5 new books to read this week

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12:12pm, Wed 09 Jun 2021
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This week sees one of the biggest debuts of the summer from Zakiya Dalila Harris…

Fiction

1. Grown Ups by Marie Aubert, translated by Rosie Hedger, is published in paperback by Pushkin Press, priced £12.99 (ebook £8.99). Available now

Grown Ups by Norwegian author Marie Aubert tells the story of 40-year-old architect Ida, who is single and struggling with the realisation that her chances of having children are rapidly deteriorating. A short but impactful read, Grown Ups questions the meaning of womanhood and the changing dynamics of a couple once a child is introduced into the household. As Ida’s relatives gather at their family cabin for her mother’s 65th birthday, some news from her sister Marthe sees tensions between the siblings rise, building to an almighty family feud. Exploring the modern themes of dating apps and egg freezing, this is a real page turner with the impressive ability to be both hilarious and devastating.9/10(Review by Sophie Morris)

2. The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Publishing, priced £14.99 (ebook £10.49). Available now

It’s impossible for Zakiya Dalila Harris’ hotly anticipated debut to escape comparisons with the movie Get Out, as it’s a horror-style take on what it means to be black in America today. Nella is a young black woman working at an all-white publishing house – an industry Harris used to work in – and some of the behaviour Nella puts up with is uncomfortably realistic (Harris has spoken about the book being inspired by personal experiences). Things take a turn when another African American woman is hired at work: the Other Black Girl. She starts thriving in situations Nella has always struggled in, and Nella receives a note telling her to leave the company – or she’ll regret it. Harris builds tension like no other – you’re hugely invested in Nella’s success, and the twist at the end is simply brilliant (read: terrifying). It’s by no means a perfect novel – the occasional flashback tends to disrupt the pace, and there are a few too many loose ends – but it will definitely be one of the biggest reads of the summer, and for good reason.8/10(Review by Prudence Wade)

3. I Couldn’t Love You More by Esther Freud is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Publishing, priced £16.99 (ebook £11.89). Available now

From her first novel Hideous Kinky, Esther Freud has been writing about mothers and daughters and the difficulties, bonds and mysteries of their relationships. I Couldn’t Love You More interweaves the struggles and relationships of three generations of women: Aoife, Rosaleen and Kate. Rosaleen’s relationship with sculptor Felix Lichtman initially feels like liberation from the restraints of a backward-looking Catholic Ireland, but it ends in betrayal and abandonment. Freud takes a kaleidoscopic approach to storytelling, shifting timeframes and points of view, meaning the start of the book requires concentration. At the story’s heart are the pressures of the Church and bad priests on unmarried mothers, their treatment by nuns and the consequences for the shamed women and their babies. While this subject isn’t new if you’ve seen Philomena or The Magdalene Sisters, Freud brings empathy to the story, her own mother having escaped this fate, simply by not going back to Ireland after her pregnancy began to show while unmarried. Claustrophobic lives with lack of agency prompt difficult consequences for each generation of women, who have to wrestle control back to protect those they love.8/10(Review by Bridie Pritchard)

Non-fiction

4. Real Estate by Deborah Levy is published in hardback by Hamish Hamilton, priced £10.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

Real Estate is the third and final book in writer Deborah Levy’s Living Autobiography series. Levy is turning 60: she finds herself in Paris on a writing retreat, her youngest daughter is flying the nest, and she is re-evaluating what home means having split with the father of her children in her 50s and moved into an apartment of her own. Levy muses on how far this is from her fantasy, and it is a privilege to be granted access to her thought process. So many paragraphs are worthy of being highlighted and heavily underlined; Levy manages to make even the most mundane things seem beautiful, her observations astute and unique. Fans of the series thus far will not be disappointed; this is an absolute treat.9/10(Review by Frances Wright)

Children’s book of the week

5. Hey You! by Dapo Adeola is published in paperback by Puffin, priced £7.99 (ebook £3.99). Available June 10

Hey You! is a book that needed to be written – and that is a real shame. A collaboration between Dapo Adeola and 18 illustrators, it’s a picture book guide showing young people of colour what it means to grow up with prejudice and injustice. A series of clever and witty illustrations matched with informative text guides the reader through a series of situations where they might encounter prejudice, and how to form strategies to overcome a situation before it becomes a problem. Most of all, Hey You! can teach and empower those learning their way in the world how to cope with the injustice of racism and other forms of prejudice.8/10(Review by Roddy Brooks)

BOOK CHARTS FOR THE WEEK ENDING JUNE 5

HARDBACK (FICTION)1. The Missing Sister by Lucinda Riley2. Threadneedle by Cari Thomas3. Dead Ground by M. W. Craven4. Ariadne by Jennifer Saint5. Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro6. The Passenger by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz7. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid8. Still Life by Sarah Winman9. Uzumaki by Junji Ito10. Circus Of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal(Compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)1. The Power Of Geography by Tim Marshall2. Hold Still: A Portrait Of Our Nation In 2020 by Patron Of The National Portrait Gallery3. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy4. Go Big: How To Fix Our World by Ed Miliband5. You Will Get Through This Night by Daniel Howell6. Ancestors by Alice Roberts7. Operation Pedestal by Max Hastings8. Rememberings by Sinead O’Connor9. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given10. Pinch Of Nom Quick & Easy by Kay Featherstone & Kate Allinson(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman2. The Killer Across The Table by Mark Olshaker & John E. Douglas3. Rememberings by Sinead O’Connor4. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig5. For Any Other Truth by Denzil Meyrick6. You’re Next by Gregg Hurwitz7. Atomic Habits by James Clear8. Yearbook by Seth Rogen9. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey10. A Promised Land by Barack Obama(Compiled by Audible)

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