Looking for a great read this weekend? Let’s delve into the recent reading habits of our staff members and see if we can’t find you something!
fiona: the distant marvels by chantel acevedo
Cuba, 1963. Maria Sirena is an old woman alone with her memories and would prefer to wait out the force of oncoming Hurricane Flora in her own humble shack but a soldier from Castro’s new army herds her and six other women to safety in the Governor’s old mansion. Maria Sirena was born a story teller and now that skill may just keep her and the other women alive. But as Maria reveals more than she meant secrets are spoken and lies exposed. Encompassing a 100 years of Cuban history this is remarkable novel is set during a time and in a place I knew little about. Acevedo is a powerful story teller weaving history, myths, politics and love in all its form into a mesmerizing novel. One of my favourites for the year, so far!
sarah: dietland by sarai walker
Plum Kettle is overweight but any day now her life will begin. She will be thin and she will find love. Instead she finds an radical underground feminist group and decides to live as her true self – dispensing vigilante justice along the way. A hilariously surreal satire that is just as subversive as it is fun, and challenges the regular traps of your standard “love yourself for who you are” story.
sally: orient by christopher bollen
A riveting literary thriller and a ‘death of the American dream’ type novel. It ranges from a close Hamptons-esque village to the New York art scene, and features incredibly well-sketched characters. It’s like a Franzen novel but with murders!
KRISSY: THE fIRST bAD mAN BY MIRANDA JULY
This is the strangest but most wonderful book and I am pretty sure I will be compelled to read it again. Cheryl works for a company that used to make self defence videos for women but the organisation has changed and now they make lots of money with their self-defence videos which are now basically just work out videos. She works from home but has a crush on Philip an older, wealthy man who is on the board of the company. When Cheryl shows Philip “a little heat” he responds by sharing a shameful secret with her. Glowing from her new position as Philip’s confidante, the last thing that Cheryl wants is for the bratty teenaged daughter of her bosses to move in to her carefully managed solitary life. Unfortunately she does not have the gumption to say no to her employers and Cheryl’s lifestyle changes – forever. Cheryl’s way of double thinking her every action feels disturbingly like she has climbed into my skull and spied on my own secret anxieties. This is a book that will make you cringe, exacerbate your own anxieties but also make you think deeply about relationships, love, and a sense of the self. Fans of the TV series Girls and the movies of Noah Baumbach will love it.
sarah: mislaid by nell zink
A young lesbian college student has an affair with and marries her gay poetry professor, and although the relationship is an absolute disaster, they manage to have 2 children. Finally Peggy cracks and after driving the car into the lake, escapes the marriage with her daughter, leaving her young son behind. On the run, and thanks to a stolen birth certificate, Peggy and Mickey (now Meg and Karen) pose as blacks in the American south. Spanning decades, to say this story about the anti-American family is absurd would be an understatement, but in the best possible way.