Adult Fiction

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The Italian Teacher

Conceived while his larger-than-life father, Bear Bavinsky, cavorted around Rome in the 1950s, the young Pinch learns that his father’s genius trumps everything else. After Bear abandons his family, Pinch strives to make himself worthy—first as a painter, and then as his father’s biographer, before settling, disillusioned, into a job teaching Italian in London.

And when Bear dies, Pinch hatches a scheme to secure his father’s legacy.

What makes an artist? With his signature compassion and humour, Tom Rachman conjures a life lived in the shadow of greatness. The Italian Teacher is a masterly novel about a son striving to make his own mark on the world.

 

Audio excerpt for The Italian Teacher

 

Cat no: 4091
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The Sunken Road

At the height of the Great Depression, with farmers walking off the land and the city’s creeks lined with kerosene-tin shanties, a young mother is taken by a shark in the shallows at Henley Beach. Her grieving husband flees north with his baby son to the town of Pandowie, far from the treacherous ocean. In time, the boy will have a daughter: the wilful auburn-haired Anna Tolley.

Nominated on its original 1996 release for the Man Booker Prize, The Sunken Road is Garry Disher’s proudest achievement. This moving, powerful novel set in the wheat and wool country of mid-north South Australia is at once the story of a region, a town and a people—and of one of the most memorable characters in Australian fiction.

 

Audio excerpt for The Sunken Road

 

Cat no: 4092
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Lucky Ticket

Fortunes rise and fall. One day you have a lucky ticket and get a dinner so good and you eat so much that you think you’ll never need to eat again. You get busy making plans and then the hunger comes looking for you.I’m just an old man selling lucky tickets, but my theory is that we all get our turn in the end. I’ve had my turn at fortune. It was some years ago, maybe 2002, because I remember that was when Sài Gòn was less red and bright with fried chicken signs everywhere.

A highly original collection of stories by a talented young writer. In the comic-tragic eponymous story, ‘Lucky Ticket’, the narrator, a genial, disabled old man, whose spirit is far from crushed, sells lottery tickets on a street corner in bustling Saigon. In ‘Mekong Love’, two young people in a restrictive society try to find a way to consummate their relationship—in an extraordinary tropical landscape.

In ‘Abu Dhabi Gently’, a story of dreams and disappointment, of camaraderie and disillusionment, a migrant worker leaves Zanzibar to earn money in the UAE in order to be able to marry his fiancée. ‘White Washed’ depicts a strained friendship between two students in Melbourne, the Vietnamese narrator and a white girl. What does it mean to be Asian? What does it mean to be white? And what makes up identity?

In Lucky Ticket, Joey Bui introduces a diverse range of characters, all with distinctive voices, and makes us think differently about identity, mixed-race relationships, difficulties between family generations, war and dislocation.

 

Audio excerpt for Lucky Ticket

 

Cat no: 4083

The compelling second volume of the bestselling French fantasy series The Mirror Visitor Quartet—winner of the 2016 Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire – Roman jeunesse francophone

Suddenly Ophelia finds herself thrust into the spotlight: promoted to vice-storyteller by Farouk, the ancestral Spirit of Pole, she must tell him a story every evening. Now that her powers are known to all, she is forced to reveal the nefarious plots that have been brewing beneath the golden rafters of Citaceleste and to throw herself into the political machinations of Pole. The only person she may be able to trust is Thorn, her enigmatic fiancé. Is there more to this man than she thought? As one after another influential courtier disappears, Ophelia again finds herself implicated in an investigation that will lead her to see beyond Pole’s many illusions to the heart of a formidable truth.

 

Audio Excerpt for The Missing of Claidelune

 

Cat no: 4076
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The Life of Elves

A moving and deeply felt homage to the power of nature and art by one of the world’s most beloved authors.

Do two young girls have the power to change the world? Maria, raised by powerful older women, lives in a remote village in Burgundy, where she discovers her gift of clairvoyance, of healing and of communicating with nature. Hundreds of miles away in Italy, Clara discovers her musical genius and is sent from the countryside to Rome to nurture her extraordinary abilities.

Who are the mysterious elves? Will they succeed in training the girls for their higher purpose in the face of an impending war? Barbery’s The Life of Elves is the story of two children whose amazing talents will bring them into contact with magical worlds and malevolent forces. If, against all odds, they can be brought together, their meeting may shape the course of history.

Seven years after the publication of her international bestseller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery returns with an inspiring novel about finding the divine in the domestic, about the quest for enchantment. With its cast of unforgettable characters, each fighting to preserve the idea of an enhanced life, The Life of Elves is a luminous novel about art, nature, dreams, the power of love, and how imagination can help us build a bridge to a better future.

 

Audio excerpt for The Life of Elves

 

Cat no: 3985
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Off the Record

I have knocked on flyscreens and said to mothers of kidnapped toddlers, ‘Don’t you feel guilty for leaving your child in the front yard alone?’ I have shamed them to tears for the photographer. I have gatecrashed funerals, linked innocent corpses to local crime syndicates. Or feigned empathy to the grief-stricken to make copy from their hard-luck stories. I enjoyed the kudos of my name beneath headlines on front pages and became used to the heartlessness as if blank inside. I was doing it for my family—it was worth the cruelty.

That line of work gives your eyes a plastic appearance. I’ve noticed it in the mirror, a dead glitter.

Callum Smith—Wordsmith, Words for short—is a newspaper journalist of the old school. He knows how to write a story that sings, knows all the tricks of the tabloid trade. And he likes to drink with his colleagues, sometimes to flirt dangerously with young women.

When his marriage blows up after a night of drinking goes way too far, Words is forced to leave the family home. Desperate to impress his estranged wife and feckless teenage son, he quits his job, taking a pay cut to work with a new online publication covering local crime. There the plum role of editor will soon be his, he reasons.

To Words, ‘Honesty is a thief—it steals your life.’ Better to do whatever it takes to get back in someone’s good books. And that is what he sets out to do, in a series of ever more calamitous, destructive and amoral adventures.

Will the irredeemable Words win back his family? Or is comeuppance around the corner?

A satirical novel by Miles Franklin Literary Award shortlisted author Craig Sherborne, Off the Record stylishly skewers tabloid journalism and male vanity.

 

Audio excerpt for Off the Record

Cat no: 4066
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Kingdom Cons

In the court of the King, everyone knows their place. But as the Artist wins hearts and egos with his ballads, uncomfortable truths emerge that shake the Kingdom to its core.

Part surreal fable and part crime romance, Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera questions the price of keeping your integrity in a world ruled by patronage and power.

Described as ‘Mexico’s greatest novelist’, Yuri Herrera has followed up The Transmigration of Bodies and Signs Preceding the End of the World with an extraordinary story about passion and violence, about the vital role of the Artist in our society, and about the strangeness of our world.

Audio excerpt for Kingdom Cons

Cat no: 4089
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Halibut on the Moon

In his riveting new novel, internationally bestselling New York TimesNotable author and Prix Medicis étranger winner David Vann reimagines his father’s final days.

Middle-aged and deeply depressed, Jim arrives in California from Alaska and surrenders himself to the care of his brother Gary, who intends to watch over him. Swinging unpredictably from manic highs to extreme lows, Jim wanders ghostlike through the remains of his old life, attempting to find meaning in his tattered relationships with family and friends. As sessions with his therapist become increasingly combative and his connections to others seem ever more tenuous, Jim is propelled forwards by his thoughts, which have the potential to lead him, despairingly, to his end.

Halibut on the Moon
is a searing exploration of a man held captive by the dark logic of depression struggling to wrench himself free. In vivid and haunting prose, Vann offers us an aching portrait of a mind in peril, searching desperately for some hope of redemption.

Audio excerpt for Halibut on the Moon

Cat no: 4065
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Comemadre

On the outskirts of Buenos Aires in 1907, Doctor Quintana pines for head nurse Menéndez while he and his colleagues embark on a grisly series of experiments to investigate the line between life and death. One hundred years later, a celebrated artist goes to extremes in search of aesthetic transformation, turning himself into an art object.

How far are we willing to go in pursuit of transcendence? The world ofComemadre is full of vulgarity, excess and farce: strange ants that form almost perfect circles, missing body parts, obsessive love affairs and flesh-eating plants. Here the monstrous is not alien, but the consequence of our relentless drive for collective and personal progress.

Audio Excerpt for Comemadre

Cat no: 4086
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Simpson Returns

Ninety years after they were thought to have died heroically in the Great War, the stretcher-bearer Simpson and his donkey journey through country Victoria, performing minor miracles and surviving on offerings left at war memorials. They are making their twenty-ninth, and perhaps final, attempt to find the country’s famed Inland Sea. [click to continue…]

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Exploded View

In the late 1970s, in the forgotten outer suburbs, a girl has her hands in the engine of a Holden. A sinister new man has joined the family. He works as a mechanic and operates an unlicensed repair shop at the back of their block.

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Anna

It is some years since a virus killed all the adults. Now Sicily lies in ruins while the disease lies in wait, poised to claim the children as they reach adolescence.

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The Lesser Bohemians

A story of first love and redemption, from the author of the multi-award-winning A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing. An eighteen-year-old girl, recently arrived in London from Ireland, is enrolled in drama school. Innocent, nervous, the youngest in her class, she is eager to make an impression, to do well. She meets a man—older, a […]

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Letters, Deaths and Dialogue – A Novel of The Spanish Civil War

What happened in the Spanish village of Ungria in 1939? For more than half a century this is a question that has haunted historians, journalists and, particularly, the people of Ungria themselves – those few who survived.

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Songwoman

Haunted by the Roman attack that destroyed her home, Ailia flees to the remote Welsh mountains in search of the charismatic war king, Caradog, who is leading a guerrilla campaign against the encroaching army.

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The Restorer

After a year apart, Maryanne returns to her husband, Roy, bringing their eight-year-old son Daniel and his teenage sister Freya with her. The family move from Sydney to Newcastle, where Roy has bought a derelict house on the coast. As Roy painstakingly patches the holes in the floorboards and plasters over cracks in the walls, […]

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The Labyrinth of the Spirits

As a child, Daniel Sempere discovered a book that would change his life forever.

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The Stranger

She doesn’t know him. But he knows everything about her. Philip Petersen, a wealthy businessman, disappears without trace on a trip to South America. His wife, Sarah, is left to bring up their son on her own.

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Close to Home

This delightful collection brings together Alice Pung’s most loved writing, on migration, family, identity, art and more.

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A Cleft of Diamonds

A Cleft of Diamonds is a rich and deeply engaging story of high adventure set mainly in British and German East Africa in 1914/15. Norwood Tynbridge-Pierson, the son of Britain’s minister for war, is instructed to go to Nairobi to gauge the public’s reaction to the possibility of war with Germany.

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