Butterflies In November


Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir

First Sentence:     This is how it appears to me now, as I look back, without perhaps fully adhering to the chronology of events.

Back of the book:

After a day of being dumped – twice – and accidentally killing a goose, the narrator begins to dream of tropical holidays far away from the chaos of her current life. instead, she finds her plans wrecked by her best friend’s deaf-mute son, thrust into her reluctant care. But when a shared lottery ticket nets the two of them over 40 million kroner, she and the boy head off on a road trip across Iceland, taking in cucumber-farming hotels, dead sheep, and any number of her exes desperate for another chance. Blackly comic and uniquely moving, Butterflies in November is an extraordinary, hilarious tale of motherhood, relationships and the legacy of life’s mistakes.


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The Boy Who Stole Attila’s Horse

9781782271017Iván Repila

First Sentence:     ‘It looks impossible to get out,’ he says.

Back of the book:

‘It looks impossible to get out,’ he says. And also: ‘But we’ll get out.’

Two brothers, Big and Small, are trapped at the bottom of a well. They have no food and little chance of rescue. Only the tempting spectre of insanity offers a way out. As Small’s wits fail, Big formulates a desperate plan.

With the authority of the darkest fables, and the horrifying inevitability of all-too-real life, Repila’s unique allegory explores the depths of human desperation and, ultimately, our almost unending capacity for hope.

Quote from the book:

Big remains silent, though his breathing has quickened and his heart is pumping acid. He locks his jaw hard, grinding his teeth and making the nerves in the gums between his teeth ring. It’s a pleasant kind of pain, which suppresses the scream building up inside him. A scream like a lump of food in the stomach after a heavy meal.

And willing the wind to carry consonants and vowels across the night, and for his words to penetrate further than any scream could reach, he whispers:

‘I’m going to kill you.’

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The Spectre Of Alexander Wolf


Gaito Gazdanov

First Sentence:    Of all my memories, of all my life’s innumerable sensations, the most onerous was that of the single murder I had committed.

Back of the book:

A man comes across a short story which recounts in minute detail his killing of a soldier, long ago – from the victim’s point of view. It’s a story that should not exist, and whose author can only be a dead man. So begins the strange quest for the elusive writer ‘Alexander Wolf’. A singular classic, The Spectre of Alexander Wolf is a psychological thriller and existential inquiry into guilt and redemption, coincidence and fate, love and death.

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