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When Levi and Charlotte McAllister’s mother dies, she suffers the post-death fate experienced by many a McAllister woman. After cremation, she re-appears and bursts into flame on the lawn. Fearing his sister is headed for the same end, Levi swears to “bury her whole and still and cold”, which prompts Charlotte to flee southward “towards the bottom of the earth”. What follows is a cleverly twisting story that crackles with intrigue and invention as the lives of an assortment of compelling characters collide. There’s the wildly eccentric coffin maker Levi commissions to make Charlotte’s casket, and the hard-drinking female detective he employs to track her down. There’s the wombat-farmer slipping into insanity, and the young woman who works for him and changes Charlotte’s life. Raw and real, yet also suffused in otherworldly magic, the author has conjured an elemental mythological landscape alongside the true-world Tasmanian setting. I raced through these blistering pages, but this is a book I shall undoubtedly return to.
It's 1969, and while the summer of love lingers in London, Gilda is consumed by the mistakes of her past. She walked out on her beloved son Reuben when he was just a boy and fears he will never forgive her. When Reuben marries Alice, he seems transformed by love - a love Gilda has craved his entire adult life. What does his new wife have that she doesn't? And how far will she go to find out? It's an obsession that will bring shocking truths about the past to light . . .
You never know who's watching... Corinne's life might look perfect on the outside, but after three failed IVF attempts it's her last chance to have a baby. And when she finds a tiny part of a doll house outside her flat, it feels as if it's a sign. But as more pieces begin to turn up, Corinne realises that they are far too familiar. Someone knows about the miniature rocking horse and the little doll with its red velvet dress. Someone has been inside her house... How does the stranger know so much about her life? How long have they been watching? And what are they waiting for...? A gripping debut psychological thriller with a twist you won't see coming.
The breathtaking debut from the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction 2018 In this epic tale of fate, fortune and legacy, Jennifer Makumbi vibrantly brings to life this corner of Africa and this colourful family as she reimagines the history of Uganda through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan. The year is 1750. Kintu Kidda sets out for the capital to pledge allegiance to the new leader of the Buganda kingdom. Along the way he unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. Blending oral tradition, myth, folktale and history, Makumbi weaves together the stories of Kintu's descendants as they seek to break free from the burden of their past to produce a majestic tale of clan and country - a modern classic.
Did she slip through the cracks, or was she pushed? When a severed hand is found in an abandoned flat, Detective Jake Porter and his partner Nick Styles are able to DNA match the limb to the owner, Natasha Barclay, who has not been seen in decades. But why has no one been looking for her? It seems that Natasha's family are the people who can least be trusted. Delving into the details behind her disappearance and discovering links to another investigation, a tragic family history begins to take on a darker twist. Hampered by a widespread fear of a local heavy, as well as internal politics and possible corruption within the force, Porter and Styles are digging for answers, but will what they find ever see the light of day?
Born from Elaine Halligan’s experiences of raising her son Sam, each chapter in My Child is Different deals with a specific stage of childhood and development. The format is simple and easy to follow when reading the book from cover to cover, or locating a specific age or time frame. Elaine’s story in its own right is insightful and honest, allowing the reader to find out about Sam’s development and some of the obstacles that were faced by the entire family. The additional content from Melissa Hood deals specifically with the events in each chapter, any specific underlying causes as well as broader behaviour examples before efficiently providing a range of possible solutions or parenting changes that could help to provide a marked improvement. This book has something for everyone. The recollection of Elaine and Sam’s hard work and endurance is compelling; Melissa's helpful advice, explanations and techniques are perfect not only as parenting techniques but also as points for reflection for interacting with people in the world around you. In the Epilogue, Elaine states the ways that using positive parenting skills has made her more accepting and can help to get the best out of everyone. I would definitely recommend.
You can feel it in the woods, in the school and in the playground; you can feel it in the houses and at the fairground. You can feel it in most places in the small town of Anderbury . . . the fear that something or someone is watching you. It began back in 1986, at the fair, on the day of the accident. That was when twelve-year-old Eddie met Mr Halloran - the Chalk Man. He gave Eddie the idea for the drawings: a way to leave secret messages for his friends and it was fun, until the chalk men led them to a body. Thirty years later, Ed believes the past is far behind him, until an envelope slips through the letterbox. It contains a stick of chalk, and a drawing of a figure. Is history going to repeat itself? Was it ever really over? Will this game only end in the same way?
The most hilarious debut you will read this year. Claire and Matt are divorced but decide what's best for their daughter Scarlett is to have a 'normal' family Christmas. They can't agree on whose idea it was, or who said they should bring their new partners. But someone did - and it's too late to pull the plug. Claire brings her new boyfriend Patrick, a seemingly eligible Iron-Man-in-Waiting. Matt brings the new love of his life Alex, funny, smart, and extremely patient. Scarlett, their daughter, brings her imaginary friend Posey. He's a rabbit. Together the five (or six?) of them grit their teeth over Organized Fun activities, drinking a little too much after bed-time, oversharing classified secrets about their pasts and, before you know it, their holiday is a powder keg that ends - where this story starts - with a tearful, frightened, call to the police... But what happened? They said they'd all be adults about this...
At first it is a nightmare. When the invaders arrive, the world as they know it is destroyed. Their friends are kidnapped. Their families are changed. Then it is a dream. With no adults left to run things, Violet and the others who have escaped capture are truly free for the first time. They can do whatever they want to do. They can be whoever they want to be. But the invaders won't leave them alone for long... This thrilling debut by one of the most acclaimed short form writers in science fiction tells the story of a young trans girl who must find a way to fight back against the aliens who have taken over her city.
32-year-old multi-lingual Nova works as an interpreter for the police. Blind since birth, an operation that restores her sight heralds the beginning of a bewildering journey to understand the world from scratch. The novel is brilliant in offering insights into Nova’s experience of blindness as readers feel her struggle to re-learn everything through her newly-opened eyes. While recovering from the operation, Nova meets Kate, who’s in hospital after sustaining a head injury. The women strike up an immediate bond, which becomes a tender friendship – and more – as they find they are entirely at home in each other’s company, able to open up, experience joy and see the world in new ways through each other’s interpretation of the world. Throughout, Nova’s “Rules of Seeing” notes serve as practical guidelines with metaphoric meaning - “The brain will hang onto objects after you have stopped looking” – and the novel is fascinating on the nature of perception. Nova’s “childlike wonder” when enjoying new experiences is infectious, while the intense expositions of Kate’s husband’s increasingly chilling actions are powerfully authentic and give this novel the page-turning urgency of a thriller. Raw, and radiant with the promise of new life and love, this dazzling debut comes recommended for readers who relish new novels by Mark Haddon, Matt Haig and Marina Lewycka.
Ooh, this is a sharp, highly entertaining yet provocative read. Imogen unexpectedly stands up to her ex-husband with far-reaching results, but what is she meant to do now and how can she protect her son? The first chapter brilliantly introduced the story, a few pages set my thoughts running amok and stirred up a hornets nest of intrigue. Jo Jakeman sets in motion a hugely effective countdown at the beginning of each chapter which keeps the tension cranked up high. The characters vividly lit up my mind as they bypassed sensible and began to run down desperation. As I read I questioned the lengths I would go to, to protect those I love. I found myself so involved with the storyline, at times I had to stop myself from forming a cheerleading squad! ‘Sticks and Stones’ is compulsive, addictive, heart in mouth stuff, I suggest popping reality to one side and just launching yourself straight in.
Make no mistake, this debut novel is startling and often painfully uncomfortable, yet it is a stunning, actually breathtaking piece of literature. 14 year old Turtle is strong, capable, different, she is also suffering… deeply and painfully. Within the first few pages I knew that ‘My Absolute Darling’ was going to be an unforgettable read. By the end of the first chapter, ice-cold fingers had run down my spine and sent my whole system into shock. I felt as though I was viewing life from an entirely different perspective, one absolutely humming with intensity. I wanted to stop the feelings of disbelief and horror that were crowding into my mind, but I knew that I had to bear witness. Gabriel Tallent’s writing is surprisingly simple, yet he paints a vibrant pulsating picture, this man sees life, sees beneath the surface, and grants you access too. The plants, wildlife, and surrounding countryside, so beautifully described, link with the reality of Turtle’s life and on occasion act as a buffer to what is happening. There were times when ‘My Absolute Darling’ made me scream inside, yet I couldn't stop reading this remarkable and actually rather beautiful novel. It will undoubtedly be one of my books of the year.
Fabulous First-time Fiction
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