DEVIL’S DAY Andrew Michael Hurley
John Murray PB $32.99
Every autumn, John Pentecost returns to the Lancashire farm where he grew up to help gather the sheep from the moors and celebrate Devil’s Day, a traditional ritual staged to trick the Devil (the ‘Owd Feller’) into keeping away from the flocks. Generally, very little changes in the bleak Briardale Valley, known to its three resident families as the Endlands, but this year things are different. John’s grandfather – known to everyone as the Gaffer – has died and Kat, John’s pregnant wife, is accompanying him for the first time. It soon becomes apparent that John and Kat will have to decide where their loyalties and future lie – and it’s not an easy decision. Andrew Michael Hurley’s unsettling novel is a major achievement.
THE DREAMS OF BETHANY MELLMOTH William Boyd
Viking PB $32.99
L SPECIA E C PRI
Scribner HB WAS $39.99 NOW $17.95
Hogarth PB $29.99
A chilling dystopian novel, Future Home of the Living God deals with many subjects that will be familiar to those who have read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: female agency, self-determination, biology and natural rights. It follows the journey of Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted child of open-minded Minneapolis liberals, as she journeys to find her Native American birth mother. As Cedar investigates her biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fuelled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity. Written in the age of Trump and in a world suffering from social and racial inequality, the effects of climate change and the reality of rapid and inevitable technological change, Erdrich’s tale of how Cedar fights to keep both herself and her unborn baby free is both thought-provoking and salutary.
Bloomsbury HB $24.99
L SPECIA PRICE
I’D DIE FOR YOU AND OTHER LOST STORIES F Scott Fitzgerald
A collection of the last remaining unpublished short stories by F Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night. All 18 short fictions collected here were lost in one sense or another: physically lost, coming to light only recently; lost in the turbulence of Fitzgerald’s later life; lost to readers because his editors foolishly didn’t consider them worthy of publication. Together, they offer a new insight into the arc of Fitzgerald’s career and further demonstrate his stylistic agility and powerful imagination.
Scribner HB WAS $39.99 NOW $32.99
The third novel by award-winning Irish writer Paul Lynch is set in 1845 during the Potato Famine. Grace is 14 years old when her mother cuts off her hair, dresses her like a boy and sends her off into the countryside where ‘the rain comes yoked to a hooded sun, unfastens and falls like a cloak…’ She is joined by her 12-year-old brother, Colly, and together the two begin a painful trek across a bleak Irish landscape, seeking work and food and encountering unfathomable hardship. This is an enthralling – and often confronting – meditation on starvation, a global phenomenon that continues to afflict the modern world. Lynch’s language is breathtaking – he manages to extract beauty from even the most tragic of settings and situations.
IN THE MIDST OF WINTER Isabel Allende
The novels of Chilean-American writer Isabel Allende are beloved for their unique blend of pathos, drama and romance. Her latest saga begins with the unexpected convergence of three characters who are thrown together during a Brooklyn blizzard: a middleaged male college professor; a female Chilean academic; and a distraught young Guatemalan immigrant woman. From this initial chance encounter, Allende unspools the risks, challenges and compromises that have led them to this point, exploring their complicated histories and the paths they have taken in life. In the Midst of Winter expertly places personal narratives within the broader context of South American political events, creating a strong and engaging story in the process.
HEATHER, THE TOTALITY Matthew Weiner
THE BOAT RUNNER
Devin Murphy HarperCollins PB $24.99 Debut novel about personal redemption set in the Netherlands during WW2.
L SPECIA E C I R P
Sofie Laguna Allen & Unwin PB WAS $32.99 NOW $29.99 The new book from this award-winning author is about neglected Justine, abandoned by her parents and raised by her pop, a man tormented by his memories of the Burma Railway.
L SPECIA PRICE
CITY OF CROWS
Chris Womersley Picador PB WAS $32.99 NOW $29.99 A historical novel set in 17th-century Paris by the author of The Low Road and Bereft.
THE LAST HOURS Minette Walters
Allen & Unwin PB WAS $32.99 NOW $29.99
THE BOOK OF DIRT
Bram Presser Text PB $32.99 This Australian novel deals with love, Holocaust survival, genealogical sleuthing, family secrets and Jewish myths.
This is the debut novel from the creator of the seven-season TV series Mad Men and, like the TV series, it’s a gripping tale that draws the readers in with its insightful – and not always laudatory – depiction of American society. The story focuses on Mark and Karen Breakstone and their beautiful, compassionate and entrancing daughter, Heather. As Heather grows – and her radiance attracts more and more dark interest – she is drawn into the malignant orbit of a troubled boy from New Jersey, causing the family’s privileged and perfect Manhattan existence to fracture.
Canongate PB $24.99
L SPECIA PRICE
Power, money and betrayal are at the heart of Edward St Aubyn’s retelling of King Lear, the latest addition to the Hogarth Shakespeare series, which has seen such luminaries as Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson take on some of literature’s most classic texts. St Aubyn recasts Lear as media mogul Henry Dunbar, whose eldest two daughters imitate his ruthlessness and will to power so faithfully that they try to claim his company for themselves. As in the original, only his youngest daughter is loyal, despite his earlier betrayal of her. Dunbar, with his episodes of madness and desperation about his vanishing sense of self, is compelling, as are his horrifically psychopathic eldest daughters. St Aubyn’s intelligence and wit and mastery of language are obvious but never ostentatious.
GRACE Paul Lynch
FUTURE HOME OF THE LIVING GOD Louise Erdrich
Corsair PB $29.99
A philandering art dealer tries to give up casual love affairs. A man recounts his personal history through the things he has stolen from others throughout his life. A couple chart the journey of their five-year relationship backwards, from awkward reunion to lovelorn first encounter. And, at the heart of the book, a 24-year-old young woman, Bethany Mellmoth, embarks on a year-long journey of wishful and tentative self-discovery. This collection of short stories depicts the random encounters that bring the past bubbling to the surface; the impulsive decisions that irrevocably shape a life; and the endless hesitations and loss-ofnerve that wickedly complicate it.
DUNBAR Edward St Aubyn
Gerald Murnane Giramondo PB $24.95 One of Australia’s most acclaimed writers says that this novel about an ageing man relocating from the city to a remote town in the border country will be his final work of fiction.
Kurt Vonnegut Seven Stories HB $75 This 944-page volume comprises the complete short fiction of the late Kurt Vonnegut, author of Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse-Five. Edited by Jerome Klinkowitz and Dan Wakefield.
England, 1348. People are dying. Serfs and lords attribute the Black Plague to God’s punishment, but Lady Anne of Develish knows better. Educated by nuns with an understanding of medicine, she decides to save her people by isolating all of them in her house, a moat forbidding entry to others. This historical narrative is bursting with tension – restricted by class, people speak in veiled language, and engage in duels of bluffing and lies. In this game it is easy to pick sides: cruel and selfish characters are pitted against the intelligent, kind and just. And the threats of dark secrets and danger lurk like a wolf. Known for her taut and gripping crime fiction, Walters here delivers suspenseful historical fiction about a heroine battling against a cruel world.
BER DECEM SE RELEA
THE BURDEN OF LIES
Richard Beasley Simon & Schuster PB $29.99 If you haven’t yet been introduced to Beasley’s fast-paced thrillers, this cracker of a novel set against the backdrop of Sydney’s construction boom is a great place to start.
THE DROVER’S WIFE
Frank Moorhouse (ed.) Knopf HB $34.99 A celebration of Henry Lawson’s much-loved 1892 story. Includes essays and commentaries by Moorhouse and other writers.
Summer 2017's best books selected by your favourite independent bookseller.