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Addlands Posted by Andrew Fitch on 22 May From to , three generations of the Hamer family eke out an existence in the Radnorshire hills. But this is not a tale of epic hardships and their brutalising effect on relationships, rather the beauty of land and humanity in symbiosis, observed with a crystal objectivity and delight in the detail of nature and personalities. Black Wave Posted by Anne Horton-Smith on 15 May This heady mix of memoir and metafiction takes us from the slacker counterculture of nineties San Francisco to a near-future dystopian Los Angeles, with the world on the brink of environmental apocalypse.

This is hardcore entertainment - funny, fearless, insightful and mind-blowing. A good mixture of characters with only their advanced years in common. The Care Home staff, especially the manager, are the deranged ones. The extraordinary, but also imaginary, wartime diaries of resident Captain Ruggles regularly interrupts the story line. An interesting and uplifting debut novel. Turning Blue Posted by Richard Ashman on 01 May There is no hiding place from a shady web of depravity and sleaze as the story progresses from bizarre and creepy to alarming and sinister with a feeling of unease invading every page, although all this grim horror is balanced with beautiful, descriptive prose and vivid detail of the Yorkshire landscape.

This vision of rural noir is not for the easily offended as you are pushed beyond sympathy to a state of bewildered anger. Dave Pescod has a skill in the use of descriptive language that leaves you in no doubt whatsoever about what he wanted to tell you. In that, his writing is extraordinary. But these stories are also witty and heartwarming. Settle back for a treat. Viral Posted by Karen Pugh on 17 April This is the only book I've ever read where the first six words made me audibly gasp, 'I sucked twelve cocks in Magaluf'.

What an opening! It certainly made me want to read on. It was good to read a book so currently 'on topic' where the subject matter of social media affects all. Hidden behind PCs, so many of us are tempted to expose ourselves on social media without thinking of the ultimate cost it may make to our lives. Lily and the Octopus Posted by Anne Horton-Smith on 10 April Part memoir, part magical realism, this poignant account of the bond between a neurotic dog owner and his loveable dachshund is hard to resist, especially for any dog lovers out there.

Although a very emotional read, it manages to be both amusing and cathartic at the same time. The Good Guy Posted by Wendy Smith on 03 April Abigail's neighbours think her husband Ted is a good guy because he washes the dishes and folds the laundry. Frankly, he's a bit of a pillock, but I couldn't help other than like him. I loved the retro feel of this novel, the period details are top-notch - all the trappings of 's suburban life are there. Although this is a book with a sad story at its heart, it is alleviated with snappy dialogue and moments of laugh out loud humour.

Noontide Toll Posted by Laura Bell on 27 March Reading this book was a very sensuous experience - it constantly called on my emotions as secrets unfolded from the past. I found it to be a sombre story that kept its warmth with moments of wit and the reassuring, sage-like counsel of the central character. I was held spellbound by the deep insights into human truths and the beautiful depiction of Sri Lanka More details Tagged: Whichbook of the week.

No, this is Renaissance Europe. It teems with life: from weavers to lords and from Shakespeare to Monteverdi. Follow the footsteps of the unconventional Tregian, nobleman, musician and spy and listen to the lessons of the past. This biting satire will strike many a chord with anyone who has ever worked in an all-female workplace, with bitchy bosses and undermining colleagues. These are the Names Posted by Anne Jones on 06 March Don't be discouraged by a grim story of refugees, trekking through the steppe in the bleak atmosphere of the post Soviet empire.

It's an Exodus of sorts, without Moses but with a dash of deadly humour. Everyone is on a journey whether settled in town or an alien, and parallel lines collide when the migrants meet a police officer on his own spiritual quest. Can any of them, including the policeman, be saved? We can always hope. She has very little English, money or clothes - only her mother's photos. Befriended by a local girl, the pair set out on a journey of discovery across the Yorkshire moors.

Their adventures include shooting a rambler, being bitten by a dog and breaking into a Care Home. Yuki is a brilliant and funny creation. Atmospheric and imaginative. I loved it! They fight battles of their own, over families, identity, friendship, love and their future. Mikey will make you laugh, cry and remember The Transmigration of Bodies Posted by Andrew Fitch on 13 February A Romeo and Juliet scenario, but when the corpses in question were not lovers and he died accidentally, she of the plague, it takes all the Redeemer's ingenuity to prevent needless inter-family revenge.

A dark and moody read - post-apocalyptic noir at its most stripped down. The Prophets of Eternal Fjord Posted by Richard Ashman on 06 February A sensory assault into an inhospitable Greenland that seamlessly combines a hallucinatory, imaginative world with colonial history. The multi-stranded, audacious narrative has an intense emotional urgency that is somehow exhilarating despite the stark storytelling and enigmatic main protagonist. You may be shocked but will also appreciate the beauty. Into the Fire Posted by Fiona Edwards on 30 January What an amazing book - it takes alternative history to a new and totally convincing dimension and what better story to retell than that of Joan of Arc - the Maid of Orleans.

The dual narrative dovetails perfectly with equally compelling characters and actions in both time-zones. It delivers the fast and furious pace of a thriller coupled with elegant prose and intelligent historical detail. Authentic through and through - I loved it! The Crooked Maid Posted by Rosemary Bullimore on 23 January Vienna - a place where small actions can lead to tragic results and silence may seem the best policy. This novel is a wonderful evocation of the desperation felt by many at this time, including Austrians re-writing their recent pasts. A great read which also made me wonder how I might act under similar circumstances.

Blackass Posted by Paul Cowan on 16 January Furo Wariboko wakes on the morning of his job interview to find his black body has turned white. As a white man in a black world some doors now open for him as he invents a new identity for himself and turns his back on his family. This book explores race and identity with a light touch and will make you both laugh and think. Dragonfish Posted by Wendy Smith on 09 January This novel has all the key elements of a thriller but a backstory about displaced Vietnamese refugees gives it an extra dimension.

I really warmed to all of the characters, even the heavies, because they are so compassionately portrayed. Readers hoping for a neat resolution may find themselves disappointed; I thought it the fitting end to a story about a woman who remains elusive to all, including the reader. Bitter Sixteen Posted by Anne Horton-Smith on 02 January This first volume of a trilogy introduces Stanly, an introspective loner and pop culture geek, who acquires superhero powers on his sixteenth birthday.

So far, so typical for this genre, except for a most unusual wisecracking sidekick, who just happens to be a talking dog. Spotting the cultural references within the engaging interplay and snappy dialogue ensures this is will appeal to a wider age range than the target young adult audience. Not necessarily every twist and turn. But enough of them to keep you on your toes. Here is a morality tale for our times - the villain is villainous and definitely needs to be caught.

It starts off like 'The Sting' but then turns a lot darker, as you are slowly led into the betrayal of the Schroder family to the Gestapo. I couldn't put this book down - hoping that the villain would meet his deserved fate. The Book of Memory Posted by Paul Doyle on 19 December While on death row in a Zimbabwean prison, Memory begins to recount her story, at the centre of which lies her parents and Lloyd, and what may or may not have happened to Memory as a child.

It is a story of unfolding revelations set against the backdrop of change in society. Befitting her name, Memory is a memorable character in a story beautifully told that you may want to read all over again once you've reached the final sentence. A Cup of Rage Posted by Nicole Cornell on 12 December A torrent of anger, hatred and contempt flows through 47 pages without a stop.

I can't say it made me understand sado-masochism but it certainly brought it to life in the most forceful way. Don't expect soft porn: this is a masterful study of sexual perversion. Ma is out for revenge and retribution. She's a woman with a past and Alex witnesses and experiences things no child should see.

Nevertheless Alex becomes strong and independent which comes through as the story progresses. This is a book where you never really know what's going to happen next - be it good or bad - and that's what makes it such a great read. The Well of Trapped Words Posted by Andrew Fitch on 28 November Talking snakes and otherworldly grandmothers who require spoon-feeding are the stuff of folktales, and unpredictable honorary aunts and local dignitaries driven to extremes by bureaucracy and modernity are hallmarks of a traditional society not coping well with change. Kaygusuz's short stories open windows into Turkish life, brought together by her amazing dreamlike realism.

Comedic elements creep in which made me smile despite the serious undercurrent of the story. A cast of characters attempt increasingly farcical ways of reaching Italy: the land of promise and opportunity. As soon as one attempt is thwarted, another hare-brained scheme is hatched.

An Unnecessary Woman Posted by Rosemary Bullimore on 14 November A childless divorcee for over 50 years, living in 21st century Beirut, Aaliya assumes most of her world will find her 'unnecessary'. As she faces old age - her biggest challenge yet - will her dry wit, intelligence and love for literature, art and her indomitable city prove enough to make her feel that she isn't completely useless?

A fascinating read. Welcome to Braggsville Posted by Richard Ashman on 07 November Unceasing wordplay deftly probes the thorny issues of identity and American racial conflict with perfectly pitched dark satire and morbid comedy. The shockingly bizarre story may be disturbing but the hypersensitive send-up of academia will also amuse.

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This misbegotten tale, full of irony and stray cultural references, is awesome in its unpredictable linguistic acrobatics. The Dog Who Dared to Dream Posted by Natalie McChrystal on 17 October This South Korean bestseller is a beautiful and poignant fable about a dog named Scraggly; an endearing character whose dreams of family and independence captivated me. Foreboding and loss are adeptly entwined with a gentle humour particularly surrounding Sister-in-Law, the illustrations are simple but effective and this short tale is touching and memorable.

If you don't like animal protagonists this may not be for you but I found it enchanting. He does, however, have charm, a girl friend who works in a morgue and the luck of the devil. So sit back and enjoy sex, drugs and cadaver kidnapping, whilst hating yourself for smiling.

Beside Myself Posted by Frances Bell on 03 October To fully appreciate this novel the reader is asked to accept that a innocent prank can result in misery and madness and that responsible adults may not appreciate the significance of the joke. Told in the first person by 'Smudge' an identical twin, she describes how the prank results in her descent from delinquency to insanity. Strong characterisation, fast paced, brilliant on family dynamics, extremely disturbing but totally compulsive reading.

Look at Me Posted by Anne Horton-Smith on 26 September The repercussions of a father's indiscreet bohemian lifestyle are profound when the love child from his hippy past is contacted and invited to stay. Thus follows a five act tragedy of sibling rivalry, self-deception and simmering tension between the half-sisters, as both clamour for attention. This study of shifting family dynamics will challenge your sympathies for the characters as it unfolds - whose side will you be on? Sea Lovers Posted by David Kenvyn on 19 September A wonderful, beautifully written series of short stories about what it is like to be a woman.

Two stories refer to mythical creatures - a mermaid and a centaur - but all of them are about how we survive our lives, about the subterfuges that we have to take in order to preserve our privacy, our dignity and our self-respect. And especially about how women have to do these things in what is a patriarchal society.

Not easy, but very worthwhile. Under the Udala Trees Posted by Richard Ashman on 05 September A deft balance between love and war, this is a compellingly stylistic depiction of a politically brutal suppression of same-sex relationships, interspersed with allegory, folklore and intransigent religiosity.

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The dizzying tale powerfully interweaves the internal turmoil and competing societal forces that means choosing between heart and tradition. Determined and daring in the face of hatred and persecution. Gripping storytelling. This isn't an adventure of a lifetime - more a matter of survival. While the book is easy to read, I found the subject matter of loneliness, sadness and death difficult and upsetting. Don't read this book if you're not 'in a good place'.

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Whilst haunting and bleak, the book did contain elements of hope and kindness and love to another living being. Quite a lot, as these two novellas show: a life of order and beauty, a quest for meaning. But their destiny will startle and move you in very different ways. I can say no more without spoiling your enjoyment! This is a beautifully written novel about the redemptive power of compassion and love. Although I was intrigued by the supernatural elements of the story, scenes of sexual violence against women and children made for a read which pushed me to the limits of my endurance.

Lunatics, Lovers and Poets Posted by Wendy Smith on 08 August A well written short story can be more satisfying to the reader than an overblown novel and there are several in this commemorative anthology that hit the spot. Infused with international flavours, there's no need to swot up on Shakespeare or Cervantes to enjoy this literary mezze. Physical Posted by Ruth Ng on 01 August Written without punctuation, or adhering to traditional structure, these poems vary from humorous observations to moving descriptions.

Mostly about masculinity and what it means to be a man, there are moments of social observation and, as the title indicates, the poems are very physical in nature with strong, powerful imagery. Although the style is initially challenging the language is easy to read, and the experience of doing so is rewarding. Throw in dysfunctional upbringing on both sides and a disastrous meet-the-in-laws visit with the future hypochondriac mother-in-law from hell — and the relationship looks doomed.

If you are into screwball comedy and like squirrels, you will enjoy this. It was easy to empathise with the characters in Gaza, especially Nazmiyeh, a strong woman with a wicked tongue, but I struggled with the character of Nur, an abused Palestinian girl raised in the USA and whose story felt, to me, a little contrived. Nevertheless, I learned a lot from this moving and poetic novel. The House of Shattered Wings Posted by Andrew Fitch on 11 July A Paris in the fallout of war between rival magicians' Houses, angels regularly falling out of heaven, a dragon realm under the Seine, addiction to angel essence clearly replacing narcotics and their associated gangland crime.

There are so many elements here to grapple with as the author invites you to join her in welding together this gripping fantasy, crime, thriller mash up. An epic read. A Book of Death and Fish Posted by Linda Corrigan on 04 July An amazing book following the self-told story of a young man growing up in the Hebrides in the s through to his death in the new millennium. Remember it is a novel! The past and present converge throughout; tantalising the reader with parts of a puzzle. The complexity of the plot requires concentration as each character tells their own story. I embraced the role of amateur sleuth; attempting to draw correlations between an illustrated copy of Tennyson's poetry and an unnamed skeleton.

These young lovers are not young. They should know better. When the whole town is lusting after possible buried treasure in an old church, trouble looms. The man, an author, cannot resist playing God. He even argues with God about who's fault that is. So a cycle of killing and revenge leads to tragedy. Very Shakespearean More details Tagged: Whichbook of the week. He Wants Posted by Rosemary Bullimore on 13 June Lewis is 70, his life still bounded by the same town and the same people: but what is it that he actually wants?

Just when I thought I knew, this very unsettling novel proved me wrong again. And just when I thought I knew what he had done - or would do - wrong again! Engrossingly like life - and real people. Just step aboard the Wayfarer! Whether you enjoy big ideas, strong emotions or a beautifully imagined world, you'll soon be loath to return to Earth.

The Beginning of the End Posted by Richard Ashman on 30 May Lurking underneath the shock of explicit excesses and persistent pessimism is a unique novel that is brave in subject matter and assured in style. The spare and functional prose suits the loneliness and isolation of the main character and yet the unflinching description is balanced by a sense of dark comedy making this a thought-provoking book although not a cosy read. When an executive gets accidentally involved in a workers' strike, his American training stands him in surprisingly good stead.

By turns funny, disturbing and surreal, the story takes him on a journey of self-discovery. Will he emerge a new man? Frog Posted by Wendy Smith on 16 May An epistolary narrative drives this meandering story about the affect of China's one child policy on a rural community.

Though acts of brutality take place, they are tempered by episodes of black comedy. A challenging reading experience which surprised and shocked in unexpected ways. Whispers Through a Megaphone Posted by Michelle Jenkins on 09 May Ralph and Miriam meet by chance during a period of personal transition in both their lives. They are two perfect strangers looking for answers to questions neither of them know how to ask. These lost souls are brought together by fate, and as the reader you join them on their journey of discovery.

Expect the ride to be bumpy, revealing and thoroughly entertaining all the way. For once, however, the central character is an African, who has been away from his home for a very long time. He has been living in New York for years - and he has not become rich. So he decides to steal a statue of the god Ngene from its shrine in his home village, to achieve his dream in his adopted country. Expect consequences - lots of them. Achebe would love this book.

How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position Posted by Rosemary Bullimore on 25 April Recently divorced and teaching at Aarhus University, the unnamed narrator, a lapsed Muslim, is much more interested in his Hindoo friend Ravi's ability to improve their social lives, than he is in the comings and goings of their deeply religious Muslim landlord.

When he begins to take notice, be prepared for some fundamental surprises in this witty, perceptive, really quite amazing novel. The Man I Became Posted by Fiona Edwards on 18 April I usually avoid stories with talking animals but this one is something that is both special and unique. The narrator a gorilla by birth tells a tale that is moving and heart-warming in spite of the bleak vision of the world he inhabits. A short book, simply written, to read in one sitting but it packs some punch.

Will leave you buzzing with questions about human motivation and what lengths we will go to for entertainment. However, the real spirit of the novel is the rural landscape and the disconnection of modern man with nature, folklore and the old country ways - a moving elegy to a fast disappearing way of life. I felt like I could see and hear the characters spit their lines at each other. The writing felt real and dirty - and visual like a movie. Sometimes I took my eyes from the page to wince because the images hit so hard - but I couldn't wait to be engrossed in the next short story.

Niki, a Serbian refugee book shop assistant, is employed by Gorsky, a Russian oligarch, to buy Gorsky's personal library. Atmospheric descriptions of the Chelsea and Knightsbridge districts and of the lavish lifestyle of the London super rich combine to deliver an entertaining novel with shades of 'The Great Gatsby'. This is moving, funny, thought-provoking story-telling that reminds us that the miraculous is only a step away from the mundane.

A terrifyingly realistic view of a dreadful time in terms of both history and growing up that is nevertheless often very funny. Birth of a Bridge Posted by Dot Cameron on 07 March An unusual novel where the main character is a bridge rather than any of the people who flock to work on building it. The visionary Mayor of Coca, an imaginary town in California, wants to transform it into a city to rival Dubai, but it needs a new and spectacular bridge.

The progress of the building work interspersed with vignettes of the workers and the author's unusual prose style make this novel an intriguing, sometimes comic read. Now, in this short novel, the reader learns who the unnamed Arab actually was through the voice of his troubled brother, Harun. Kimjongilia Posted by David Kenvyn on 22 February This is a world of deceit, lies, idealism, commitment, self-serving, death, murder, invasion, resistance and sex - China and Korea from the Japanese invasion of the s onwards. With Kim-il-Sung as one of the central characters, this is not sweetness and light.

But you will want some people to survive. And it leaves you with a question: how did Chin Ho turn into the nice old man who has written the story down? Unless it's not Chin Ho The Mark and the Void Posted by Anne Jones on 15 February A funny, at times absurdly funny, look at events in a small bank's Dublin arm on the cusp of the financial crash. Banking, funny? Yes, as seen through Claude a naive philosopher and employee, exploited by a shady writer There's a void at the heart of the tale because his relationships are as unreal as the bank's cash.

You have to ask who's fooling who? Who's fooling you? Be counter-intuitive! Turn the very last page, and you may find out. Yet amongst the confusion, the writing is emotionally powerful and beautiful, as it moves gracefully from moments of sexual intimacy and violence to vivid travelogues. Difficult, but well worth the effort. But despite the 'life lived as art' ethos, I felt like the only guest without a drink, wondering how soon things would turn ugly. And though I did not warm to any of the characters, I was moved by this fascinating story about people whose lives were a mystery to me.

Chewing Gum Posted by Anne Jones on 25 January A satirical narrator relates the tale of a mythic hero who attracts academic interest and a down-to-earth heroine who goes her own way. Libya comes to life across the centuries through the story of a Tripoli park. Families live their lives, often scandalous, whatever changes occur and everyone chews gum. This is not a book about recent Libyan regimes - or is it? I'm just beginning to understand it. Definitely worth a second read. The Looking-Glass Sisters Posted by Fiona Edwards on 18 January What a read - events in the story are shocking, even repulsive yet the words it uses to describe them are so beautiful.

Sympathy rebounds from one sister to the other. Who is the victim and who the aggressor? I changed my mind frequently. Claustrophobia and isolation in lives and landscape create a dreamlike quality which lurches into nightmare. I can't say I exactly enjoyed it but it pulled me back in each time I took a break. Powerful stuff. As these teenage rebels teeter on the brink of adulthood, the innocence of youth is shattered by the realities of urban life in Germany.

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A tried and tested plot formulae, I found the familiarity of the storyline both comforting and gripping. The Incarnations Posted by Ruth Ng on 04 January Good for a wild ride through ancient and modern China, this reads a little like a short story collection although there is an overriding story arc concerning who is sending Wang mysterious letters and why. Yet the unpredictable nature of the narrative is intriguing, and it is certainly a powerful story.

Ove is 59, solitary and a bit of a curmudgeon, everything has to be just so and he is very intolerant of life in general. When his beloved wife dies and he loses his job, he decides he has nothing left to live for. However, his new neighbours have other ideas Lovely characters and a completely unexpected delight. The Visionist Posted by Sandra Turner on 21 December A haunting, gripping story set in a farming community in Massachusetts, The story is told by three of the characters who are inexorably drawn together.

A beautifully written narrative that explores the blurred boundaries of good and evil in a closed Shaker community and the men and women of the 'world' outside. What Ends Posted by Anne Jones on 14 December We witness the demise of hope, a community and a family, as neighbours then siblings leave Trevor to care for declining parents and a failing business on a remote island.

Told from the family's points of view the strains imposed on them in bleak conditions couldn't fail to move me. I rooted for Trevor, but I knew he had to move on to learn to live. An elegiac tribute to islanders who have struggled to maintain their way of life. Song for an Approaching Storm Posted by Richard Ashman on 07 December A love triangle that vibrantly portrays the transition from poetic daydreamer to brutal despot. This sweat-stained novel vividly encapsulates the Cambodian political intrigue resulting in a legacy of trauma in an evocative atmosphere that makes your blood run cold.

The three distinct voices tell a strikingly human tale that is both mysterious and frightening. An assortment of memories provide an intimate insight into various different characters, whilst the use of colloquial dialect lends an honesty and authenticity to each poem. Everyday lives are recounted with grit and realism and I was captivated by the personal voice resonating throughout. Fishnet Posted by David Kenvyn on 23 November This is a disturbing book, mainly because the subject - prostitution - leaves people very uncomfortable, especially men.

It is also a revelatory book, written with understanding, compassion and sense. Fiona, through searching for her sister, is led into the world of sex workers, and comes to understand the workings of the industry.

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It feels right. It challenges perceptions. It makes you think. And the story is gripping. It describes the saucy adventures of a young French woman who decides to hire herself out as a reader to people in their own homes. But what do her clients really want — and how far will she go? Apart from the eroticism, there is also is plenty to delight the serious bibliophile, even one unfamiliar with French literature. Here are lives of quiet desperation with flashes of humour and humanity, such as are lived everywhere.

But this is a cold, cold place where, in living memory, people were once interned for their beliefs It as good as announces itself with full headlights and blaring horn. The only question is, what sort of karma it might deliver. The writing here has the power to make the reader live every decision and keep asking the question: would I do? The Fishermen Posted by Franes Bell on 26 October Why did the lives of the 'perfect' Nigerian family disintegrate into violence and misery? Was it witchcraft, mental illness or parental absence? The poetic style of the writing which initially seems old-fashioned and traditional, exaggerates the extraordinary and horrific events.

Told in the words of Ben, one of five brothers who is nine years old at the start of the story, this is a totally absorbing debut novel. Definitely one to watch. Ostrich Posted by Dot Cameron on 19 October If you want a book which makes you laugh and cry at the same time, this is it. Alex is 12 and has a brain tumour.

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He tells his story in typical teenage style as he struggles to understand what is happening to him. With the aid of a friend he tries to solve the mystery of his parents' odd behaviour. Are they getting divorced? And why does his beloved hamster seem thinner? Bursting with humour but you will need tissues at the end. This story revels in modern South African life, gently poking fun at the insanity of racists, while allowing them humanity. A rainbow shines. My Biggest Lie Posted by Paul Doyle on 05 October Let yourself by whisked along by a novel that is at times a heady, intoxicating blur and at others, funny, honest and charming.

It follows Liam as he escapes to Buenos Aires, far away from the mess he's made of both his relationship and his job with a London publisher not a good idea to be held responsible for the death of your most celebrated author. But in spite of all his mistakes it's hard not to end up rooting for Liam. The Way Inn Posted by Rosemary Bullimore on 28 September This book morphs engrossingly from a slyly humourous look at the world of interchangeable business conferences and trade fairs into a nightmare scenario, where literally nothing is as it seems - or is it?

Dept of Speculation Posted by Anne Horton-Smith on 21 September Written in a blog diary style, these are bittersweet dispatches from life on the frontline of a failing marriage. Don't Try This at Home Posted by Fiona Edwards on 14 September This amazing collection defies definition but the overwhelming feeling on finishing is one of awe.

The stories are subversive, beautifully weird, melancholy and suffused with a strange and joyful magic. The characters - both human and otherwise - are brave survivors and hugely memorable. Dip in - then take time to allow each individual story to sink into your consciousness before you return for your next fix.

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And return you will - it's addictive. Daimones Posted by Karen Pugh on 07 September I'm a science fiction 'virgin' and really wasn't looking forward to reading this book. But boy, am I glad I did. Original plot and easy to read, I romped through in days. I found it a frightening experience, not frightening in the sense of BOO! I don't think I'll look forward to going to bed next time it's a windy night - you never know what you'll wake up to or with whom! The Axeman's Jazz Posted by Andrew Fitch on 31 August Yes there's a good cop and a bad cop, you suspect that the young Lewis Armstrong finding his jazz voice will feel like tokenism, you always know the modest heroine will nail the big baddy, that New Orleans will suffer one of its catastrophic inundations, and that the Axeman will have some moral justification.

But it never feels like formula; every element has an authentic, historical, dynamic pulse in the perfect storm of a jazz thriller.

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  5. Weathering Posted by Nicole Cornell on 24 August Flowing, frozen, vaporised, water shapes the lives of a woman, her daughter and her mother in an isolated house in the country. What could have been a ghost story is instead the tender, moving and life-affirming tale of their struggles towards self-realisation. It worked on me like a spell and left me unwilling to surface.

    The Limits of the World Posted by Nicole Cornell on 17 August This is a truly scary book, but it is one that offers a glimmer of hope because people are prepared to defy a totalitarian state for the pleasure of reading. You may think that you know what is going to happen because of the references to '' but you will be surprised. This is an adventure story with a bite, a tale of political morality that cuts deep into your soul.

    Andrew Raymond Drennan is definitely an author to follow. Children of the Jacaranda Tree Posted by Michelle Jenkins on 10 August I was deeply moved by the portrayal of two generations of Iranian citizens at the mercy of a tyrannical political regime. A story of humanity and suffering at a time of unrest, the author paints a bleak picture of the punishment metered out to anyone daring to voice an opinion. The story is intimate; following first the parents and then their grownup children as history repeats itself with the bittersweet aftershocks felt for years to come.

    The Restoration of Otto Laird Posted by Richard Ashman on 03 August An endearing, thought-provoking and life-affirming tale with quirky yet likeable characters. A real feeling of the passing of time makes this a poignant retrospective shot through with the symbiosis of memory and place. This is a very human story where regrets and reconciliation result in feelings of hope. The Texture of Shadows Posted by David Kenvyn on 27 July Mandla Langa gives a no-holds-barred insight into the horrors of the war waged by the apartheid state on its own people, and of the psychological consequences to both sides.

    Bold and brilliant. Goth-poppers Pale Waves turned in a debut album that was honest, exciting and packed to the brim with shimmering indie-disco classics. After years of touring, the British dance duo used field recordings from their travels on a soothing record that ought to make you feel more at one with the world. No, not that one. Or the burglar one.

    This is British producer Felix Weatherall, who paints a mind-melting picture that takes in house, techno, jazz and ambient music, and ties it together to make something distinctly unique. We like Wacky Jack very much. Rave on. Then — surprise! The Talking Heads hero turned in a record that, he claimed, was not named ironically — the year-old genuinely still believes in the power of positivity, despite the onslaught of horror-show headlines.

    Here, he revels in wonder and astonishment at the beauty and bizarreness of the world around him, his wonky art-pop more skewed than ever. Far from a high maintenance parent, Soccer Mommy is actually 21 year-old singer-songwriter Sophie Allison. Hailing from Nashville and on hiatus from NYU, Allison collaborated with producer Gabe Wax on these ten fragile but fearless guitar tracks, concerned as much with brutally honest self-reflection and identity forming in the age of Instagram as they are with the wonder and cruelty of teenage love.

    More please. Over rich instrumentals and bubbling beats Miller candidly addresses his life in the public eye and his personal pain. A heartbreaking reminder of how much more Mac Miller had to give. Daft Punk-approved dance-rock from Australia via Berlin, Parcels make blissed-out tunes for a life of sunshine, cocktails, discoballs and hijinks. Janelle Monae has been a bit of a pop outsider in the past, the theme of her complex and accomplished career to date being shapeshifting, finding new modes and ways to address what it is to be the other.

    On the one hand, a glut of Kanye-produced albums to delve into the best are further up this list. When J. With J. The Californian rapper evoked the bleaker side of his native land on this crisp collection. Troye Sivan grew from singing YouTuber to bona fide pop behemoth with this second album, and its tender unpacking of the queer coming of age experience. And, at long last, here it is.

    Truly heavenly. The Berkshire don helped to create a genre this year: schmaltzcore , caramel-smooth jazz-pop whose purveyors include Tom Misch and Rex Orange County. Sounds like Jamie Cullum, but cool, you know?