Getting Under Sail
by Brannavan Gnanalingam
Getting Under Sail
by Brannavan Gnanalingam
Morocco to Ghana. Overland. Three New Zealanders. Armed with a guide book and stereotypes. They go being warned of danger, poverty and war by people who had never been there. They end up embroiled in a civil war - but it wasn't really anything to do with Africa.
Writer Brannavan Gnanalingam has won awards and been published in all sorts of places: the Listener, the Dominion Post, the Lumiere Reader, and Salient amongst others. However, he has never been published by Lawrence and Gibson. All that is changing with his debut novel, Getting Under Sail. a tale of three friends and their road-trip through West Africa. Part-travelogue, part-picaresque, and part-confessional, the novel tells the story of three friends travelling through West Africa.
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You Should Have Come Here When You Were Not Here
During WWII German soldiers stationed in Paris complained that it did not live up to their expectations. Parisians made a simple reply: ‘you should have come here when you were not here’.
You Should Have Come Here When You Were Not Here is furnished with rich historical anecdotes and offers a fresh take on Paris through the subtlety of Gnanalingam’s compelling second-person narrative.
“Paris has been written and filmed and depicted so lovingly that it is almost trapped in amber. What I found was very different: a segregated, austere, and above all, disorientating place,” said Gnanalingam. “Perhaps its bloody history and the darkness of French literature at its best wasn't just coincidence.”
The book is centred on Veronica, a New Zealander in her mid-30s and a journalist going nowhere. She decides to move to Paris, believing the city will change her life. She is surprised, but not in the way she expected: Paris is indifferent to her.
“I wanted to subvert the romantic notion that you can travel somewhere and expect the city to bend over backwards to accommodate you. Indifference and impotence are almost built into the grand boulevards and cobbled medieval streets.”
Credit in the Straight World
Wellington author Brannavan Gnanalingam charts the fortunes of a fictitious finance company - Manchester Gold - in a fictitious Cantabrian town, Manchester, in his third novel, Credit in the Straight World. To be released on Friday 1 May 2015, the novel charts the fortunes of Frank Tolland as he casts off an ignoble birth to become the singular leader of business and community in small-town New Zealand.
Told through the eyes of his mute brother, George, Credit in the Straight World is a sharp and satirical account of a small-town finance company, and sweeps through the dramatic economic changes of the 20th and the 21st centuries.
“It’s a story of family fortunes and misfortunes, of a sibling in the shadows, keeping the accounts of his more successful older brother.” said Gnanalingam, “but don’t mistake it for some kind of grand confession. ”
Credit in the Straight World is the third book from Brannavan Gnanalingam to be released through Lawrence & Gibson publishing. His first, Getting Under Sail, was described by the NZ Listener as a ‘unique and beguiling effort’. In 2013, You Should Have Come Here When You Were Not Here was published to critical acclaim. It was praised by the NZ Listener as “terse and strong” and “genre-defying,” and by Booksellers NZ as “raw and economical, painting beautifully truthful pictures.”
“In his previous books Gnanalingam has shown a knack for precise observations of gender and race in foreign lands. This book shows that he can cast an equally keen eye on small-town New Zealand,” said Murdoch Stephens, editor at Lawrence and Gibson.
A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse
In 1981, a top spy misplaced a briefcase in the Aro Valley. All it contained were his business cards, a diary of scurrilous gossip, three mince pies, two fruit pies, the NZ Listener, and a Penthouse magazine. Unfortunately for him, the briefcase was discovered by the son of a prominent political journalist.
Brannavan Gnanalingam's savage new novel, A Briefcase, Two Pies and a Penthouse looks at modern day spies in New Zealand. Instead of 'Reds Under the Bed', the new existential threat is Islamic terrorism - and the novel looks at a very New Zealand response to a global issue.
Rachel McManus has just started at the New Zealand Alarm and Response Ministry. One of the few females working there, she is forced to traverse the peculiarities of Wellington bureaucracy, lascivious colleagues, and decades of sedimented hierarchy. She has the chance to prove herself by investigating a suspected terrorist, who they fear is radicalising impressionable youth and may carry out an attack himself on the nation's capital.
See an interview about the new book with Brannavan Gnanalingam and L&G editor Murdoch Stephens here.
Brannavan Gnanalingam is a critically-acclaimed novelist from the Hutt Valley, New Zealand. His previous novel Credit in the Straight World about a small-town finance company collapse drew comparisons with A Confederacy of Dunces and Charles Dickens, while his other books have examined Kiwis travelling in Paris and West Africa. This, his fourth novel, is his first set in Wellington. He hopes - one day - to write a novel about cricket.