Whereabouts – Jhumpa Lahiri, £8.99 paperback
A haunting portrait of a woman, her decisions, her conversations, her solitariness, in a beautiful and lonely Italian city. The woman moves through the city, her city, on her own. She moves along its bright pavements; she passes over its bridges, through its shops and pools and bars. She slows her pace to watch a couple fighting, to take in the sight of an old woman in a waiting room; pauses to drink her coffee in a shaded square. Sometimes her steps take her to her grieving mother, sealed off in her own solitude. Sometimes they take her to the station, where the trains can spirit her away for a short while. In the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will change forever. A rare work of fiction, Whereabouts – first written in Italian and then translated by the author herself – brims with the impulse to cross barriers.
The Cliff House – Chris Brookmyre, £9.99 paperback
One hen weekend, seven secrets, but only one worth killing for. Jen’s hen party is going to be out of control. She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think. As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law. It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed. Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.
Fatherland – Robert Harris, £9.99 paperback
A masterpiece of thriller writing, Fatherland is set in a brutal alternative world where Hitler has won the Second World War.It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler’s 75th birthday. Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin’s most prestigious suburb. As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich. And, with the Gestapo just one step behind, March, together with an American journalist, is caught up in a race to discover and reveal the truth – a truth that has already killed, a truth that could topple governments, a truth that will change history.
At the Table – Claire Powell, £9.99 paperback
To Nicole and Jamie Maguire, their parents seem the ideal couple – a suburban double act, happily married for more than thirty years. So when Linda and Gerry announce that they’ve decided to separate, the news sends shockwaves through the siblings’ lives, forcing them to confront their own expectations and desires. Hardworking – and hard-drinking – Nicole pursues the ex she unceremoniously dumped six years ago, while people-pleasing Jamie fears he’s sleepwalking into a marriage he doesn’t actually want. But as the siblings grapple with the pressures of thirtysomething life, their parents struggle to protect the fragile facade of their own relationship, and the secrets they’ve both been keeping. A gripping yet tender depiction of family dynamics, love and disillusionment, At the Table is about what it means to grow up – both as an individual, and as a family.
Stalin Ate My Homework – Alexei Sayle, £9.99 paperback
The Sayles might not have been the only Jewish Atheist Communist family in Liverpool, but Alexei knew from an early age that they were one of the most eccentric. Born on the day egg rationing came to an end, Alexei was the only child of Joe, an affable trade unionist who led the family on railway expeditions across eastern Europe, and Molly, a hot-tempered red-head who terrified teachers and insisted Alexei see the Red Army Choir instead of the Beatles. Perceptive and hilarious, this is a portrait of a family, a city, a country and a continent going through enormous changes.
It All Comes Down To This – Therese Anne Fowler, £9.99 paperback
Marti Geller is going to die soon, and she’s hoping to take her secrets with her. To do this, Marti has stipulated in her will that the family’s summer home on Mount Desert Island, Maine, must be sold as soon as possible. This request comes as a shock to her three daughters, a trio of strong-minded women who are each hiding a secret of their own. For the eldest daughter, Beck, the Maine cottage is essential to her secret wish to write a novel, and selling is the last thing she wants to do. But recently divorced Claire is privately too preoccupied with an unrequited love to be concerned about the sale, while the youngest daughter, Sophie, would never admit to her sisters that she desperately needs the sale in order to survive. While the sisters argue over the fate of their late mother’s property, enigmatic southerner C.J. Reynolds, with his own troubled past, is released from prison and begins to travel to Mount Desert Island. As this seemingly unconnected group all head for the coast of Maine, nothing is as it seems. And everything is about to change.
Tessa Hadley – Free Love, £9.99 paperback
It’s 1967 and London is alive with the new youth revolution. In the suburbs, meanwhile, Phyllis Fischer inhabits a world of conventional stability. Married with two children, her life is both comfortable and predictable. But when Nicky – a twenty-something friend of the family – visits one hot summer evening and kisses Phyllis in the dark of the garden, something in her catches fire. Newly awake to the world, Phyllis makes a choice that defies all expectations .
How the Light Gets In – Louise Penny, £8.99 paperback
There is more to solving a crime than following the clues. Welcome to Chief Inspector Gamache’s world of facts and feelings. As a fierce, unrelenting winter grips Quebec, shadows are closing in on Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. When he receives a message about a mysterious case in Three Pines, he is compelled to investigate – a woman who was once one of the most famous people in the world has vanished. The investigation gathers momentum and Gamache is drawn into a web of murder, lies and unimaginable corruption at the heart of the city. Facing his most challenging, and personal, case to date, can he save the reputation of the Surete, those he holds dear and himself?
Bibliomaniac – Robin Ince, £16.99 hardback
Why play to 12,000 people when you can play to 12? In Autumn 2021, Robin Ince’s stadium tour with Professor Brian Cox was postponed due to the pandemic. Rather than do nothing, he decided to go on a tour of over a hundred bookshops in the UK, from Wigtown to Penzance; from Swansea to Margate. Packed with witty anecdotes and tall tales, Bibliomaniac takes the reader on a journey across Britain as Robin explores his lifelong love of bookshops and books – INCLUDING LIMESTONE BOOKS! – and also tries to find out just why he can never have enough of them. It is the story of an addiction and a romance, and also of an occasional points failure just outside Oxenholme.