“In the summer of 2018, Putnam published an unusual debut novel by a retired wildlife biologist named Delia Owens. The book, which had an odd title and didn’t fit neatly into any genre, hardly seemed destined to be a blockbuster, so Putnam printed about 28,000 copies.
It wasn’t nearly enough.” – the New York Times.
1 All Who Live on Islands by Rose Lu (Victoria University Press, $30)
2 Normal People by Sally Rooney (Faber, $23)
Sally Rooney Sally Rooney Sally Rooney
3 Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury, $35)
An email from Taddeo the other day: “I don’t think I’ve ever felt so honored by someone’s words. Your piece from back in July (that I have only just seen now, I’m not sure why) made my whole month.”
Probably she says that to all the reviewers but whatever, we’re chuffed. Here’s the piece, again.
4 Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo (Penguin Books, $40)
5 We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall & Tim Denee (Massey University Press, $70)
Alert: on Sunday 1 March McDowall will be talking about this magnificent book at the NZ Festival, alongside Meng Foon, Nadine Anne Hura and Veronika Meduna.
6 Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende (Bloomsbury, $37)
“In spite of being as frail as a partridge, the young girl recovered rapidly, because she turned out to be stronger than she looked. She allowed them to shave her head to get rid of the lice, and didn’t resist the sulfur treatment they used for the scabies. She ate voraciously and showed signs of having a placid temperament that was at odds with her sad situation … In the weeks she spent in the mansion, everyone, from the delirious mistress to all the servants, became deeply attached to her. They had never had a little girl in that stone house haunted by semi-feral cats and ghosts from past ages.”
7 Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (Little, Brown, $25)
8 The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (Chatto & Windus, $48)
Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.
9 The Meaning of Trees by Robert Vennell (HarperCollins, $55)
We’re making a hut in the gully this weekend, with this as reference.
10 Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold by Māori Writers edited by Witi Ihimarea & Whiti Hereaka (Penguin, $38)
“The updates can be startling. In Māui Goes to Hollywood, David Geary takes the archetypal trickster, and couples him with Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, Santa Monica beach, ATMs, the Warriors, cocaine, and the Manly Sea Eagles. It is an audacious revision, which captures perfectly the mythic hero’s personality and energy in a bright pop-art, post-modern explosion.” – David Herkt, reviewing for Your Weekend.