Stranger than Fiction: Essential Non-Fiction Novels, True Crime & Crónicas

By Adelle Stripe

By Adelle Stripe

Truth? There is no truth. "There is no longer any such thing as fiction or non-fiction; there's only narrative." 

The Tribe: Portraits of Cuba

Carlos Manuel Alvarez

£12.99 £12.34

News of a Kidnapping

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

£9.99 £9.49

Ferociously brilliant account of the kidnapping, imprisonment, and eventual release of a handful of prominent figures in Colombia in the early 1990s by the Medellín Cartel, a drug cartel founded and operated by Pablo Escobar.

Three Month Fever: The Andrew Cunanan Story

Gary Indiana

£12.99 £12.08

Gary Indiana's sardonic reconstruction of the brief life of the party boy who became a media sensation for shooting Gianni Versace.

A Brief History of Seven Killings: WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2015

Marlon James

£9.99 £9.49

Jamaica, 1976. Seven gunmen storm Bob Marley’s house, machine guns blazing. The reggae star survives, but the gunmen are never caught. Part crime thriller, part oral history, part stream-of-consciousness monologue, this Booker Prize winning novel is one of the most original works of the 21st century.

Limonov

Emmanuel Carrere

£9.99 £9.49

Limonov is not a fictional character, but he could have been. He's lived a hundred lives. He was a hoodlum in Ukraine, an idol of the Soviet underground, punk-poet and valet to a billionaire in Manhattan, fashion writer in Paris, lost soldier in the Balkans, and now, in the chaos after the fall of communism a charismatic party leader of a gang of political desperados. Limonov sees himself as a hero, but he is also a bastard. This is Emmanuel Carrere's sensational account of Limonov's life, and perhaps one of his greatest books.

The Long Drop

Denise Mina

£8.99 £8.54

A well deserved winner of the Gordon Burn Prize that tells the unsettling tale of Peter Manuel in 1950s Glasgow.

Dead Girls

Selva Almada

£9.99 £9.49

Internationally acclaimed Argentinian author Selva Almada dives into the heart of femicide with this investigative novel, comparable to Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood or John Hersey’s Hiroshima. With her unique style of prose that captures the invisible, and with lyrical brutality, Almada manages to blaze new trails in this innovative approach to journalistic fiction.

Happy Like Murderers

Gordon Burn

£10.99 £10.44

In this controversial and influential work of reportage, Gordon Burn reveals the strange inner dynamic of Fred and Rosemary West's relationship. Based on meticulous research, this dark history is told in a powerful, compelling narrative.

Libra

Don DeLillo

£8.99 £8.54

A troubled adolescent endlessly riding New York's subway cars, Lee Harvey Oswald enters adulthood believing himself to be an agent of history. This makes him fair game to a pair of discontented CIA operatives convinced that a failed attempt on the life of the US president will force the nation to tackle the threat of communism head on. Libra is an audacious, masterful blend of fact and fiction, laying bare the wounded American psyche and the dark events that still torment it.

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences

Truman Capote

£9.99 £9.49

The chilling true crime 'non-fiction novel' that made Truman Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative. Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation (assisted by Harper Lee) explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved.

The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel / The Novel as History

Norman Mailer

£9.99 £9.49

1967, Washington, D.C. 200,000 protesters are marching to end the war in Vietnam, while helicopters hover overhead and federal marshals and soldiers with fixed bayonets await them on the Pentagon steps. Among the marchers is Norman Mailer. From his own singular participation in the day's events and his even more extraordinary perceptions comes a classic work that shatters the mould of traditional reportage.

You Could Do Something Amazing with Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat]

Andrew Hankinson

£8.99 £8.54

Newcastle doorman Raoul Moat became notorious when, after killing his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend, shooting her in the stomach, and blinding a policeman, he disappeared into the woods of Northumberland, evading discovery for seven days. Eventually, cornered by the police, Moat shot himself. Andrew Hankinson re-tells Moat's story using his own words, and those of the state services which engaged with him, bringing the reader disarmingly close, at all times, to the unravelling mind of its narrator.

The Order of the Day

Eric Vuillard

£8.99 £8.54

A short, powerful account (a récit, or historical essay with literary flourishes) of the annexation of Austria in WW II told by novelist and filmmaker, Eric Vuillard. The book received the esteemed Prix Goncourt, which is always the sign of quality.

Hiroshima

John Hersey

£9.99 £9.49

Published in 1946, Hiroshima tells the devastating stories of six survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on the Japanese city. It is one of the earliest examples of New Journalism, where narrative techniques of fiction are adapted to non-fiction reporting. Never out of print, it has sold more than three million copies and is an essential book for readers with an interest in 20th century history.

A Journal of the Plague Year

Daniel Defoe

£9.99 £9.49

Written 100 years after the Black Death, Defoe's classic tale of the Bubonic Plague was based on the diaries of his uncle who lived through the period. Told as an eyewitness account, it uses fictional devices to describe the horror of the epidemic and its impact on the people of London. Is this the first nonfiction novel? I think it probably is...

People of the Abyss

Jack London

£18.98 £17.65

Jack London's moving firsthand account of working-class life in Whitechapel. For a short period in 1902, the author lived amongst the poor in workhouses, or on the streets. His book influenced George Orwell who went on to write Down and Out in Paris and London, and the Road to Wigan Pier after reading it. Personally, I believe that London's work of narrative journalism is superior.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

Tom Wolfe

£10.99 £10.44

This electrifying non-fiction novel tells the tales of Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters in the 1960’s as they lead a group of psychedelic evangelisers around America in a painted bus driven by the legendary Neal Cassady whom Dean Moriarty’s character in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road was based. It still a best-seller about the history of the hippies, LSD, and the counterculture movement. A wild trip in literary form. Far out!

I'm Jack

Mark Blacklock

£8.99 £8.54

Told through a series of letters, witness statements and assorted documents, I'm Jack unlocks the chaotic story of one of Britain’s most notorious hoaxers, Sunderland's John Humble, aka “Wearside Jack”, the man who assumed the voice of Peter Sutcliffe. Using Humble's voice, Blacklock reveals the wild goose chase that ensued across the North of England in the late 1970s, and the internal collapse of its narrator.

Roots

Alex Haley

£10.99 £10.44

Using oral history and painstaking archive research, Haley traced his ancestry through six generations of architects, lawyers, blacksmiths, farmers, freedmen and slaves. His findings took him back to Africa and a sixteen-year-old youth named Kunta Kinte. Torn from his homeland and brought to the slave markets of the New World, Haley re-imagined Kunta’s journey and explored his family’s deep and distant past. This compelling story is a powerful memoir, a history of slavery and a landmark in African-American literature. Essential.

Burial Rites

Hannah Kent

£9.99 £9.49

Hannah Kent's haunting debut tells the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a woman condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men in 1829. Using poetic prose and evocative imagery, this portrait of northern Iceland is a bitter and claustrophobic blend of historical fiction and crime writing.

HHhH

Laurent Binet

£9.99 £9.49

Another Prix Goncourt award-winner, Binet's masterful retelling of Operation Anthropoid, and the assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich in Prague, is an exhilarating debut novel. Blending the author's personal journey with the subject, his attempt to untangle the events of one day in 1942, and the stories of Czech assassins Gabčík and Kubiš, HHhH is a thrilling literary version of European history. Highly recommended.

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: The #1 New York Times Bestseller

Michelle McNamara

£10.99 £10.44

The result of many years obsessively hunting a mysterious and violent predator who committed fifty sexual assaults and ten sadistic murders, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a tragic portrait of a woman's obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth. Original, unflinching and compelling, it is as a modern true crime classic--one which fulfilled McNamara’s dream: helping unmask the Golden State Killer.

Frank Sinatra Has a Cold: And Other Essays

Gay Talese

£9.99 £9.49

Gay Talese wrote for The New York Times in the early 1960s and helped to define literary journalism or 'new nonfiction reportage’. He is is the father of American New Journalism, who transformed traditional reportage with his vivid scene-setting, sharp observation and rich storytelling. This collection of witty and provocative essays includes his famous piece for Esquire. As one of the most celebrated magazine articles ever published, it describes a morose Frank Sinatra silently nursing a glass of bourbon, struck down with a cold and unable to sing, like 'Picasso without paint, Ferrari without fuel - only worse…’

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