This week, I’m going to read five new books.
Are you looking for a new summer read? You’ve come to the right place…
Assembly by Natasha Brown is available in hardback for £12.99 (ebook £7.99) through Hamish Hamilton. Now available
Natasha Brown’s debut novel is a chillingly accurate examination of the lies we tell ourselves and others. It is told from the perspective of a black British woman who is getting ready to attend a magnificent garden party hosted by her boyfriend’s family on their English countryside estate. With her carefully planned path in front of her, she strives to modify the story – even if it means risking her life. The novel’s inventive structure and concise prose effectively reflect how colonial dynamics have been woven into British culture – through race and class, safety and freedom, winners and losers, and so on. You won’t be able to put it down once you start reading it. 9/10 (Georgina Grouse’s review)
CJ Carey’s Widowland is available in hardback from Quercus for £14.99 (ebook £8.49). Now available
Widowland is a historical fiction thriller set in a 1950s dystopia with an Orwellian ring to it, in which the Nazis were never vanquished and Britain was enslaved by a Grand Alliance headed by Germany. Despite the title, the novel focuses on Rose, an upper-caste lady or Geli, who enjoys a privileged life in the government — widows in widowland are marginalized in the novel as well as in totalitarian society. This does seem a missed opportunity given their interesting backstories, complex group dynamics and ultimate significance within the plot. A slow burn with a rush of culminating action, Carey’s intricately detailed portrait of the convincingly cruel reimagined history takes centre stage over the storyline, championing a clear feminist statement. 8/10 (Rebecca Wilcock’s review)
Still Life by Sarah Winman is published in hardback by Fourth Estate, priced £16.99 (ebook £9.99). Now available
This is quite a saga, and a very meandering one. A soldier (Ulysses) meets an art historian (Evelyn) in Italy during the last throes of World War II, and then their lives diverge completely. Ulysses returns to the pub and the bawdy gaggle of mates he left behind, while Evelyn. (This is a short article)