Our Fiction section this issue may not have quite our usual number of reviews, but it’s still far-ranging, including a couple of novels new in paperback that we missed when originally published.

Contemporary Life and Past Times:

Paul Kingsnorth’s novel Beast is a sequel of sorts to The Wake, but set 1000 years later in the present day. Tiananmen Square is remembered in Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

Jay McInerny’s witty and engaging Bright, Precious Days continues to follow the lives of golden couple, the Calloways now 25 yrs wed and we’re up to 2006. Anne Patchett’s Commonwealth also chronicles a modern family. Paulina and Fran is hilarious and heart-breaking – a tale of tortured female friendship.

Fancy a humorous novel about Nietzsche? Then you’ll enjoy ConfidenceIf you prefer your bittersweet humour in Gallic style, Antoine Laurain’s new French Rhapsody will raise a smile. Gavin Extence’s The Empathy Problem is light-hearted but still manages to tackle it’s central issue of dying of a brain tumour with … empathy.


Tahar Ben Jelloun’s About My Mother is a fictionalised and touching farewell to his mother who had Alzheimers. The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami will win you over with its cover, then win you over again with its understated humour.

Crime, Thrillers & Suspense:

Bodies of Water by V.H. Leslie is a suspenseful tale dominated by the River Thames. New in paperback is Man Booker shortlisted Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh. Nothing Short of Dying is a great debut by Erik Storey, and Derek D. Miller’s The Girl in Green set in the Middle East is both thrilling and thought-provoking. If you enjoy Scandi-crime, Norwegian author Gunnar Staalesen’s new novel Where Roses Never Die may grab your attention. The Borrowed however, is set in Hong Kong where its author Chan Ho-Kei was born and raised.

Speculative and Science Fiction:

Alastair Reynolds is one of the current stars of hard SF, and Revenger is his latest novel about space pirates. The Gradual is the latest in Christopher Priest’s speculative ‘Dream Archipelago’ novels – and a good entry point to this loose series.

Young Adult:

This issue we feature Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland – a novel of first love and heartbreak.

And Finally – Pure Quirky:

Library Cat is the delightful musings of the real cat of Edinburgh Library.


Happy Reading! Don’t forget to comment.DSCF1910

Annabel, Fiction editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *