Here’s our wonderful book list
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I HEARD THE OWL CALL MY NAME by Margaret Craven
A modern Canadian classic which deals with the experiences of a young priest assigned to a remote Indian community whose culture is being broken down by modern civilization.
CLOUDSTREET by Tim Winton
Set in Perth, this is the story of two families from the forties to the sixties.
LOVE AMONG THE BUTTERFLIES by Margaret Fountaine
The candid confessions of a cheerful, humorous, inquisitive and infinitely susceptible
Female- based on the diaries of an amazing lady, and her life prior to 1914.
NEWSPAPER OF CLAREMONT ST. by Elizabeth Jolley.
“Weekly”, the cleaning lady has a dream, which she gradually manages to realise.
THE GINGER TREE by Oswald Wind
A young woman leaves Scotland to travel to Hong Kong to marry in 1904. The marriage is a loveless disappointment, then she meets an interesting Japanese soldier ……
HARD TIMES by Charles Dickens
One of Dickens more blatantly political novels, decrying the Utilitarian philosophy of the times. Some of it seems very familiar today. Tightly structured & well written.
THE GHOST ROAD by Pat Barker.
The 1995 Booker Prize winner. The starkly written story looks at the role of war in culture, and how war engulfs men’s’ lives.
HIGHWAYS TO A WAR by Christopher Koch
What makes a man become a war photographer? This book seeks an answer, as well as telling of the search for one who has disappeared. Miles Franklin award winner for 1996.
FELICIA’S JOURNEY by William Trevor
The chilling story of a naive Irish girl seeking her lover in the ‘wilds’ of an industrial city
MORALITY PLAY by Barry Unsworth.
An intriguing murder mystery centred round a group of travelling players, set in Medieval England.
LAST ORDERS by Graham Swift
A Booker prize winner, this tells the story of a group of men carrying out the ‘last orders’ of their friend. The history of each man’s friendship with the dead man is revealed before his final resting place is reached.
REMEMBERING BABYLON by David Malouf.
Set in Queensland, this story explores what happens when a young man returns to white society after spending many years with the Aborigines.
THE DROWNER by Robert Drewe.
The theme is water, and how important it is to us – physically and mentally. The action moves from Bath and Wiltshire in England to Western Australia and the Goldfields pipeline, and evokes images of a century and more ago.
READING IN THE DARK by Seamus Deane.
Another story of an Irish childhood? Yes, but it is more than that. This book looks at how the past in Ireland dominates life in the present, and how this controls the life of one family.
THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
A classic story of the ‘great American dream’, which is as current today as in the twenties.
THE WARRIOR QUEEN by Barbara Else.
Guaranteed to raise a chuckle…….One woman’s reaction to the discovery that her husband is unfaithful – and her recovery of self-esteem and inner strength.
THE TORTILLA CURTAIN by P. Coraghessan Boyle.
Illegal immigrants from Mexico – What draws them to California, and how are they treated? What sort of life do they have? Some of these questions are answered in this very readable story.
THE READER by Bernard Schlink
A thought provoking story of an affair between a teenage boy and an older woman, and his later life. Also explores the attitudes of post war German youth to the Nazi generation.
THE COLOUR OF WATER by James McBride
An exceptional dual biography of an American coloured man and his mother. A ‘must read’.
LAMBS OF GOD Some nuns live in an old convent on an island, forgotten by everyone. Then a bright young priest comes to assess the property for development and the nuns’ way of life is threatened. A delightful tale.
THE MOON AND SIXPENCE by Somerset Maugham
This 1919 classic is a novel which is based loosely on the life of Paul Gauguin. Interesting characters, and an enlightening look at the morals of the time
THE HOURS by Michael Cunningham
This superbly written book is written around the lives of three women through a single day. It explores the same territory as Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs Dalloway’, in similar style to that acclaimed work.
THE ROSE GROWER by Michelle Kretser
A chronicle of life in France during the first six years of the French Revolution. The lives of the characters are moulded by the events happening around them.
DISGRACE by J.M. Coetzee
The 1999 Booker Prize winner tells of life of a South African academic whose life is changed by his affair with a student.
THE DRESSMAKER by Rosalie Ham
She returns home to an isolated 1950’s Australian country town to see her mother. Before she leaves, she has turned the place upside down. Quirky and amusing.
MY HOUSE IN UMBRIA by William Trevor.
Emily’s house becomes a refuge for a group of people affected by trauma – in this case a terrorist bomb on a train. We get to know them all and how their lives are changed forever.
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT by Erich Maria Remarque
The classic novel of the Great War, told from a German viewpoint, but universal in its ideas and conclusions.
THE IDEA OF PERFECTION by Kate Grenville
What is perfection? Who is perfect? Who measures up to the ideal? The story is set in a dying Australian country town and the main characters discover they are worthy of love, even though they’re not ‘perfect’.
FLIGHT OF THE MAIDENS by Jane Gardam
Three young women have just won University entrance at the end of their schooling in 1946. – By the end of the vacation and beginning of University life has changed for each of them, and they’ve all “moved on”.
OFFICERS’ WARD by Marc Dugain
How does one deal with having part of your face blown off? Set in W.W.1. this question is dealt with in the context of a ward full of victims. Sparely written but projects hope, humanity and humour.
YEAR OF WONDERS by Geraldine Brooks
Set in the Plague Year of 1665, this novel is based on the actual events in the village of Eyam, which isolated itself from the world so as not to spread the plague. An unusual and absorbing read.
SONG OF NAMES by Norman Lebrecht
An absorbing story about a man whose life has been shaped by the disappearance of a childhood friend. Also a comment on the world of music, of musicians and their self absorption.
GOODBYE TO BERLIN by Christopher Isherwood.
More a series of connected stories than a novel, this ‘classic’ fleshes out what life was like in Berlin in the 1930’s
THE PICKUP by Nadine Gordimer.
Set in modern Africa, this book confronts the problems of identity- both for illegal immigrants and those who choose to change countries legally. Interwoven with this are issues of family and its importance, and the economic divisions in modern Africa – and the world. Thought provoking.
SEVEN SISTERS by Margaret Drabble.
Women are often left to live alone in middle age for a variety of reasons. Many find it lonely and depressing. How can they deal with it?
SPIES by Michael Frayn
In 1940’s Britain, two boys begin a game, pretending one of their mothers is a spy. The Game becomes deadly serious. 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year
THE QUIET AMERICAN by Graham Greene.
A ‘classic’ of modern times, set in Vietnam, prior to ‘the’ war. A ‘must read’.
THIS SIDE OF BRIGHTNESS by Colum McCann
This novel concerns the men who helped build the many tunnels under New York – and the social outcasts who live in the tunnels I modern times.
THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini.
A haunting story of growing up in Afghanistan and the narrator’s later return to rescue his best friend’s son from the Taliban.
MORAL HAZARD by Kate Jennings.
The main character in this story faces moral hazard at work in New York’s financial district as she works to support her husband who has Alzheimer’s disease – and wants her to help him die.
WATER, CARRY ME by Thomas Moran
Modern Ireland is not a place where you can ignore politics, even if you’re young and in love. A romantic thriller, or a coming of age story? Whatever. It’s a very powerful read.
THESE FOOLISH THINGS by Deborah Moggach
A motley group of British seniors find themselves in an old peoples’ home in India. Here their money goes further, and they’re treated with respect. A tongue in cheek look at the problems of living too long.
COMPLICATED KINDNESS by Miriam Loews
What is it like to be a teenager in a strict Mennonite community? Particularly when your mother and sister are losing their faith and it becomes hard to make sense of anything.
THE WHITE EARTH by Andrew McGahern
A family saga about love of the land, and the lengths to which men will go to acquire and keep it. It is set in Queensland, and looks at one point of view of the Native Title debate.
EVERY MAN’S RULES FOR SCIENTIFIC LIVING by Carrie Tifffany
Set back in the tough 1930’s, this is the story of Robert, who believes science can give the solution to all problems. Jean is the woman who loves him, and tries to live by these rules.
OLD FILTH by Jane Gardam
Eddie was sent home from the colonies (Borneo) as a five year old, put with child minders, then sent to school. He only saw his father once in the next fifteen years. What effect did this have on him as a man? Or on other RAJ orphans as they were known. A great read.
MAKING IT UP by Penelope Lively
Not really an autobiography as the writer tells us certain facts about her life, and then says” what if” the something else happened, another path could have been taken. So it’s really like a series of short stories, well written and quite absorbing.
A LONG,LONG WAY by Sebastian Barry
Shortlisted for the Booker Prize, this is a poetic account of World War 1 from the viewpoint of an Irish lad, beautifully told, a coming of age story set in the grimmest circumstances.
Q & A by Vikas Swarup
A quirky book at Indian Society as seen by a member of the lowest class. Ram Mohammed Thomas has won a Billion Rupee Quiz on T.V. and has been challenged to prove he hasn´t cheated. He proceeds to tell a series of stories of incidents in his life which have given him the answers. A great read from a superb storyteller.
SATURDAY by Ian McEwan
One day in the life of a brain surgeon, a Saturday, which shows us the tensions in his life both from his job and his family. Social comment and political observations of London on the brink of the Iraq War.
A LOYAL CHARACTER DANCER by Qiu Xiaolong
A Chinese police mystery which is noteworthy more for the picture it gives of Chinese life in recent times, than for the solution of the murder.
RESTLESS by William Boyd
A modern day daughter discovers her mother had another life- as a spy during World War 11 . The past and present are revealed as parallel stories. Absorbing and believable, with well-drawn characters
THE CONJURER’S BIRD by Martin Davies
A dual story-One is the story of Joseph Banks, and his mistress who bore him a daughter and then slipped out of his life. The second story is that of modern characters trying to piece together Bank’s story, and the fate of a rare stuffed bird he was given. A good read.
THE ENTOMBED MINER by Tom Austen
A factual account by a W.A. writer of the events in 1907 when an Italian goldminer was trapped underground in the W.A. goldfields, and of his eventual rescue.
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen
A story of Circus in the 1930s in America. Romance, Drama, Murder Intrigue…….It has it all.
SILENT PARTS by John Charalambous.
Harry never wanted to go away to war. A picture of life in Australia in W.W.1 , in country France at the same time, and an unusual relationship.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee.
A modern classic. Set in the U.S. in the 1930s Deep South, it is a story of racial divisions and a man who stands by his principles .
SORRY by Gail Jones
This novel has been shortlisted for many major awards this year. It traces the story of a white child growing up with aboriginal friends in W.A.’s north during WWII. It’s about friendship, loyalty and loss.
DAY by A.L. Kennedy
A complex internal dialogue of a man set adrift by the War. He has lost his family, his mates and his girl and is sorting through his memories, trying to make sense of it all.
THE BROKEN SHORE by Peter Temple.
A crime thriller by an award winning Australian writer, this story deals with recognizable characters and real life situations.
THE ROAD HOME by Rose Tremain
Lev leaves his East European home to go to England. He needs to find his ‘life’ again – work, love, and his self respect. This is his journey to find the road home.
THE MADONNAS OF LENINGRAD by Debra Dean
A modern story of ageing parents and Alzheimers, coupled with the parents’ experiences in and near Leningrad during the Germans 900 day siege.
ROSE OF SEBASTOPOL by Katherine McMahon
Set in Victorian times, this story gives an insight into middle class life and values, and later, into the chaos that was the Crimean War. Two very different young women are at the centre of the story, which culminates in the Siege of Sebastopol.
NOTES FROM AN EXHIBITION by Patrick Gale
A sympathetic and insightful look at a family, all of whom are affected by their mother’s Bipolar condition. She is a successful artist, and at times a loving mother, but her condition touches them all, even as adults.
THE BIG SLEEP by Raymond Chandler
The classic tough guy Private Eye story, which reshaped the detective genre from the 1940’s on.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BRIDGE by Mary Lawson
This is another Canadian story – a family story. The main character is Arthur, the dutiful, reserved elder son. His brother Jake is a charming lazy ne’er do well whose aim in life seems to be to blight Arthur’s hopes and dreams. We read of their lives as others in the community who come in contact with them. A great study of character and places.
OUT STEALING HORSES by Per Petersen
A Norwegian coming of age story with its roots in one summer soon after the war.(1948). A boy’s relationship with his father and its effects on the rest of his life.
CITY OF THIEVES by David Benioff
Set in Leningrad during the siege, we follow the adventures of two young men on a mission which if successful, will save their lives. At times funny, horrific and fascinating, this is a good read.
GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY By Mary Ann Schaffer
Told in a series of letters, this is a story of experiences of Guernsey’s people during the war. The characters are well drawn, and there is a bit of romance and intrigue. Charming.
BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S by Truman Capote
The classic coming of age story of Holly Golighty, written by this iconic US writer. There are other short stories in the collection.
BREATH by Tim Winton
A beautifully written tale set in the southwest of W.A., it explores the motivation and mindset of those who pursue extreme sports- in this case, surfing
THE WOMEN IN BLACK by Madeleine St John
A piece of social history set in Sydney in the 1950’s. Looks at the lives of the ladies who work in the frock department of a large store.
A GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF EAST AFRICA by Nicholas Drayson.
A wry and amusing look at one section of society in Nairobi, and shows what life is like there.
THE SPARE ROOM by Helen Garner
What happens when you offer your spare room for a short time to a friend suffering from cancer? This reads like a diary, but the story evolves like a novel.
THE MERRY GO ROUND IN THE SEA by Randolph Stow
A ‘classic’ of Australian literature of the 20th century. Set in Geraldton, it chronicles the 1941-1949, and how everyone’s life changed to some degree over some time.
THE VANISHING ACT OF ESME LENNOX by Maggie O’Farrell
Esme was consigned to an asylum by her family while still in her teens. The book gradually fills in the history of Esme and her sister , and of modern Iris, who suddenly finds she is responsible for a relative she knows nothing about.
REMARKABLE CREATURES by Tracy Chevalier
Another fiction based on fact from this author. Gives a great picture of life in early 19th century England, especially of the role and place of women in society. Two women who develop a passion for collecting fossils, and how they turn the scientific world on its head, provide the focus of the story.
JASPER JONES by Craig Silvey
A second novel from the author of ‘Rhubarb’, this story is set in a country town and narrated by a teenager who is frank, confused and a bit of an outsider. Well written depiction of life in a country town.
BOY ON A WIRE by Jon Doust
A coming of age novel by this well-known W.A. figure. It is a thinly disguised autobiography of his childhood and years at boarding school.
AFTER RIVER by Donna Milner
Set near the Canada /US border during the Vietnam war. River is a draft dodger who comes north to work on the farm, and changes all their lives.
THE TALL MAN by Chloe Hooper.
This much awarded piece of non fiction chronicles the case of Cameron Doomadgee, and the people of Palm Island. She draws in the background and the history behind the case.
THE THIRTY NINE STEPS by John Buchan
This classic is regarded as the forerunner to the modern thriller with the hero on the run while trying to prove his innocence. Interesting to compare it with today’s thrillers.
COLD COMFORT FARM by Stella Gibbons
This is brilliant parody of the bucolic country romances so popular in the early 1930’s.
LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN by Colum McCann
A series of stories of peoples’ activities in New York on the day in 1974 when the ‘Man on a Wire’ walked between the Twin Towers. Some of the stories link up at the day’s end. Winner of the Dublin Impac Award 2010.
THE TWIN by Gerbrandt Bakker
This Dutch book won the 2010 Impac award for foreign literature. When the twin who was to carry on the farm is killed, his brother is brought home from University to take his place – a place he did not want.
TINKERS by Paul Harding
An old man is dying and is looking back over his life, and that of his father. Beautifully written, this won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize.
A CUPBOARD FULL OF COATS by Yvette Edwards
A story of a West Indian family in England, and the long lasting effects of domestic violence on their lives, and the lives of their friends.
WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT by Sarah Winman
Brother and sister forge a special relationship as children, and it carries through to their adult lives thirty years later.
PAST THE SHALLOWS by Favel Parrett
Set in a fishing community in southern Tasmania, this is the sad story of three boys whose father is bitter and whose life is falling apart.
THE SPARROWS OF EDWARD STREET by Elizabeth Stead
Unable to find a home to rent, the Sparrow family find themselves in an old army camp on the edge of Sydney used by the Housing Commission as temporary accommodation after World War 2.
THE ELEPHANT’S JOURNEY by Jose Saramego
Translated from the Portuguese, this is the imagined story of an elephant given by the King of Portugal to a relative for a wedding gift, and its journey to its new home.
THE NOVEL IN THE VIOLA by Natasha Solomons
The story of a young woman displaced from her home in Europe in the 1930’s, and her new life in England.
THE BUTTERFLY CABINET by Bernie McGill
A mother punishes her child, with tragic consequences. Many years later the child’s nurse recounts the story to the granddaughter and attempts to set the record straight. Based on a true case.
THE HARE WITH AMBER EYES by Edmund de Waal
Part biography, part family history, the author has traced the ownership of a netsuke collection within his family. In so doing, he recreates the period in which his forebears lived (Paris in the late 1800’s, Vienna 1900 to 1938) and in so doing, chronicles the rise of anti-Semitism in these cities. He also describes Japan’s emergence from the war.
A MOVEABLE FEAST by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s last book is a memoir of the years he spent in Paris in the 1920’s. His poverty, drinking and gambling are mentioned, as are all the other writers living there at the time – Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound etc.
SNOWDROPS by A.D. Miller
Shortlisted for the 2011 Man Booker prize, this is a tale of life in Moscow in the heady post-Soviet days – the money, the deals, the cons – both on a business and personal level.
MY DEAR, I WANTED TO TELL YOU by Louisa Young
A moving and stark depiction of the horrors of World War One, and its’ effects on people, both men and women. It also reflects class attitudes of the time, and the redeeming power of love.
HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford
Set in the U.S. before and during World War 2 the story centres round the Chinese and Japanese who had made the West Coast States their home. The Japanese were interned into camps as the enemy, and this dislocated many lives and relationships.
BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP by S.J. Watson
A “thriller” about a woman whose amnesia means every day she has to learn who she is and about her life. Is what she’s told the truth? Will things change?
LOVE AND SUMMER by William Trevor
The title says it all – set in a small Irish village over the course of one summer, we learn of love and how it can change people’s lives.
SENSE OF AN ENDING by Julian Baines
The 2012 Man Booker prize winner is an older man’s meditation of his life, and how maybe his actions and attitudes could have been different.
FIVE BELLS by Gail Jones
This story chronicles one day in Sydney in the life of four people. We learn what has brought each of them there, and where the future may take them.
ALL THAT I AM by Anna Funder
This novel is about people who really lived – Socialists who left Germany when Hitler came to power – Journalist, writers etc. Their life in 1930’s Britain was fraught with danger.
PLEASE LOOK AFTER MOM by Kyung Sook Shin
An award winner in Asia this Korean novel is about a family – their relationships with their Mother and one another. It’s also about Korean life and culture and how it has changed in little more than a generation.
THE CAT’S TABLE by Michael Ondaatje
Three young boys are let loose on a ship travelling to England with minimal adult supervision. Their experiences during that journey colour their subsequent lives.
THE AUSCHWITZ VIOLIN by Maria Angels Anglada
Daniel, a master violin maker is charged with making the camp commander a violin. Portrays the fear, and the faith and hope which enabled people to survive.
THE PAINTER OF SILENCE by Georgina Harding
A tale of Romanian friends reunited against the elegant sweep of class, love and history. Rubble and ruin of Post-war Romania is the background against which childhood friends meet again.
THE QUALITY OF MERCY by Barry Unsworth
This historical novel is set in the time when the moral questions of slavery were being debated and tried in the courts. Evokes 18th century life and morality in brilliant fashion.
A PERFECTLY GOOD MAN by Patrick Gale
Set in Cornwall, this is the story of Barnaby Johnson, the local vicar. His childhood, his life, his crises of faith, written in Gale’s inimitable style
HOUSE OF FICTION by Suzanne SWINGLER
This is a fascinating tale of real life. Suzanne Swingler is Leonard Jolley’s daughter, and this is her story of how she and her mother were left behind when Leonard went off with Elizabeth. You’ll not read one of Elizabeth’s stories in quite the same way again!
GARDEN OF EVENING MISTS by Tan Twan Eng
This story ranges over time from World War 11 to the 1990’s. Set in the Malaysian Cameron Highlands, it is the story of a garden and an unlikely romance
BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALF TIME WALK by Ben Fountain
A group of young American ‘Squaddies’ have been brought home feted as heroes. It is a cynical look at modern America and its hypocrisy.
SCOOP by Evelyn Waugh
This delightful spoof, or parody, ridicules the media world of the 1930’s. Nothing much seems to have changed.
A GOLDEN AGE. by Tahmina Anam
Centred on the period of Bangladesh’s fight for independence from East Pakistan, this is also a story of a mother’s devotion to her two children and her fight to keep them safe.
BLACKWATTLE CREEK by Geoffrey McGeachin
Set in Victoria, this book has a strong cast of character, and a good picture of Australia at that time. The mystery revolves around the ‘A’ bomb tests at Maralinga, and the paranoia about ‘the red’s under the beds’ at the time.
LADY CYCLISTS GUIDE TO KASHMIR by Suzanne Joinson
Misguided missionaries in the 1920’s in Eastern China. An interesting mix of characters in a very different world.
NEW FINNISH GRAMMAR by Diego Marani
Translated from Italian, this story is about a man who’s lost his memory – and the clues indicate he could be Finnish. He’s sent to Finland to try to regain his identity.
TOBY’S ROOM Pat Barker
Set against the backdrop of W.W.1 the main characters, suffer grief and loss which changes their lives.
MORNINGS IN JENIN by Susan Abulhawa
A sad chronicle of relations between Palestinians and Jews from 1945 to today.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HEATWAVE By Maggie O’Farrell
Dad has disappeared and the family are all back together for the first time for years. Secrets are revealed, problems are solved. Great characters.
NINE DAYS by Toni Jordan
In this Australian tale set in Melbourne, we follow the fortunes of one family over three generations. The characters are well drawn, and wit is well mixed with disappointment and sorrow.
THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich
Young Joe’s world falls apart when his mother is raped, and it seems the perpetrator will escape justice. The problem is his mother is a Native American and they live on a reservation. Joe’s determined to see justice for his mother.
THE YELLOW BIRDS by Kevin Powers
The Frailty of man and the brutality of war are themes in this powerful novel of the Iraq War. It is the story of young men sent to war – and its aftermath in their lives.
SWEET TOOTH by Ian McEwan
An interesting novel, seemingly about spies and spying, but really about writers and writing, readers and reading. McEwan has fun writing about what is his own world.
THE WIDOW by Georges Simenon
Better known for his Margret detective series, this short work of Simenon’s is a detective series is a bleak story set in the French Countryside in the thirties. Although dark, it is well written in a simple, pared down style, and the characters are well drawn.
THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion
Told through the eyes of Don Tillman, a high functioning Asberger’s sufferer, this story is very amusing as he tells of his search for a wife. Behind the amusement however, is an illumination of the way people like Don function, so that we can have more understanding.
THE COAT ROUTE… by Meg Lukens Noonan
This is non-fiction – the story of the author’s tracing the elements making up a special overcoat – the fabric – its production, the lining and the history of the silk industry, the making of the buttons and so on. In all, it is a fascinating history of the bespoke tailoring industry, and some of the people involved.
ZERO AT THE BONE by David Whish Wilson
Set in Perth during the 80’s mining boom, this exposes Perth’s “underbelly” at the time. Frank Swann, an ex-detective, is engaged to investigate a suicide, and becomes involved in a much broader plot.
THE COMMANDANT by Jessica Anderson
Set in 1830, this novel is based around real characters in the early days of Moreton Bay (Brisbane). It is told by a young woman who comes out to live with her sister, the Commandant’s wife, and covers the few months before they leave the penal colony.
ALMOST ENGLISH by Charlotte Mendelson
This is an amusing tale of mother and daughter, living with a Hungarian granny and elderly aunts. It chronicles Marina’s growing pains at boarding school, along with her mother’s dilemmas at home.
A GIRL LIKE YOU by Maureen Lindley
An interesting story set on and near the American West Coast between 1930 and the 1950’s. It concerns a Japanese woman, her Japanese American daughter and their lives, particularly during and after the war.
THE NIGHT GUEST by Fiona McFarlane
A book in which “what’s real and what’s imagined are terrifyingly difficult to distinguish”. Ruth is an elderly lady living alone in an isolated house. Her life is gradually “taken over” by Frieda, a carer, as she slides into dementia.
ALL THE BIRDS, SINGING by Evie Wyld
Told in two parts – past and present – Jake’s story will arouse plenty of discussion. This was the 2014 Miles Franklin Award winner.
THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY by Rachel Joyce
Harold sets out to post a letter and ends up delivering it – at the other end of England. As he travels, he meets a variety of characters, and also sorts out his ideas about his own life.
LIST OF MY DESIRES by Gregoire Delacourt
Having won the lottery, Jocelyne is unable to tell her family, or decide what to do with the money. As you can imagine, troubles ensure.
BURIAL RITES by Hannah Kent
When a woman is convicted of complicity in a murder, she is sent to live with a family until her execution. This is a true story set in Iceland in 1829. Hannah Kent has imagined the effect of all this on the people involved.
THE UNDERTAKING by Audrey Magee
“An emotionally powerful portrait of two people holding on to the possibility of love and family in the midst of war. “(Financial Times). The story is set in Germany during World War 2.
NORA WEBSTER By Colm Toibin
The story of a woman coming to terms with her grief and finding herself after her husband’s death.
THE SHOCK OF THE FALL by Nathan Filer
Matthew’s life changed forever when his brother falls over a cliff. Is it his fault or just an unfortunate accident?
THE TEMPORARY GENTLEMAN by Sebastian Barry
A sad tale of a young man who ruins his life and his wife’s with his self-deception, gambling and drinking.
CANNERY ROW by John Steinbeck
Life on the fringe of a fishing town breeds its own sense of community – with a cast of great characters.
EVERY DAY IS FOR THE THIEF by Teju Cole
A young man revisits his home country – Nigeria – and presents a series of snapshots of life there.
MRS HEMINGWAY by Naomi Wood
Biographies of the four women who in turn become “Mrs Hemingway”.
THE FIRST TRUE LIE by Marina Mander
A young boy’s mother dies suddenly, and he faces the dilemma of who to tell, and what to do.
THE GOLDEN AGE by Joan London
In the early 1950’s, a polio rehabilitation hospital for children was located in Leederville in an old hotel – “The Golden Age”. This tale imagines some of the inmates, their families and their lives. (Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Prize).
THESE ARE THE NAMES by Tommy Weiringa
Set in modern day Russia on the outer fringes of life there, this is a bleak story of survival.
PAINT YOUR WIFE by Lloyd Jones
In the aftermath of the Second World War, one man teaches a community to appreciate each other and build on what they have.
THE FAITHFUL COUPLE by A.D.. Miller
A chance meeting during a holiday abroad results in a relationship that endures over many years.
LOVE IN SMALL LETTERS by Francesc Murailles
A light-hearted tale by a Portuguese writer, shows us how one small act can ultimately change our lives.
THE EYE OF THE SHEEP By Sophie Laguna
Miles Franklin Winner for 2015; this story told by a “difficult child covers many modern issues – family violence, alcoholism, fostering, irresponsible fathers, to name a few.
NOT FORGETTING THE WHALE by John Ironmonger
Joe is washed up naked on the beach of a remote village in Cornwall. His arrival is the catalyst for change in the community, bringing them together. Funny and heartwarming.
THE ZOOKEEPER’S WAR
Set in Berlin in the latter days of World War II, this story gives a graphic picture of the lives and hardships of the citizens.