Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Books Archive

Month: December 2018

The Honourable Thief (December 2018)

By Meaghan Wilson Anastasios

December 13, 2018

Istanbul, Turkey 1955

Benedict Hitchens, once a world-renowned archaeologist, is now a discredited – but still rather charming – shell of his former self.

Once full of optimism and adventure, his determination to prove that Achilles was a real historical figure led him to his greatest love, Karina, on the island of Crete and to his greatest downfall, following the disappearance of an enigmatic stranger, Eris.

His has one last chance to restore his reputation, solve the mystery of Eris and prove his Achilles theory.  But it is full of risk, and possibly fatal consequences…

The Heart’s Invisible Furies (December 2018)

By John Boyne

December 13, 2018

Cast out from home, sixteen and pregnant, Catherine Goggin boards the bus to Dublin to start afresh.  Once there, she has no choice but to believe that the nun to whom she entrusts her child will find him a better life.

The baby is named Cyril by his adoptive parents, who treat him more like a curiosity than a son.  But before this can affect him too deeply, he meets Julian Woodbead who, even from childhood, seems destined for an infinitely more glamorous and dangerous life.

And so begins one man’s funny and moving search to find his place in a world that seems to delight in gently tormenting him at every turn.  Buffeted by circumstance and the consequences of his own questionable judgement, Cyril must navigate his emotions and his desires in search of that most instinctive human need…happiness.

Dead Writers in Rehab (December 2018)

By Paul Bassett Davies

December 13, 2018

When literary reprobate Foster James wakes up in a strange country house, he assumes he’s been consigned to rehab (yet again) by his dwindling band of friends and growing collection of ex-wives.  But when he gets punched in the face by Ernest Hemingway he soon realizes there’s something a bit different about this place…

Is Foster dead?  Has his less-than-saintly existence finally caught up with him?  After a hostile group therapy session with Hunter S. Thompson, Colette, William Burroughs and Coleridge, it seems pretty likely.  But he still feels alive, especially after he gets laid by Dorothy Parker.

When he discovers that the two enigmatic doctors who run the institution are being torn apart by a thwarted love affair, he and the other writers must work together to save something that, for once, is bigger than their own gigantic egos.

Dead Writers in Rehab is a darkly funny tale about the strange and terrible entanglement of creativity and addiction, told by a charming, selfish bastard who finally confronts his demons in a place that’s part Priory, part Purgatory, and where the wildest fiction can tell the soberest truth.

Lonely Girl (December 2018)

By Lynne Vincent McCarthy

December 13, 2018

In the shadow of a mountain in a small-town Tasmania, a woman named Ana is watching the clock, marking the days until she ends her life.

The strange, reclusive daughter of the local pariah, that’s how people will remember her, when they remember her at all.  No one will mourn her, she reasons, not really.  Not even her faithful dog River.  The only thing she’s waiting for is the opportunity.

But then, on the very day she planned to end it all, the police find the body of local woman Rebecca Marsden.  And for Ana, that changes everything.  Because Ana was the last person to see Rebecca alive.  Because Ana thinks she knows who killed her.  And because Ana has decided to keep him for herself…

My Year of Rest and Relaxation (December 2018)

By Ottessa Moshfegh

December 13, 2018

A shocking, hilarious and strangely tender novel about a young woman’s experiment in narcotic hibernation, aided and abetted by one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature.  Our narrator has many of the advantages of life, on the surface.  Young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, she lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like everything else, by her inheritance.  But there is a vacuum at the heart of things, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents in college, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her alleged best friend.  It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility: what could be so terribly wrong?

This story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs, designed to heal us from our alienation from this world, shows us how reasonable, even necessary, that alienation sometimes is.  Blackly funny, both merciless and compassionate – dangling its legs over the ledge of 9/11 – this novel is a showcase for the gifts of one of America’s major young writers working at the height of her powers.

Kingdom of the Blind (December 2018)

By Louise Penny

December 13, 2018

When Armand Gamache receives a letter inviting him to an abandoned farmhouse outside Three Pines, the former head of the Surete du Quebec discovers that a complete stranger has named him as executor of her will.  Armand never knew the elderly woman, and the bequests are so wildly unlikely that he suspects she must have been delusional – until a body is found, and the terms of the bizarre document suddenly seem far more menacing.

Armand sets about investigating, but meanwhile he is taking increasingly desperate measures to rectify the recent events that led to his suspension.  As he does, he begins to see his own blind spots – and the terrible things hiding there…

The Colours of all the Cattle (December 2018)

By Alexander McCall Smith

December 13, 2018

At the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Precious Ramotswe is pondering the meaning of her life and whether in fact there is one.  A meeting with Mma Potokwani – who runs the local orphan farm – provides unsettling inspiration.

It is Mma Ramotswe’s instinct for selflessness, her calm and rational thinking, Mma Rotokwani proclaims, that make her a perfect candidate for a newly vacant seat on the local council.  Who better than Precious Ramotswe to defend the community against corruption and injustice?

Meanwhile, part-time detective Charlie is assigned a troubling case.  He is keen to prove both his ability to his superior, Mma Makutsi, and his worth to Queenie-Queenie who has captured his heart; and Mma Makutsi is confidently in pursuit of a ruthless local property developer.

The path to triumph, however, is beset with problems for Charlie and Mma Makutsi, while Mma Ramotswe comes to recognize that it not political power that gives her life its vital purpose – it is simply her inherent desire to understand and support those who need her most.

The Bookseller (December 2018)

By Cynthia Swanson

December 13, 2018

Sliding Doors set in a bookshop…

Nothing is as permanent as it appears.

Denver, 1962

Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life.

She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963

Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life.

They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends.

It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted – but it only exists when she sleeps.  Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternative world.

But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes.

Can she choose which life she wants?  If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

After the Peace (December 2018)

By Fay Weldon

December 13, 2018

How many parents does it take to make a baby?

In the case of Rosalind Melrose Smithson it took four: one birth mother, one legal father, one interfering neighbor and one turkey baster filled with the defrosted essence of an anonymous donor.

But, as they say, the truth will out.  And what will our Rozzie do when she finds out that her dear old dad is, in fact, the 9th Earl of Dilberne?  All we know is that as a true Millennial, she will not take it lying down…

Sharp, insightful and full of Weldon’s trademark wit, this is a tale of family life, genetics and class that reflects the way we live our lives now.

Lies Sleeping (November 2018)

By Ben Aaronovitch

December 5, 2018

Martin Chorley, aka the Faceless Man, wanted for multiple counts of murder, fraud and crimes against humanity, has been unmasked and is on the run.

Peter Grant, Detective Constable and apprentice wizard, now plays a key role in an unprecedented joint operation to bring Chorley to justice.

But even as the unwieldly might of the Metropolitan Police bears down on its foe, Peter uncovers clues that Chorley, far from being finished, is executing the final stages of a long term plan.

A plan that has its roots in London’s two thousand bloody years of history, and could literally bring the city to its knees.

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