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Corsair PB WAS $32.99 NOW $29.99

Fiction MANHATTAN BEACH Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan’s follow-up to the genredefying and captivating Pulitzer Prize– winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad is a remarkable work of historical fiction. Epic in its scope and intimate in its tone, Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression and then flashes forward to WW2. Egan follows three characters – gangster Dexter Styles, union bagman Eddie Kerrigan and Eddie’s daughter Anna – as their lives collide inside nightclubs, on ships and at sea. The world of the novel is wholly realised, rich in details that never feel laboured, and the reader is swept up in Egan’s assured and elegant prose. This is historical fiction at its best: gripping, immersive and transporting.

SING, UNBURIED, SING Jesmyn Ward

Bloomsbury PB $24.99

The author of this novel has been described by Ann Patchett as ‘one of the most important writers in America today’. Part road trip, part ghost story, Ward’s lyrical third novel explores intergenerational trauma and the shadows that slavery continues to cast over contemporary American life. Set in post-Katrina Mississippi, in the same fictional town as her previous book, Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award, Sing, Unburied, Sing charts the journey of a broken family to collect their father and husband upon his release from prison. Narrated in turn by 13-year-old Jo Jo, who is trying to understand what it means to be a man, and by his reluctant and inattentive mother, Leonie, this is a mesmerising and deeply affecting read.

MRS OSMOND John Banville

Viking PB $29.99

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Picador PB WAS $32.99 NOW $29.99

A VINEYARD IN ANDALUSIA Maria Dueñas

Scribe PB $32.99

At the heart of this sweeping historical novel lies an unlikely pairing of winemaking and mining. The story starts in 1861, when Dueñas’ hero, Mauro Larrera, a ruined silver-mine owner, is forced to leave his native Mexico to seek his fortune, a journey that takes him to Cuba and eventually Jerez, the birthplace of Spanish sherry. Dueñas, bestselling author of The Seamstress (Picador PB $19.99) has meticulously researched her narrative terrain, creating an epic story that feels both lushly detailed and authentic to the period. Larrera’s encounter with an heiress to a faded wine dynasty allows Dueñas to gently tease out the role that risk and chance play in her character’s quest for reinvention. Perfect summer reading for history and wine buffs.

Writing in The Guardian, Edmund White describes this sequel to Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady as ‘both a remarkable novel in its own right and a superb pastiche’. The novel opens in London, where Isabel Osmond (née Archer) is coming to terms with the recent disclosure of her husband’s years-long betrayal. Grievously wronged, she determines to resume her youthful quest for freedom and independence. But first she must return to Italy and confront her husband, and that isn’t going to be easy. Banville has in the past described James as his principal literary influence, and in continuing the adventures of Isabel he is indulging in the ultimate form of fandom, one that fellow James fans and admirers of Banville’s own novels are sure to greatly enjoy.

THE SPARSHOLT AFFAIR Alan Hollinghurst

In five linked sections, this novel follows the lives, love affairs and scandals of a group of friends from their 1940 Oxford days to their lives in current-day London. Hollinghurst is the acclaimed author of the Man Booker Prize–winning novel The Line of Beauty. His novels centre on educated, aristocratic British characters whose veneer of civility and elitism conceals raw and often ugly truths of human nature. He’s also an unrivalled chronicler of the intersections of queer lives and social mores, with a keen eye for period details. The Sparsholt Affair is an uncompromising novel of urgent prose, moral ambiguity and authentic characterisation that is filled with biting class satire and social commentary. It is a subtle and immersive read that transports readers to wartime England and back again.

John McPhee Text PB $29.99 McPhee, a Princeton University academic and staff writer with The New Yorker, offers an expert guide to writing long-form non-fiction. Available late November.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE Margaret Atwood Vintage HB $29.99 Seen the TV series but haven’t read the novel that inspired it? Now’s your chance – grab a copy of this gift hardback edition!

Bloomsbury PB $24.99

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Hamish Hamilton PB $29.99

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STORIES Susan Sontag

Hamish Hamilton HB WAS $45 NOW $39.99

FOREST DARK

Nicole Krauss Bloomsbury PB $24.99 The author of the acclaimed The History of Love here delivers a story about metaphysical journeys set in New York and Tel Aviv.

THE HISTORY OF BEES

Maja Lunde Scribner PB $32.99 Set in 1852 England, 2007 America and 2098 China, this thought-provoking story is about the relationships between children and parents, nature and humanity.

Though mainly remembered as a brilliant essayist, Susan Sontag, the author of seminal works including Against Interpretation, Under the Sign of Saturn, On Photography and Illness as Metaphor, was also a writer of fiction. In her novels and short stories, she often dealt with ideas and preoccupations that she didn’t feel able to address in her essays and monographs. Stories puts together all of her short fiction for the first time, and includes allegories, parables and autobiographical vignettes.

THE WORLD OF TOMORROW Brendan Mathews

Winter, said author Ali Smith in a 2016 interview in The Guardian, ‘is a place where you can see really clearly’. It’s also the title of the second volume of her Seasonal Quartet, a shape-shifting series about time, history and the current state of the world. Set in Cornwell over Christmas, Winter’s plot allows Smith to cast her eye over a bleak post-Brexit era while delivering a story rooted in history, memory and warmth. As with her awardwinning How to Be Both (Penguin PB $22.99), there’s plenty of art here, as well as love and laughter. Her many admirers can enjoy it while at the same time looking forward to the next instalment, Spring.

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Those who enjoy the novels of Colm Tóibín are likely to similarly enjoy this story about the women of an Irish immigrant family in 1940s and 1950s Brooklyn. The setting, characters and themes in The Ninth Hour are reminiscent of those in Tóibín’s Brooklyn, and both Tóibín and Alice McDermott have precise and elegant writing styles. But although Tóibín is good at writing about women, McDermott, author of the National Book Award–winning Charming Billy, is better. This moving novel about faith, love, female resilience and what makes a family is a major achievement, one that is rich in lyrical prose, wonderful characters and profound musings on the human condition.

2. Who discovered the mathematical foundations of quantum physics?

WINTER Ali Smith

Highly Recommended DRAFT NO. 4: ON THE WRITING PROCESS

THE NINTH HOUR Alice McDermott

Simon & Schuster PB $32.99

Writing in the Washington Post, John Freeman Gill describes Brendan Mathews’ debut novel as having the ‘possibility of dramatic transformation amid historical ferment’ at its heart. Its title is drawn from the theme of the World’s Fair (held in New York in 1939), and its rollicking plot is largely set in the same city during the 1930s. It takes a courageous writer to follow in the steps of EL Doctorow, who used the same setting for his finest novel, 1985’s World’s Fair, but Mathews doesn’t filch, recounting the story of redheaded rogue Francis Dempsey and his adventures through Ireland and America with alacrity. Mathews is widely acknowledged as an American writer to watch.

FRESH COMPLAINT

THE GIRL WHO TAKES AN EYE FOR AN EYE

Jeffrey Eugenides 4th Estate HB WAS $34.99 NOW $29.99 The first-ever collection of short stories from Eugenides presents characters in the midst of personal and national emergencies.

HOME FIRE

Kamila Shamsie Bloomsbury PB $24.99 A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles’ Antigone, Shamsie’s new novel is a compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide.

David Lagercrantz Quercus PB $32.99 Lagercrantz continues Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series with this novel, in which Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist investigate a crime while Lisbeth is in prison.

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A LEGACY OF SPIES

John le Carré Viking PB WAS $32.99 NOW $29.99 In his latest novel, the master thriller writer returns to the setting of the Cold War for the first time in 30 years.

Gleebooks Summer Reading Guide 2017  

Summer 2017's best books selected by your favourite independent bookseller.