Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin is published in hardback by Fourth Estate
Wandering Souls begins in the late 1970s in Vietnam, with the oldest daughter of the family, Anh, making the journey with two of her brothers to a refugee camp in Hong Kong. Her parents and younger siblings are meant to follow in a few weeks, and the family then to immigrate to America. This plan is thrown into disarray when the rest of Anh’s family don’t make the journey, and the survivors end up settling in Thatcher’s Britain – where jobs are scarce and foreigners don’t feel entirely welcome. It’s a sorrowful tale of orphans struggling to survive in a grim new land, following their journey from an immigrant camp to council housing and finding work. It’s beautifully written, and the story is broken up with chapters from other perspectives – including interludes from their younger brother, who died as a young child and watches over them as a ghost. A tough read, but well worth it – a story that needs to be told.
Clytemnestra by Costanza Casati is published in hardback by Michael Joseph
Books about Greek tragedy can sometimes get bogged down with a bewildering cast of characters, all with their own fascinating stories. Costanza Casati manages to avoid this with a swift-paced telling of the story of Clytemnestra, the fierce but loving princess of often brutal Sparta, who becomes the Queen of Mycenae. The Texas-born author grew up in Italy, where she studied ancient Greek literature, before writing Clytemnestra – her debut novel. The easy-to-follow story-telling and well-rounded characters in the novel really draw in the reader, as Clytemnestra navigates a world where people can be ruthless and lives can be short.
I Have Some Questions For You by Rebecca Makkai is published in hardback by Fleet
I Have Some Questions For You is a dark read from Rebecca Makkai. Bodie has seen far too much of the horrific side of life. When her brother dies, her mother spirals into a breakdown and goes to rehab. A Mormon family take her in, and send her off to finish her education at a New Hampshire boarding school. Continually an outsider, Bodie’s brushes with death continue when her roommate Thalia Keith is killed and the school’s athletic trainer Omar Evans is found guilty. Fast forward and Bodie, now a film professor and podcaster, returns to her old school to teach a course. When one of the students chooses the subject of Thalia’s death, new questions prick at Brodie’s consciousness. This is a modern gothic-style mystery, which feels similar to the trend for true crime podcasting and investigative journalism.
It’s OK To Be Angry About Capitalism by Bernie Sanders is published in hardback by Allen Lane
Bernie Sanders opens his latest book with a compelling thought: conventional wisdom says you get more conservative in politics as you grow older, but he finds himself going the opposite direction. The 81-year-old writes exactly how he speaks in It’s OK To Be Angry About Capitalism – with passion and in his signature blunt style. In it, he dives into how billionaires shouldn’t exist, how the American healthcare system is broken, and what needs to be done to properly educate children – taking cues from countries like Finland. It’s heavy on public policy, but there are more personal stories throughout – such as tales from Sanders’ last run for president, and yes, how he went viral with a pair of mittens. The book embodies Sanders’ politics, meaning he’ll have his followers vigorously nodding along in agreement, and his detractors likely rolling their eyes.
Children’s book of the week
Call The Puffins by Cath Howe, illustrated by Ella Okstad, is published in paperback by Welbeck Flame
A young puffin called Muffin leaves home to live on the Island of Egg and train to belong to a search and rescue team, in the first of a new series aimed at young children. The story starts with familiar nervousness about wearing a new uniform, and worries about fitting in and being liked. But Muffin soon proves herself to be unflappable after teaming up with another puffin called Tiny to search for a lost baby bird. Braving strong winds and darkening skies, they rescue the stricken bird from a cliff edge, winning bravery awards and a celebratory splash in a giant bird bath. This book will delight youngsters, with its short chapters, striking black and white illustrations, and bonus facts about puffins.
New books to read this week
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