'MARTIN KERN has a special sensitivity to fonts, a skill that he uses to solve typographical crimes. When a local printer is found dead in his workshop, his body in the shape of an X, Martin and his co-investigator, journalist Lucy Tan, are drawn into a mystery that is stranger than anything they have encountered before. Someone is leaving typographical clues at the scenes of a series of murders.
'All the trails lead back to Pieter van Floogstraten, a Dutch design genius who disappeared without trace in the 1970s, and who has since been engaged in a mystical scheme to create the world’s most perfect font, which is concealed in locations around the globe. But is he really the killer, and how are the crimes connected to his secret font? In solving the mystery, Martin and Lucy may have to expose Martin’s hero as a psychopath.
'The main plot of the novel unfolds in Melbourne, while interleaved chapters set variously in a Tibetan monastery, on the plains of Peru, in London, Naples and Amsterdam, gradually reveal the story of Floogstraten in flashback. Other characters include a noir-style private font investigator, a typographical monk from the Renaissance, a Dutch prog rock group named I Am A Dolphin, and a collective of Italian typo-terrorists.
'This novel takes the reader into the arcane world of typographers and their typefaces, of symbols, swashes and glyphs, where the difference between a serif and sans serif could mean life and death.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.designed by Stephen Banham
'Inspired by horror fiction, myths and fairy tales, Apple and Knife is an unsettling ride that swerves into the supernatural to explore the dangers and power of occupying a female body in today’s world.
'These short fictions set in the Indonesian everyday—in corporate boardrooms, in shanty towns, on dangdut stages—reveal a soupy otherworld stewing just beneath the surface. Sometimes wacky and always engrossing, this is subversive feminist horror at its best, where men and women alike are arbiters of fear, and where revenge is sometimes sweetest when delivered from the grave.
'Mara finds herself brainstorming an ad campaign for Free Maxi Pads, with a little help from the menstruation-eating hag of her childhood. Jamal falls in love with the rich and powerful Bambang, but it is the era of the smiling general and, if he’s not careful, he may find himself recruited to Bambang’s brutal cause. Solihin would give anything to make dangdut singer Salimah his wife – anything at all.
'In the globally connected and fast-developing Indonesia of Apple and Knife, taboos, inversions, sex and death all come together in a heady, intoxicating mix full of pointed critiques and bloody mutilations. Women carve a place for themselves in this world, finding ways to subvert norms or enacting brutalities on themselves and each other.' (Publication summary)
'Ruth and her cousin Naomi live in rural Wisconsin, part of an isolated religious community. The girls' lives are ruled by the rhythms of nature — the harsh winters, the hunting seasons, the harvesting of crops — and by their families' beliefs. Beneath the surface of this closed, frozen world, hidden dangers lurk.
'Then Ruth learns that Naomi harbours a terrible secret. She searches for solace in the mysteries of the natural world: broken fawns, migrating birds, and the strange fish deep beneath the ice. Can the girls' prayers for deliverance be answered?
'Sufficient Grace is a story of lost innocence and the unfailing bond between two young women. It is at once devastating and beautiful, and ultimately transcendent.' (From the publisher's website.)