Award Winners and Literary Happenstance
Wulf by Hamish Clayton has been named the NZ Post Best First Book Winner for 2012, also (feel the tension) the 2012 NZ Post Book Awards Finalists have also been released – the winners will be announced in early August.
The Listener Book Club has moved on to its third title, but Emily Perkins fans can still enjoy the club’s fantastic content on The Forrests, including an interview with the author, and a podcast discussion of the novel featuring enthusiastic NZ booksellers, including our own Marcus.
One of the latest web gems from the ever eclectic McSweeney’s breaks down the future of books from 2020-2080, *Spoiler Alert* nanobots may be involved.
Hunger Games fans yearning for more can find respite in Part One of Our Favourite Post-Katniss Picks
by Emily Perkins, TP, $36.99
“The Forrests is a celebration of the ordinary life, lived intensely. Here, it is the extremely ordinary – the extra-ordinary – that is the truly extraordinary. There’s little in the plot that could be called dramatic, for the real drama is found in the everyday, and the everyday is elevated to become the action of the novel. The intensity of Dot’s everyday experience is matched by the intensity of the prose. The writing lingers lovingly over the sensory minutiae of sound, smell, colour and movement, the story slowed right down by lengthy and highly detailed description that combines the colloquial with the lyrical – the everyday and the extraordinary – in startling ways.” –The New Zealand Listener
“Dorothy’s emotional gyrations follow those of an average, happy-enough life. There are the universal lows of family illnesses, accidents, divorce and deaths alongside the universal highs of romance and love. It might sound like a dreary ambition – to attempt to capture the fullness of one rather ordinary life – but Emily Perkins’s book ends up being extraordinary.” –The Independent
by Richard Ford, TP, $36.99
After his parents are arrested and imprisoned for robbing a bank, 15-year-old Dell Parsons is taken in by Arthur Remlinger who, unbeknownst to Dell, is hiding a dark and violent nature that interferes with Dell’s quest to find grace and peace on the prairie of Saskatchewan.
In Canada, Richard Ford has created a masterpiece. A visionary novel of vast landscapes, complex identities and fragile humanity. It questions the fine line between the normal and the extraordinary, and the moments that haunt our settled view of the world.
by Laurent Binet, TP, $34.99
The most dangerous man in Hitler’s cabinet, Reinhard Heydrich was known as the Butcher of Prague. He was feared by all and loathed by most. With his cold Aryan features and implacable cruelty, Heydrich seemed indestructible until two men, a Slovak and a Czech recruited by the British secret service, killed him in broad daylight on a bustling street in Prague, and thus changed the course of History.
Who were these men, arguably two of the most discreet heroes of the twentieth century? In Laurent Binet’s captivating debut novel, we follow Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis from their dramatic escape of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to England; from their recruitment to their harrowing parachute drop into a war zone, from their stealth attack on Heydrich’s car to their own brutal death in the basement of a Prague church.
A seemingly effortless blend of historical truth, personal memory, and Laurent Binet’s remarkable imagination, HHhH, an international bestseller and winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman, is a work at once thrilling and intellectually engrossing, a fast-paced novel of the Second World War that is also a profound meditation on the nature of writing and the debt we owe to history.
by Tom Bullough, TP, $37.00
It is 1867 and winter in Ryazan, a city on the banks of the Oka River in Central Russia. Konstantin is ten years old. His days are full of dreams of flight – to Moscow, even to the silent stars. But then, one day, he catches cold in the freezing woods near his home and his own world becomes silent. Left deaf by scarlet fever, his outlook is desperate. Only his fascination with a newly mechanised age and his astonishing visions of humanity’s future seem to offer him any sort of hope.
“A convincing account, lyrical yet exact, of the making of a scientist. Konstantin Tsiolkovsky may not be a household name, but the author has set him squarely before us as a living, thinking, ingenious human being” – John Banville
by Hilary Mantel, TP, $39.99
The sequel to Hilary Mantel’s 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller, Wolf Hall, Bring Up the Bodies delves into the heart of Tudor history with the downfall of Anne Boleyn.
Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice.
At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne’s head?
by Chris Cleave, TP, $36.99
Kate and Zoe met at nineteen when they both made the cut for the national training program in track cycling, a sport that demands intense focus, blinding exertion, and unwavering commitment. They are built to exploit the barest physical and psychological edge over equally skilled rivals, all of whom are fighting for the last one tenth of a second that separates triumph from despair.
Now at thirty-two, the women are facing their last and biggest race: the 2012 Olympics. Each wants desperately to win gold, and each has more than a medal to lose.
Echoing the adrenaline-fueled rush of a race around the Velodrome track, Gold is a triumph of superbly paced, heart-in-throat storytelling. With great humanity and glorious prose, Chris Cleave examines the values that lie at the heart of our most intimate relationships, and the choices we make when lives are at stake and everything is on the line.
by Rachel Joyce, TP, $36.99
Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.
Jolted out of emotional numbness Harold Fry embarks on a 600-mile hiking journey to his friend’s side without supplies, an endeavor that stirs up memories of his unhappy marital and parenting experiences.
“There’s tremendous heart in this debut novel by Rachel Joyce, as she probes questions that are as simple as they are profound: Can we begin to live again, and live truly, as ourselves, even in middle age, when all seems ruined? Can we believe in hope when hope seems to have abandoned us? I found myself laughing through tears, rooting for Harold at every step of his journey. I’m still rooting for him.” Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife
“The odyssey of a simple man . . . original, subtle and touching.” Claire Tomalin, author of Charles Dickens: A Life
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