The Paperback Bookshop Newsletter for February 2019
It's 1980s New York. Heady, excessive times. Alice Burns - a young book editor - is deep into a manuscript about the morass of family life. The observations resonates, perhaps because she has just watched her own family implode. Kennedy's epic novel follows Alice as she navigates high school bullying, first love and sexism at college, a spell in 1970's Ireland, and a tragedy that sends her stateside as the US embraces a cowboy actor named Reagan. But it is also the tale of her endlessly complex parents and brothers; how their destinies are written by the lies they tell themselves and others. Find out more
In this timely critique of our nation's urban development and planning culture, Peter Seamer argues that vested interests often distort rational thinking about our cities. Looking to the future, he sets out cogent new strategies to resolve congestion, transport and expenditure problems, offering a blueprint for multi-centred Australian cities that are more localised, urban and equitable. Find out more
These are stories of what the world looks like from a child's pure but sometimes vengeful or muddled perspective. These are stories of life in a war zone, life peppered by surreal mistakes, tragic accidents and painful encounters. These are stories of fantasist matadors, lost limbs and voyeuristic dwarfs. This is a collection about sex, death and the all-important skill of making life into a joke. Find out more
Women over fifty-five are of the generation that changed everything. We didn't expect to. Or intend to. We weren't brought up much differently from the women who came before us, and we rarely identified as feminists, although almost all of us do now.
Accidental Feminists is our story. It explores how the world we lived in-with the pill and a regular pay cheque-transformed us and how, almost in spite of ourselves, we revolutionised the world. It is also a plea for future generations to keep agitating for a better, fairer world. Find out more
'She waited on tables as usual that day, her twentieth birthday. She always worked Fridays, but if things had gone according to plan on that particular Friday, she would have had the night off'. One rainy Tokyo night, a waitress's uneventful twentieth birthday takes a strange and fateful turn when she's asked to deliver dinner to the restaurant's reclusive owner. Birthday Girl is published to celebrate Murakami's 70th birthday. Find out more
Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice. Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family, and when they object to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a college in Cyprus. Furious at a world which continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further and further away from his dream, from Ndali and the place he called home.
A contemporary twist of Homer's Odyssey. Find out more
Molly Smith and Juno Mac$24.99
In Revolting Prostitutes, sex workers Juno Mac and Molly Smith bring a fresh perspective to questions that have long been contentious. Speaking from a growing, global sex worker rights movement, and situating their argument firmly within wider questions of migration, work, feminism, and resistance to white supremacy, they make clear that anyone committed to working towards justice and freedom should be in support of the sex worker rights movement. Find out more
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter - and he always works alone. But when he is engaged to find a child who disappeared three years ago, he must break his own rules, joining a group of eight very different mercenaries working together to find the boy.Following the lost boy's scent from one ancient city to another, into dense forests and across deep rivers, Tracker starts to wonder- Who is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And most important of all, who is telling the truth and who is lying?Drawing from vivid African history and mythology, Marlon James weaves a saga of breathtaking adventure and powerful intrigue - a mesmerising, unique meditation ... Find out more
Ashley Hay, Julianne Schultz$27.99
The environmental vocabulary of our times requires dramatic terms: extinctions and endings; tipping points, cascade effects and collapses. In recent years the relationship between people and their environment has shifted from one of innocence to one of anxiety. In the second issue of Griffith Review, published fifteen years ago, Melissa Lucashenko wrote of 'earthspeaking, talking about this place, my home'. All these years later, the need to hear all sorts of earthspeak has perhaps never been more urgent. Issue 63 focuses on Australia’s vast raft of environments to investigate how these places are changing and what they might become; what is flourishing and what is at risk. Find out more
Charlotte Gibson is a lawyer with a brilliant career ahead of her. As her father Ray says, she could be the next female Indigenous Waleed Aly. But she has other ideas. First of all, it's Christmas. Second of all, she's in love and her fiance is not what her family expected - he's unemployed, he's an experimental composer ... and he's white! Bringing him and his conservative parents to meet her family on their ancestral land is a bold move. Nakkiah Lui delivers a cutting satire that is both seductively subversive and thoroughly delightful. Find out more
A body buried in a suburban backyard. A suicide pact worthy of Chekhov. A love affair born in a bookshop. The last days of Bennelong. And a very strange gift for a most unusual Prime Minister... Poignant, wry, and just a little fantastical, this subversive collection of short fiction - and a novella - reminds us what twists of fate may be lurking just beneath the surface of the everyday. Find out more
Carmen Maria Machado$19.99
Machado demolishes the borders between magical realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism in this collection of stories. A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the mysterious green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague spreads across the earth. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery about a store's dresses. A dark, shimmering slice into womanhood. Find out more
Ben Quilty has worked across a range of media including drawing, photography, sculpture, installation and film. His works often respond to social and political events, from the current global refugee crisis to the complex social history of Australia; he is constantly critiquing notions of identity, patriotism and male rites of passage.
This rich and comprehensive collection of his work from the past two decades is accompanied by essays from Lisa Slade and Justin Paton. With a foreword by Richard Flanagan Find out more
When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog, a huge Great Dane traumatised by the inexplicable disappearance of its master. While others worry that grief has made her a victim of magical thinking, the woman refuses to be separated from the dog except for brief periods of time. Elegiac and searching, The Friend is a meditation on loss, comfort and memory. And Nunez has wit. Find out more
Previously uncompiled pieces, mainly from The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. The title piece of the collection is a profile of the fashion designer Eileen Fisher, whose mother often said to her, 'Nobody's looking at you.' But in every piece in this volume, Malcolm looks closely and with impunity at a broad range of subjects, from Donald Trump's TV nemesis Rachel Maddow, to the stiletto-heel-wearing pianist Yuju Wang. In 'Socks', the Pevears are seen as the 'sort of asteroid that has hit the safe world of Russian Literature in English translation'. Find out more
In 1985 Jacqueline Kent was content with her life. She had a satisfying career as a freelance book editor and writer. Living and working alone, she relished her independence. Then she met Kenneth Cook, author of Wake in Fright, and they fell in love. With this man of contradictions - funny and sad, headstrong and tender - she found real and sustaining companionship. Their life together was often joyful, sometimes enraging, always exciting - until one devastating evening. But, as Jacqueline discovered, even when a story is over that doesn't mean it has come to an end. Find out more
Kavanagh begins his life patrolling the Wall. If he's lucky, he only has two years of this, 729 more nights. He will soon find out what Defenders do and who the Others are. Along with the rest of his squad, he will endure cold and fear day in and day out. But somewhere, in the dark cave of his mind, he thinks: wouldn't it be interesting if something did happen, if they came, if you had to fight for your life? Describing a broken and recognisable world, Lanchester's hypnotic dystopian novel wears it's polemic lightly while exploring the most compelling issues of our time. Find out more
Karen Thompson Walker$29.99
One night in a college town in California, a first-year student stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep and doesn’t wake up. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. When a second girl falls asleep, and then a third panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. Those affected by the illness, doctors discover, are displaying unusual levels of brain activity. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what? A provocative novel about the possibilities contained within a human life. Find out more
A Season on Earth is the essential link between two Murnane books - the lyrical account of boyhood in his debut novel, Tamarisk Row, and the revolutionary prose of The Plains. This publication presents Murnane's second novel as it was intended to be, bringing together all of its four sections-the first two of which were published as A Lifetime on Clouds in 1976 and the last two of which have never been in print. A revelatory portrait of the artist as a young man. Find out more
Surveying the transformation of San Francisco in the early millenium by Silicon Valley, Solnit explores the impact of skyrocketing rents, architectural homogenisation, and the links between artists and gentrification. Wealth, she argues, is just as capable of ravaging cities as poverty. Schwartzenberg 's photographs memorialise San Francisco 's vanishing spaces of civic memory and public life. Both a portrait of an acute crisis and a call to defend collective public life, Hollow City makes a fervent case for the imaginative potential of cities. Find out more
Sammy and his three friends live in the Ardoyne, an impoverished, predominantly Catholic area of North Belfast that has become the epicentre of a country intent on cannibalising itself. They dream of a Free State, and their methods for achieving this are uncompromising, even as they fully indulge in the spoils of war. But when punk rock arrives Sammy finds himself increasingly isolated. An exploration of what it means to 'go rogue', of the heartbreak and devastation that commitment to 'the cause' can engender, of ideas of martyrdom, fatherhood, and self-sacrifice. Find out more
Roberto Bolano, Natasha Wimmer$27.99
A precursor to The Savage Detectives, Bolano's recently rediscovered novel is a tale of bohemian youth on the make in Mexico City. Two young poets, Jan and Remo, find themselves adrift, hungry for revolution, notoriety, and sexual adventure, they construct a reality out of the fragments of their dreams. But as close as these friends are, the city tugs them in opposite directions. A kaleidoscopic work of strange and tender beauty and a welcome addition to an ecstatic and transgressive body of work. Find out more
'Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question'. First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesn't know anything about that at nineteen. At nineteen, he's proud of the fact his relationship flies in the face of social convention. As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen. A novel of love and memory from one of the great mappers of the human heart. Find out more
In this enlightening book, Roel Sterckx, one of the foremost experts in Chinese thought, takes us through centuries of Chinese history, from Confucius to Daoism to the Legalists. With evocative examples from philosophy, literature and everyday life, he shows us how the ancient Chinese have shaped the thinking of a civilisation that is now influencing our own Find out more
Ella Holcombe, David Cox$24.99
'There is a fire coming, and we need to move quickly. Mum and Dad start packing bags, grabbing woollen blankets, the first-aid kit, torches, and then the photo albums. Dad puts Ruby on her lead and ties her up near the back door. My chest feels hollow, like a birdcage'.
Atmospheric and intensely moving, this is the story of a family experiencing a bushfire, its devastating aftermath, and the long process of healing and rebuilding. Find out more
For Adam Phillips - as for Freud and many of his followers - poetry and poets have always held an essential place, as both precursors and unofficial collaborators in the psychoanalytic project. But the same has never held true in reverse. What, Phillips wonders, has psychoanalysis meant for writers? And what can writing do for psychoanalysis? Phillips explores these questions through a series of encounters with - and vivid readings of - writers he has loved, from Byron and Barthes to Shakespeare and Sebald. Find out more
John Berger was one of the most influential thinkers and writers of postwar Europe. As a novelist, he won the Booker Prize in 1972, donating half his prize money to the Black Panthers; as a TV presenter he changed the way we looked at art in Ways of Seeing; as a storyteller and political activist he defended the rights and dignity of workers, migrants and the oppressed around the world. Joshua Sperling places Berger within the historical narrative of postwar Britain and explores, through his work, the larger questions that vexed a generation- the purpose of art, the nature of creative freedom, the meaning of commitment. Find out more
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