9781788169882

Mona

Pola Oloixarac     Recommended by    

Mona is a Peruvian writer based on a Californian campus, open-eyed and sardonic, a connoisseur of marijuana and prescription pills. In the humanities she has discovered she is something of an anthropological curiosity – a female writer of colour treasured for the flourish of rarefied diversity that reflects so well upon her department.

When she is nominated for ‘the most important literary award in Europe’, Mona sees a chance to escape her sunlit substance abuse and erotic distraction, and leaves for a small village in Sweden. Now she is stuck in the company of her competitors, who arrive from Japan, France, Armenia, Iran and Colombia. The writers do what writers do: exchange flattery, nurse envy and private resentments, stab rivals in the back and go to bed together.

But all the while, Mona keeps stumbling across traces of violence on her body, the origins of which she can’t – or won’t – remember.

Mona reads like Rachel Cusk’s Kudos on drugs’ – The Atlantic

‘Sly, bitter, and smart, Mona is at once a satirical comedy, a harrowing psychological portrait of a woman’s dissociation, and a philosophical indictment of the hubris of now. Read it and be surprised.’ – Siri Hustvedt, author of Memories of the Future

‘A wicked satire of the literary elite and an exploration of art and violence’ – New Yorker

 

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Orochi: The Perfect Edition, Volume One

Kazuo Omezz     Recommended by    
The classic manga from horror master and creator of The Drifting Classroom, in a new, deluxe format!

 

Before Junji Ito’s Tomie, there was Kazuo Omezz’s Orochi…

 

Named for the legendary multi-tailed serpent, Orochi is a young woman who slithers her way into the lives on unsuspecting people. Volume One opens with “Sisters,” in which Orochi affects the lives of two wealthy siblings who couldn’t be more alike… or more different. Next, in “Bones,” Orochi helps a man come back to life after a terrible accident, but resurrection can be a deadly business…

 

Volume one of the deluxe hardcover series, Orochi: The Perfect Edition, features two of the nine of Omezz’s classic interconnected short stories.
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Fugitive

Simon Tedeschi     Recommended by    

Known primarily as a concert pianist, Simon Tedeschi has written for publications across Australia. You may also remember him from the 1996 movie Shine, where he played the hands of the pianist David Helfgott.

In 1917, a young composer writes a suite of twenty pieces for piano. Each pass by like a gust of wind. They are short, violent and strange – the music of another world. In 1938, a young Jewish family flees Italy for Sydney, Australia. In 1942, another family, this time Polish, is nearly destroyed. Half a century later, a young man begins to understand the role the young composer’s strange visions have played in everything that came before him and all that has come to be.

In his first book, Simon Tedeschi applies elements – from history, memory and the body of the musician – to make a remarkable work of imagination and fractal beauty. He straddles the borders of poetry and prose, fiction and fact, trauma and testimony. Fugitive is filled with what Russian poet Konstantin Balmont called ‘the fickle play of rainbows‘.

When he is not writing or practising, Tedeschi reads books and drinks coffee. He and his wife, the painter Loribelle Spirovski (of the striking cover art), live in Sydney, Australia with their cat.

 

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This All Come Back Now

Edited by Mykaela Saunders     Recommended by    

The first-ever anthology of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speculative fiction – written, curated, edited and designed by blackfellas, for blackfellas and about blackfellas. In these stories, ‘this all come back’: all those things that have been taken from us, that we collectively mourn the loss of, or attempt to recover and revive, as well as those that we thought we’d gotten rid of, that are always returning to haunt and hound us.

Some writers summon ancestral spirits from the past, while others look straight down the barrel of potential futures, which always end up curving back around to hold us from behind. Dazzling, imaginative and unsettling, This All Come Back Now centres and celebrates communities and culture. It’s a love letter to kin and country, to memory and future-thinking.

‘In This All Come Back Now, Saunders commits a radical act of subversion, and intellectual sovereignty by transforming a genre that has defined Western attitudes towards race, colonialism, and technology into a vehicle of First Nations continuance, resilience, and resistance.’ – Jeanine Leane

‘Blackfullas invented speculative fiction and this is the first time that the work of established and emerging Blak writers working in speculative fiction has been brought together in an anthology.’ – Jack Latimore, The Age

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Bedtime Story

Chloe Hooper     Recommended by    

From the best-selling author of The Tall Man and The Arsonist, a personal tale about death, life and the enchantment of stories. With illustrations by Anna Walker.

Let me tell you a story…

When Chloe Hooper’s partner is diagnosed with a rare and aggressive illness, she has to find a way to tell their two young sons. By instinct, she turns to the bookshelf. Can the news be broken as a bedtime tale? Is there a perfect book to prepare children for loss?

Hooper embarks on a quest to find what practical lessons children’s literature—with its innocent orphans and evil adults, magic, monsters and anthropomorphic animals—can teach about grief and resilience in real life. From the Brothers Grimm to Frances Hodgson Burnett and Tolkien and Dahl—all of whom suffered childhood bereavements—she follows the breadcrumbs of the world’s favourite authors, searching for the deep wisdom in their books and lives.

Both memoir and manual, Bedtime Story is stunningly illustrated by the New York Times award-winning Anna Walker. In an age of worldwide uncertainty, here is a profound and moving exploration of the dark and light of storytelling.

‘Everything you’d ever want in a bedtime story – heroes and heroines, puzzles and dangers, invisible forces, birds, trees, beasts, poetry, sadness and joy. Stories within stories. I was spellbound from the start. As for the ending… I can’t tell you that.’ Paul Kelly OA

‘Chloe Hooper has a formidable talent to take complex stories and ideas and truths, and to distil them into a language of direct and powerful beauty. This is a story of grief and of patience, of hope and acceptance. It is also a reminder of the solace that books give us, and of how the imaginary worlds we dive into as children remain with is for all our lives, of how they guide us into adulthood and maturity. There is a quiet courage and strength in this book. It is both gentle and uncompromising, a love letter to family and to literature that is bracingly unsentimental. I was profoundly moved, and profoundly grateful.’ Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap and Damascus

‘This book is a miracle of light and meaning-making from one of our finest writers. Venturing inward with extraordinary grace, Hooper explores – and extends – the long literary line surging with our deepest inherited wisdom about how to embrace our finite lives. The result is nothing less than the hero’s journey we have been collectively starving for. Telling you this is like trying to describe the sun; it is a book so powerful and beautiful – so utterly its own – that it can only be experienced directly.’ Sarah Krasnostein, author of The Trauma Cleaner and The Believer

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The Murder Rule

Dervla McTiernan     Recommended by    

No one is innocent in this story…

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The unmissable new standalone from the no.1 bestseller of The Good Turn

Diabolically clever, highly compelling and deeply moving. I loved The Murder Rule and did not want it to end.’  – Don Winslow, New York Times bestselling author of The Force and The Border

Extraordinary. Haunting. An incredible thriller. I could not put this book down. Dervla McTiernan is a gifted writer with a very special way of telling a story. This is a heart stopping rollercoaster of a tale.’ – Adrian McKinty, New York Times bestselling author of The Chain

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First Rule: Make them like you.

Second Rule: Make them need you.

Third Rule: Make them pay.

They think I’m a young, idealistic law student, that I’m passionate about reforming a corrupt and brutal system.

They think I’m working hard to impress them.

They think I’m here to save an innocent man on death row.

They’re wrong. I’m going to bury him.

 

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Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker

Alice Walker     Recommended by    

 ‘These journals are a revelation, a road map and a gift to us all.’ – TAYARI JONES, author of An American Marriage

From the acclaimed author Alice Walker – winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize – comes an unprecedented compilation of four decades’ worth of journals that draw an intimate portrait of her development as an artist, intellectual and human rights activist.

In Gathering Blossoms Under Fire, Walker offers a passionate, intimate record of her intellectual, artistic and political development. She also intimately explores – in real time – her thoughts and feelings as a woman, a writer, an African American, a wife, a daughter, a mother, a lover, a sister, a friend, a citizen of the world. In an unvarnished and singular voice, she writes about an astonishing array of events: marching in Mississippi with other foot soldiers of the civil rights movement, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., or ‘the King’ as she called him; her marriage to a Jewish lawyer, partly to defy laws that barred interracial marriage in the 1960s South; an early miscarriage; the birth of her daughter; writing her first novel; the trials and triumphs of the women’s movement; erotic encounters and enduring relationships; the ‘ancestral visits’ that led her to write The Color Purple; winning the Pulitzer Prize; being admired and maligned, in sometimes equal measure, for her work and her activism; burying her mother; and her estrangement from her own daughter. The personal and the political are layered and intertwined in the revealing narrative that emerges from Walker’s journals.

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Devil House

John Darnielle     Recommended by    

From New York Times bestselling author and Mountain Goats singer/songwriter John Darnielle comes an epic, gripping novel about murder, truth, and the dangers of storytelling.

Gage Chandler is descended from kings. That’s what his mother always told him. Years later, he is a true crime writer, with one grisly success – and a movie adaptation – to his name, along with a series of subsequent less notable efforts. But now he is being offered the chance for his big break- to move into the house where a pair of briefly notorious murders occurred, apparently the work of disaffected teens during the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Chandler finds himself in Milpitas, California, a small town whose name rings a bell – his closest childhood friend lived there, once upon a time. He begins his research with diligence and enthusiasm, but soon the story leads him into a puzzle he never expected – back into his own work and what it means, back to the very core of what he does and who he is.

Devil House is John Darnielle’s most ambitious work yet, a book that blurs the line between fact and fiction, that combines daring formal experimentation with a spellbinding tale of crime, writing, memory, and artistic obsession.

‘Quietly, as if stealing in on cat’s paws, John Darnielle has become, as a novelist, unignorable… His third novel, Devil House, is terrific – confident, creepy, a powerful and soulful page-turner. I had no idea where it was going, in the best possible sense… It’s never quite the book you think it is. It’s better.’ – Dwight Garner, The New York Times

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Time is a Mother

Ocean Vuong     Recommended by    

How else do we return to ourselves but to fold
The page so it points to the good part

In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong searches for life among the aftershocks of his mother’s death, embodying the paradox of sitting within grief while being determined to survive beyond it. Shifting through memory, and in concert with the themes of his bestselling novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Vuong contends with personal loss, the meaning of family, and the value of joy in a perennially fractured American spirit. Vivid, brave, and propulsive, Vuong’s poems circle fragmented lives to find both restoration as well as the epicentre of the break.

The author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection Night Sky With Exit Wounds, winner of the 2016 Whiting Award, the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize, and a 2019 MacArthur fellow, Vuong writes directly to our humanity without losing sight of the current moment. These poems represent a more innovative and daring experimentation with language and form, illuminating how the themes we live in and question are truly inexhaustible. Bold and prescient, and a testament to tenderness in the face of violence, Time Is a Mother is a return and a forging-forth all at once.

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Young Mungo

Douglas Stuart     Recommended by    

From Booker Prize-winner Douglas Stuart, an extraordinary, page-turning second novel, a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a highly suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James.

Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in the hyper-masculine and violently sectarian world of Glasgow’s housing estates. They should be sworn enemies if they’re to be seen as men at all, and yet they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds.

As they find themselves falling in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo works especially hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his elder brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable.

When Mungo’s mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland with two strange men whose drunken banter belies murky pasts, he will need to summon all his inner strength and courage to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future.

Imbuing the everyday world of its characters with rich lyricism and giving full voice to people rarely acknowledged in literary fiction, Douglas Stuart’s Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the bounds of masculinity, the push and pull of family, the violence faced by so many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.

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