Readings Recommends: Fiction

When She Woke

When She Woke

Hillary Jordan

When she woke, she was red. Not flushed, not sunburned, but the solid, declarative red of a stop sign. An enthralling and chilling novel from the author of MUDBOUND, for fans of THE HANDMAID'S TALE and THE SCARLET...

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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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Solace

Solace

Belinda McKeon

Belinda McKeon is a startling new talent in the great Irish mould, and Solace is a work to be admired equally for its spare, intense lyricism as for its range, understanding, and deeply compassionate portrayal of life as it is...

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 Special price Read reviewThe Cat's Table

The Cat’s Table

Michael Ondaatje

In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy boards a huge liner bound for England - a 'castle that was to cross the sea'. As the ship makes its way across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal, into the Mediterranean, the boys...

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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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The Memory of Love

The Memory of Love

Aminatta Forna

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize 2011

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Waiting for Robert Capa

Waiting for Robert Capa

Susana Fortes

A gorgeously written, ENGLISH PATIENT-style novel about the real-life romance between the war photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro during the Spanish Civil War. Already optioned to be the next film by Michael Mann (PUBLIC...

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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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The Year of the Hare

The Year of the Hare

Arto Paasilinna, Herbert Lomas

The international bestseller. A novel of one man's existential journey away from his life and in to the wild. With a hare. Vatanen is a journalist in Finland. The car he is riding in accidentally hits a young wild hare. The...

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 Special price Read reviewThe Stranger's Child

The Stranger’s Child

Alan Hollinghurst

In the late summer of 1913 the aristocratic young poet Cecil Valance comes to stay at 'Two Acres', the home of his close Cambridge friend George Sawle. The weekend will be one of excitements and confusions for all the Sawles, but...

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The Book of Human Skin

The Book of Human Skin

Michelle Lovric

This is going to be a little uncomfortable...

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To be Sung Underwater

To be Sung Underwater

Tom McNeal

* A riveting and heartbreaking love story about what which happen when you revisit the road not taken

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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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 Special priceWith My Body

With My Body

Nikki Gemmell

With My Body, and addresses the question of what is intimacy and whether it is ever truly possible to know another person. It is at once a manifesto of married mothers everywhere and a highly personal story of one woman's sexual...

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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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C

C

Tom McCarthy

Follows the life of Serge Carrefax, a man who surges into the electric modernity of the early twentieth century, transfixed by the technologies that obliterate him. Born to the sound of one of the experimental wireless stations,...

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New Selected Stories

New Selected Stories

Alice Munro

Offers a selection of stories that infuses everyday lives with a wealth of nuance and insight.

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The Honey Thief

The Honey Thief

Najaf Mazari, Robert Hillman

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 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 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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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 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

Guernsey, 1985. Fifteen-year-old Catherine Rozier has a secret she can no longer keep to herself. It's about the night her best friend fell from the cliffs. Twenty years earlier, Charlie Rozier stands at the edge of the same...

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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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 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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All 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 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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Desert

Desert

J. M. G. Le Clezio

The international bestseller, by the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature 2008, available for the first time in English translation.

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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 reviewThe Book of Rachael

The Book of Rachael

Leslie Cannold

A young man is travelling the countryside around the Sea of Galilee preaching a message of love and justice. The preacher, Joshua of Nazareth, had a sister. Rachael falls in love with Joshua's friend, Judah of Iscariot. Then a...

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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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The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted

Bridget Asher

Brokenhearted, mourning the loss of her husband, Heidi travels with Abbott, her 8-year-old son, and Charlotte, her niece, to spend the summer repairing their family home in a small village in the south of France. There, thousands...

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The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship

Lisa Verge Higgins

In every group of friends there is a leader, the one who brings the group together and encourages them to celebrate the friendship they share. Rachel Braun was that leader, until her life was cut tragically short. While her...

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 Special price Read reviewThe Paris Wife

The Paris Wife

Paula McLain

*A heart-wrenching story of ambition and betrayal that captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley

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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 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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 Special priceDesert Fish

Desert Fish

Cherise Saywell

Gilly lives in a drought-ridden small town in 1970s Australia. She's left school but hasn't found a job, it's always hot and life seems a little pointless. Then Pete arrives. Gilly can't help but fall in love with him and one...

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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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 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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Swamplandia!

Swamplandia!

Karen Russell

The Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty is in decline, and Swamplandia!, its island home and gator-wrestling theme park, is swiftly being encroached upon by a competitor. To save her family, Ava must journey on her own to a...

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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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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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Yearn: Tales of Lust and Longing

Yearn: Tales of Lust and Longing

Tobsha Learner

A collection of nine sensual, witty and mystical stories marking Tobsha Learner's return to the short story format, and exploring the universal experiences of obsession, romantic encounters and secret regrets. In Yearn, the line...

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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 Source of the Sound

The Source of the Sound

Patrick Holland

The Source of the Sound traces the journeys of exiles in search of home. The collection is littered with the mise-en-scene of being lost: motel rooms, alcohol abuse, prostitution ... Yet, in each story there is some elemental...

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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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Claudia's Big Break

Claudia’s Big Break

Lisa Heidke

Claudia Taylor's life is a mess. Her latest disaster? An ill-advised fling. In an attempt to get some perspective on her life, Claudia jets off to glorious Santorini with friends Tara and Sophie. But it's not long before they're...

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