The Telegraph – feature

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Nice if slightly wonky picture of my piece in The Telegraph today. It’s a summer-reads round-up of the best fiction and non-fiction books for the next few months. In case I’ve overdone it on the lighting here, the list is:

FICTION:

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders

Set over the course of a single night, we follow the Civil War president on his trips into a spirit-filled graveyard as he mourns Willie, his 11-year-old son. Best known for his critically acclaimed short stories, this is Saunders’ first full-length novel and a reflective comment on loss told with tenderness, imagination and wit.

£14.99, Random House, 341 pp.

Into the Water, by Paula Hawkins

Hawkins was launched onto the literary stage two years ago with The Girl on the Train, which sold over 20m copies. In this pacey new offering a woman’s death in the aptly named Drowning Pool is soon linked to other apparent suicides in the small British town. The result is as moody and intricately plotted as her debut.

£8.99, Doubleday, 368pp.

Collecting Sticks, by Joe Decie

This wonderfully well-observed graphic novel from cartoonist Decie is a must for anyone diving into the Great Outdoors this summer. Partly inspired by true events, we watch one family’s everyday struggles in the wilderness and are reminded how these moments, at once mundane, damp and beset by spiders, can also provide the memories we’ll cherish the most.

£16.99, Jonathan Cape, 160pp

 

Spoonbenders, by Daryl Gregory

Telekinesis, mind-reading and sleights of hand: the Amazing Telemachus Family – Teddy, Maureen and their three children – were a household name in the mid-1970s until a very public fall from grace. Twenty years later, three generations of one dysfunctional clan narrate this laugh-out-loud story: part family drama, part adventurous sci-fi.

£14.99, Quercus, 416 pp.

The High Places, by Fiona McFarlane

This debut collection of 13 stories has deliciously sinister undertones, vignettes capturing fleeting moments of universal fears. Whether it’s a sick cat, an unexpected lottery win, the rising crescendo of fear that accompanies the absence, however brief, of a child, or a loss of faith: Australian McFarlane’s poetic prose skilfully navigates the foreboding within the everyday.

£9.99, Sceptre, 288 pp.

NON-FICTION:

American Noir, by Barry Forshaw

“The best crime novels can provide…incisive and penetrating guides to the countries in which they are set,” writes Forshaw in this, his fourth foray into region-specific crime fiction. Turning now to the US – rich ground indeed – Forshaw’s lists include interviews with some of the most famous writers of the genre, plus analyses of the best contemporary film and television, too.

£9.99, Pocket Essentials, 192 pp.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Renni Eddo-Lodge

In 2014, the award-winning journalist Eddo-Lodge wrote a piece on her blog that shared a title with this, her first book – an unflinching examination into modern-day structural racism. White privilege and its frequent denial by those who have no experience of the reality, politics, class and whitewashed feminism combine to form a vital dialogue from a powerful voice.

£16.99, Bloomsbury, 272 pp.

 

How Not to be a Boy, by Robert Webb

As a child, Webb thought he’d conquered the tricky concept of modern masculinity: love sport, drink beer, don’t talk about feelings. These beautifully written memoirs capture both the humour and the heartbreak of rigid gender roles, using his own experience as a springboard while questioning the often so harmful expectations of what it means to be a man.

£16.99, Canongate, 304 pp.

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, by China Miéville

The months from February to October 1917 were “a continuous jostling process, a torqueing of history”, writes the acclaimed fantasy-fiction author in this, his most ambitious work to date. For a book marking the revolution’s centenary, the narrative’s accessibility is its key strength, and these transformative events are made immediately relevant.

£18.99, Verso, 384 pp.

Turning, by Jessica J Lee

When Jessica moved to Berlin she was miserable, so she set herself a challenge: over the course of a year, she would swim in 52 of the lakes surrounding the German capital. The redemptive power of these unfamiliar, wild landscapes, the changes in the water and, slowly, in Jessica herself combine to create an inspiring story.

£15.99, Virago, 304 pp.

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