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Books: indie action

As Independent Bookshop Week fast approaches (18 – 25 June), we celebrate Gloucester Road Books, which, in turn, is celebrating some of the country’s finest independent publishers and their recent releases. Check them out…


an/other pastoral by Tjawangwa Dema | published by No Bindings
an/other pastoral is part of a wider multi-format project created by innovative Bristol publisher, No Bindings. Tjawangwa Dema’s new poetry collection is a spellbinding and all-encompassing examination of the natural world and its witnessing of, amongst other things, empire, race and the climate crisis. Dema has produced, in moving powerful verse, what ultimately becomes a book of hope: “all nature speaks if we listen”.

The Water Statues by Fleur Jaeggy, translated by Gini Alhadeff | published by And Other Stories
This strange and utterly compelling book is loosely presented as a play, where a cast of characters drift about in stage-like vignettes. The nature of their conversations are existential, characterised by the material qualities of water, stone, and light. They are preoccupied by the subject of time, but remain unhurried in states of lethargy and repose. This stunning book plunges you into its dreamlike spaces through hauntingly beautiful fragments, completely unique and powerful in its short form.

Seven Steeples by Sara Baume | published by Tramp Press
This is a truly beautiful book, in which almost nothing happens. A couple moves out to the Irish countryside to live in simpler fashion. Over time they gradually shed their previous lives, families and friends. They take almost nothing from the world, and put almost nothing back in. The seasons change, the years pass, their dogs age, and their routines set in. Baume’s language is textural, rhythmic and tactile, and the novel is completely spellbinding.

Shalimar by Davina Quinlivan | published by Little Toller
Left unmoored and unsettled by the death of her father, Davina Quinlivan sets out to unearth her Anglo-Asian family’s rich history. She travels from England to India and Myanmar, discovering her ancestors’ stories and their previously unknown and profound influence on her own life. The hypnotising and mesmeric prose turns this quest for home and identity into an unforgettable experience. Davina will be discussing her book at Gloucester Road Books on Wednesday 22 June from 6.30pm – 8pm. Tickets are available in store or from Eventbrite.

Paradais by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes | published by Fitzcarraldo Editions
From early on in Paradais, it is clear that things are not going to end well. Once their egotistical fantasies have taken hold, the two teenage characters at the centre of the story cannot escape their own runaway momentum. This is a searing tale of a fractured society smashed apart by teenage lust for sex and status, written by a new star of Mexican literature.

A note from the team:
“Our primary aim is that the shop be a fascinating place to explore. Some of the subject sections are a little broader than they might be elsewhere – for instance our ‘Time and Place’ section encompasses books on History, Travel Literature, Geography and Reportage. We also have a significant focus on titles published by small independent presses. There are lots of really brilliant small publishers putting out incredibly exciting books at the moment, and we want to help get these out into the world. We do, of course, have plenty of the kinds of books you would expect to find in any good bookshop – fiction, non-fiction, and a range of fantastic books for children of all ages. The stock is carefully chosen and constantly changing, so even if you pop in every week there will always be new books to find.”

Follow Gloucester Road Books on Instagram at: gloucester_rd_books. Visit the bookshop at: 184 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, BS7 8NU. Open Monday – Tuesday 9.30am – 5pm; Wednesday – Saturday 9.30am – 6pm

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