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Transient Desires Donna Leon

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This is Donna Leon’s 30th novel in her series with Commissario Brunetti. The real strengths of her writing and the series, lie in her characters and the beautiful City of Venice. I love it that you can feel yourself there, on the canals, the vaporetto, or just viewing the sights.

The story Leon has written is a menacing tale that sees the enigmatic Commissario Brunetti immersed in an investigation that seems on the surface to involve two American women who have been abandoned, and left unconscious on the hospital docks, but which quickly turns into a much darker case involving human trafficking. All of Leon’s books are well worth the read.
Jill Burton

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The Mystery of Henri Pick by David Foenkinos, Pushkin Press

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In an obscure library in an obscure  little town in Brittany there is a curious library dedicated to rejected manuscripts. Delphine Despero, a young Parisian editor, visits the library while on holiday, expecting little from this collection of faded dreams, and discovers an unpublished novel written by a local pizza chef which thrills her to the core. She is determined that it will become a publishing sensation, and so it does.

The apparent author, Henri Pick, has died many years before. His sudden reemergence stirs up a ferment of passionate speculation and unexpected consequences. A sceptical journalist comes to town to uncover what he is convinced is a hoax. How could a semi-literate man who could barely write a shopping list have written such a masterpiece? The confusion spreads in ever-widening circles.

This is a delightful and playful book, full of engaging characters, with numerous unexpected twists and turns and stuffed with witty aperçus about writing. Some readers will find echoes of many writers, including Jorge Luis Borges, but it wears these clothes lightly, with humour and generosity.  All in all, its cleverness and sheer Frenchness makes one grin... How we have missed it!

Note:  if you liked this book, look out for other new titles of similar type, also published by Pushkin Press.

The film of the book has just become available

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Featherhood by Charlie Gilmour.

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Charlie's father was a notorious and charismatic eccentric, a successful writer, talented painter, actor and magician, and he walked away for good when Charlie was barely born. His father was Heathcote Williams, and Featherhood is about trying to find him in amongst the fictions and fantasies that Heathcote clothed himself with.

And it is about Charlie's pet magpie Benzene whose eccentricity and affection helps Charlie to refocus his life – and, in a way, find a connection with Heathcote (who himself kept a corvid – in his case a jackdaw).

And it is about David Gilmour, of Pink Floyd, who adopted Charlie when David married his mother, and who rescued Charlie from no end of alarums and scrapes, including a spell in gaol for damaging the Cenotaph and leaping onto the bonnet of Prince Charles' limo.

But above all Featherhood is about Charlie's journey as he struggles for peace with himself, and acceptance of Heathcote, with the help of David, his newly-discovered sisters, and the magpie.

This is a witty, clear-sighted book which is rightly compared to Helen Macdonald's H is for Hawk in its lyricism and insightful quality, and in the way the author deploys a bird in order to speak right from the heart.

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Sad Loss of a Dear Friend.

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We are very sad to have lost our friend and colleague Laura Meiland. She was a stalwart of the Dingle Bookshop for many years, and became a close friend. Originally from Noordwijk in the Netherlands, where she ran an educational centre, she came to Ireland for a new start at the end of the 1990’s. Her dream was to run a restaurant, and she duly set up Tigh an Tobair in Ballyferriter which for several years became the favourite watering hole for locals and summer visitors alike. Like so many who settle in Corca Dhuibhne she had many talents –...

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