General Fiction

The Music Shop is a good fun read. For a moment I was worried that its music store setting might make it similar to Nick Hornby’s Hi Fidelity from 1995, but those fears quickly vanished. This music shop is owned by Frank, a tall ungainly man who has one special talent, the ability to read… Read More

Red Sky at Noon is a remarkable historical novel. It is 1942, and the battle of Stalingrad is just beginning. Benya Golden, a Russian Jewish writer, has been imprisoned in the Gulags for a crime he didn’t commit, doomed to die in the dreadful conditions. But then he is offered a strange chance of redemption… Read More

It’s plague season in Paris, and a woman’s entire family is dead except for her son. Then her son is kidnapped, so the woman goes on a merry adventure. I feel like that’s a summary of City of Crows that sits around the same level of Chris Womersley’s writing. Chris Womersley is the author of… Read More

The story is well-known – on 28 April 1789 Fletcher Christian and his followers took control of the HMAV Bounty, disposing of Captain William Bligh and leaving him adrift in the ship’s launch. Many books and movies have covered the mutiny, but Graeme Lay explores the enigmatic character of Fletcher Christian in this well-written and… Read More

The story begins in 1901 and concludes in the winter of 2012. At its centre is a house with a fanciful little turret, built by a river in Christchurch. Over time the land will be subdivided and the single building becomes home to a succession of assorted people enduring the twists and turns of history. Decline &… Read More

Pachinko begins in Korean in 1911, when Koreans lived under Japanese rule. The novel starts with a humble fisherman and his wife, raising the last of their surviving sons. Hoonie who is quiet with a cleft lip, is not considered the best catch, but his family name is good, and while they are not wealthy… Read More

Set in 1929 in Western Queensland, An Uncommon Woman is a novel about a young woman, Edwina Baker, finding her way in a world that is ruled by men. Even though the world is changing, and attitudes are becoming more progressive, Edwina is stuck on the family farm in a life of servitude. She is… Read More

A very enjoyable mix of fiction, biography, travelogue and a writer’s creative angst. Nell Stevens decides to spend part of her Masters course writing her novel on the virtually uninhabited island of Bleaker, part of the Falkland Islands. Unlike the small trickle of tourists, she chooses the middle of winter for her stay in the Falklands… Read More

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