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New Fiction - Term 1, 2004

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Nobody Nowhere
Donna Williams

"This is a story of two battles, a battle to keep 'out the world' and a battle to join it."

Donna Williams inhabits a place of chaos, cacophany, and dancing light - where physical contact is painful and sights and sounds have no meaning. Although labelled, at times, deaf, retarded, or disturbed, Donna Williams is autistic.

This is Donna's story in her own words - a haunting,courageous memoir of the titanic struggles she has endured in her quest to merge "my world" with "the world".

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Henry's Daughter
Joy Dettman

Lori Smyth-Owen is balancing on the edge of the adolescence but feeling years older. She has eleven brothers, nine living at home and the twins, who were stolen by Aunty Eva - which was lucky for them because there is never enough for them and there is nothing of anything to go around, except Mavis, Lori's mother, who is so overweight she can barely move. That doesn't stop her plotting to get those twins back. She'll do anything to get them home. Then tragedy strikes and the Smyth-Owen children take desperate measures to save themselves - and in so doing discover that blood ties mean everything.

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Diplomacy of Wolves
Holly Lisle

Leningrad 1941: the white nights.....illuminate a city of fallen grandeur, beatiful palaces and stately avenues speak of a different age, when Leningrad was known as St Petersburg.

Two sisters, Tatuana and Dasha, share the same bed, living in one room with their brother and parents. It is a hard, impoverished life, yet the Metanovs know many who are not as fortunate as they.

The family routine is shattered on 22 June 1941 when Hitler invades Russia. For Leningrad and for Tatiana, life will never be the same again. On that fateful day, Tatiana, life will never be the same again. On that fateful day, Tatiana meets a brash young officer named Alexander.

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The Idea of Perfection
Kate Grenville

This is a funny and touching romance between two people who have given up on love. Set in the eccentric little backwater of Karakarook, New South Wales, population 1374, it tells the story of Douglas Cheeseman, a gawky engineer with jug handle ears, and Harley Savage, a woman altogether too big and abrupt for comfort.

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Fantastic Street
David Kelly

Alex can't drive, he drinks and smokes too much, and dances naked to Nina Simone in his caravan in the back yard. Despair drove him away, but love's brought him back- the cancer that's crawling through his mother's body like ants on a white bread sandwich is going to kill her. The doctors have given her two years.

Going back to the house in which you grew up is never easy. Memories, welcome and unwelcome, threaten to overwhelm. So it is with Alex. Growing up in a house full of siblings- fostered, adopted, step and blood- is difficult at the best of times, but it's doubly hard when you've got a stepfather you hate, buckteeth that could eat an apple through a picket fence, an all-too acute sense of melodrama, and you're a Brisbane boy who wants to be a Maid Marian.

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The Lady & The Unicorn
Tracey Chevalier

In "The Lady and the Unicorn" best-selling writer Tracy Chevalier ("Girl with a Pearl Earring") has invented a story for famous medieval tapestries, based upon a scant historical record of their original owners, the Le Viste family. She has imagined a late 15th-century Paris and Brussels and created a version of how these works of art came into being.

In this novel we have the beautiful, love-curious daughter, the foppish artist, the protective mother, the cold father, the dutiful handmaiden, a family of hard-working tapestry-makers, a crafty art broker and a brutish dyer of wool who is the only person with the stink of real life.

"The Lady and the Unicorn" is a book for a winter weekend.
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Mao's Last Dancer
Li Cunxin

In a small, desperately poor village in north-east China, a young boy sits at his rickety school desk. In to the school come some strange men - Madam Mao's cultural delegates. They are looking for young peasants to mould into the faithful guards of Chairman Mao's great vision for China.

This is the true story of how that one moment in time, by the thinnest thread of a chance, changed the course of the small boy's life. One day he would dance with some of the greatest ballet companies of the world. This is Li Cunxin's own story - a beautiful, rich account of an inspirational life, told with honesty, dignity and pride.

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A War for Gentlemen
Jackie French

Based on a true story of an Australian who fought in the American Civil War, this novel follows Charles Fitzhenry to battle; to his escape with Caroline, his uncle's slave, and their new life together; and the echoes of war in the lives of their children and grandchildren.

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New Spring
Robert Jordan

This Fantasy novel follows the Wheel of Time series. It is set in the city of Canluum which lies close to the scarred and desolate wastes of the Blight, a walled haven from the dangers away to the north, and a refuge from the ill works of those who serve the Dark One...........

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The Battle of Evernight
Cecilia Dart-Thornton

This is the third book in The Bitterbynde series. With vital fragments of her memory restored, Tahquil-Ashalind also regains the Langothe, a terrible longing for the world of the Faeran, for which there is no cure but to return there. She undertakes a journey to seek the Bitterbynde gate, the only remaining way into that world.........

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Morality for Beautiful Girls
Alexander McCall Smith

This is the third volume of The No1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, the irrepressible Precious Ramtswe faces supreme problems at home and at work.

With her detective agency in financial difficulty, Mma Ramotswe takes the hard decision to share offices with her husband-to-be, Mr J.L.B.Maketoni. But even though Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors could do with a little help, it is Mr Matekoni himself who requires her attention.

If that wasn't enough, the agancy is facing some of its most puzzling cases the government official whose sister-in-law is trying to poison his brother; the beauty pageant whose contestants aren't as good as their looks; and the strange young boy, found naked and wild, and smelling of lion...........

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Milkweed
Jerry Spinelli

Set in Nazi-occupied Warsaw, this is a haunting tale of heartbreak, survival and hope.
"An extraordinary powerful and poignant novel......about people, about caring and life itself....."

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The Dante Club
Matthew Pearl

This novel is set in Boston. 1865. A small group of elite scholars prepares to introduce Dante's vision of hell to America. But so does a murderer...........

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The Ghost WriterJohn Harwood

Gerard Freeman finds a manuscript, and this leads him to unveil a mystery that shrouds his family, his life, and will lead him from Mawson to London, to a long-abandoned house and the terror of a ghost story come alive.

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The Philosopher's Doll
Amanda Lohrey

Lindsay Eynon, a philosophy lecturer isn't ready to start a family yet. But Kirsten's biological clock is ticking and she sees the world differently. As their arguments intensify, so does the probability of the unexpected........

This novel is about the perennial conflict between the head and the heart. It reverberates with the dilemmas of contemporary life.

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The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown

An International bestseller, the novel mingles intrigue and menace.

"It is an amazing tale with enigma piled on secrets stacked on riddles."