APRIL 

 

 

Museum of Modern Love - Heather Rose 

This is one of the most extraordinary novels I've read in a long time. Inspired by the life and work of the provocative and controversial performance artist Marina Abramovic, this novel responds in particular to Abramovic's 75 day sit in at the MOMA in New York, to become a work of art in itself. With reflections on the nature of art, the creative process, and what it means to be an artist, Heather Rose has created a convincing cast of characters who are all in some way affected by Abramovic's unsettling work. My pick for the Stella Prize! Molly

 

 

 

Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders 

Saunders is one of the most celebrated short story writers in contemporary fiction and his first novel is nothing short of breathtaking. Drawing its inspiration from the premature death of Abraham Lincoln's 11 year old son, ..Bardo is a bravura, albeit hallucinogenic, work. Told from multiple perspectives of souls in purgatory, Saunders is able to make this unlikely premise work. This is a daring book, one that defies many of our conceptions of the form of 'a novel', but is, at the end, a very human story. This will not be a book for everyone, but for those who loved it, as I did, it will be a joy to read and reflect on - Gavin 

 

 

 

 See what I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt 

Based on true events, this debut novel retells the terrible tale of Lizzie Borden, who was famously accused of the brutal murder of her father and step mother on August 4th 1892. Reading this novel is like watching a car accident in slow motion repeated from different perspectives. Haunting, unsettling, riveting and utterly compelling, this is one for those who loved  the poetic rawness of 'Burial Rites'  and for anyone who enjoys a gory psychological thrillers. Kim

 

 

 

 The Little Breton Bistro - Nina George

Upon reading the first chapter I knew that I wanted to know everything about Marianne Messman and what or who had driven her to such a dark place, and caused her to be so emotionally ill-equipped and alone. I found myself drawn into Marianne’s journey of self – discovery. I love Nina George’s use of real graphical locations as it gives me a sense of time and place. Fran

 

 

 

 

Storyland - Catherine McKinnon

This is an ambitious novel that honestly explores who we are as Australians, challenging our history, our present and our future. Poetically staged under the protective shade of an old knotted fig tree on the banks of Lake Illawarra, this tale spans four centuries and is told through five cleverly interlocking storylines with a handful of characters some of which are historically recognisable such as Matthew Flinders and George Bass or are distantly related or share a connection through circumstance. Storyland leaves you with an overwhelming need to sit and quietly think about what you just experienced. Kim

 

 

Insomniac City by Bill Hayes

In this series of fragments, sketches, vignettes, and photographs, Bill Hayes, partner of the late Oliver Sacks, offers glimpses into the incredible brain of Sacks, their relationship forged through a mutual curiosity for art, science and humanity, and a city that never sleeps—New York City, where the two live and love and write. Tender and powerfully moving, this book is a celebration of life, and an homage to a beautiful relationship. I could not put this down! Molly

 

PAST STAFF PICKS 

Days Without End – Sebastian Barry

Between a Wolf and a Dog - Georgia Blain

Quicksand - Steve Toltz

Where the Trees Were - Inga Simpson

You - Caroline Kepnes 

The Last Painting Of Sara De Vos - Dominic Smith

Everyone Brave is Forgiven - Chris Cleave

LaRose - Louise Erdrich 

My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante

The Noise of Time - Julian Barnes 

My Name is Lucy Barton - Elizabeth Strout

H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald