Love you some fiction reads? Here are some titles for your shelf this coming Spring season.
Nina Allan | Riverrun Press | 9781787472549 | R266
Stitch by perfect stitch, Andrew Garvie makes exquisite dolls in the finest antique style. Like him, they are diminutive, but graceful, unique and with surprising depths. Perhaps that’s why he answers the enigmatic personal ad in his collector’s magazine. Letter by letter, Bramber Winters reveals more of her strange, sheltered life in an institution on Bodmin Moor, and the terrible events that put her there as a child. Andrew knows what it is to be trapped; and as they knit closer together, he weaves a curious plan to rescue her.
Convenience Store Woman
Sayaka Murata; Translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori | Granta Books | 9781846276842| R140
Meet Keiko. Keiko is 36 years old. She’s never had a boyfriend, and she’s been working in the same supermarket for eighteen years. Keiko's family wishes she’d get a proper job. Her friends wonder why she won’t get married. But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she's not going to let anyone come between her and her convenience store...
In The Full Light Of The Sun
Clare Clark | Virago Press | 9780349010816 | R266
In the Full Light of the Sun follows the fortunes of three Berliners caught up in a devastating scandal of 1930s’ Germany. It tells the story of Emmeline, a wayward, young art student; Julius, an anxious, middle-aged art expert; and a mysterious art dealer named Rachmann who are at the heart of Weimar Berlin at its hedonistic, politically turbulent apogee and are whipped up into excitement over the surprising discovery of thirty-two previously unknown paintings by Vincent van Gogh. Based on a true story, unfolding through the subsequent rise of Hitler and the Nazis, this gripping tale is about beauty and justice, and the truth that may be found when our most treasured beliefs are revealed as illusions.
Kamila Shamsie | Bloomsbury | 9781509858033 | R306
Isma is free. After years spent raising her twin siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, she is finally studying in America, resuming a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London – or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream: to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. Then Eamonn enters the sisters’ lives. Handsome and privileged, he inhabits a London worlds away from theirs. As the son of a powerful British Muslim politician, Eamonn has his own birth right to live up to – or defy. Is he to be a chance at love? The means of Parvaiz’s salvation? Two families’ fates are inextricably, devastatingly entwined in this searing novel that asks: what sacrifices will we make in the name of love? A contemporary reimagining of Sophocles’ Antigone, Home Fire is an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide – confirming Kamila Shamsie as a master storyteller of our times. Winner of The Women’s Prize For Fiction 2018.
The Wolf (The Under the Northern Sky Series, Book 1)
Leo Carew | Wildfire | 9781472247025 | R169
A great war has come to the land under the Northern Sky. Beyond the Black River, among the forests and mountains of the north, lives an ancient race of people. Their lives are measured in centuries; they revel in wilderness and resilience, and scorn wealth and comfort. By contrast, those in the south live in the moment, their lives more fleeting. They crave wealth and power, their ambition is limitless, and their cunning unmatched. When the armies of the south flood across the Black River, the fragile peace between the two races is shattered.
The Garden of Lost and Found
Harriet Evans | Headline Review | 9781472251046 | R266
Nightingale House 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death. Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home and it was here Ned painted The Garden of Lost and Found, capturing his children on a perfect day. When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. She is in search of answers. For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned’s masterpiece – or, in Juliet’s case, her own children’s happiness. Something shattered this corner of paradise.
Kristina Olsson | Scribner UK | 9781471172632 | R262
Sydney, 1960s: newspaper reporter Pearl Keogh has been relegated to the women’s pages as punishment for her involvement in the anti-war movement, and is desperate to find her two young brothers before they are conscripted. Newly arrived from Sweden, Axel Lindquist is set to work as a sculptor on the Sydney Opera House. Haunted by his father’s acts in the Second World War, he seeks solace in his attempts to create a unique piece that will do justice to the vision of Jørn Utzon, the controversial architect of the Opera House. Pearl and Axel’s lives orbit and collide. This is a soaring, optimistic novel of art and culture, and of love and fate.
12 Strong – The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers
Doug Stanton | Simon & Schuster | 9781471170829 | R125
On September 11th, 2001 the world watched in terror. This is the dramatic account of a small band of 12 Special Forces soldiers who entered Afghanistan immediately following September 11, 2001 and, riding to war on horses, defeated the Taliban. Outnumbered 40 to 1, they capture the strategic Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif. But during a surrender of Taliban troops, the Horse Soldiers are ambushed by the would-be P.O.W.s and, dangerously outnumbered, they must fight for their lives in the city’s ancient fortress known as Qala-I Janghi, or the House of War.
Saskia Vogel | Coach House Books | 9781552453803 | R247
Echo is a failing actress who prefers to lose herself in the lives of others rather than examine her own. When her father disappears in a seaside misstep, she and her mother are left grief-stricken, unsure of how to piece back together their family that, it turns out, had never been whole. But then Orly – a dominatrix – moves in across the street. And through her, Echo begins to find the pieces that will allow her to carry on. Set among the bright colours and harshly glittering lights of Los Angeles, this is a love story about people addled with dreams and expectations who turn to the erotic for answers.
A View to a Kilt
Wendy Holden | Head of Zeus | 9781784977627 | R350
Advertising revenues are non-existent, and if editor Laura Lake can’t pick them up, she’s out of a job. According to those in the know, Scotland is having a fashion moment. Haggis tempura is on Michelin-starred menus, smart spas are offering porridge facials, and a chain of eco-hotels is offering celebrity bagpipe lessons. So, Laura’s off to a baronial estate in the Scottish Highlands to get a slice of this ultra-high-end market. It’s supposed to be gorgeous, glitzy and glamorous. But intrigue follows Laura like night follows day. And at Glenravish Castle – a shooting lodge fit for a billionaire – Laura finds herself hunting for a scoop that won’t just save her job, it could save her life.
The Blackridge House – A Memoir
Julia Martin | Jonathan Ball | 9781868429646 | R180
Elizabeth Madeline Martin spends her days in a retirement home in Cape Town. Bedridden, her memory fading, she can recall her early childhood spent in a small wood-and-iron house in Blackridge on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg. Though she remembers the place in detail, she has no idea of where exactly it is. Her daughter, Julia, resolves to find the Blackridge house: with her mother lonely and confused, would this, perhaps, bring some measure of closure? Folded into this quest are the tender conversations between a daughter and a mother who does not have long to live.
Love in No Man’s Land
Duo Ji Zhuo Ga | Head of Zeus | 9781786699459 | R302
The Changthang Plateau in central Tibet is home to seven-year-old Gongzha and his family who live by herding and hunting. As the Red Guard systematically loot and destroy Tibet’s monasteries during the 1967 Cultural Revolution, Gongzha helps hide two treasures belonging to his local temple: an ebony-black Buddha marked with an ancient symbol and a copy of the twelfth-century text The Epic of King Gesar, written in gold ink. The repercussions of his act will echo across the decades. Legend and history are interwoven in the story of a young man’s quest to find happiness in a time of uncertainty and unrest.
THE SILENCE (movie tie-in edition)
Tim Lebbon | Titan Books | 9781789090505 | R156
In the darkness of an underground cave system, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, there are voices, and they feed... Swarming from their prison, the creatures thrive and destroy. To scream, even to whisper, is to summon death. As the hordes lay waste to Europe, a girl watches to see if they will cross the sea. Deaf for many years, she knows how to live in silence; now, it is her family’s only chance of survival. To leave their home, to shun others, to find a remote haven where they can sit out the plague. But will it ever end? And what kind of world will be left?
A.G. Riddle | Head of Zeus | 9781789543209 | R249
It was the last thing we expected, but the world is freezing. A new ice age has dawned. Billions have fled the glaciers, crowding out the world’s last habitable zones and a cataclysmic war is looming. In orbit, a group of scientists are running the Winter Experiments, a last-ditch attempt to understand why the planet is cooling. None of the climate models they build make sense. But then they discover an anomaly, an unexplained variation in solar radiation... and something else. Suddenly humanity must face the possibility it is not alone in the universe and that whatever is out there may be trying to exterminate us.
The Flat Share
Beth O’Leary | Quercus | 9781787474420 | R233
Tiffy and Leon share a flat Tiffy and Leon share a bed Tiffy and Leon have never met... Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they're crazy, but it's the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy's at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven't met yet, they're about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window...
Bridget Collins | HarperCollins | 9780008272128 | R250
Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when he is summoned to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but he cannot refuse. He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, or a memory you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored. Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.