Best new books: April 2020
Find solace in new books. From gripping mysteries to soothing comedy, these are the best new titles to replenish your 'to be read' pile.
Why be yourself when you can be perfect? Writer Holly Bourne (How Do You Like Me Now?) brings the perils of online dating to fizzing life in this eloquent but escapist new novel. After a series of disappointing dates, April is done being being herself. Perhaps the only way to find authentic connection and genuine romance online is to fake it. And so April decides to become Gretel, a Cool Girl Next Door type with all the attributes and personality cliches that are guaranteed to get Super Likes. But when the plan works and 'Gretel' meets somebody great, how long can April keep up the pretence?
In unsettling times, art can be a balm and a boost. Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency is a collection of essays that celebrates Olivia Laing's prolific writing on art and culture. Spanning punk rock to literary greats, Laing's essays each explore the idea of art as source of resolution or resistance in political turbulent times. If you're too distracted or daunted to immerse yourself in a book, the essay format is ideal for more manageable moments of inspiration.
If you've read Emily St John Mandel's startling best-seller Station Eleven, you'll already be excited about her next novel. And if you haven't, now might not be the time; it's about a global pandemic. Thankfully The Glass Hotel is less triggering, but no less gripping. It's a multi-faceted mystery that switches between remote Vancouver and downtown Manhattan, uncovering guilty secrets in the story of one man's sudden disappearance.
This buzzy debut triggered a seven-way bidding war, and Naoise Dolan's dry, perceptive story of privilege and sexual politics certainly lives up to the hype. It follows Ava, who leaves Ireland to teach in English to rich children in Hong Kong. When she starts sleeping with a banker called Julian, it's a whirl of flash cash and chat about the stock market. Then she finds earnest conversation and cultural outings with Edith the lawyer. Dolan creates a contemporary love triangle with acerbic flair, capturing the nuances of freedom and liberation in a comic novel that cuts a little deeper than expected.
Peep Show star Robert Webb proved his literary chops with surprise hit How to be a Boy. Now he turns his talents to fiction with a novel about a widow who gets the chance to re-live her life, fall in love with her husband all over again and maybe even save his life this time around. Come Again is an imaginative and vividly funny story of first loves and second chances.
The writer of cult hit My Year of Rest and Relaxation returns with ‘a novel of haunting metaphysical suspense’. Unreliable narration, a macabre mystery and a sinister secret unravel in this tricksy story about an elderly woman who finds a strange handwritten note hidden in the woods. Death in Her Hands combines the darkest comedy with an even darker mystery.
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