Books in Print

independent Australian bookselling since 1988

26 Oct 2016

2016 Man Booker Prize WINNER

The Sellout by Paul Beatty   $26.99 PB

A biting American satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court. Born in the 'agrarian ghetto' of Dickens - on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles - the narrator of The Sellout is raised by his single father, a controversial sociologist, and spends his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. Led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes, he is shocked to discover, after his father is killed in a police shoot-out, that there never was a memoir. In fact, all that's left is the bill for a drive-through funeral. Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: his hometown Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident - Hominy Jenkins - he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school. What follows is a remarkable journey that challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement and the holy grail of racial equality - the black Chinese restaurant.

19 Oct 2016

BiP eNews: Leonie's Holiday Reviews

Leonie has been away on holiday, which means that she has been very busy reading. Here are some of the books she read:

A Great Reckoning: A Chief Inspector Gamache Thriller
Louise Penny

Former Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has a new job as Commander of the Quebec Sûreté Academy. He has been asked to bring a total change to the culture of corruption and brutality which has pervaded the force for several years. Before starting in his new position he has taken time off, at home in Three Pines, to review the dossiers of the aspiring candidates for the next intake at the Academy. Only Amelia Choquet appears to be a rebel, with her piercings and attitude to the world. Her name seems familiar to Gamache, but he cannot think why. She was accepted into the Academy on a scholarship, but she feels as if she might be thrown out any day because of her seemingly do-not-care attitude. One of her first lectures is taken by the Commander himself and Amelia, along with the other cadets, does not quite know what to make of the man. Meanwhile Reine Marie Gamache is keeping busy by going through historical documents relating to Three Pines. She discovers a strange old map of what seems to be Three Pines, which has everyone intrigued and keen to know more about it. Soon someone will be dead and everyone at the Academy will be a suspect. To help keep four cadets safe the Commander assigns them to investigate the history and meaning of the map, billeting them with locals, which the cadets are not happy about. Louise Penny continues to bring her characters to life with effortless skill. The Gamache family and the residents have become old friends to me and the many fans of Three Pines. A Great Reckoning is a strong, intriguing mystery.

The Silence Between Breaths
Cath Staincliffe 
$29.99 PB

Passengers rush to board the 10.35am Manchester to London train. Eight strangers share a carriage. Jeff just makes the train on his way to a job interview; Caroline is meeting an old friend in London, and Meg and her partner Diana, with dog Boss, are heading off on holiday. Nick is with his wife Lisa and their two children, off to a family wedding. Rhona is reluctantly attending a recruitment fair with her colleagues and is worried about being back in time to collect her daughter; Saheel is hoping that he will not have anyone sitting next to him and Holly is sitting next to Jeff, constantly checking her mobile phone. Naz, the young train attendant, is doing his best to keep his area of the train tidy. Only one of these people has any idea that the journey will not end happily. In this timely thriller a group of ordinary people is forced to cope with an event that no-one is prepared for. With her experience in writing for a hit TV drama, Cath Staincliffe constantly builds the tension. You cannot help reading to the end.

Magpie Murders
Anthony Horowitz 
$32.99pb           ** BiP price $27.95

As a bookseller, I get to read a lot of books, most of which I enjoy. Some of them I love and a small number disappoint. Then there is the odd one that unexpectedly makes me laugh. Anthony Horowitz’s new crime novel did just that. Magpie Murders is a book within a book, filled with larger than life characters in the vein of Hercule Poirot or Agatha Raisin. Sue Ryland is an editor for a small independent publisher. One of her authors is Alan Conway, a very successful writer of a series of crime novels featuring private detective Atticus Pünd. Conway is a difficult client who declares that the new manuscript, 'Magpie Murders', the ninth book in the series, will be the last. He also provides a draft of the book he feels he was meant to write, which his publisher Charles had no intention of publishing. Sue has barely finished reading Magpie Murders, which is missing its final chapter, when she learns that Alan Conway has fallen to his death. When the police quickly close their investigation, finding that Conway’s death was suicide, she decides to become detective instead of writer. Anthony Horowitz must have had so much fun writing this novel. Interspersed with the narrative there are in-jokes which should appeal to crime lovers; he even makes a few comments about his own work. It was a pleasure to read Magpie Murders and to have some fun with it as well.

The Wonder
Emma Donoghue 
$29.99 PB

Emma Donoghue’s previous book was Room, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and made into a very successful film. The central character of her new novel is a child in danger. The Wonder is set in a village in the Irish midlands in the 1850s. The whole area was decimated during the potato famine. The locals are superstitious with no liking of newcomers, especially the English. They start to believe that Anna O’Donnell, the eleven-year-old daughter of a local farming family, is a living saint. Anna is reputed to have not eaten for four months, but she is still alive and well. After an article about her is published in a Dublin newspaper crowds of visitors try to gain her blessing. A town committee hires nurse Lib Wright and Sister Michael, a nursing nun, to undertake a two-week observation of Anna and her family, to ensure that no fraud is being committed. Lib is extremely sceptical of the child; from the start she suspects Anna and her mother of a hoax. The nurses stay with Anna twenty-four hours a day, with no physical contact allowed with anyone else. Lib tries to get Anna to explain the reasons for her actions. When Anna’s condition begins to deteriorate Lib fears for the girl’s life, but the town committee refuses to act. This is a powerful story of religion, superstition and family secrets by a talented writer.