Sofia’s mother, Rose, has spent most of her life in what she describes as excruciating pain, yet simultaneous numbness. Unable to get to the bottom of her illness, Sofia and Rose spend thousands of pounds, remortgaging their home in the process, to travel to the enigmatic Dr. Gomez in arid Spain in the hope that he may offer an explanation and some relief for Rose’s condition. Up until this point, Sofia had been sleeping on a camp bed in the storeroom of the coffee shop she worked in, after dropping out of her PhD program. A keen anthropologist, Sofia quietly studies those whom she meets in this little Spanish town, whilst battling with her own identity issues. She quickly becomes involved with an intriguing German seamstress, but struggles to determine whether her emotions are that of love or obsession.
When Jen and Hugh Maddox’s daughter, Lana, goes missing on an art retreat in the Peak District, they fear the worst. But four days later, Lana is found, bruised and bleeding but alive. When they ask her what happened, and where she had been, her only answers are ‘I got lost’ and ‘I can’t remember’. The family try to return to their normal lives, but Jen’s need to know what happened leaders to her constant surveillance of Lana’s life, driving them further and further apart, until Jen’s obsession steers her into dangerous territory.
The Strange Bird sees Jeff VanderMeer return to the world that spawned Borne, crafting a novella from the point of view of a piece of Company biotech. The story follows its eponymous bird, who escapes from the laboratory in which she was built. Once in the outside world, she cannot connect with other wildlife and struggles to know which humans she can trust in a landscape destroyed by technology and the people that created it.
Alix Nathan’s debut short story collection follows a variety of characters and their lives during 18th century England, a time when the country is shrouded in the atmosphere of revolution and reaching the height of the Enlightenment.
Drawing on her personal experiences of growing up fat and constantly dieting, Virgie Tovar teaches others to reject that same mindset. She discusses diet culture, fat phobia, sexist fashion and more, arguing that we must unlearn what society has taught us since childhood in order to embrace our bodies, and to learn that it is fine to be fat.
Kate Weinberg’s debut novel, The Truants, pulls dark academia out of the elite and picturesque colleges of America and plunges it into a Brutalist-style university found in the east of England. Jess Walker begins her undergraduate degree enthralled by her enigmatic professor, Lorna Clay, whose class on the master storyteller Agatha Christie sets the scene for the rest of the novel and its mysteries. The Truants is a story about stories, but in particular, it’s about the reliability of our storytellers. Just how much of what they’re telling us is the truth?
In the 1980s, two rookie cops move their blossoming families to the small town of Gillam, just north of New York City. Francis Gleeson and his wife, Lena, try to welcome their new neighbours, Brian and Anne Stanhope, but they receive a frosty reception from Anne. As their families grow side by side, inevitably intertwining, their quiet suburban lives hurtle towards an act that will change all of them forever. Spanning four decades, Ask Again Yes examines relationships of all kinds; marriage, friendship, parent-child relationships. It considers how each of those relationships are tested and how powerful forgiveness can be.
Augusta Hope has never really felt like she belonged, especially not in her small, boring, English town. Too inquisitive for her down-to-earth parents, Augusta clings to the bond she has with her twin sister, Julia, despite them being complete opposites. Half a world away, Parfait is living the small African country of Burundi, dreaming of a better life for himself and his siblings, not all of whom have survived the horrific war that has torn apart his country. A terrible tragedy leaves Augusta even more lost than before, and she sets out on a journey to find out where it is she’s supposed to be.
Ella is drifting through her 20s, with the distinct feeling that she’s not where she should be. She watches as her girlfriend, Alix, succeed in her art and make plans to take her work abroad, while Ella herself fails to produce more than one painting a year, despite her similar artist aspirations. Instead, she finds herself bouncing from one care-giving job to another, privy to the most private moments of people in need. She takes on the task of caring for Jill, a client slightly younger than her usual charges who is left mentally diminished following a tragic accident. Ella is struck by the tenderness with which Jill’s husband, Bryn, cares for her, and the quiet friendship that develops between the two of them as Ella returns each day to help where she can. As she continues to observe their marriage each day, Ella finds herself questioning her own relationships with those around her.
Inspired by the film of the same name, Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke brings this nightmarish fairytale to book form. In Spain during the summer of 1944, the aftermath of the civil war plays out in the forests, in between the trees and under the cover of darkness. Republican rebels hide out in the woods, hunted by the capitán and his soldiers who make an old mill their base. Ofelia and her mother, who is heavily pregnant and very weak, arrive at the mill to be reunited with Captain Vidal, Ofelia’s new stepfather. Most do not take notice of her, the cruel capitán is irritated by her presence, but under the ground, creatures are stirring – they sense the return of the long-lost Princess Moanna. Ofelia discovers an overgrown labyrinth and meets the Fawn, who sets her three tasks to prove she is the missing Princess. Ofelia’s love of fairytales guides her, but things soon become far more sinister than they ever did in her storybooks.