The Incorruptibles, by John Hornor Jacobs 

25246213In a land built on steampunk contraptions and demonic beings, The Incorruptibles mixes the dangerous ingenuity and extravagance of ancient Rome, with the hard corruption of the wild west. Along with a dash of fantasy, this cross-genre novel harbours both ingenuity and intrigue.

‘The Hardscrabble Territories’ are an unforgiving land, filled with all manner of terrors, where roughened men seek solace for their sins in the fiery depths of the bottle. Damnation is not only rife, but physically apparent, as demon spawn and hell fire fuel mankind’s greed. Jacobs’ gritty western dialect and fluid description creates a harsh yet vivid world of ever-present hardship.

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The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden, By Jonas Jonasson

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Exotically imaginative and audaciously funny, The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden is another wonderful example of Jonasson’s witty and entertaining writing style. Following on from the success of his debut novel, once again Jonasson spins an irreverent and impossible narrative, born from small beginnings surging ever on towards the large and the great.

 

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Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders

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In his debut novel, once more Saunders’ irreverent, sporadic and moving style is put masterfully to use to capture a powerful narrative. Composed of dozens of voices, from which history merges with fiction in a mesmerising whole, Lincoln in the Bardo is an entirely singular novel, certainly the first of its kind, and one which will long be remembered.

 

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Ordinary Thunderstorms, by William Boyd

9781408802854Ordinary Thunderstorms is a novel which certainly isn’t lacking in momentum, wasting little time in diving into its fast paced narrative. With an assortment of colourful characters, drawn from all parts of London society, this is quite a different read compared to Boyd’s other novels. Though any thriller faces the potential of being labeled as being somewhat commercialised, Ordinary Thunderstorms is still absorbingly fast paced, varied and highly gripping. 

 

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami 

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Recently unemployed, Toru Okada spends his time cooking, ironing shirts and napping. For a protagonist, he is rather quiet. However, when the sudden disappearance of his cat coincides with a plethora of peculiar phone calls, his life takes a serious turn for the strange.

From the ordinary to the fantastical, the known to the unknown, Murakami spins an odd yet compelling tale. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a story laced with thought provoking philosophies and mysterious imaginings. With a cacophony of characters, each bearing their own absorbing tales, some truly violent and unsettling, but all imbued with the strange nature that Murakami is famous for, there is ever a new surprise waiting to be revealed.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

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A truly heartbreaking tale, A Thousand Splendid Suns bears the terrible plight for many women in Afghanistan. In equal mastery to his first bestselling novel The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini once more immerses his readers in the world of his homeland. His deep knowledge of the country opens its customs and ways for all to see, as well as its violent history.

The political backdrop of the latter twentieth century is lent a new light in this novel, as Mariam and Laila, amongst millions of others, witness the tragic plight of Afghanistan during these years. The distant, factual atrocities known by many in the west are brought to life by Hosseini in terrifying ways, as the true horrors caused by the numerous wars Afghanistan has faced in modern history are displayed through the eyes of those living through them. But throughout the tragedies of the country at large, Hosseini lends an ever more powerful message – that for many women in Afghanistan, there simply is no peace in life.

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The Great Acceleration, by Robert Colville

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The world is moving fast. As technology is flung forwards in leaps and bounds, Colville considers the importance of the effects of ‘The Great Acceleration’ upon society, the individual and the government at large. In what is one of the most important books I have read to date, The Great Acceleration is an extensively researched and shockingly palpable account of our changing world.

 

For some time now the topic of technology and its effects upon society have been of great interest and pressing concern for me, as I’m sure it is for many who are tiredly rounding up phones at the dinner table. Colville’s work lends powerful insights into such concerns, interspersing entertaining wit with astounding examples of how his termed ‘Great Acceleration’ has and will continue to change modern life as we know it.

 

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