The Paperback Bookshop Newsletter for April 2020
Winona is a young Lakota orphan adopted by former soldiers Thomas McNulty and John Cole. Living with Thomas and John on the farm they work in 1870s Tennessee, she is educated and loved, forging a life for herself beyond the violence and dispossession of her past. But the fragile harmony of her unlikely family unit, in the aftermath of the Civil War, is soon threatened by a further traumatic event, one which Winona struggles to confront, let alone understand. A Thousand Moons is a powerful, moving study of one woman's journey, of her determination to write her own future, and of the enduring human capacity for love. Find out more
It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an 'emancipation' bill; but it isn't about freedom - it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity. How can he fight this betrayal? Louise Erdrich weaves together a story of past and future generations, of preservation and progress. She grapples with the worst and best impulses of human nature, illuminating the loves and lives, desires and ambitions of her characters with compassion, wit and intelligence. Find out more
This is the story of Irish theatre legend Katherine O'Dell, as told by her daughter Norah. It tells of early stardom in Hollywood, of highs and lows on the stages of Dublin and London's West End. Katherine's life is a grand performance, with young Norah watching from the wings.
But this romance between mother and daughter cannot survive Katherine's past, or the world's damage. As Norah uncovers her mother's secrets, she acquires a few of her own. Capturing the glamour of post-war America and the shabbiness of 1970s Dublin, Actress is a moving, disturbing novel about mothers and daughters and the corrosive nature of celebrity. Find out more
The Witch is dead. After a group of children playing in the murky waters of the irrigation canals discover her decomposing corpse, the village is rife with rumours and suspicions about the murder of this feared and respected woman, who had carried out the community's ritual shamanic customs. Inspired by a real event of the murder of a woman in rural Mexico, Hurricane Season takes place in a world filled with superstitions and violence-violence that poisons everything around. An urgent and captivating tale of dark magic and small-town corruption from one of the most thrilling and accomplished young Mexican writers. Find out more
Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver$39.99
From the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1770 to classic children's tale Dot and the Kangaroo, Ken Gelder and Rachael Weaver examine hunting narratives in novels, visual art and memoirs to discover how the kangaroo became a favourite quarry, a relished food source, an object of scientific fascination, and a source of violent conflict between settlers and Aboriginal people. The kangaroo hunt worked as a rite of passage and an expression of settler domination over native species and land. But it also enabled settlers to begin to comprehend the complexity of bush ecology, raising early concerns about species extinction and the need for conservation and the preservation of habitat. Find out more
Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa, two vast lakes joined by underground rivers set within the mountainous borderlands of North Macedonia, Albania and Greece, and crowned by the old Roman road, the via Egnatia. These two lakes have played a central role in Kapka Kassabova's maternal family. As she journeys to her grandmother's place of origin, Kassabova encounters a civilisational crossroads. Exploring the stories of poets, fishermen, and caretakers, misfits, rulers, and inheritors of war and exile, Kassabova uncovers the human history shaped by the Lakes. Her book also becomes a deeper enquiry into how geography and politics imprint themselves upon families and nations, and raises questions about the human capacity for change. Find out more
In the early 19th century, British explorer John Oxley traversed the then-unknown wilderness of central Australia in search of water. Oxley never found it, but he never ceased to believe it was out there. The myth of the inland sea was taken up by other men, and over the years search parties walked out into the desert, dying as they tried to find it. Two centuries later, his great-great-great-great granddaughter (and our narrator) spends a final year in Sydney reeling from her own self-destructive obsessions. Written with down-to-earth lucidity and ethereal breeziness, this is an unforgettable debut about coming of age in a world that seems increasingly hostile. Watts explores feminine fear, apathy and danger, building to a tightly controll ... Find out more
Paul lives with his father in an old farmhouse, not far from the German border. Where once his father took care of him, now he takes care of his father. His world is changing- his small Dutch village is now home to Chinese restaurateurs, Polish plumbers, and Russian thugs. Saint Rita, the patron saint of lost causes, watches over Paul and his best friend Hedwiges, two misfits at odds with the modern world, while Paul takes comfort in his own Blessed Rita, a prostitute from Quezon. But even she cannot protect them from the tragedy that is about to unfold. In this sharply observed, darkly funny novel, Wieringa shines a light on people struggling at the margins of a changing world. Find out more
Rami Elhanan and Bassam Aramin live near one another yet they exist worlds apart. Rami is Israeli. Bassam is Palestinian. Rami's license plate is yellow. Bassam's license plate is green. It takes Rami fifteen minutes to drive to the West Bank. The same journey for Bassam takes an hour and a half. Both men have lost their daughters. They become the best of friends. Colum McCann crosses centuries and continents, stitching time, art, history, nature and politics into a tapestry of friendship, love, loss and belonging. Find out more
Ullis went to the bathroom and carefully unfolded the business card and placed it on the sink. Then he rolled up a note and snorted the last of his wife's ashes. Following the death of his wife, Dominic Ullis escapes to Bombay in search of oblivion and a dangerous new drug, Meow Meow. So begins a weekend of misadventure as he tours the teeming, kaleidoscopic city from its sleek eyries of high-capital to the piss-stained streets, encountering a cast with their own stories to tell, but none of whom Ullis - his faculties ever distorted - is quite sure he can trust. Heady, heartbroken and heartfelt, Low is a blazing joyride through the darklands of grief towards obliteration - and, perhaps, epiphany. Find out more
Christoph, an older man who is a writer, has a story to share with Lena, a younger woman who is an actress. A long time ago, he was in a relationship with a woman called Magdalena, who was also an actress. Lena is currently in a relationship with a man called Chris, who is also a writer. As the two talk, it becomes clear that the two relationships contain echoes, similarities, and coincidences too remarkable to be called coincidences. Are Chris and Lena doomed to repeat Christoph and Magdalena's broken relationship, or are Christoph and Magdalena a warning from the future? And so begins a uniquely existential game of past and present that will leave no one unharmed. Find out more
Ashley Kahn With An Introduction By Elvin Jones$22.99
A deeply researched and beautifully illustrated study of saxophone legend John Coltrane's signature album. Written with the full co-operation of the Coltrane family and featuring the voices of musicians, producers and writers of the 1960s, Kahn has also unearthed rare, unpublished interviews with Coltrane and bassist Jimmy Garrison. The book also features commentary from contemporary music stars including Carlos Santana, Bono, Phil Lesh, Patti Smith, Ravi Shankar and Steve Reich. With a new introduction for the 55th anniversary of the album's release, this is Ashley Kahn's seminal work on John Coltrane's masterpiece A Love Supreme. Find out more
Life in a troubled neighbourhood demands too much too young. But Sonny wouldn't really know. Watching the world from her bedroom window, she exists only in second-hand romance novels and falls for any fast-food employee who happens to spare her a glance. Everything changes with the return of Vince, a boy who became a legend after he was hauled away in handcuffs at fourteen. Sonny and Vince used to be childhood friends. But with all that happened in-between, childhood seems so long ago. It will take two years of juvie, an inebriated grandmother and a porn stash for them to meet again. The Coconut Children is an urgent, moving and wise debut. Find out more
Blueberries could be described as a collection of essays, the closest term available for a book that resists classification; a blend of personal essay, polemic, prose poetry, true-crime journalism and confession that considers a fragmented life, reflecting on what it means to be a woman, a body, an artist. It is both a memoir and an interrogation of memoir. Savage explores the essential questions of the examined life- what is it to desire? What is it to accommodate oneself to the world? And at what cost? Find out more
England, May 1536, Anne Boleyn is dead. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry's regime to breaking point, Cromwell's robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But, as the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, What will you do when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him? With The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies., offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man's visi ... Find out more
Ranging from remote provinces in China and Cambodia to pre- and post-war Yiddish Poland, Kurdish Iraq and Iran, and Indigenous and present-day Melbourne, Arnold Zable's quartet of stories depicts the ebbs and flows of trauma and healing, memory and forgetting, the ancient and the contemporary. And ever-recurring journeys in search of belonging. Arnold Zable applies his lyrical sensitivity and respect to this collection highlighting human compassion and resilience. Find out more
Cassandra Pybus's ancestors told a story of an old Aboriginal woman who would wander across their farm on Bruny Island, in south-east Tasmania, in the 1850s and 1860s. As a child, Cassandra didn't know this woman was Truganini, and that Truganini was walking over the country of her clan, the Nuenonne. For nearly seven decades, Truganini lived through a psychological and cultural shift more extreme than we can imagine. Cassandra has examined the original eyewitness accounts to write Truganini's extraordinary story in full. Truganini's story is inspiring and haunting - a journey through the apocalypse. Find out more
India, monsoon season. Connor, an Australian expat with a brutal past, spends his time running low-stakes scams on tourists in a sleepy beachside town. Sasha, an American in search of spiritual guidance, heads to an isolated ashram in the hope of mending a broken heart. When one of Connor's grifts goes horribly wrong, it sets in motion a chain of events that brings the two lost souls together. From the beaches of Goa to the streets of Delhi to the jungles of Tamil Nadu, Sweetness and Light is an unsettling story of the battle between light and dark, love and lust, morality and corruption. Find out more
Malena and Beata Ernman and Svante and Greta Thunberg$32.99
This is the story of a family led to confront a crisis they had never foreseen. Aged eleven, their eldest daughter has stopped eating and speaking. Alongside diagnoses of autism and selective mutism, her parents slowly become aware of another source for her distress- her imperilled future on a rapidly heating planet. Steered by her determination to understand the truth, the family begins to see the deep connections between their own and the planet's suffering. Against forces that try to silence them, they discover ways to strengthen, heal, and act in the world. And then one day, fifteen-year-old Greta decides to go on strike. Find out more
The Murray-Darling Basin is the food bowl of Australia, and it's in trouble. What does this mean for the future - for water and crops, and for the people and towns that depend on it? In Cry Me a River, acclaimed journalist Margaret Simons takes a trip through the Basin, all the way from Queensland to South Australia. She shows that its plight is environmental but also economic, and enmeshed in ideology and identity. Her essay is both a portrait of the Murray-Darling Basin and an explanation of its woes. It looks at rural Australia and the failure of politics over decades to meet the needs of communities. Whether it is fish kills or state rivalries, drought or climate change, in the Basin our ability to plan for the future is being put ... Find out more
Emily St. John Mandel$29.99
Vincent is the beautiful bartender at the Hotel Caiette on Vancouver Island. New York financier Jonathan Alkaitis owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, a hooded figure scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: ‘Why don’t you swallow broken glass.’ Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of remote British ... Find out more
In this inspiring collection of essays, Olivia Laing makes a brilliant case for why art matters, especially in the turbulent political weather of the twenty first century. Funny Weather brings together a career’s worth of Laing’s writing about art and culture, examining its role in our political and emotional lives. She profiles Jean-Michel Basquiat and Georgia O’Keefe, interviews Hilary Mantel and Ali Smith, writes love letters to David Bowie and Freddie Mercury, and explores loneliness and technology, women and alcohol, sex and the body. With characteristic originality and compassion, she celebrates art as a force of resistance and repair, an antidote to a frightening political time. We’re often told art ... Find out more
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