SHORTLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- One of the books of the year for me. This is a novel in verse set mainly in LA, late 40's - early 50s'. Our protagonist, Walker - a WWII veteran suffering from PTSD - becomes a journalist chronicling the homeless of LA. Powerful, unique and moving. Greg Waldron
Walker, a young Canadian recently demobilised after war and his active service in the Normandy landings and subsequent European operations. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and unable to face a return to his family home in rural Nova Scotia, he goes in search of freedom, change, anonymity and repair. We follow Walker through a sequence of poems as he moves through post-war American cities of New York, Los Angles and San Francisco.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- If you're a fan of Foyle's War this is for you. The mighty Quinn is back. No Freya this time but a page-turning espionage love story set in WWII, with Quinn's usual witty touches. Greg Waldron
'The best spy novel set in wartime London. A masterpiece' Edward Wilson, author of A Very British Ending London, 1941. The city is in blackout, besieged by nightly air raids from Germany. Two strangers are about to meet. Between them they may alter the course of the war.
While the Blitz has united the nation, there is an enemy hiding in plain sight. A group of British citizens is gathering secret information to aid Hitler's war machine. Jack Hoste has become entangled in this treachery, but he also has a particular mission- to locate the most dangerous Nazi agent in the country.
Hoste soon receives a promising lead. Amy Strallen, who works in a Mayfair marriage bureau, was once close to this elusive figure. Her life is a world away from the machinations of Nazi sympathisers, yet when Hoste pays a visit to Amy's office, everything changes in a heartbeat.
Breathtakingly tense and trip-wired with surprises, Our Friends in Berlin is inspired by true events. It is a story about deception and loyalty - and about people in love who watch each other as closely as spies.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Kathleen O'Connor - a New Zealander by birth, a tutor in Perth, a painter in Paris. Although somewhat peripatetic in nature, she considered Paris to be her spiritual home. An impressionist painter before and during WWII, her story is one of singular will and determination. Daughter of the famous engineer, C Y O'Connor, who later suicided, she would never feel entirely comfortable in Australia. Novelist Amanda Curtin retraces the artist's footsteps, immersing herself in the world and the times in which O'Connor lived. Illustrated with many of the artist's works, this book reinforces her place in the history of Australian Art. Greg Waldron
What does it mean to live a life in pursuit of art?
In 1906, Kathleen O’Connor left conservative Perth, where her famous father’s life had ended in tragedy. She had her sights set on a career in thrilling, bohemian Paris. More than a century later, novelist Amanda Curtin faces her own questions, of life and of art, as she embarks on a journey in Kate’s footsteps.
Part biography, part travel narrative, this is the story of an artist in a foreign land who, with limited resources and despite the impacts of war and loss, worked and exhibited in Paris for over forty years. Kate’s distinctive figure paintings, portraits and still lifes, highly prized today, form an inseparable part of the telling.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- K's wife has recently died of cancer. This has led K to disregard nuance or metaphor in people's speech but to get to the heart and soul of what they actually mean. After inadvertently saving a woman's life, he becomes a reluctant media star. Currie's ascerbic wit is unrelenting in this laugh-out-loud, darkly comic novel. A hard-hitting look at modern day America. Greg Waldron
Ron Currie's three previous works of fiction have dazzled readers and critics alike with their originality, audacity, and psychological insight. A writer of unique vision and huge imagination, Currie excels at creating complex, troubled, yet endearing characters, and his work has won comparison to everyone from Kurt Vonnegut to George Saunders.
K., the narrator of Currie's new novel, joins the ranks of other great American literary creations who show us something new about ourselves. Like Jack Gladney from White Noise, K. is possessed of a hyper-articulate exasperation with the world, and like Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces, he is a doomed truth teller whom everyone misunderstands. After his wife Sarah dies, K.becomes so wedded to the notion of clarity that he infuriates friends and strangers alike. When he intervenes in an armed robbery, K. finds himself both an inadvertent hero and the star of a new reality television program. Together with Claire, a grocery store clerk with a sharp tongue and a yen for celebrity, he travels the country, ruffling feathers and gaining fame at the intersection of American politics and entertainment. But soon he discovers that the world will fight viciously to preserve its delusions about itself.
How Currie's unconventional hero comes to find peace, to reenter the world, and to be touched again by emotion and empathy makes for a dramatic, utterly memorable story.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Tom Birkin, damaged by the First World War, heads to a small country town called Oxgodby. He is there to uncover and restore a medieval painting. This is an exquisitely paced novel, an elegy for a time long gone. Birkin finds his spirit renewed as he experiences village life. A perfect book. Greg Waldron
A damaged survivor of the First World War, Tom Birkin finds refuge in the quiet village church of Oxgodby where he is to spend the summer uncovering a huge medieval wall-painting. Immersed in the peace and beauty of the countryside and the unchanging rhythms of village life he experiences a sense of renewal and belief in the future. Now an old man, Birkin looks back on the idyllic summer of 1920, remembering a vanished place of blissful calm, untouched by change, a precious moment he has carried with him through the disappointments of the years.
Adapted into a 1987 film starring Colin Firth, Natasha Richardson and Kenneth Branagh, A Month in the Country traces the slow revival of the primeval rhythms of life so cruelly disorientated by the Great WarIf you enjoyed A Month in the Country, you might like Ford Madox Ford's Parade's End, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- This is the story of English Liberal politician Jeremy Thorpe and the scandal that shocked and enthralled the public. I had to keep reminding myself that this is a true story because often the reader finds themselves lost in the most comical and absurd scenarios. Fact really is stranger than fiction. A gripping read. Greg Waldron
The shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for murder Behind oak-panelled doors in the House of Commons, men with cut-glass accents and gold signet rings are conspiring to murder. It's the late 1960s and homosexuality has only just been legalised, and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party, has a secret he's desperate to hide. As long as Norman Scott, his beautiful, unstable lover is around, Thorpe's brilliant career is at risk. With the help of his fellow politicians, Thorpe schemes, deceives, embezzles - until he can see only one way to silence Scott for good.
The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed our society forever- it was the moment the British public discovered the truth about its political class. Illuminating the darkest secrets of the Establishment, the Thorpe affair revealed such breath-taking deceit and corruption in an entire section of British society that, at the time, hardly anyone dared believe it could be true.
A Very English Scandal is an eye-opening tale of how the powerful protect their own, and an extraordinary insight into the forces that shaped modern Britain.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK
----- 1967 England. Sgt Pepper permeates the air. The writer Nat Fane having won an Oscar a few years ago for his screenplay has trouble emulating his initial success. He is hired to write a modern day adaption of the Henry James short story The Figure in the Carpet. The film is to be directed by the new wonder boy of German cinema, Reiner Werthe Kloss. Freya Wyley is on the hunt to track down an interview with said director believing there may be some secrets tuck away in his past. As Fane’s screenplay develops the characters in the film parallel those in Quinn’s narrative.
I love visiting the worlds Quinn creates; he has a wonderful sense of time and place that immediately immerses the reader into the period that he is writing about. He also has a delightful way of having characters reappear from previous books. Those who are major players in an earlier novel may have mere cameos in another. Though it is not necessary to read them in order (I didn’t) it does add to ones overall appreciation. The first book was Curtain Call
which tells the story of Stephen Wyley, Freya’s father. The second which has the more direct link to Eureka is Freya
and propels us into the life and times of the extraordinary Freya Wyley, one of the great modern day characters. All three books are worth visiting but for me Eureka resonates the most. Greg Waldron
Summer, 1967. As London shimmers in a heat haze and swoons to the sound of Sergeant Pepper, a mystery film - Eureka - is being shot by German wunderkind Reiner Werther Kloss. The screenwriter, Nat Fane, would do anything for a hit but can't see straight for all the acid he's dropping. Fledgling actress Billie Cantrip is hoping for her big break but can't find a way out of her troubled relationship with an older man. And journalist Freya Wyley wants to know why so much of what Kloss touches turns to ash in his wake. Meanwhile, the parallel drama of Nat's screenplay starts unfurling its own deep secrets. Sexy, funny, nasty, Eureka probes the dark side of creativity, the elusiveness of art and the torment of love.
ABBEY’S BOOKSELLER PICK —— If some marketing genius could’ve convinced Dan Brown and Umberto Eco to write a novel together, then this would be the likely outcome. Practically every post-war French philosopher makes an appearance, although not always in an entirely complementary manner, but Binet (who gave us the brilliant HHhH) has a lot of fun mixing fact with fiction.
Roman Jakobson, a Russian-American linguist, wrote a book called The Six Functions of Language. Binet proposes he wrote a Seventh Function, one which politicians are willing to kill for. After having lunch with Presidential candidate Francoise Mitterrand, the philosopher Roland Barthes is run down by a hit-and-run driver. A folder he was carrying has gone missing... and so begins this cerebral thriller.
Fun and thought-provoking, this will definitely have you hitting Wikipedia. Binet has come up with a gem.
- Greg Waldron, Abbey's staff
Roland Barthes, one of the 20th-century's towering literary figures, is knocked down in a Paris street by a laundry van. It's February 1980 and he's just come from lunch with Francois Mitterrand, who is locked in a battle for the Presidency. Barthes dies soon afterwards.
History tells us it was an accident. But what if it were an assassination? What if Barthes was carrying a document of unbelievable global importance? That document was the key to the seventh function of language, an idea so powerful it gives whoever masters it the ability to convince anyone, in any situation, to do anything.
Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a global chase that takes them from the corridors of power and academia to backstreet saunas and midnight rendezvous. What they discover is a global conspiracy involving the President, murderous Bulgarians and a secret international debating society. In the world of intellectuals and politicians, everyone is a suspect. And who can you trust when the idea of truth itself is at stake?
ABBEY’S BOOKSELLER PICK —— What a wonderful concept! Hopper’s paintings inspiring some of today’s biggest writers, exploring themes of darkness and light giving these brilliant works of art a new avenue to traverse. Contributors include - Stephen King with a macabre look at a couple coping in the depression, Connelly’s Harry Bosch tracks down a missing student – plus there’s Joyce Carol Oates, Jeffrey Deaver and many more. Each story is preceded by a painting and the reader keeps flicking back and forth as one gets lost in Hopper’s manipulation of light and shadow-brilliantly captured in the accompanying narrative. A true delight. Greg Waldron
Edward Hopper is surely the greatest American narrative painter. His work bears special resonance for writers and readers. Says Lawrence Block, who has invited seventeen outstanding writers to join him in an unprecedented anthology of brand new stories. The results are remarkable and range across all genres, marrying literary excellence with storytelling savvy. Contributors include Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Olen Butler, Michael Connelly, Megan Abbott, Craig Ferguson, Nicholas Christopher, Jill D. Block, Joe R. Lansdale, Justin Scott, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Warren Moore, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child and Lawrence Block himself. Each story is illustrated with a reproduction of the painting that inspired it.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- We journey with Steinem as she recalls different parts of her life in realtion to different modes of transport. Whether plane, train or taxi, she discusses the people involved in both the issues of the day and the people who transport her. Highly readable. Greg Waldron
From journalist, activist, and international icon Gloria Steinem comes her first book in twenty years, an all-new memoir of a lifetime of listening and learning from people, traveling America and the world. Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. Every fall, her father would pack the family into the car and they would drive across the country, in search of their next adventure. The seeds were planted: Steinem would spend much of her life on the road, as a journalist, organizer, activist, and speaker. In vivid stories that span an entire career, Steinem writes about her time on the campaign trail, from Bobby Kennedy to Hillary Clinton; her early exposure to social activism in India; organizing ground-up movements in America; the taxi drivers who were 'vectors of modern myths' and the airline stewardesses who embraced feminism; and the infinite contrasts, the 'surrealism in everyday life' that Steinem encountered as she traveled back and forth across the country. With the unique perspective of one of the greatest feminist icons of the 20th and 21st centuries, here is an inspiring, profound, enlightening memoir of one woman's life-long journey.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Hoskyn's new book is about the artistic/bohemian community of Woodstock, from its beginnings in the early 1900's and its peak during the 60's and how Dylan embraced it, then abandoned what was once an isolated, artistic community but soon turned into a tourist haven. Brilliant. Greg Waldron
The true story of the town of Woodstock - the mythical home of 60s rock and inspiration for the legendary festival.
Think 'Woodstock' and the mind turns to the seminal 1969 festival that crowned a seismic decade of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. But Woodstock itself was over 60 miles from the site to which the fabled half a million flocked. So why the misnomer? Quite simply, Woodstock was already a key location in the Sixties rock landscape, the tiny Catskills town where Bob Dylan had holed up after his 1966 motorcycle accident.
In Small Town Talk, Barney Hoskyns recreates Woodstock's community of brilliant dysfunctional musicians, opportunistic hippie capitalists and scheming dealers drawn to the area by Dylan and his sidekicks The Band. Central to the book's narrative is the broodingly powerful presence of Albert Grossman, manager of Dylan, The Band, Janis Joplin and Todd Rundgren - and Big Daddy of a personal fiefdom in Bearsville that encompassed studios, restaurants and his own record label. Intertwined in the story are the Woodstock experiences of artists as diverse as Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Paul Butterfield, Tim Hardin, Karen Dalton and Bobby Charles.
Drawing on first-hand interviews with the remaining key players in the scene, and on the period when he lived there himself in the 1990s, Hoskyns has produced an East Coast companion to his bestselling L.A. Canyon classic Hotel California - a richly absorbing study of a vital music scene in a revolutionary time and place.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- The Recognitions is one of those hugely influential novels that deserves a wider readership. Gaddis's satirical masterpiece takes a no holds barred look at 50's New York. The novel's basic theme concerns an artist who forges the Flemish masters and the ramifications of his actions. You need patience with this book but it is well worth the effort. Greg Waldron
The book Jonathan Franzen dubbed the ur-text of postwar fiction and the first great cultural critique, which, even if Heller and Pynchon hadn't read it while composing Catch-22 and V., managed to anticipate the spirit of both - The Recognitions is a masterwork about art and forgery, and the increasingly thin line between the counterfeit and the fake. Gaddis anticipates by almost half a century the crisis of reality that we currently face, where the real and the virtual are combining in alarming ways, and the sources of legitimacy and power are often obscure to us.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Zero K is a look at today's world obsession with ageing and dying. Centred around a reclusive facility that specialises in cryogenics. Despite tackling big issues including terroism, this is essentially a story of a son trying to reconnect with his father. Delillo's most accessible work since White Noise. Greg Waldron
Jeffrey Lockhart's father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife, Artis Martineau, whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a remote and secret compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and Artis at the compound to say "an uncertain farewell" to her as she surrenders her body. "We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn't it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?" These are the questions that haunt the novel and its memorable characters, and it is Ross Lockhart, most particularly, who feels a deep need to enter another dimension and awake to a new world. For his son, this is indefensible. Jeff, the book's narrator, is committed to living, to experiencing "the mingled astonishments of our time, here, on earth." Don DeLillo's seductive, spectacularly observed and brilliant new novel weighs the darkness of the world-terrorism, floods, fires, famine, plague-against the beauty and humanity of everyday life; love, awe, "the intimate touch of earth and sun."
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Peter Doyle has won two Ned Kelly Awards in the past (1997 Best First Novel; 1999 Best Novel) and his latest is amazing. The way he brings the city and times to life, he's doing for Sydney what James Ellroy did for LA. This fuel-injected story moves at a cracking pace and the novel within a novel ensures the action is relentless. We follow the mystery with the main character Billy Glasheen as he discovers and reads this strange novel that appeared out of nowhere, yet seems to be about real people he knows. If Raymond Chandler had got together with Hunter S Thompson they may have produced something like this. Very cleverly done! Greg
As the swinging '60s turn into the '70s, Billy Glasheen is stuck in the slow lane. He's deep in debt to the mob, driving a taxi, running low-level rackets.
One day he finds a trashy novel in his cab - and he's the main character! Only Max, his double-crossing ex-partner in crime, could've written it. Except Max went up in flames after a bank job, along with the cash.
If Max is alive, Billy has a score to settle. If he didn't get burned up, maybe the money didn't either. Billy follows the clues, and discovers he's not the only one on the trail.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ---- Wilson's latest book looks at the possibilities of a marriage between the Sciences and the Humanities. Slim yet stimulating - this book offers the hope that a more productive age could await mankind. Greg
Searching for meaning in what Nietzsche once called the rainbow colours around the outer edges of knowledge and imagination, Edward O. Wilson bridges science and philosophy to create a twenty-first-century treatise on human existence.
Once criticised for his over-reliance on genetics, Wilson unfurls here his most expansive and advanced theories on human behaviour, recognising that, even though the human and the spider evolved similarly, the poet's sonnet is wholly different from the spider's web.
Whether attempting to explicate the Riddle of the Human Species, warning of the Collapse of Biodiversity, or even creating a plausible Portrait of E.T., Wilson does indeed believe that humanity holds a special position in the known universe. Alarmed, however, that we are about to abandon natural selection by redesigning biology and human nature as we wish them, Wilson concludes that advances in science and technology bring us our greatest moral dilemma since God stayed the hand of Abraham.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ---- This reads like a vintage Le Carre Cold War thriller. CIA, KGB, an aristocratic Italian who joins the Communist Party, but who then defies the Party party to publish 'Doctor Zhivago'. A fascinating look at Cold War shenanigans. Greg
1956. Boris Pasternak presses a manuscript into the hands of an Italian publishing scout with these words: 'This is Doctor Zhivago. May it make its way around the world.'
Pasternak knew his novel would never be published in the Soviet Union as the authorities regarded it as seditious, so, instead, he allowed it to be published in translation all over the world - a highly dangerous act. 1958. The life of this extraordinary book enters the realms of the spy novel. The CIA, recognising that the Cold War was primarily an ideological battle, published Doctor Zhivago in Russian and smuggled it into the Soviet Union. It was immediately snapped up on the black market. Pasternak was later forced to renounce the Nobel Prize in Literature, igniting worldwide political scandal.
With sole access to otherwise classified CIA files, The Zhivago Affair gives an irresistible portrait of Pasternak, and takes us deep into the Cold War, back to a time when literature had the power to shake the world.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ---- Makine's books are never verbose. The writing is sparse but emotionally powerful. Often looking at Russia with an outsiders gaze (although born in Siberia, Makine lives in Russia but writes in French), these short tales are linked by the characters, constantly in a state of flux as they adjust to a changing Russia. Greg
In Soviet Russia the desire for freedom is also a desire for the freedom to love. Lovers live as outlaws, traitors to the collective spirit, and love is more intense when it feels like an act of resistance. Now entering middle age, an orphan recalls the fleeting moments that have never left him - a scorching day in a blossoming orchard with a woman who loves another; a furtive, desperate affair in a Black Sea resort; the bunch of snowdrops a crippled childhood friend gave him to give to his lover.
As the dreary Brezhnev era gives way to Perestroika and the fall of Communism, the orphan uncovers the truth behind the life of Dmitri Ress, whose tragic fate embodies the unbreakable bond between love and freedom.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ---- A beautifully written excursion into old, new and ancient paths. Whether traversing Palestine, or daring to cross 'Broomway' the deadliest path in Britain, Macfarlane explores the power of walking. Greg
The Old Ways is the stunning new book by acclaimed nature writer Robert Macfarlane Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson prize 2012.
In The Old Ways Robert Macfarlane sets off from his Cambridge home to follow the ancient tracks, holloways, drove-roads and sea paths that form part of a vast network of routes criss-crossing the British landscape and its waters, and connecting them to the continents beyond. The result is an immersive, enthralling exploration of the ghosts and voices that haunt old paths, of the stories our tracks keep and tell, of pilgrimage and ritual, and of songlines and their singers. Above all this is a book about people and place: about walking as a reconnoitre inwards, and the subtle ways in which we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move.
Told in Macfarlane's distinctive and celebrated voice, the book folds together natural history, cartography, geology, archaeology and literature. His tracks take him from the chalk downs of England to the bird-islands of the Scottish northwest, and from the disputed territories of Palestine to the sacred landscapes of Spain and the Himalayas.
Along the way he walks stride for stride with a 5000-year-old man near Liverpool, follows the 'deadliest path in Britain', sails an open boat out into the Atlantic at night, and crosses paths with walkers of many kinds - wanderers, wayfarers, pilgrims, guides, shamans, poets, trespassers and devouts. He discovers that paths offer not just means of traversing space, but also of feeling, knowing and thinking. The old ways lead us unexpectedly to the new, and the voyage out is always a voyage inwards.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Will Andrews forgoes his Harvard education to experience ‘life’ in the American west. This will not have the same broad appeal as ‘Stoner’; it is still nonetheless an absorbing tale – with some existentialist touches, let’s say if Camus and Larry McMurtry joined forces, then they may have come up with a novel such as this. Greg
It is the 1870s, and Will Andrews, fired up by Emerson to seek an original relation to nature, drops out of Harvard and heads west. He washes up in Butcher's Crossing, a small Kansas town on the outskirts of nowhere. Butcher's Crossing is full of restless men looking for ways to make money and ways to waste it. Before long Andrews strikes up a friendship with one of them, a man who regales Andrews with tales of immense herds of buffalo, ready for the taking, hidden away in a beautiful valley deep in the Colorado Rockies. He convinces Andrews to join in an expedition to track the animals down. The journey out is grueling, but at the end is a place of paradisal richness. Once there, however, the three men abandon themselves to an orgy of slaughter, so caught up in killing buffalo that they lose all sense of time. Winter soon overtakes them: they are snowed in. Next spring, half-insane with cabin fever, cold, and hunger, they stagger back to Butcher's Crossing to find a world as irremediably changed as they have been.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- A long forgotten classic - thankfully reissued! I hadn't heard of this book - picked it up and found one of the most moving, beautifully written books I've read. Human behaviour observed in its most naked form. Brilliant. Greg
William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father's farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely. Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value. Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured.
ABBEY'S CHOICE JANUARY 2014
----- It is 1863 and Richard Shenstone has been sent down - or rusticated - from Cambridge under dubious circumstances. Fighting opium addiction, he joins his mother and sister on the coast, residing in a crumbling mansion. The locals are soon besieged by obscene letters, and suspicion falls on Richard. This story is a wonderful cross between Wilkie Collins (with more colourful language) and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. There is a disturbing sense of unease, mixed with a healthy dose of gothic atmosphere, and numerous twists and turns make this a compulsive read. Greg
ABBEY'S CHOICE OCTOBER 2013 ----- Tom Keely is a broken man. Failed marriage and career, he is searching for redemption. When a woman from his past resurfaces with her enigmatic grandson, Keely finds both his past and present colliding with explosive consequences. Winton’s new book has divided opinion in the shop, but from my perspective I found this an incredibly disturbing and powerful read. The author demands the reader's participation, hence there are definitely loose ends in the story. For me this adds to the book's power and I found myself unable to put it down. Highly recommended. ~ Greg
As Greg says, the novel has drawn strong responses - surely a sign of great art. Click the REVIEWS tab for Meg and Lindy's reviews.
Tom Keely's reputation is in ruins. And that's the upside.
Divorced and unemployed, he's lost faith in everything precious to him. Holed up in a grim highrise, cultivating his newfound isolation, Keely looks down at a society from which he's retired hurt and angry. He's done fighting the good fight, and well past caring.
But even in his seedy flat, ducking the neighbours, he's not safe from entanglement. All it takes is an awkward encounter in the lobby. A woman from his past, a boy the likes of which he's never met before. Two strangers leading a life beyond his experience and into whose orbit he falls despite himself.
What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting. Inhabited by unforgettable characters, Eyrie asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Haya Tedeschi surrounds herself with memories and photographs, reflecting on the past and the absence of her child who was stolen during WWII. This novel constantly blurs the line between fact and fiction. Voices interject into the narrative, crying out to be heard, whether it’s the Lebersborn children, transcripts from war crime trials or the distant echo of so many lost souls. Although at times not a comfortable read, this is a deeply engaging one. I found myself pausing intermittingly, taking time to reflect upon the enormity of what I had read. For me, this is easily the book of 2012. Greg
Haya Tedeschi sits alone in Gorizia, north-eastern Italy, surrounded by a basket of photographs and newspaper clippings. Now an old woman, she waits to be reunited after sixty-two years with her son, fathered by an S.S. officer and stolen from her by the German authorities during the War as part of Himmler's clandestine 'Lebensborn' project, which strove for a 'racially pure' Germany. Haya's reflection on her Catholicized Jewish family's experiences deals unsparingly with the massacre of Italian Jews in the concentration camps of Trieste. Her obsessive search for her son leads her to photographs, maps and fragments of verse, to testimonies from the Nuremberg trials and interviews with second-generation Jews, as well as witness accounts of atrocities that took place on her doorstep. A broad collage of material is assembled, and the lesser-known horror of Nazi occupation in northern Italy is gradually unveiled. Written in immensely powerful language, and employing a range of astonishing conceptual devices, Trieste is a novel like no other. Dasa Drndic has produced a shattering contribution to the literature of our twentieth-century history.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Somewhat experimental in style, this marvellous, unique book tells the story of Operation Anthropoid whose mission was to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, one of the chief players in the Nazi regime. Binet manages to make the tension almost unbearable at times. Winner of the Prix Goncourt du Premier Roman 2010. Greg
Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid, Prague, 1942: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich - chief of the Nazi secret services, 'the hangman of Prague', 'the blond beast', 'the most dangerous man in the Third Reich'. His boss is Heinrich Himmler but everyone in the SS says 'Himmler's brain is called Heydrich', which in German spells HHhH . All the characters in HHhH are real. All the events depicted are true. But alongside the nerve-shredding preparations for the attack runs another story: when you are a novelist writing about real people, how do you resist the temptation to make things up? HHhH is a panorama of the Third Reich told through the life of one outstandingly brutal man, a story of unbearable heroism and loyalty, revenge and betrayal. It is improbably entertaining and electrifyingly modern, a moving and shattering work of fiction.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- This is the story of two friends, Nat and Archy (owners of Brokeland Records) and their wives, Gwen and Aviva (midwives). It is an epic tale of friendship and betrayal, and though there are numerous tangents, it always comes back to the essential core -the friendship of Nat and Archy. When a proposed offer of a music megastore comes into play, both friends’ loyalties are pushed to the limit, as are their wives when a near disaster with a pregnancy occurs. A cross between High Fidelity and TV’s The Wire, this multi-layered read will have you rushing out to listen to those jazz funk classics of the 70s. Greg
From the bestselling author of 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay'; his first novel in 5 years is a lovingly painted pop-culture epic. As summer in Oakland, California, draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are hanging in there, co-regents of Brokeland Records. Their wives, Gwen and Aviva, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, a pair of legendary midwives. When former star quarterback Gibson Goode announces plans to dump his latest Dogpile megastore on Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear the worst for their vulnerable little enterprise, as behind Goode's proposal lurks a nefarious scheme. And while their husbands struggle to mount a defence, Aviva and Gwen find themselves caught up in a professional battle that tests their friendship. Then into their already tangled lives comes Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged. An intimate epic that pulses with a virtuosic, pyrotechnical style all of its own, 'Telegraph Avenue' is Michael Chabon's most dazzling book yet, and a must-read for fans of Nick Hornby's 'High Fidelity'.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ---- This incredible book is a fascinating look at the architecture of the Soviet Empire. Futuristic, bizarre and at times something out of a sci-fi epic, many of these buildings are now gone but thankfully have been captured in this wonderful book. Greg
Photographer Frederic Chaubin reveals 90 buildings sited in fourteen former Soviet Republics which express what could be considered as the fourth age of Soviet architecture. They reveal an unexpected rebirth of imagination, an unknown burgeoning that took place from 1970 until 1990. Contrary to the twenties and thirties, no school or main trend emerges here. These buildings represent a chaotic impulse brought about by a decaying system. Their diversity announces the end of Soviet Union. Taking advantage of the collapsing monolithic structure, the holes of the widening net, architects revisited all the chronological periods and styles, going back to the roots or freely innovating. Some of the daring ones completed projects that the Constructivists would have dreamt of (Druzhba sanatorium), others expressed their imagination in an expressionist way (Tbilisi wedding palace). A summer camp, inspired by sketches of a prototype lunar base, lays claim to its suprematist influence (Promethee). Then comes the speaking architecture widespread in the last years of the USSR: a crematorium adorned with concrete flames (Kiev crematorium), a technological institute with a flying saucer crashed on the roof (Kiev institute), a political center watching you like a Big Brother (Kaliningrad House of Soviet). This puzzle of styles testifies to all the ideological dreams of the period, from the obsession with the cosmos to the rebirth of privacy and it also outlines the geography of the USSR, showing how local influences made their exotic twists before bringing the country to its end.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- This beautifully written novella brings a human voice to Mary not heard before. Reflecting on her son’s crucifixion, the unease she feels when witnessing his miracles and the growing menace of the authorities, Tóibín strips away the religious dogma, leaving an exposed, vulnerable woman who is both concerned and bewildered by what she is seeing. A truly moving work. Greg
In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change.
As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Written during the 44 years until 1983 and comprising over 700 pages, here are the diaries in their entirety of one of the world’s greatest actors. Burton was a complicated man and his diaries expose a part of him that has often been well hidden. Forthright and articulate in his opinions of himself and others, he constantly questioned the validity of his chosen career, was often concerned about his weight and his drinking, and had a voracious appetite for books. Greg
In his personal diaries, Richard Burton is a man quite different from the one we familiarly know as acclaimed actor, international film star and jet-set celebrity. From his private, handwritten pages there emerges a different person - a family man, father and husband, a man often troubled and always keenly observing. Understood through his own words, day to day and year to year, Burton becomes a fully rounded human being who, with a wealth of talent and a surprising burden of insecurity, confronts the peculiar challenges of a life lived largely in the spotlight. This volume publishes in their entirety the surviving diaries of Richard Burton (born Richard Jenkins, 1925-1984). The diaries were written between 1939 and 1983, throughout his career and the years of his celebrated marriages to Elizabeth Taylor. Diary entries appear in their original sequence with annotations to clarify the people, places, books and events he mentions. At times Burton struggles to come to terms with the unfulfilled potential of his life and talent. In other entries, he crows over achievements and hungers for greater challenges. He may be watching his weight, watching his drinking or watching other men watch his Elizabeth. Always he is articulate, opinionated and fascinating. His diaries offer a rare and fresh perspective on his own life and career, Elizabeth Taylor's and the glamorous world of film, theatre and celebrity they inhabited.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Yotam and Sami have worked together in London for nearly 30 years. In this new book, they go back to their roots - Jerusalem, a city full of culinary inspiration. The authors confess that at times this book was an excursion in nostalgia, but the city is a never-ending source of influence on their cooking, whether it be Jewish, Muslim or Christian. Beautifully designed and illustrated, with a brief history on the city and littered with anecdotes, this book stands out in a very crowded genre. Greg
The authors are the men behind the bestselling Ottolenghi: The Cookbook. Their chain of restaurants is famous for its innovative flavours, stylish design and superb cooking. At the heart of their food is a shared home city: Jerusalem. They were born there in the same year, Yotam on the Jewish west side, Sami on the Arab east side. Nearly 30 years later, they met in London and discovered they shared a language, a history and a love of great food. This book sets 100 of their inspired, accessible recipes within the cultural and religious melting pot of this diverse city. With culinary influences coming from its Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian communities, and with a Mediterranean climate, the range of ingredients and styles is stunning. From soups (spicy frikkeh soup with meatballs), meat and fish (chicken with caramelised onion and cardamom rice, sea bream with harissa and rose), vegetables and salads (spicy beetroot, leek and walnut salad), pulses and grains (saffron rice with barberries and pistachios) to cakes and desserts(clementine and almond syrup cake), there is something new for everyone to discover. Packed with beautiful food and gorgeous photography, this book showcases sumptuous dishes in a dazzling setting.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Not just a regular cookbook, this includes tips on how to choose and store fish, plus step-by-step photos showing how to prepare prawns and crabs, fillet fish, clean squid and many other techniques. Chefs represented include David Thompson, Christine Manfield, Peter Doyle and Neil Perry. Includes over 80 recipes with one recipe per page accompanied by a photo of the completed dish. Greg
For more than 20 years, the Sydney Seafood School has been teaching us how to prepare and cook the wonderful array of seafood found in our oceans and rivers. Now, for the first time, the School shares its wealth of tips and techniques, along with more than 80 outstanding recipes from Australia's leading chefs. Try your hand at Pete Evans' garlic prawns, David Thompson's grilled barramundi curry, or Alex Herbert's fish and chips. Treat your friends and family to Tetsuya's crudo of leatherjacket, Neil Perry's bar rock cod tagine, or Frank Camorra's Galician-style octopus. There is also expert advice on choosing and storing seafood, plus step-by-step photos of essential techniques, including filleting and butterflying fish, shucking oysters, cleaning squid and octopus, and preparing crabs, prawns and bugs. With beautiful photos of all the recipes to help you decide what to make, and illustrations of the various species so you know what to look for at the fishmonger, this gives you all the know-how and confidence to prepare seafood at home with delicious results every time.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Lamont Williams, recently paroled, begins a job as a janitor in a Manhattan hospital where he befriends a dying patient, Henryk Mandelbaum. Adam Zignelik is an historian at Columbia whose personal and professional life is rapidly collapsing. We meet these two men at a tenuous time in their lives and the numrrous stories that link these men is the driving force behind this brilliant novel. Memory, friendship, guilt, academic politics and the Holocaust all play a role in this grand epic. I was moved and in awe of this magnificent book. Greg
'Excellent...Harrowing, humane and brilliant.' - The Times (UK) How breathtakingly close we are to lives that at first seem so far away. From the civil rights struggle in the United States to the Nazi crimes against humanity in Europe, there are more stories than people passing each other every day on the bustling streets of every crowded city. Only some survive to become history. Recently released from prison, Lamont Williams, an African American probationary janitor in a Manhattan hospital and father of a little girl he can't locate, strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly patient, a Holocaust survivor who had been a prisoner in Auschwitz-Birkenau. A few kilometres uptown, Australian historian Adam Zignelik, an untenured Columbia professor, finds both his career and his long-term romantic relationship falling apart. Emerging out of the depths of his own personal history, Adam sees, in a promising research topic suggested by an American World War II veteran, the beginnings of something that might just save him professionally and perhaps even personally. As these two men try to survive in early twenty-first-century New York, history comes to life in ways neither of them could have foreseen. Two very different paths - Lamont's and Adam's - lead to one greater story as The Street Sweeper, in dealing with memory, love, guilt, heroism, the extremes of racism and unexpected kindness, spans the twentieth century to the present, and spans the globe from New York to Melbourne, Chicago to Auschwitz. Epic in scope, this is a remarkable feat of storytelling.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Originally published in 1994, this updated edition includes 100 new works and is a wonderful introduction to the world of art. It is simply an A-Z of artists with a page devoted to a single work - painting, photography, sculpture, etc. Includes a glossary of the different artistic movements and an explanation of terms used. Beautifully produced, this is the one art book that everyone should have. Greg
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- In this wonderful little series, each book is littered with colour pictures and easy-to-follow recipes, including starters, mains and desserts, plus serving suggestions. All the chefs have done their own cookbooks, but the beauty of these is they are like ‘best of’ collections, designed to help novices like myself. Greg
Lantern is proud to publish some of Australia's most celebrated cooks and chefs. Now, in a new series of indispensable books for your kitchen bookshelf, Lantern Cookery Classics brings you timeless recipes from these much-loved authors. Each book has more than sixty recipes - all photographed, and with clear instructions to help you achieve a great result every time. Soon you'll be whipping up your favourite dishes from Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer, George Calombaris, Kylie Kwong, Gary Mehigan and Matt Moran. Why not treat yourself to the complete set?
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Solomon Kugel has moved into a farmhouse with his wife, son and mother (much to his wife's chagrin) to the town of Stockton. A place with no history and a chance for a new beginning. However the place comes with a smell (referred to by the real estate agent as the aroma of honesty) and at night the sound of a constant tapping coming from the attic that turns out to be Anne Frank working on a new book. So let's be honest this book is not for everyone, some may find it offensive others like me will find it absolutely hilarious and innovative. If you like Heller and Vonnegut then this gem will definitely appeal. Greg
Solomon Kugel wishes for nothing more than to be nowhere, to be in a place with no past, no history, no wars, no genocides. The rural town of Stockton, New York, is famous for nothing: No one was born there, no one died there, nothing of any import has ever happened there, which is exactly why Kugel decided to move his family there. To begin again. To start anew. But it isn't quite working out that way. His ailing mother stubbornly holds on to life, and won't stop reminiscing about the Nazi concentration camps she never actually suffered through. To complicate matters further, some lunatic is burning down farmhouses just like the one he bought, and he fears his is next. And when, one night, Kugel discovers history -- a living, breathing, thought-to-be-dead specimen of history -- hiding in his attic, bad very quickly becomes worse. Like nothing you've read before, the critically acclaimed Shalom Auslander's debut novel is a hilarious and disquieting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Most people are familiar with the story of Dracula. However film has had a big influence on people’s concept of the story and its well worth taking the time to revisit or experience this classic for the first time. Written in a epistolary format, Stoker takes the reader into the hearts and minds of his characters. From the opening pages when Harker slowly realizes the sheer horror of what the Count represents, to a breath taking conclusion. An unforgettable read, rich in atmosphere and suspense this is one book that you will never forget. Greg
Of the many admiring reviews, Bram Stoker's Dracula received when it first appeared in 1897, the most astute praise came from the author's mother, who wrote her son: 'It is splendid. No book since Mrs. Shelley's Frankenstein or indeed any other at all has come near yours in originality, or terror.' A popular bestseller in Victorian England, Stoker's hypnotic tale of the bloodthirsty Count Dracula, whose nocturnal atrocities are symbolic of an evil ages old yet forever new, endures as the quintessential story of suspense and horror. The unbridled lusts and desires, the diabolical cravings that Stoker dramatized with such mythical force, render Dracula resonant and unsettling a century later.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- O my brothers (and sisters of course) here I am sitting in the Korova Milkbar sucking back a nice cold moloko as my droogies and I peruse the 50th Anniversary Edition of A Clockwork Orange. O what a brilliant literary horrowshow it is, from the opening chapter one is grabbed by the yarbles and drawn into this truly bizarre but believable world. With its Joycean wordplay and black humour running throughout the sheer brilliance of Burgess’s command of language creates a world that is timeless. This edition comes with a foreword by Martin Amis, plus essays articles etc. Your humble servant must leave now so fork out some hard earned pretty polly and grab a copy of this zammechat classic. Greg
This is the fully restored 50th Anniversary edition. It includes a foreword by Martin Amis. First published by William Heinemann in 1962, A Clockwork Orange is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential books of the twentieth century. This special edition, compiled and edited by Andrew Biswell, Burgess' biographer, restores the text of the novel as Burgess originally wrote it, and includes a selection of interviews, articles, reviews and other previously unpublished material.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- The link that connects these stories is a large desk. We follow each story as the desk moves from house to house, country to country. Greg
Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2011, Nicole Krauss' Great House is a haunting story that explores loss and memory. In New York a woman spends the night with a young Chilean poet before he departs, leaving her at his desk. Later, he is arrested by Pinochet's secret police...In north London, a man caring for his dying wife discovers a lock of hair that unravels a terrible secret...In Jerusalem, an antiques dealer reassembles his father's study plundered by Nazis. One item remains missing...Spanning continents and decades, weaving an intricate web of its characters' lives, Great House tells a soaring story of love, loss and survival against the odds. The History of Love was very good indeed. Great House ...is even better. A heartbreaking meditation on loss and memory and how they construct our lives . ( Guardian ). Full of mystery and suspense, building towards one of the great climaxes in contemporary fiction. It is hard to imagine a better book of fiction being published this year...one of the finest writers of our time . ( Jewish Chronicle ). Bewitching, mysterious and deeply moving. One of 2011's must-reads . ( Harper's Bazaar ). Nicole Krauss is an American bestselling author who has received international critical acclaim for her first three novels: Great House , The History of Love (Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2006 and winner of the 2006 Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger) and Man Walks into a Room (shortlisted for the LA Times Book Award), all of which are available in Penguin paperback.
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- This is a wonderful read - though-provoking and entertaining. Bakewell poses 20 questions and attempts to answer each whilst describing Montaigne's life and how certain infused his philosophical thought. Highly recommended. Greg
How to get on well with people, how to deal with violence, how to adjust to losing someone you love? How to live? This question obsessed Renaissance nobleman Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-92), who wrote free-roaming explorations of his thought and experience, unlike anything written before. Into these essays he put whatever was in his head: his tastes in wine and food, his childhood memories, the way his dog's ears twitched when it was dreaming, events in the appalling civil wars raging around him. The Essays was an instant bestseller, and over four hundred years later, readers still come to him in search of companionship, wisdom and entertainment - and in search of themselves. This first full biography of Montaigne in English for nearly fifty years relates the story of his life by way of the questions he posed and the answers he explored.