Ellen, Sun Bookseller, has been reading The Healing Party by Micheline Lee.
This is one of those great novels that transports you completely into its universe. Natasha Chan’s evangelical Christian family live life with a very particular intensity.The depth of feeling around their faith is suffocating, as is the family dynamic, and a dark seam of lies flows beneath the surface.
Natasha has escaped to Darwin but she is called back into the family fold when her mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer. On her return she confronts the zealotry, the mess, and the immense love that is her family, all of which is intensified by her charismatic father’s revelation that the family must host an enormous “healing party” if they want their mother to return to health. The pressure is on.
Beautiful Australian debut fiction.
1. It is of little surprise that our top selling book in May was The Official Miss Fisher Colouring Book. We hosted a massive, star-studded launch event with the team at Every Cloud Productions. Kerry Greenwood, Nathan Page and Essie Davis were all in attendance, along with a crowd that were queuing out the door before 8am for their chance to get their hands on this gorgeously illustrated book.
2. Two Decades Naked by Leigh Hopkinson came in at number two. The literary debut of a former stripper is sexy, seductive, insightful and superbly written.
3. Dominic Smith’s The Last Painting of Sara De Vos is an atmospheric entry at number 3. Beautifully descriptive and moody, this tale of art, fraud, loss and history is a must read for everyone – especially if you enjoyed Tracey Chevalier’s Girl With A Pearl Earring.
4. Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner is continuing to draw us in – Helen’s conversational and accessible writing style nurtures readers and offers moments of effortless insight.
5. It feels like everyone has caught what we have dubbed “Ferrante Fever”, and there does not seem to be a cure for this wide spreading and highly contagious reading frenzy – except to give in and read! My Brilliant Friend, the first of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels has entranced readers worldwide – as well as here in Yarraville – gathering more readers every week.
6. With the release of the trailer for the film adaptation, coupled with her recent appearance at numerous Australian literary events, Paula Hawkins’The Girl on the Train has enjoyed a serious resurgence back up to the top of our best sellers list. Tense, twisting, dramatic and more than just a little creepy, this is a page turner for lovers of psychological thrillers – akin to Gone Girl.
7. Winner of the 2016 Stella Prize. Finalist for the 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Winner and nominee of many other literary awards, The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood is gripping, dark, and a confronting look at women being given a public trial by the media, and being stripped of their identity. Misgony, corporation, gender and humanity clash in this raw, electric prose.
8. Georgia Blain’s latest novel, Between A Wolf and A Dog is a beautifully crafted story that elegantly explores the complexity of the family dynamic, and the relationships that form and fall over time. A stunning book that we love to recommend.
9. The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a FCK by Sarah Knight has, at times, been confused as a satirical or spoof version of Marie Kondo’s multi-million copy selling The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And while it may give more than a nod to this revolution with it’s name, Knight is really encouraging her readers to tidy their social life. Stop tying themselves in knots with social obligations and societies expectations, and start putting themselves first.
10. The 2016 Pultizer Prize for Fiction Winner, The Sympathizer by Viet Than Nguyen rounds out the top ten. A dynamic novel that explores the nature of politics, identity and espionage at the height of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Gripping and powerful.
Younger Sun bookseller, Ella, has been reading Whisper to Me by Nick Lake
Engrossing, addictive and disturbing … I’ve never quite read a book like this.
Cass didn’t do what they said she did in the news and now she’s telling her story, to set the record straight.
Written in the form of an email to you, the boy she has fallen in love with and whose heart she has subsequently broken, Cass writes in shocking detail about the summer her life fell apart. It’s been two years since Cass saw her mother die in an armed robbery at the family restaurant, two years since her father has been able to look her in the eye and two years since the Houdini Killer (a serial killer targeting sex workers) took his first victim. Now it’s the beginning of the summer before Cass’ final year of school and she’s hearing voices. Well, just one voice, but that’s bad enough right? Over the course of the summer Cass will find a foot belonging to a dead girl, hear a voice that could belong to that dead girl, hurt herself in various ways because The Voice has told her to, fall in with you and then break your heart.
There’s a lot going on in this book but Lake somehow manages to bring it all together in an absorbing and cohesive way. As it is written in the second person it is almost impossible not to be drawn into this story of mental illness, family secrets and first loves. Lake’s depiction of The Voice and the effect it has on Cass is particularly disturbing and I had to be careful about reading certain passages at night. However, it was incredibly eye-opening to get an insight into the way people with this particular trauma feel and how they rationalise this completely illogical occurrence to themselves. This is by no means a light read, but is wonderfully written with characters that bury themselves in your heart.
Kate, Sun Bookshop Manager, has been reading The Dry by Jane Harper.
It is really hard, as a bookseller, to read a book that makes everything you pick up after you’ve finished pale in comparison. But this is the effect that Jane Harper’s debut novel had on me. It held me for 12 hours. Cover to cover. I didn’t stop. And now I cannot find anything else that comes close to it. And everyone I speak to who has had the opportunity to read this tense, dramatic, all consuming book, feels the same.
Before the reader is introduced to the first character, you know that something horrific has happened to the people in this novel – not only an unspeakable crime, but the cruel, lingering effects of drought. You follow the path of a fly; lazily weaving its way through the stifling heat of a dry Victorian Countryside, toward a souring pool of blood. The tragic deaths of a farming family shock the town, but no one is surprised by the rumours of a murder/suicide. Two shops remain in the once thriving main street, neighbour distrusts neighbour, and everyone is struggling to keep heads above (the long-gone) water.
Equipped with a main character who was forced to abandon the town 20 years earlier, Harper weaves an intriguing tale that delivers twist after twist, exploring the raw, harrowing and savage side of human nature when someone has everything to lose.
Book of the Year.
Pele, Younger Sun Bookseller, has been reading The Special Ones by Em Bailey.
Esther, Lucille, Felicity and Harry are the special ones. They all have their roles and they live in perfect harmony away from the corruption of the modern world.
Every day HE watches them. Seeing every move, making sure they are still pure. HE knows when their souls are ready to move on to another Esther or another Lucille.
They believe they are special and safe away from the outside world. But what will happen if their souls are ready to move on? Are they still safe?
Creepy and eerie. A gripping read.
Zoe, Sun Bookseller, has been reading My Brilliant Friend, and The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante.
My Brilliant Friend, the first book of the Neapolitan quartet, chronicles the life-long friendship and rivalry of Elena Greco and Lina Cerullo with a ferocious intensity and authority. The Neapolitan quartet is ostensibly set in the outskirts of Naples, in a chaotic and destitute neighborhood where the Camorra reigns.
Early in the novel Elena, the narrator, writes, “I feel no nostalgia for our childhood: it was full of violence.” The brutality of poverty, class, misogyny and violence tears through their childhood and adolescence, scarring each of them throughout their adult lives. Much of the quartet sees Elena and Lina struggling with acceptance and rejection of their native Naples, attempting to reconcile the savagery of their lives.
Ferrante is quoted as having said that she likes to write narratives “where the writing is clear, honest, and where the facts of ordinary life are extraordinarily gripping when read.” Her description is exact; the prose is rigorous, visceral and almost obsessively compelling.
Ferrante’s novels potently recall the neorealist Italian cinema of De Sica, Rossellini, and Visconti in their political urgency and intensely personal character portraits but they also invite comparison with the intricacy of Virginia Woolf. Their capacity to lucidly follow complex threads of thought is remarkable. The novel is as much delicately nuanced with reflection as it is violently punctuated with action, making the experience of reading Ferrante’s work captivating and deeply affecting.
The quartet spans some 50 years of the women’s friendship, following simultaneously decades of political, socio-economic turmoil and upheaval, eventually amounting to a collective portrait of both nation and woman – an accumulative masterpiece.
Here at the Younger Sun we love YA and we have loved hosting our real-life young adult readers at YA Bookclub for the past six years. It’s still going strong. However, even though our early members are all grown up now, their love for YA endures.
So, we are so excited to announce our brand-new Post YA YA bookclub, for all you YA-lovers over the age of 18.
Meet us once a month in the Younger Sun for wine, cheese and chats about fantastic new YA books.
This month we are reading Front Lines, by Michael Grant.
Post YA YA Bookclub
Tuesday 7 June
The Younger Sun, 26 Murray Street, Yarraville
To keep things simple, the YA and Post YA YA bookclubs will read the same books. Bookclub books are 20% off the RRP all month for everybody. Previous YA Bookclub books have included…