now in the wake of a brutal war unleashed around the city of Ildakar, they must face a terrible new threat posed by an old foe. The Norukai, barbarian raiders and slavers, have been gathering an immense fleet among the inhospitably rocky islands that make up their home. With numbers greater than anyone could have imagined, the Norukai are poised to launch their final and most deadly war.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The age of anxiety / Townshend, Pete
“A former rock star disappears on the Cumberland moors. An art dealer has drug-induced visions of demonic faces swirling in a bedstead. A beautiful Irish girl who has stabbed her father to death is determined to seduce her best friend’s husband. A young composer begins to experience aural hallucinations, expressions of the fear and anxiety of the people of London. Hallucinations and soundscapes haunt this novel, which on one level is an extended meditation on manic genius and the dark art of creativity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Zed : a novel / Kavenna, Joanna
“Lionel Bigman is dead. Murdered by a robot. Guy Matthias, the philandering founder and CEO of the mega-corporation Beetle, insists it was human error. But was it? Either the predictive algorithms of Beetle’s supposedly omniscient ‘lifechain’ don’t work, or, they’ve been hacked. Both scenarios are impossible to imagine and signal the end of Beetle’s technotopia and life as we know it. Zed asks profound questions about who we are, what we owe to one another, and what makes us human.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The poison song / Williams, Jen
Ebora was once a glorious city, celebrated in song. Now refugees from every corner of Sarn seek shelter within its crumbling walls, and the enemy that has poisoned their land won’t lie dormant for long. The deep-rooted connection that Tormalin, Noon and the scholar Vintage share with their Eboran war-beasts has kept them alive so far. But with Tor distracted, and his sister Hestillion hell-bent on bringing ruthless order to the next Jure’lia attack, the people of Sarn need all the help they can get.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Legacy of ash / Ward, Mat
“A shadow has fallen over the Tressian Republic. Ruling families – once protectors of justice and democracy – now plot against one another. Yet as Tressia falls, heroes rise. Viktor Akadra is the Republic’s champion. Josiri Trelan is Viktor’s sworn enemy. And Calenne, Josiri’s sister, seeks only to break free of their tarnished legacy. As war spreads across the Republic, these three must set aside their differences in order to save their homeland.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The menace from farside / McDonald, Ian
“Remember: Lady Luna knows a thousand ways to kill you, but family is what you know. Family is what works. Cariad Corcoran has a new sister who is everything she is not: tall, beautiful, confident. They’re unlikely allies and even unlikelier sisters, but they’re determined to find the moon’s first footprint, even if the lunar frontier is doing its best to kill them before they get there.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Poet’s Ship: New General Fiction

With family like mine, you don’t need to invent anything. — Isabel Allende

This month’s new fiction includes Isabel Allende’s A Long Petal of the Sea, the story of the ship chartered by poet Pablo Neruda to save Spanish Republicans from Franco’s retribution after the Spanish Civil War. As Allende reveals in her interview with Time, one of the people who welcomed the ship to Chile was none other than her stepfather Ramón Huidobro.

Also new this month are two exciting works of New Zealand fiction: Paul Cleave’s Whatever it Takes and A.C. Buchanan’s From a Shallow Grave. From a Shallow Grave tells the story/ies of Phyllis Symons, whose body was found at the construction site of the Mount Victoria Tunnel in 1931. Listen to a reading from it here!

A long petal of the sea / Allende, Isabel
“Victor Dalmau is a young doctor when he is caught up in the Spanish Civil War. Together with his sister-in-law he is forced out of his beloved Barcelona and into exile. When opportunity to seek refuge arises, they board a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda to Chile, the promised ‘long petal of sea and wine and snow’. There, they find themselves enmeshed in a rich web of characters, destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

From a shadow grave / Buchanan, A. C.
“Wellington, 1931. Seventeen-year-old Phyllis Symons’ body is discovered in the Mt Victoria tunnel construction site. Eighty years later, Aroha Brooke is determined to save her life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Whatever it takes / Cleave, Paul
“When seven-year-old Alyssa is kidnapped, Deputy Noah Harper decides he will do what it takes to find her–but that means crossing lines he can never come back from. Finding the girl safe isn’t enough to stop Noah from losing his job, his wife, and from being kicked out of Acacia Pines. Now, 12 years later, comes a phone call. Alyssa is missing again and her father wants him to honor the promise he made to her all those years earlier–that he would never let anything bad happen to her again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Strangers and cousins / Cohen, Leah Hager
“In the idyllic town of Rundle Junction, Bennie and Walter are preparing to host the wedding of their daughter Clem. A ceremony at their beloved, rambling home should be the happiest of occasions, but Walter and Bennie have a secret. A new community has moved to Rundle Junction, threatening the social order…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hitting a straight lick with a crooked stick : stories from the Harlem Renaissance / Hurston, Zora Neale
“In 1925, Barnard student Zora Neale Hurston–the sole black student at the college–was living in New York, desperately striving for a toe-hold on the world. During this period, she began writing short works that captured the zeitgeist of African American life. Nearly a century later, this singular talent is recognized as one of the most influential and revered American artists of the modern period.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The forest of enchantments / Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee
The Ramayana, one of the world’s greatest epics, is also a tragic love story. In this brilliant retelling, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni places Sita at the centre of the novel: this is Sita’s version. The Forest of Enchantments is also a very human story of some of the other women in the epic, often misunderstood and relegated to the margins: Kaikeyi, Surpanakha, Mandodari. A powerful comment on duty, betrayal, infidelity and honour, it is also about women’s struggle to retain autonomy in a world that privileges men.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Twenty One Truths About Love / Green, Matthew
“1. Dan wants to do something special. 2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary. 3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure. 4. He doesn’t want to live in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband. Dan is also an obsessive list maker; his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with his hilarious sense of humour, unique world-view and thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to do anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Haven’t they grown / Hannah, Sophie
“All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match. Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the football ground, that doesn’t mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. But she can’t resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House, watches as Flora and her children step out of the car. Except there’s something terribly wrong. It’s the children. Twelve years ago they were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They haven’t changed at all…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Say say say / Savage, Lila
“Ella is not yet living the life she imagined. Her artistic ambitions have given way to an unintended career as a care worker. One spring, Bryn hires her to help him care for Jill, his wife of many years. A car accident caused a brain injury that has left Jill verbally diminished. As Ella is drawn into the couple’s household, she is profoundly moved by the tenderness Bryn shows toward the wife he still fiercely loves. Ella is startled by the yearning this awakens in her, one that causes her to look at relationships of all kinds in new ways…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The hungry and the fat / Vermes, Timur
“Europe’s borders are closed. Beyond the Sahara, huge camps have been built for millions of people who have no choice but to wait. They have been waiting so long that they could have walked to Europe by now… if it didn’t spell certain death. When German model and TV star Nadeche Hackenbusch visits the largest of the camps with a camera crew, young refugee Lionel recognizes a unique opportunity: use the media attention to organize 150,000 refugees to set off on a march to Europe…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sisters of the Vast Black: New Sci-Fi & Fantasy

There are some big names among this month’s new sci-fi and fantasy titles, including Nora Roberts with the third book in her Chronicles of the One series and Jeff VanderMeer with Dead Astronauts. However the book we’re probably most excited about is by debut author Lina Rather: it’s the fantastic Sisters of the Vast Black.

Sisters of the Vast Black tells the story of a group of space-travelling nuns who must answer a mysterious distress call from a recently-established colony. However this isn’t your usual space opera: Rather’s work investigates everything from theology and faith to governance and bio-engineering–and more!

For more sci-fi and fantasy suggestions, check out Novelist Plus in our eLibrary!

Sisters of the vast black / Rather, Lina
“Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations. When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care are in danger. And not from void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The rise of magicks / Roberts, Nora
“After the sickness known as the Doom destroyed civilization, magick has become commonplace, and Fallon Swift has spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon cannot live in peace until she frees those who have been preyed upon by the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end. She is determined to save even those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness–if, indeed, they can be saved.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dead astronauts / VanderMeer, Jeff
“Under the watchful eye of The Company, three characters – Grayson, Morse and Chen – shapeshifters, amorphous, part human, part extensions of the landscape, make their way through forces that would consume them. A messianic blue fox who slips through warrens of time and space on a mysterious mission. A homeless woman haunted by a demon who finds the key to all things in a strange journal. A giant leviathan of a fish, centuries old, who hides a secret, remembering a past that may not be its own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

CTRL + S / Briggs, Andy
“Life in the near future’s not all bad. We’ve reversed global warming, and fixed the collapsing bee population. We even created SPACE, a virtual-sensory universe where average guys like Theo Wilson can do almost anything they desire. But almost anything isn’t enough for some. Every day, normal people are being taken, their emotions harvested–and lives traded–to create death-defying thrills for the rich and twisted. Now Theo’s mother has disappeared . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The true bastards / French, Jonathan
“French debuted in a big way last year with The Grey Bastards. Here, Fetching now leads her own band of half-orcs, the True Bastards, and she faces famine and desertion from within and contempt from other half-orc leaders from without. Then real problems come from beyond the grave. The sequel to The Grey Bastards, this irresistibly swashbuckling, swaggering, foul-mouthed fantasy is rollicking, cunningly clever swords ‘n’ sorcery storytelling that’s a shot of pure fun for fantasy fans.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The warrior moon / Rivera, K Arsenault
“Barsalayaa Shefali, famed Qorin adventurer, and the spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, have survived fights with demon armies, garnered infamy, and ruled an empire. Raised together since birth, then forced into exile after their wedding, and reunited amidst a poisonous invasion–these bold warrior women have faced monumental adventures and catastrophic battles. As they come closest to fulfilling the prophecy of generations–Shefali and Shizuka will face their greatest test yet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The beast’s heart / Shallcross, Leife
“I am neither monster nor man – yet I am both. I am the Beast. I know why I was cursed; I know the legacy of evil I carry in my tainted blood. So how could she ever love me? My Isabeau. She opened my eyes, my mind and my heart when I was struggling just to be human. And now I might lose her forever. Lose yourself in this gorgeously rich and magical retelling of The Beauty and the Beast that finally lays bare the beast’s heart.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Best of Intentions: New Fiction

As a reader, I love when something hooks me in. And I like an inciting event that joins characters that won’t go away. — Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age

February sees a great selection of new fiction: our favourites include Royals by Emma Forrest, Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout and Kiley Reid’s debut novel Such a Fun Age. Such a Fun Age has been called a “thrilling millennial spin on the 19th-century novel of manners” and is well worth checking out.

And if it’s spies you prefer, never fear–Robert J. Harris is here to resurrect Richard Hannay in The Thirty One Kings. So head to your nearest branch (or visit the eLibrary) and grab your copy!

Such a fun age / Reid, Kiley
“When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right. But Emira herself is broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Olive, again / Strout, Elizabeth
New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions of readers. Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is a compelling life force. The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout animates the ordinary with an astonishing force, and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The secret of Cold Hill / James, Peter
“Cold Hill House has been razed to the ground by fire, replaced with a development of ultra-modern homes. Gone with the flames are the violent memories of the house’s history. For Jason and Emily Danes, this is their forever home, and for Maurice and Claudette Penze-Weedell, it’s the perfect place to live out retirement. But it’s only a matter of days before both couples start to feel they are not alone in their new homes . . .” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Show them a good time / Flattery, Nicole
“A young, broke Irish woman narrates her relationship with a successful comedian in New York. Angela makes her way through a series of meaningless dates in a basement restaurant. Two university students collaborate on a play – but the unemployment offices lurks around the corner. Show Them a Good Time is a collection that subverts types – men and women, their assigned roles and meanings – in modern society. Exuberant and irreverent, accomplished and unexpected, it marks the arrival of a thrilling new voice.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Royals / Forrest, Emma
“July, 1981. London. Shy, working-class Steven finds solace in beauty. Eighteen years old, he dreams of being a fashion designer. He’s also gay, maybe – he hasn’t decided yet. When he ends up in hospital after being brutally attacked by his father, he meets Jasmine, an heiress. Intoxicating, anarchic, fabulous Jasmine. Fuelled by their shared love of fashion, a friendship blossoms and soon, Steven finds himself swept into her hedonistic world, wholly beguiled. However, underneath the glitter and the frivolity, darkness lies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dora : a headcase / Yuknavitch, Lidia
“Ida has a secret: she is in love with her best friend. But any time she gets close to intimacy, Ida faints or loses her voice. She needs a shrink. Or so her philandering father thinks. Immediately wise to the head games of her new shrink, Siggy, Ida – and alter-ego Dora – hatch a plan to secretly film him. But when the film goes viral, Ida finds herself targeted by unethical hackers. Dora: A Headcase is a contemporary coming-of-age story based on Freud’s famous case study, retold and revamped through Dora’s point-of-view.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Catholic school / Albinati, Edoardo
“In 1975, three young well-off men, former students at Rome’s prestigious all-boys Catholic high school San Leone Magno, brutally torture, rape, and murder two young women. The event shocks and captivates all of Italy, exposing the violence and dark underbelly of the upper middle class at a moment when the traditional structures of family and religion are under threat. Albinati’s novel reflects on the legacy of abuse, the Italian bourgeoisie, and the relationship between sex, violence, and masculinity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All this could be yours / Attenberg, Jami
“If I know why they are the way they are, then maybe I can learn why I am the way I am,” says Alex Tuchman of her parents. Now that her father is on his deathbed, Alex–a strong-headed lawyer, devoted mother, and loving sister–feels she can finally unearth the secrets of who Victor is. She travels to New Orleans to be with her family, but mostly to interrogate her tightlipped mother, Barbra. As Barbra fends off Alex’s unrelenting questions, she reflects on her tumultuous life.” (Adapted from Catalogue.)

The thirty-one kings / Harris, Robert J.
“June 1940. As German troops pour across France, the veteran soldier and adventurer Richard Hannay is called back into service. In Paris an individual code named ‘Roland’ has disappeared and is assumed to be in the hands of Nazi agents. Only he knows the secret of the Thirty-One Kings, one upon which the future of Europe depends.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sci-Fi Lord of the Flies: New Science Fiction

Salvation Lost / Peter E. Hamilton

Supernova Era, by Cixin Liu

Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy was one of the most expansive science fiction series in recent years, and this month Liu returns with a brand new epic: The Supernova Era. Liu began writing Supernova Era soon after the political uprising in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 (the book was published in China in 2004 and for the first time in English this year), and perhaps not coincidentally (social upheaval, disillusionment) it tells the story of an Earth that has been stripped of its adult population, leaving only children to try and navigate the future.

This month also sees some great Australian sci-fi, including The Old Lie by Claire G. Coleman and the finale of Jay Kristoff ‘s Nevernight Chronicles. For more on Coleman’s work, check out this recent interview. Enjoy!

Supernova era / Liu, Cixin
“Eight years ago, a star died. Tonight, a supernova tsunami of high energy will finally reach Earth. Dark skies will shine bright and within a year everyone over the age of thirteen will be dead. And so the countdown begins. Parents apprentice their children and try to pass on the knowledge they’ll need to keep the world running. But the last generation may not want to carry the legacy of their parents’ world. And though they imagine a better future, they may not be able to escape humanity’s dark instincts.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Salvation lost / Hamilton, Peter F
“The comparative utopia of twenty-third century Earth is about to go dreadfully awry when a seemingly benign alien race is abruptly revealed to be one of the worst threats humanity has ever faced. Driven by an intense religious extremism, the Olyix are determined to bring everyone to their version of god as they see it. But they may have met their match in humanity, who are not about to go gently into that good night or spend the rest of their days cowering in hiding.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Darkdawn / Kristoff, Jay
“The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic. Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

A second chance / Taylor, Jodi
“Behind the facade of St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, a different kind of academic work is taking place. Just don’t call it “time travel”–these historians “investigate major historical events in contemporary time.” And they aren’t your harmless eccentrics; a more accurate description might be unintentional disaster-magnets. The Chronicles of St. Mary’s tells the adventures of Madeleine Maxwell and her compatriots as they travel through time, saving St. Mary’s and thwarting time-travelling terrorists.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

The old lie / Coleman, Claire G
“Shane Daniels and Romany Zetz have been drawn into a war that is not their own. Lives will be destroyed, families will be torn apart. Trust will be broken. When the war is over, some will return to a changed world. Will they discover that glory is a lie?” (Catalogue)