BOOKS

LIFE’S BUSY, AND YOU MAY NOT HAVE GOT TO READ ALL THE GOOD STUFF RE­LEASED IN 2017. HERE ARE SOME HOL­I­DAY STARTERS…

Men's Style (Australia) - - Contents -

The e aweso awe­some e reads eads you may ay have missed this year

1 LIN­COLN IN THE BARDO, by Ge­orge Saun­ders

The win­ner of this year’s Man Booker Prize, the most pres­ti­gious award in fiction writ­ing, Lin­coln In The Bardo is Saun­ders first novel after a num­ber of ac­claimed short story col­lec­tions.

Set at the out­set of the Amer­i­can Civil War, it takes as its start­ing point the sick­ness and death of Pres­i­dent Abra­ham Lin­coln’s 11-year-old son Wil­lie, and the Pres­i­dent’s subsequent grief. What fol­lows there­after is a some­times su­per­nat­u­ral ren­der­ing of Wil­lie’s post-life, trapped in a tran­si­tional realm – the “bardo”.

Told in mul­ti­ple voices, the lan­guage and its rhythm are at first hard to com­pre­hend but slowly, Saun­ders mas­tery of his method has drawn you into the shadow world of spir­its and unset­tled souls.

2 CITY OF CROWS, by Chris Womer­s­ley

Aus­tralian writer Womer­s­ley sets his novel in 17th Cen­tury Paris, where the Plague has al­ready claimed three chil­dren of wi­dow Char­lotte Pi­cot. She de­cides to flee to the coun­try­side but on the road, her re­main­ing child, Ni­cholas, is taken by slavers and she must make a deal with a woman claim­ing to be a witch in or­der to get help.

As in some of Womer­s­ley’s other work such as Bereft, the in­ter­sec­tion of re­al­ity, magic and the oc­cult is not al­ways clear in a Gothic-minded, highly en­gross­ing work.

3 FIRST PER­SON, by Richard Flana­gan

The first novel from the Tas­ma­nian writer since he won the Man Booker prize in 2014 for The Nar­row Road To The Deep North, First Per­son tells the story of penniless young writer, Kif Kehlmann, who is hired to ghost write the mem­oir of a no­to­ri­ous con man and cor­po­rate crim­i­nal, Siegfried Heidl.

The germ of the story comes from Flana­gan’s own ex­pe­ri­ence as a strug­gling writer back in 1991, when he was ap­proached by a pub­lisher to ghost write the mem­oir of no­to­ri­ous fraud­ster John Friedrich. Where truth and fiction di­verge is at the heart of the story.

4 MEN WITH­OUT WOMEN, by Haruki Mu­rakami

One of Ja­pan’s lead­ing lit­er­ary lights, Mu­rakami ex­am­ines mod­ern mas­culin­ity in seven sto­ries which fea­ture lonely hearts and late-night bars, base­ball and the Bea­tles.

While out­wardly stoic, Marukami’s men are lonely, their predica­ments height­ened by an emo­tional dis­con­nec­tion from the women around them. With­out judg­ment, Marukami mas­ter­fully sheds light on the in­te­rior log­ics and psy­cho­log­i­cal states of his pro­ta­gan­ists, told with a wry and un­der­stated hu­mour.

5 THE GOLDEN HOUSE, by Sal­man Rushdie

A novel set in New York, span­ning the elec­tion of Barack Obama as US Pres­i­dent through eight more years un­til a gar­ish fig­ure called ‘The Joker’ is about to take the top job. Won­der who he’s based on?

The story is nar­rated by Rene Un­ter­lin­den as he ob­serves the world of his neigh­bours, the some­what mys­te­ri­ous Golden fam­ily – Nero, the wealthy pa­tri­arch, and his three sons. The tra­vails of Nero and the boys pro­vide the im­pe­tus of the novel, as each re­makes or searches for iden­tity, with the back­grounded po­lit­i­cal land­scape mak­ing it clear Amer­ica is also in the midst of a search for iden­tity.

6 THE THINGS THAT MAKE US, by Nick Riewoldt

Re­cently re­tired after a stel­lar ca­reer in the AFL that saw him play more than 300 games with St Kilda in the top flight, Nick Riewoldt ended his ca­reer ac­knowl­edged as one of the tough­est and most ta­lented for­wards to play the game.

Along the way, Riewoldt lost his sis­ter Mad­die to the rare dis­ease, aplas­tic anaemia, in 2015, her pass­ing marked by the an­nual “Mad­die’s Match” played be­tween St Kilda and Rich­mond to find a cure for the dis­ease.

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