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Whichbook of the week

A personal introduction from a Whichbook reader to a book you may not have met before

Addlands

Addlands

From 1941 to 2011, three generations of the Hamer family eke out an existence in the Radnorshire hills. But this is not a tale of epic hardships and their brutalising effect on relationships, rather the beauty of land and humanity in symbiosis, observed with a crystal objectivity and delight in the detail of nature and personalities.

Posted by Andrew Fitch - more details

Black Wave

Black Wave

This heady mix of memoir and metafiction takes us from the slacker counterculture of nineties San Francisco to a near-future dystopian Los Angeles, with the world on the brink of environmental apocalypse. Alienation, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity and self-loathing feature heavily, so don’t expect a cosy feel-good trip. This is hardcore entertainment - funny, fearless, insightful and mind-blowing.

Posted by Anne Horton-Smith - more details

Feeding Time

Feeding Time

The residents of Green Oaks Residential Home for the elderly decide to take their destiny (what little is left) into their own hands. A good mixture of characters with only their advanced years in common. The Care Home staff, especially the manager, are the deranged ones. The extraordinary, but also imaginary, wartime diaries of resident Captain Ruggles regularly interrupts the story line. An interesting and uplifting debut novel.

Posted by Frances Bell - more details

Turning Blue

Turning Blue

There is no hiding place from a shady web of depravity and sleaze as the story progresses from bizarre and creepy to alarming and sinister with a feeling of unease invading every page, although all this grim horror is balanced with beautiful, descriptive prose and vivid detail of the Yorkshire landscape. This vision of rural noir is not for the easily offended as you are pushed beyond sympathy to a state of bewildered anger.

Posted by Richard Ashman - more details

All Embracing & Other Stories

All Embracing & Other Stories

This is a truly wonderful, perceptive, human collection of short stories. Dave Pescod has a skill in the use of descriptive language that leaves you in no doubt whatsoever about what he wanted to tell you. In that, his writing is extraordinary. But these stories are also witty and heartwarming. Settle back for a treat.

Posted by David Kenvyn - more details

Viral

Viral

This is the only book I've ever read where the first six words made me audibly gasp, 'I sucked twelve cocks in Magaluf'. What an opening! It certainly made me want to read on. It was good to read a book so currently 'on topic' where the subject matter of social media affects all. Hidden behind PCs, so many of us are tempted to expose ourselves on social media without thinking of the ultimate cost it may make to our lives.

Posted by Karen Pugh - more details

Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus

Part memoir, part magical realism, this poignant account of the bond between a neurotic dog owner and his loveable dachshund is hard to resist, especially for any dog lovers out there. As well as a moving tribute to man’s best friend, it has a lot to say about living in the present, coping with grief and how to relate meaningfully to others. Although a very emotional read, it manages to be both amusing and cathartic at the same time.

Posted by Anne Horton-Smith - more details

The Good Guy

The Good Guy

Abigail's neighbours think her husband Ted is a good guy because he washes the dishes and folds the laundry. Frankly, he's a bit of a pillock, but I couldn't help other than like him. I loved the retro feel of this novel, the period details are top-notch - all the trappings of 1960's suburban life are there. Although this is a book with a sad story at its heart, it is alleviated with snappy dialogue and moments of laugh out loud humour.

Posted by Wendy Smith - more details

Noontide Toll

Noontide Toll

Reading this book was a very sensuous experience - it constantly called on my emotions as secrets unfolded from the past. I found it to be a sombre story that kept its warmth with moments of wit and the reassuring, sage-like counsel of the central character. I was held spellbound by the deep insights into human truths and the beautiful depiction of Sri Lanka

Posted by Laura Bell - more details

Tregian's Ground

Tregian's Ground

Religious intolerance wrecks lives ... a contemporary tale? No, this is Renaissance Europe. It teems with life: from weavers to lords and from Shakespeare to Monteverdi. Follow the footsteps of the unconventional Tregian, nobleman, musician and spy and listen to the lessons of the past.

Posted by Nicole Cornell - more details

Break in Case of Emergency

Break in Case of Emergency

The age-old problem of trying to ‘have it all’ bedevil our thirty-something heroine as she juggles the roles of wife, employee and best friend, while confronting the issue of a fertility ticking-time bomb. This biting satire will strike many a chord with anyone who has ever worked in an all-female workplace, with bitchy bosses and undermining colleagues.

Posted by Anne Horton-Smith - more details

These are the Names

These are the Names

Don't be discouraged by a grim story of refugees, trekking through the steppe in the bleak atmosphere of the post Soviet empire. It's an Exodus of sorts, without Moses but with a dash of deadly humour. Everyone is on a journey whether settled in town or an alien, and parallel lines collide when the migrants meet a police officer on his own spiritual quest. Can any of them, including the policeman, be saved? We can always hope.

Posted by Anne Jones - more details

Yuki Chan in Bronte Country

Yuki Chan in Bronte Country

Yuki, a young Japanese girl, comes to Bronte country to retrace her dead mother's steps. She has very little English, money or clothes - only her mother's photos. Befriended by a local girl, the pair set out on a journey of discovery across the Yorkshire moors. Their adventures include shooting a rambler, being bitten by a dog and breaking into a Care Home. Yuki is a brilliant and funny creation. Atmospheric and imaginative. I loved it!

Posted by Frances Bell - more details

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

Ever wondered what happens to teenagers who don't fight vampires, zombies or soul-eaters? They fight battles of their own, over families, identity, friendship, love and their future. Mikey will make you laugh, cry and remember...

Posted by Nicole Cornell - more details

The Transmigration of Bodies

The Transmigration of Bodies

A Romeo and Juliet scenario, but when the corpses in question were not lovers and he died accidentally, she of the plague, it takes all the Redeemer's ingenuity to prevent needless inter-family revenge. A dark and moody read - post-apocalyptic noir at its most stripped down.

Posted by Andrew Fitch - more details

The Prophets of Eternal Fjord

The Prophets of Eternal Fjord

A sensory assault into an inhospitable Greenland that seamlessly combines a hallucinatory, imaginative world with colonial history. The multi-stranded, audacious narrative has an intense emotional urgency that is somehow exhilarating despite the stark storytelling and enigmatic main protagonist. You may be shocked but will also appreciate the beauty.

Posted by Richard Ashman - more details

Into the Fire

Into the Fire

What an amazing book - it takes alternative history to a new and totally convincing dimension and what better story to retell than that of Joan of Arc - the Maid of Orleans. The dual narrative dovetails perfectly with equally compelling characters and actions in both time-zones. It delivers the fast and furious pace of a thriller coupled with elegant prose and intelligent historical detail. Authentic through and through - I loved it!

Posted by Fiona Edwards - more details

The Crooked Maid

The Crooked Maid

Vienna 1948 - a place where small actions can lead to tragic results and silence may seem the best policy. This novel is a wonderful evocation of the desperation felt by many at this time, including Austrians re-writing their recent pasts. A great read which also made me wonder how I might act under similar circumstances.

Posted by Rosemary Bullimore - more details

Blackass

Blackass

Furo Wariboko wakes on the morning of his job interview to find his black body has turned white. As a white man in a black world some doors now open for him as he invents a new identity for himself and turns his back on his family. This book explores race and identity with a light touch and will make you both laugh and think.

Posted by Paul Cowan - more details

Dragonfish

Dragonfish

This novel has all the key elements of a thriller but a backstory about displaced Vietnamese refugees gives it an extra dimension. I really warmed to all of the characters, even the heavies, because they are so compassionately portrayed. Readers hoping for a neat resolution may find themselves disappointed; I thought it the fitting end to a story about a woman who remains elusive to all, including the reader.

Posted by Wendy Smith - more details