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A Naked Singularity
Sergio De La Pava
 
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I came back from holiday to find this tome on my desk, placed there as I was deemed to be the most suitable reader as 'someone who loves David Foster Wallace and Thomas Pynchon'. A quick scan of the back told me I could expect to find an ambitious and bonkers novel, full of thrills, philosophical jousting and mind-bending use of language, all concocted by a debut author with a ferocious knowledge of the New York justice system. If you, like I was, are intrigued and slightly incredulous, I whole heartedly recommend this remarkable debut - you will not be disappointed.

Francesca

All That is
All That is (Hardback)
James Salter
 
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Salter’s first novel in decades is further assurance of his deserved stature in American letters. All That Is tells the story of Philip Bowman, a naval officer who enters the world of publishing in New York in the 1950s. As his career advances, Philip embarks on a series of relationships that take him to Europe and back again, in and out of marriage and love. Known for his controlled and precise prose, the author’s sentences are understated yet evocative, perfectly capturing the quiet joys and sorrows of life. This is a great, intelligent read for the (hopefully long and hot) summer months. - Ed
Open City
Open City (Paperback)
Teju Cole
 
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A Nigerian man wanders the streets of New York; partly an escape from the strictures of his work, it nevertheless does little to assuage his sense of alienation from the city he now lives in. By traversing the physical and cultural world of the city he tries to comprehend his place in it and understand other people's perceptions at the same time. - Edward
A Naked Singularity - signed first...
Sergio de la Pava
 
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The Power of Now: A Guide to ...
Eckhart Tolle
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Tolle’s immensely popular book helps the reader to refocus on something which is actually very simple but which gets lost in the speed or routine of everyday activities. He encourages living in the present, valuing now and the happiness that is to be found in this more centred. Open approach to life. In this sense it’s spiritual and meditative but very readable. - Louisa
Leaving the Atocha Station
Ben Lerner
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Veering between the comic and tragic, the self-contemptuous and the inspired, this is a dazzling introduction to one of the smartest, funniest and most audacious writers of a generation. - Edward
The Road Home
The Road Home (Paperback)
Rose Tremain
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The rise and fall and rise again of Lev, a man searching for a new life and opportunities in Britain straight from Eastern Europe. A very humane portrait of a modern immigrant, tenderly drawn, funny and much like a modern fable. One of the best novels I read in 2008. - Rachael
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
Haruki Murakami; Jay Rubin
 
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Toru Okada lives alone, his wife increasingly estranged. After the cat leaves too, his life becomes more and more unreal as he meets a host of characters from a soldier to the rebellious teenager next door who begin to expose the crushing banality of his life so far. - Edward
The Banner of the Passing Clouds
Anthea Nicholson
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The Book of My Lives
Aleksandar Hemon
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Franny and Zooey
Franny and Zooey (Paperback)
J. D. Salinger
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A funny, moving and terrifyingly erudite look at family life and the burden of being very very clever. Preferably preceded by For Esme with Love and Squalor for an introduction to the characters. Proof that Salinger produced more than just the excellent The Catcher In The Rye. - Jen
The Heart of a Dog
The Heart of a Dog (Paperback)
Mikhail Afanasevich Bulgakov; Andrey...
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When the brilliant professor Philip Philipovich befriends a stray dog Sharik, he has all ingredients to conduct his most groundbreaking operation. He implants human testicles on Sharik, which results in an appalling and intolerable human being who has a penchant for chasing cats. If you can’t make a man out of a human, how do you expect to make a man out of a dog? Inventive and experimental, this book is both entertaining and politically and socially critical, in a proper Bulgakovian style. - Telka
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe:...
Carson McCullers
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Carson McCullers’ work is timeless and deals with somewhat obscure and grotesque characters. Or are they, really? What does it mean to be different and how does society receive individuals? Probably the most well known story is ‘The Ballad of the Sad Café’, which tells of Miss Amelia, who was once married to violent Marvin Macy. She leads a solitary life until the hunchback Lymon enters her world, claiming to be her cousin. Without giving away too much, this is a story that beautifully demonstrates the frailty of humanity, the fickleness of love and the crushing pain of rejection. - Telka
The True Deceiver
The True Deceiver (Paperback)
Tove Jansson; Ali Smith; Thomas Teal
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Tove Jansson is a Finnish author mainly known for writing the Moomin stories. However, I would like to direct your attention towards her fiction. I loved this book because it paints a perfect and intriguing portrait of Scandinavia. Cool and quiet as falling snow, it’s full of nature; it’s so daunting, and yet so inviting as Scandinavia itself. - Telka
Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets
David Simon; Richard Price
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A weighty-but-worth-it book from the man who brought hit TV show The Wire into the world. Following the case load of the over-worked homicide detectives in America’s Baltimore and uncovering untold amounts of violence and intrigue.
Of Human Bondage
Of Human Bondage (Paperback)
W. Somerset Maugham
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A classic bildungsroman, this follows the fortunes of Philip Carey, an orphan brought up by his Aunt and Uncle who struggles to break free from the conventions placed upon him and pursue a life enamoured with the freedom he so desires. Often seen as reflective of Maugham's early years, this is heartfelt and always concerned with the central questions of life. - Edward

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