Damian Le Bas spent his childhood around travellers, hearing stories about his Romani heritage from his great-grandmother, spoken in the Roma tongue. In a bid to discover more about his own roots, Le Bas kits out a Ford Transit and heads on the road, touring the stopping places of old and new on a search for answers about his ancestry.
At a prestigious upstate Liberal Arts college, a troupe of theatre students have formed a close clique in which they live, eat, and breathe Shakespeare. When a casting turns their roles upside down, the stage begins to blur into real life until one of them shows up dead.
When Cyril Conroy buys the Dutch House, he means it as a surprise for his wife, Elna. More glass than brick, with marble floors, gilt ceiling, and even a ballroom, their move from a tiny New York City apartment to this enormous home in Philadelphia is jarring for humble Elna. Bought from the Vanhoebeeks after their bankruptcy, the house also comes with their servants and all of their wordly possessions. Elna tries to adjust as the children, Maeve and Danny, marvel at their new life, but her selflessness and desire to help the neediest of society contradicts her new luxurious lifestyle. She begins to disappear, sometimes for weeks at a time, until one day she leaves for India and doesn’t return.
Adapted from the viral blog post of the same name, Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race uncovers the often unmentioned history of race in Britain, and how relations stand today. She explores the issue from all angles, and this award-winning book has sparked conversations on what it means to be a person of colour in the UK in the twenty-first century. This is a topic which too often goes unspoken of and is relegated to history, but Reni Eddo-Lodge uses her work to show that an open dialogue on race is still incredibly important, now more so than ever.
Nothing is Okay is Rachel Wiley’s second full-length poetry collection, in which she tackles issues such as race, queerness, fatness, and feminism. It is at once a celebration of the self and a critique of society, asking us to reconsider the ways in which we treat ourselves and others.
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.
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.
Kayleen Schaefer’s debut takes a personal and sociological look at the way friendships between women have developed throughout history, to become more nuanced and intimate than ever. Drawing on personal experience and interviews with friends, celebrities, writers, and historians, Schaefer renders a touching account of the importance of friendship in strengthening and supporting our life experiences.