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Visitation Street
(Hardback)
Ivy Pochoda
 

Visitation street by Ivy Pochoda had me in its grip right from the first page. It's a dark, intense story of grief, mystery, and loss of innocence, and it starts with a beautifully atmospheric evocation of a neighbourhood in a heatwave: 'Summer is everybody else's party. It belongs to the recently arrived hipsters in their beat-up sneakers and paint-splattered jeans. It belongs to Puerto Rican families with foil trays of meat, sending charcoal smoke signals into the air, even to the old men...watching the neighbourhood pass them by.' Pochoda tells the story of two teenaged girls, by turns bored with the prospect of endless scorching days stretching ahead of them, and excited about the potential of life that they're just beginning to grasp. Their attempt to escape the heat of a New York summer with a late night trip on an inflatable raft leads, almost inevitably, to tragedy, and sets in motion a summer of and revelation and breakdown. - Heather

 

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Down the Rabbit Hole
(Paperback)
Juan Pablo Villalobos; Rosalind Harvey
 
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Leaving the Atocha Station
(Paperback)
Ben Lerner
Leaving the Atocha Station is a beautifully written debut by prizewinning poet Ben Lerner. Adam Gordon, an American poet in his early twenties, finds himself in Madrid on a prestigious fellowship. Tanked up on espressos, un-prescribed prescription tranquillisers and fluctuating levels of terror, Adam struggles to claim authenticity and maintain a grasp on the fine line between life and art. In many ways it can be considered a coming of age novel, or rather, a novel documenting an artist's growth into maturity, except we are left questioning whether this was ever actually achieved... Clever, funny and at times, poignant (despite our unreliable narrator's best intentions) this is a thoroughly enjoyable read. - Fran
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The People of Forever are Not Afraid
(Hardback)
Shani Boianjiu
Three girls finish their schooling in Israel and begin their mandatory military service. Each finds ways to deal with the interminable waiting for something to happen, as the nonchalant hedonism of youth collides with the febrile reality of the West Bank conflict. Sure to provoke strong opinions, Boianju's striking debut is an unsettling read, swinging wildly between pathos and absurdity, but never forgetting the human factor in everything that happens.
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Tampa
(Paperback)
Alissa Nutting

There's a certain prurient horror to reading Alissa Nutting's tabloid-baiting story of a predatory Florida schoolteachers calculating seduction of a 14-year-old boy in her class. But, more than that, the zeal with which she pursues her goal, her rationalisation of what society finds abhorrent and her manipulative dissembling with all those who disrupt her scheme coalesce into an enthralling portrait of a sociopath. - Jonathan

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Vauxhall
(Paperback)
Gabriel Gbadamosi
The best writing transports you effortlessly to another time and place. Gabriel Gbadamosi does just this in Vauxhall, delving into the recent history of the area through the eyes of young Michael, who unwittingly records not just the physical changes but also the constant movement of people and cultures; London in microcosm. - Jasper
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The First Book of Calamity Leek
(Hardback)
Paula Lichtarowicz
This arresting debut novel is set in The Garden, where 14 'Sisters' are being held by a malevolent 'Aunty'. When one of the sisters starts to question what lies beyond the Wall of Safekeeping, the carefully constructed world they live in begins to fall apart. Its shocking premise, cast of weird and wonderful characters and striking narrative voice make this a compelling and original debut. - Frances
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