What to read in April

It’s been a while since Haruki Murakami has released a collection of short stories, so no doubt our Fiction Book of the Month, First Person Singular, will be on the top of many people’s reading lists this month. Murakami fans will be pleased with the familiar motifs and themes of his work evident in this volume - jazz, baseball, memory, loneliness and youthful longing.

However, it must be said that the general mood within fiction this month is more one of intense reckoning, deep interiority and fury. Lauded Australian author Emily Maguire turns a compassionate gaze on hoarding in Love Objects – a character-driven novel that traverses psychological insight and broader societal questions around possession and intervention. We do often focus on new releases in bookselling, so it was lovely this month to look back at a modern classic, with the help of our St Kilda bookseller Michael. Michael loves to recommend Australian author M.J. Hyland’s 2009 novel This Is How to customers, and he has written a wonderful review of this ‘true masterpiece’ that places the reader uncomfortably close to a young man lurching towards tragedy.

Debut author Jacqueline Maley gives us the story of a journalist pushed to make some difficult choices in her professional and personal life after a print expose has tragic consequences, and another Australian debut , Emily Spurr’s ‘enthralling, devastatingA Million Things , depicts the complex friendship formed between an older woman and a young child surviving trauma and neglect. Interestingly, a little of this month’s anger is directed towards gentrification in two international releases, Higher Ground and Hot Stew, while the legend of Ariadne receives a visceral and feminist contemporary treatment.

Reckoning and fury are prominent themes in some of April’s most exciting non-fiction releases as well. Our Nonfiction Book of the Month is Lech Blaine’s searing memoir of survival, Car Crash, which ‘grapples engagingly with issues of class, masculinity and mental illness.’ Former MP Kate Ellis’s ‘frank and revealing’ memoir Sex, Lies and Question Time lands on our shelves at the perfect time to read about what life is like for women at the seat of power in Australia. We also have proud Kurnai woman Veronica Gorrie’s frank and moving Black and Blue about her time working in the white-and-male-dominated workplace of the police force and, for music fans, Tracey Thorn’s long awaited memoir about her friendship with The Go Betweens' Lindy Morrison, My Rock n' Roll Friend.

April also brings a look at a world in crisis from one of Australia’s leading thinkers in Stan Grant’s latest work, With the Falling of the Dusk; a long-awaited essay collection on grief, memory and friendship by one of our sharpest critics in Anwen Crawford’s No Document; Monica Dux’s funny and soulful examination of her relationship with the Catholic church, Lapsed; and Fiona Murphy’s ‘devastatingly powerful memoir’ exploring the social, environmental, economic and political impacts of deafness, The Shape of Sound.

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First Person Singular

First Person Singular

Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel

$34.99Buy now

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