Readings Recommends: Fiction

Zone One

Zone One

Colson Whitehead

A pandemic has devastated the planet, sorting humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilisation under orders from...

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Stone Arabia

Stone Arabia

Dana Spiotta

Stone Arabia, Dana Spiotta's moving and intrepid third novel, is about family, obsession, memory, and the urge to create - in isolation, at the margins of our winner-take-all culture.

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The Tragedy of Arthur

The Tragedy of Arthur

Arthur Phillips

A 'lost' Shakespeare play unearthed by highly acclaimed novelist Arthur Phillips

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Jane Austen Made Me Do it: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart

Jane Austen Made Me Do it: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart

Laurel Ann Nattress

A Ballantine Books Trade Paperback original --T.p. verso.

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We Bought a Zoo (Film Tie-in): the Amazing True Story of a Broken-down Zoo, and the 200 Animals That Changed a Family Forever

We Bought a Zoo (Film Tie-in): the Amazing True Story of a Broken-down Zoo, and the 200 Animals That Changed a Family Forever

Benjamin Mee

A film tie-in edition to 20th Century Fox's film adaptation of the heart-warming international bestseller starring Scarlett Johansson and Matt Damon and directed by Oscar-winning director Cameron Crowe.

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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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The Breakers

The Breakers

Claudie Gallay, Alison Anderson

Chosen by Le Monde and by readers of Elle as their Novel of the Year - a beautiful, resonant novel set on Normandy's coastline.

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The Facility

The Facility

Simon Lelic

The startling second novel from the critically lauded author of Rupture

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Exile

Exile

Jakob Ejersbo, Mette Petersen

The first novel in a major trilogy exposing the guilt, loneliness and nihilism of the ex-pat experience in post-colonial Africa.

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Ours are the Streets

Ours are the Streets

Sunjeev Sahota

An electrifying debut for all readers of Chris Cleave's bestselling The Other Hand

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For Love Alone

For Love Alone

Christina Stead

Set in Sydney and London in the 1930s, 'For Love Alone' is the story of Teresa Hawkins, an intelligent, ardent young woman, and her search for the ideal passion of love.

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 Read reviewIn Red

In Red

Magdalena Tulli, Bill Johnston

In Tulli's second novel, set in a mythical fourth partition of Poland, the world is unreal yet strangely familiar.

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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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An Object of Beauty

An Object of Beauty

Steve Martin

An irresistible look at the glamour and subterfuge of New York's art world, from bestselling author and Hollywood star Steve Martin.

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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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 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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Inherited

Inherited

Amanda Curtin

A dancer in a wheelchair. A collector of corks. One woman seduced by a mountain and another by Freddo Frogs. A man who hears his dead wifes voice. A poet whose voice has disappeared. A photographer distilling grief in his lens. A...

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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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Golden Earrings

Golden Earrings

Belinda Alexandra

Paloma Batton is the grand-daughter of Spanish refugees who fled Barcelona after the Civil War. A disciplined student with the School of the Paris Opera Ballet, Paloma lets little get in the way of her career until she receives a...

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The Lady of the Rivers

The Lady of the Rivers

Philippa Gregory

Number 1 bestselling author Philippa Gregory continues her series, The Cousins' War, with Jacquetta Woodville, mother of the White Queen

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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 Secret in Their Eyes

The Secret in Their Eyes

Eduardo Sacheri

Part haunting crime thriller, part love story, this brilliantly executed novel within a novel is the book on which the Oscar-winning best foreign film of the same name was based. But its stands alone as a gobsmackingly good read,...

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Crooked Little Heart

Crooked Little Heart

Anne Lamott

A close-knit family from Marin County, California, the Fergusons struggle to cope with the trials and tribulations of life, while thirteen-year-old Rosie, obsessed with becoming a tennis champion, embarks on a desperate cycle of...

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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 reviewHow I Became a Famous Novelist

How I Became a Famous Novelist

Steve Hely

Sick of life as he knows it, Pete Tarslaw sets out to write a bestselling novel, armed with a formula for success cobbled together from previous bestsellers. This title tells the tale of how Tarslaw's 'pile of garbage' became the...

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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 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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A Man You Can Bank On

A Man You Can Bank On

Derek Hansen

The cops want to arrest him. The crims want to kill him. The town wants to name a dog after him.

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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 reviewI am Max Lamm

I am Max Lamm

Raphael Brous

Max Lamm, a young tennis player, arrives in London to escape the internet sex scandal that has destroyed his career. One night, in Camden Town, he accidentally kills a Pakistani boy who tries to mug him and finds himself on the...

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 Read reviewBerlin Syndrome

Berlin Syndrome

Melanie Joosten

2006, Berlin. One afternoon, near Checkpoint Charlie, Clare meets Andi. He's a native Berliner and English teacher; she's an architectural photographer who has taken leave from her job in Australia. There is an instant attraction....

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A Decline in Prophets

A Decline in Prophets

Sulari Gentill

On a 1930s luxury liner, the murders begin and once again Rowland Sinclair is unwittingly at the centre of them all.

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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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Smut: Two Unseemly Stories

Smut: Two Unseemly Stories

Alan Bennett

Includes tales such as The Shielding of Mrs Forbes , and The Greening of Mrs Donaldson .

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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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Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?

Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?

Johan Harstad, Deborah Dawkin

Originally published as: Buzz Aldrin, hvor ble det av deg i alt mylderet?

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The 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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 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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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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The Precipice

The Precipice

Virginia Duigan

Thea Farmer, a reclusive and difficult retired school principal, lives with her dog in the Blue Mountains. Her career ended under a cloud a decade earlier, following a scandal involving a much younger male teacher. After losing...

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Letty 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, C. Dickson

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 reviewLittle People: A Novel

Little People: A Novel

Jane Sullivan

In 1870 the celebrated midget General Tom Thumb and his troupe are touring Australia. While in Melbourne, Tom Thumb is rescued from the Yarra River by an impoverished governess, Mary Ann. She is hired by the troupe, but soon...

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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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 Read reviewSnake

Snake

Kate Jennings

My life is about to begin. This is the only thought in Irene's head the day she marries a War veteran. But Irene is restless and rebellious, bored by her life as a farmer's wife. As they raise children and crops and dream of other...

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Under the Influence

Under the Influence

Jacqueline Lunn

Eve, now 34 and a concert cellist living in London, returns to an Australian country town for the funeral of her old school friend, Meg. As Eve and Sarah, also a school friend, face their friend Meg's death, they must also face...

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Paris Dreaming

Paris Dreaming

Anita Heiss

Libby is on a man-fast: no more romance, no more cheating men, no more heartbreak. But when fate takes Libby to work in Paris at the Musee du Quai Branly, she's suddenly thrown out of her comfort zone and into a city full of...

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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 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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 Read reviewA Love Letter from a Stray Moon

A Love Letter from a Stray Moon

Jay Griffiths

In this fictional tour de force Jay Griffiths creates a portrait of the artist Frida Kahlo - her devastating accident and her love for Diego Rivera - that is also a celebration of the spirit of poetry and the art of rebellion....

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Blueeyedboy

Blueeyedboy

Joanne Harris

'Once there was a widow with three sons, and their names were Black, Brown and Blue. Black was the eldest; moody and aggressive. Brown was the middle child; timid and dull. But Blue was his mother's favourite. And he was a...

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Book of Lost Threads

Book of Lost Threads

Tess Evans

Moss has run away from Melbourne to Opportunity on the trail of a man she knows only by name. But her arrival sets in train events that disturb the long-held secrets of three of the town's inhabitants: Finn, Lily, and Sandy. It is...

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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 spellbinding retelling of the life of Jesus, Philip Pullman reimagines the most influential story ever told. Charged with mystery, compassion and great power, it says something new about who Jesus was and...

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The Anatomy of a Moment

The Anatomy of a Moment

Javier Cercas

Translated from the Spanish by Anne McLean The new novel by the bestselling author of Soldiers of Salamis (1 million copies worldwide) has sold more than 160,000 copies in hardback in Spain since publication in 2009.

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 Read reviewGone

Gone

Jennifer Mills

A young man is released from prison, his hands empty, his identity gone. He catches a train out of town, then hitchhikes west. He hasn't been home for 15 years. Out of the past, as memories surface, something is coming that will...

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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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Rosie

Rosie

Anne Lamott

A year ago Rosie's dad died; but this young girl, wild of hair, smart of mouth and with an open heart, is busy embracing the world. Unfortunately her mother, Elizabeth, is finding the business of living much more difficult. Rosie...

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 Read reviewTrespass

Trespass

Rose Tremain

In a silent valley in southern France stands an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Its owner is Aramon Lunel, an alcoholic haunted by his violent past. His sister, Audrun, alone in her bungalow within sight of the Mas Lunel,...

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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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Nazi Literature in the Americas

Nazi Literature in the Americas

Roberto Bolano

Lucid, insane, deadly serious, wildly playful, biblomaniacal, and perversely imaginative' Nicole Krauss

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Me and Mr Booker

Me and Mr Booker

Cory Taylor

Looking back, Martha could've said no when Mr Booker first tried to kiss her. But Martha is sixteen, she lives in a small dull town - a cemetery with lights - her father is mad, her home is stifling, and she's waiting for the rest...

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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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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: A Novel

Black Glass: A Novel

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 reviewDream of Ding Village

Dream of Ding Village

Yan Lianke, Cindy Carter

The life and death of an entire community is told by a dead boy. His story reveals the moral vacuum at the heart of Communist-capitalist China. During a blood-contamination scandal in Henan province, villagers sell their blood,...

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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 reviewOne Foot in Eden

One Foot in Eden

Ron Rash

The year is 1951 and Holland Winchester, the local thug and a war veteran, has gone missing from his small, backwater South Carolina town. The local sheriff, Will Alexander, has a gut feeling Holland's been murdered but the...

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 Read reviewThis Too Shall Pass

This Too Shall Pass

S.J. Finn

Jen Montgomery's life appears, almost suddenly, to be at an impasse. Nothing is as secure or as certain as she had previously thought. Love, marriage, parenthood, family, work, the very fabric of her identity seems to be shifting....

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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 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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 Read reviewThe Messenger

The Messenger

Yannick Haenel, Ian Monk

Jan Karski, a young Polish officer, joined the Polish underground after escaping from a Soviet detention camp, before he was captured and brutally tortured by the Gestapo. Escaping from the Germans, Karski was charged with the...

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The Indignities

The Indignities

Graeme Aitken

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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 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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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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A Reliable Wife

A Reliable Wife

Robert Goolrick

Ralph Truitt, a wealthy but lonely man in his fifties places an ad in the paper for a reliable wife. Catherine Land, a beautiful thirty-four year old, responds that she is a 'simple, honest woman'. Catherine, it turns out, arrives...

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The Indigo Sky

The Indigo Sky

Alison Booth

In 1957, when piano teacher Ilona Talivaldis arrived in the sleepy little town of Jingera, she was mocked as the 'reffo from Latvia'. Just four years on, she and her 14-year-old daughter Zidra are at the heart of the community....

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