Readings Recommends: Fiction

The Beautiful Indifference

The Beautiful Indifference

Sarah J. E. Hall

Whether it's a frustrated housewife seeking extreme experience or a young woman contemplating the death of her lover, dark devices and desires rise to the surface. This title focuses on characters that are real-life survivors.

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The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

Deborah Rodriguez

In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together. As these five discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will for ever...

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 Special price Read reviewThe Cat's Table

The Cat’s Table

Michael Ondaatje

A new novel, by turns poignant and electrifying, about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a sea voyage.

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Breaking Away

Breaking Away

Anna Gavalda, Alison Anderson

On the car journey to a family wedding, Garance reflects on how adult life, with its disappointments and responsibilities, has not always gone to plan for herself or her three siblings.

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 Read reviewA Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan, James Gurbutt

A novel that circles the lives of Bennie Salazar, an aging former punk rocker and record executive, and Sasha, the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. It is about the interplay of time and music, about survival, about the...

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Peake's Progress

Peake’s Progress

Mervyn Peake, Maeve Gilmore

Peake's Progress is a selection of Mervyn Peake's work, compiled by his widow, Maeve Gilmore, from every period of his work as writer and draughtsman. It contains a remarkable work from childhood, and a generous selection from...

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Smut: Down and Dirty With the Filthiest Words

Smut: Down and Dirty With the Filthiest Words

Jonathon Green

The lexicon of sex

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The Memory of Love

The Memory of Love

Aminatta Forna

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2011

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 Read reviewForecast: Turbulence

Forecast: Turbulence

Janette Turner Hospital

FORECAST TURBULENCE is a breathtaking and exquisitely lyrical collection of nine short stories and one memoir piece from internationally acclaimed Australian author Janette Turner Hospital. Featuring a compelling and enigmatic...

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I Don't Know How She Does It

I Don’t Know How She Does It

Allison Pearson

Meet Kate Reddy, fund manager and mother of two. Factor in a manipulative nanny, an Australian boss who looks at Kate's breasts as if they're on special offer, a long-suffering husband, her in-laws, two needy children and an...

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 Read reviewInfrared

Infrared

Nancy Huston

From Nancy Huston - the Orange Prize shortlisted author of Fault Lines - comes Infrared: a smart and provocative novel of sexual intimacy and desire.

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The Honey Thief

The Honey Thief

Hillman, Robert, Mazari, Najaf

This extraordinary book, derived from the long oral tradition of storytelling in Afghanistan, presents a mesmerizing portrait of a people who triumph with intelligence and humor over the oppressions of political dictators and an...

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 Read reviewHouse of Sticks

House of Sticks

Peggy Frew

Bonnie, never domestically inclined, has given up her life as a musician to become a stay-at-home mother to three small children. She tells herself she has no regrets, but sometimes the isolation and endless drudgery are...

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 Read reviewBlack Jesus

Black Jesus

Simone Felice

A young marine returns home from Iraq, blinded and scarred by an IED and harbouring a terrible secret. He saw something in Iraq that can never be erased and the knowledge of it is slowly driving him mad.

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 Read reviewHinterland

Hinterland

Caroline Brothers

An exquisite, unsettling novel about refugees and what it is to be underage, homeless and invisible in a foreign land

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The Chase

The Chase

Christopher Kremmer

When young scientist Jean Campbell is hired to eliminate drugs in sport she enters a murky world where power, privilege and corruption mix easily. In 1940s Sydney, Jean and her charismatic boss Howard Carter expose the cruel...

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The Story of Beautiful Girl

The Story of Beautiful Girl

Rachel Simon

On a stormy night in small-town America, a couple, desperate and soaked to the skin, knock on a stranger's door. When Martha, a retired schoolteacher living a safe and conventional life, answers their knock, her world changes...

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Bed

Bed

David Whitehouse

Mal isn't like the other kids. He makes an impression on everyone he meets. So remarkable is his childhood that his family wait for the incredible things he seems born to do. Then one day he goes to bed, never to get out again....

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When We Have Wings

When We Have Wings

Claire Corbett

The dream of being able to fly is now physical reality but only the rich and powerful can afford the surgery, drugs, and gene manipulation to become fliers. Peri, a poor girl from the regions, will sacrifice anything to get her...

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 Read reviewThe Vanishing Act

The Vanishing Act

Mette Jakobsen

A story about a snow-covered island you won't find on any map. Minou is 12. A year ago, the morning after the circus, her mama walked out into the rain with a black umbrella and never came back. It's a story about a magician and a...

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 Read reviewTwo Greeks

Two Greeks

John Charalambous

Two Greeks explores migrant life and family tensions in 1970s Australian suburbia. It is a bittersweet story about mentoring, delusion and a child's need to trust.

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 Read reviewThe Book of Lies

The Book of Lies

Mary Horlock

An extraordinary portrait of life under Occupation

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 Read reviewThe Amateur Science of Love

The Amateur Science of Love

Craig Sherborne

Colin dreams of escaping his parents' New Zealand farm for a grand stage career. He makes it to London and a disastrous audition before meeting Tilda; beautiful Tilda, older, an artist; who brings his future with her. A heady...

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 Read reviewRiver of Smoke

River of Smoke

Amitav Ghosh

The sequel to the bestselling, Booker-shortlisted, Sea of Poppies

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The Lake

The Lake

Banana Yoshimoto, Michael Emmerich

A major literary sensation--the author of Hardboiled & Hard Luck --is back with a quietly stunning tour de force about a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother and falls for a cult escapee.

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End of the Night Girl

End of the Night Girl

Amy T. Matthews

Molly, a sassy Australian waitress, is haunted by the ghost of a murdered Polish Jew. The two young women's stories, each a compelling page-turner, combine teasingly in one as End of the Night Girl explores shadows cast by the...

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 Read reviewThe Good Muslim

The Good Muslim

Tahmima Anam

In a remote Bangladeshi village, a telegram brings life-changing news to Maya Haque's door. Eight years before, a brutal war tore Maya's country and her family apart. Now it is time to return home. She arrives to find that...

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 Special priceThe Colour of Tea

The Colour of Tea

Hannah Tunnicliffe

Lost among the gaudy, busy streets of Macau, Grace's life is slowly unravelling. Her marriage to Pete, her Australian husband, is fraying and her dreams of having a family seem hopeless. With the heralding of a new year she...

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Shooting the Fox

Shooting the Fox

Marion Halligan

Shooting the Fox is brimming with surprising characters - the virgin and the pornographer, the adulterer, the translator, the defecting diplomat - and the inconveniences of modernity. In the end, though, it is a...

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Comedy in a Minor Key

Comedy in a Minor Key

Hans Keilson, Damion Searls

A penetrating study of ordinary people resisting the Nazi occupation - and, true to its title, a dark comedy of wartime manners - Comedy in a Minor Key tells the story of Wim and Marie, a Dutch couple who first hide a Jew they...

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 Special priceA Conspiracy of Friends: A Corduroy Mansions Novel

A Conspiracy of Friends: A Corduroy Mansions Novel

Alexander McCall Smith

The third novel in McCall's acclaimed series about the colourful inhabitants of Corduroy Mansions, Pimlico. This installment follows the adventures of Oedipus Snark, the nasty Liberal Democrat and his mother Berthea who is writing...

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 Read reviewLove in the Years of Lunacy

Love in the Years of Lunacy

Mandy Sayer

Sydney, 1942. Pearl is 18 beautiful and impetuous. She plays saxophone in an all-girl jazz band at the Trocadero. On one such evening black GI and jazz legend James Washington blows into her life, and nothing is ever the same...

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 Read reviewYou Lose These and Other Stories

You Lose These and Other Stories

Goldie Goldbloom

What you staring at?' he said, looking quickly into the rearview and touching the place his eyebrow might have been. 'You're not exactly Marilyn Monroe yerself.' Short stories from Goldie Goldbloom.

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 Special priceAll the Time in the World

All the Time in the World

E. L. Doctorow

An astonishing book of short fiction by one of America's finest writers, the author of The March, Ragtime, and Homer & Langley.

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 Read reviewThe Forgotten Waltz

The Forgotten Waltz

Anne Enright

A memory of desire: a recollection of the bewildering speed of attraction, the irreparable slip into longing. In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, in the winter of 2009, it has snowed. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls...

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The Crossing

The Crossing

B. Michael Radburn

Traumatised by the disappearance of his daughter Claire, Taylor Bridges' marriage breaks down, and he exiles himself to Glorys Crossing in Tasmania. Struggling with the guilt of Claire's disappearance, Taylor is a chronic...

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 Read reviewThe Ottoman Motel

The Ottoman Motel

Christopher Currie

Simon and his parents arrive in the town of Reception and check into the Ottoman Motel. Then, while Simon is asleep, his parents disappear. Are they lost? Has something terrible happened to them? Have they simply driven away? All...

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 Special priceLetty Fox: Her Luck

Letty Fox: Her Luck

Christina Stead, Carmen Callil

Letty Fox tells her story as a self-styled woman in New York's world of passion, love and sexual bargaining. As a bright, uninhibited daughter of a middle class couple who believes the world is her oyster, Letty Fox tells it all -...

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 Read reviewI Hate Martin Amis Et Al

I Hate Martin Amis Et Al

Peter Barry

It is 1995. Milan Zorec, an aspiring yet rejected novelist, travels from England to Bosnia to join the Serbian forces as a sniper in Sarajevo, in the final months of the longest siege in history.

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 Read reviewBearings

Bearings

Leah Swann

Bearings is about challenging the course of our lives as well as keeping a foothold during unpredictable times.Leah Swann burrows deep into the souls of her characters to reveal universal complexities, frailties and strengths....

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Jamrach's Menagerie

Jamrach’s Menagerie

Carol Birch

London, 1857: After surviving an encounter with an escaped tiger, nine-year-old Jaffy stumbles into a job for its owner, the wild animal collector, Mr Jamrach. Commissioned by Jamrach to find and collect a sea dragon, Jaf joins a...

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The Betrayal

The Betrayal

Helen Dunmore

Leningrad, 1952. Andrei, a young hospital doctor and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together in the post-war, post-siege wreckage. But their happiness is precarious, like that of millions of Russians who must...

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 Read reviewThe Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

Philip Pullman

In this ingenious and spell-binding retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman revisits the most influential story ever told.

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The Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise

The Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise

Georges Perec

A novel that dispenses with the normal rules for literary composition.

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 Read reviewMr. Rosenblum's List: Or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman

Mr. Rosenblum’s List: Or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman

Natasha Solomons

A charming novel about an irrepressible man, his long-suffering wife and a Very English dream.

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The Siege

The Siege

Helen Dunmore

Leningrad, September 1941. Hitler orders the German forces to surround the city at the start of the most dangerous, desperate winter in its history. For two pairs of lovers - Anna and Andrei, Anna's novelist father and banned...

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 Read reviewThe Summer without Men

The Summer without Men

Siri Hustvedt

An exhilarating tragicomedy about the war of the sexes and what makes women tick by the internationally bestselling author Siri Hustvedt.

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 Read reviewMe and Mr Booker

Me and Mr Booker

Cory Taylor

She should've said no when Mr Booker first tried to kiss her. That would've been the sensible thing to do. But Martha is 16, lives in a small dull town - a cemetery with lights - her father is mad, her home is stifling, and she's...

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August

August

Bernard Beckett

Trapped in a car wreck, upside down, bleeding, broken and in pain, Tristan and Grace are staring at death. As they await their fate, with only a glimmer of hope they might be seen and rescued, we discover the stories of their...

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 Read reviewBlack Glass

Black Glass

Meg Mundell

Sisters Tally and Grace have always dreamed of moving to the city. Yet neither of them ever expected to be living there broke, homeless and alone as happens when they become separated after an accident. The city, dominated by...

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The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

Alexander McCall Smith

* Mma Ramotswe's twelfth adventure; published in Little, Brown hardback

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 Read reviewBlue Skies

Blue Skies

Helen Hodgman

A young wife and mother watches a clock that seems forever stuck at three-in-the-afternoon. Her husband didn't come home last night. She lives for Tuesdays and Thursdays, when she can escape to a less humdrum life. Jonathan, man...

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 Read reviewBright and Distant Shores

Bright and Distant Shores

Dominic Smith

Chicago First Equitable is to construct the world's tallest building and its president, Hale Gray, hits upon a way to make it an enduring landmark: to establish on the roof an exhibition of real-life 'savages'. Caught up in this...

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 Read reviewAngelica: A Novel

Angelica: A Novel

Arthur Phillips

When Constance married Joseph Barton she believed she had found her ultimate husband and protector. But after three miscarriages and the troubled birth of their daughter, Angelica, Constance begins to fear his intentions. Sensing...

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 Read reviewWhat the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us

What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us

Laura Van den Berg

The stories in Laura van den Berg's rich and inventive debut illuminate the intersection of the mythic and the mundane. Rendered with grace and precision, this breathtaking collection is narrated by women yearning for absolution,...

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 Read reviewFive Bells

Five Bells

Gail Jones

Four adults converge on Circular Quay, site of the iconic Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Crowds of tourists mix with the locals, enjoying the glorious surroundings and the play of light on water. But each of the four...

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 Read reviewCaribou Island

Caribou Island

David Vann

Gary, driven by thirty years of diverted plans, and Irene are trying to rebuild their life together. Across the water on the mainland, Irene and Gary's grown daughter, Rhoda is starting her own life. She fantasizes about the...

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 Special priceThe Indignities

The Indignities

Aitken, Graeme

The Indignities by Graeme Aitken - the glittering sequel to Vanity Fierce (Random House 1986)In Vanity Fierce,Stephen Spear went to extreme lengths to snare his man.In this comic sequel, Stephen ingeniously bypasses his landmark...

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Angelology

Angelology

Danielle Trussoni

When Sister Evangeline of the St Rose Convent stumbles across a mysterious correspondence with Abigail Rockefeller in the archive, it reveals that angels once walked among us... and might still. This discovery plunges Evangeline...

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 Read reviewCrime

Crime

Ferdinand von Schirach

Crime is a collection of true crime stories told by one of Germany's most prominent defense lawyers. Some of the cases are strange, some bewildering and others heartbreaking, but all are told with genuine concern for those who...

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 Read reviewThe Lover's Dictionary

The Lover’s Dictionary

David Levithan

Told as a series of dictionary entries, The Lover's Dictionary is an intimate portrait of a relationship in all its guises; a compelling, deeply romantic story of two people loving each other: passionately, imperfectly. Through...

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 Special priceTablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East

Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East

Reza Aslan

Remarkable ... a triumph ... connects us at the level of our humanity, no matter where we may be from. -Los Angeles Times

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Before I Fall

Before I Fall

Lauren Oliver

As compelling as The Lovely Bones and as memorable as Jenny Downham's Before I Die, this will become a word-of-mouth phenomenon.

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 Read reviewMr. Peanut

Mr. Peanut

Adam Ross

David Pepin has loved his wife since the moment they met, and he can't imagine living without her - yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she's dead, and he's both deeply distraught and the prime suspect. The detectives...

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The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul

Deborah Rodriguez

In a little coffee shop in one of the most dangerous places on earth, five very different women come together. As these five discover there's more to one another than meets the eye, they form a unique bond that will for ever...

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 Read reviewJeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi

Geoff Dyer

Jeff Atman is in Venice to cover the opening of the Biennale. He's expecting to see a load of art, go to a lot of parties. He's not expecting to meet the spellbinding Laura, who will completely transform his few days in the city....

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Undercover: A Novel of a Life

Undercover: A Novel of a Life

Keith Bulfin

A novel based on the life of Keith Bulfin, who is drawn into a world of drug smuggling and violence in Mexico City. Convicted of conspiracy to defraud, Keith is sent to a Supermax unit in Port Philip prison. There he befriends the...

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