Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Recent Books

Transcription (September 2018)

By Kate Atkinson

September 25, 2018

Think of it as an adventure, Perry had said right at the beginning of all this.  And it had seemed like one.  A bit of a lark, she had thought.  A Girl’s Own adventure.

In 1940, eighteen-year-old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage.  Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying.  But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to past for ever.

Ten years later, now a producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past.  A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat.  A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is not action without consequence.

 

Boy Swallows Universe (September 2018)

By Trent Dalton

September 25, 2018

Brisbane, 1985: A lost father, a mute brother, a junkie mum, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter.  It’s not as if Eli Bell’s life isn’t complicated enough already.  He’s just trying to follow his heart and understand what it means to be a good man, but fate keeps throwing obstacles in his way – not the least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer.

But now Eli’s life is going to get a whole lot more serious: he’s about to meet the father he doesn’t remember, break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day to rescue his mum, come face to face with the criminals who tore his world apart, and fall in love with the girl of his dreams.

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.

Early Riser (September 2018)

By Jasper Fforde

September 25, 2018

Every Winter, the human population hibernates.

During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity.

Well, not quite.

Your name is Charlie Worthing and it’s your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses.

You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense: nothing more than a quirky artefact borne of the sleeping mind.

When the dreams start to kill people, it’s unsettling.

When you get the dreams too, it’s weird.

When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity.

But teasing truth from Winter is never easy.  You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping and stamp-collecting, ensure you aren’t eaten by Nightwalkers whose thirst for human flesh can only be satisfied by comfort food, and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk.

But as long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you’ll be fine.

The Party (September 2018)

By Robyn Harding

September 25, 2018

One invitation.  A lifetime of regrets.

Sweet sixteen.  It’s an exciting rite of passage.  Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah – a good girl with excellent grades and nice friends.  Rather than an extravagant affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, movies and a sleepover.  What could possibly go wrong?

But things do go wrong, and Hannah’s party quickly turns into the stuff of nightmares.  After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s life begins to unravel.  In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are exposed, and the truth about Hannah is revealed.

The Party takes us behind the façade of the ideal family, exposing the betrayals and moral lapses that occur behind closed doors – and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and one another.

The Sparsholt Affair (September 2018)

By Alan Hollinghurst

September 25, 2018

In 1940, David Sparsholt goes up to Oxford University.  Charismatic and good-looking, he seems to have little awareness of the effect he has on others, not least on the lonely and romantic Evert Dax.  As the Blitz rages fifty miles away in London, the university exists in a strange limbo, in which nightly blackouts conceal secret liaisons.  Aware that they will soon be called up, the two men forge an unlikely friendship that will colour their lives for decades to come…

The Sparsholt Affair tells the story of a circle of friends and families, with David and Evert at their centre; we see their reputations rise and fall, watch as one becomes the subject of a national scandal, and follow the impact of such sensational events across the generations.  Through this captivating human drama.  Alan Hollinghurst explores the social, sexual and cultural revolutions that made the world we know today.

Reservoir 13 (September 2018)

By Jon McGregor

September 25, 2018

Midwinter in the early years of this century.  A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England.  The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home.

The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life.  As it must.

An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace, Reservoir 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a stranger’s tragedy refuse to subside.

The Unfinsihed Palazzo (September 2018)

By Judith Mackrell

September 25, 2018

Abandoned unfinished on Venice’s Grand Canal, “il palazzo non finite” was once an unloved guest among its opulent neighbours.  Yet in the 20th century it played host to three unconventional women who would take the city by storm.

The staggeringly wealthy Marchesa Luisa Casati made her new home a belle epoque fantasy and herself a living work of art; notorious British socialite Doris Castlerosse welcomed film stars and royalty to glittering parties; and American heiress Peggy Guggenheim amassed a collection of modern art that draws visitors from around the world.

Individually sensational and collectively remarkable, these tales of modern Venice tell us much about how women chose to live in the 20th century.

nine perfect strangers (September 2018)

By Liane Moriarty

September 25, 2018

shame  guilt  loss  grief  privilege  insecurity  addiction  identity  love

The retreat at health and wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation.  Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds.

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.

The Missing Girl (September 2018)

By Jenny Quintana

September 25, 2018

Anna Flores was just a child when her adored teenage sister disappeared.

Unable to deal with the pain, Anna took the first opportunity she had to run away from her fractured family, eventually building a life for herself abroad.

Now, thirty years on, her mother has died, and Anna must return home to sort through her possessions.  In doing so, she had to confront the huge hole her sister’s disappearance left in their lives, leaving just one question unanswered: what really happened to Gabriella?

Because not knowing is worse than the truth.  Isn’t it?

The Accordionist (September 2018)

By Fred Vargas

September 25, 2018

When two Parisian women are murdered in their homes, the police suspect young accordionist Clement Vauquer.  As he was seen outside both of the apartments in question, it seems like an open-and-shut case.

Desperate for a chance to prove his innocence, Clement disappears.  He seeks refuge with old Marthe, the only mother figure he has ever known, who calls in ex-special investigator Louis Kehlweiler.

Louis is soon faced with his most complex case yet and he calls on some unconventional friends to help him.  He must show that Clement is not responsible and solve a fiendish riddle to find the killer…

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required