Our top picks of the month for book clubs


For a provocative discussion…

Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash by Eka Kurniawan (translated by Annie Tucker)

Eka Kurniawan’s English-language debut, Beauty Is a Wound, was released to much acclaim in 2015, introducing the Indonesian writer to a whole new audience. Told in short, cinematic bursts, his follow-up is gloriously pulpy as it continues to explore familiar themes of female agency in a violent and corrupt male world. Kurniawan is not for the faint-hearted, but his gritty, comic style will definitely be appreciated by fans of Quentin Tarantino.


For reflecting on history…

Miracles Do Happen by Felix and Fela Rosenbloom

This deeply moving memoir is the story of Felix and Fela, individually and together. In 1933, the two first met as children in the streets of Lodz, Poland, eventually becoming sweethearts. When war broke out and the Jews of Lodz found themselves under German occupation, the two were separated – Fela was forced into a ghetto while Felix spent the war doing forced labour in Soviet-controlled Polish territory. Miraculously, both survived and later found one another again. This is their story.


For transporting your book club to rural France…

Big Pig, Little Pig by Jacqueline Yallop

When Jacqueline moves to south-west France with her husband, she embraces rural village life and buys two pigs to rear for slaughter. But as she gets to know the animals better, her English sentimentality threatens to get in the way and she begins to wonder if she can actually bring herself to kill them. Big Pig, Little Pig was recently featured on BBC Radio 4’s popular Book of the Week series.


For a meeting where you will question reality…

The Town by Shaun Prescott

The Town follows an unnamed narrator’s efforts to complete a book about disappeared towns in the Central West of New South Wales. Set in a yet-to-disappear town in the region-a town believed by its inhabitants to have no history at all-the novel traces its characters' attempts to carve their own identities in a place that is both unyielding and teetering on the edge of oblivion. Readings bookseller Chris Somerville calls this novel ‘incredibly strange and incredibly gripping’. Read his full review here.


For book clubs who like to read prize winners…

Taboo by Kim Scott

The new novel from Miles Franklin winner Kim Scott takes place in the present day, in the rural South-West of Western Australia. It tells the story of a group of Noongar people who revisit, for the first time in many decades, a taboo place: the site of a massacre that followed the assassination, by these Noongar’s descendants, of a white man who had stolen a black woman. They’ve come at the invitation of Dan Horton, the elderly owner of the farm on which the massacres unfolded, who hopes for closure and reconciliation – but the sins of the past will not be so easily expunged.


For a much-needed conversation about rape culture in Australia…

Siren by Rachel Matthews

After a night of underage clubbing, 16-year-old Jordi Spence goes home with with two late-career AFL players. By daybreak, her world has shifted. Max Carlisle, a troubled AFL star, can’t stop what comes next. And Ruby, a single woman from the apartment block, is left with questions when she sees Jordi leaving in the morning. Doncaster bookseller Ellen Cregan writes: ‘This is a book that must be read; its message is so important.’ You can read her full review here.


For a warm, friendly morning tea with friends…

Crossing The Lines by Sulari Gentill

Crossing The Lines marks a departure for Sulari Gentill, who’s known for her historical crime fiction series about gentleman-turned-amateur-detective, Rowland Sinclair, but it is no less warm or engaging for this shift. Mystery writer Madeleine d'Leon is working on a new story featuring her beloved protagonist, literary writer Ned McGinnity, who in turn, happens to be writing a story about Madeleine. This is a thought-provoking, slippery read about the relationship between writers and their creations.


For a literary dissection…

All My Goodbyes by Mariana Dimopulos (translated by Alice Whitmore)

Told in overlapping vignettes, All My Goodbyes follow the travels of a young Argentinian woman across Europe and back to Argentina as she flees from situation to situation, job to job, relationship to relationship. Throughout the journey, a backstory emerges about a brutal murder in Patagonia which she may or may not be implicated in. Book clubs who enjoy discussing the craft of writing will find much to pull apart here.

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Rachel Matthews

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