Category: Fiction

  • His Bloody Project, by Graeme Macrae Burnet

    Paperback, Contraband, £8.99, out now This Booker-longlisted novel is the story of a 17 year old boy facing the death penalty for a triple murder committed in a remote village in the Scottish highlands.  It is 1869, and Roderick Macrae is the son of a crofter who is living in a feudal society.  His Bloody…

  • Dead Man’s Blues, by Ray Celestin

    Hardback, Mantle, £12.99, out now For his second crime mystery novel, Celestin takes us to Jazz age Chicago.  Louis Armstrong is transforming the cornet solo, and Al Capone largely owns the city, which is corrupt at every level.  The novel opens with a gangster funeral almost Roman in scope, where the crowds are showered with…

  • My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout

    Hardback, Penguin Viking, £12.99, out now Lucy is in hospital in New York, separated from her husband and young children while her illness rumbles on.  Her mother, who she has not seen for many years, comes to visit her, staying by her bedside for several days.  The reasons for the physical and emotional distance in…

  • The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry

    Hardback, Serpent’s Tail, £14.99, out now Victorian religion, science and superstition battle it out over a possible giant sea serpent off Essex. Cora, whose abusive husband has just died, sets out with her unusual young son Francis and working class activist friend Martha to investigate.  Finally able to explore her own interests, this amateur naturalist…

  • Hot Milk, by Deborah Levy

    Hardback, Hamish Hamilton, £12.99, out now The mother made me want to scream.  Out loud.  “She will wake up and shout, ‘Get me water, Sofia,’ and I will get her water and it will always be the wrong sort of water.”  Brilliantly effective and funny, this is a sharp and speedy summer read. Sofia has…

  • The Gustav Sonata, by Rose Tremain

    Hardback, Chatto and Windus, £16.99, out now Gustav lives with his widowed mother in Switzerland, just after the Second World War.  A young boy, he is raised by his mother to value Switzerland’s neutrality, and told to master his own emotions.  Gustav forms an intense friendship with a new arrival at his school, a Jewish…

  • The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

    Hardback, £9.99, Egmont ‘Classics’ Kenneth Grahame’s 1908 children’s classic The Wind in the Willows was republished last year in a beautiful hardback edition by Egmont ‘Classics’, complete with an appendix of activities for children, a well-conceived glossary (as some of Grahame’s words are challenging) and E. H. Shepherd’s original and unforgettable pen illustrations. I cannot…

  • This Must be the Place, by Maggie O’Farrell

    Hardback, Tinder Press, £18.99, out now – limited number of signed copies available in store Daniel is an American academic married to a reclusive former film star, and living in rural Ireland.  His happy second marriage to Claudette has produced two young children, to add to the ones he left in California and never sees. …

  • I am Henry Finch, by Viviane Schwarz and Alexis Deacon

    Paperback, Walker Books, £6.99, out now A deserved winner of the excellent Little Rebels Award for radical children’s books (https://littlerebelsaward.wordpress.com/2016/05/09/alexis-deacon-invites-children-to-come-up-with-an-alternative-to-capitalism/ ), this beautiful picture book made me roar with laughter. Henry Finch is a small bird who comes to realise that he exists, and thinks, and that he can use his thoughts to tackle THE…

  • The Mountain Can Wait, by Sarah Leipciger

    Paperback, Tinder Press, £7.99, out now A distracted young man, Curtis, is driving along a mountain road at night.  A woman flashes into his headlights, is struck by the truck, and disappears.  He keeps driving. Curtis’s single father Tom manages planting for logging in the Canadian Rockies.  His teenage daughter, like his son, appears alienated…

  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte

    Paperback, Vintage, 7.99 Ashamed of not having read anything by Anne Bronte but only her sisters I recently began reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and was astonished (though perhaps should not have been) firstly by how psychologically convincing the characters are, and secondly by the strangely addictive quality the writing possesses; considering its length…

  • Exposure, by Helen Dunmore

    Hardback, Hutchinson, £16.99, out now An engaging thriller with a very human heart, this cold war spy story is fresh and believable.  Giles, a long time Soviet mole in the 1950s British security services, calls in a favour from his old co-worker Stephen.  Giles is in hospital and must have stolen secret papers removed from…

  • Ten Days, by Gillian Slovo

    Hardback, Canongate, £14.99, out 3 March Martin Luther King said that “riots are the language of the unheard”. Developed from Slovo’s successful 2011 verbatim play The Riots at the Tricycle theatre, this readable novel offers multiple voices and a wholly convincing and gripping anatomy of how a London riot happens. It is a scorching summer,…

  • Lila: Marilynne Robinson

    The third novel in Robinson’s Gilead trilogy, Lila is the eponymous story of the Reverend John Ames’ much younger wife, whose poverty-stricken and itinerant childhood in Dust Bowl America has shaped her into a deeply insecure, yet compassionate and courageous human being. The narrative is a mixture of omniscient third person narration and Lila’s own…

  • Pond, Claire-Louise Bennett

    It’s rare to discover a truly original book but Pond is just that. A series of short ‘stories’, sometimes no more than a few paragraphs, this highly eccentric and experimental work revolves around an unnamed woman whose rural isolation is the occasion of her meandering meditations upon everything from bananas, control knobs, a conglomeration of…

  • The Incarnations, Susan Barker

    A ghost is this highly original novel’s second protagonist; its’ first is Wang, a taxi driver in contemporary Beijing who is the recipient of a series of mysterious letters purporting to be from a soul he has encountered in past lives. Barker weaves a seamless and gripping narrative between the modern-day and a dozen brilliantly…

  • Disclaimer: Renee Knight

    Disclaimer is yet another book being marketed with comparisons to Gone Girl on the cover. In fact, this clever debut set in London and Spain has its own distinctive style and deliciously sinister concept. When Catherine Ravenscroft and her husband downsize, she finds an unfamiliar book by her bedside just as she’s settling into a…

  • Edna O’Brien, The Little Red Chairs

    Hardback, Faber and Faber, £18.99, out now In 2012, in memory of the Sarajevo siege which began in 1992, “11,541 red chairs were laid out in rows along… the Sarajevo high street. One empty chair for every Sarajevan killed during the 1,425 days of siege. Six hundred and forty-three small chairs for the children killed…

Blog at WordPress.com.