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Raven Girl

Audrey Niffenegger (Author)

Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven…

So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to take her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child – an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. The raven girl feels imprisoned by her arms and legs and covets wings and the ability to fly. Betwixt and between, she reluctantly grows into a young woman, until one day she meets an unorthodox doctor who is willing to change her.

One of the world’s most beloved storytellers has created a dark fairytale full of wonderment and longing. Illustrated with Audrey Niffenegger’s bewitching etchings and paintings, Raven Girl explores the bounds of transformation and possibility.

Héloïse is Bald

Émilie de Turckheim (Author) , Sophie Lewis (Translator)

She is seven months old. She is bald. She is wearing red nail varnish. She is in love.

This strange, uneasy love story follows Héloïse as she attempts to seduce the silver-tongued Doctor Lawrence Calvagh. A man forty years her senior, who may love her too. But Lawrence is not all he appears, and while Héloïse begins injuring herself so that he will stitch her back together, every other woman in her family also seems to be under his spell.

Reaching from the elegant salons of Paris to the golden sands of Corsica, the mountains of Algeria to the art galleries of New York, this subversive novel examines love at its most shocking and violent. And in Héloïse, as baby, nymphet, teenage mother, celebrated photographer, and wife, we have a truly provocative heroine.

Hostage

Guy Delisle (Author)

HOW DOES ONE SURVIVE WHEN ALL HOPE IS LOST?

In the middle of the night in 1997, Doctors Without Borders administrator Christophe André was kidnapped by armed men and taken away to an unknown destination in the Caucasus region. For three months, André was kept handcuffed in solitary confinement, with little to survive on and almost no contact with the outside world. Close to twenty years later, award-winning cartoonist Guy Delisle (Pyongyang, Jerusalem, Shenzhen, Burma Chronicles) recounts André’s harrowing experience in Hostage, a book that attests to the power of one man’s determination in the face of a hopeless situation.

Marking a departure from the author’s celebrated first-person travelogues, Delisle tells the story through the perspective of the titular captive, who strives to keep his mind alert as desperation starts to set in. Working in a pared down style with muted colour washes, Delisle conveys the psychological effects of solitary confinement, compelling us to ask ourselves some difficult questions regarding the repercussions of negotiating with kidnappers and what it really means to be free. Thoughtful, intense, and moving, Hostage takes a profound look at what drives our will to survive in the darkest of moments.

Blue Pills

Frederik Peeters (Author)

An intimate, poetic and accessible graphic memoir very much in the tradition of works by Marjane Satrapi, Craig Thompson and Alison Bechdel.

One summer night at a teenage house party, Fred met Cati. Though they barely spoke, he vividly remembers her gracefulness juxtaposed with a wonderful, wild abandon. They meet again at a New Year's Party in 1999, and this time their connection is instantaneous. A few weeks later, when it looks like things might get serious, a very nervous Cati tells him that she and her three-year-old son are both HIV positive.

With great beauty and economy, Peeters' traces the development of their emotional and sexual intimacy. The silver lining in their lives is the wonderful, down-to-earth doctor whose affection and frankness allow them to confront their fears about sex and fully realize their passionate connection. But when Cati's son gets sick and they have to administer a gruelling treatment (including the blue pills of the title), Fred comes face to face with death. His questions about life, love and illness are played out in a Socratic dialogue with a (very wise) mammoth who ultimately helps him to recognize that living with illness is also a gift; it has freed him to savour his life with Cati.

Blue Pills explores a daunting and difficult subject in a way that is refreshingly honest, moving and revelatory. Peeters, while writing specifically about HIV, has also given us a nuanced and deeply personal story that will resonate with anyone who is intimately acquainted with any kind of illness - and all of us who have chosen to love in the face of challenges.

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