Winter books round-up

On our books pages this winter we've featured some of the biggest releases of the season. Here Ned Holmes rounds up some we didn’t include but that should be read

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The Maker of Swans
Paraic O’Donnell
(Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £8.99)
In his debut novel Paraic O’Donnell uses his poetic and elegant style of prose to bring to life the silent Clara and her unusual and extraordinary guardian Mr Crowe. Their lives, among the fading grandeur of their country estate, are interrupted when a crime of passion attracts the attentions of a secret society. The society’s focus is soon switched to Clara, who may possess even greater gifts than her guardian. O’Donnell’s dazzling linguistic style makes for a dramatic gothic thriller.

Yaa Gyasi

(Viking, £12.99)
Through 12 intertwined stories spanning three continents and multiple centuries, Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel captures slavery’s ever-present effects through the experiences and lives of seven generations. From the Gold Coast of Africa to the dive bars of Harlem, the complex and intimate characters and relationships make for a captivating read.

The Dust of Promises
Ahlem Mosteghanemi

(Bloomsbury, £8.99)
In the final instalment of an internationally bestselling trilogy, Algerian writer Ahlem Mosteghanemi explores the overlying relationships of Hayat and her two former lovers – and their relationship with their homeland. The slow moving but powerful narrative follows the three in Paris, with strong emphasis on themes of love, memory and betrayal.

The Doll’s Alphabet
Camilla Grudova

(Fitzcarraldo Editions, £10.99)
In her collection of discomforting and dystopian short stories Camilla Grudova’s invokes Margaret Atwood for her imaginative story telling. Engaging prose creates a world which is familiar yet often uncomfortably haunting. From Women who discover they can “unstitch” themselves to reveal their true sewing machine-like form, to a half-man half-spider that finds love in a European city, each story is unique but a clear style and themes reoccur throughout them.

This Is Memorial Device
David Keenan

(Faber & Faber, £14.99)
Set in Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland in the late 1970s and early 1980s, David Keenan uses a series of first-person eye-witness accounts to capture the heady magic of youth and the seemingly unrivalled importance of punk rock at the time. It’s a funny, poignant and compelling debut novel.

A Country Road, A Tree
Jo Baker

(Black Swan, £8.99)
Following on from the success of Longbourn, a recreation of the events of Pride and Prejudice from the view of the servants, Jo Baker retells Samuel Beckett’s experiences with the French resistance in the Second World War. Beginning in occupied Paris in 1939, and following the Irish writer’s escape to the south of France, the action alone is exciting enough, but Baker creates an intimacy in the writing that captures both the desperation of the time and the character of Beckett himself.

Daniel Cole

(Trapeze, £12.99)
Singled out by many as the breakout British crime thriller of 2017, Daniel Cole’s tale follows maverick detective “Wolf” Fawkes who, after a body is discovered with the parts of six dismembered victims stitched together, faces a fight against time to hunt down the “ragdoll” killer before he strikes again. It’s an edge of your seat thriller, full of twists and turns, with a surprising amount of wit.

Young adult

The One Memory of Flora Banks
Emily Barr
(Penguin Books, £7.99)
In her first venture into the young adult genre, award-winning writer Emily Barr presents a dark, suspenseful mystery through the eyes of Flora, a 17-year-old whose anterograde amnesia means she lost the ability to form new memories when she was 10. A kiss springs a series of events that find Flora venturing from Paris to Svalbard, in pursuit of a man who may hold the key to unlocking her memory.


Ours to Hack and to Own
Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider
(O/R Books, £13)
Combining the thoughts and contributions of numerous cultural and media scholars, Scholz and Schneider examine the idea of a fairer kind of internet. Using a combination of emerging online platforms and co-operative principles, and in a manner that is digestible without losing its complexities, they outline an optimistic vision for the future of work and life, and suggest that this vision may already be taking shape.


In Another County
David Constantine

(Audible, £18.99)
Narrators Juliet Stevenson and Derek Jacobi elevate the stories of Salford writer David Constantine. Drawn together from two decades of work this collection demonstrates the author’s urgent and bewitching prose and capacity to draw persuasive and captivating characters. The title story may be more familiar as 45 Years, the screen adaptation directed by Andrew Haigh and starring Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling, about a marriage thrown out of orbit after the discovery of an ex-lover’s body, perfectly preserved in ice.

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