better the blood
When Māori detective Hana Westermann connects two apparently random murders to an historical crime committed during the colonisation of NZ, she has to race against time to prevent further deaths. The challenges and tensions she faces are made all the greater for her own morally complex backstory.
all the young men
Ruth Coker Burks & Kevin Carr O’Leary
The remarkable true story of how one young woman, a solo mother from Arkansas, tended to young men who’d been shunned by society and left alone to die of the feared and little understood “gay disease”. Advocate, educator, carer and empath, Ruth Coker Burks fought prejudice and hypocrisy at every turn to afford comfort, support and a final resting place to many victims of the AIDS crisis.
his bloody project
Graeme Macrae Burnet
It is 19th-Century Scotland. Three bloody murders are committed in a small crofting community. A 17-year-old lad confesses. Is he guilty, or was he insane at the time? Based on a true crime, this Booker-nominated novel offers up a cast of convincing characters and dialogue infused with incisive wit. The novel poses interesting questions about culpability, explored in the light of the law and criminology of the era, while never once detracting from the relentless pace of the story.
this mortal boy
Eighteen-year-old Irishman Albert Black arrived in New Zealand as a ‘ten pound Pom’ in search of a better life. Two years later (1955) he was sentenced to death for the knifing of another young man in a milk-bar brawl. Black would be the second-to-last person hanged here before capital punishment was repealed. This is his story – superbly crafted, poignant, and offering a fascinating insight into 1950s New Zealand.
Punctuated by four funerals and a changing South Africa, Damon Galgut’s Booker-Prize-winning novel tells the story a disintegrating white family and a broken promise. The repeated failure by various family members to honour a promise made to the black woman who has loyally worked for them for years, comes to define the moral fabric of the family, while also having wider historical resonances.
a swim in the pond in the rain
“The focus of my artistic life,” says George Saunders in his latest book, “has been trying to learn to write emotionally moving stories that a reader feels compelled to finish.” This book is a distillation of a creative writing course he taught at Syracuse University for over twenty years, in which seven short stories by great Russian writers are springboards for examining the craft and reflecting on the significance of storytelling.
no friend but the mountains
Winner of the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Prize for Non-fiction (Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2019) this book has been compiled from hundreds of Farsi texts sent by Kurdish poet and journalist from Manus Island, where he has been illegally detained since 2013. Translated by Omid Tofighian, Boochani’s account bears witness to the horrors and inhumanity of the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers.