Follow @book_lounge
Subscribe here to receive invitations to our events and our monthly Newsletter
* = required field

Brand New Philip Pullman – Pre-order Special!! Plus – see below for a chance to get the His Dark Materials trilogy at a discounted price.

Friday, October 13th 2017 at 4:30 PM

La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Part One by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with this magnificent first volume of The Book of Dust.

Image result for pullman la belle sauvageEleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .

We are offering 2 different editions of the book, each at 20% discount:
Trade paperback – Retails at R295, but you pay only R236 if you order and pay before Friday October 13th.
Hardback – Retails at R455, but you pay only R364 if you order and pay before Friday October 13th.

The book will be released worldwide on Thursday 19th October.
To order mail us on booklounge@gmail.com, or call on 021 462 2425.

Published by Penguin Random House

.

.

.

.

 

Image result for his dark materials everyman's libraryFor the duration of the pre-order special (20th July – 13th October) we are offering the original His Dark Materials trilogy in this beautiful Everyman Library hardback edition at 20% discount.
Normally priced at R295, you will pay only R236
You can reserve your copy by mailing booklounge@gmail.com, or calling 021 462 2425

July 2017

Monday, July 31st 2017 at 1:50 PM

Book of the Month

No is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics by Naomi Klein

 

Image result for Book of the Month No is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics by Naomi KleinAn ordinary person’s guide to hope. Read this book.”                     Arundhati Roy
As accessible as it is brilliant.”                     Owen Jones
A genuine page turner.”                   Michelle Alexander

Naomi Klein – award-winning journalist, bestselling author of No LogoThe Shock Doctrine and This Changes Everything, scourge of brand bullies and corporate liars – gives us the toolkit we need to survive our surreal, shocking age.

‘This is a look at how we arrived at this surreal political moment, how to keep it from getting a lot worse, and how, if we keep our heads, we can flip the script.’

 

Remember when love was supposed to trump hate? Remember when the oil companies and bankers seemed to be running scared? What the hell happened? And what can we do about it? Naomi Klein shows us how we got here, and how we can make things better.

No Is Not Enough reveals, among other things, that the disorientation we’re feeling is deliberate. That around the world, shock political tactics are being used to generate crisis after crisis, designed to force through policies that will destroy people, the environment, the economy and our security. That extremism isn’t a freak event – it’s a toxic cocktail of our times.

From how to trash the Trump megabrand to the art of reclaiming the populist argument, Naomi Klein shows all of us how we can break the spell and win the world we need. Don’t let them get away with it.

 

Who better than Naomi to make sense of this madness, and help us find a way out? A top-of-the-stack must read.”              Michael Stipe

 

Naomi Klein’s new book incites us brilliantly to interweave our No with a programmatic Yes. A manual for emancipation.”                       Yanis Varoufakis

 

Magnificent … a courageous coruscating counterspell.”                Junot Díaz

 

 

 

Fiction

Baltimore Boys by Joel Dicker

 

Image result for Fiction Baltimore Boys by Joel DickerNOVEMBER 24, 2004

 

The day of the tragedy. The end of a brotherhood.

 

The Baltimore Boys. The Goldman Gang. That was what they called Marcus Goldman and his cousins Woody and Hillel. Three brilliant young men with dazzling futures ahead of them, before their kingdom crumbled beneath the weight of lies, jealousy and betrayal. For years, Marcus has struggled with the burdens of his past, but now he must attempt to banish his demons and tell the true and astonishing story of the Baltimore Boys.

 

The stunning new novel from the author of the global bestseller, The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair.

 

A literary phenomenon.”                   Figaro

Veers between nostalgia for what could have been and regrets for what can never be. Captivating and beautifully conceived.”                  Elle

Really compelling. A multi-layered family saga that behaves like a thriller. “     Frankfurter Neue Presse

 

 

A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert

 

Image result for A Boy in Winter by Rachel SeiffertEarly on a grey November morning in 1941, only weeks after the German invasion, a small Ukrainian town is overrun by the SS. This new novel from the award-winning author of the Booker Prize short-listed The Dark Room tells of the three days that follow and the lives that are overturned in the process.

Penned in with his fellow Jews, under threat of deportation, Ephraim anxiously awaits word of his two sons, missing since daybreak.

Come in search of her lover, to fetch him home again, away from the invaders, Yasia must confront new and harsh truths about those closest to her.

Here to avoid a war he considers criminal, German engineer Otto Pohl is faced with an even greater crime unfolding behind the lines, and no one but himself to turn to.

And in the midst of it all is Yankel, a boy determined to survive this. But to do so, he must throw in his lot with strangers.

As their stories mesh, each of Rachel Seiffert’s characters comes to know the compromises demanded by survival, the oppressive power of fear, and the possibility of courage in the face of terror.

Rich with a rare compassion and emotional depth, A Boy in Winter is a story of hope when all is lost and of mercy when the times have none.

 

The primal energy in this novel is a moral sore that will never heal … [a] fine novel.”                 John Sutherland, The Times

Seiffert’s cool tone never wavers – her spare, beautiful prose is a joy to read.”                 Helen Dunmore, The Guardian

Rachel Seiffert’s new novel A Boy in Winter stretches over only three days, through which you encounter all the emotions of the time, horror and instinct for survival, family loyalty, and above all perhaps, bravery.”                James Naughtie, BBC

Completely captures those times in a vivid, precise, captivating and terrible way.”                      Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

 

 

 

The Spoils by Brian van Reet

 

Image result for The Spoils by Brian van ReetSpoils is a harrowing and incredibly powerful debut. I read this with awe.”     Kate Atkinson

It is the spring of 2003 and coalition forces are advancing on Iraq. Images of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein crashing to the ground in Baghdad are being beamed to news channels around the world. Nineteen-year-old Specialist Cassandra Wigheard, on her first deployment since joining the US army two years earlier, is primed for war.

For Abu al-Hool, a jihadist since the days of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, war is wearing thin. Two decades of fighting – and the new wave of super-radicalised fighters joining the ranks in the wake of the September 11 attacks – have left him questioning his commitment to the struggle.

When Cassandra is taken prisoner by al-Hool’s mujahideen brotherhood, both fighters will find their loyalties tested to the very limits.

This fast-paced, hard-hitting account of eight weeks in the lives of a soldier and her captor forces us to reconsider the simplistic narratives of war spun by those in power. With its privileged insight into the reality of armed combat, Spoils shines a light on the uncertainty, fear and idealism that characterised the early days of one of the most important conflicts of our time.

 

With Spoils Brian Van Reet has given readers an intensely moving novel. That it is also a nearly comprehensive examination of our modern wars is a remarkable demonstration of both the power and relevance of fiction.”               Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds

 

A superb debut.”       Guardian

 

Clear, authentic and beautifully written, Spoils is a book about war for people who don’t like books about war. Van Reet gives us a thriller that is not a thriller, but a grave and fierce description of the moral battlefield behind the headlines from Iraq.”              Anne Enright

 

 

The Softness of the Lime by Maxine Case

 

Image result for The Softness of the Lime by Maxine Case1782: In the bustling settlement at the Cape of Good Hope, traders, politicians, farmers and fortune-seekers compete for goods, land and power. It is here that Geert Baardwijk, a wealthy Dutch heir, finds himself drawn to Lena, a young slave he has inherited from his father.
Bartered and sold into slavery as a child, Lena pines for the Madagascan highlands from within the cloistered confines of her master’s townhouse. When Geert marries a woman from the upper strata of Cape society to preserve his wealth and status, he is forced to confront his own responsibilities and failings, as well as the true meaning of
love and fatherhood.
Spanning more than eighty years, Softness of the Lime tells of traditions old and emerging, at a time in the Cape when competition for ownership of everything – including people – was at its peak. Drawing on the history of her own ancestors,
Maxine Case mesmerises with this compelling story of passion and integrity, love and betrayal.

 

 

McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh

 

Image result for McGlue by Ottessa MoshfeghThey said I’ve done something wrong?… And they’ve just left me down here to starve. Haven’t had a drop in days more so…

Salem, Massachusetts, 1851: McGlue is in the hold, still too drunk to be sure of his name or situation or orientation – he may have killed a man. That man may have been his best friend. Now, McGlue wants one thing and one thing only: a drink. Because for McGlue, insufferable, terrifying memories accompany sobriety. A-sail on the high seas of literary tradition, Ottessa Moshfegh gives us an unforgettable blackguard on a knife-sharp voyage through the fogs of recollection.

 

Wonderful.”               Guardian

Strange and beautiful.”                     LA Times

A gorgeously sordid story of love and murder on the high seas and in reeky corners of mid-nineteenth-century New York and points North. McGlue is a wonderwork of virtuoso prose and truths that will make you squirm and concur.”                       Gary Lutz

You’re in safe, if sticky hands with an Ottessa Moshfegh story… Everything bulges and reeks in this novella, which feels as if it was written in a permanent state of nausea… The plot spins faster than its main character’s head. What elevates this novella are the scalpelsharp observations about McGlue’s nihilism and her prose, which is as distilled as the liquor McGlue necks. It’s a wild ride.”                        The Times

 

The Night Brother by Rosie Garland

 

Image result for The Night Brother by Rosie GarlandFrom the author of The Palace of Curiosities and Vixen comes a bold new novel exploring questions of identity, sexual equality and how well we really know ourselves. Perfect for fans of Angela Carter, Sarah Waters and Erin Morgenstern.

Rich are the delights of late nineteenth-century Manchester for young siblings Edie and Gnome. They bicker, banter, shout and scream their way through the city’s streets, embracing its charms and dangers. But as the pair grow up, it is Gnome who revels in the night-time, while Edie wakes exhausted each morning, unable to quell a sickening sense of unease, with only a dim memory of the dark hours.

Confused and frustrated at living a half-life, she decides to take control, distancing herself from Gnome once and for all. But can she ever be free from someone who knows her better than she knows herself?

A dazzling and provocative novel of adventure and belonging, The Night Brother lures us to the furthermost boundaries of sexual and gender identity. With echoes of Orlando and Jekyll & Hyde, this is a story about the vital importance of being honest with yourself. Every part of yourself. After all, no-one likes to be kept in the dark.

 

Rosie Garland writes in a tumble of poetry, desire and passion, as intriguing and delicious as the story she tells.”                         Stella Duffy

 

 

 

 

 

The French Art of War by Alexis Jenni

 

Image result for The French Art of War by Alexis JenniIt was the beginning of the Gulf War. I watched it on TV and did little else. I was doing badly, you see. Everything was going wrong. I just awaited the end. But then I met Victorien Salagnon, a veteran of the great colonial wars of Indochina, Vietnam and Algeria, a commander who had led his soldiers across the globe, a man with the blood of others up to his elbows. He said he would teach me to paint; he must have been the only painter in the French Forces, but out there no one cares about such things. I cared, though. In return, he wanted me to write his life story. And so he talked, and I wrote, and through him I witnessed the rivers of blood that cut channels through France, I saw the deaths that were as numberless as they were senseless and I began finally to understand the French art of war.

 

Winner of the Prix Goncourt

 

 

The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

 

Image result for The Women of the Castle by Jessica ShattuckIn war they made impossible choices. Now can they live with them?

Moving . . . surprises and devastates.”                      New York Times
Mesmerising . . . reveals new truths about one of history’s most tragic eras.”      USA Today

The Third Reich has crumbled. The Russians are coming.

Marianne von Lingenfels – widow of a resister murdered by the Nazi regime – finds refuge in the crumbling Bavarian castle where she once played host to German high society. There she fulfils her promise to find and protect the wives and children of her husband’s brave conspirators, rescuing her dearest friend’s widow, Benita, from sexual slavery to the Russian army, and Ania from a work camp for political prisoners. As Marianne assembles this makeshift family she is certain their shared pain will bind them together.

But as Benita begins a clandestine relationship and Ania struggles to conceal her role in the Nazi regime, Marianne learns that her clear-cut, highly principled world view has no place in these new, frightening and emotionally-charged days.

All three women must grapple with the realities they now face, and the consequences of decisions each made in the darkest of times . . .

 

This is an astonishingly powerful story…so well written and an important and absorbing story set around one of the most horrific times in history. Highly recommended.”               Books and Me

Shattuck creates three dynamic and complex characters. Completely engrossing, with unforgettable characters, The Women in the Castle is a must read.”                Historical Novel Society

 

 

Broken River by J. Robert Lennon

 

Image result for Broken River by J. Robert LennonFollowing a string of affairs, Karl and Eleanor are giving their marriage one last shot: they’re moving with their twelve-year-old daughter Irina from Brooklyn to a newly renovated, apparently charming old house near the upstate New York town of Broken River.

Before their arrival, the house stood empty for over a decade. The reason is no secret. Twelve years previously, a brutal double murder took place there, a young couple killed in front of their child. The crime was never solved, and most locals consider the house cursed.

The family may have left the deceptions of their city life behind them, but all three are still lying to each other, and to themselves. Before long the family’s duplicity will unleash forces none of them could possibly have anticipated, putting them in mortal danger.

This new novel by America’s master of literary rule-breaking is part thriller, part family drama, part Gothic horror – and like all J.Robert Lennon’s novels, it shows the consequences of human deceitfulness, and the dreadful force the past can exert on the present.

 

A tense, surprising thriller, with perverse overtones of the Coen brothers variety.”          Jonathan Lethem, New York Times

 

Compelling from the first page, and then smart, sophisticated, suspenseful and satisfying throughout – Broken River is a first-class ride.”                  Lee Child

 

Hypnotic and unsettling, Broken River weaves a dark, compelling spell.”              Mick Herron, author of Real Tigers

 

A writer with enough electricity to light up the country.”               Ann Patchett

 

“Broken River is a novel with multiple identities: it’s a ghost story, a crime story, a coming-of-age story, a story about love and family and fiction itself. What is astonishing is how well all these elements work together, how they intertwine as seamlessly as the fates of Lennon’s characters. As good as fiction gets.”                  Ben Winters

 

An intimate portrait of the violence we do to each other, about family and art and the scars of unspeakable acts. Broken River blisters and rips and ultimately soars. I loved it.”                    Lauren Beukes

 

 

The Ice by Laline Paull

 

Image result for The Ice by Laline PaullAn electrifying story of friendship, power and betrayal by the bestselling, Baileys-prize shortlisted author of The Bees.

It’s the day after tomorrow and the Arctic sea ice has melted. While global business carves up the new frontier, cruise ships race each other to ever-rarer wildlife sightings. The passengers of the Vanir have come seeking a polar bear. What they find is even more astonishing: a dead body.

It is Tom Harding, lost in an accident three years ago and now revealed by the melting ice of Midgard glacier. Tom had come to Midgard to help launch the new venture of his best friend of thirty years, Sean Cawson, a man whose business relies on discretion and powerful connections – and who was the last person to see him alive.

Their friendship had been forged by a shared obsession with Arctic exploration. And although Tom’s need to save the world often clashed with Sean’s desire to conquer it, Sean has always believed that underneath it all, they shared the same goals.

But as the inquest into Tom’s death begins, the choices made by both men – in love and in life – are put on the stand. And when cracks appear in the foundations of Sean’s glamorous world, he is forced to question what price he has really paid for a seat at the establishment’s table.

Just how deep do the lies go?

 

A gripping, brilliantly textured climate thriller. Its timeliness is chilling. A stunning read.”          Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture

 

This is a real page turner.”                            Observer

 

The White Road by Sarah Lotz

 

Image result for The White Road by Sarah LotzAdrenaline-junky Simon Newman sneaks onto private land to explore a dangerous cave in Wales with a strange man he’s met online. But Simon gets more than he bargained for when the expedition goes horribly wrong. Simon emerges, the only survivor, after a rainstorm trap the two in the cave. Simon thinks he’s had a lucky escape.

But his video of his near-death experience has just gone viral.

Suddenly Simon finds himself more famous than he could ever have imagined. Now he’s faced with an impossible task: he’s got to defy death once again, and film the entire thing. The whole world will be watching. There’s only one place on earth for him to pit himself against the elements: Mt Everest, the tallest mountain in the world.

But Everest is also one of the deadliest spots on the planet. Two hundred and eighty people have died trying to reach its peak.

And Simon’s luck is about to run out.

 

A terrifying tale of unparalleled danger, both physical and mental, The White Road will keep you guessing (and scared) until the very end.”                Bustle

If you’re looking for a fun, creepy, adventurous summer read, this is it!”              Book Riot

An expertly fashioned, spine-tingling account of danger, both physical and mental.”                    Booklist

Dark and unsettling . . . Lotz knows how to develop suspense and horror . . . The supernatural elements keep one engaged and guessing.”                      Kirkus Reviews

Both characters risk spooky fates on the mountain that are made all the more vivid by Lotz’s ability to get on the printed page the terrors of high climbing in the most exact language.”                  Toronto Star

 

 

Scandal by Frederik Backman

 

Image result for Scandal by Fredrik Backman‘Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

This is the story of how we got there.’

 

For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart.

Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. A bright new future is just around the corner.

Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

With the town’s future at stake, no one can stand by or stay silent. Everyone is on one side or the other.

Which side would you be on?

 

A story about families, about friendship and loyalty, inequality, female vulnerability, male back-slapping, and parenthood … No person’s story is too little to be told, Backman includes them all. A novel with a big heart.”                Jönköpings-Posten, Sweden

“A kind of problem play that moves extremely skilfully near the melodramatic without derailing. Its originality is substantial and the book credibly conveys the dual faces of everyday life. An impressive novel, like no other.”               BTJ, Sweden

 

Belladonna by Dasa Drndic

 

Image result for Belladonna by Dasa DrndicAn excoriating work of fiction that references the twentieth century’s darkest hours.

Andreas Ban is a writer and a psychologist, an intellectual proper, but his world has been falling apart for years. When he retires with a miserable pension and finds out that he is ill, he gains a new perspective on the debris of his life and the lives of his friends. In defying illness and old age, Andreas Ban is cynical and powerful, and in his unravelling of his own past and the lives of others, he uncompromisingly lays bare a gamut of taboos.

Andreas Ban stands for a true hero of our times; a castaway intellectual of a society which subdues every critical thought under the guise of political correctness. Belladonna addresses some of the twentieth century’s worst human atrocities in a powerful fusion of fiction and reality, the hallmark of one of Europe’s finest contemporary writers.

 

A very fine novel, wise and brave. Her fiction is very powerful statement fiction, and yet somehow the quality, the humanity, the playfulness actually counters the polemical intent. This is an extraordinary book.”                        Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

A pensive, provocative novel of history, memory, and our endlessly blood-soaked times by one of the foremost writers to have emerged from the former Yugoslavia . . . An elegant novel of ideas concerning decidedly inelegant topics, empathetic but unforgiving.”              Kirkus Reviews

 

 

Graphic

Other Russias by Victoria Lomasko

 

Image result for Graphic Other Russias by Victoria LomaskoFrom a renowned graphic artist and activist, an incredible portrait of life in Russia today

What does it mean to live in Russia today? What is it like to grow up in a forgotten city, to be a migrant worker or to grow old and seek solace in the Orthodox church?

For the past eight years, graphic artist and activist Victoria Lomasko has been travelling around Russia and talking to people as she draws their stories. She spent time in dying villages where schoolteachers outnumber students; she stayed with sex workers in the city of Nizhny Novgorod; she went to juvenile prisons and spoke to kids who have no contact with the outside world; and she attended every major political rally in Moscow.

The result is an extraordinary portrait of Russia in the Putin years — a country full of people who have been left behind, many of whom are determined to fight for their rights and for progress against impossible odds. Empathetic, honest, funny, and often devastating, Lomasko’s portraits show us a side of Russia that is hardly ever seen.

 

Victoria Lomasko’s gritty, street-level view of the great Russian people masterfully intertwines quiet desperation with open defiance. Her drawings have an on-the-spot immediacy that I envy. She is one of the brave ones.”                 Joe Sacco, author of Palestine

Powerful… Though Victoria Lomasko’s figures are rendered in broad, black-and-white strokes, her depictions of God-fearing old ladies, young skinheads, and striking truckers never fall into the traps of parody, contempt, or stereotype. Her focus on the daily lives of regular people offers a respite from the international fixation on Vladimir Putin — who is, after all, only one of a hundred and forty-four million Russians.”                        New Yorker

Fun: Spies, Puzzle Solvers and a Century of Riddles by Paolo Bacilieri

 

Image result for Fun: Spies, Puzzle Solvers and a Century of Riddles by Paolo BacilieriIn December 1913, the New York World newspaper published the first crossword in history. It appeared in their Sunday supplement, ‘Fun’. A century on, this absorbing puzzle continues to attract (and infuriate) millions of devotees every day. But the world’s most popular – and seemingly mundane – pastime has a surprising history, filled with intrigue and adventure. Paolo Bacilieri’s FUN transports us from turn-of-the-century New York to present day Milan, taking in stories of ingenious puzzle makers, ardent solvers and intellectual luminaries. Part detective story, part docudrama, and interlaced with a fiction of Bacilieri’s own imagining, FUN questions the crossword’s ‘harmless’ status. Sure, it’s fun – but could it also be a form of resistance, of cryptic communication, of espionage?

 

 

The Adventures of John Blake by Philip Pullman

 

Image result for The Adventures of John Blake by Philip PullmanFar out at sea, and hidden by the fog of time, sails the Mary Alice and her crew – searching for a way home. But the mysterious ship is being hunted by a villain who will go to ANY lengths to track her down …When a storm hits a small family yacht throwing a young girl overboard, John Blake dives in to save her and brings her aboard the so-called ghost ship. But trying to return her to her own time means going back to the one place where they run the greatest risk of being completely annihilated. Join Philip Pullman’s John Blake and the crew of the Mary Alice in an unforgettable time-travelling adventure on the high seas. With art by Fred Fordham.

 

 

Vintage Minis

 

Image result for Vintage Minis booksVintage Minis brings you a series of short books by the world’s greatest writers on the experiences that make us human – from birth to death and everything in between.

The new Vintage Minis series offers you a taste of Vintage authors, both classic and contemporary, on subjects as varied as swimming and desire.

Presented in a stylish pocket size design of about 100 pages, each title provides insight on various aspects of human life and a chance to appreciate the work of some of the world’s greatest writers.

Titles include

Desire by Haruki Murakami

Love by Jeanette Winterson

Motherhood by Helen Simpson

Fatherhood by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Summer by Laurie Lee

Race by Toni Morrison

Liberty by Virginia Woolf

Depression by Willian Styron

Eating by Nigella Lawson

Psychedelics by Aldous Huxley

Death by Julian Barnes….and more

 

 

Non-fiction

Koh-I-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Famous Diamond by William Dalrymple and Anita Anand

 

Image result for Non-fiction Koh-I-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Famous Diamond by William Dalrymple and Anita AnandThe first comprehensive and authoritative history of the Koh-i-Noor, arguably the most celebrated and mythologised jewel in the world.

On 29 March 1849, the ten-year-old Maharajah of the Punjab was ushered into the magnificent Mirrored Hall at the centre of the great Fort in Lahore. There, in a public ceremony, the frightened but dignified child handed over great swathes of the richest country in India in a formal Act of Submission to a private corporation, the East India Company. He was also compelled to hand over to the British monarch, Queen Victoria, perhaps the single most valuable object on the subcontinent: the celebrated Koh-i Noor diamond. The Mountain of Light.

The history of the Koh-i-Noor that was then commissioned by the British may have been one woven together from gossip of Delhi bazaars, but it was to be become the accepted version. Only now is it finally challenged, freeing the diamond from the fog of mythology that has clung to it for so long. The resulting history is one of greed, murder, torture, colonialism and appropriation told through an impressive slice of south and central Asian history. It ends with the jewel in its current controversial setting: in the crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Masterly, powerful and erudite, this is history at its most compelling and invigorating.

 

Extraordinary. William Dalrymple and Anita Anand have found previously ignored and untranslated Persian and Afghan sources to give us fresh information                        The Times

Riveting. Dalrymple and Anand present as evocative a rendering as the most enthralling bazaar storyteller while providing an astute and empathetic study of the historical landscape through which the diamond has made its troubled way…This highly readable and entertaining book …finally sets the record straight on the history of the Koh-i-Noor.”                Sunday Times

The history of the many who have coveted the diamond is long and involved, full of wonder and awe, treachery and bloodshed.”                       Observer
Dalrymple tells this complicated story with verve and admirable brevity, drawing on a wide range of literature and memoirs. He paints a picture in which elegance and refinement are married to treachery and hideous brutality…This is a book which anyone interested in 19th century India and Indio-British relations will want to read.”              Allan Massie, Scotsman

Dalrymple and Anand bring every stage of the Koh-i-Noor’s turbulent past to life. It is an utterly fascinating story, revealing the nature of power through the history of one of its most potent symbols.”      Literary Review

 

 

Killers of the Flower Moon: Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

 

Image result for Killers of the Flower Moon: Oil, Money, Murder and the Birth of the FBI by David GrannIn the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe.

Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. But the bureau badly bungled the investigation. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage he and his undercover team began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.

David Grann has a razor-keen instinct for suspense.”                     Louise Erdrich

 

A fascinating account of a tragic and forgotten chapter in the history of the American West. This powerful story reveals the unimaginable scale of these shocking murders almost a hundred years ago.”                John Grisham

A magnificent book – a riveting true story of greed, serial murder and racial injustice. David Grann is a terrific journalist, and this is maybe the best thing he’s ever written.”                    Jon Krakauer

If Killers of the Flower Moon were a novel, one would marvel at David Grann’s skill in constructing such a taut, driving narrative with so many stunning plot twists. But it is a true story, based on years of meticulous reporting, making the book both a fiercely entertaining mystery story and a wrenching exploration of evil.”                                   Kate Atkinson

 

 

Hitmen for Hire: Exposing South Africa’s Underworld by Mark Shaw

 

Image result for Hitmen for Hire: Exposing South Africa’s Underworld by Mark ShawHitmen for Hire takes the reader on a journey like no other, navigating a world of paid hitmen, informers, rogue policemen, criminal taxi bosses, gang leaders, and crooked politicians and businessmen in South Africa. Criminologist Mark Shaw examines a society in which contract killings have become commonplace, looking at who arranges hits, where to find a hitman, and even what it is like to operate as a hitman – or woman.

Since 1994, South Africa has seen a worrying increase in the commercialisation of murder – and has been rocked by several high-profile contract killings. Drawing on his research of over a thousand incidents of hired assassinations, from 2000 to 2016, Shaw reveals how these murders are used to exert a mafia-type control over the country’s legal and illegal economic activity. Contracted assassinations, and the organised criminal activity behind them, contain sinister linkages with the upperworld, most visibly in relation to disputes over tenders and access to government resources. State security actors increasingly mediate relations between the under and upper worlds, with serious implications for the long-term success of the post-apartheid democratic project.

 

 

 

The Geography of Madness by Frank Bures

 

Image result for The Geography of Madness by Frank BuresWhy do thousands of African men become convinced – despite what doctors tell them – that their penises have, simply, disappeared? Why do people across the world become convinced that they are cursed to die on a particular date – and then do? Why do people in Malaysia suddenly “run amok”?

Frank Bures investigates these and other “culture-bound” syndromes, tracing each seemingly baffling phenomenon to its source. What he uncovers along the way is a poignant story of the persistence of belief, fear, and hope across the world. Syndromes in the book include:

Koro, a.k.a. Penis Theft: The belief that one’s genitals have disappeared.
Mamhepo: A condition in which a person starts to mimic a particular animal chosen for him or her by a witch.
Ode Ori: The belief that an organism is crawling through one’s head, leading to intense dizziness and vision loss.
Running Amok: A phenomenon in which, after a period of brooding, an afflicted individual suddenly starts to randomly attack groups of people or objects.

 

Frank Bures has some of the widest (and wildest) curiosities of any writer out there. This is a man who truly wants to know the world, in all its strange and beautiful variations. He is fearless in his reporting, generous in his spirit, and brilliant in his prose. I would follow him anywhere. ” –              Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

It would be easy just to gawk at the strangeness of these syndromes, or to dismiss them as unscientific or psychosomatic. Bures doesn’t do that. He carefully considers the relationships between culture, health, the mind, and the body, which can lead people to experience seemingly impossible things. ”                         Atlantic 

The premise for The Geography of Madness is so irresistible you are left wondering why you never thought of it yourself. It is a travel book with a quest. ”                  New Scientist

In The Geography Of Madness, journalist Frank Bures shows that what such culture-bound syndromes demonstrate is the astonishing power of culture and belief on all of us. ”               Guardian

 

The Fear & the Freedom: How the Second World War Changed Us by Keith Lowe

 

Image result for The Fear & the Freedom: How the Second World War Changed Us by Keith LoweThe Second World War was one of the most catastrophic events in human history. But how did the experience and memory of bloodshed affect our relationships with each other and the world?

The new order, as it emerged after 1945, saw the end of European empires and the birth of two new superpowers, whose wrangling would lead to a new, global Cold War. Scientists delivered new technologies, architects planned buildings to rise from the rubble, politicians fantasized about overhauled societies, people changed their nationalities and dreamed of new lives.

As well as analysing the major changes, The Fear and the Freedom uses the stores of how ordinary people coped with the post-war world and turned one of the greatest traumas in history into an opportunity for change. This is the definitive exploration of the aftermath of WWII – and the impact it still has today on our nations, cities and families.

 

Richly-documented and wide-ranging . . . I wish schools would use books like this to introduce pupils to the complexity of the problems that face them.”                        Theodore Zeldin

Provocative, insightful and at times profoundly moving . . . I hope everyone – and our politicians especially – will read it and learn its vitally important lessons.”                     James Holland

A masterpiece of historical inquiry: painstakingly researched, cleverly constructed and elegantly written. In surveying such a diverse panorama, Lowe displays a sensitivity to the human condition – how we got to where we are now – that is as unusual as it is welcome.”                      Saul David, Daily Telegraph

The Fear and The Freedom is a deft blend of historical research, moving interviews, and challenging psychological insights. Lowe writes with elegance and perception. A truly illuminating read.”                  Jonathan Dimbleby

Keith Lowe has written an eloquent meditation on the aftermath and the long psychological tentacles of the Second World War. Beautifully written and profoundly perceptive, The Fear and the Freedom confirms Lowe as one of our finest historians.”              Antony Beevor

This powerful book serves as a timely reminder of what our forefathers forged out of the ashes of the Second World War – an international order based on cooperation and interdependence together with a bold, fearless domestic agenda that set about creating a new society.”                 David Lammy

Lowe’s book is a compelling work of historical scholarship – but, more than that, it is an intimate portrait of how human beings carry on when their world has changed for ever.”                John Gray, New Statesman

 

 

The People’s War: Reflections of an ANC Cadre by Charles Nqakula

 

Image result for The People’s War: Reflections of an ANC Cadre by Charles NqakulaA great deal of the revolutionary work that Charles Nqakula undertook as an ANC underground cadre and combatant of Umkhonto we Sizwe was in the Eastern Cape. This book is a well-documented and detailed recollection of those difficult and dangerous times when detention, imprisonment, torture, and even death were always imminent .It required massive courage and heroism to be part of that array of outstanding leaders and cadres of the revolutionary movements. This book is noteworthy because Charles remembers, gives due credit, and attaches names to the many comrades who participated in that heroic struggle with him and Nosiviwe.

The People’s War describes the work undertaken by Charles and Nosiviwe in the ANC underground and MK units in a dispassionate manner without any self-praise or grandstanding.  He recounts his work as a mediator in the conflicts in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mauritania, the pain and anguish at the tragic murder of their son, Chumani Siyavuya, and comments on the debilitating challenges of factionalism, election slates, and corruption degrading the integrity, unity, reputation, values, and electoral support of the ANC.

 

 

 

Fate of the Nation: 3 Scenarios for South Africa’s Future by Jakkie Cilliers

 

Image result for Fate of the Nation: 3 Scenarios for South Africa’s Future by Jakkie CilliersWhat does our future hold? In these uncertain times, this is the question on many South Africans’ lips. Will we become more prosperous and less divided as a nation or remain hugely unequal and generally poor? Will the ANC split or eventually be forced into an alliance with the EFF after 2019? Could the DA rule the country after the 2024 elections?

In Fate of the Nation Jakkie Cilliers develops three scenarios for our immediate future and beyond: Bafana Bafana, Nation Divided and Mandela Magic.

Cilliers says the ANC is currently paralysed by the power struggle between what he calls the Traditionalists and the Reformers. It is this power struggle that has led to the inept leadership, policy confusion and poor service delivery that has plagued the country in recent years.

Key to which scenario could become our reality is who will be elected to the ANC’s top leadership at the party’s national conference in December 2017. Whichever group wins there will determine what our future looks like. This is a book for all concerned South Africans.

 

 

Queer City: Gay London from Romans to the Present Day by Peter Ackroyd

 

Image result for Queer City: Gay London from Romans to the Present Day by Peter AckroydIn Queer City Peter Ackroyd looks at London in a whole new way – through the history and experiences of its gay population.

In Roman Londinium the city was dotted with lupanaria (‘wolf dens’ or public pleasure houses), fornices (brothels) and thermiae (hot baths). Then came the Emperor Constantine, with his bishops, monks and missionaries. And so began an endless loop of alternating permissiveness and censure.

Ackroyd takes us right into the hidden history of the city; from the notorious Normans to the frenzy of executions for sodomy in the early nineteenth century. He journeys through the coffee bars of sixties Soho to Gay Liberation, disco music and the horror of AIDS.

Today, we live in an era of openness and tolerance and Queer London has become part of the new norm. Ackroyd tells us the hidden story of how it got there, celebrating its diversity, thrills and energy on the one hand; but reminding us of its very real terrors, dangers and risks on the other.

After his mammoth, shamanic aria London: the Biography, the remarkable writer Peter Ackroyd has produced a nimble, uproarious pocket history of sex in his beloved metropolis.”                       Independent

Droll, provocative and crammed to busting with startling facts.”               Simon Callow, Guardian

This gallop through the pink past […] tells a torrid tale of persecution and pleasure, of blackmail and blue murder”                      Mark Sanderson, Evening Standard

 

 

 

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered by Mumia Abu-Jamal

 

Image result for Have Black Lives Ever Mattered by Mumia Abu-JamalIn December 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal was shot and beaten into unconsciousness by Philadelphia police. He awoke to find himself shackled to a hospital bed, accused of killing a cop. He was convicted and sentenced to death in a trial that Amnesty International has denounced as failing to meet the minimum standards of judicial fairness.

 

In Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?, Mumia gives voice to the many people of color who have fallen to police bullets or racist abuse, and offers the post-Ferguson generation advice on how to address police abuse in the United States. This collection of his radio commentaries on the topic features an in-depth essay written especially for this book to examine the history of policing in America, with its origins in the white slave patrols of the antebellum South and an explicit mission to terrorize the country’s black population. Applying a personal, historical, and political lens, Mumia provides a righteously angry and calmly principled radical black perspective on how racist violence is tearing our country apart and what must be done to turn things around.

 

I was fortunate to grow up in a community in which it was apparent that our lives mattered. This memory is the antidote to the despair that seizes one of my generation when we hear the words ‘Black Lives Matter.’ We want to shout: Of course they do! To you, especially. In this brilliant, painful, factual and useful book, we see to whom our lives have not mattered: the profit driven Euro-Americans who enslaved and worked our ancestors to death within a few years, then murdered them and bought replacements. Many of these ancestors are buried beneath Wall Street. Mumia Abu-Jamal’s painstaking courage, truth-telling, and disinterest in avoiding the reality of American racial life is, as always, honorable.”               Alice Walker

 

Mumia Abu Jamal’s clarion call for justice and defiance of state oppression has never dimmed, despite his decades of being shackled and caged. He is one of our nation’s most valiant revolutionaries and courageous intellectuals.”              Chris Hedges, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt

 

This collection of short meditations, written from a prison cell, captures the past two decades of police violence that gave rise to Black Lives Matter while digging deeply into the history of the United States. This is the book we need right now to find our bearings in the chaos.”                Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

 

“[Mumia’s] writings are a wake-up call. He is a voice from our prophetic tradition, speaking to us here, now, lovingly, urgently.”                  Cornel West

 

 

Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us by CN Lester

 

Image result for Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us by CN LesterWhat does it mean to be transgender?

How do we discuss the subject?

In this eye-opening book, CN Lester, academic and activist, takes us on a journey through some of the most pressing issues concerning the trans debate: from pronouns to Caitlyn Jenner; from feminist and LGBTQ activists, to the rise in referrals for gender variant children – all by way of insightful and moving passages about the author’s own experience. Trans Like Me shows us how to strive for authenticity in a world which often seeks to limit us by way of labels.

 

This personal, powerful and yet humble human testimony makes a vital contribution to a debate that has too often contained more heat than light. I challenge anyone not to have both heart and mind a little more open after reading this book (Shami Chakrabarti)

CN Lester breaks down the myths and misconceptions about trans people and politics with clarity and calm. An important, timely book.”                    Juliet Jacques

Lester is a writer for our times – a moving, learned and essential voice at the razor edge of gender politics. Their work has been inspirational to me for many years. Lester writes with the compassionate authority of a person not just wise beyond their years, but beyond the age they were born into.”                  Laurie Penny

 

 

Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard Ford

 

Image result for Between Them: Remembering My Parents by Richard FordFrom the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sportswriter comes a deeply personal account of his parents – an intimate portrait of American mid-twentieth century life, and a celebration of family love

Richard Ford’s parents volunteered little about their early lives – and he rarely asked. Later, he pieced their stories together from anecdote, history and the occasional photograph, frozen moments linking him to another time.

Edna Akin, a dark-eyed Arkansas beauty whose convent education was cut short by her itinerant parents, fell in love aged only seventeen. Parker Ford was a tall country boy with a warm, hesitant smile, who was working at a grocery in Hot Springs. They married and began a life on the road in the American South, as Parker followed his travelling salesman’s job. The 1930s were like one long weekend, a swirl of miles traversed, cocktails drunk and hotel rooms vacated: New Orleans, Memphis, Texarkana. Then a single, late child was born, changing everything.

In this book, Richard Ford evokes a vivid panorama of mid-twentieth century America, and an intimate portrait of family life. Exploring children’s changing perception of their parents, he also reflects on the impact of loss and devotion. Written with the intelligence, precision and humanity for which Ford is renowned, Between Them is both a son’s great act of love and a redeeming meditation on family.

 

An extraordinary piece of writing … The act of writing those loves, has been if anything, Ford suggests, less poignant for him than a “source of immense exhilaration”. His readers, those with parents, and those without them, will feel that too.”                    Observer

Full of gentle humour and a sense of lives lived well … His great affection for his parents is everywhere evident … In this superbly written account, Ford pieces together fragments of their lives, and brings them wonderfully to life.”                Sunday Times

Stylish, elegiac and funny . A marvellous writer.”               John Banville

The enjoyment of reading Richard Ford is about the exquisite pleasure of acquisition of language . The harder you look, the sadder and funnier it gets.”             Observer

 

Outside the Asylum: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry by Lynne Jones

 

Image result for Outside the Asylum: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry by Lynne JonesWhat happens if the psychiatric hospital in which you have lived for ten years is bombed and all the staff run away? What is it like to be a twelve-year-old and see all your family killed in front of you? Is it true that almost everyone caught up in a disaster is likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder? What can mental health professionals do to help? How does one stay neutral and impartial in the face of genocide? Why would a doctor support military intervention?

Outside the Asylum is Lynne Jones’s personal exploration of humanitarian psychiatry and the changing world of international relief; a memoir of more than twenty-five years as a practising psychiatrist in war and disaster zones around the world. From her training in one of Britain’s last asylums, to treating traumatised soldiers in Gorazde after the Bosnian war, helping families who lost everything in the earthquake in Haiti, and learning from traditional healers in Sierra Leone, Lynne has worked with extraordinary people in extraordinary situations. This is a book that shines a light on the world of humanitarian aid, and that shows us the courage and resilience of the people who have to live, work and love in some of the most frightening situations in the world.

 

As revealing as the writing of Oliver Sacks. Outside the Asylum joins the dots of mental health and conflict of the last four decades, resulting in a moving frontline account of geographical and mental borders. Jones’s quest is lucid and questioning. She introduces us to a gallery of astonishing and brave people, and her work has surely made the world a better place. Inspiring.”                Mark Cousins

This is essential reading for those training in mental health, to consider the broader picture of the causes of mental illness that one may not see in the routine hospital clinic. An outstanding piece of work.”                        Professor Simon Baron-Cohen

Her blazingly frank account is as enlightening on shifts in psychiatric treatment as it is on local implications of humanitarian-aid policy. Brilliantly insightful.”                     Nature

 

 

 

The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward Luce

 

Image result for The Retreat of Western Liberalism by Edward LuceRead this book: in the three hours it takes you will get a new, bracing and brilliant understanding of the dangers we in the democratic West now face. Luce is one of the smartest journalists working today, and his perceptions are priceless.”                   Jane Mayer, staff writer on the New Yorker
In his widely acclaimed book Time to Start ThinkingFinancial Times columnist and commentator Edward Luce charted the course of American economic and geopolitical decline, proving to be a prescient voice on our current social and political turmoil.

In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of democratic liberalism – of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a symptom. Luce argues that we are on a menacing trajectory brought about by ignorance of what it took to build the West, arrogance towards society’s losers, and complacency about our system’s durability – attitudes that have been emerging since the fall of the Berlin Wall, treated by the West as an absolute triumph over the East. We cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. Luce contrasts Western democratic and economic ideals, which rest on an assumption of linear progress, with more cyclical views of economic strength – symbolized by the nineteenth-century fall and present-day rise of the Chinese and Indian economies – and with the dawn of a new multipolar age.

Combining on-the-ground reporting with intelligent synthesis of the vast literature already available, Luce offers a detailed projection of the consequences of the Trump administration and a forward-thinking analysis of what those who believe in enlightenment values must do to defend them from the multiple onslaughts they face in the coming years.

 

Luce is at his best writing about America, on which his knowledge is voluminous . . . his writing has a vigour and sweep all too absent in the deadly prose of social scientists; and he has identified a fundamental question facing democracies.”             Financial Times
No one was more prescient about the economic malaise and popular resentment that has hit the United States than Ed Luce in his previous book, Time to Start Thinking. His new book, Retreat of Western Liberalism, broadens that picture to cover the Western world. It is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of the waves of populism and nationalism we face today.”                            Liaquat Ahamed

 

 

What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge by Marcus du Sautoy

 

Image result for What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge by Marcus du SautoyBrilliant and fascinating. No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting.”       Bill Bryson.

 

Britain’s most famous mathematician takes us to the edge of knowledge to show us what we cannot know.

 

Is the universe infinite?

Do we know what happened before the Big Bang?

Where is human consciousness located in the brain?

And are there more undiscovered particles out there, beyond the Higgs boson?

In the modern world, science is king: weekly headlines proclaim the latest scientific breakthroughs and numerous mathematical problems, once indecipherable, have now been solved. But are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe?

In this very personal journey to the edges of knowledge, Marcus du Sautoy investigates how leading experts in fields from quantum physics and cosmology, to sensory perception and neuroscience, have articulated the current lie of the land. In doing so, he travels to the very boundaries of understanding, questioning contradictory stories and consulting cutting edge data.

Is it possible that we will one day know everything? Or are there fields of research that will always lie beyond the bounds of human comprehension? And if so, how do we cope with living in a universe where there are things that will forever transcend our understanding?

In What We Cannot Know, Marcus du Sautoy leads us on a thought-provoking expedition to the furthest reaches of modern science. Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out if there’s anything we truly cannot know.

 

I felt I was being carried off on a wonderful journey, a thrilling research expedition to the teasing and mysterious boundaries of scientific knowledge, and I never wanted to turn back. Du Sautoy is a masterful and friendly guide to these remotest regions … It is absolutely fascinating throughout, and I really loved it.”                 Richard Holmes

 

I admire and envy the clarity and authority with which Marcus du Sautoy addresses a range of profound issues. His book deserves a wide readership.”                      Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal

 

 

War: An Enquiry by AC Grayling

 

Image result for War: An Enquiry by AC GraylingA renowned philosopher challenges long-held views on just wars, ethical conduct during war, why wars occur, how they alter people and societies, and more

For residents of the twenty-first century, a vision of a future without warfare is almost inconceivable. Though wars are terrible and destructive, they also seem unavoidable. In this original and deeply considered book, A. C. Grayling examines, tests, and challenges the concept of war. He proposes that a deeper, more accurate understanding of war may enable us to reduce its frequency, mitigate its horrors, and lessen the burden of its consequences.

Grayling explores the long, tragic history of war and how warfare has changed in response to technological advances. He probes much-debated theories concerning the causes of war and considers positive changes that may result from war. How might these results be achieved without violence? In a profoundly wise conclusion, the author envisions “just war theory” in new moral terms, taking into account the lessons of World War II and the Holocaust and laying down ethical principles for going to war and for conduct during war.

 

A brisk and sweeping survey… It is written under the shadow of the extreme mechanisation of war-fighting and the ethical conundrums this poses. Grayling speaks primarily to the citizen, not the solider, and his strength is in his conceptual clarity.”                 Mark Mazower, Financial Times
Exceptionally incisive on war and peace . . . As a former professional soldier, and no stranger to conflict, I regret not having had access to [War] when it mattered.”              Milos Stankovic, Spectator

 

 

Dis-Eases of Secrecy: Tracing History, Memory and Justice by Brian Rappert and Chandre Gould

 

Image result for Dis-Eases of Secrecy: Tracing History, Memory and Justice by Brian Rappert and Chandre GouldDis-eases demonstrates how oppressive pasts can be engaged imaginatively rather than didactically. It is a seminal work for anyone committed to making ‘post-apartheid’ meaningful.”       Verne Harris, Director: Archive and Dialogue, Nelson Mandela Foundation

Between 1981 and 1995, a top-secret chemical and biological warfare programme titled Project Coast was established and maintained by South Africa’s apartheid government. Under the leadership of Wouter Basson, Project Coast scientists were involved in a number of dubious activities, including the mass production of ecstasy, the development of covert assassination weapons and the manufacture of chemical poisons designed to be undetectable post-mortem.

Dis-eases of Secrecy is a retrospective analysis of Project Coast and shows how South African governments (past and present) have chosen to deal with the issues of biochemical weapons and warfare. It investigates possibilities for understanding the world of politics by examining how Project Coast has been remembered – and, in some instances, forgotten – by African and international governments. Through their first-hand involvement in the investigation spanning over 20 years, the authors examine how the continuing silences, impunities and stories surrounding Project Coast are still relevant for political accountability today. Readers will engage with how what is hidden reveals, and what is revealed hides.

In this cleverly constructed book, readers are able to choose their own journey through the story. By taking on the role of investigator, readers are faced with the complexities of transitional justice, reconciliation and scientist developments that might give them a different view of South African politics in an ever-changing world order.

 

Happy reading!

 

June 2017

Wednesday, June 21st 2017 at 11:20 AM

Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

 

Image result for Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

Intricate and crisp, witty and solemn: a book with special and dangerous properties.”               Hilary Mantel

Baroque, Byzantine and beautiful – not to mention bold.”         M.R. Carey

Rotherweird is twisted, arcane murder-mystery with shades of Deborah Harkness, Hope Mirrlees and Ben Aaronovitch, Mervyn Peake and Edward Gorey at their disturbing best.

The town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.

For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.

But secrets have a way of leaking out.

Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town’s long-derelict Manor House.

Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time – and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic.

 

Welcome to Rotherweird!

 

 

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood

 

Image result for You Don’t Know Me by Imran MahmoodIt’s easy to judge between right and wrong – isn’t it?

Not until you hear a convincing truth.

Now it’s up to you to decide…
An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder. Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech.

He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth.

There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands. We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters:

 

Did he do it?
An original take on a courtroom drama that puts the reader in the position of the jury. Superb character-driven fiction…A rollercoaster ride…Masterful.”                      Guardian

 

An exciting first novel, highly original, cleverly plotted and convincingly written.”                         Literary Review

 

“You Don’t Know Me is a brave debut by a barrister… an impressively original courtroom drama.”                     The Times

 

A daring concept executed to perfection, a hypnotic and authentic voice, and questions for us to answer as people and readers.”                      Lee Child

 

An eye-opening, slick and compulsive thriller with an important message and unique writing.”                        Adam Deacon, actor, writer, rapper, director – star of Kidulthood and Adulthood

 

 

 

Dead Writers in Rehab by Paul Bassett Davies

 

Image result for Dead Writers in Rehab by Paul Bassett DaviesWhen literary reprobate Foster James wakes up in a strange country house, he assumes he’s been consigned to rehab (yet again) by his dwindling band of friends and growing collection of ex-wives.

But he soon realises there’s something a bit different about this place after he gets punched in the face by Ernest Hemingway.

Is Foster dead? Has his less-than-saintly existence finally caught up with him? After an acrimonious group therapy session with Hunter S Thompson, Colette, William Burroughs, and Coleridge, it seems pretty likely. But he still feels alive, especially after an up-close and personal one-on-one session with Dorothy Parker.

When he discovers that the two enigmatic doctors who run the institution are being torn apart by a thwarted love affair, he and the other writers must work together to save something that, for once, is bigger than their own gigantic egos.

This is a love story. It’s for anyone who loves writing and writers. It’s also a story about the strange and terrible love affair between creativity and addiction, told by a charming, selfish bastard who finally confronts his demons in a place that’s part Priory, part Purgatory, and where the wildest fiction can tell the soberest truth.

 

It is dark, dirty, grim and confusing – in a very good way. It’s also warm, humane, funny and mischievous, and all the pages are in the right order.”                 Jeremy Hardy

 

 

The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet

 

Image result for The 7th Function of Language by Laurent BinetOne of the funniest, most riotously inventive and enjoyable novels you’ll read this year.”                      Observer

Roland Barthes is knocked down in a Paris street by a laundry van. It’s February 1980 and he has just come from lunch with Francois Mitterrand, a slippery politician locked in a battle for the Presidency. Barthes dies soon afterwards. History tells us it was an accident.

But what if it were an assassination? What if Barthes was carrying a document of unbelievable, global importance? A document explaining the seventh function of language – an idea so powerful it gives whoever masters it the ability to convince anyone, in any situation, to do anything.

Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a chase that takes them from the corridors of power and academia to backstreet saunas and midnight rendezvous. What they discover is a worldwide conspiracy involving the President, murderous Bulgarians and a secret international debating society.

In the world of intellectuals and politicians, everyone is a suspect. Who can you trust when the idea of truth itself is at stake?

 

Establishes Laurent Binet as the clear heir to the late Umberto Eco, writing novels that are both brilliant and playful, dense with ideas while never losing sight of their need to entertain.”                      Alex Preston, Observer

A playful conspiracy thriller.”              Guardian, 2017 Books of the Year

Lively, earthy, experimental, ambitious, clever and endlessly entertaining… The recondite world of literary and linguistic theory collides delightfully with the pulsating one of desperate car chases, Bulgarian heavies brandishing poisoned umbrellas, and international espionage… Smart, witty, direct, cool.”                        Times Literary Supplement

Disgustingly talented… It is a hugely entertaining novel, taking delight in its own twists and turns.”                       Nicholas Lezard, Spectator

Incredibly timely … very entertaining, like a dirty Midnight in Paris for the po-mo set.”             Lauren Elkin, Guardian

An almost filmic detective romp, taking in glamorous international locations, killer dogs, Bulgarian secret agents, several varieties of sex and wild car chases.”                        Andrew Hussey, Literary Review

 

The Nothing by Hanif Kureishi

 

Image result for The Nothing by Hanif KureishiOne night, when I am old, sick, right out of semen, and don’t need things to get any worse, I hear the noises growing louder. I am sure they are making love in Zenab’s bedroom which is next to mine.

 

Waldo, a fêted filmmaker, is confined by old age and ill health to his London apartment. Frail and frustrated, he is cared for by his lovely younger wife, Zee. But when he suspects that Zee is beginning an affair with Eddie, ‘more than an acquaintance and less than a friend for over thirty years,’ Waldo is pressed to action: determined to expose the couple, he sets himself first to prove his suspicions correct – and then to enact his revenge.

 

Written with characteristic black humour and with an acute eye for detail, Kureishi’s eagerly awaited novella will have his readers dazzled once again by a brilliant mind at work.

 

Hanif Kureishi’s short, sharp tale of revenge is diabolical fun.”                         The Times
Hanif Kureishi delivers a monstrous three-hander in this novel of a frail film director.”               GQ Magazine

A punchy, disturbing fable.”                Alex Clark, Guardian

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

 

Image result for Anything is Possible by Elizabeth StroutAn unforgettable cast of small-town characters copes with love and loss from the No. 1 New York Times bestselling and Man Booker long-listed author of My Name is Lucy Barton

Anything is Possible tells the story of the inhabitants of rural, dusty Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer who finally returns, after seventeen years of absence, to visit the siblings she left behind.

Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout’s place as one of America’s most respected and cherished authors.

 

It’s hard to believe that a year after the astonishing My Name Is Lucy Barton Elizabeth Strout could bring us another book that is by every measure its equal, but what Strout proves to us again and again is that where she’s concerned, anything is possible. This book, this writer, are magnificent.”                      Ann Patchett
This is a shimmering masterpiece of a book…Strout is a brilliant chronicler of the ambiguity and delicacy of the human condition. Anything is Possible is a wise, stunning novel.”                 Observer

The words appear on the page as if breathed there.”                 Sunday Telegraph

Strout’s compassion for her fellow creatures, as these anguished, lean stories prove, is as keen as a whip and all the more painful for it.”

Guardian

Anything is Possible is absolutely wonderful. Here is a writer at the peak of her powers: compassionate, profoundly observant, laser-cut diamond brilliant.”               Literary Review

 

House of Names by Colm Tóibín

 

Image result for House of Names by Colm TóibínThey cut her hair before they dragged her to the place of sacrifice. Her mouth was gagged to stop her cursing her father, her cowardly, two-tongued father. Nonetheless, they heard her muffled screams.

 

On the day of his daughter’s wedding, Agamemnon orders her sacrifice.

His daughter is led to her death, and Agamemnon leads his army into battle, where he is rewarded with glorious victory.

Three years later, he returns home and his murderous action has set the entire family – mother, brother, sister – on a path of intimate violence, as they enter a world of hushed commands and soundless journeys through the palace’s dungeons and bedchambers. As his wife seeks his death, his daughter, Electra, is the silent observer to the family’s game of innocence while his son, Orestes, is sent into bewildering, frightening exile where survival is far from certain. Out of their desolating loss, Electra and Orestes must find a way to right these wrongs of the past even if it means committing themselves to a terrible, barbarous act.

House of Names is a story of intense longing and shocking betrayal. It is a work of great beauty, and daring, from one of our finest living writers.

 

 

Part of Tóibín’s success comes down to the power of his writing: an almost unfaultable combination of artful restraint and wonderfully observed detail . . . Unforgettable.”                     New York Times

A gorgeous stylist, Tóibín captures the subtle flutterings of consciousness better than any writer alive . . . Never before has Tóibín demonstrated such range, not just in tone but in action. He creates the arresting, hushed scenes for which he’s so well known just as effectively as he whips up murders that compete, pint for spilled pint, with those immortal Greek playwrights.”             Washington Post

If there is a more brilliant writer than Tóibín working today, I don’t know who that would be.”                        Karen Joy Fowler

 

The Swimming Lesson & Other Stories by Kobus Moolman

 

Image result for The Swimming Lesson & Other Stories by Kobus MoolmanWritten in a range of styles, voices and genres, each of these ten stories offers original insights into the difficulties of staying afloat. Whether the challenge is being differently abled (with all the outsider isolation this brings); lower-income family life under unbending patriarchal rule; or being born a female child in an abusive, gendered culture, the narratives are convincing (often humorous) in their portrayal of trapped lives striving for transcendence.

The darkly funny ‘Kiss and the Brigadier’ invokes the stultifying boredom of small-town life and the captured mentalities of its understimulated citizens; ‘Extracts from a Dispensable Life’ offers a creative and sensitive reading of the gender violence theme; while the irreverent but never disrespectful ‘Angel Heart’ ventures into the risky waters of religious send-up.

The Swimming Lesson and Other Stories is a collection that stands out for its unusual perspectives; its frank, often uncomfortable treatment of taboo topics; its creative risk-taking; and its skilful and observant recreation of worlds gone by, which still leave their aftershocks.

 

 

The Last Stop by Thabiso Mofokeng

 

Image result for The Last Stop by Thabiso MofokengSet in the taxi industry, the story’s main characters are a poor taxi driver, a wealthy taxi owner and the taxi driver’s girlfriend. Crime fiction featuring paranormal elements, The Last Stop combines gritty realism with the magical. It shows what happens between people in times of taxi violence and deals with themes of lust, betrayal and revenge. The Last Stop is an engaging, clever, interesting and darkly enjoyable read with an incredible plot twist at the end.

 

 

Black Moses by Alain Mabankçou

 

Image result for Black Moses by Alain MabankçouLonglisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017.

It’s 1970, and in the People’s Republic of Congo a Marxist-Leninist revolution is ushering in a new age. But over at the orphanage on the outskirts of Pointe-Noire where young Moses has grown up, the revolution has only strengthened the reign of terror of Dieudonné Ngoulmoumako, the institution’s corrupt director.

So Moses escapes to Pointe-Noire, where he finds a home with a larcenous band of Congolese Merry Men and among the Zairian prostitutes of the Trois-Cents quarter. But the authorities won’t leave Moses in peace, and intervene to chase both the Merry Men and the Trois-Cents girls out of town. All this injustice pushes poor Moses over the edge. Could he really be the Robin Hood of the Congo? Or is he just losing his marbles?

Black Moses is a larger-than-life comic tale of a young man obsessed with helping the helpless in an unjust world. It is also a vital new extension of Mabanckou’s extraordinary, interlinked body of work dedicated to his native Congo, and confirms his status as one of our great storytellers.

 

Africa’s Samuel Beckett … one of the continent’s greatest living writers.”                Guardian

A Congolese rewriting and reimagining of Dickens.”                   Scotsman

Language and literature bestow both blessings and curses on the picaresque heroes in Mr Mabanckou’s novels of his central African homeland … Black Moses exhibits all the charm, warmth and verbal brio that have won the author of Broken Glass and African Psycho so many admirers – and the informal title of Africa’s Samuel Beckett. Helen Stevenson, his translator, again shakes Mr Mabanckou’s cocktail of sophistication and simplicity into richly idiomatic English.”             Economist

 

 

Men Without Women: Stories by Haruki Murakami

 

Image result for Men Without Women: Stories by Haruki MurakamiI find writing novels a challenge, writing stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden.

Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all.

Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic

 

Supremely enjoyable, philosophical and pitch-perfect new collection of short stories. . . Murakami has a marvellous understanding of youth and age – and the failings of each.”                        Observer

Murakami writes of complex things with his usual beguiling simplicity. . . Strangely invigorating to read. . . It is Murakami at his whimsical, romantic best.”                    Financial Times

Calculatedly provocative. . ., the stories offer sweet-sour meditations on human solitude and a yearning to connect. . . Murakami, always inventive, is one of the finest popular writers at work today.”                      Evening Standard

New Boy: Othello Retold by Tracy Chevalier

 

Image result for New Boy: Othello Retold by Tracy ChevalierO felt her presence behind him like a fire at his back.

Arriving at his fourth school in six years, diplomat’s son Osei Kokote knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day – so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s’ suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practise a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Watching over the shoulders of four 11-year-olds – Osei, Dee, Ian and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi – Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

 

High school, with its crushes, insecurities and politics, works as the perfect backdrop to Shakespeare’s original plot… New Boy, with its angsty teenagers, racial frictions and a magnificently fleshed out antagonist, is a tense and tight read… It can be read in a single afternoon and it really is a heady rollercoaster of emotions, right to the breathless and shocking last line.”                  Irish Independent

What Chevalier has done is recast the play to illuminate the peculiar trials of our era… a fascinating exercise … In Chevalier’s handling, the insidious manipulations of Othello translate smoothly to the dynamics of a sixth-grade playground, with all its skinned-knee passions and hop-scotch rules … How Chevalier renders Iago’s scheme into the terms of a modern-day playground provides some wicked delight. She’s immensely inventive about it all.”                       Ron Charles, Washington Post

Silver and Salt by Elanor Dymott

 

Image result for Silver and Salt by Elanor DymottThere was a child in our courtyard. I saw a child there, standing by the fountain. She was there, then she was gone.

On the death of her father, celebrated photographer Max Hollingbourne, Ruthie returns to his villa in remote, wild Greece. After fifteen years in exile she is welcomed by her older sister, Vinny. They build a fragile happiness in their haven above the sea, protecting one another from the dark secrets of their childhood. But the arrival of an English family at a neighbouring cottage, and one young girl in particular, triggers a chain of events that will plunge both women back into the past, with shocking and fatal consequences.

Devastating in its razor-sharp exploration of a tragic family legacy, Silver & Salt is the story of two sisters, bound by their history and driven to repeat it.

 

I read Silver & Salt as if in a trance. Elanor Dymott is a master of delicate psychological suspense, treading gently but with devastating precision until every detail of this very sad story is revealed and embedded in the reader’s mind, possibly forever.”                      Elena Lappin

 

 

Cry Mother Spain by Lydie Salvayre

 

Image result for Cry Mother Spain by Lydie SalvayreWinner – Prix Goncourt and English PEN Award

 

Aged fifteen, as Franco’s forces begin their murderous purges and cities across Spain rise up against the old order, Montse has never heard the word fascista before. In any case, the villagers say facha (the ch is a real Spanish ch, by the way, with a real spit).

Montse lives in a small village, high in the hills, where few people can read or write and fewer still ever leave. If everything goes according to her mother’s plan, Montse will never leave either. She will become a good, humble maid for the local landowners, muchísimas gracias, with every Sunday off to dance the jota in the church square.

But Montse’s world is changing. Her brother José has just returned from Lérida with a red and black scarf and a new, dangerous vocabulary and his words are beginning to open up new realms to his little sister. She might not understand half of what he says, but how can anyone become a maid in the Burgos family when their head is ringing with shouts of RevoluciónComunidad and Libertad?

The war, it seems, has arrived in the nick of time.

 

Impressive … an effective account of a hideous time of brutal politics and the desperate compromises many made to make life possible.”                Sunday Times

An extraordinary book . . . very powerful.”                        Irish Times

A turbulent, magnificent novel that shines a new light on the Spanish Civil War. It resonates with the power of a manifesto for modern times.”                      François Busnel, L’Express

A seriously important novel … The novel Pasolini would have written had he been the son of Spanish exiles.”                   Time Out, Barcelona

A magnificent novel. A brilliantly written family saga and a mesmerising study of memory and historical reconstruction.”                      El Mundo

 

 

A Field Guide to Reality by Joanna Kavenna

 

Image result for A Field Guide to Reality by Joanna KavennaExtraordinary, wise, funny, adventurous.”             A. L. Kennedy
I couldn’t put it down. A cult following seems certain.”               Literary Review
In this darkly ironic novel – a quest for truth, a satire, an elegy – Joanna Kavenna displays fearless originality and wit in confronting the strangeness of reality and how we contend with the death of those we love. Beautiful, ethereal drawings by Oly Ralfe illustrate this haunting journey through time, space and human understanding.

 

A novel so utterly startling and inventive, it’s almost an act of resistance. Joanna Kavenna is a true literary insurgent: bravely unconventional and ruthless in her quest to demonstrate the possibility of deep, distinctive experience.”               Miriam Toews

If Lewis Carroll was parodying intellectual fashions with his curious characters, Kavenna is here leading the reader playfully through the paradoxes of the quantum universe . . . It is refreshing as well as disconcerting to read a novel that sets aside convention so resolutely, and to encounter a heroine who is so quirky, curious and clever on her quest through the quantum Wonderland.”                        Suzi Feay, Guardian

 

The Boy on the Bridge by MR Carey

 

Image result for The Boy on the Bridge by MR CareyOnce upon a time, in a land blighted by terror, there was a very clever boy.

The people thought the boy could save them, so they opened their gates and sent him out into the world.
To where the monsters lived.

 

In The Boy on the Bridge M. R. Carey returns to the world of The Girl With All the Gifts, the phenomenal word-of-mouth bestseller which is now a critically acclaimed film starring Sennia Nanua, Glenn Close, Gemma Arterton and Paddy Considine.

 

Spectacular!”         Martina Cole

Carey writes with compassion and fire – strange and surprising and humane.”                 Lauren Beukes

A tense story with superbly rendered characters.”                       Scifinow

A terrifying, emotional page-turner that explores what it means to be human.”               Kirkus

Granta 139: Best of Young American Novelists

 

The third volume of Granta’s renowned and prescient, Best of Young American Novelists.

Every ten years, Granta devotes an issue to new American fiction by writers under the age of forty, showcasing the young novelists deemed to be the best of their generation writers of remarkable achievement and promise.

In 1997 and 2007 we picked out such luminaries as Edwidge Danticat, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Franzen, Nicole Krauss, Lorrie Moore, Yiyun Li, Karen Russell and Gary Shteyngart.

In this special issue, we bring you Granta s Best of Young American Novelists of 2017: twenty-one outstanding writers, each able to capture the preoccupations of modern America.

Jesse Ball, Halle Butler, Emma Cline, Joshua Cohen, Mark Doten, Jen George, Rachel B. Glaser, Lauren Groff, Yaa Gyasi, Garth Risk Hallberg, Greg Jackson, Sana Krasikov, Catherine Lacey, Ben Lerner, Karan Mahajan, Anthony Marra, Dinaw Mengestu, Ottessa Moshfegh, Chinelo Okparanta, Esmé Weijun Wang, Claire Vaye Watkins

These are the novelists you will soon be reading, chosen by panel of judges who are themselves acclaimed writers: Patrick deWitt, A.M. Homes, Kelly Link, Ben Marcus and Sigrid Rausing.

 

 

 

Non-Fiction

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

 

Image result for Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. SapolskyA ground-breaking synthesis of the entire science of human behaviour by ‘one of the best scientist-writers of our time’ (Oliver Sacks) — ‘It’s no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read’ Wall Street Journal

Why do we do what we do? Behave is at once a dazzling tour and a majestic synthesis of the whole science of human behaviour. Brought to life through simple language, engaging stories and irreverent wit, it offers the fullest picture yet of the origins of tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, war and peace.

Robert Sapolsky’s ingenious method is to move backwards in time from the moment at which a behaviour occurs, layer by layer through the myriad influences that led to it.

Throughout, Sapolsky considers the most important question: what causes acts of aggression or compassion? What inspires us to terrible deeds and what might help foster our best behaviour?

Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, that is unlikely to be surpassed for many years.

 

It’s no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read.”                  Wall Street Journal

Magisterial … This extraordinary survey of the science of human behaviour takes the reader on an epic journey … Sapolsky makes the book consistently entertaining, with an infectious excitement at the puzzles he explains … a miraculous synthesis of scholarly domains.”                 Steven Poole, Guardian

Truly all-encompassing … detailed, accessible, fascinating.”                 Telegraph

A miraculous book, by far the best treatment of violence, aggression, and competition ever. Its depth and breadth of scholarship are amazing, building on Sapolsky’s own research and his vast knowledge of the neurobiology, genetic, and behavioral literature. All this is done brilliantly with a light and funny touch that shows why Sapolsky is recognized as one of the greatest teachers in science today.”                   Paul Ehrlich, author of Human Natures

One of the best scientist-writers of our time.”                    Oliver Sacks

“Behave is like a great historical novel, with excellent prose and encylopedic detail. It traces the most important story that can ever be told.”                       E O Wilson

As wide as it is deep, this book is colorful, electrifying, and moving. Sapolsky leverages his deep expertise to ask the most fundamental questions about being human.”                     David Eagleman, author of Incognito

One of the finest natural history writers around.”                        New York Times

 

The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu: The Quest for this Storied City and the Race to Save Its Treasures by Charlie English

 

Image result for The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu: The Quest for this Storied City and the Race to Save Its Treasures by Charlie EnglishTwo tales of a city: The historical race to reach one of the world’s most mythologised places, and the story of how a contemporary band of archivists and librarians, fighting to save its ancient manuscripts from destruction at the hands of al Qaeda, added another layer to the legend.

To Westerners, the name “Timbuktu” long conjured a tantalising paradise, an African El Dorado where even the slaves wore gold. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, a series of explorers gripped by the fever for “discovery” tried repeatedly to reach the fabled city. But one expedition after another went disastrously awry, succumbing to attack, the climate, and disease. Timbuktu was rich in another way too. A medieval centre of learning, it was home to tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts, on subjects ranging from religion to poetry, law to history, pharmacology, and astronomy. When al-Qaeda–linked jihadists surged across Mali in 2012, threatening the existence of these precious documents, a remarkable thing happened: a team of librarians and archivists joined forces to spirit the manuscripts into hiding.

Relying on extensive research and firsthand reporting, Charlie English expertly twines these two suspenseful strands into a fascinating account of one of the planet’s extraordinary places, and the myths from which it has become inseparable.

 

A piece of postmodern historiography of quite extraordinary sophistication and ingenuity… [written with] exceptional delicacy and restraint.”                          TLS

 

Part reportage, part history, part romance and wholly gripping… a riveting read.”                     Sunday Times

 

A fascinating interweaving of past and present: meticulously researched, powerfully written and riveting.”                  Ben Macintyre

 

A fascinating account of Timbuktu’s history and the brave and crazy adventurers who sought death and glory trying to get there.”              The Times

 

A rewarding account … after reading it I felt I knew more, cared more and wanted to know more.”                       Scotland on Sunday

 

 

The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers by Richard Aldrich and Rory Cormac

 

 

Image result for The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers by Richard Aldrich and Rory CormacThe Black Door explores the evolving relationship between successive British prime ministers and the intelligence agencies, from Asquith’s Secret Service Bureau to Cameron’s National Security Council.

At the beginning of the 20th Century the British intelligence system was underfunded and lacked influence in government. But as the new millennium dawned, intelligence had become so integral to policy that it was used to make the case for war. Now, covert action is incorporated seamlessly into government policy, and the Prime Minister is kept constantly updated by intelligence agencies.

But how did intelligence come to influence our government so completely?

The Black Door explores the murkier corridors of No. 10 Downing Street, chronicling the relationships between intelligence agencies and the Prime Ministers of the last century. From Churchill’s code-breakers feeding information to the Soviets to Eden’s attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, from Wilson’s paranoia of an MI5-led coup d’état to Thatcher’s covert wars in Central America, Aldrich and Cormac entertain and enlighten as they explain how our government came to rely on intelligence to the extent that it does today.

 

Must read stuff. Aldrich and Cormac are inexhaustible researchers, who use a wide range of archives and include striking material from off-the-record informants. The Black Door is a vital, authoritative book.”                     Richard Davenport-Hines, The Times

 

Pioneering book … a major contribution to our understanding of British prime ministers over the last century. This is one of those rare books that deserve to change the way that modern British political history is researched and written.”              Christopher Andrew, Literary Review

 

This book deserves to be taken very seriously. The authors are intimately familiar with the history of the modern intelligence community.”                  Sunday Times

 

 

 

Three Minutes to Doomsday by Joe Navarro

 

Image result for Three Minutes to Doomsday by Joe NavarroIt is 1988 and Florida-based FBI agent Joe Navarro divides his time between SWAT assignments, flying air reconnaissance, and working counter-intelligence. A body-language expert with an uncanny ability to “read” those he interrogates, Navarro is known as super-intense – an agent whose work ethic quickly burns out partners. He craves an assignment that will get him noticed by the FBI top brass but then again, as he’ll come to learn: be careful what you wish for . . .
It was while on a routine assignment – interviewing a ‘person of interest’, a former US soldier named Rod Ramsay with links to another soldier, Clyde Conrad, recently arrested in Germany as a traitor – that Navarro thought he smelled a rat. He noticed a tic in Ramsay’s hand when Conrad’s name was mentioned. Not a lot to go on, but enough for Navarro to insist that an investigation be opened.
What followed was extraordinary – and unique in the annals of espionage detection – a game of cat-and-mouse played at the highest level: on one side, an FBI agent who must not reveal that he suspects his target; on the other, a traitor, a seller of his country’s secrets, whose weakness is the thrill he gets from sparring with his inquisitor.
To prise from Ramsay the full extent of the damage he had wrought, Navarro had to pre-choreograph every interview because Ramsay was exceptionally intelligent, with the second highest IQ ever recorded by the U.S. Army. It would become an interrogation that literally pitted genius against genius – a battle of wits fought against one of the most turbulent periods of the 20th century – the demise and eventual collapse of the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet Union – and the very real possibility that Russia’s leaders, in a last desperate bid to alter history’s trajectory, might engage in all-out war. As Navarro was to learn over the course of nearly fifty exhausting and mind-bending interviews and interrogations, Ramsay had handed the Soviets the knowledge needed to destroy America and its western allies…

In Three Minutes to Doomsday, Joe Navarro tells this extraordinary story for the first time – a story of the exposure and breaking of one of the most damaging espionage rings in US history whose treachery threatened the entire world.

One of the most gripping cat-and-mouse espionage stories you’ll ever read—and it all really happened. Like the showdown between FBI profiler Will Graham and evil genius Hannibal Lecter portrayed in the book Red Dragon and its film adaptation Manhunter, this real-life account by FBI agent/body-language expert Joe Navarro of outwitting traitor/savant Rod Ramsay will irresistibly push you to the edge of your chair. What makes the read even more intense is that the stakes couldn’t be higher: possibly, the lives of every American if our hero doesn’t get his adversary to expose the full extent of what he’s wrought.”
Barry Eisler

 

 

Diary of a Vampire in Pyjamas by Mathias Malzieu

 

Image result for Diary of a Vampire in Pyjamas by Mathias MalzieuThis is a memoir by French bestselling and award-winning author and musician Mathias Malzieu. It focuses on a single year in which he explores his close encounter with death. Insightful, tragic and even often very funny, it is a hugely inspirational read.

In November 2013 Malzieu is diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening blood disease: his bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells, and those that survive are being attacked by the body’s natural antibodies as if they were viruses. Highly anaemic and at risk of a cardiac attack or fatal haemorrhaging, Malzieu is whisked into hospital, and spends months in a sterile isolation room. He is kept alive by blood transfusions, while waiting for a bone marrow transplant. When he has the energy for it, he writes in his diary and strums his ukelele.

To read this book is to be in awe of the triumph of the human spirit. As a reader you find yourself marvelling at how we find the mechanisms to cope with tragedy and uncertainty when faced with the reality that we may die. Malzieu’s highly active imagination allows him to transcend the limits of his body and its increasing failures through fantasy and escapism. His wonderfully addictive childish wonder with a punk Gothic twist lifts the narrative from being a depressing account to a reading experience that is evocative, poetic and intensely moving.

Malzieu survived thanks to a revolutionary operation involving stem-cell treatment with the blood from an umbilical cord. As he leaves the hospital with not only a different blood group but also a different DNA, he describes himself as the oldest newborn in the world. As Malzieu says himself, ‘To have had my life saved has been the most extraordinary adventure I have ever had.’

 

Francois Truffaut with a rock’n’roll band.”             Iggy Pop

Malzieu’s prose is distinctly original, spitting and fizzing with unique similes and striking metaphors.”                        Guardian

 

 

Bandit: A Daughter’s Memoir by Molly Brodak

 

Image result for Bandit: A Daughter’s Memoir by Molly BrodakRaw, poetic and compulsively readable … I can’t wait to buy a copy for everyone I know.”                  Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help
The summer she turned thirteen, Molly Brodak’s father was arrested for robbing eleven banks. In time, the image she held of him would unravel further, as more and more unexpected facets of his personality came to light.

 

Bandit is her attempt to discover what, exactly, is left, when the most fundamental relationship of your life turns out to have been built on falsehoods. It is also a scrupulously honest account of learning how to trust again, and to rebuild the very idea of family from scratch.

 

Refusing to fence off the trickier sides of her father’s character, Brodak tries to find, through crystalline, spellbinding prose, a version of him that does not rely on the easy answers but allows him to be: an unknowable and incomprehensible whole – who is also her father.

 

Unforgettable, moving, and utterly relatable, Bandit is a story of the unpredictable complexity of family.

 

 

 

 

The Soweto Uprisings by Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu

 

Image result for The Soweto Uprisings by Sifiso Mxolisi NdlovuWhen the Soweto uprisings of June 1976 took place, Sifiso Mxolisi Ndlovu, the author of this book, was a 14-year-old pupil at Phefeni Junior Secondary School. With his classmates, he was among the active participants in the protest action against the use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

 

Contrary to the generally accepted views, both that the uprisings were ‘spontaneous’ and that there were bigger political players and student organisations behind the uprisings, in the new edition Sifiso’s book shows that this was not the case. Using newspaper articles, interviews with former fellow pupils and through his own personal account, Sifiso provides us with a ‘counter-memory’ of the momentous events of that time.

 

This is an updated version of the book first published by Ravan Press in 1998. New material has been added, including an introduction to the new edition, as well as two new chapters analysing the historiography of the uprisings as well as reflecting on memory and commemoration as social, cultural and historical projects.

 

 

Critique of Black Reason by Achille Mbembe

 

Image result for Critique of Black Reason by Achille MbembeIn Critique of Black Reason eminent critic Achille Mbembe offers a capacious genealogy of the category of Blackness—from the Atlantic slave trade to the present—to critically reevaluate history, racism, and the future of humanity. Mbembe teases out the intellectual consequences of the reality that Europe is no longer the world’s center of gravity while mapping the relations among colonialism, slavery, and contemporary financial and extractive capital. Tracing the conjunction of Blackness with the biological fiction of race, he theorizes Black reason as the collection of discourses and practices that equated Blackness with the nonhuman in order to uphold forms of oppression. Mbembe powerfully argues that this equation of Blackness with the nonhuman will serve as the template for all new forms of exclusion. With Critique of Black Reason, Mbembe offers nothing less than a map of the world as it has been constituted through colonialism and racial thinking while providing the first glimpses of a more just future.

 

In his impressive analysis, Critique of Black Reason, [Mbembe] depicts a comprehensive picture of African history, one he regards as the history of racist thinking.”                Ina Schwanse, afrikapost.de

Achille Mbembe ‘s Critique de la Raison Negre . . . [is] a book that you want to shout about from the rooftops, so that all your colleagues and friends will read it. My copy, only a few months old, is stuffed with paper markers at many intervals, suggesting the richness of analysis and description on nearly every page. . . . This is certainly one of the outstanding intellectual contributions to studies of empire, colonialism, racism, and human liberation in the last decade, perhaps decades. . . . A brilliant book.”                      Elaine Coburn – Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society

Achille Mbembe s argument is simple and it is tough: Neoliberalism and the reawakening of a racial mindset that it applies are on the way to making blacks the paradigm of subaltern humanity. Critiquing this situation requires the radical deconstruction of those twin products of modernity: blackness and race.”                      Tiphaine Samoyault, La Quinzaine litteraire

With Critique of Black Reason, Achille Mbembe reaffirms his position as one of the most original and significant thinkers of our times working out of Francophone traditions of anti-imperial and postcolonial criticism. His voyages in this book through a painstakingly assembled archive of empire, race, slavery, blackness, and liberation an archive that Mbembe both reconfigures and interrogates at the same time produce profound moments of reflection on the origin and nature of modernity and its mutations in the contemporary phase of global capital. A tour de force that will renew debates on capital, race, and freedom in today’s world.”               Dipesh Chakrabarty”

A captivating and simultaneously vexing mixture of historical lecture and political-philosophical manifesto.”              Andreas Eckert, Frankfurter Allgemeine

A lucid, thoughtful and sometimes poetic work, with phrases you want to underline on every page. Mbembe is a voice that needs to be heard, in the current discussion about racism and immigration in Europe.”              Peter Vermaas, NRC Handelsblad

For me the most important African thinker today, Achille Mbembe has published the Critique of Black Reason. A very great book, encompassing the perspectives of the African continent as well as the political challenges facing the whole world.”                       Jean-Marie Durand

Achille Mbembe has placed the discourse of Africa squarely in the center of both postmodernism and continental philosophy. Every page of this signifying riff on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason is a delight to read. African philosophy is currently enjoying a renaissance, and Mbembe is to its continental pole what Kwame Anthony Appiah is to its analytical pole. Every student of postmodernist theory should read this book.”                     Henry Louis Gates, Jr

 

 

 

Requiem for the American Dream: The Ten Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power by Noam Chomsky et al

 

Image result for Requiem for the American Dream: The Ten Principles of Concentration of Wealth and Power by Noam Chomsky et alDuring the Great Depression, which I’m old enough to remember, it was bad–much worse subjectively than today. But there was a sense that we’ll get out of this somehow, an expectation that things were going to get better.

 

In his first major book on the subject of income inequality, Noam Chomsky skewers the fundamental tenets of neoliberalism and casts a clear, cold, patient eye on the economic facts of life. What are the ten principles of concentration of wealth and power at work in America today? They’re simple enough: reduce democracy, shape ideology, redesign the economy, shift the burden onto the poor and middle classes, attack the solidarity of the people, let special interests run the regulators, engineer election results, use fear and the power of the state to keep the rabble in line, manufacture consent, marginalize the population. In Requiem for the American Dream, Chomsky devotes a chapter to each of these ten principles, and adds readings from some of the core texts that have influenced his thinking to bolster his argument.

While many books attempt to explain how we got to this political moment (some successfully), Noam Chomsky’s latest, Requiem for the American Dream, provides necessary historical context. Zooming in on ten ways that government and corporate interests have kept the American people down, Chomsky offers a compelling history that explains today’s economic and political landscape. At 157 pages, it’s a short, beautifully put together book.”                         Huffington Post

 

 

Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery by Henry Marsh

 

Image result for Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery by Henry MarshFrom the author of the bestselling Do No Harm. Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical frontline. There have been exhilarating highs and devastating lows, but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered. Prompted by his retirement from his full-time job in the NHS, and through his continuing work in Nepal and Ukraine, Henry has been forced to reflect more deeply about what forty years spent handling the human brain has taught him.

Moving between encounters with patients in his London hospital, to those he treats in the more extreme circumstances of his work abroad, Henry faces up to the burden of responsibility that can come with trying to reduce human suffering. Unearthing memories of his early days as a medical student, and the experiences that shaped him as a young surgeon, he explores the difficulties of a profession that deals in probabilities rather than certainties, and where the overwhelming urge to prolong life can come at a tragic cost for both patients and for those who love them.

In this searing, provocative and deeply personal memoir, the bestselling author of Do No Harm finds new purpose in his own life as he approaches the end of his professional career, and a fresh understanding of what matters to us all in the end.

 

Sensational…Marsh is curmudgeonly, unflinching, clinical, competitive, often contemptuous and consistently curious. In Admissions he scrubs up just as well the second time around and continues to revel in his joyous candour.”                 Sunday Times

Superb…a eulogy to surgery and a study of living. I didn’t want this book to end. Henry Marsh is part of a growing canon of superb modern medical writers…whose storytelling and prose are transportative…His timing is also impeccable…His sentences, too, feel like works of the finest craftmanship, made with the love that goes into both his woodwork and surgery.”                                  Daily Telegraph

Marsh is, given his profession, a surprisingly emotional man, likably so. His account of his younger self that threads through this compulsive book is a Bildungsroman in itself. He is also a fine writer and storyteller, and a nuanced observer.”                   Observer

Do No Harm, candid and tender, was one of the most powerful books written by a doctor…His follow-up book does not disappoint. The maverick is back, even more blunt and irascible, with tales of thrilling, high-wire operations at medicine’s unconquered frontier, woven through with personal memoir…Marsh in full spate is quite magnificent…a master of tar-black, deadpan humour.”                 The Times

 

Pride and Prejudice: The Gerald Kraak Anthology African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice and Sexuality

 

Image result for Pride and Prejudice: The Gerald Kraak Anthology African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice and SexualityPride and Prejudice is the first in the Gerald Kraak Anthology series. The kaleidoscopic collection comprises the most exceptional written and photographic entries for the annual Gerald Kraak Award, which was established in 2016 by The Other Foundation and the Jacana Literary Foundation. Offering important African perspectives gathered from the continent, this inaugural edition features works of fiction, journalism, photography and poetry. The pieces are multi-layered, brave and stirring. They represent a new wave of fresh storytelling that provokes thought on the topics of gender, social justice and sexuality.

 

 

 

Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann

 

Image result for Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCannI hope there is something here for any young writer – or any older writer, for that matter – who happens to be looking for a teacher to come along, a teacher who, in the end, can really teach nothing at all but fire.

From the critically acclaimed Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award winner Let the Great World Spin, comes a paean to the power of language, and a direct address to the artistic, professional and philosophical concerns that challenge and sometimes torment an author.

Comprising fifty-two short prose pieces, Letters to a Young Writer ranges from practical matters of authorship, such as finding an agent, the pros and cons of creative writing degrees and handling bad reviews, through to the more joyous and celebratory, as McCann elucidates the pleasures to be found in truthful writing, for: ‘the best writing makes us glad that we are – however briefly – alive.’

Emphatic and empathetic, pragmatic and profound, this is an essential companion to any author’s journey – and a deeply personal work from one of our greatest literary voices.

 

An intensely literary writer … His prose thrums with echoes of Beckett, Yeats and Joyce.”                     Sunday Times

McCann’s writing is elegant and ironic.”                  The Times

Practical writing advice meets heartfelt love song to creativity.”        Irish Times

 

 

More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers by Jonathan Lethem

 

Image result for More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers by Jonathan LethemWith impassioned appeals for forgotten writers and overlooked books, razor-sharp essays, and personal accounts of extraordinary literary encounters, Jonathan Lethem’s More Alive and Less Lonely is an essential celebration of literature, from one of America’s finest and most acclaimed working writers. Only Lethem, with his love of cult favourites and the canon alike, can write with equal insight about the stories of modern masters like Lorrie Moore and Salman Rushdie, graphic novelist Chester Brown, science fiction outlier Philip K. Dick, and classics icons like Moby-Dick.

 

 

 

Something Gorgeous

The National Geographic Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to document the World’s Animals by Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore intends to photograph every animal in captivity in the world. He is circling the globe, visiting zoos and wildlife rescue centers to create studio portraits of 12,000 species, with an emphasis on those facing extinction. He has photographed more than 6,000 already and now, thanks to a multi-year partnership with National Geographic, he may reach his goal. This book showcases his animal portraits: from tiny to mammoth, from the Florida grasshopper sparrow to the greater one-horned rhinoceros. Paired with the eloquent prose of veteran wildlife writer Douglas Chadwick, this book presents a thought-provoking argument for saving all the species of our planet.

 

HAPPY READING!

May 2017

Monday, May 29th 2017 at 4:20 PM

Fiction

Unpresidented by Paige Nick

Image result for Unpresidented by Paige NickWhen ex-president J Muza is released from prison on medical parole for an ingrown toenail, his expectations of a triumphant return to power and admiration are cruelly dashed.

His once lavish Homestead is a rotting shell, his remaining wives have ganged up on him, the Guptas have blocked his number, and not even Robert Mugabe will take his calls any more. And he just can’t seem to get his plans for world domination off the ground.

Muza is banking on his memoirs full of fake news to pep up his profile, but his ghostwriter, a disgraced journalist, has problems and a tight deadline of his own. What Muza’s not banking on is a fat bill for outstanding rates on The Homestead, and a 30-day deadline to pay back the money, before the bailiffs arrive to evict him.

Is Muza a mastermind, or simply a puppet who fell into the wrong hands? Who is really playing who? What are his remaining wives up to, and will they stay or will they go? And how will he ever pay back the money?

Can the ghostwriter make his deadline before he winds up dead? Or are both men destined to be homeless and loathed forever?

 

Fever by Deon Meyer

 

Image result for Fever by Deon MeyerI want to tell you about my Father’s murder.

I want to tell you who killed him and why.

This is the story of my life.

And the story of your life and your world too, as you will see.

Nico Storm and his father drive across a desolate South Africa, constantly alert for feral dogs, motorcycle gangs, nuclear contamination. They are among the few survivors of a virus that has killed most of the world’s population. Young as he is, Nico realises that his superb marksmanship and cool head mean he is destined to be his father’s protector.

But Willem Storm, though not a fighter, is a man with a vision. He is searching for a place that can become a refuge, a beacon of light and hope in a dark and hopeless world, a community that survivors will rebuild from the ruins. And so Amanzi is born.

Fever is the epic, searing story of a group of people determined to carve a city out of chaos.

 

“Fever bears comparison with landmarks in the genre such as The StandThe novel explores humanity at its best and worst; the crushing loss of civilisation with everything that means for the structure of society…This great book asks us to reflect on our own hidden natures – how would we react if the world we knew came to an end tomorrow?”                 Vaseem Khan

 

 

 

 

 

Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag

 

Image result for Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek ShanbhagIn this masterful novel by the acclaimed Indian writer Vivek Shanbhag, a close-knit family is delivered from near-destitution to sudden wealth after the narrator’s uncle founds a successful spice company. As the narrator – a sensitive young man who is never named – along with his sister, his parents, and his uncle move from a cramped, ant-infested shack to a larger house and encounter newfound wealth, the family dynamics begin to shift. Allegiances and desires realign; marriages are arranged and begin to falter; and conflict brews ominously in the background.

Their world becomes ‘ghachar ghochar’ – a nonsense phrase that, to the narrator, comes to mean something entangled beyond repair. Told in clean, urgent prose, and punctuated by moments of unexpected warmth and humour, Ghachar Ghochar is a quietly enthralling, deeply unsettling novel about the shifting meanings – and consequences – of financial gain in contemporary India.

 

A great Indian novel…Folded into the compressed, densely psychological portrait of this family is a whole universe.”        Parul Sehgal, The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)

 

“[Shanbhag] is a master of inference and omission…What’s most impressive about Ghachar Ghochar…is how much intricacy and turmoil gets distilled into its few pages…[A] wise and skillful book.”                         Sam Sacks, Wall Street Journal
A classic tale of wealth and moral ruin and a parable about capitalism and Indian society.”                    New Yorker
Great Indian novels…tend towards large tomes, written in English. Now, however, the arrival of a new work has shaken up the status quo: Vivek Shanbhag’s gripping Ghachar Ghochar. This slim volume…packs a powerful punch, both in terms of the precision of its portrait of one Bangalore-based family, and, by extension, what this tells us about modern India….Shanbhag is the real deal, this gem of a novel resounding with chilling truths.”                 Independent 
Masterful…This stunning Bangalore-set family drama underlines the necessity of reading beyond our borders….Ghachar Ghochar is both fascinatingly different from much Indian writing in English, and provides a masterclass in crafting, particularly on the power of leaving things unsaid.”                      Deborah Smith,  Guardian

Ghachar Ghochar introduces us to a master.”         Paris Review
One of the finest literary works you will ever encounter…a nuanced wonder.”                 -Irish Times 


A feat of taut, economical storytelling…[with] moments of wonderfully dark, often unexpected, cynicism.”                   Financial Times
One of the best novels to have come out of India in recent decades.”                    Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger 

 

 

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

 

Image result for The Idiot by Elif BatumanI loved it and could have read a thousand more pages of it.”                     Emma Cline

Selin, a tall, highly strung Turkish-American from New Jersey turns up at Harvard and finds herself dangerously overwhelmed by the challenges and possibilities of adulthood. She studies linguistics and literature, teaches ESL and spends a lot of time thinking about what language – and languages – can and cannot do.

Along the way she befriends Svetlana, a cosmopolitan Serb, and obsesses over Ivan, a mathematician from Hungary. The two conduct a hilarious relationship that culminates with Selin spending the summer teaching English in a Hungarian village and enduring a series of surprising excursions. Throughout her journeys, Selin ponders profound questions about how culture and language shape who we are, how difficult it is to be a failed writer, and how baffling love is.

At once clever and clueless, Batuman’s heroine shows us with perfect hilarity and soulful inquisitiveness just how messy it can be to forge a self.

 

Each paragraph is a small anthology of well-made observations… Batuman has a rich sense of the details of human attachment and lust.”                         New York Times

A moving, continent-hopping coming-of-age story.”                        Alex Preston, Observer, 2017 Books of the Year

I’m not Turkish, I don’t have a Serbian best friend, I’m not in love with a Hungarian, I don’t go to Harvard. Or do I? For one wonderful week, I got to be this worldly and brilliant, this young and clumsy and in love. The Idiot is a hilariously mundane immersion into a world that has never before received the 19th Century Novel treatment. An addictive, sprawling epic; I wolfed it down.”                         Miranda July,

 

 

White Tears by Hari Kunzru

 

Image result for White Tears by Hari KunzruA feverish new tale from the bestselling author of The Impressionist: two ambitious young musicians are drawn into a dark underworld, haunted by the ghosts of a repressive past

Two twenty-something New Yorkers: Seth, awkward and shy, and Carter, the trust fund hipster. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Rising fast on the New York producing scene, they stumble across an old blues song long forgotten by history — and everything starts to unravel. Carter is drawn far down a path that allows no return, and Seth has no choice but to follow his friend into the darkness.

Trapped in a game they don’t understand, Hari Kunzru’s characters move unsteadily across the chessboard, caught between black and white, performer and audience, righteous and forsaken. But we have been here before, oh so many times over, and the game always ends the same way . . .

Electrifying, subversive and wildly original, White Tears is a ghost story and a love story, a story about lost innocence and historical guilt. This unmissable novel penetrates the heart of a nation’s darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge and exploitation, and holding a mirror up to the true nature of America today.

 

“White Tears is a book that everyone should be reading right now.”                       Time
Delilloesque — moody, threatening, and profoundly dark… A story about ghosts, about grievances leaking through the fabric of decades, and about retribution, violence and hatred. At every turn, Kunzru’s words concoct a dreamlike world where the past isn’t dead and the boundaries of reality flicker at the margins.”             Huffington Post

Haunting, doom-drenched, genuinely and viscerally disturbing… Kunzru showcases his trademark exhilarating prose throughout – closing with a conclusion that packs a real punch.”                   Independent

“A disorientating odyssey through decades of American history…Kunzru has always been an assured and intellectually gifted novelist, but I am not sure he has ever before displaying such emotional heft.”                     Daily Telegraph

What begins as dude-bro send-up soon spirals into a supernatural revenge fantasy keyed to America’s history of racism.”                      Observer

Both like a radical revenge fantasia and a stern lesson in radical empathy.”                    Spectator

 

 

Belladonna by Daša Drndic

 

Image result for Belladonna by Daša DrndicAndreas Ban is a writer and a psychologist, an intellectual proper, but his world has been falling apart for years. When he retires with a miserable pension and finds out that he is ill, he gains a new perspective on the debris of his life and the lives of his friends. In defying illness and old age, Andreas Ban is cynical and powerful, and in his unravelling of his own past and the lives of others, he uncompromisingly lays bare a gamut of taboos.

Andreas Ban stands for a true hero of our times; a castaway intellectual of a society which subdues every critical thought under the guise of political correctness. Belladonna addresses some of the twentieth century’s worst human atrocities in a powerful fusion of fiction and reality, the hallmark of one of Europe’s finest contemporary writers.

 

 

American War by Omar el-Akkad

 

Image result for American War by Omar el-AkkadPowerful . . . As haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy [created] in The Road, and as devastating a look as the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America. . . . Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War, is an unlikely mash-up of unsparing war reporting and plot elements familiar to readers of the recent young-adult dystopian series The Hunger Games and Divergent.”                      -Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

 

An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle–a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself.

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place. But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be. Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war. The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.

 

“American War is an extraordinary novel. El Akkad’s story of a family caught up in the collapse of an empire is as harrowing as it is brilliant, and has an air of terrible relevance in these partisan times.”              Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
“American War, a work of a singular, grand, brilliant imagination, is a warning shot across the bow of the United States. Omar El Akkad has created a novel that isn’t afraid to be a pleasurable yarn as it delves into the hidden currents of American culture and extrapolates from them to envision a deeply tragic potential future.”             David Means, author of Hystopia

 

 

The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans

 

Image result for The Fourteenth Letter by Claire EvansA mysterious keepsake, a murdered bride, a legacy of secrets…

One balmy June evening in 1881, Phoebe Stanbury stands before the guests at her engagement party: this is her moment, when she will join the renowned Raycraft family and ascend to polite society.

As she takes her fiancé’s hand, a stranger holding a knife steps forward and ends the poor girl’s life. Amid the chaos, he turns to her aristocratic groom and mouths: ‘I promised I would save you.’

The following morning, just a few miles away, timid young legal clerk William Lamb meets a reclusive client. He finds the old man terrified and in desperate need of aid: William must keep safe a small casket of yellowing papers, and deliver an enigmatic message: The Finder knows.

With its labyrinth of unfolding secrets, Claire Evans’ riveting debut will be adored by fans of Kate Mosse, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and Jessie Burton.

 

Exuberant plotting and witty prose. Great fun.”                  The Times

Claire Evans has created a cast of deliciously sinister and mysterious characters. A hugely satisfying read.”                  Good Housekeeping

 

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

 

Image result for Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregorFrom the award-winning author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and Even the DogsReservoir 13 tells the story of many lives haunted by one family’s loss.

A GUARDIAN NOTABLE BOOK OF 2017

Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home.

Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed.

The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. As it must.

As the seasons unfold there are those who leave the village and those who are pulled back; those who come together or break apart. There are births and deaths; secrets kept and exposed; livelihoods made and lost; small kindnesses and unanticipated betrayals.

Bats hang in the eaves of the church and herons stand sentry in the river; fieldfares flock in the hawthorn trees and badgers and foxes prowl deep in the woods – mating and fighting, hunting and dying.

An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace, Reservoir 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a stranger’s tragedy refuse to subside.

Absolutely magnificent; one of the most beautiful, affecting novels I’ve read in years. The prose is alive and ringing. There is so much space and life in every sentence. I don’t know how he’s done it. It’s beautiful.”                        Eimear McBride

“Reservoir 13 is quite extraordinary – the way it’s structured, the way it rolls, the skill with which Jon McGregor lets the characters breathe and age.”                       Roddy Doyle

A work of intense, forensic noticing; an unobtrusively experimental, thickly atmospheric portrait of the life of a village which, for its mixture of truthfulness and potency, deserves to be set alongside works of such varied brilliance as Ronald Blythe’s Akenfield, Jim Crace’s Harvest and Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood.”                  Sarah Crown, TLS

Even by the standards of his mature work, McGregor’s latest novel is a remarkable achievement… Fluid and fastidious, its sparing loveliness feels deeply true to its subject. There are moments, as in life, of miraculous grace, but no more than that…(a) humane and tender masterpiece.”                     Irish Times

 

 

Masha Regina by Vadim Levental

 

Image result for Masha Regina by Vadim LeventalPassionate, talented, headstrong and ambitious, Masha takes the European film scene by storm, escaping her small provincial town to become the most daring, avant-garde auteur of her generation. Taking inspiration from her personal life as well as the artists and poets she meets on the streets of St Petersburg, Masha courageously puts herself on the line by transforming her own experiences into art. But as painful memories of her childhood start to resurface, she is forced to confront her demons – the betrayals, the cruelties – in this psychologically compelling debut from one of Russia’s most exciting young writers.

 

“Sketching Masha, Saint Petersburg, and the Russian arts scene with lively and impressionistic detail, Levental swirls in fragmentary conversations, bits of internal monologue, and more than a few knowing references to the Russian literary canon to create a sophisticated twist on a bildungsroman that raises more questions than it answers and showcases the author’s own considerable literary talent.”                  Booklist
“Masha Regina is … populated with cultural quotations from The Iliad to Star Wars, Gogol to The Godfather, fairy tales to porn sites, Don Quixote to computer games. Levantal’s work returns regularly to the “Dostoevskian spirit”, even as it spans both Shakespearean allusions and social media (“nothing drives people apart like daily status updates”)…. In her acknowledgements, translator Lisa Hayden comments on these references “woven into the novel.” Her English version of this complex tapestry is, as ever, a delight, tackling multiple challenges from colloquialisms (“a drunk chick is not in charge of her twat”) to tongue twisters (“by the burbling river bank we bumblingly bagged a burbot”). Hayden’s thoughtful brilliance in this book … helps illuminate contemporary Russian literature for Anglophone readers….The novel triumphs through imagery.”                      Russia Beyond the Headlines

A spectacularly mature, fine and merciless novel.”                       Vechernyi Peterburg

 

Selling Lipservice by Tammy Baikie

 

Image result for Selling Lipservice by Tammy BaikieCompared to the likes of Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, Lauren Beuke’s Zoo City and Andrew Miller’s Dub Steps, Selling LipService is a daring novel. Selling LipService introduces its reader to a strange assortment of new vocabulary, and through this touches on the familiar danger of the commercialisation of language. Through a linguistically brilliant text, Tammy Baikie has created a world that exposes a society that has been swallowed up by the ad men. Since coming of haemorrh-age, Frith must wear a LipService patch to write or speak. The words the patch produces are not her own. Scripted by copywriters, they promote one sponsoring brand or another. With them, ‘You’ – a voice in her head that is the patch’s brand persona and her conformist alter ego – appears. Through the noise of You talking a variety of different LipService brands, Frith struggles to find her way back to speaking for herself. She believes her tastures – her ability to taste things she touches – are the key. But other elements of this consumerist society are equally interested in tastures for commercial gain.

 

 

All Their Minds in Tandem by David Sanger

 

Image result for All Their Minds in Tandem by David SangerThe setting is October 1879. The stage is New Georgetown, West Virginia.

A mysterious figure by the name of ‘The Maker’ has entered this small community and, almost immediately upon doing so, started entering the minds of the townsfolk.

Townsfolk who are as curious as The Maker himself. Like Dr Umbründ, the pint-sized physician with a prodigious capacity for sin; like the three sisters in the house on the hill – one stern, one wild, one mysterious; like the tavern’s semi-mythical siren, ‘The Bird’, who plays spellbinding music from behind a black velvet curtain, and whom no patron has ever laid eyes on; like Odell, a youth with dreams and ambitions that his craven disposition will forever prevent him from seizing; and who has spent the entirety of his erstwhile existence under the crushing heel of Clay, New Georgetown’s lead cad and chief alpha male.

As we enter these characters’ lives, and lightly tread our way through their brains, their bedrooms, their backstories and beyond, we will see what it is they all hope for and hide – and learn just why The Maker has chosen to meet them.

 

 

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

 

Image result for Norse Mythology by Neil GaimanThe great Norse myths are woven into the fabric of our storytelling – from Tolkien, Alan Garner and Rosemary Sutcliff to Game of Thrones and Marvel Comics. They are also an inspiration for Neil Gaiman’s own award-bedecked, bestselling fiction. Now he reaches back through time to the original source stories in a thrilling and vivid rendition of the great Norse tales. Gaiman’s gods are thoroughly alive on the page – irascible, visceral, playful, passionate – and the tales carry us from the beginning of everything to Ragnarok and the twilight of the gods. Galvanised by Gaiman’s prose, Thor, Loki, Odin and Freya are irresistible forces for modern readers and the crackling, brilliant writing demands to be read aloud around an open fire on a freezing, starlit night.

 

No contemporary fiction writer gets more of his power from the mythological tradition than Neil Gaiman. . . . As always, Gaiman’s a charming raconteur . . . [and he] recognizes a ripping yarn when he sees one.”                    Douglas Wolk

A gripping, suspenseful and quite wonderful reworking of these famous tales. Once you fall into the rhythm of its glinting prose, you will happily read on and on, in thrall to Gaiman’s skillful storytelling.”                        Michael Dirda

 

McSweeney’s 49 Cover Stories

 

Image result for McSweeney’s 49 Cover StoriesThe “Covers Issue” features today’s top writers rewriting (or covering) classic stories. To name a few, there’s Roxane Gay channeling Margaret Atwood, Jess Walter embodying James Joyce, Meg Wolitzer taking on J.D. Salinger–fourteen stories, all told, spanning a slipcased set of five paperback volumes, each featuring stunning illustrations by the award-winning design outfit Aesthetic Apparatus. Guest–art directed by legendary album-cover designers Gary Burden and Jenice Heo of R. Twerk & Co., the issue is packaged in a 9×9-inch LP-inspired slipcase.

 

 

 

Local

No Longer Whispering to Power:  The Story of Thuli Madonsela by Thandeka Gqubule

 

Image result for No Longer Whispering to Power:  The Story of Thuli Madonsela by Thandeka GqubulePublic Protector Thuli Madonsela has achieved in seven years what few accomplish in a lifetime. She has been praised and vilified in equal measures during her time in office, often putting her at centre stage.

Speaking in Cape Town last year, Madonsela said that her role as Public Protector is akin to that of the Venda traditional spiritual female leader, the Makhadzi, who whispers truth to the king or the ruler. A ruler ignores the Makhadzi at his peril. During the speech, Madonsela joked that when the sounds of exchanges between the ruler and the Makhadzi grow loud, that is when the whispering has failed.

No Longer Whispering to Power is about Madonsela’s tenure as Public Protector, during which the whisper grew into a cry. It is the story of South Africa’s people’s attempt to hold power to account through the Office of the Public Protector. This important book stands as a record of the crucial work Madonsela has done, always acting without fear or favour.

 

“A new book on her tenure as Public Protector reminds us just how impactful a role Madonsela played in South African politics since 2009 – and how much courage it must have taken to stick to her path.”                   Rebecca Davis

 

As by Fire: The End of the South African University by Jonathan Jansen

 

Image result for As by Fire: The End of the South African University by Jonathan JansenWhat are the real roots of the student protests of 2015–16? Why did the protests turn violent? Do the students know how to end it? Former Free State University vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen delves into the unprecedented disruption of universities that caught SA by surprise. In frank interviews with 11 of the VCs most affected, he examines the forces at work and what is driving our youth. As by Fire gives us an insider view of the crisis and tells us what it means for our universities.

 

 

 

Miss Behave by Malebo Sephodi

 

Image result for Miss Behave by Malebo SephodiUpon encountering historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s quote, ‘well-behaved women seldom make history’, Malebo Sephodi knew that she was tired of everyone else having a say on who and what she should be.

Appropriating this quote, Malebo boldly renounces societal expectations placed on her as a black woman and shares her journey towards misbehaviour.

According to Malebo, it is the norm for a black woman to live in a society that prescribes what it means to be a well-behaved woman. Acting like this prescribed woman equals good behaviour.

But what happens when a black woman decides to live her own life and becomes her own form of who she wants to be? She is often seen as misbehaving.

Miss-Behave challenges society’s deep-seated beliefs about what it means to be an obedient woman. In this book, Malebo tracks her journey on a path towards achieving total autonomy and self-determinism.

 

 

Gift from Darkness by Patience Ibrahim

 

Image result for Gift from Darkness by Patience IbrahimA Gift from Darkness is the harrowing yet inspirational story of a young, pregnant Nigerian girl and the hell she endured for the sake of her unborn child when she was kidnapped by Boko Haram.

When Patience Ibrahim’s husband died, she feared that her life was over. She had prayed every night for a baby to complete her family, and suddenly she found herself a nineteen-year-old widow, alone in the world. But when she fell in love again, a happy future seemed possible. Patience married once more , and was overjoyed to discover that she was pregnant.

A few days later, everything fell apart. Men from Boko Haram arrived at her door, killing Patience’s new husband and kidnapping her.

This is the incredible true story of her and her baby daughter’s survival, against all the odds.

 

 

Graphic and Sci Fi

 

Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda by Chelsea Cain

 

Image result for Mockingbird: My Feminist AgendaA top secret mission on behalf of an old friend, a tropical cruise. What could go wrong? Turns out it’s a theme cruise -super-hero themed, naturally -a fl oating comic con. Now Bobbi is trapped on a boat with a thousand cosplayers, caped colleagues she was trying to avoid, an ex-boyfriend who keeps showing up at inopportune times and a rampaging herd of corgis. When a passenger is murdered, Bobbi must play Hercule Poirot to find the killer and confront some uncomfortable truths from her past in the process.

 

 

One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

 

Image result for One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel GreenbergA feminist fairy-tale, which I recommend if you’re looking for a Christmas present for a teenage girl… A wondrously intricate book, and a witty attack on the patriarchy, this is an instant classic.”                        Rachel Cooke, an Observer Book of the Year

From the author who brought you The Encyclopedia of Early Earth comes another Epic Tale of Derring-Do.

Prepare to be dazzled once more by the overwhelming power of stories and see Love prevail in the face of Terrible Adversity!

You will read of betrayal, loyalty, madness, bad husbands, lovers both faithful and unfaithful, wise old crones, moons who come out of the sky, musical instruments that won’t stay quiet, friends and brothers and fathers and mothers and above all, many, many sisters.

 

 

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

 

Image result for Waking Gods by Sylvain NeuvelWhen an alien vessel materialises in London, does it mean peace or war? Waking Gods is the gripping sequel to the ground-breaking thriller Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel.

“A superb, powerful follow-up.”                      SciFiNow

What’s going on?
Turn on the television.
What channel?
Any channel.

An unknown vessel, not of this world, materializes in London. A colossal figure towering over the city, it makes no move. Is this a peaceful first contact or the prelude to an invasion?

Every child has nightmares. But the only thing scarier than little Eva Reyes’ dreams – apocalyptic visions of death and destruction – is the habit they have of coming true…

Scientist Dr Rose Franklin has no memory of the last few years. The strangers she works with say she died, and was brought back to life. The question is not just how … but why?

Kara Resnik and Vincent Couture fell in love during war, and have found peace since. They are the thin line of defence against what is coming. But they do not know they have been living a lie.

And a man who claims to have the answers has his own agenda. There are things he cannot say – and others he won’t.

All pieces of an epic puzzle. One we have been trying to solve since the dawn of time…

 

 

Binti 2 Home by Nnedi Okorafor

 

Image result for Binti 2 Home by Nnedi OkoraforThe thrilling sequel to the Hugo and Nebula-winning Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she found friendship in the unlikeliest of places.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

Binti is a supreme read about a sexy, edgy Afropolitan in space! It’s a wondrous combination of extra-terrestrial adventure and age-old African diplomacy. Unforgettable!” – Wanuri Kahiu, award winning Kenyan film director of Pumzi and From a Whisper

A perfect dove-tailing of tribal and futuristic, of sentient space ships and ancient cultural traditions, Binti was a beautiful story to read.” – Little Red Reviewer

Binti is a wonderful and memorable coming of age story which, to paraphrase Lord of the Rings, shows that one girl can change the course of the galaxy.”                 Geek Syndicate

There’s more vivid imagination in a page of Nnedi Okorafor’s work than in whole volumes of ordinary fantasy epics.”                         Ursula Le Guin

 

 

 

Non-fiction

The Moth – All These Wonders

 

Image result for The Moth – All These WondersFrom storytelling phenomenon The Moth: a collection about risk, courage, and facing the unknown, drawn from the best stories ever told on their stages.

 

All These Wonders features voices both familiar and new. Storytellers include writer Jung Chang and comedian Louis C.K, as well as a hip hop ‘one hit wonder’, an astronomer gazing at the surface of Pluto for the first time, and a young female spy risking everything as part of Churchill’s secret army during World War II. They share their ventures into uncharted territory – and how their lives were changed forever by what they found there. These true stories have been carefully selected and adapted to the page by the creative minds at The Moth, and encompass the very best of the 17,000+ stories performed in live Moth shows around the world. Filled with a variety of humourous, moving, and gripping tales from all walks of life, it is timed to celebrate the Moth’s 20th anniversary year.

Brilliant and quietly addictive.”                    Guardian

Beautifully simple, authentic, a little bit therapeutic and utterly addictive. It is a joyful reminder of the power of the story and the need for story-telling.”                   Sunday Times

The stories remain very much in the voices of those who spoke them and thus retain the vulnerability and rawness inherent in the situation of one person, alone at the mic, telling a room full of strangers something personal.”                   Observer

The stories not only maintain their oral integrity but take on new dimensions, allowing you to ponder a turn of events or swirl the language around in your head without missing the next part of the story.”                  New York Times

A wonderful new book … Some [stories] are heartbreakingly sad; some laugh-out-loud funny; some momentous and tragic; almost all of them resonant or surprising. They are stories that attest to the startling varieties and travails of human experience, and the shared threads of love, loss, fear and kindness that connect us … The stories here…have translated seamlessly to the page. Though they are all relatively short … most possess a remarkable emotional depth and sincerity … They are…closely focused, finely tuned narratives that have the force of an epiphany, while opening out to disclose the panoramic vistas of one person’s life or the shockingly disparate worlds they have inhabited or traversed.”                Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

“All These Wonders is replete with wondrous true stories of loves, losses, rerouted dreams, and existential crises of nearly every unsugarcoated flavour.”                   Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

 

 

So Sad Today: Personal Essays by Melissa Broder

 

Image result for So Sad Today: Personal Essays by Melissa BroderSo sad today? Many are. Melissa Broder is too. How and why did she get to be so sad? And should she stay sad?

She asks herself these questions over and over here, turning them into a darkly mesmerising and strangely uplifting reading experience through coruscating honesty and a total lack of self-deceit.

Sexually confused, a recovering addict, suffering from an eating disorder and marked by one very strange sex fetish: Broder’s life is full of extremes. But from her days working for a Tantric nonprofit in San Francisco to caring for a severely ill husband, there’s no subject that Broder is afraid to write about, and no shortage of readers who can relate. When she started an anonymous Twitter feed @sosadtoday to express her darkest feelings, her unflinching frankness and twisted humour soon gained a huge cult following.

In its treatment of anxiety, depression, illness and instability; by its fearless exploration of the author’s romantic relationships (romantic is an expanded term in her hands); and with its inventive imagery and deadpan humour, So Sad Today is radical. It is an unapologetic, unblinkingly intimate book that splays out a soul and a prose of unusual beauty.

 

If Melissa Broder weren’t so fucking funny I would have wept through this entire book.”                        Lena Dunham

So Sad Today is desperately honest ― Melissa Broder lays herself bare but she does so with strength, savvy, and style. Sad and uncomfortable and its own kind of gorgeous. Reveals so much about what it is to live in this world, right now.”                  Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist

 

On Intelligence: The History of Espionage and the Secret World by John Hughes-Wilson

 

Image result for On Intelligence: The History of Espionage and the Secret World by John Hughes-WilsonThis book is a professional military-intelligence officer’s and a controversial insider’s view of some of the greatest intelligence blunders of recent history. It includes the serious developments in government misuse of intelligence in the recent war with Iraq. Colonel John Hughes-Wilson analyses not just the events that conspire to cause disaster, but why crucial intelligence is so often ignored, misunderstood or spun by politicians and seasoned generals alike.

This book analyses: how Hitler’s intelligence staff misled him in a bid to outfox their Nazi Party rivals; the bureaucratic bungling behind Pearl Harbor; how in-fighting within American intelligence ensured they were taken off guard by the Viet Cong’s 1968 Tet Offensive; how over confidence, political interference and deception facilitated Egypt and Syria’s 1973 surprise attack on Israel; why a handful of marines and a London taxicab were all Britain had to defend the Falklands; the mistaken intelligence that allowed Saddam Hussein to remain in power until the second Iraq War of 2003; the truth behind the US failure to run a terrorist warning system before the 9/11 WTC bombing; and how governments are increasingly pressurising intelligence agencies to ‘spin’ the party-political line.

 

There should be a well-thumbed copy on every general’s and every intelligence officer’s bedside table.”                      Professor M.R.D. Foot

 

 

 

We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere by Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel

 

Imagine a sisterhood – across all creeds and cultures. An unspoken agreement that we, as women, will support and encourage one another. That we will remember we don’t know what struggles each of us may be facing elsewhere in our lives and so we will assume that each of us is doing our best…

So begins WE: an inspiring, empowering and provocative manifesto for change. Change which we can all effect, one woman at a time. Change which provides a crucial and timely antidote to the ‘have-it-all’ Superwoman culture and instead focusses on what will make each and every one of us happier and more free. Change which provides an answer to the nagging sense of ‘is that it?’ that almost all of us can succumb to when we wake in the dead of night.

Written by actress Gillian Anderson and journalist Jennifer Nadel – two friends who for the last decade have stumbled along together, learning, failing, crying, laughing and trying again – WE is a not a theoretical treatise but instead a rallying cry to create a life that has greater meaning and purpose. Combining tools which are practical, psychological and spiritual, it is both a process and a vision for a more fulfilling way of living. And a truly inspiring vision of a happier, more emotionally rewarding future we can all create together…

 

 

 

Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel  by Tom Wainwright

 

Image result for Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel  by Tom WainwrightEverything drug cartels do to survive and prosper they’ve learnt from big business – brand value and franchising from McDonald’s, supply chain management from Walmart, diversification from Coca-Cola. Whether it’s human resourcing, R&D, corporate social responsibility, off-shoring, problems with e-commerce or troublesome changes in legislation, the drug lords face the same strategic concerns companies like Ryanair or Apple. So when the drug cartels start to think like big business, the only way to understand them is using economics.

In Narconomics, Tom Wainwright meets everyone from coca farmers in secret Andean locations, deluded heads of state in presidential palaces, journalists with a price on their head, gang leaders who run their empires from dangerous prisons and teenage hitmen on city streets – all in search of the economic truth.

 

One of the pithiest and most persuasive arguments for drug law reform I have ever read.”                    Misha Glenny, New York Times

An economics manual for the Breaking Bad generation… a fascinating account.”                         The Times

Great fun… He reveals how drug barons run their illegal multi-billion dollar global businesses in much the same way as Fortune 500 chief executives.”                       Sunday Times

 

 

 

 

Black Hole Blues & Other Songs from Outer Space by Janna Levin

 

Image result for Black Hole Blues & Other Songs from Outer Space by Janna LevinBrilliant and timely.”                         James Gleick

 

The full inside story of the detection of gravitational waves at LIGO, one of the most ambitious feats in scientific history.

Travel around the world 100 billion times. A strong gravitational wave will briefly change that distance by less than the thickness of a human hair. We have perhaps less than a few tenths of a second to perform this measurement. And we don’t know if this infinitesimal event will come next month, next year or perhaps in thirty years.

In 1916 Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves: miniscule ripples in the very fabric of spacetime generated by unfathomably powerful events. If such vibrations could somehow be recorded, we could observe our universe for the first time through sound: the hissing of the Big Bang, the whale-like tunes of collapsing stars, the low tones of merging galaxies, the drumbeat of two black holes collapsing into one. For decades, astrophysicists have searched for a way of doing so…

In 2016 a team of hundreds of scientists at work on a billion-dollar experiment made history when they announced the first ever detection of a gravitational wave, confirming Einstein’s prediction. This is their story, and the story of the most sensitive scientific instrument ever made: LIGO.

Based on complete access to LIGO and the scientists who created it, Black Hole Blues provides a firsthand account of this astonishing achievement: a compelling, intimate portrait of cutting-edge science at its most awe-inspiring and ambitious.

 

Gripping … very, very well written … I reached the beautiful ending of this book with a little sob of gratitude … heartbreaking … brilliant.”                 Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

It is hard to imagine that a better narrative will ever be written about the behind-the-scenes heartbreak and hardship that goes with scientific discovery. Black Hole Blues is a spectacular feat – a near-perfect balance of science, storytelling and insight … It is as inevitable as gravity that this book will win a swath of awards.”             Michael Brooks, New Statesman

Astonishing … superb … Ms Levin is able to tell the tale so soon, and so well, because she has had privileged access to the experiment. She has also known the experimenters for several years … Ms Levin is herself a scientist, which explains her access, but more than that she is a writer … readers feel as if they are sitting in on her interviews or watching over her shoulder as she describes two black holes colliding … A splendid book that I recommend to anyone with an interest in how science works and in the power of human imagination and ability.”                         John Gribbin, Wall Street Journal

A superb storyteller. This is the most vivid account I can remember of science policy in action … I’ll be surprised if anyone brings out a more readable book on gravitational waves in the near future.”                    Financial Times

Taking on the simultaneous roles of expert scientist, journalist, historian and storyteller of uncommon enchantment, Levin delivers pure signal from cover to cover … Levin harmonizes science and life with remarkable virtuosity … exposing the invisible, incremental processes that produce the final spark we call genius … As redemptive as the story of the countless trials and unlikely triumph may be, what makes the book most rewarding is Levin’s exquisite prose.”                  Maria Popova,  New York Times

The most important development in astronomy since the invention of the telescope … [Levin] excels in conveying the personalities of the scientists and their professional and personal struggles … With the success of Ligo, we stand at the dawn of a new era in astronomy, Levin says in her excellent book.”                Marcus Chown, THES

 

 

 

 

The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Maths Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich

 

Image result for The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Maths Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David EnrichListed as an FT book of the month

Anyone with an interest in financial services and in what has gone wrong will find The Spider Network compelling.”             Daniel Finkelstein, The Times

Will snare you in its web of deceit, lies, corruption, manipulation and colourful characters. [a] brilliant investigative exposé.”              Harlan Coben

A gripping narrative … impressive reporting and writing chops are on full display … reads like a fast-paced John le Carré thriller, and never lets up.”                  New York Times
A model of investigative financial writing… a more satisfying read than The Big Short by Michael Lewis”                      Literary Review

Jaw-dropping.”          Financial Times

In 2006, an oddball group of bankers, traders and brokers from some of the largest financial institutions made a startling realization: Libor—the London interbank offered rate, which determines the interest rates on trillions in loans worldwide—was set daily by a small group of easily manipulated administrators, and that they could reap huge profits by nudging it fractions of a percent to suit their trading portfolios. Tom Hayes, a brilliant but troubled mathematician, became the lynchpin of a wild alliance that included a prickly French trader nicknamed “Gollum”; the broker “Abbo,” who liked to publicly strip naked when drinking; a nervous Kazakh chicken farmer known as “Derka Derka”; a broker known as “Village” (short for “Village Idiot”) who racked up huge expense account bills; an executive called “Clumpy” because of his patchwork hair loss; and a broker uncreatively nicknamed “Big Nose” who had once been a semi-professional boxer. This group generated incredible riches —until it all unravelled in spectacularly vicious, backstabbing fashion.

With exclusive access to key characters and evidence, The Spider Network is not only a rollicking account of the scam, but also a provocative examination of a financial system that was crooked throughout.

 

A damning look at the culture of trader chicanery. Enrich has sidestepped the temptation to slip into author-as-prosecutor mode, instead going the wry tour guide route to lucidly (and often hilariously) usher readers through the Looney Tunes world that wrought l’affaire Libor.”                      John Helyar, coauthor of Barbarians at the Gate

With an unerring eye for detail, Enrich shows in this masterful work how a toxic stew of greed, arrogance and a lust for power led to a criminal scheme of unparalleled dimensions. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the dirty underbelly of the financial world.”                Kurt Eichenwald, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Informant

 

Nabokov’s Favourite Word is Mauve: The Literary Quirks and Oddities of our Most-Loved Authors by Ben Blatt

 

Image result for Nabokov’s Favourite Word is Mauve: The Literary Quirks and Oddities of our Most-Loved Authors by Ben BlattRead this book thoughtfully. It’s fun. And, I think, the shape of some very interesting things to come.”               John Sutherland, The Times 

Nabokov’s Favourite Word is Mauve is a playful look at what the numbers have to say about our favourite authors and their classic books. Journalist and statistician Ben Blatt asks the questions that have intrigued curious book lovers for generations: Does each writer have their own stylistic footprint? Do men and women write differently? What are the crutch words our best-loved authors fall back on? Which writer is the most cliched? Spanning from Shakespeare and Jane Austen to fan fiction, JK Rowling and Stephen King, Blatt reveals the quirks and oddities of the world’s greatest writers. This is a lighthearted, humorous book that uses numbers to inform our understanding of words to enlighten, to clarify, and, above all, to entertain.

 

 

Tragic Shores: A Memoir of Dark Travel by Thomas Cook

Image result for Tragic Shores: A Memoir of Dark Travel by Thomas CookI have come to thank dark places for the light they bring to life.’

Thomas Cook has always been drawn to dark places, for the powerful emotions they evoke and for what we can learn from them. These lessons are often unexpected and sometimes profoundly intimate, but they are never straightforward.

With his wife and daughter, Cook travels across the globe in search of darkness – from Lourdes to Ghana, from San Francisco to Verdun, from the monumental, mechanised horror of Auschwitz to the intimate personal grief of a shrine to dead infants in Kamukura, Japan. Along the way he reflects on what these sites may teach us, not only about human history, but about our own personal histories.

During the course of a lifetime of traveling to some of earth’s most tragic shores, from the leper colony on Molokai to ground zero at Hiroshima, he finds not darkness alone, but a light that can illuminate the darkness within each of us. Written in vivid prose, this is at once a personal memoir of exploration (both external and internal), and a strangely heartening look at the radiance that may be found at the very heart of darkness.

 

A memoir of a lifetime’s travel to some of the darkest places on earth: a first work of non-fiction from this much-admired and award-winning crime writer.

 

 

Happy reading!

 

 

April 2017

Tuesday, April 25th 2017 at 9:56 AM

Fiction

The Patriots by Sana Krasikov

 
Growing up in 1930s Brooklyn, Florence Fein will do anything to escape the confining values of her family and her city, and create a life of meaning and consequence. When a new job and a love affair lead her to Moscow, she doesn’t think twice about abandoning America – only to discover, years later, that America has abandoned her.

Now, as her son Julian travels back to Moscow – entrusted to stitch together a murky transcontinental oil deal – he must dig into Florence’s past to discover who his mother really was and what she became. He must also persuade his own son, Lenny, to abandon his risky quest for prosperity in the cut-throat Russian marketplace. As he traces a thread from Depression-era America, through the collective housing and work camps of Stalin’s USSR, to the glittering, oil-rich world of New Russia, Julian finally begins to understand the role he has played – as a father, and as a son.

Urgently relevant, The Patriots asks huge, complex questions about identity, loyalty, truth and self-deception, and explores tangled historical connections between Russia and the US… At the heart of this weighty and engaging novel are true stories: hundreds of Americans living in the USSR in the 1930s … The Patriots contains elements of family saga, corporate thriller, historical novel and philosophical bildungsroman. Krasikov writes with a poetic ear for sound and cadence.”  Guardian

“[An] outstanding historical saga [and] a dazzling and addictive piece of work… Accomplished and packed with believable detail and entertaining dialogue [The Patriots] also feels curiously relevant, tip-toeing around the complicated relationship between the United States and Russia during and after the Cold War… As an intelligent literary commentary on Russo-American relations of the past century, it’s unparalleled.”             Spectator
“The Patriots is a masterwork, a Dr Zhivago for our times. It is a novel rooted in characters so real you weep over their tragic fates, so realized you think you’re watching a movie, with sentences so sharp and wise they stop you in your tracks. The story of dreamy Florence Fein, from Flatbush, Brooklyn, will break your heart.” Yann Martel

A sweeping, ambitious kaleidoscope of family, faith, identity, idealism, and displacement… I found on every page an observation so acute, a sentence of such truth and shining detail, that it demanded re-reading for the sheer pleasure of it. The Patriots has convinced me that Krasikov belongs among the totemic young writers of her era.”            Khaled Hosseini
Compelling… Krasikov’s characters are so vivid that you almost think you are watching events unfold on a movie screen… The Patriots is a novel which encompasses many themes – identity, family, love, self-deception and the dangers of political ideology. it’s a beautifully written epic novel, and it will certainly be one of my stand-out reads of the year.”    Culture Life

“[The Patriots] draws you in and envelops you completely, [with] characters who are as vivid as friends. Krasikov tackles huge themes with aplomb, her writing as confident as a veteran’s. Particularly in the anniversary year of the Revolution, what she has to say on the compromises we make for idealism – for love of country – is worth reading.”         Elle

 

 

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

 

Image result for Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal“Big-hearted, earthy and funny… A rattlingly good story.”   Deborah Moggach

 

Every woman has a secret life…

When Nikki takes a creative writing job at her local temple, with visions of emancipating the women of the community she left behind as a self-important teenager, she’s shocked to discover a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals.

Yet to her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty – these are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands; being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. But as they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, Nikki realises that the illicit nature of the class may place them all in danger.

East meets west and tradition clashes with modernity in a thought-provoking cross-cultural novel that might make you look again at the women in your life…

 

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows balances darkness and light, social commentary and ecstatic escapism… funny and moving tale of desire and its discontents.”                     Economist

Poignant, intelligent yet wickedly funny – a delightful read that reignites one’s belief in the power of sisterhood.”                        June Sarpong

 

 

 

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underwood

 
Vivid and Terrifying.”             Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

The number of women my brother Matthew killed, so far as I can reckon it, is one hundred and six…

  1. When Alice Hopkins’ husband dies in a tragic accident, she returns to the small Essex town of Manningtree, where her brother Matthew still lives.

But home is no longer a place of safety. Matthew has changed, and there are rumours spreading through the town: whispers of witchcraft, and of a great book, in which he is gathering women’s names.

To what lengths will Matthew’s obsession drive him?
And what choice will Alice make, when she finds herself at the very heart of his plan?

At once a feminist parable and an old-fashioned, check-twice-under-the-bed thriller.”     Patrick Gale

A tense, surprising and elegantly-crafted novel.”    Ian McGuire, author of The North Water

A richly told and utterly compelling tale, with shades of Hilary Mantel.”  Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coat

A clever, pacey read that blends truth and fiction.”                        The Times

“A clever novel with a slow burn of horror.”             Guardian

‘A haunting, brooding debut’ (Psychologies)

In the Name of the Family by Sarah Dunant

 

Image result for In the Name of the Family by Sarah DunantIn the Name of the Family – as Blood and Beauty did before – holds up a mirror to a turbulent moment of history, sweeping aside the myths to bring alive the real Borgia family; complicated, brutal, passionate and glorious. Here is a thrilling exploration of the House of Borgia’s doomed years, in the company of a young diplomat named Niccolo Machiavelli.

It is 1502 and Rodrigo Borgia, a self-confessed womaniser and master of political corruption is now on the Papal throne as Alexander VI. His daughter Lucrezia, aged twenty-two, already thrice married and a pawn in her father’s plans, is discovering her own power. And then there is Cesare Borgia: brilliant, ruthless and increasingly unstable; it is his relationship with the diplomat Machiavelli which offers a master class on the dark arts of power and politics. What Machiavelli learns will go on to inform his great work of modern politics, The Prince.

But while the pope rails against old age and his son’s increasing maverick behavior it is Lucrezia who will become the Borgia survivor: taking on her enemies and creating her own place in history.

A thrilling period vividly brought to life.”                 Woman & Home

In the end, what’s a historical novelist’s obligation to the dead? Accuracy? Empathy? Justice? Or is it only to make them live again? Dunant pays these debts with a passion.”              Washington Post

Which one of us will go down in history?” asks Cesare of Machiavelli. There are many words written about both men in fiction and non-fiction. However Dunant has a storyteller’s instincts for the telling detail and the broad sweep of history. This, and her glorious prose make Dunant’s version irresistible.”                         The Times

Dunant has made completely her own the story of Italy’s most infamous ruling family. Retaining the knack for plotting and pacing from the crime novels that began her career, she depicts history in a way that we can see, hear and smell . . . Dunant’s Italian novels are an enthralling education.”              Mark Lawson, Guardian

Being Kari by Qarnita Loxton

 
For Kari du Toit, Valentine’s Day will never be the same again. When the love of her life reveals he’s been unfaithful to her, life, romance, and everything in-between come crashing down. Suddenly it seems as if her previous life – one far removed from Bloubergstrand’s sandy beaches – is slowly catching up with her.

After ten years of silence, Kari receives a call from her estranged brother. At the foot of Devil’s Peak, where neighbourly salaams and burkas are as ordinary as yellow polka-dot bikinis in Blouberg, she once again becomes Karima Essop, daughter of Amina and Farouk Essop. Daughter, sister, deserter.

For Kari, sometimes finding love means going back to where you came from.

 

An outstanding debut, and definitely an author to watch.

 

 

 

Blackout by Marc Elsberg

 

A dazzling debut.”     Marcel Berlins, The Times

The Global Million-Copy Bestseller. Published In 15 Languages Worldwide. A 21st-Century High-Concept Disaster Thriller

Fast, tense, thrilling – and timely: this will happen one day. Highly recommended.”         Lee Child

Tomorrow will be too late.

A cold night in Milan, Piero Manzano wants to get home.

Then the traffic lights fail. Manzano is thrown from his Alfa as cars pile up. And not just on this street – every light in the city is dead.

Across Europe, controllers watch in disbelief as electricity grids collapse.

Plunged into darkness, people are freezing. Food and water supplies dry up. The death toll soars.

Former hacker and activist Manzano becomes a prime suspect. But he is also the only man capable of finding the real attackers.

Can he bring down a major terrorist network before it’s too late?

 

 

A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume

 

When I finished Sara Baume’s new novel I immediately felt sad that I could not send it in the post to the late John Berger. He, too, would have loved it and found great joy in its honesty, its agility, its beauty, its invention. Baume is a writer of outstanding grace and style. She writes beyond the time we live in.”    Colum McCann

Struggling to cope with urban life – and with life in general – Frankie, a twenty-something artist, retreats to the rural bungalow on ‘turbine hill’ that has been vacant since her grandmother’s death three years earlier. It is in this space, surrounded by nature, that she hopes to regain her footing in art and life. She spends her days pretending to read, half-listening to the radio, failing to muster the energy needed to leave the safety of her haven. Her family come and go, until they don’t and she is left alone to contemplate the path that led her here, and the smell of the carpet that started it all.

Finding little comfort in human interaction, Frankie turns her camera lens on the natural world and its reassuring cycle of life and death. What emerges is a profound meditation on the interconnectedness of wilderness, art and individual experience, and a powerful exploration of human frailty.

 

A fascinating portrait of an artist’s breakdown in rural Ireland … a remarkable ability to generate narrative pace while eschewing plot, making it enough for the reader to observe a mind observing the world … it’s fascinating, because of the cumulative power of the precise, pleasingly rhythmic sentences, and the unpredictable intelligence of the narrator’s mind … Art may also require a willingness to question the ordinary that is incompatible with conventional criteria of sanity. One of the most radical aspects of this novel is its challenge to received wisdom about mental illness … There are no answers here, but there is a reminder of the beauty that can be found when you allow yourself to look slowly and sadly at the world.”                Guardian

After a remarkable and deservedly award-winning debut, here is a novel of uniqueness, wonder, recognition, poignancy, truth-speaking, quiet power, strange beauty and luminous bedazzlement.”      Joseph O’Connor

“Extraordinarily compelling … What makes it so gripping as that the reader is trapped in Frankie’s mind as much as she is; every tiny detail is magnified into metaphysical significance that she cannot understand and that the reader cannot parse … Frankie’s surreal and yet understandable mind-patterns are eloquent as well as awful.”            Spectator

Baume’s mixing of the visual arts and fiction is as satisfying as Ali Smith’s … [a] raw-nerved and wonderful novel.”                          New Statesman

 

 

 

 

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

 
Shortlisted For The 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction

There are things even love can’t do … If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But even when it’s in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer love …

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything – arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, appeals to God. But when her relatives insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair.

Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 1980s Nigeria, Stay With Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayobami Adebayo weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.

 

Scorching, gripping, ultimately lovely.”       Margaret Atwood

 

Affecting and powerful … Adebayo’s prose is a pleasure: immediate, unpretentious and flecked with whip-smart Nigerian-English dialogue. There are only three first-time novelists on this year’s Baileys longlist; Adebayo deserves her spot among them.”       Sunday Times

 

A thoroughly contemporary style that is all her own … clever and funny … despite the intense sadness of her subject matter, she has produced a bright, big-hearted demonstration of female spirit, as well as the damage done by the boundlessness of male pride.”                        Guardian

 

Colourful, vibrant, energetic – a stunning tale of what happens when societal expectations collide with reality.”                        Tendai Huchu, author of The Hairdresser of Harare

 

 

All Our Wrong Todays by Elam Mastai

 
When Tom loses the love of his life, time travel seems like the only answer. . . what could possibly go wrong?

So, the thing is, I come from the world we were supposed to have.

That means nothing to you, obviously, because you live here, in the crappy world we do have.

But it never should’ve turned out like this. And it’s all my fault – well, me and to a lesser extent my father.

And, yeah, I guess a little bit Penelope.

In both worlds, she’s the love of my life. But only a single version of her can exist.

I have one impossible chance to fix history’s greatest mistake and save this broken world.

Except it means saving one Penelope and losing the other forever – and I have absolutely no idea which to choose …

A mind-bending time travel caper.”             Guardian

A thrilling tale of time travel and alternate timelines with a refreshingly optimistic view of humanity’s future.”             Andy Weir, author of international bestseller The Martian

All Our Wrong Todays is elaborately constructed and incredibly emotionally intelligent; it’s a story with super high stakes that genuinely makes you feel every part of Tom’s awful predicament.”                 SciFiNow

A timeless, if mind-bending, story about the journeys we take, populated by friends, family, lovers and others, that show us who we might be, could be – and maybe never should be – that eventually leads us to who we are.”                        USA Today

 

 

Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

 

Underneath the Roanoke Girls’ perfect exterior lies a chilling secret…

Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.

The Roanoke girls seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them which is never spoken. Every girl either runs away, or dies.

Lane is one of the lucky ones. When she was fifteen, over one long, hot summer at her grandparents’ estate in rural Kansas, she found out what it really means to be a Roanoke girl. Lane ran, far and fast. Until eleven years later, when her cousin Allegra goes missing – and Lane has no choice but to go back.

She is a Roanoke girl.

Is she strong enough to escape a second time?
I was immediately drawn into The Roanoke Girls, a haunting and riveting look at one family’s tangled legacy. You won’t stop reading until you’ve unraveled the darkest of Roanoke’s shocking secrets.”               Laura McHugh, author of The Weight of Blood

Dark and intense… with a compelling twist which will remain with you long after the book’s last sentence.”    L.S. Hilton, author of Maestra

 

The Accusation by Bandi

 
In 1989, a North Korean dissident writer, known to us only by the pseudonym Bandi, began to write a series of stories about life under Kim Il-sung’s totalitarian regime. Smuggled out of North Korea and set for publication around the world in 2017, The Accusation provides a unique and shocking window on this most secretive of countries.

Bandi’s profound, deeply moving, vividly characterised stories tell of ordinary men and women facing the terrible absurdity of daily life in North Korea: a factory supervisor caught between loyalty to an old friend and loyalty to the Party; a woman struggling to feed her husband through the great famine; the staunch Party man whose actor son reveals to him the absurd theatre of their reality; the mother raising her child in a world where the all-pervasive propaganda is the very stuff of childhood nightmare.

The Accusation is a heartbreaking portrayal of the realities of life in North Korea. It is also a reminder that humanity can sustain hope even in the most desperate of circumstances – and that the courage of free thought has a power far beyond those seek to suppress it.

A must-read! The first book of fiction to come out of North Korea. (Smuggled.) Fascinating and chilling. Heartfelt and heartbreaking.”               Margaret Atwood

If poetry, as Wordsworth said, can be glossed as powerful emotion recollected in tranquillity, The Accusation reads like powerful emotion felt right now, in a condition of ongoing crisis … In its scope and courage, The Accusation is an act of great love.”                 Guardian

A collection of courageous and confounding short stories … It’s a quiet privilege to be given access to the voiceless by listening to such vivid and uncompromised storytelling … this collection of stories seems both a flickering light in North Korea’s darkness and an unintentional reminder that it is getting darker here, too.”                  New Statesman

 

 

 

Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O’Keeffe  by Dawn Tripp

 
In a dazzling work of historical fiction in the vein of Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank, Dawn Tripp brings to life Georgia O’Keeffe, her love affair with photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and her quest to become an independent artist.

This is not a love story. If it were, we would have the same story. But he has his, and I have mine. 

In 1916, Georgia O’Keeffe is a young, unknown art teacher when she travels to New York to meet Stieglitz, the famed photographer and art dealer, who has discovered O’Keeffe’s work and exhibits it in his gallery. Their connection is instantaneous. O’Keeffe is quickly drawn into Stieglitz’s sophisticated world, becoming his mistress, protégé, and muse, as their attraction deepens into an intense and tempestuous relationship and his photographs of her, both clothed and nude, create a sensation.

Yet as her own creative force develops, Georgia begins to push back against what critics and others are saying about her and her art. And soon she must make difficult choices to live a life she believes in.

Complex and original . . . Georgia conveys O Keeffe s joys and disappointments, rendering both the woman and the artist with keenness and consideration.”             New York Times Book Review
As magical and provocative as O Keeffe s lush paintings of flowers that upended the art world in the 1920s . . . [Dawn] Tripp inhabits Georgia s psyche so deeply that the reader can practically feel the paintbrush in hand as she creates her abstract paintings and New Mexico landscapes. . . . Evocative from the first page to the last, Tripp s Georgia is a romantic yet realistic exploration of the sacrifices one of the foremost artists of the twentieth century made for love.”                      USA Today

 

 

Invisible Planets: Collected Fiction by Hannu Rajaniemi

 

Mindblowingly inventive and beautifully written short stories from the most exciting new name in SF.

Hannu Rajaniemi exploded onto the SF scene in 2010 with the publication of his first novel The Quantum Thief. Acclaimed by fellow authors such as Charles Stross, Adam Roberts and Alastair Reynolds and brilliantly reviewed everywhere from Interzone to the Times and the Guardian he swiftly established a reputation as an author who could combine extraordinary cutting edge science with beautiful prose and deliver it all with wit, warmth and a delight in the fun of storytelling.

It is exactly these qualities that are showcased in this his first collection of short stories. Drawn from antholgies, magazines and online publications and brought together in book form for the first time in this collection here is a collection of seventeen short stories that range from the lyrical to the bizarre, from the elegaic to the impish. It is a collection that shows one of the great new imaginations in SF having immense fun.

 

A collection that combines the hard science smarts of Gregory Benford with the hipster speak-infected experimentation of M John Harrison, it’s the perfect starting point for Rajaniemi’s fiction.”                     SFX

 

 

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

 


“Robinson is one of the world’s finest working novelists, in any genre. New York 2140 is a towering novel about a genuinely grave threat to civilisation.”                     
 Guardian

The waters rose, submerging New York City.

But the residents adapted and it remained the bustling, vibrant metropolis it had always been. Though changed forever.

Every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island.

Through the eyes of the varied inhabitants of one building Kim Stanley Robinson shows us how one of our great cities will change with the rising tides.

And how we too will change.

Like all great sci-fi, New York 2140 is as much inward-looking as it is forward- . . . Robinson’s work has a strong, intelligent social conscience.”                         GQ

Robinson seamlessly binds together characters and narrative strands . . . An immensely enjoyable reading experience.”               SciFiNow

It’s near impossible to capture the vibrance of the entire city in the span of one single novel, yet Kim Stanley Robinson manages to do just that and more.”           Newsweek

 

The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories edited by Jared Shurin and Mahvesh Murad

 

Image result for The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories edited by Jared Shurin and Mahvesh MuradA fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.
Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends.

 

These are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places.
There is no part of the world that does not know them. They are the Djinn. They are among us.
With stories from Neil Gaiman, Nnedi Okorafor, Amal El-Mohtar, Helene Wecker, Catherine Faris King, Claire North, E.J. Swift, Hermes (trans. Robin Moger), Jamal Mahjoub, James Smythe, J.Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Saad Hossain, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria, and Usman Malik.

 

Exquisite and audacious, and highly recommended.”         New York Times

Ignites like the creature it profiles… a rich and illuminating cultural experience.”           Washington Post

 

 

Graphic

Sticks Angelica: Folk Hero by Michael deForge

 

Image result for Graphic    Sticks Angelica: Folk Hero by Michael deForgeSticks Angelica is, in her own words, 49 years old. Former: Olympian, poet, scholar, sculptor, minister, activist, Governor General, entrepreneur, line cook, head- mistress, Mountie, columnist, libertarian, cellist. After a high-profile family scandal, Sticks escapes to the woods to live in what would be relative isolation were it not for the many animals that surround and inevitably annoy her. Sticks is an arrogant self-obsessed force who wills herself on the flora and fauna. There is a rabbit named Oatmeal who harbours an unrequited love for her, a pair of kissing geese, a cross- dressing moose absurdly named Lisa Hanawalt. When a reporter named, ahem, Michael DeForge shows up to interview Sticks for his biography on her, she quickly slugs him and buries him up to his neck, immobilizing him. Instead, Sticks narrates her way through the forest, recalling formative incidents from her storied past in what becomes a strange sort of autobiography. Deforge s witty dialogue and deadpan narration create a bizarre yet eerily familiar world. Sticks Angelica plays with autobiography, biography, and hagiography to look at how we build our own sense of self and how others carry on the roles we create for them in our own personal dramas.

 

A surreal trip into the Canadian wilderness.”           Vice

Toying with autobiography, biography, and hagiography, DeForge examines both how we build our own sense of self and how others take on the roles we create for them.”             Guardian

“[Sticks Angelica is] a meditation on fame… a beautiful, disturbing daydream in pink-and-black ink.”                  Publishers Weekly Starred Review

 

 

Terms & Conditions by R. Sikoryak

 

Image result for Terms & Conditions by R SikoryakFor his newest project, R. Sikoryak tackles the monstrously and infamously dense legal document, iTunes Terms and Conditions, the contract everyone agrees to but no one reads. In a word for word 94-page adaptation, Sikoryak hilariously turns the agreement on its head each page features an avatar of Apple cofounder and legendary visionary Steve Jobs juxtaposed with a different classic strip such as Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey, or a contemporary graphic novel such as Craig Thompson’s Blankets or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Adapting the legalese of the iTunes Terms and Conditions into another medium seems like an unfathomable undertaking, yet Sikoryak creates a surprisingly readable document, far different from its original, purely textual incarnation and thus proving the accessibility and flexibility of comics. When Sikoryak parodies Kate Beaton’s Hark A Vagrant peasant comics with Steve Jobs discussing objectionable material or Homer Simpson as Steve Jobs warning of the penalties of copyright infringement, Terms and Conditions serves as a surreal record of our modern digital age where technology competes with enduringly ironclad mediums.

 

The juxtaposition is hilarious, and we see a Steve Jobs-like character as a stand-in for the heroes of each original work, with the scenes peppered with Apple devices and references alike.”             Macworld

It’s a prodigious feat of pastiche that gives rise to multiple interpretations… Sikoryak (Masterpiece Comics) is an undeniably talented artist with a keen ability to capture different styles, as well as a sly conceptual satirist and prankster. Few will ever actually read these terms and conditions, but that’s basically the point.”                        Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Each page is a loving tribute to a comic book that Sikoryak loves or respects… Sikoryak hasn’t just thrown the text at random pictures; he appears to have actually read this thing through and selected from the vast historic tapestry of comic book imagery a highly appropriate sequence that seems to suit the relevant quoted words perfectly.”                   Independent

 

 

 

Non-Fiction

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

 

From the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today – written as a letter to a friend.

I have some suggestions for how to raise Chizalum. But remember that you might do all the things I suggest, and she will still turn out to be different from what you hoped, because sometimes life just does its thing. What matters is that you try.

In We Should All be Feminists, her eloquently argued and much admired essay of 2014, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie proposed that if we want a fairer world we need to raise our sons and daughters differently. Here, in this remarkable new book, Adichie replies by letter to a friend’s request for help on how to bring up her newborn baby girl as a feminist. With its fifteen pieces of practical advice it goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century.

 

“Dear Ijeawele reminds us that, in the history of feminist writing, it is often the personal and epistolary voice that carries the political story most powerfully – For me, the most powerful sentence in the book is its simplest, and comes in only the third paragraph. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie urges Ijeawele to remember to transmit to her daughter “the solid unbending belief that you start off with . . . Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only’. Not ‘as long as’. I matter equally. Full stop.”..there is no doubt that if we raised all of our daughters to believe completely that they “matter equally”, to trust what they feel and think and to worry less about how they look and come across, we would soon find new ways to challenge the multiple injustices and indignities that still limit, and even wreck, so many women’s lives.”                       New Statesman

Personal and urgent . . . Adichie is passionate about equality. Her new book offers 15 ways that we can encourage girls to be strong, to plant seeds of feminism. But more than that, Adichie hopes the book will help ‘move us toward a world that is more gender equal.’ Doing so means knocking down ingrained assumptions about how men and women think and behave.”                      Washington Post

 

 

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

 
The New York Times Bestseller

These 128 pages are a brief primer in every important thing we might have learned from the history of the last century, and all that we appear to have forgotten.”              Observer

History does not repeat, but it does instruct.

In the twentieth century, European democracies collapsed into fascism, Nazism and communism. These were movements in which a leader or a party claimed to give voice to the people, promised to protect them from global existential threats, and rejected reason in favour of myth. European history shows us that societies can break, democracies can fall, ethics can collapse, and ordinary people can find themselves in unimaginable circumstances.

History can familiarise, and it can warn. Today, we are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to totalitarianism in the twentieth century. But when the political order seems imperilled, our advantage is that we can learn from their experience to resist the advance of tyranny.

Now is a good time to do so.

 

Timothy Snyder reasons with unparalleled clarity, throwing the past and future into sharp relief. He has written the rare kind of book that can be read in one sitting but will keep you coming back to help regain your bearings. Put a copy in your pocket and one on your bedside table, and it will help you keep going for the next four years or however long it takes.”           Masha Gessen
Easily the most compelling volume among the early resistance literature. . . . A slim book that fits alongside your pocket Constitution and feels only slightly less vital. . . . Clarifying and unnerving. . . . A memorable work that is grounded in history yet imbued with the fierce urgency of what now.”                   Washington Post

We are rapidly ripening for fascism. This American writer leaves us with no illusions about ourselves.”                        Svetlana Alexievich, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
Please read this book. So smart, so timely.”                        George Saunders
As Timothy Snyder explains in his fine and frightening On Tyranny, a minority party now has near-total power and is therefore understandably frightened of awakening the actual will of the people.”                     Adam Gopnik,  New Yorker
 

The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle between Faith and Reason by Christopher de Bellaigue

 

Image result for The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle between Faith and Reason by Christopher de BellaigueThe best sort of book for our disordered days: timely, urgent and illuminating.”  Pankaj Mishra
The Islamic Enlightenment: a contradiction in terms?

The Muslim world has often been accused of a failure to modernise, reform and adapt. But, from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day, Islamic society in its Middle Eastern heartlands has in fact been transformed by modern ideals and practices, including the adoption of modern medicine, the emergence of women from purdah and the development of democracy.

Who were the scholars and scientists, writers and politicians that brought about these remarkable changes? And why is their legacy now under threat?

Beginning with the dramatic collision of East and West following Napoleon’s arrival in Egypt, and taking us through 200 tumultuous years of Middle Eastern history, Christopher de Bellaigue introduces us to key figures and reformers; from Egypt’s visionary ruler Muhammad Ali to brave radicals like Iran’s first feminist Qurrat al-Ayn and the writer Ibrahim Sinasi, who transformed Ottoman Turkey’s language and literature.

This book tells the forgotten story of the Islamic Enlightenment. It shows us how to look beyond sensationalist headlines to foster a genuine understanding of modern Islam and Muslim culture, and is essential reading for anyone engaged with the state of the world today.

 

It strikes a blow … for common humanity.”  Sunday Times
This book is an enlightenment in itself, and a salient one in this age when everyone seems to feel entitled to a firm opinion about Islam and Muslims.”        David Aaronovitch, The Times

A highly original and informative survey of the clashes between Islam and modernity in Istanbul, Cairo and Tehran in the last two hundred years. Brilliant.” (Orhan Pamuk)

A refreshingly optimistic counterpoint to the idea that Muslim and Western world-views are doomed to clash.”                          Economist

Timely, thoughtful and provocative.”           Peter Frankopan

A brilliantly learned and entertaining study of a topic that is of far more than merely antiquarian interest: the encounter between the Islamic world and the post-Enlightenment West.”              Tom Holland

 

Cleverlands: The Secret Behind the Success of the World’s Education Superpowers by Lucy Crehan

 
As a teacher in an inner-city school, Lucy Crehan was exasperated with ever-changing government policy claiming to be based on lessons from ‘top-performing’ education systems. She became curious about what was really going on in classrooms of the countries whose teenagers ranked top in the world in reading, maths and science.

Determined to dig deeper, Lucy set off on a personal educational odyssey through Finland, Japan, Singapore, Shanghai and Canada, teaching in schools, immersing herself in their very different cultures and discovering the surprising truths about school life that don’t appear in the charts and graphs.

Cleverlands documents her journey, weaving together her experiences with research on policy, history, psychology and culture to offer extensive new insights and provide answers to three fundamental questions:

How do these countries achieve their high scores? What can others learn from them? And what is the price of this success?

 

Lucy Crehan’s book is refreshingly fair-minded and makes a case that there is a lot to learn about how other countries learn.”                     Books of the Year, Economist

Audacious and important . . . Cleverlands is not just for specialists: it’s a wry and accessible narrative of personal enterprise.”                 Prospect

 

 

 

Republic of Gupta: A Story of State Capture by Pieter-Louis Myburgh

 
The Guptas rose to national infamy when a commercial airliner packed with guests for a family wedding was allowed to land at Air Force Base Waterkloof in 2013, sparking an onslaught of public outrage. Since then, they have become embroiled in allegations of state capture, of dishing out cabinet posts to officials who would do their bidding, and of benefiting from lucrative state contracts and dubious loans.

 

The Republic of Gupta  investigates what the Gupta brothers were up to during Thabo Mbeki’s presidency and how they got into the inner circle of President Jacob Zuma. It shines new light on their controversial ventures in computers, cricket, newspapers and TV news, and coal and uranium mining. And it explores their exposure by public protector Thuli Madonsela, their conflict with finance minister Pravin Gordhan, and the real reasons behind the cabinet reshuffle of March 2017.

 

Pieter-Louis Myburgh delves deeper than ever before into the Guptas’ business dealings and their links to prominent South African politicians, and explains how one family managed to transform an entire country into the Republic of Gupta.

 

 

Black Like You: An Autobiography by Herman Mashaba

 

Image result for Black Like You: An Autobiography by Herman MashabaHerman Mashaba rose from humble beginnings to become one of South Africa’s wealthiest and best-known entrepreneurs.

His remarkable story begins in a small village in Gauteng, where we meet the cocky youngster who refused to settle for a future that offered nothing. Forced to drop out of university, the determined young man fought to establish the first black-owned haircare company in South Africa. Mashaba struggled every day of his life – against apartheid, with its demeaning laws, and against his competitors to grab market share for his business. In the process, Mashaba learnt lessons that few business schools teach today.

This is a story of survival, and of determination in adversity. It is also a love story between Herman and Connie, his wife of 30 years, who embarked on this journey together. Mashaba shows the importance of having a vision, daring to dream it, and then making it happen.

This inspiring book will leave you with the question: “If he did it, why can’t I?”

The experiences reflected in this book are real and the manner in which he rose above the hurdles he faced is a reliable framework to self-actualisation and achievement.”                         Dr Thami Mazwai

After reading Black Like You … I appeal to the government to save taxpayers money and stop writing more reports and instead study Herman Mashaba’s autobiography.”                    Moeletsi Mbeki

A better role model, truer patriot and son of the soil I can hardly imagine. At a time when somewhat limited and even rapacious young business leaders descend on the trough of public tenders, our youth would do well to read Black Like You.”          Justice Dikgang Moseneke

He tells sometimes uncomfortable truths and shares moments of inspiration which have led to his becoming one of this country’s enduring role models. If this modest little book doesn’t inspire you, nothing will!”                       Jenny Crwy-Williams

 

 

A Crime in the Family by Sacha Batthyány

 
A memoir of brutality, heroism and personal discovery from Europe’s dark heart, revealing one of the most extraordinary untold stories of the Second World War

In the spring of 1945, at Rechnitz on the Austrian-Hungarian border, not far from the front lines of the advancing Red Army, Countess Margit Batthyany gave a party in her mansion. The war was almost over, and the German aristocrats and SS officers dancing and drinking knew it was lost. Late that night, they walked down to the village, where 180 enslaved Jewish labourers waited, made them strip naked, and shot them all, before returning to the bright lights of the party. It remained a secret for decades, until Sacha Batthyany, who remembered his great-aunt Margit only vaguely from his childhood as a stern, distant woman, began to ask questions about it.

A Crime in the Family is Sacha Batthyany’s memoir of confronting these questions, and of the answers he found. It is one of the last untold stories of Europe’s nightmare century, spanning not just the massacre at Rechnitz, the inhumanity of Auschwitz, the chaos of wartime Budapest and the brutalities of Soviet occupation and Stalin’s gulags, but also the silent crimes of complicity and cover-up, and the damaged generations they leave behind.

Told partly through the surviving journals of others from the author’s family and the vanished world of Rechnitz, A Crime in the Family is a moving and revelatory memoir in the vein of The Hare with the Amber Eyes and The House by the Lake. It uncovers barbarity and tragedy but also a measure of peace and reconciliation. Ultimately, Batthyany discovers that although his inheritance might be that of monsters, he does not bear it alone.

 

 

What We Do Now: Standing Up For Your Values in Trump’s America  edited by Dennis Johnson & Valerie Merians

 

Image result for What We Do Now: Standing Up For Your Values in Trump’s America  edited by Dennis Johnson & Valerie MeriansThe election of Donald Trump to be the 45th President of the United States of America shocked and dismayed progressives across the country. What We Do Now, a collection of passionate manifestos by some of the country’s leading progressives, aims to provide a blueprint for how those stunned progressives can move forward. Its powerful contributions — from economists, environmentalists, activists, artists, politicians, and novelists — will offer encouragement and guidance to practicing constitutionally protected acts of resistance throughout the unprecedented upcoming administration.

Among the contributors are Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Gloria Steinem, Paul Krugman, Robert B. Reich, George Saunders and Dave Eggers as well the heads of the ACLU, the NAACP, the Sierra Club, the Arab American Association, the National GLBTQ Task Force, the Freedom of the Press Association, and other prominent activists.

 

Eloquent literary and political essays on propaganda and resistance… the collection’s most important function may be to simply remind readers that showing up has worked before.”      Economist

 

 

Cast Away: Stories of Survival from Europe’s Refugee Crisis by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson

 
Riot police are shutting down borders, 800 lives are lost in a single shipwreck, a boy’s body washes up on a beach: this is the European Union in summer 2015. But how did a bloc founded upon the values of human rights and dignity for all reach this point? And what was driving millions of desperate people to risk their lives on the Mediterranean? Charlotte McDonald-Gibson has spent years reporting on every aspect of Europe’s refugee crisis, and Cast Away offers a vivid glimpse of the personal dilemmas, pressures, choices and hopes that lie beneath the headlines. We meet Majid, a Nigerian boy who exchanges the violence of his homeland for Libya, only to be driven onto a rickety boat during Colonel Gaddafi’s crackdown on migrants. Nart is an idealistic young lawyer who risks imprisonment and torture in Syria until it is no longer safe for him to stay. Sina has to leave her new husband behind and take their unborn son across three continents to try and escape the Eritrean dictatorship. Mohammed is a teenager who dreams of becoming the world’s best electrician until he is called to serve as a foot-soldier in the Syrian army. And Hanan watches in horror as the safe life she built for her four children in Damascus collapses, and she has to entrust their lives to people smugglers. While the politicians wrangle over responsibility, and the media talk in statistics, Cast Away brings to life the human consequences of the most urgent humanitarian issue of our time.

 

McDonald-Gibson’s gripping storytelling has a cinematic quality… At times it’s easy to forget that these are experiences of real people, not fictional characters, as the reader becomes immersed in harrowing stories of danger, deception and disillusionment. But McDonald-Gibson also balances individual stories with a wider historical sweep [and] offers insights into the extraordinary political and historical contexts of the migrants’ home countries… [One of] the most important books you will read this year.”                 Irish Times

A closely reported, passionately argued, often deeply moving account of five refugees’ journeys to Europe. The unapologetically narrative style creates an effect similar to that of the photograph of the corpse of three year old Alan Kurdi in his red T shirt in 2015. It yanks away the anonymous screen of numbers and brings you face to face with real people – people you can recognise, in situations you can’t. [Cast Away] start[s] to do for the refugees what British abolitionists did for the slave trade… mobilise eyewitness testimony to promote empathy, and through empathy, better policy.”                     Guardian

March 2017

Monday, April 10th 2017 at 11:21 AM

Fiction

You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman

 
An existential thriller written in prose that points the way to the future.’               Zadie Smith

 

‘Fight Club for girls’                 Vogue

 

A lives with B.

B seems to be becoming more and more like A.

If A’s boyfriend, C, likes A because A is A, but now B is the same as A, where does that leave A?

And what has happened to the family across the street, who left one afternoon out of nowhere, covered in sheets with holes cut out for the eyes?

 

Comical, malignant and addictive.’               Adam Thirlwell

 

This book will unsettle you; this book will make you feel intensely alive.’               Buzzfeed

 

‘A powerful allegory of our civilization’s many maladies, artfully and elegantly articulated, by one of the young wise women of our generation.’                    New York Times Book Review

‘This debut novel by future superstar Alexandra Kleeman will be the thing to be seen reading this summer… Funny, perfectly weird, a hyperintelligent commentary on a culture obsessed with you and fame.’                                  Vanity Fair

‘This frequently impressive debut has some of George Saunders’ loony satire and some of Don DeLillo’s bone-deep paranoia… Kleeman has a singular, off-kilter style, and a distinct vision of the absurd horrors that can come with being trapped in a body.’                    New York Times

‘The smartest, strangest novel I’ve read in a while.’                         Paris Review, Staff Pick

Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

 

Joyful, funny and vividly alive.’                      Emily St John Mandel
‘The Lonely Hearts Hotel sucked me right in and only got better and better . . . I began underlining truths I had hungered for.’             Miranda July
Makes me think of comets and live wires . . . raises goosebumps.’             Helen Oyeyemi

 

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with a difference. Set throughout the roaring twenties, it is a wicked fairytale of circus tricks and child prodigies, radical chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians and brooding clowns, set in an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss.

It is the tale of two dreamers, abandoned in an orphanage where they were fated to meet. Here, in the face of cold, hunger and unpredictable beatings, Rose and Pierrot create a world of their own, shielding the spark of their curiosity from those whose jealousy will eventually tear them apart.

When they meet again, each will have changed, having struggled through the Depression, through what they have done to fill the absence of the other. But their childhood vision remains – a dream to storm the world, a spectacle, an extravaganza that will lift them out of the gutter and onto a glittering stage.

Heather O’Neill’s pyrotechnical imagination and language are like no other. In this she has crafted a dazzling circus of a novel that takes us from the underbellies of war-time Montreal and Prohibition New York, to a theatre of magic where anything is possible – where an orphan girl can rule the world, and a ruined innocence can be redeemed.

 

Because this book is so filled with delightful things – bold and complex sex; heartache and wickedness and glittering hearts – it would be easy to overlook how finely it is made. The Lonely Hearts Hotel sucked me right in and only got better and better, ultimately becoming much tougher, wiser than I was prepared for. I began underlining truths I had hungered for but never before read. By the end I was a gasping, tearful mess.’              Miranda July

A fairy tale laced with gunpowder and romance and icing sugar, all wrapped round with a lit fuse. Each of Heather O’Neill’s sentences pricks or delights. If you haven’t read her other books, start with this one and then read all of the rest.’                Kelly Link

A love story of epic proportions…this novel will cast a spell upon readers from page one.’                      Publisher’s Weekly

O’Neill is a mistress of metaphor and imagery … This is brilliant tragicomedy … in a melancholy love story that brings to life the bygone days of theatrical revues. It’s a little weird and a lot of fun.’                        Booklist

 

 

Retribution Road by Antonin Varenne

 

Image result for Retribution Road by Antonin VarenneBurma, 1852. Arthur Bowman, a sergeant in the East India Company, is sent on a secret mission during the Second Anglo-Burmese War. But the expedition is foiled – his men are captured and tortured. Throughout their ordeal, a single word becomes Bowman’s mantra, a word that will stiffen their powers of endurance in the face of unimaginable suffering: “Survival”. But for all that, only a handful escape with their lives.

Some years later in London, battling his ghosts through a haze of alcohol and opium, Bowman discovers a mutilated corpse in a sewer. The victim appears to have been subjected to the same torments as Bowman endured in the Burmese jungle. And the word “Survival” has been daubed in blood by the body’s side. Persuaded that the culprit is one of the men who shared his captivity, Bowman resolves to hunt him down.

From the Burmese jungle to the slums of London to the conquest of the Wild West, Antonin Varenne takes us on a thrilling journey full of sound and unabated fury, reviving the lapsed tradition of the great writers of boundless adventure. Sergeant Bowman belongs to that breed of heroes who inhabit the imaginations of Conrad, Kipling, Stevenson . . . Lost soldiers who have plunged into the heart of darkness and will cross the globe in search of vengeance and redemption.

 

Antonin Varenne’s Retribution Road is part Bernard Cornwell, part John le Carré and all of a hell of a read. Few authors have the chops to take on a historical epic, a serial killer thriller and an intimate character study but Varenne’s latest novel should place him at the very top of every reading list.”            Craig Johnson

 

 

 

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

 
On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid twentieth-century America. A boy grows up-again and again and again.

As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written 4 3 2 1 is an unforgettable tour de force, the crowning work of this masterful writer’s extraordinary career.

 

Auster truly is a master of his art.’                Harper’s Bazaar

‘[Auster is] … A joy to read.’               Economist

A master of the modern American fable.’                Independent

Auster’s writing is stunning.’             Spectator

A remarkable writer whose work needs to be read in totality.’                   Sunday Herald

 

 

The Shallows by Ingrid Winterbach

 
Painter Nick Steyn moves to the City Bowl in Cape Town after separating from his partner, Isabel. A young boarder moves in with Nick and they soon become friends. But one night she does not come home, and his attempts to trace her come to nothing. A few weeks later the prosperous artist Buks Verhoef makes an offer on Nick’s house. Is there a connection between these events, and if so, could Nick’s former friend, Victor Schoeman, the author of the outrageous novel The Shallows, have a hand in them? A parallel narrative concerns a nameless Stellenbosch woman who is writing a monograph on the famous Olivier brothers. One day she witnesses the murder of Buks Verhoef in a coffee shop; soon thereafter a sinister man starts stalking her. Could this also be Victor Schoeman? A fantastical, absurd yet haunting novel by the award-winning novelist Ingrid Winterbach. Translated as always by Michiel Heyns.

 

 

The Ninth Grave by Stefan Ahnhem

 
On the coldest day of the year, Sweden’s Minister for Justice steps out of Parliament House and into a blizzard – and disappears. That same night, across the Baltic Sea, a Danish celebrity finds a stranger lurking in her snow-bound home.

 

TWO KILLERS STALK THE STREETS.

One is a surgeon who carefully dissects his victims. The other is a brutal predator who targets women. Police in Stockholm and Copenhagen are closing in on their suspects. But as winter darkens and more people die, their investigations begin to unravel.

 

SOMETIMES MURDER IS JUST THE BEGINNING…

 

‘More gripping than Jo Nesbo, blacker than Stieg Larsson and more bleakly human than Henning Mankell.’                   Tony Parsons.

‘Atmospheric and complicated … with great cop characters and some imaginatively grisly perps.’                      Star Pick – The Sunday Times.

‘Swedish crime writer of the year. Bliss‘                     Irish Times.

‘Grips like a vice.’ Irish Independent.

 

The Bear & the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

 

Image result for The Bear & the Nightingale by Katherine ArdenFrost-demons have no interest in mortal girls wed to mortal men. In the stories, they only come for the wild maiden.

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, an elderly servant tells stories of sorcery, folklore and the Winter King to the children of the family, tales of old magic frowned upon by the church.

But for the young, wild Vasya these are far more than just stories. She alone can see the house spirits that guard her home, and sense the growing forces of dark magic in the woods…

Atmospheric and enchanting, with an engrossing adventure at its core, The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman.

 

Stunning . . . will enchant readers from the first page. . . . with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate.’                Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale . . . A Russian setting adds unfamiliar spice to the story of a young woman who does not rebel against the limits of her role in her culture so much as transcend them. The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.’              Robin Hobb
A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.’               Naomi Novik

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker

 

From age eighteen on, I had a partner, a kindred spirit. I had a friend. Someone bound and determined to keep me from the worst in myself.

 

At a private East Coast college, two young women meet in art class. Sharon, ambitious but lacking confidence, arrives from rural Kentucky. Mel, brash and wildly gifted, brings her own brand of hellfire from the backwaters of Florida. Both outsiders, Sharon and Mel become fervent friends, bonding over their love of classic cartoons, their dysfunctional working-class families, and – above all – their craft: drawing. Mel, to understand her tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.

A decade later, Sharon and Mel are an award-winning animation duo, living and working in Brooklyn, and poised on the edge of even greater success after the release of their first full-length feature. But with this success comes self-doubt, and cracks in their relationship start to form. When unexpected tragedy strikes, long-buried resentments rise to the surface, hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.

Funny and heartbreaking by turn, The Animators is a dazzling story of female friendship, the cost of a creative life, and the secrets that can undo us.

 

A compulsively readable portrait of women as incandescent artists and intimate collaborators.’              Elle
An engrossing, exuberant ride through all the territories of love familial, romantic, sexual, love of friends, and, perhaps above all, white-hot passion for the art you were born to make . . . I wish I’d written The Animators.’                 Emma Donoghue, author of Room and The Wonder 


A wildly original novel that pulses with heart and truth . . . That this powerful exploration of friendship, desire, ambition, and secrets manages to be ebullient, gripping, heartbreaking, and deeply deeply funny is a testament to Kayla Rae Whitaker s formidable gifts. I was so sorry to reach the final page. Sharon and Mel will stay with me for a very long time.’                    Cynthia D Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest
A mix of Beaches, Girls, and Thelma & Louise . . . a complicated, sensual, sexy, raw nerve of a roller coaster through a tumultuous friendship . . . If you let this story happen to you, you’re gonna love it.’                    Glamour
“[A] tender, lively debut . . . [Kayla Rae] Whitaker’s nimbly created characters are as vibrant as the novel’s title suggests.”                    New Yorker

 

 

Human Solutions by Avi Silberstein

 
Chile, 1988. The Human Solutions team (a detective, a psychologist, and an actor) work together to engineer social situations to help their clients with anything they might need – until a case leaves one of them tangled in a cult run by an ex-Nazi with torturous ties to the Pinochet dictatorship.

To most people, Javier Gonzalez is an ordinary man. If you were to ask him, he would tell you that he runs an acting studio in Santiago, Chile, which is the truth, but not the whole story. Only a handful of people know that Javier also runs an unusual sort of business. With the help of a team of actors, Javier engineers social situations that meet the unique needs of his clients. If you want your boss to like you, he can help; if you want the weatherman to fall in love with you, he can arrange it. He calls his business Human Solutions, and that is exactly what he provides.

And he is good. Javier’s manipulations never fail because he controls every moment of every interaction – he is precise, observant and emotionally ruthless —and this has served him well. But then one day he slips. He falls for a woman, and against his better judgment, and the council of his associates, Javier takes on her case – a case he would never touch under ordinary circumstances. The woman’s name is Elena, and her son is locked behind the well-armed walls of a cult masquerading as an educational institution. She wants him out, so Javier agrees to go in.

Once behind the walls of the compound, Javier meets a man who is running a larger-scale social manipulation than he ever thought possible. The man is Peter Wenzel—or Uncle Peter, as he insists on being called—and as the charismatic leader of the cult he deftly manipulates his followers through a complicated system of fear, deception and brutality. Uncle Peter is an ex-Nazi, expelled from Germany for molesting children, and his ties with General Pinochet—Chile’s barbarous dictator—are extensive and terrifying. He is a man with no conscience or fear—and Javier quickly realizes that he may have met his match.

Avi Silberstein’s stunning debut is gripping, disturbing, darkly funny, and impossible to put down. The writing is taut and spare, creating a sharply etched portrait of 1980s Chile. Triumphant.”                 Carmen Aguirre, author of Something Fierce

 

 

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

 


‘A powerful antidote to all the fearmongering and lies out there . . . A rich exploration of human identity, family ties and love and loss, never has a short story collection been timelier
.’                 Independent

In The Refugees, Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. The second piece of fiction by a major new voice, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.
‘Nguyen’s eight heart-wrenching and hopeful stories ought to be required reading for every politician in this era of wall-building and xenophobia.’                      Guardian
‘Beautiful and heartrending.’                         Joyce Carol Oates in the New Yorker

 

‘[A] superb collection . . . exquisite stories . . . Nguyen crafts dazzlingly lucid prose.‘                     Observer

 

Poignant . . . Nguyen writes most movingly of the debt of safety and freedom . . . Nguyen’s stories are to be admired for their ability to encompass not only the trauma of forced migration but also the grand themes of identity, the complications of love and sexuality, and the general awkwardness of being. For all their serious qualities, they are also humorous and smart . . . The form of the short story seems to come to Nguyen effortlessly.’                         Financial Times

 

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

 
A NO. 1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

‘It would be an understatement to call this novel an extraordinary tour de force.’              Sunday Times

The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War

The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.

From this seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of realism, entering a thrilling, supernatural domain both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself trapped in a transitional realm – called, in Tibetan tradition, the bardo – and as ghosts mingle, squabble, gripe and commiserate, and stony tendrils creep towards the boy, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Unfolding over a single night, Lincoln in the Bardo is written with George Saunders’ inimitable humour, pathos and grace. Here he invents an exhilarating new form, and is confirmed as one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Deploying a theatrical, kaleidoscopic panoply of voices – living and dead, historical and fictional – Lincoln in the Bardo poses a timeless question: how do we live and love when we know that everything we hold dear must end?

 

A luminous feat of generosity and humanism.”                   Colson Whitehead, The New York Times Book Review

A masterpiece.”                     Zadie Smith

Ingenious . . . Saunders–well on his way toward becoming a twenty-first-century Twain – crafts an American patchwork of love and loss, giving shape to our foundational sorrows.”                  Vogue

Saunders is the most humane American writer working today.”                 Harper’s Magazine

The novel beats with a present-day urgency–a nation at war with itself, the unbearable grief of a father who has lost a child, and a howling congregation of ghosts, as divided in death as in life, unwilling to move on.”              Vanity Fair .

 

 

The Draughtsman by Robert Lautner

 
Speak out for the fate of millions or turn a blind eye? We all have choices.

 

1944, Germany. Ernst Beck’s new job marks an end to months of unemployment. Working for Erfurt’s most prestigious engineering firm, Topf & Sons, means he can finally make a contribution to the war effort, provide for his beautiful wife, Etta, and make his parents proud. But there is a price.

Ernst is assigned to the firm’s smallest team – the Special Ovens Department. Reporting directly to Berlin his role is to annotate plans for new crematoria that are deliberately designed to burn day and night. Their destination: the concentration camps. Topf’s new client: the SS.

As the true nature of his work dawns on him, Ernst has a terrible choice to make: turning a blind eye will keep him and Etta safe, but that’s little comfort if staying silent amounts to collusion in the death of thousands.

This bold and uncompromising work of literary fiction shines a light on the complex contradictions of human nature and examines how deeply complicit we can become in the face of fear.

 

Absolutely exceptional. So beautifully written, with precision and wisdom and real emotional acuity…A remarkable achievement.’                 Stephen Kelman, author of Pigeon English

 

 

 

Migrations edited by Helen Moffett and Bongani Kona

 
From our ancestors’ first forays through the continent, to the contemporary diaspora spread around the world, people are eternally moving in, out and about the African continent. Not everyone leaves of their own volition, and not everyone comes with the best intentions: nevertheless, the story of Africa is the story of souls migrating, settling, unsettling, fleeing, seeking, resting, nesting and sharing stories, experiences and myths.

From treks both physical and spiritual, journeys both internal and across continents, from the comfort of ancient myth to the desperation of those currently fleeing their homes, Short Story Day Africa latest collection brings a fresh, urgent perspective to one of our most profound phenomena, and the basis of all our greatest stories.

The twenty-one exciting voices, both new and established, including Mirette Bhagat Eskaros, TJ Benson, Arja Salafranca, Sibongile Fisher, Fred Khumalo and Karen Jennings, make Migrations a moving, informative and immersive read.

 

 

 

Local Stories

Spy: Uncovering Craig Williamson by Jonathan Ancer

 
In 1972 Craig Williamson, a big, burly, bearded man, walked onto Wits University and registered as a student. He joined the National Union of South African Students (Nusas), and was on the frontline in the war against apartheid. At one march he was beaten up, arrested and spent a year on trial. Williamson rose up through the student movement’s ranks to become the Nusas vice president. After being harassed by security police and having his passport seized, he decided to flee the country to continue his activism with the International University Exchange Fund (IUEF), an anti-apartheid organisation in exile. He was eventually appointed the Fund’s deputy director. As the IUEF’s money man, Williamson had access to powerful ANC and Black Consciousness leaders. He joined the ANC and formed his own unit to carry out clandestine work to topple the National Party government. But Williamson was not the anti-apartheid activist his friends and comrades thought he was. In January 1980, Captain Williamson was unmasked as a South African spy. His handler, Colonel Johan Coetzee, the head of South Africa’s notorious security branch, flew to Switzerland to bring him and his wife back home. Williamson was described as South Africa’s superspy who penetrated the KGB. Williamson returned to South Africa and during the turbulent 1980s worked for the foreign section of the South African Police’s security branch. Two years after he left Switzerland he returned to Europe under a false name and with a crack squad of special force officers to blow up the ANC’s headquarters in London. He was also responsible for a parcel bomb that killed Ruth First in Mozambique and the bomb that killed Jeanette Schoon and her 6-year-old daughter Katryn in Angola. He left the security branch to join Military Intelligence and finally the State Security Council. Apartheid’s spies didn’t have to appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a lot of information about the spies has been buried, burnt or shredded. This episode of our country’s bitter past remains murky…

 

 

Being Chris Hani’s Daughter by Lindiwe Hani and Melinda Ferguson

 
When Chris Hani, leader of the South African Communist Party and heir apparent to Nelson Mandela, was brutally slain in his driveway in April 1993, he left a shocked and grieving South Africa on the precipice of civil war. But to 12-year-old Lindiwe, it was the love of her life, her daddy, who had been shockingly ripped from her life.

In this intimate and brutally honest memoir, 36-year-old Lindiwe remembers the years she shared with her loving father, and the toll that his untimely death took on the Hani family. She lays family skeletons bare and brings to the fore her own downward spiral into cocaine and alcohol addiction, a desperate attempt to avoid the pain of his brutal parting.

While the nation continued to revere and honour her father’s legacy, for Lindiwe, being Chris Hani’s daughter became an increasingly heavy burden to bear.

For as long as I can remember, I’d grown up feeling that I was the daughter of Chris Hani and that I was useless. My father was such a huge figure, such an icon to so many people, it felt like I could never be anything close to what he achieved – so why even try? Of course my addiction to booze and cocaine just made me feel my worthlessness even more.

In a stunning turnaround, she faces her demons, not just those that haunted her through her addiction, but, with the courage that comes with sobriety, she comes face to face with her father’s two killers – Janus Walus, still incarcerated, and Clive Derby Lewis, released in 2015 on medical parole. In a breathtaking twist of humanity, while searching for the truth behind her father’s assassination, Lindiwe Hani ultimately makes peace with herself and honours her father’s gigantic spirit.

 

 

Change: Organising Tomorrow Today by Jay Naidoo

 

Image result for Change: Organising Tomorrow Today by Jay NaidooUnless there is significant change, the world is heading for an explosion. The growing gap between rich and poor is dangerous and unsustainable. The plundering of resources is damaging our planet. Something has to be done.
In this book, Jay Naidoo harnesses his experience as a labour union organiser, government minister, social entrepreneur and global thought leader, and explores ways of solving some of the world’s biggest problems. Drawing from his experiences in South Africa, Nigeria, Brazil, Bangladesh and other countries, he presents a variety of options for ending poverty and global warming, with a focus on organising in our communities and building change from below and beyond borders.
Naidoo’s message is unequivocal: significant action must be taken immediately if we want future generations to live in a world that we take for granted today.

 

 

Turning Point: South Africa at a Crossroads by Theuns Eloff

 

Living in South Africa isn’t easy − with crime, unemployment, poverty, racism, state capture, unrest at our universities …

Tempers flare. People take their anger to the streets.  As a country we are at a crossroads and the future is uncertain. How do we make sense of what is happening around us, and how can we help build the society we would like? Using the latest research and his years of experience in politics and business, Theuns Eloff asks critical questions:

What does South Africa’s balance sheet look like?

Are we already a failed state?

How strong is our democracy really?

What can we, as ordinary South Africans do?

This book gives perspective on burning issues, including education, the rule of law, lack of service delivery, the ailing economy, corruption, cronyism and the predator state. Eloff’s fresh, fact-based analysis tells us how South Africa really works  –  and how we can all pitch in to make it better.

 

A crucial book which opens up a conversation South Africa desperately needs.” – Ralph Mathekga

 

 

Memories of Love and Struggle by Fatima Meer

 
At just 17, Fatima Meer threw herself into resisting racism, the first public act of defiance in a long and pioneering political life. Despite assassination attempts, petrol bombs and the constant harassment of her family, she persevered on the courageous path she had chosen. In this intimate memoir, Fatima Meer shares her personal story of growing up and of love, joy, longing and loss. As Meer openly reflects on her regrets as well as her triumphs, an enchanting tale emerges of a rebellious, revolutionary woman who never shied away from the truth. “As long as we have persons of her calibre, South Africa will shine.” Nelson Mandela

 

 

 

Cult Sister: My Decade in a Secret Sect by Lesley-Anne Smailes

 
After matric Lesley took a gap year to the United States. Before she left, her mother, in jest or premonition, said: “Don’t get married and don’t join a cult” – but Lesley ended up in what is considered one of the most dangerous existing cults in America. In this book Lesley shares the story of her life-changing years with this group – living out of a backpack, an arranged marriage to a Brother, having home births, threats of losing her children and surviving in strange, glorious ways.

 

The book is told largely through a series of letters exchanged between Smailes and her mother.

 

 

 

 

Non-Fiction

Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities by Bettany Hughes

 
Istanbul has always been a place where stories and histories collide and crackle, where the idea is as potent as the historical fact. From the Qu’ran to Shakespeare, this city with three names – Byzantium, Constantinople, Istanbul – resonates as an idea and a place, and overspills its boundaries – real and imagined. Standing as the gateway between the East and West, it has served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman Empires. For much of its history it was known simply as The City, but, as Bettany Hughes reveals, Istanbul is not just a city, but a story.

In this epic new biography, Hughes takes us on a dazzling historical journey through the many incarnations of one of the world’s greatest cities. As the longest-lived political entity in Europe, over the last 6,000 years Istanbul has absorbed a mosaic of micro-cities and cultures all gathering around the core. At the latest count archaeologists have measured forty-two human habitation layers. Phoenicians, Genoese, Venetians, Jews, Vikings, Azeris all called a patch of this earth their home. Based on meticulous research and new archaeological evidence, this captivating portrait of the momentous life of Istanbul is visceral, immediate and scholarly narrative history at its finest.

 

This is historical narrative brimming with brio and incident. Hughes’s portraits are written with a zesty flourish … Istanbul is a visceral, pulsating city. In Bettany Hughes’s life-filled and life-affirming history, steeped in romance and written with verve, it has found a sympathetic and engaging champion.’                     Justin Marozzi, Guardian

Her latest book, Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities, is a particular stroke of genius… The book is littered with historical echoes that…are impossible to ignore…there are wonderful anecdotes…She concludes with an encomium to Istanbul as a world city – literally, a cosmo-polis – where faiths and ethnicities are brought together by learning or trade.’              Richard Spencer, The Times

With a broadcaster’s delight, Bettany Hughes…throws herself into the gargantuan task of capturing the history of a city that spans 3,000 years, and whose story has been woefully neglected compared with other great urban centres…Hughes reconstructs Byzantium, Constantinople and Istanbul as living, breathing landscapes…her scholarship is impressive…her enthusiasm radiates…Her subject…is irresistibly rich…The tale she tells of the metropolis at the crossroads of the Earth is textured, readable and often compelling.’                 Louise Callaghan, Sunday Times

A magisterial new biography…Bettany Hughes transports the reader on a magic-carpet-like journey through 8,000 years of history…in a vivid narrative dotted with colourful characters and fascinating tangents…the quintessential historical overview of a city racing up the modern political agenda.’                      The Lady
 

 

 

How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell

 


I was twenty-six years old and an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America. That’s all that most people knew about me. But beneath the surface, I was full of secrets: I was a drug addict, for one. A pillhead. I was also an alcoholic-in-training who guzzled warm Veuve Clicquot after work alone in my boss’s office with the door closed; a conniving and manipulative uptown doctor-shopper; a salami-and-provolone-puking bulimic who spent a hundred dollars a day on binge foods when things got bad (and they got bad often); a weepy, wobbly, wildly hallucination-prone insomniac; a tweaky self-mutilator; a slutty and self-loathing downtown party girl; and – perhaps most of all – a lonely weirdo. But, you know, I had access to some really fantastic self-tanner
.

By the age of 15, Cat Marnell longed to work in the glamorous world of women’s magazines – but was also addicted to the ADHD meds prescribed by her father. Within 10 years she was living it up in New York as a beauty editor at Condé Nast, with a talent for ‘doctor-shopping’ that secured her a never-ending supply of prescriptions. Her life had become a twisted merry-go-round of parties and pills at night, while she struggled to hold down her high-profile job during the day.

Witty, magnetic and penetrating – prompting comparisons to Bret Easton Ellis and Charles Bukowski – Cat Marnell reveals essential truths about her generation, brilliantly uncovering the many aspects of being an addict with pin-sharp humour and beguiling style.

‘New York’s enfant terrible…Her talent has resided in her uncanny ability to write about addiction from the untidy, unsafe, unhappy epicentre of the disease, rather than from some writerly remove.’                     Telegraph

‘An unputdownable, brilliantly written rollercoaster.’                        Shappi Khorsandi

‘Brilliantly written and harrowing and funny and honest.’                 Times Magazine

‘Easily one of the most anticipated memoirs of the year…[Marnell’s] got an inimitable style (and oh my god, so many have tried) and a level of talent so high, it’s impossible not to be rooting for her.’                Nylon

 

Jaw dropping.”                      New York Post

“[Marnell’s] memoir brims with all the intoxicating intrigue of a thriller and yet all the sobering pathos of a gifted writer’s true life journey to recover her former health, happiness, ambitions and identity.”                      Harper’s Bazaar

A gutting, riveting read that peels back the shiny facade that often cloaks the fashion publishing business. At its core, How to Murder Your Life is a cautionary tale about how even the most gifted, determined talents can fall victim to the grip of addiction, but it’s also a peek behind the curtain at the inner workings of this competitive industry, and how the shiny world of magazines isn’t as glamorous as it often appears. At the end, one thing is for certain: Marnell’s storytelling abilities prove why so many of her editors took a chance on her despite the liability she became, and why she’s cemented her spot as one of the internet generation’s cult favorite writers.”                        Fashionista
 

The President’s Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents by David Priess

 
Every president has had a unique and complicated relationship with the intelligence community. While some have been coolly distant, even adversarial, others have found their intelligence agencies to be among the most valuable instruments of policy and power.

Since John F. Kennedy’s presidency, this relationship has been distilled into a personalized daily report: a short summary of what the intelligence apparatus considers the most crucial information for the president to know that day about global threats and opportunities. This top–secret document is known as the President’s Daily Brief, or, within national security circles, simply “the Book.” Presidents have spent anywhere from a few moments (Richard Nixon) to a healthy part of their day (George W. Bush) consumed by its contents; some (Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush) consider it far and away the most important document they saw on a regular basis while commander in chief.

The details of most PDBs are highly classified, and will remain so for many years. But the process by which the intelligence community develops and presents the Book is a fascinating look into the operation of power at the highest levels. David Priess, a former intelligence officer and daily briefer, has interviewed every living president and vice president as well as more than one hundred others intimately involved with the production and delivery of the president’s book of secrets. He offers an unprecedented window into the decision making of every president from Kennedy to Obama, with many character–rich stories revealed here for the first time.

 

Turns the potentially dour history of the president’s daily intelligence briefing into a stimulating, if uncritical, account… Readers accustomed to CIA skullduggery will be surprised to find it admiringly portrayed as an organization of experts devoted to delivering unbiased information to a grateful president.”                   Publishers Weekly

 

 

Megatech: Technology in 2050 edited by Daniel Franklin

 
Technology moves fast – so where will it have taken us by 2050? How will it affect the way we live? And how far are we willing to let it go?
In Megatech, distinguished scientists, industry leaders, star academics and acclaimed science-fiction writers join journalists from The Economist to explore answers to these questions and more.
Twenty experts in the field, including Nobel prize-winner Frank Wilczek, Silicon Valley venture-capitalist Ann Winblad, philanthropist Melinda Gates and science-fiction author Alastair Reynolds identify the big ideas, fantastic inventions and potentially sinister trends that will shape our future. Join them to explore a brave new world of brain-computer interfaces, vat-grown cruelty-free meat, knitted cars and guided bullets.
The writers predict the vast changes that technology will bring to everything from food production to health care, energy output, manufacturing and the military balance. They also consider the impact on jobs, and how we can prepare for the opportunities, as well as the dangers, that await.
Thought-provoking, engaging and full of insight from the forefront of tech innovation, Megatech is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand tomorrow’s world.

 

 

 

The Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra

 


‘His vision is unusually broad, accommodating and resistant to categorisation. It is the kind of vision the world needs right now…Pankaj Mishra shouldn’t stop thinking.’               
Christopher de Bellaigue, Financial Times
How can we explain the origins of the great wave of paranoid hatreds that seem inescapable in our close-knit world – from American ‘shooters’ and ISIS to Trump, from a rise in vengeful nationalism across the world to racism and misogyny on social media? In Age of Anger, Pankaj Mishra answers our bewilderment by casting his gaze back to the eighteenth century, before leading us to the present.

He shows that as the world became modern those who were unable to fulfil its promises – freedom, stability and prosperity – were increasingly susceptible to demagogues. The many who came late to this new world or were left, or pushed, behind, reacted in horrifyingly similar ways: intense hatred of invented enemies, attempts to re-create an imaginary golden age, and self-empowerment through spectacular violence. It was from among the ranks of the disaffected that the militants of the 19th century arose – angry young men who became cultural nationalists in Germany, messianic revolutionaries in Russia, bellicose chauvinists in Italy, and anarchist terrorists internationally.

Today, just as then, the wider embrace of mass politics, technology, and the pursuit of wealth and individualism has cast many more millions adrift in a literally demoralized world, uprooted from tradition but still far from modernity – with the same terrible results

Making startling connections and comparisons, Age of Anger is a book of immense urgency and profound argument. It is a history of our present predicament unlike any other.

 

In this urgent, profound and extraordinarily timely study, Pankaj Mishra follows the likes of Isaiah Berlin, John Gray and Mark Lilla by delving into the past in order to throw light on our contemporary predicament, when the neglected and dispossessed of the world have suddenly risen up in Nietzschean ressentiment to transform the world we thought we knew.’              John Banville

With a deep knowledge of both Western and non-Western history, and like no other before him, Pankaj Mishra comes to grips with the malaise at the heart of these dangerous times. This is the most astonishing, convincing, and disturbing book I’ve read in years.’                     Joe Sacco

Incisive and scary.. a wake-up call.’               Guardian

Around the world, both East and West, the insurrectionary fury of militants, zealots and populists has overturned the post-Cold-War global consensus. Where does their rage come from, and where will it end? One of the sharpest cultural critics and political analysts releases his landmark “history of the present”.’                    Boyd Tonkin, Newsweek

An original attempt to explain today’s paranoid hatreds…Iconoclastic…Mr. Mishra shocks on many levels.’                   Economist

 

 

 

Why I March: Images from the Women’s March Around the World

 

Image result for Why I March:9781419728853On January 21st, 2017, five million people in 82 countries and on all seven continents stood up with one voice. The Women’s March began with one cause, women’s rights, but quickly became a movement around the many issues that were hotly debated during the 2016 U.S. presidential race immigration, health care, environmental protections, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights, among others. In the mere 66 days between the election and inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States, 673 sister marches sprang up across the country and the world. ABRAMS Image presents Why I March to honour the movement, give back to it, and promote future activism in the same vein. All royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to non-profit organisations affiliated with the March.

 

 

 

The Vaccine Race: How Scientists Use Human Cells to Combat Killer Viruses by Meredith Wadman

 
The epic and controversial story of a major breakthrough in cell biology that led to the creation of some of the world’s most important vaccines.

Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated foetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted foetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella. The rubella vaccine and others made with those foetal cells have protected more than 150 million people in the United States, the vast majority of them preschool children. The new cells and the method of making them also led to vaccines that have protected billions of people around the world from polio, rabies, chicken pox, measles, hepatitis A, shingles and adenovirus.

Meredith Wadman’s masterful account recovers not only the science of this urgent race, but also the political roadblocks that nearly stopped the scientists. She describes the terrible dilemmas of pregnant women exposed to German measles and recounts testing on infants, prisoners, orphans and the intellectually disabled, which was common in the era. These events take place at the dawn of the battle over using human foetal tissue in research, during the arrival of big commerce in campus labs, and as huge changes take place in the laws and practices governing who ‘owns’ research cells and the profits made from biological inventions. It is also the story of yet one more unrecognized woman whose cells have been used to save countless lives.

With another frightening virus imperilling pregnant women on the rise today, no medical story could have more human drama, impact, or urgency today than The Vaccine Race.

 

An extraordinary story and Wadman is to be congratulated, not just for uncovering it but for relaying it in such a pacy, stimulating manner. This is a first-class piece of science writing.”                 Observer

Extraordinary…The Vaccine Race is a tremendous feat of research and synthesis, its lucid technical explanations combined with forays into the business politics of big pharma, and portraits of the scientists whose work has saved untold lives.”               Steven Poole, Daily Telegraph

Marvellous…fascinating…Wadman doesn’t shy away from some very difficult and unpleasant truths…The Vaccine Race bears comparison with Richard Rhodes’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb. I can pay no higher compliment to Meredith Wadman and her fine book”                      Manjit Kumar, The Literary Review

A riveting tale of scientific infighting, clashing personalities, sketchy ethics and the transformation of cell biology from a sleepy scientific backwater to a high-stakes arena where vast fortunes are made.”                       Wall Street Journal

Riveting… invites comparison to Rebecca Skloot’s 2007 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks… Wadman stands back from the sources and material to guide the reader through a narrative that is no less captivating.”                        Nature

Meticulously researched and carefully crafted . . . The Vaccine Race, is an enlightening telling of the development of vaccines in the mid-20th century. . . . an intelligent and entertaining tome . . . [and] a comprehensive portrait of the many issues faced in the race to develop vaccines.”                   Science

Excellent… an important story, well told.”                Scotsman

“The Vaccine Race is an important read―for scientists, politicians, physicians, parents and everyone interested in how the world of medical research works… it is so important to read this book, to see how science works and how politics can and does interfere with what science does best and what is best for us.”                                 Huffington Post

 

 

 

Lenin the Dictator: An Intimate Portrait by Victor Sebestyen

 
Victor Sebestyen’s intimate biography is the first major work in English for nearly two decades on one of the most significant figures of the twentieth century. In Russia to this day Lenin inspires adulation. Everywhere, he continues to fascinate as a man who made history, and who created a new kind of state that would later be imitated by nearly half the countries in the world.

Lenin believed that the ‘the political is the personal’, and while in no way ignoring his political life, Sebestyen focuses on Lenin the man – a man who loved nature almost as much as he loved making revolution, and whose closest ties and friendships were with women. The long-suppressed story of his ménage a trois with his wife, Nadezhda Krupskaya, and his mistress and comrade, Inessa Armand, reveals a different character to the coldly one-dimensional figure of legend.

Told through the prism of Lenin’s key relationships, Sebestyen’s lively biography casts a new light on the Russian Revolution, one of the great turning points of modern history.

 

An excellent, original and compelling portrait of Lenin as man and leader.”                    Simon Sebag Montefiore
Richly readable … enthralling but appalling.”                     Francis Wheen
Victor Sebestyen brings the man’s complexities to life in Lenin the Dictator, balancing personality with politics in succinct and readable prose … Sebestyen describes particularly keenly how this ruthless, domineering, often vicious man depended on three women to sustain him.”                  David Reynolds, New Statesman

The attention to detail is flawless.”     Observer

The story of the Bolshevik revolution is fascinating in several ways, and Sebestyen does a good job of telling it … entertaining.”                         Tibor Fischer

 

 

 

Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917 by Helen Rappaport

 

Image result for Caught in the Revolution: Petrograd 1917 by Helen Rappaport“[The] centenary will prompt a raft of books on the Russian Revolution. They will be hard pushed to better this highly original, exhaustively researched and superbly constructed account.”                     Saul David, Daily Telegraph

A gripping, vivid, deeply researched chronicle of the Russian Revolution told through the eyes of a surprising, flamboyant cast of foreigners in Petrograd, superbly narrated by Helen Rappaport.”                     Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The Romanovs

Between the first revolution in February 1917 and Lenin’s Bolshevik coup in October, Petrograd (the former St Petersburg) was in turmoil. Foreign visitors who filled hotels, bars and embassies were acutely aware of the chaos breaking out on their doorsteps. Among them were journalists, diplomats, businessmen, governesses and volunteer nurses. Many kept diaries and wrote letters home: from an English nurse who had already survived the sinking of the Titanic; to the black valet of the US Ambassador, far from his native Deep South; to suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, who had come to Petrograd to inspect the indomitable Women’s Death Battalion led by Maria Bochkareava.

Drawing upon a rich trove of material and through eye-witness accounts left by foreign nationals who saw the drama unfold, Helen Rappaport takes us right up to the action – to see, feel and hear the Revolution as it happened.

 

Chronicles the events of 1917 through the eyes of foreigners resident in Petrograd ― diplomats, journalists, merchants, factory owners, charity workers and simple Russophiles… a wonderful array of observations, most of them misguided, some downright bizarre. What makes this book so delightful and enlightening is the depth of incredulity it reveals… [A] wonderful book.”                          The Times

Thoroughly-researched and absorbing… this book offers a compelling picture of life in Petrograd in this momentous and often terrible year… One gets a wonderful picture of the extraordinary and beautiful city… and a keen sense of the really grotesque inequality that has always existed there.”                     Allan Massie, Scotsman

 

 

 

The Boys in the Trees: A Memoir by Carly Simon

 

Image result for The Boys in the Trees: A Memoir by Carly Simon“A sensational memoir . . . brilliantly well written. Carly Simon is incapable of writing a boring sentence . . . you can forgive anything for the unparalleled brilliance of her writing.”           Lynn Barber, Sunday Times

 

Hugely affecting memoir . . . heartfelt and remarkable.”                Independent

 

Carly Simon is a household name. She was the staple of the ’70s and ’80s Billboard charts and was famously married to James Taylor with whom she has two children. She has had a career that has spanned four decades, resulting in thirteen top 40 hits, including the Number 1 song ‘You’re So Vain’, numerous Grammy Awards, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her song ‘Let the River Run’ (from the film Working Girl).

Boys in the Trees is a rhapsodic, beautifully composed memoir of a young woman’s coming of age amongst the glamorous literati and intelligentsia of Manhattan (her father was Richard Simon, co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster), a reflection on a life begun amidst secrets and shame, and a powerful story of the strength to leave that all behind and forge a path of art, music and love in the Golden Age of folk and rock.

At once an insider’s look into a life in the spotlight, a lyric reflection on a particular time in our culture’s history, and a beautiful memoir about the pains and joys of love and art, Boys in the Trees is the story Carly Simon has long been waiting to tell the world.

 

One of the best celebrity memoirs of the year … elegantly written and revealing.”                       Hollywood Reporter

 

Carly Simon could have gotten away with just the name-dropping. In her life, she’s crossed paths with an astonishing range of famous people, from Cat Stevens and Jimi Hendrix to Benny Goodman and Albert Einstein. So it’s a pleasant surprise that in her compelling new autobiography, Boys in the Trees, she lays out her naked emotions and insecurities, and that she proves to be a supple writer with a gift for descriptions.”                        Rolling Stone

 

 

Pre-order special – ‘From Bacteria to Bach & Back’ by Daniel C. Dennett

Saturday, April 1st 2017 at 10:48 AM

From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel Dennett
Image result for from bacteria to bach and back‘One of the world’s most original and provocative thinkers’ Daily Telegraph

What is human consciousness and how is it possible? These questions fascinate thinking people from poets and painters to physicists, psychologists, and philosophers.

This is Daniel C. Dennett’s brilliant answer, extending perspectives from his earlier work in surprising directions, exploring the deep interactions of evolution, brains and human culture. Part philosophical whodunnit, part bold scientific conjecture, Dennett shows how culture enables reflection by installing a profusion of thinking tools, or memes, in our brains, and how language turbocharges this process. The result: a mind that can comprehend the questions it poses, has emerged from a process of cultural evolution. From Bacteria to Bach and Back is essential for anyone who hopes to understand human creativity in all its applications.

The book retails at R570, but if you order and pay before publication of 1st April 2017, you will get a 20% discount and pay only R456! To order email us on booklounge@gmail.com or call 021 462 2425.

Published by Penguin Random House

Pre-order special – ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’

Saturday, April 1st 2017 at 10:46 AM

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
What if the princess didn’t marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Elizabeth I to Serena Williams. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing.

The book will retail at R385, but if you order and pay before publication date of 1st April 2017, you will get a 20% discount and pay only R308. To order email us on booklounge@gmail.com or call 021 462 2425.

Published by Penguin Random House

February 2017

Tuesday, February 21st 2017 at 9:16 AM

Fiction

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

One hot August day a family drives to a mountain clearing to collect birch wood. Jenny, the mother, is in charge of lopping any small limbs off the logs with a hatchet. Wade, the father, does the stacking. The two daughters, June and May, aged nine and six, drink lemonade, swat away horseflies, bicker, sing snatches of songs as they while away the time.

But then something unimaginably shocking happens, an act so extreme it will scatter the family in every different direction.

In a story told from multiple perspectives and in razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn more about this act, and the way its violence, love and memory reverberate through the life of every character in Idaho.

 

Writing that has the cool sharpness of lemonade… Unflinching, unfrilly, multi-layered storytelling that is both beautiful and devastating”                 Rachel Joyce

“Idaho, Emily Ruskovich’s debut novel, is about not only loss, grief and redemption, but also, most interestingly, the brutal disruptions of memory… you’re in masterly hands here… will remind many of the great Idaho novel, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping… wrenching and beautiful.”                           New York Times Book Review

Devastating… a textured, emotionally intricate story of deliverance… Ruskovich’s writing is a deft razor.”                    O, The Oprah Magazine

In this stunning debut novel, Emily Ruskovich introduces us to Ann and Wade, who have carved out a life for themselves from a rugged landscape in northern Idaho. But as Wade’s memory begins to fade, Ann becomes determined to learn more about her husband’s first wife, Jenny, and their daughters. What Ann discovers is a mysterious and shocking act that fractured Wade and Jenny’s lives. Hauntingly brilliant, this book will stay with you for days after you’ve put it down.”                 Evening Standard, 2017 Books of the Year

Haunting, propulsive and gorgeously written, this is a debut not to be missed.”                People Magazine

Riveting… exquisitely rendered with masterful language and imagery. You leave Idaho feeling as though you have been given a rare glimpse into the souls of genuinely surprising and convincing people, as E.M. Forster would have characterized the inhabitants of this world. Idaho is a powerful and deeply moving book, an impressive debut that portends good, even great, things to come”                          Washington Post

 

 

Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo

National Bestseller and a New York Times 2016 Notable Book
In these pages, Richard Russo returns to North Bath, the Rust Belt town first brought to unforgettable life in Nobody’s Fool. Now, ten years later, Doug Raymer has become the chief of police and is tormented by the improbable death of his wife–not to mention his suspicion that he was a failure of a husband. Meanwhile, the irrepressible Sully has come into a small fortune, but is suddenly faced with a VA cardiologist’s estimate that he only has a year or two left to live.
As Sully frantically works to keep the bad news from the important people in his life, we are reunited with his son and grandson . . . with Ruth, the married woman with whom he carried on for years . . . and with the hapless Rub Squeers, who worries that he and Sully aren’t still best friends. Filled with humor, heart, and hard-luck characters you can’t help but love, Everybody’s Fool is a crowning achievement from one of the great storytellers of our time.

 

Buoyantly unsentimental . . . You hold his books to your heart.”                Boston Globe

Elegiac but never sentimental. . . . Russo s compassionate heart is open to the sorrows, and yes, the foolishness of this lonely world, but also the humor, friendship and love that abide.”                   San Francisco Chronicle

A writer of great comedy and warmth, Russo is living proof that a book can be profound and wise without aiming straight into darkness. [His] voice can play in any register, any key, any style [in this] portrait of an entire community, in all its romance and all its grit.”                     USA Today

A delightful return . . . to a town where dishonesty abounds, everyone misapprehends everyone else and half the citizens are half-crazy. It’s a great place for a reader to visit, and it seems to be Russo s spiritual home.”                       New York Times

How could twenty-three years have slipped by since Nobody s Fool? . . . Russo is probably the best writer of physical comedy that we have [but] even the zaniest elements of the story are interspersed with episodes of wincing cruelty. . . . The abiding wonder [is that] Russo s novel bears down on two calamitous days and exploits the action in every single minute . . . mudslides, grave robbery, collapsing buildings, poisonous snakes, drug deals, arson, lightning strikes and toxic goo. North Bath is a sleepy little town that never sleeps [and] no tangent ever feels tangential. Ron Charles, The Washington Post

The Fool books represent an enormous achievement, creating a world as richly detailed as the one we step into each day of our lives. . . . Sully in particular emerges as one of the most credible and engaging heroes in recent American fiction. . . . Bath is real, Sully is real, and so is Hattie s and the White Horse Tavern and Miss Peoples s house on Main, and I can only hope we haven t seen the last of them. I’d love to see what Sully’s going to be up to at 80.”             T. Coraghessan Boyle,  New York Times Book Review

 

 

 

Kingdom of Twilight by Steven Uhly

HISTORICAL FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH – THE TIMES

One night in autumn 1944, a gunshot echoes through the alleyways of a small town in occupied Poland. An S.S. officer is shot dead by a young Polish Jew, Margarita Ejzenstain. In retaliation, his commander orders the execution of thirty-seven Poles – one for every year of the dead man’s life. First hidden by a German couple, Margarita must then flee the brutal advance of the Soviet army with her new-born baby. So begins a thrilling panorama of intermingled destinies and events that reverberate from that single act of defiance. Kingdom Of Twilight follows the lives of Jewish refugees and a German family resettled from Bukovina, as well as a former S.S. officer, chronicling the geographical and psychological dislocation generated by war. A quest for identity and truth takes them from Displaced Persons camps to Lübeck, Berlin, Tel Aviv and New York, as they try to make sense of a changed world, and of their place in it. Hypnotically lyrical and intensely moving, Steven Uhly’s epic novel is a finely nuanced and yet shattering exploration of universal themes: love, hatred, doubt, survival, guilt, humanity and redemption.

 

A novel about the aftermath of the war, the tribulations of uneasy peace and the violent birth of Israel . . . Kingdom Of Twilight is powerful and original.”                       Antonia Senior, The Times

Uhly skilfully unrolls an epic canvas yet rarely loses sight of the individual details that bring his characters to life.”                         Sunday Times
A gripping, thoroughly researched novel . . . Steven Uhly’s Kingdom of Twilight should be at the centre of literary debate.”                      Süddeutsche Zeitung

 

Dancing the Death Drill by Fred Khumalo

Paris, 1958. An Algerian waiter at the world famous restaurant, La Tour d’Argent, is arrested for the murder of two customers. As he awaits trial, his long-time friend, celebrated jazz musician and artist Jerry Moloto, is hounded by an opportunistic and ambitious journalist hoping to make a name for himself by being the first to reveal the real story behind the waiter’s sudden extreme act of violence. Culling details from memory and from the waiter’s own journals, the story emerges that he is actually Pitso Motaung, a mixed race South African who had volunteered to fight for the British army in the First World War. Through a tragic twist of fate, Pitso finds himself enlisted aboard the ill-fated SS Mendi the formidable warship sunk off the coast of the Isle of Wight, killing 646 people, including many black South African soldiers. Pitso witnesses many tragic events during the crossing and at the time of the sinking but one particularly cruel moment will stay with him for the rest of his life, resurfacing decades later to devastating effect. Commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the sinking of the SS Mendi, Dancing the Death Drill paints a brilliant picture of a moment in history and brings to life some of the stories from the many who perished as well as of those who survived.

 

 

Dark Circle by Linda Grant

 

Image result for dark circle linda grantThe Second World War is over, a new decade is beginning but for an East End teenage brother and sister living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended. Sent away to a tuberculosis sanatorium in Kent to learn the way of the patient, they find themselves in the company of army and air force officers, a car salesman, a young university graduate, a mysterious German woman, a member of the aristocracy and an American merchant seaman. They discover that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach and only by inciting wholesale rebellion can freedom be snatched.

 

Exhilaratingly good . . . This is a novel whose engine is flesh and blood, not cold ideas . . . Grant brings the 1950s – that odd, downbeat, fertile decade between war and sexual liberation – into sharp, bright, heartbreaking focus.”                        Guardian

A writer whose language crackles with vitality and whose descriptive powers are working at such a high level.”                        Spectator

 

The Dark Circle is, beneath its narrative surface, fiercely political. She poses a large, naggingly relevant, question. What would (will?) privatisation of the NHS mean? Read this fine, persuasive, moving novel and contemplate – if you can dare to – that awful possibility.”                   The Times

Fascinating . . . a revealing insight: both funny and illuminating, it is a novel about what it means to treat people well, medically, emotionally and politically.”                        Observer

Contemporary issues linger ominously in Grant’s margins, silently enriching what’s already an astonishingly good period piece.”                Independent

 

Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo

When army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows that it is time to leave. As he travels towards Lagos, he becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a better life.

Their arrival in the city coincides with the eruption of a political scandal. The education minister, Chief Sandayo, has disappeared and is suspected of stealing millions of dollars from government funds.

After an unexpected encounter with the Chief, Chike and his companions must make a choice. Ahmed Bakare, editor of the failing Nigerian Journal, is desperate for information. But perhaps the situation is more complex than it appears.

As moving as it is mesmerising, Welcome to Lagos is a novel about the power of our dreams for the future and the place of morality in a sometimes hostile world.

 

“[A] fine novel … worlds―rich and poor, urban and rural, privileged and powerless, Muslim and Christian, Igbo and Yoruba―collide to spectacular effect as their paths cross and power shifts hands in surprising and unexpected ways, and then does so again, and again. It is an unlikely plot, but Ms Onuzo pulls it off, revealing the fault lines in her country’s society―or indeed those of any half-formed democracy. Though drenched in Lagosian atmosphere, the book wears its Nigerian setting lightly: it is clearly the work of a pan-African and an internationalist―and is all the better for it.”                    Economist

“[A] hugely accomplished tragicomic farce about life in Nigeria, written by one of the country’s brightest young stars. Nothing evades Onuzo’s biting prose and whipsmart humour. From the allegedly corrupt ministers who run the country, to the BBC journalists covering breaking news, and from the idealistic newspaper editor trying in vain to hold the country to account, to the beleaguered army officer who would rather be homeless than follow orders, all show the multifaceted shades of humanity that creates the kaleidoscope of Lagos.”                Herald

With Nollywood-like storylines and clever turns in plot, the book paints an entertaining and funny picture of Lagos life and Nigerian politics … impressive.”                   Guardian

“[H]ugely accomplished…Nothing evades Onuzo’s biting prose and whipsmart humour.”              Independent

 

 

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford

New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan Island, 1746. One rainy evening, a charming and handsome young stranger fresh off the boat from England pitches up to a counting house on Golden Hill Street, with a suspicious yet compelling proposition — he has an order for a thousand pounds in his pocket that he wishes to cash. But can he be trusted? This is New York in its infancy, a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love, and find a world of trouble . . .

 

Golden Hill is a novel of gloriously capacious humanity, thick-woven with life in all its oddness and familiarity, a novel of such joy it leaves you beaming, and such seriousness that it asks to be read again and again … this novel is verifiable gold.”                       Sunday Telegraph

The intoxicating effect of Golden Hill is much more than an experiment in form. [Spufford] has created a complete world, employing his archivist skills to the great advantage of his novel … This is a book born of patience, of knowledge accrued and distilled over decades, a style honed by practice. There are single scenes here more illuminating, more lovingly wrought, than entire books.”                 Financial Times

A cunningly crafted narrative that, right up to its tour de force conclusion, is alive with tantalising twists and turns … This is a dazzlingly written novel. Little brilliances of metaphor and phrasing gleam everywhere.”                  Sunday Times

Like a newly discovered novel by Henry Fielding with extra material by Martin Scorsese. Why it works so well is largely down to Spufford’s superb re-creation of New York … His writing crackles with energy and glee, and when Smith’s secret is finally revealed it is hugely satisfying on every level. For its payoff alone Golden Hill deserves a big shiny star.”                                    The Times

Splendidly entertaining and ingenious … Throughout Golden Hill, Spufford creates vivid, painterly scenes of street and salon life, yet one never feels as though a historical detail has been inserted just because he knew about it. Here is deep research worn refreshingly lightly … a first-class period entertainment.”                  Guardian

Golden Hill shows a level of showmanship and skill which seems more like a crowning achievement than a debut … [Spufford] brings his people and situations to life with glancing ease … They all live and breathe with conviction … His descriptive powers are amazing … Spufford’s extraordinary visual imagination and brilliant pacing seems to owe more to the movies than anything else.”                       Evening Standard

A Horse Walks into a Bar by David Grossman

The setting is a comedy club in a small Israeli town. An audience that has come expecting an evening of amusement instead sees a comedian falling apart on stage; an act of disintegration, a man crumbling, as a matter of choice, before their eyes. They could get up and leave, or boo and whistle and drive him from the stage, if they were not so drawn to glimpse his personal hell. Dovaleh G, a veteran stand-up comic – charming, erratic, repellent – exposes a wound he has been living with for years: a fateful and gruesome choice he had to make between the two people who were dearest to him.

A Horse Walks into a Bar is a shocking and breathtaking read. Betrayals between lovers, the treachery of friends, guilt demanding redress. Flaying alive both himself and the people watching him, Dovaleh G provokes both revulsion and empathy from an audience that doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry – and all this in the presence of a former childhood friend who is trying to understand why he’s been summoned to this performance.

 

This is a virtuoso piece of writing, a whirlwind of laughter and tears that sucks you in and makes you holds your breath.”                        Daily Mail

A writerly tour de force that would be unbearably painful, were it not also so generously humane.”                               New Statesman, Book of the Year

A short, shocking masterpiece.”                   Adam Lively, Sunday Times

David Grossman’s new novel runs on a high voltage line, operated by a frantic, mesmerising and almost unbearable energy. An ongoing feeling of astonishment accompanies you throughout the read, and it is linked to Grossman’s bravado and to his innovation as a storyteller… A Horse Walks into a Bar…is unlike anything Grossman has written, or anything I have read. It is a packed explosive, multi-resonant, daring and exciting.”                      Ha’aretz

A fine Israeli writer… It takes an author of Mr Grossman’s stature to channel not a failed stand-up but a shockingly effective one.”                    Economist

 

 

Graphic

Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman & Colleen Doran

 


Troll Bridge, 
a tale from the mind of Sunday Times bestselling writer Neil Gaiman, has been beautifully adapted for the first time by Eisner Award-winning writer/artist Colleen Doran. This striking graphic novel will delight fans of Alan Moore, Dave McKean and beyond.

Young Jack’s world is full of ghosts and ghouls, but one monster – a ravenous and hideous troll – haunts him long into manhood. As the beast sups upon a lifetime of Jack’s fear and regret, Jack must find the courage within himself to face the fiend once and for all.

 

 

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia E. Butler & John Jennings

 


Kindred
, Octavia Butler’s literary science-fiction masterpiece first published in 1979, tells the story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and mysteriously transported from her home in 1970s California to the antebellum South. Dana moves between worlds: one in which she is a free woman and another where she is part of a complicated familial history on a southern plantation, forced to interact with and save the life of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of her ancestors. Frightening, compelling and richly detailed, Kindred takes an imagined yet unstinting look at our complicated social history. Adapted as a graphic novel by celebrated academics Damian Duffy and John Jennings with the full co-operation of the Butler estate, Kindred explores the violence, sexuality, loss of humanity and twisted relationships engendered by slavery, in a format that introduces the work to a new generation of readers.

 

Everything the literature of science fiction can be.”                       Walter Mosley

 

That rare magical artifact . . . the novel one returns to again and again.”                        Harlan Ellison

 

 

 

Non-fiction

Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

#1 New York Times Bestseller

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE – Oscar Nominated For Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay

 

Set amid the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA’s African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America’s space program.

Before Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as ‘Human Computers’, calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts, these ‘colored computers’ used pencil and paper to write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Moving from World War II through NASA’s golden age, touching on the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the women’s rights movement, Hidden Figures interweaves a rich history of mankind’s greatest adventure with the intimate stories of five courageous women whose work forever changed the world.

 

Clearly fueled by pride and admiration, a tender account of genuine transcendence and camaraderie. The story warmly conveys the dignity and refinements of these women.”                  New York Times Book Review

 

Much as Tom Wolfe did in ‘The Right Stuff’, Shetterly moves gracefully between the women’s lives and the broader sweep of history … Shetterly blends impressive research with an enormous amount of heart in telling these stories … Genuinely inspiring book.”                Boston Globe

 

Exploring the intimate relationships among blackness, womanhood, and 20th-century American technological development, Shetterly crafts a narrative that is crucial to understanding subsequent movements for civil rights.”                        Publishers Weekly

 

This an is incredibly powerful and complex story, and Shetterly has it down cold. The breadth of her well-documented research is immense, and her narrative compels on every level. The timing of this revelatory book could not be better, and book clubs will adore it.”                Booklist

 

 

Conversations with a Gentle Soul by Ahmed Kathrada

Without much fanfare Ahmed Kathrada worked alongside Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and other giants in the struggle to end racial discrimination in South Africa. He faced house arrest and many court trials related to his activism until, finally, a trial for sabotage saw him sentenced to life imprisonment alongside Mandela and six others.

Conversations with a Gentle Soul has its origins in a series of discussions between Kathrada and Sahm Venter about his opinions, encounters and experiences. Throughout his life, Kathrada has refused to hang on to negative emotions such as hatred and bitterness. Instead, he radiates contentment and the openness of a man at peace with himself. His wisdom is packaged within layers of optimism, mischievousness and humour, and he provides insights that are of value to all South Africans.

 

 

 

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women by Siri Hustvedt

The essays in this volume – all written between 2011 and 2015 – are in three parts. A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women brings together penetrating pieces on particular artists and writers such as Picasso, Kiefer and Susan Sontag as well as essays investigating the biases that affect how we judge art, literature, and the world in general. The Delusions of Certainty is an essay about the mind/body problem, showing how this age-old philosophical puzzle has shaped contemporary debates on many subjects and how every discipline is coloured by what lies beyond argument-desire, belief, and the imagination. The essays in the final section, What Are We? Lectures on the Human Condition, tackle such elusive neurological disorders as synesthesia and hysteria. Drawing on research in sociology, neurobiology, history, genetics, statistics, psychology and psychiatry, this section also contains a profound consideration of suicide and a towering reconsideration of Kierkegaard. Together they form an extremely stimulating, thoughtful, wide-ranging exploration of some of the fundamental questions about human beings and the human condition, delivered with Siri Hustvedt’s customary lucidity, vivacity and infectiously questioning intelligence.

 

It is obvious that hers is a great mind that is constantly exploring, searching, “becoming” . . . An impressive collection by a novelist who clearly loves the humanities, the sciences and the ancient art of storytelling. But Hustvedt is not only a writer. She is also a passionate reader and therein lies the secret of this book . . . Here is a great book that invites reading . . . not only to ‘look at a woman writer looking at men looking at women’, but also to look within, deep inside the recesses of our minds, so as to recognise the fascinating complexity but also the heartbreaking fragility of human existence.”                        Elif Shafak, Observer

“Few writers eviscerate bias and flawed logic as elegantly and ruthlessly as Hustvedt . . . she expertly flays assertions about biological and psychological sex differences . . . Hustvedt does not resolve her many questions, but her exhilarating conclusion testifies to the virtues of doubt . . . Her work is cerebral but also warm, deeply felt.”                Washington Post

 

 

Of All That Ends by Günther Grass

The final work of Nobel Prize-winning writer Günter Grass – a witty and elegiac series of meditations on writing, growing old, and the world.

Suddenly, in spite of the trials of old age, and with the end in sight, everything seems possible again: love letters, soliloquies, scenes of jealousy, swan songs, social satire, and moments of happiness.

Only an ageing artist who had once more cheated death could get to work with such wisdom, defiance and wit. A wealth of touching stories is condensed into artful miniatures. In a striking interplay of poetry, lyric prose and drawings, Grass creates his final, major work of art.

A moving farewell gift, a sensual, melancholy summation of a life fully lived.

 

As subtle and as delicate as the many feathers depicted through its pages, Of All That Ends is a glorious gift, a final salute true to the singular creativity of the most human, and humane, of artists.”                 Irish Times

There is a lovely diversity to these pieces… His intelligence and intellectual engagement remain fiercely undimmed.”                 Financial Times

This beautiful, ironic and often funny final collage of asides and meditations sums up the fabulist’s genius.”                 Irish Times, Book of the Year

Autumnal, elegiac and tinged with a twilight charm.”                     Boyd Tonkin

 

 

 

The Great Soul of Siberia by Sooyong Park

There are five races of tiger on our planet and all but one live in tropical regions: the Siberian Tiger Panthera tigris altaica is the exception. Mysterious and elusive, and with only 350 remaining in the wild, the Siberian tiger remains a complete enigma. One man has set out to change this.

Sooyong Park has spent twenty years tracking and observing these elusive tigers. Each year he spends six months braving sub-zero temperatures, buried in grave-like underground bunkers, fearlessly immersing himself in the lives of Siberian tigers. As he watches the brutal, day-to-day struggle to survive the harsh landscape, threatened by poachers and the disappearance of the pristine habitat, Park becomes emotionally and spiritually attached to these beautiful and deadly predators. No one has ever been this close: as he comes face-to-face with one tiger, Bloody Mary, her fierce determination to protect her cubs nearly results in his own bloody demise.

Poignant, poetic and fiercely compassionate, The Great Soul of Siberia is the incredible story of Park’s unique obsession with these compelling creatures on the very brink of extinction, and his dangerous quest to seek them out to observe and study them. Eloquently told in Park’s distinctive voice, it is a personal account of one of the most extraordinary wildlife studies ever undertaken.

 

If you read one nature book this year, make it this one.”                Mark Cocker, Spectator

 

Wonderful … deserves to become a classic of wildlife literature.”             The Times

 

A wonderful evocation of the land and the habits of the desperately endangered Siberian tiger.”                       Independent

 

Subtly intense … Park has a deep sense of oneness with the world around him. His close engagement with the forest ecology is the most extraordinary element of this remarkable book.”                      New Statesman

 

It’s a masterpiece. One of the most moving outdoor texts I’ve read in years. This is a book about love – one exceptional human being’s love for the wild, beautiful and persecuted creatures to which his life is dedicated. It also comprehends a fortitude and hardihood so far beyond the everyday I was left shaking my head in astonished admiration.”               Great Outdoors

 

Sooyong’s magical prose led me into little-known and breathtakingly beautiful forests, exposed me to the bitter cold of long winter months, and revealed the secret life of that most mysterious of cats, the Siberian tiger.”                  Jane Goodall

 

The book is a love letter … To read it is to hear the voice of a remarkable man.”             Daily Telegraph

 

 

We Do Things Differently: The Outsiders Rebooting Our Brain by Mark Stevenson

 

Our systems are failing. Old models – for education, healthcare and government, food production, energy supply – are creaking under the weight of modern challenges. As the world’s population heads towards 10 billion, it’s clear we need new approaches. Futurologist Mark Stevenson sets out to find them, across four continents.

From Brazilian favelas to high tech Boston, from rural India to a shed inventor in England’s home counties, We Do Things Differently travels the world to find the advance guard re-imagining our future. At each stop, he meets innovators who have already succeeded in challenging the status quo, pioneering new ways to make our world more sustainable, equitable and humane.

Populated by extraordinary characters, We Do Things Differently paints an enthralling picture of what can be done to address the world’s most pressing dilemmas, offering a much needed dose of down-to-earth optimism. It is a window on (and a roadmap to) a different and better future.

 

 

 

Solidarity Road by Jan Theron

The events leading to the Marikana massacre not only shattered South Africa’s image of itself as a democracy in which workers had a respected place, but also the image of Cosatu and its largest affiliate at the time. Subsequent events confirm that South Africa’s pre-eminent trade union federation has lost its way. To understand why this has happened, Theron argues, it is necessary to understand the choices made by the trade unions that formed it in the 1980s.

The Food and Canning Workers’ Union (FCWU) was perhaps the most famous of these, and had produced some of the country’s most prominent labour leaders. But by 1976, when Theron became its general secretary, it was on its last legs and riddled with corruption. Solidarity Road is an uncompromising account of a struggle to overcome corruption, as well as to revive a tradition of non-racial solidarity. A demonstration of non-racial solidarity by the workforce of Fatti’s and Moni’s in Cape Town catapulted the union into national prominence, in the same week as government tabled its race-based labour “reforms” in Parliament.

FCWU’s unprecedented victory in this strike meant it was well-placed to initiate the talks that eventually led to the formation of Cosatu. This was to be an independent federation, allied to political organisations fighting to end apartheid. However, for FCWU the basis of independence was always financial self-sufficiency coupled with zero tolerance of corruption. In this regard it was unlike the other trade unions involved in these talks. This is a story about the values that shaped the trade union struggle and the decisions and practices which undermined them.

 

 

Afrikaner Odyssey: The Life and Times of the Reitz Family by Martin Meredith

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Southern Africa was a jumble of British colonies, Boer republics and African chiefdoms, a troublesome region of little interest to the outside world. Into this frontier world came the Reitz family, Afrikaner gentry from the Cape, who settled in Bloemfontein and played a key role in the building of the Orange Free State.

Frank Reitz, successively chief justice and modernising president of the young republic, went on to serve as State Secretary of the Transvaal Republic. In 1899, he stood shoulder to shoulder with President Paul Kruger to resist Britain’s war of conquest in Southern Africa. At the heart of this tale is the extraordinary life of Deneys Reitz, third son of Frank Reitz and Bianca Thesen. The young Reitz’s account of his adventures in the field during the Anglo-Boer War (1899–1902), published as Commando, became a classic of irregular warfare. After a period of exile in Madagascar, he went on become one of South Africa’s most distinguished lawyers, statesmen and soldiers. Martin Meredith interweaves Reitz’s experiences, taken from his unpublished notebooks, with the wider story of Britain’s brutal suppression of Boer resistance.

Concise and readable, Afrikaner Odyssey is a wide-ranging portrait of an aristocratic Afrikaner family whose achievements run like fine thread through these turbulent times, and whose presence is still marked on the South African landscape.

 

 

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

 


The Princess Diarist
 is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.

When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved―plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time―and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candour and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

 

It’s an eye-opener for fans, but it also shows a gifted writer even at a young age. There was a lot going on between Princess Leia’s hair buns.”               USA Today

Smart and funny…the pages crackle with one-liners.”                     Guardian

Fisher offers a thoughtful, sardonic meditation on the price of fame, cost-of-living adjustments included.”                    New York Times Book Review

The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair

 


The Secret Lives of Colour 
tells the unusual stories of the 75 most fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso’s blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history. In this book Kassia St Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colours and where they come from (whether Van Gogh’s chrome yellow sunflowers or punk’s fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilisation. Across fashion and politics, art and war, The Secret Lives of Colour tell the vivid story of our culture.

 

A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every colour has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking. Very hard painting the hallway magnolia after this inspiring primer.”                      Simon Garfield

 

 

Ayesha’s Gift: A Daughter’s Search for the Truth about Her Father by Martin Sixsmith

From the author of the bestselling Philomena, made into the award-winning film starring Steve Coogan and Judi Dench, comes the story of a young woman, born in Pakistan, living in Britain, whose life is thrown into desperate turmoil by the violent death of her father.  The Pakistani authorities talk of suicide, but why would Ayesha’s happy, gentle father kill himself?
Ayesha’s quest to find the truth takes her right away from her safe London existence.  She meets with threats, intimidation and smiling perjurers who resent her intrusion into their world. She is warned that her life is in danger; powerful, ruthless men have reasons to want her silenced.   But there are things she needs to know, that compel her to press on with her search for the truth.
Was her father an innocent victim?  Can she continue to revere the image of him she grew up with, that of a good, loving parent?  Or will she be forced to accept that her father was not the person she thought he was?
Ayesha decides that the only way forward is to fly to Pakistan and confront his killers.    When she goes, Martin Sixsmith goes with her.   The denouement of their journey together is extraordinarily moving, with unforeseen repercussions for them both.

 

Written at thriller pace, Ayesha’s Gift . . . exposes a terrifying web of gangsters and terrorists.”                         Telegraph

Martin Sixsmith, of Philomena fame, has done it again with a wonderful new book, Ayesha’s Gift, which mixes autobiography with the story of a hunt to reveal a dark mystery in Pakistan…  What I find so striking about Ayesha’s Gift is that it’s a book in which the writer is changed by the writing of the book. I’m trying to think of other examples of that but I can’t come up with any at all.”                      Andrew Marr

 

 

Hanging on a Wire – Photographs by Sophia Klaase

Sophia Klaase first used a camera in 1999, as a teenage participant in a photography project in Paulshoek, a village in Namaqualand. She continued with the project for the next sixteen years, chronicling her life in this arid northwest corner of South Africa. Her images are a frank exploration of her relationship to family, community and the landscape.

A foreword by Zoë Wicomb, and essays by Ben Cousins, Timm Hoffman, Siona O’connell, Virginia MacKenny and Rick Rohde describe the environmental, socio-economic and political contexts in which Klaase’s work was produced. Her photographs and this book demonstrate the intellectual and aesthetic rewards of true collaboration and sustained investigation, and introduce Sophia Klaase’s name into the tradition of South African documentary and vernacular photography.

 

The Holocaust: A New History by Laurence Rees

Groundbreaking … You might have thought that we know everything there is to know about the Holocaust but this book proves there is much more.”                  Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday

 

By far the clearest book ever written about the Holocaust, and also the best at explaining its origins and grotesque mentality, as well as its chaotic development.”    Antony Beevor

 

This landmark work answers two of the most fundamental questions in history – how, and why, did the Holocaust happen?

Laurence Rees has spent twenty-five years meeting survivors and perpetrators of the Holocaust. Now, in his magnum opus, he combines their enthralling eyewitness testimony, a large amount of which has never been published before, with the latest academic research to create the first accessible and authoritative account of the Holocaust in more than three decades.

This is a new history of the Holocaust in three ways. First, and most importantly, Rees has created a gripping narrative that that contains a large amount of testimony that has never been published before. Second, he places this powerful interview material in the context of an examination of the decision making process of the Nazi state, and in the process reveals the series of escalations that cumulatively created the horror. Third, Rees covers all those across Europe who participated in the deaths, and he argues that whilst hatred of the Jews was always at the epicentre of Nazi thinking, what happened cannot be fully understood without considering the murder of the Jews alongside plans to kill millions of non-Jews, including homosexuals, ‘Gypsies’ and the disabled.

Through a chronological, intensely readable narrative, featuring enthralling eyewitness testimony and the latest academic research, this is a compelling new account of the worst crime in history.

 

Anyone wanting a compelling, highly readable explanation of how and why the Holocaust happened, drawing on recent scholarship and impressively incorporating moving and harrowing interviews need look no further than Laurence Rees’s brilliant book.”                     Professor Ian Kershaw

A fine book. Rees is a gifted educator, who can tell a complex story with compassion and clarity, without sacrificing all nuances…it comes alive through the voices of victims, killers and bystanders.”                   Guardian

Absorbing, heart-breaking…he has drawn skilfully on speeches, documents and diaries of the Third Reich, and on the vast library of secondary literature, to weave together a powerful, inevitably harrowing revelation of the 20th century’s greatest crime.”                  Sunday Times

Rees has distilled 25 years of research into this compelling study, the finest single-volume account of the Holocaust. It is not a book for the faint-hearted. Some of the first-hand testimony is both shocking and heart-rending. Yet it has important things to say about human nature – what our species is capable of doing if not prevented by civilized laws – and demands to be read.”                   Saul David, Telegraph

 

LGBTQ Stats by David Deschamps & Bennett L. Singer

 

LGBTQ STATS chronicles the ongoing LGBTQ revolution, providing critical statistics, and draws upon and synthesizes newly collected data. Deschamps and Singer provide chapters on family and marriage, workplace discrimination, education, youth, criminal justice, and immigration, as well as evolving policies and laws affecting LGBTQ communities. A lively, accessible, and eye-opening snapshot, LGBTQ STATS offers an invaluable resource for activists, journalists, lawmakers, and general readers who want the facts and figures on LGBTQ lives in the twenty-first century.

 

The Road to Ruin: The Global Elite’s Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis by Jason Rickards

 

The New York Times bestseller that reveals how investors can prepare for the next financial panic – and why it’s coming sooner than you think.

The global economy has made what seems like an incredible comeback after the financial crisis of 2008. Yet this comeback is artificial. Central banks have propped up markets by keeping interest rates low and the supply of money free-flowing. They won’t bail us out again next time. And there will be a next time – soon.

In The Road to Ruin, bestselling author James Rickards identifies how governments around the world are secretly preparing an alternative strategy for the next big crisis: a lockdown. Instead of printing money to reliquify markets and prop up assets, governments are preparing to close banks, shut down exchanges and order powerful asset managers not to sell. They’re putting provisions in place that will allow them to do so legally. What’s more, the global elite has already started making their own preparations, including hoarding cash and hard assets.

When the next one comes, it will be the average investor who suffers most – unless he or she heeds Rickards’ warning and prepares accordingly.

 

 

 

Poetry

Like the Untouchable Wind: An anthology of Poems edited by Makhosozana Xaba

 

A slim volume it may be, but it is full of the life, experience and visions of African lesbians. These seven women take a chance on the reader, that we are curious about their journeys and are willing to engage with the lives they choose to share with us. Sometimes humorous, sometimes angry, they are defiant and resolute in defending themselves and their communities from violence, attack and marginalization. On these pages, I’ve met women who have loved, who have suffered but also women who have stood firm in their sexuality and activism. Freedom fighters. They are women who are living their lives and building a movement, they are women I want to know. Read this work and wake up to their world.

 

Happy reading!

2017 Preview

Tuesday, January 24th 2017 at 10:38 AM

A fantastic year for both local and international fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Publication dates are as currently given by the publisher, but very much subject to change. Expect a slew of titles commemorating the centenary of the Russian Revolution – publishers do love an anniversary!

January

 

Fiction

 

Paul Auster: 4 3 2 1 – New novel from the hugely-respected  author of New York Stories, again echoing Auster’s own life.

Otessa Moshfegh: Homesick for Another World – Short stories from the author of the Booker-shortlisted Eileen.

Ismail Kadare: The Traitor’s Niche – A lyrical tale of the Ottoman Empire.

Roxanne Gay: Difficult Women – Short stories from the author of Bad Feminist.

Peter Swanson: Her Every Fear – New psychological thriller from author of brilliant The Kind Worth Killing.

Chibundu Onozo: Welcome to Lagos – From the author of The Spider King’s Daughter.

 

Non-fiction

Laurence Rees: The Holocaust – The holocaust expert’s magnum opus, the product of 25 years’ work.

Melissa Fleming: A Hope More Powerful than the Sea – The extraordinary story of one refugee, by the Chief Spokesperson at the United Nations High Comission for Refugees

Michael Rosen: The Disappearance of Émile Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case. The story of Emile Zola’s exile from France in 1898, after his infamous ‘J’accuse’ letter.

Michel Houellebecq: Unreconciled: Poems 1991-2013 – Drawing on similar themes as his novels, Unreconciled is a journey into the depths of individual experience and universal passions.

Bettany Hughes: Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities – The historian and broadcaster tells the story of one of the world’s great cities through its Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman eras and into the present day.

 

February

 

Fiction

Sara Baume: A Line Made by Walking – New from the author of Spill, Simmer, Falter, Wither; a meditation on the interconnectedness of wilderness, art and individual experience.

John Burnside: Ashland and Vine – A novel of love and loss from the acclaimed novelist and poet.

Fred Khumalo: Dancing the Death Drill –  The extraordinary story of Pitso Motaung, a young South African who volunteered to serve with the Allies in the First World War; and of the tragic sinking of the Mendi, in which so many young black soldiers died.

Graeme Simsion: The Best of Adam Sharp – New fiction from the author of The Rosie Project. A settled, middle-aged man revisits a passionate affair from his youth.

Neil Gaiman: Norse Mythology – The wonderful Neil Gamin retells the Norse myths which have inspired his (and many others’) writings.

John Boyne: The Heart’s Invisible Furies – The eclectic  author’s biggest project to date. A story of growing up lost in rural Ireland.

Mick Herron: Spook Street – The fourth part of the excellent Slow Horses series, will appeal to le Carré and Spooks fans.

China Miéville: The Last Days of New Paris – A thriller of a war that never was – of survival in an impossible city – of surreal cataclysm.

Shane Kuhn: The Asset – A man dedicates himself to airline security after his sister dies in 9/11 – until the CIA get wind of it…

Viet Thanh Ngugyen: The Refugees – Short stories from the Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Sympathizer.

Richard Russo: Everybody Falls – Russo returns to the rich and intimate lives of the characters of Empire Falls.

Emily Ruskovich: Idaho – An already highly acclaimed debut novel, centering around a violent event at a family gathering.

Sam Shepard: The One Inside – First full-length novel from the actor and writer. With a foreword by Patti Smith.

 

Poetry

Nathan Trantraal: Alles het niet kom wod – A powerful, vibrant new collection from the author of Chokers & Survivors, and winner of the Ingrid Jonker Prize.

Antjie Krog: Lady Anne: A Chronicle in Verse – From one of our most respected writers and poets. In an attempt to make sense of her own existence, Krog compares her own life in the midst of racial injustice to that of Lady Anne Barnard.

Francine Simon: Thungachi – this debut collection blends ancestral Catholic mysticism and ancient folk Hinduism to create new and essential portraits of modern South African-Indian identity and womanhood.

 

Non-fiction

Paul Bloom: Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion – A controversial treatise which argues that empathy is the problem, not the solution.

Ahmed Kathrada with Sahm Venter: Conversations with a Gentle Soul – The revered struggle veteran talks about his life and experiences with wit, optimism and enlightenment.

Michael Symons Roberts and Paul Farley: Deaths of the Poets – Two poets explore the melancholic, dissolute image that often goes with their craft.

Daniel Dennett: From Bacteria to Bach & Back:  The Evolution of Minds – The respected philosopher explores how our minds developed throughout history.

 

March

 

Fiction

Helen Dunmore: Birdcage Walk – Historical fiction set in 18th century England, from the prize-winning author of The Siege.

Tim Parks: In Extremis – Tim Parks’ tour de force. A searing, darkly hilarious novel about family and what it means to be an adult.

Moshin Hamid: Exit West – A story of love and hope, travelling from the Middle East to London and beyond, from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Patty Yumi Cottrell: Sorry to Disrupt the Peace – A debut novel already receiving a huge amount of praise.

George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo – Highly anticipated debut novel from the bestselling short story writer, author of the award-winning Tenth of December.

Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin: Queer Africa II – New queer short stories from a wide range of African countries. Follow on from the award-winning first Queer Africa published in 2013.

Sarah Dunant: In the Name of the Family – Follow-up to the much lauded Blood & Beauty, a fascinating fictional look at the Borgia family.

Katie Kitamura: A Separation – Already being praised by literary heavyweights – promises to be one of the must-reads of the year.

Dan Chaon: Ill Will – A new thriller from the National Book Award finalist, already garnering enthusiastic reviews. Two unsolved crimes are linked by one man’s memory.

 

Non-fiction

PJ O’Rourke: How the Hell Did This Happen? – The ever-caustic and very entertaining O’Rourke turns his view on US Election of 2016 – which he says demonstrates “the most severe outbreak of mass psychosis since the Salem witch trials of 1692”.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – The fantastic Adichie’s cogent and heartfelt advice to a friend on raising a daughter.

Jay Naidoo: Change: Organising Tomorrow Today – The veteran political activists examines human values and social innovation. He reflects the voices of courageous communities that are fighting their way out of poverty and building the better life they want for themselves and their children.

Martin Meredith: Afrikaner Odyssey: The Life & Times of the Reitz Family – A wide-ranging portrait of an aristocratic Afrikaner family whose lives form a fine thread through the turbulent times after the discovery of diamonds in South Africa.

Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls – In this anti fairytale collection, 60 female artists illustrate and celebrate the lives of 100 inspirational women.

Fatima Meer: Fatima Meer: Memories of Love and Struggle – An enchanting tale of a rebellious, revolutionary woman who never shied away from the truth. With a foreword by Winnie Madikizela Mandela.

Kids

Refiloe Moahloli: How May Ways Can You Say Hello? – Local author Refiloe tells the story of one little girl’s journey around South Africa in a hot air balloon, and all the incredible sights she sees. Beautifully illustrated.

 

April

 

Fiction

Hari Kunzru: White Tears – A feverish new tale from the bestselling author of The Impressionist: two ambitious young musicians are drawn into a dark underworld, haunted by the ghosts of a repressive past

Lisa McInerney: The Blood Miracles – New fiction from the author of the Baileys Prize–winning The Glorious Heresies.

Mariana Enriquez: Things We Lost in the Fire – Dark short stories already much praised by Dave Eggers and Helen Oyeyemi. Not for the faint of heart!

John Darnielle: Universal Harvester – From the cult author of Wolf in White Van comes a horror-infused thriller set in a tiny Midwestern town; Clerks meets Cormac McCarthy.

Lidia Yuknavitch: The Book of Joan – Set in the near future, a reimagining of the Joan of Arc story.  Already highly praised by, amongst others, Roxanne Gay and Chuck Palahniuk.

Alain Mabanckou: Black Moses – The Man Booker International Prize-shortlisted novelist returns to the Congolese city of Pointe-Noire.

 

Poetry

Kuleka Putuma: Collective Amnesia – the long-awaited debut collection from this inspired and talented local performance poet.

 

 

Non-Fiction

Tariq Ali: The Dilemmas of Lenin: Terrorism, War, Empire, Love, Revolution – This book examines Lenin’s leadership, and asks important questions related to political representation and the popular institutions necessary to challenge capitalism today.

Mamphela Ramphele: Dreams, Betrayal and Hope – A searing critique of what has gone wrong in the public and private sectors, under the governance of the ANC, by the celebrated activist, medical doctor, academic, businesswoman and political thinker. ‘It is time,’ she says, ‘to reimagine the country and its future. We owe this to our children’s children. We dare not fail.’

Allen Ginsberg: The Best Minds of My Generation: The Literary History of the Beat Generation – Edited from a series of lectures given by Ginsberg exploring one of the most popular and enduring of literary movements.

Teju Cole: Blind Spot – In this innovative synthesis of words and images, the award-winning author of Open City and photography critic for The New York Times Magazine combines two of his great passions.

Thandeka Gqubule: No Longer Whispering to Power: The Tenure of Thuli Madonsela – sure to be explosive and revealing, the book examines Madonsela’s seven years in the hotseat: the highs and lows, but also something of the personal beliefs and values that have assisted her through her term of office.

Anne Lamott: Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy – The author of the hugely popular Bird by Bird explores life beyond pain.

Arundhati Roy: The Doctor and the Saint – In the run up to the new novel (see June) the fearless Roy examines caste in India through a critique of Gandhi.

Ariel Levy: The Rules Do Not Apply – Devastating memoir of a young woman who believed that life could be led outside convention. Already generation a lot of praise.

 

 

.

May

 

Fiction

Paula Hawkins: Into the Water – At last! The follow up to the huge The Girl on the Train. Another tense thriller, about the power our secrets hold over us.

Tracy Chevalier: New Boy – In the latest of the Hogarth Shakespeare series, Chevalier retells the Othello story in a 1970s suburban schoolyard.

SJ Naudé: The Third Reel – First novel from the author of the hugely successful and highly acclaimed Alphabet of Birds. Published simultaneously in English and Afrikaans.

Fred Strydom: The Inside Out Man – Strydom’s second novel, The Inside Out Man, is about a pianist named Bent who is offered a Faustian proposition by a rich old man. Strydom weaves the themes of consumption, power and privilege into an edgy and gripping tale.

Jo Nesbo: The Thirst – The eleventh in the hugely popular Harry Hole series.

Laurent Binet: The Seventh Function of Language – a literary conspiracy theory, from the author of the extraordinary HHhH, which asks what if Roland Barthes’ death wasn’t an accident…?

Haruki Murakami: Men Without Women  – Murakami’s first short story collection in a decade, focusing on how men live life without women.

Colm Tóibín: House of Names – The masterful Tóibín draws on Greek mythology to tell the story of Agamemnon, and the tragedy his murderous deeds bring upon his children Electra and Orestes.

Scott Fitzgerald: I’d Die for You and Other Lost Stories – The last of the unpublished stories from the iconic master of the form.

Dennis Lehane: Since We Fell – The hugely successful author of Mystic River and Shutter Island returns. Expect a film in the not too distant…

M.R. Carey: The Boy on the Bridge – Carey returns to the world of his phenomenal The Girl With All The Gifts.

Hanif Kureishi: The Nothing – Kureishi vividly explores helplessness, revenge, lust and power with his characteristic dark humour.

Elizabeth Strout: Anything is Possible – A novel in stories, which returns to the characters of the much-loved My Name is Lucy Barton.

Ken Barris: The Life of Worm and Other Misconceptions – A lyrical and humorous collection of short stories combining the quotidian with the surreal.

Dawn Garisch: Accident – a novel about the complicated relationship between mothers and sons, the everyday heaviness of regret, the pleasure and pain of intimacy, and the mystery of life that science and logic can’t always explain.

 

Non-fiction

Robert Sapolsky: Behave: The Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst – The author of the brilliant A Primate’s Memoir examines the entire science of human behaviour.

Peter Ackroyd: Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day – The preeminent chronicler of London looks at the history of the city through its gay population.

Jonathan Jansen: As by Fire – Jansen examines the root causes of the 2015-16 student protests, including interviews with 11 of the most affected Vice Chancellors.

Redi Tlhabi: Khwezi: The Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo – The moving and tragic story of the woman who accused Jacob Zuma of rape.

Richard Ford: Between Them: Remembering My Parents – The Pulitzer Prize-winner writes a deeply personal account of his parents – an intimate portrait of American mid-twentieth century life, and a celebration of family love.

China Miéville: October: The Story of the Russian Revolution – The renowned sci fi and fantasy author explores the story of the Russian Revolution, and how it came about.

Slavoj Žižek: The Courage of Hopelessness: Chronicles of a Year of Acting Dangerously – The global challenges of the world today, as eviscerated by the popular Hegelian philosopher and Lacanian psychoanalyst.

Mark Heywood: Get Up, Stand Up – The campaigner, and founder of the TAC, recounts the personal story behind his public persona in a gripping, readable tale.

 

Kids

Giles Andreae: Winnie-The-Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt – The award-winning and much-loved children’s author turns his attention on our favourite bear, in a heartwarming story about the strength of friendship.

 

 

June

 

Fiction

Arundhati Roy: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – Probably the publishing event of the year. The very long-awaited second novel from the author of The God of Small Things, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of that publication.

Adam Thorpe: Missing Fay – The story of a missing girl and tangled lives, from the author of the extraordinary Ulverton.

Will Self: Phone – New, darkly humorous fiction from the author of Umbrella and Shark.

Joshua Ferris: The Dinner Party & Other Stories – Stories looking at the comic and strange realities of modern life, as we journey through the lives of the unlovable, the unloved, and those who love too much.

Rachel Joyce: The Music Shop – A story of music and love from the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Barbara Boswell: Grace – Grace tracks a young woman’s experience of domestic violence within the intimate space of her family home while she negotiates the state violence inflicted upon her community during the dying days of apartheid.

Rachel Seiffert: A Boy in Winter – Seiffert returns to the territory of her devastating novel The Dark Room, with a story of survival against the odds in war-torn Ukraine.

Elif Batuman: The Idiot – First novel from author of The Possessed. Already receiving huge amounts of praise from the likes of Miranda July.

 

Non-fiction

Robbie Robertson: Testimony – The brilliant guitarist and founder of The Band tells the story of his extraordinary journey, and the music legends he met along the way.

Andrew O’Hagan: The Secret Life: Three True Stories – The novelist examines the porous border between cyberspace and the ‘real world’ with three very different tales of the ‘disruption’ of self.

Hedley Twidle: Firepool – a collection of non-fiction that is intellectually engaged, comic, personable and colloquial, but also engaged in tackling serious questions, emerging out of a difficult place at a difficult time.

David Sedaris: Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2016)From the bestselling author of Me Talk Pretty One Day, for the first time in print: selections from the diaries that are the source of his remarkable autobiographical essays. 

Mark Shaw: Hitmen for Hire: The Making of South Africa’s Underworld – an in-depth look at the hitman and assassination industry in South Africa.

Roxanne Gay: Hunger – A Memoir of (My) Body – From the author of Bad Feminist a searingly honest memoir of food, weight, self-image, and learning how to feed your hunger while taking care of yourself.

 

Graphic

Thibault Damour & Mathieu Burniat: Mysteries of the Quantum Universe – The bestselling French graphic novel about the wonders of quantum physics, translated for the first time.

 

July

 

Fiction

Nicola Barker: H(a)ppy – A new novel (as yet no details) from the author of The Yips and In the Approaches.

Otessa Moshfegh: McGlue – From the Booker-shortlisted author of Eileen, the story of an unforgettable blackguard on a knife-sharp voyage through the fogs of recollection.

Maxine Case: Softness of the Lime – New novel from the author of All We Have Left Unsaid, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book.

Sarah Hall: Madame Zero – Short stories, from the author of Wolf Border, embracing the darkness, eroticism, and absurdity of human existence.

 

Poetry

Jolyn Philips: Radbraak – A very strong debut in Afrikaans poetry. The title refers to the act of bending and reshaping – which is exactly what she does in her creative use of language.

 

Non-fiction

Svetlana Alexeivich: The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II – A long-awaited English translation of the classic oral history of women in World War II across Europe and Russia from Nobel Prize-winner Svetlana Alexievich.

Karina Szczurek: The Fifth Mrs Brink – André Brink’s fifth and last wife talks about the 10 years they spent together.

Glynnis Breytenbach with Nechama Brodie: The Rule of Law – The former prosecutor for the NPA reflects on her career, and the challenges faced today.

 

August

 

Fiction

Bernard Maclaverty: Midwinter Break – Sixteen years on from his last novel, MacLaverty reminds us why he is regarded as one of the greatest living Irish writers in this profound examination of human love and how we live together.

Achmat Dangor: Dikeledi – New fiction from the author of Bitter Fruit.

Amit Chaudhuri: Friend of My Youth – A novelist named Amit Chaudhuri visits his childhood home of Bombay. The city weighs heavily on Amit’s mind, as does the unexpected absence of his childhood friend Ramu, who is Amit’s last remaining connection to the city he once called home.

Karl Ove Knausgaard: Autumn – The first book in the Seasons quartet, the major new project from the author of the international literary phenomenon, My Struggle.

Deon Meyer: Fever – The latest Deon Meyer, finally translated. A stunning standalone from a master of suspense, a compelling story of survival and betrayal set in a world after ‘The Fever’.

Alex van Tonder: The Last Memory – New fiction from the author of This One Time.

 

 

September

 

Fiction

Roddy Doyle: Smile – A razor sharp novel from the Booker Prize-winner, about the memories we try to suppress, lest they destroy our lives.

Kamila Shamsie: Home Fire – From the internationally acclaimed author of Burnt Shadows, a suspenseful and heartbreaking story of a family driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.

Jenny Erpenbeck: Go, Went, Gone – In this radical, exquisite novel, Jenny Erpenbeck, author of Visitation, turns her attention to the contemporary refugee crisis and our responsibility in its creation.

Orhan Pamuk: The Red-Haired Woman – From the Nobel Prize-winner and best-selling author of Snow and My Name Is Red, a fable of fathers and sons and the desires that come between them.

 

Non-fiction

Richard Rogers: Inside Out: There is More to Architecture than Architecture – The engaging and inspirational story of Richard Rogers’ life as an architect and simultaneously a book about creating a better society by creating better places to live.

Iain Sinclair: The Last London – The urban shaman and psychogeograper’s last tilt at the city that has fascinated him all his life.

Norman Davies: Native Lands: A Global Journey into History and Memory – the renowned historian’s account of a global circumnavigation, of the places he visited and the history he found there. He asks the question – to whom are these lands really native?

Anne Applebaum: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine – The historian and journalist on the political causes of the 1930s famine, in which approximately five million people died.

 

 

October

 

Fiction

Armistead Maupin: Logical Family: A Memoir – The much-loved author of the Tales of the City series turns his wit, humour and insight on to his own life.

Alan Hollinghurst: The Sparsholt Affair – A new novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of A Line of Beauty.

Nick Harkaway: Gnomon – New fiction from the author of The Gone Away World, which the author himself describes as “a novel bigger than the mind it came out of”. We’re excited!

 

Non-fiction

Nelson Mandela  with Mandla Langa: Dare Not Linger: The Presidential Years – The long-awaited, much anticipated sequel to Long Walk to Freedom. This will be huge.

Jenny Uglow: Edward Lear: A Life of Art & Nonsense – The historian and publisher examines the wild, dark and comic work and life of the much-loved nonsense writer.

Rebecca Solnit: The Mother of All Questions: Further Reports from the Feminist Revolutions – A timely follow-up to the bestseller Men Explain Things to Me; a commentary on women who refuse to be silenced, misogynistic violence, the fragile masculinity of the literary canon, the gender binary, the recent history of rape jokes, and much more.

Erik Naki: Bantu Holomisa: My Story – The President of the United Democratic Movement talks about his life and politics.

Alice Walker: Gathering Blossoms Under Fire – Extracts from fifty years of journals and letters by the author of the classic The Color Purple.

 

 

November

 

Fiction

Ali Smith: Winter – The follow-up to Autumn, and the second in a series of four.

Han Kang: The White Book – New fiction from the author of the Man Booker International Prize-winning The Vegetarian.

William Boyd: The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth & Other Stories – A short story collection from an absolutely outstanding author.

 

Non-fiction

Martin Amis: The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump. Essays and Reportage, 1986-2016 – Essays from the irrepressible Amis.

 

December

Terry Hayes: Year of the Locust – An eagerly awaited new novel from the author of the phenomenal bestseller I Am Pilgrim.

Cormac McCarthy: The Passenger – Long-awaited new novel from author of The Road. Publication date not set yet, though rumoured to be late 2017.