Our large fiction section includes popular latest releases, but we also have a particular focus on literary fiction. There are also sections for crime fiction and for fantasy and science fiction.
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The North Water
1859, A ship sets sail with a killer on board. A man joins a whaling ship bound for the Arctic Circle. Having left the British Army with his reputation in tatters, Patrick Sumner has little option but to accept the position of ship's surgeon on this ill-fated voyage. But when, deep into the journey, a cabin boy is discovered brutally killed, Sumner finds himself forced to act. Soon he will face an evil even greater than he had encountered at the siege of Delhi, in the shape of Henry Drax: harpooner, murderer, monster.
Longlisted for the Man Booker 2016.
The Midnight Watch
Based on the true story of the SS Californian, the ship that saw the Titanic's distress rockets and yet, unfathomably, did nothing. As the Titanic was sinking slowly in the wretchedly cold North Atlantic, she could see the lights of another ship on the horizon. She called for help by Morse lamp and the new Marconi telegraph machine, but there was no response. Why not? When the story of the disaster begins to emerge, it's a question that Boston American reporter John Steadman cannot let go. So begins his strange journey towards the truth.
Two women arrive in a Spanish village - a dreamlike place caught between the desert and the ocean - seeking medical advice and salvation. One of the strangers suffers from a mysterious illness. The other, her daughter Sofia, has spent years playing the reluctant detective in this mystery, struggling to understand her mother's illness. Surrounded by the oppressive desert heat and the mesmerising figures who move through it, Sofia waits while her mother undergoes the strange programme of treatments invented by Dr Gomez. Searching for a cure to a defiant and quite possibly imagined disease, ever more entangled in the seductive, mercurial games of those around her, Sofia finally comes to confront and reconcile the disparate fragments of her identity.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker 2016.
The third book in the Frank Swann series, following Line of Sight and Zero at the Bone. It’s the early 1980s with its heady days of excess, dirty secrets and personal favours. Former detective Frank Swann is still in disgrace, working as a low-rent PI. But when he’s offered a security job by the premier’s fixer, it soon becomes clear that someone is bugging the premier’s phone – and it may cost Swann more than his job to find out why.
A biting American satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court. The narrator of The Sellout is raised by his single father, a controversial sociologist, and spends his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. Led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes, he is shocked to discover after his father is killed that there never was a memoir. Fuelled by this deceit, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: his hometown Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident - Hominy Jenkins - he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school.
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2016.
The Grey sisters have always looked after one another. Growing up on a sprawling ranch with an emotionally distant father, they had nowhere else to turn after their mother died. Winona, the oldest, craves her father's approval. Happier reading a book than riding a horse, she knows she isn't the daughter he wanted - but she's determined to prove her worth. Aurora is the peacemaker, trying to keep everyone happy, whilst hiding her own feelings. Vivi Ann, the youngest, is the star of the family. Beautiful and spirited, everything comes easily to her - until a stranger comes to town.
Pond is Bennett's first novel and it may be read as 20 mostly interlinked stories, or as a novella fractured into twenty parts. It is narrated by a nameless woman living in a small cottage in rural Ireland. Its sections vary in length, with some as short as a few sentences, and each offers the reader insight into the quiet domestic existence of Bennett's narrator.
Told through Mata Hari's final letter, The Spy is the unforgettable story of a woman who dared to break the conventions of her time, and paid the price. She was a dancer who shocked and delighted audiences, and as a confidante and courtesan she bewitched the era's richest and most powerful men: but as paranoia consumed a country at war, Mata Hari's lifestyle brought her under suspicion. Now, Coelho masterfully tells her captivating story.
A delightful debut novel of secrets and small town obsessions from Australian musician and songwriter, Holly Throsby. In 1992, when Jean Brown is seventeen, a terrible thing happens. Two terrible things. Rosie White, the coolest girl in town, vanishes overnight. One week later, Goodwood's most popular resident, Bart McDonald, sets off on a fishing trip and never comes home. People die in Goodwood, of course, but never like this. They don't just disappear...As the intensity of speculation about the fates of Rosie and Bart heightens, Jean, who is keeping secrets of her own, and the rest of Goodwood are left reeling.
The Good People
Nora Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheal. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference. Unable to care for the child alone, Nora hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow's house. Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheal. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken ...
Do Not Say We Have Nothing
In Canada in 1990, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-Ming. As her relationship with Marie deepens, Ai-Ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao's ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. It is a history of revolutionary idealism, music, and silence, in which three musicians, the shy and brilliant composer Sparrow, the violin prodigy Zhuli, and the enigmatic pianist Kai struggle during China's relentless Cultural Revolution to remain loyal to one another and to the music they have devoted their lives to. Do Not Say We Have Nothing is a gripping evocation of the persuasive power of revolution and its effects on personal and national identity, and an unforgettable meditation on China today.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016.
The Museum of Modern Love
'This is a weirdly beautiful book.' David Walsh founder and curator, MONA.
Arky Levin is a film composer in New York separated from his wife, who has asked him to keep one devastating promise. One day he finds his way to The Atrium at MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist is Present. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky. As he watches and meets other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do...This dazzlingly original novel asks beguiling questions about the nature of art, life and love and finds a way to answer them. Heather was the inaugural Writer in Residence at The Museum of Old and New Art (MoNA) in Hobart 2012-13 where she did much of the research for The Museum of Modern Love.
Here I Am
God asked Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, and Abraham replied obediently, "Here I am." This is the story of a fracturing family in a moment of crisis. Over the course of three weeks in present-day Washington DC, three sons watch their parents' marriage falter and their family home fall apart. Meanwhile, a larger catastrophe is engulfing another part of the world: a massive earthquake devastates the Middle East, sparking a pan-Arab invasion of Israel.
From the bestselling author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Trudy has betrayed her husband, John. She's still in the marital home - a dilapidated, priceless London townhouse - but not with John. Instead, she's with his brother, the profoundly banal Claude, and the two of them have a plan. But there is a witness to their plot: the inquisitive, nine-month-old foetus resident of Trudy's womb. Told from a perspective unlike any other, Nutshell is a classic tale of murder and deceit from one of the world's master storytellers.
Black Rock White City
Black Rock White City is a novel about the damages of war, the limits of choice, and the hope of love. During a hot Melbourne summer Jovans cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children.Intensely human, yet majestic in its moral vision, Black Rock White City is an essential story of Australias suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams.
Winner of the Miles Franklin 2016.
From inside her Toorak mansion, Margaret, matriarch, and widow of Edmund Rice O'Day of O'Day Funerals, secretly surveys her family in the garden. Everyone, including Margaret herself, is oblivious to the secrets that threaten to be uncovered by a visiting American relative who is determined to excavate the O'Day's family history. How far will Margaret go in order to bury the truth? Family Skeleton examines the dark heart of a family that has for generations been engaged in dark business.
The new novel by the Orange Prize-winning author of Bel Canto is her most astonishing yet. It is 1964 and Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited and notices a heart-stoppingly beautiful woman. When he kisses Beverly Keating, his host's wife, he sets in motion the joining of two families whose shared fate will be defined on a day seven years later. In 1988, Franny Keating, now twenty-four, has dropped out of law school and is working as a cocktail waitress in Chicago. When she meets the famous author Leon Posen one night at the bar, and tells him about her family, she unwittingly relinquishes control over their story. Commonwealth is a powerful tale of a family's far-reaching bonds of love and responsibility - and a meditation on inspiration, interpretation and the ownership of stories.
This well-researched and dazzling novel ingeniously entwines Jane Eyre's iconic love story with Tasmania's Sir John Franklin's great tale of exploration and empire. A brilliant and historically accurate depiction of Van Diemen's Land society in the 1800s, as well as a vivid portrayal of the human cost of colonisation, Wild Island shows us that fiction and history are not so different after all.
Our Souls At Night
Addie Moore's husband died years ago, so did Louis Waters' wife, and as neighbours in Holt, Colorado they have naturally long been aware of each other. With their children now far away, both live alone in houses empty of family. The nights are terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk to. Then one evening Addie pays Louis an unexpected visit. Their brave adventures -their pleasures and their difficulties - form the beating heart of Our Souls at Night. This novel is an exquisite and moving story about love and growing old with grace. It is a lasting tribute to the extraordinary author who wrote it.
The Summer that Melted Everything
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: The year a heatwave scorched the small town of Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil. When local prosecutor Autopsy Bliss publishes an invitation to the devil to come to the country town of Breathed, Ohio, nobody quite expects that he will turn up. They especially don't expect him to turn up as a tattered and bruised thirteen-year-old boy. The Blisses believe the boy, who calls himself Sal, is a runaway from a nearby farm town. Then, as a series of strange incidents implicate Sal, and riled by the feverish heat wave baking the town from the inside out, there are some around town who start to believe that maybe Sal is exactly who he claims to be. But whether he's a traumatised child or the devil incarnate, Sal is certainly one strange fruit: he talks in riddles, his uncanny knowledge and understanding reaches far outside the realm of a normal child, and ultimately his eerily affecting stories of Heaven, Hell, and earth will mesmerise and enflame the entire town.
13-Point Plan For A Perfect Murder: A Pufferfish Tasmanian Mystery
Music and Freedom
Alice Murray learns to play the piano aged three on an orange orchard in rural Australia. Recognising her daughter's gift, her mother sends Alice to boarding school in the bleak north of England, and there Alice stays for the rest of her childhood. Then she's offered a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London, and on a summer school in Oxford she meets Edward, an economics professor who sweeps her off her feet. Alice soon finds that Edwards is damaged, and she's trapped. She clings to her playing and to her dream of becoming a concert pianist, until disaster strikes. Increasingly isolated as the years unravel, eventually Alice can't find it in herself to carry on. Then she hears the most beautiful music from the walls of her house. This novel explores the dark terrain of violence and the transformative powers of music and love.
In the late seventeenth century two penniless young Frenchmen, Rene Sel and Charles Duquet, arrive in New France. Bound to a feudal lord, a "seigneur," for three years in exchange for land, they become wood-cutters - barkskins. Proulx tells the stories of the descendants of Sel and Duquet over three hundred years - their travels across North America, to Europe, China, and New Zealand, under stunningly brutal conditions; the revenge of rivals; accidents; pestilence; Indian attacks; and cultural annihilation. Over and over again, they seize what they can of a presumed infinite resource, leaving the modern-day characters face to face with possible ecological collapse.
The Last Painting of Sara de Vos
Australian writer Dominic Smith brilliantly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the Golden Age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated Australian art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth. In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted to the Guild of St. Luke in Holland as a master painter, the first woman to be so honoured. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain - a haunting winter scene, which hangs over the Manhattan bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibition of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect with increasing and exquisite suspense, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerises while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.
It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain, drawing up a list of those who will be given passage aboard the last flights out of the country. The general and his compatriots start a new life in Los Angeles, unaware that one among their number, the captain, is secretly observing and reporting on the group to a higher-up in the Viet Cong. The Sympathizer is the story of this captain: a man brought up by an absent French father and a poor Vietnamese mother, a man who went to university in America, but returned to Vietnam to fight for the Communist cause. A gripping spy novel, an astute exploration of extreme politics, and a moving love story, The Sympathizer examines the legacy of the Vietnam War in literature, film, and the wars we fight today.
Winner of The Pulitzer Prize 2016.
A Little Life
A Little Life is a depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance.
A Little Life was one of the ABC The Book Club's Top 5 books last year, as voted by viewers. The narrative follows four college classmates — broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition — as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen and darken over the decades, the men are held together by their unshakable love for the brilliant, enigmatic Jude, a man scarred by an unspeakable childhood trauma.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015.
The Dark Flood Rises
In her beautifully imagined new book, Margaret Drabble is at her incisive best, exploring the end of life with her trademark humour, composure and wisdom. Francesca Stubbs guides us through old age and death, as she has drinks with her dear friends, drops off mouth-watering suppers for her ex-husband, warm and cosy in his infirmity. She visits her daughter, Poppet, holed up as the waters rise in a sodden West Country, and texts her son Christopher in Lanzarote, as he deals with the estate of his shockingly deceased girlfriend. The questions of what constitutes a good death and how we understand it preoccupy this glittering novel.
The Heart Goes Last
Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of economic and social collapse. Living in their car, surviving on tips from Charmaine's job at a dive bar, they're increasingly vulnerable to roving gangs and in a rather desperate state. So when they see an advertisement for the Positron Project in the town of Consilience - a 'social experiment' offering stable jobs and a home of their own - they sign up immediately; but soon the pressures of conformity, mistrust, guilt and sexual desire take over, and Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.
This book has received rave reviews and is highly recommended for anyone who loved The Handmaid's Tale.
The Guest Cat
A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby Garden. But then something happens that will change everything again. The Guest Cat is an exceptionally moving and beautiful novel and was the winner of Japan's Kiyama Shohei Literary Award, and was a bestseller in France and America. This is great read for nature lovers and those interested in the mind of the writer.
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