Time Out Books: NZ Bestsellers
For the week ending 9 May 2022
1. How to Loiter in a Turf War by Coco Solid (Penguin/PRH)
A debut at number one for the multimedia talent AKA Jessica Hansell. The story of three friends surviving a long, hot Auckland summer, this is not so much a novel, Angelique Kasmara writes in Kete, but ‘more novella in volume and a connector between the genre-dissolving anarchy of zine culture and more traditional literary work.’ Read her full review here.
2. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason (HarperCollins)
Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the U.K., this is an exploration of inheritance, desire and forgiveness, it’s the ‘blisteringly funny’ story of tall, blonde, and brilliant Martha’ set from the mid 90s to 2017, ‘as she navigates life with an undiagnosed mental illness, Josie Shapiro writes on Read Close.
3. Auē by Becky Manawatu (Mākaro Press)
We can’t get enough of the winner of the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at the 2020 Ockham NZ Book Awards. Auē has been New Zealand’s best-selling novel for the past two years. Hear Becky discuss her book with Lynn Freeman on Radio New Zealand.
4. Entanglement by Bryan Walpert (Mākaro Press)
Walpert is a poet and literary scholar whose first novel is a finalist for the $60,000 Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize for Fiction at this year’s Ockhams. A ‘beautiful, stylistically adventurous and deeply philosophical work, Angelique Kasmara writes in her ANZL review. ‘Walpert has a screenwriter’s eye for foreshadowing and payoff, with the three narrative strands braiding together to form a Möbius strip, seams eventually dissolving.’ Read her full review here.
5. Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (Huia)
A subversive, imaginative re-framing of the myth of the monster bird woman, Kurangaituki is an audacious structural feat—and another finalist for the Jann Medlicott Acorn Prize. Hereaka’s first novel for adults has been compared with Keri Hulme’s The Bone People: ‘both push against the conventional expectations of how to write and read a novel,’ writes Tania Roxborogh for Kete.
1. Grand: Becoming My Mother’s Daughter by Noelle McCarthy (Penguin)
Once again, the top spot in nonfiction goes to this lauded memoir that is ‘complex, thrilling and raw’ and ‘the opposite of comfort reading,’ writes Rachael King. ‘At the heart of this book is a revelation about lines of women in families, and trauma, and how it has the potential to repeat. In fiction, in myth, we’d say we are doomed to repeat it’. Read the full review on Reading Room.
2. So Far, For Now by Fiona Kidman (Vintage/PRH)
Kidman’s book of personal essays is a model of thoughtful, wide-ranging life writing, exploring personal loss and past homes, her Pike River advocacy, research for her books on Jean Batten and Albert Black, and both the solitary and public lives of a writer. Look for the ANZL’s forthcoming review by Rachel O’Connor.
3. The Bookseller at the End of the World by Ruth Shaw (Allen & Unwin)
Ruth Shaw runs two bookshops in Manapouri in New Zealand’s far south. This winsome memoir includes book talk and stories about the people who frequent her shops, as well as adventures that include sailing and goldmining, pirates and drug addicts, and going AWOL from the military. Read an in-depth interview with Ruth at the Stuff website.
4. Shifting Grounds: Deep Histories of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland by Lucy Mackintosh (BWB)
An Illustrated Nonfiction finalist at this week’s Ockham NZ Book Awards, this superb book is an exploration of the cultural histories of three of Auckland’s most iconic landscapes: Pukekawa (the Domain), Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill) and the Ōtuataua Stonefields at Ihumātao. Anna Rankin’s review for Metro includes photography by Haru Sameshima.
5. Imagining Decolonisation by Biance Elkington, Moana Jackson, Rebecca Kiddle, Ocean Ripeka Mercier, Mike Ross, Jennie Smeaton, Amanda Thomas (BWB)
This landmark collection of essays was first published in May 2020, and almost two years on it remains essential reading on history, tikanga, law, politics, our Pacific relationships and envisaging the future. The great Moana Jackson died in March: read some reflections on his legacy at e-tangata.