Fiction Bestsellers

boy swallows universe, Trent Dalton

 An utterly wonderful novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane's violent working class suburban fringe - from one of Australia's most exciting new writers. 'This book will light up the dimmest days', Sydney Morning Herald. 'Boy Swallows Universe is one of those stories that defies expectations, shatters genre boundaries and beguiles from start to finish', Good Reading. 'I cannot recommend this novel highly enough and I can't wait to read what Dalton produces next', NZ Herald.

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It's not as if Eli's life isn't complicated enough already. He's just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way - not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer. But Eli's life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He's about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum. A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.

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a gentleman in moscow, amor towles

'This novel is astonishing, uplifting and wise. Don't miss it', Chris Cleave. 'No historical novel this year was more witty, insightful or original than Amor Towles's A Gentleman in Moscow', Sunday Times, Books of the Year. 'Charming a shows that not all books about Russian aristocrats have to be full of doom and nihilism', The Times, Books of the Year. '(A) supremely uplifting novel ... It's elegant, witty and delightful - much like the Count himself', Mail on Sunday, Books of the Year.

On 21 June 1922, Count Alexander Rostov - recipient of the Order of Saint Andrew, member of the Jockey Club, Master of the Hunt - is escorted out of the Kremlin, across Red Square and through the elegant revolving doors of the Hotel Metropol. Deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the Count has been sentenced to house arrest indefinitely. But instead of his usual suite, he must now live in an attic room while Russia undergoes decades of tumultuous upheaval. Can a life without luxury be the richest of all?

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too much lip, melissa lucashenko

A dark and funny new novel from the multi-award-winning author of Mullumbimby. Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.

Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things - her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she's an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley. Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people.

Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble - but then trouble is Kerry's middle name.

Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible.

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rules for visiting, jessica francis kane

'Midway through my fortieth year, I reached a point where the balance of the past and all it contained seemed to outweigh the future, my mind so full of things said and not said, done and undone, I no longer understood how to move forward'.

May is at a crossroads. Although her career as a gardener for the university is flourishing, the rest of her life has narrowed to a parched routine. Her father is elderly, her brother estranged, and she keeps her neighbours at arm's length. The missing element, she realises, might be friendship. As May sets off on a journey to visit four neglected friends one by one, she holds herself (and them) to humourously high standards, while at home she begins to confront the pain of her past and imagine for herself a different kind of future. May's quest becomes an exploration of the power, and perhaps limits, of modern friendship.

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normal people, sally rooney

‘[Rooney] has been hailed as the first great millennial novelist for her stories of love and late capitalism... [she writes] some of the best dialogue I've read.’ - The New Yorker

A universal story of love, friendship, and growing up.

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He's popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne's house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers - one they are determined to conceal.

A year later, they're both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together.

And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

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pachinko, min jin lee

Pachinko is a Japanese parlour game, a cross between pinball and slot machine, occupying a legal and social gray zone. The game itself is legal but not the gambling that accompanies it, thus the Japanese tolerate it whilst happily disparaging the Koreans who run the parlours.

In this gorgeous, page-turning saga, four generations of a poor Korean immigrant family fight to control their destiny in 20th-century Japan, exiled from a home they never knew.

"There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones."

 In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant - and that her lover is married - she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son's powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.

Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan's finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee's complex and passionate characters - strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis - survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.

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the yield, tara june winch

Just tell the truth and someone will hear it eventually.

The yield in English is the reaping, the things that man can take from the land. In the language of the Wiradjuri, yield is the things you give to, the movement, the space between things: baayanha.

Knowing that he will soon die, Albert ‘Poppy’ Gondiwindi takes pen to paper. His life has been spent on the banks of the Murrumby River at Prosperous House, on Massacre Plains. Albert is determined to pass on the language of his people and everything that was ever remembered. He finds the words on the wind.

August Gondiwindi has been living on the other side of the world for ten years when she learns of her grandfather’s death. She returns home for his burial, wracked with grief and burdened with all she tried to leave behind. Her homecoming is bittersweet as she confronts the love of her kin and news that Prosperous is to be repossessed by a mining company. Determined to make amends, she endeavours to save their land – a quest that leads her to the voice of her grandfather and into the past, the stories of her people, the secrets of the river.

Profoundly moving and exquisitely written, Tara June Winch’s The Yield is the story of a people and a culture dispossessed. But it is as much a celebration of what was and what endures, and a powerful reclaiming of Indigenous language, storytelling and identity.

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where the crawdads sing, delia owens

‘Painfully beautiful." - The New York Times Book Review

For years, rumours of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Celeste Ng, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

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bridge of clay, markus zusak

Let me tell you about our brother. The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay. Everything happened to him. We were all of us changed through him. The Dunbar boys bring each other up in a house run by their own rules. A family of ramshackle tragedy - their mother is dead, their father has fled - they love and fight, and learn to reckon with the adult world. It is Clay, the quiet one, who will build a bridge; for his family, for his past, for his sins. He builds a bridge to transcend humanness. To survive. A miracle and nothing less.

Markus Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness as a cure for a painful past. Yes, always for us there was a brother, and he was the one - the one of us amongst five of us - who took all of it on his shoulder.

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machines like me, ian mcewan

Machines Like Me occurs in an alternative 1980s London. Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a confounding secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first batch of synthetic humans. With Miranda’s assistance, he co-designs Adam’s personality. This near-perfect human is beautiful, strong and clever – a love triangle soon forms. These three beings will confront a profound moral dilemma.

Ian McEwan’s subversive and entertaining new novel poses fundamental questions: what makes us human? Our outward deeds or our inner lives? Could a machine understand the human heart? This provocative tale warns of the power to invent things beyond our control.

The characters leap from the page - the rather hapless Charlie, the enigmatic Miranda and of course Adam - a haiku-writing robot.

We know many customers love McEwan too. For those of you who are McEwan fence sitters and don’t like it when he writes an anti-hero as the central character, or feel that he gets a bit showy offy with his rapid fire prose - we can reassure you that Machines Like Me is actually McEwan at his very best. Entertaining, thought-provoking, a writing style that is masterful, restrained and elegant. We can’t recommend this novel enough.