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The Infinities by John Banville

The immortals, in the form of Hermes and Zeus, amuse themselves playing with the feelings of the members and friends of the Godley family, gathered to wait for the expected death of the patriarch, Adam. Communication is not this family's strong point. There is an uneasy drifting quality to all of their lives, though for different reasons. This book reads like a summer's day – warm, lilting, hazy, insubstantial. There are a few dark clouds on the horizon, but they don't present a serious threat.

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Fire on the Mountain by Terry Bisson

What if abolitionist John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry had succeeded? Imagine Afro American astronauts landing on Mars and a utopian Black nation, Nova Africa, thriving in the Deep South! This book uses a blend of nineteenth century letters, ex-slave narratives and science fiction to turn US history upside down. It's a book that that will keep you glued to the page and greedy for more.

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Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo by Julia Stuart

A very unusual story set in the enclosed world of the Tower of London. Eccentric, but believable characters all of whom are suffering from varying degrees of loneliness, including the Queen's equerry. Add to this mix an assortment of exotic and neurotic animals and the fun really begins. The sub-plots of the clergyman who writes erotic fiction and the search for love in the London Underground lost property office are amusing and touching. An optimistic, enjoyable and very funny read.

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Jerusalem by Patrick Neate

At once blisteringly funny and extremely disturbing, the action richochets between 1900 (Boer war concentration camp, Gloucestershire morris dancing) and 2008 (New Labours African initiative in the fictional dictatorship of Zambawi and Londons high priest of urban cool), examining what it means to be English through the eyes of both English and Africans. Very highly recommended.

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