Welcome to our summer fiction selection. Our header photo features Harry helping with the books this time. To help you find your way through the reviews, they are listed alphabetically by title on your right, or we’ve grouped them by theme below. As always, there is a selection of paperback releases in the mix, and don’t forget that some titles we reviewed last summer and autumn are now available in paperback too, our archives are well worth exploring:
Crime and thrillers – as always, we have a good and varied bunch for you: London Rain is the latest in Nicola Upson’s Josephine Tey series, and there’s also the latest Sidney Chambers in James Runcie’s Granchester series. Orient by Christopher Bollen is a stylish contemporary thriller set on Long Island, whereas Pleasantville by Attica Locke is a legal thriller set in a town near Houston, Texas. Christobel Kent’s latest, The Crooked House sounds a chilling psychothriller, contrasting with the French countryside in The Dying Season, the latest Bruno, Chief of Police novel by Martin Walker. Going back to the Victorian era, The Infidel Stain by M.J.Carter is a rattling good yarn. Laura Wilson has written a standalone crime novel in The Wrong Girl, taking a break from her D.I. Stratton novels, and finally Alex Hourston’s In My House provides a contemporary mystery.
Contemporary literature: If you enjoy the challenge of metafiction, Ben Lerner’s 10:04 might be for you, or you might prefer what could be Milan Kundera’s last novel The Festival of Insignificance. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara arrives here much hyped, but is billed as a Great Gay American Novel. Motherhood is the underlying focus of Flight by Isabel Ashdown and family dysfunction in the face of selective mutism is the theme of Hush by Sara Marshall-Ball. Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy is a clever novel inspired by The Great Gatsby featuing a Serbian billionaire in London. I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers is about male guilt and bereavement with a thrillerish side to it. Paradise City by Elizabeth Day is a character study of four very different people living in London. Preparations for the Next Life by Atticus Lish explores immigration, institutions and army life. Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin delves deep into the personality of a forty-something woman. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a delightful novel about books and booklovers – irresistible!
For fans of short stories: we have Janice Galloway’s new collection Jellyfish
We have plenty of narratives set throughout the 20th Century and into the 21st: including Kate Atkinson’s companion novel to Life After Life – A God in Ruins and the Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. Early Warning is the middle novel in Jane Smiley’s Last Hundred Years trilogy. Like me, you may have enjoyed Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg on the Book at Bedtime programme on Radio 4, it’s set during the Great Depression in New York. The Artificial Anatomy of Parks Kat Gordon, goes from the present to the recent past in a good old-fashioned family novel. The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys is a WWII story (with a rather lovely cover), and there is a supernatural edge to Tim Clare’s The Honours.
Our selection of novels in translation includes the latest paperback by Haruki Murakami – Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage. In Inside the Head of Bruno Schulz Maxim Biller’s novella is a tribute to the Polish-Jewish author Bruno Schulz.
Annabel, Fiction editor.