Jonasson, Jonas (2012) The 100 year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared. Hesperus. Allan escapes via the bedroom window of his rest home because he can’t face the planned 100th birthday. Adventures begin with murders, stolen cash, unlikely companions acquired along the way (including an elephant!) plus revelations about Allan’s life with some similarities to Forest Gump. Incredibly funny. A great read. Rating: 9.5 /10.
Grimshaw, Charlotte (2012) Soon. Vintage NZ. Political thriller focused on Prime Minister David Hallwright and his wife Roza and their hangers-on as they share their summer holiday at the PM’s luxury holiday home – some distinct similarities to John Key and references to NZ and its foreign affairs. Cleverly written, gripping storyline with evocative descriptions demonstrating a great capacity to describe human behaviour . Rating: 9/10.
Howe, Katherine (2012) The house of velvet and glass. Michael Joseph. Sibyl is devastated by the recent deaths of her mother and sister aboard the Titanic. Hoping to heal her heart she seeks comfort in the parlour of a medium, from where she enters the shady world of strange visions, the occult, and opium dens. An unusual tale of the power of dark forces. Disappointing second novel from the author of the best-selling The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Rating: 7.5/10.
Goodin, Maria (2012) The storyteller’s daughter. Allen & Unwin. Meg May can’t remember anything about her early childhood, except the cookery obsessed fairytales her mother has filled her life with. At 8 years of age Meg rebels against this fictional life and turns her back on the world of stories to live in the logical realm. Now on the verge of a scientific career Meg is called home to care for her terminally ill mother; will Meg discover the truth in time? A heartwarming tale of mothers and daughter and secrets. Rating: 8.5/10.
Watson Richard and Freeman, Oliver (2012) Futurevision; scenarios for the world in 2040. Scribe. Drawing on 4 possible futures Richard Watson and Oliver Freeman invite us the examine critically the risks and opportunities of the future via a model of scenario planning. An imaginative and rigorous exploration of alternative futures. Rating: 9/10.
Malane, Donna (2013) My Brother’s Keeper. HarperCollins. Ex-con Karen needs Diane’s help to track down her 14 year old daughter, Sunny, who she has lost contact with while in prison. Initially this appears to be a simple case, but Sunny is a survivor of a horrendous crime committed by her mother; then Karen is murdered, and guilt and innocence isn’t quite so straightforward. A second Diane Rowe mystery. Thoroughly clever and well-written crime novel, made all the more engaging in its NZ setting. Rating: 8.5/10.
Coddington, Grace (2012) Grace: a memoir. Knopf. Grace Coddington the creative doyen behind Vogue magazine shares her behind the scenes memoir of her life in the fashion industry, from young model in the 50s to creative director of imaginative fashion spreads. Her engaging story is peppered with vintage photographs, line drawings, travelogues, and relationships with the rich and famous – models, photographers, designers, makeup artists, hair stylists and celebrities. The spotlight was turned on Grace in the documentary The September Issue; now in her 70s Grace shows no sign of slowing down.
Great nostalgic read. Rating: 8.5/10.
Rash, Ron (2013) Nothing Gold can Stay: stories. HarperCollins. Ron Rash turns again to the raw setting of Appalachia to capture the lives of his characters; lives that are haunted by violence, fear, tenderness and hope. Not for the faint-hearted but nevertheless powerful in the telling. These eerie short stories continue to provide resonance long after reading. Rating: 8.5/10.