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Set at Parihaka in the late 1800s, this is one of Witi’s most powerful novels. His other historical fiction includes “The Matriarch” (The Te Kooti wars), “The Dream Swimmer” (Rua Kenana), and his new book “Sleeps Standing: Moetu” (Battle of Ōrākau).
An intricate and atmospheric tale set in the late Victorian period in a village terrorised by a sea monster. The heroine is modern and of a scientific turn of mind (think fossil collecting); her love interest is a vicar who ponders morality.
The latest from an author acclaimed for his intelligent science-fiction, deemed by The Guardian “one of the world’s finest working writers, in any genre”. Adventure and intrigue in a world where climate change has bitten deep.
The story of a blind French girl and a German boy who meet amid the devastation of World War II.
Chris Cleave's "Everyone brave is forgiven" and Patrick Modiano's "The search warrant" also focus on the personal over the political, in the same years.
A dazzling chronicle of a young American slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom. Or try "Kindred", a combination slave memoir, fantasy and historical fiction by Octavia Butler, the first black woman to write Science Fiction.
One of New Zealand’s favourite historical novelists tells a vivid story of ingenuity and hard slog, bootleggers and love, set in 1907 during the building of the Main Trunk Line. Or try her perennially popular “The Denniston Rose” and “Heart of coal”.
A gripping novel by the author of “Room”, based on the many cases of fasting girls reported across the world from the 16th to the 20th centuries: women and girls, often prepubescent, who claimed to live without food for months or even years.
Robert Harris is a thriller writer as well and it shows. His vivid, engrossing historical fiction also includes “Enigma” (World War II code-breaking), “Imperium”, “Lustrum” and “Dictator” (ancient Rome), and his latest, “Munich” (spies at… Munich!).
For books set in the future, here’s one of the first great dystopian novels, now an undisputed classic, as shocking and thought-provoking as ever. See Stanley Kubrick’s splendid film adaptation for the “Watch a movie based on a book” challenge!
This offbeat, funny, very readable book features an alien come to Earth. Though disgusted at first by what he sees, he comes to understand that humans are more complex than that. He discovers their good side, including music, poetry and love.
A post apocalyptic scenario, a tale of life at the world’s end, focused on a father and his son as they move through a ravaged landscape. Maybe you saw the movie? Read the book! It’s stunning, shocking, and brilliant. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
A classic case of science-fiction for people who don’t like science-fiction, this fascinating book, set in the aftermath of a fictional flu pandemic, describes the collapse of civilization as some people strive to preserve art, culture and kindness.
Have you tried speculative fiction? Here’s a retelling of Joan of Arc in a future of environmental and political chaos. Along with its harrowing descriptions of geocatastrophe, it asks you to ponder the meanings of gender, sex, love and life.
Time travel fun! This wildly inventive novel asks what it would be like if you could live again and again until you get it right, following Ursula Todd, born in 1910 and reborn many times, each with a different narrative.
A story in five different voices, a 15-year-old girl in the tone of a YA novel, an author writing in Anglo-Mandarin, and a semi-immortal bodyshifter, set at six different times from 1984 to 2043, bending the fantasy, adventure and paranormal genres.
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