Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Recent Books


By Graham Masterton

February 1, 2016

Katie Maguire knows that in this part of Ireland, the past can never stay buried…

In Blarney, Cork, an old millworker’s cottage guards its secrets.  In 1921, a mother, father and their two young children disappeared from this house.  And now, ninety-five years later, their mummified bodies have been discovered under the floorboards.

The neighbours cannot imagine who would have killed such a harmless family all those years ago.  But as DS Katie Maguire investigates, the flames of old family rivalries flare up once more … and Katie is caught in the crossfire.

After You

By Jojo Moyes

February 1, 2016

Lou Clark has lots of questions.

Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.

Or why the flat she’s owned for a year doesn’t feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.

And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something has to change.

Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorstep hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions?

Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered safe.

Open it and she risks everything.

But Lou once made a promise to live.  And if she’s going to keep it, she has to invite them in…

The long awaited sequel to Me Before You

Coffin Road

By Peter May

February 1, 2016

The Million-selling author of The Lewis Trilogy brings murder back to the outer Hebrides

A Man stands bewildered on a deserted beach on the Hebridean Isle of Harris.  He cannot remember who he is.  The only clue to his identity is a folded map of a path named the Coffin Road.  He does not know where this search will take him.

A Detective from Lewis sits aboard a boat, filled with doubt.  DS George Gunn knows that a bludgeoned corpse has been discovered on a remote rock twenty miles offshore.  He does not know if he has what it takes to uncover how and why.

A Teenage Girl lies in her Edinburgh bedroom, desperate to discover the truth about her scientist father’s suicide.  Two years on, Karen Fleming still cannot accept that he would wilfully abandon her.  She does not yet know his secret.

Coffin Road follows three perilous journeys towards one shocking truth – and the realisation that ignorance can kill us.

In The Light of What We Know

By Zia Haider Rahman

February 1, 2016

One September morning in 2008, an investment banker approaching forty, his career in collapse and his marriage unravelling, receives a surprise visitor at his West London home.  He struggles to place the dishevelled figure carrying a backpack, until he recognizes a friend from his student days, a brilliant man who disappeared years earlier under mysterious circumstances.  The friend has resurfaced to make a confession of unsettling power.

Theirs is the age old story of the bond between two men and the betrayal of one by the other.  As the friends begin to talk, and as their room becomes a world, a journey begins that is by turns exhilarating, shocking, intimate and strange.  Set against the breaking of nations and beneath the clouds of economic crisis, and moving between Kabal, New York, Oxford, London and Islamabad, In the Light of What We Know tells the story of people wrestling with unshakeable legacies of class and culture, and pushes at the great questions of love, origins, science, faith and war.

In an extraordinary feat of imagination, Zia Haider Rahman has woven the seismic upheavals of our young century into a novel of rare compassion, scope and courage.

Born in rural Bangladesh, Zia Haider Rahman was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and at Cambridge, Munich, and Yale Universities.  He has worked as an investment banker on Wall Street and as an international human-rights lawyer.

The Living and the Dead in Winsford (December 2018) – Athenaeum Book Club

By Hakan Nesser

December 1, 2015

Athenaeum Book Club pick for 2017

Winner of the Rosenkrantz Award for Best Thriller of the year.

There is nobody in the whole world who knows that we are here…

A woman arrives in the village of Winsford on Exmoor.  She has travelled a long way and chosen her secluded cottage carefully.  Maria’s intention is to outlive her beloved dog, Castor.  And to survive the torrent of memories that threaten to overwhelm her.

Weeks before, Maria and her husband Martin fled Stockholm under a cloud.  The couple were bound for Morocco, where Martin planned to write an explosive novel; one that would reveal the truth behind dark events within his commune of writers decades before.  But the couple never made it to their destination.

As Maria settles into her lonely new life, walking the wild, desolate moors, it becomes clear that Winsford isn’t quite the sanctuary she thought it would be.  While the long, dark evenings close in and the weather worsens, strange things begin to happen around her.  But what terrible secrets is Maria guarding?  And who is trying to find her?

The Children Act (August 2015) – Athenaeum Book Club

By Ian McEwan

August 1, 2015

An Athenaeum Book Club pick.

Fiona Maye is a leading High Court judge, presiding over cases in the family court.  She is renowned for her fierce intelligence exactitude and sensitivity.  But her professional success belies private sorrow and domestic strife.  There is the lingering regret of her childlessness, and now her marriage of thirty years is in crisis.

At the same time, she is called on to try an urgent case: for religious reasons, a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy, Adam, is refusing the medical treatment that could save his life, and his devout parents share his wishes.  Time is running out.  Should the secular court overrule sincerely held faith?  In the course of reaching a decision Fiona visits Adam in hospital – an encounter which stirs long-buried feelings in her and powerful new emotions in the boy.  Her judgment has momentous consequences for them both.

The Villa at the Edge of the Empire (July 2015) – Athenaeum Book Club

By Fiona Farrell

July 1, 2015

An Athenaeum Book Club pick.

Where are we?  How did we get here?  Where do we go now?

From nineteenth-century attempts to create Utopias to America’s rustbelt, from Darwin’s study of worms to China’s phantom cities, this work ranges widely through history and around the world.  It examines the evolution of cities and of Christchurch in particular, looking at its swampy origins and its ongoing reconstruction following the recent destructive earthquakes.  And it takes us to L’Aquila in Italy to observe another shaken city.

Farrell writes as a resident caught up in a devastated city in an era when political ideology has transformed the citizen to ‘an asset, the raw material on which … empire makes its profit’.  In a hundred tiny pieces, she comments on contentious issues, such as the fate of a cathedral, the closure of schools, the role of insurers, the plans for civic venues.  Through personal observation, conversations with friends, and close readings of everything from the daily newspaper to records of other upheavals in Pompeii and Berlin, this dazzling book explores community, the love of place and, ultimately, regeneration and renewal.

Chappy (July 2015) -Athenaeum Book Club

By Patricia Grace

July 1, 2015

An Athenaeum Book Club pick.

A literary milestone.  Patricia Grace’s first novel in ten years.

Uprooted from his privileged European life and sent to New Zealand to sort himself out, twenty-one-year-old Daniel pieces together the history of his Maori family.  As his relatives revisit their past, Daniel learns of a remarkable love story between his Maori grandmother Oriwia and his Japanese grandfather Chappy.  The more Daniel hears about his deceased grandfather, the more intriguing – and elusive – Chappy becomes.

In this touching portrayal of family life, acclaimed writer Patricia Grace explores racial intolerance, cross-cultural conflicts and the universal desire to belong.  Spanning several decades and several continents and set against the backdrop of a changing New Zealand, Chappy is a compelling story of enduring love.

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