June books round-up

On our June books pages we featured some of the biggest releases of the month. Here Alexandra Rivers rounds up some we didn’t include but that should be read

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S.N.U.F.F. Snuff-616x937
Victor Pelevin
(Gollancz, £14.99)

Following its success in Russia in 2011, the controversial novel S.N.U.F.F. has been translated into English. Following post-apocalyptic pilot Damilola Karpov, we learn about life in the city of Byzantium, which hangs in the sky above Urkaina. It’s a powerful novel presenting a stark contrast between civilisation and barbarity, and bringing into question the nature of media and war.

101 Detectives
Ivan Vladislavi?
(And Other Stories, £10)

In this collection of 11 short stories South African writer Ivan Vladislavi? presents plots filled with clues so that the reader can either choose to take the story at face value or endeavour to uncover some of the deeper meanings and play detective themselves. Bound to get the brain working, this series of stories present an unusual twist on the average tale but at face value they are lively, funny and sad.

Jon Wallace
(Gollancz, £16.99)
After the success of his debut novel Barricade, Jon Wallace secures his position as a relevant voice in sci-fi with this fight for survival between the few remaining humans on earth and the artificial intelligence that they created. A standalone follow-up to his first book, it features the same protagonist, Kenstibec, whose only chance of survival is The Steeple, a thousand-storey tower in the wasteland that was London.

The End of Daysend_of_days_cover
Jenny Erpenbeck
(Portobello Books, £8.99)
Exploring a range of possible lives for one woman living in wartime, this book offers a fresh insight into being alive in times of conflict. Translated from German it is a thought-provoking and involving read.

Syria Burning
Charles Glass
(OR Books, £11)

In this concise overview of the Syrian conflict, ABC News chief Middle East correspondent Charles Glass uses his personal experiences of travelling through the country over the course of several decades to bring some understanding to a situation so often misconstrued. By weaving together reportage, analysis and history Glass provides an accessible overview of the origins and permutations of the conflict, providing a much needed antidote to much of the commentary around the civil war.

Hows Your Father51WOzuQjt1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Rose Boyt
(Short Books, £7.99)

Set in the London borough of Hackney, Rose Boyt’s book follows the story of a family faced with drugs, disappearances, and everything in between. It’s an unsettling and honest tale of one family’s struggle through the difficulties of daily life.

It’s No Good
Kirill Medvedev
(Fitzcarraldo Editions, £12.99)

Russian socialist Kirill Medvedev retired from the literary world in 2003 shortly after publishing two sets of poetry, criticised by many as not really poetry at all. The critique was perhaps born less of their strict poetic form than their controversial political subject matter. Author and editor Keith Gessen translates some of these poems as well as subsequent online publications and significant essays such as My Facism. The 24 works provide an English-speaking audience with an critical insight into Putin-era Russia and access to an exciting and irreverent literary voice.

My Life and the Beautiful Music
Jon Hotten
(Jonathon Cape, £16.99)

Hotten has blurred the lines between myth and reality to tell his story of the forgotten world of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll that he used to be immersed in as a music writer. We follow him around LA in 1988 and get an insight into the rock star lifestyle in all its glory (or not, as the case may be).

The Rise & Fall of the Gallivanters 61NFVm68b5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
MJ Beaufrand
(Amulet Books, £9.99)

When teen girls start going missing from Portland, Noah immerses himself in trying to solve the mystery as a way of avoiding his own problems. He is convinced that the proprietors of the local brewery are somehow linked to the disappearances and, when they host a battle of the bands competition, Noah gathers his band members to get to the bottom of the mystery. This new YA novel from Edgar-nominated MJ Beaufrand is a funny and fast-paced portrait of a troubled boy.

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
(Granta Books, £8.99)

Dust brings us face to face with conflict and unnecessary bloodshed in Kenya through a family saga. We follow the struggles of the Oganda family after Odidi Oganda, brother and son, is gunned down on the streets of Nairobi. The murder stirs deeply buried memories of colonial violence, of the killing sprees of the Mau Mau uprising and the political assassination of Tom Mboya in 1969, setting the violence of the present in a wider context for readers.

Never Any End To Paris 51ji9FZQHTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
Enrique Vila-Matas
(Penguin Random House, £8.99)

Following initial Spanish publication in 2003, Never Any End To Paris by important contemporary novelist Enrique Vila-Matas is translated into English. Written in a playful style, it follows writer and aspiring novelist Vila-Matas as he moves to Paris in his quest to become closer to Ernest Hemingway and watch him experience life not going quite to plan.

Village Rumours
Rebecca Shaw
(Orion Books, £7.99)

The latest in the Tales from Turnham Malpas series, Village Rumours is a continuation of the previous 17 novels based on the village life of Turnham Malpas. Residents are stirred when Reverend Harris exposes a dark secret while clearing out the loft of the rectory, Greta Jones hears from her estranged sons, and Fran Charter-Plackett has a decision to make about her love life.

The Seventh Miss Hatfield
Anna Caltabianco
(Orion Books, £8.99)

In this tale of time travel and love 11-year-old Cynthia travels back to 1900s New York after having been tricked into drinking a drop from the fountain of youth by her mysterious neighbour Miss Hatfield. Cynthia is transformed into the new Miss Hatfield and is given the quest of recovering a mysterious painting.

Life During Wartime
Lucius Shepard
(Gollancz, £9.99)

In this latest science fiction novel from Lucius Shepard, David Mingolla is fighting for survival with his fellow foot soldiers in the rotting vegetation of the jungles of Guatemala. He meets the beautiful Debora and questions arise about whose side she is really on.

Photo: CCAC North Library

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