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Recently arrived literary fiction

Book Blog

Day is a new arrival from Michael Cunningham, the author of The Hoursand The Snow Queen, is a pandemic novel, set on two key dates, April 5th 2020 and April 5th 2021. A family, thrust together by lockdown in their New York City brownstone navigate the challenges of online learning, social isolation and a crumbling marriage. A year later as the city and the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, they reckon with loss, reflect on personal transformations, and attempt to piece together a new normal. As they navigate individual journeys and evolving relationships, questions of love, identity, and the resilience of the human spirit come to the forefront.

With one war firmly behind her and the next on the horizon, Anne Louvet, a young woman with a mysterious past, arrives in the small town of Janvilliers seeking a fresh start. She finds work at the run-down Hotel du Lion d'Or, where she crosses paths with Charles Hartmann, a wealthy lawyer and war veteran. Despite their differences in age and social standing, they develop a passionate affair. However, secrets and hidden truths from their pasts threaten to tear them apart. As political tensions rise in France, the lovers must navigate their tumultuous relationship against the backdrop of a nation on the brink of war. Originally published over 30 years ago, The Girl at the Lion d'Or by Sebastian Faulks makes up the first part of his French Trilogy' which includes Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, some of his best loved works.

Light over Liskeard by Louis de Bernières features Q, a tech whiz fearing tech's dystopian future, who ditches his cushy life for a rustic Cornish haven. There he cultivates self-sufficiency, befriends quirky locals including a reincarnated knight, and reconnects with family. As tech crumbles, Q finds hope in nature, human connection, and maybe even love, offering a glimpse of light before the digital darkness falls.Light Over Liskeard is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that invites readers to consider the potential consequences of our dependence on technology and the importance of human connection in an increasingly digital world.

In Eliza Clark’s Penance,, a grisly murder rocks Crow-on-Sea, a sleepy English town. Joan, 16, is found dead, leaving journalist Alec scrambling for answers. Through interviews, social media dives, and chilling letters, Alec unravels the twisted lives of Joan, her friends, and their online obsessions. Class tensions, dark desires, and online cruelty brew a potent mix, blurring the lines between reality and digital darkness as Clark once again creates a complex and unreliable narrator.

My Name is Iris by Brando Skyhorse is set in a divided America, where Iris, a single mother, faces two walls: a literal one splitting her yard, and a discriminatory wristband system branding her "unverified" due to her undocumented parents. Fighting for her daughter and community, she navigates hate and fear, pushing the limits to redefine her identity and fight for belonging.

The story of Water, by John Boyne unfolds on a remote Irish island, where Vanessa Carvin, now known as Willow Hale, seeks refuge from her tumultuous past. Her husband, Brendan, is imprisoned for a heinous crime, and Vanessa grapples with the accusations of her own complicity. Isolated in a remote cottage, she attempts to shed her past life and confront the truth about her actions and choices. As the narrative progresses, layers of complexity unfold, blurring the lines between victim and perpetrator, and forcing Vanessa to confront the demons within.

Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward centres around Annis, a young enslaved woman, who is sold away from her mother and forced to endure a brutal journey south. Facing unimaginable hardships and witnessing the dehumanizing realities of slavery, Annis seeks solace in memories of her past and stories of her warrior grandmother. Known for her unflinching prose and nuanced characters, Ward's work offers powerful social commentary while celebrating enduring human strength, with themes themes of race, poverty, and resilience and being Black in America.

In Lola In the Mirror by Trent Dalton, a 16-year-old girl with no name embarks on a thrilling and dangerous journey with her mother, fleeing from a mysterious past and a chilling threat. Living in a van by the Brisbane River, their only possession is a dog-eared mirror holding the key to unraveling their identities and escaping their relentless pursuers. The girl encounters captivating characters like Lola, a flamboyant transgender singer who holds the answers to their past, and Hugo, a gruff ex-boxer who offers protection and unexpected warmth. As they delve into the girl's memories, the journey towards finding "Lola" in the mirror ultimately becomes a quest for self-discovery and finding true strength in vulnerability.

The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff is the gorgeous and lavishly described story of one young woman's escape from a 1600s Puritan colony in Virginia. As she runs deeper into the wilderness, she recounts the story of her life as a servant girl to a rich woman, her love for the woman's young daughter, and the terrible state of the colony she is fleeing. Groff's writing reminds me so much of Maggie O'Farrell's, at once intensely intimate and wildly descriptive while also feeling a sense of remove from the action. The way she depicts the vast areas of forest and river, the bears, birds and other inhabitants and the changing seasons of the wilds elevates the story from a compelling adventure to a fable-esque work of art.

In The Postcard, an autofictional novel by Anne Berest, an anonymous postcard depicting the Paris Opéra Garnier arrives at the her family home. On the back, listed are the names of Anne's great-grandparents and their children, all victims of the Holocaust. Years later, spurred by curiosity and a desire for truth, Anne embarks on a journey to uncover the sender's identity and their motives. Her investigation delves into her family's past, their escape from Russia, and the tragic journey that led them to their tragic fate. As she unravels the secrets buried for decades, Anne grapples with family dynamics, hidden truths, and the legacies of war and remembrance.

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