The 10 best new books March 2020
Whatever the future holds, make sure it's full of brilliant books with our guide to the best new fiction and non-fiction to stockpile now.
In 2018’s stunning An American Marriage, Tayari Jones revealed a gift for weaving gripping and knotty relationship dramas with political clout. Silver Sparrow revolves around similar themes of betrayal, devotion and devastation. James Witherspoon is a respectable man with a loving family. But he has second family, who are kept a secret. Two teenage girls are caught up in the middle of duplicity, as the carefully spun lies give way to explosive home truths.
Behind Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy is another, altogether more personal, tragedy. Master storyteller Maggie O’Farrell takes us back to Stratford-upon-Avon in 1596 where Hamnet Shakespeare and his twin sister Judith both become ill with a fever. Balancing extraordinary family bonds with unspeakable grief, this immersive and intricately crafted novel shines light on the little boy who gave his name to Prince Hamlet.
This chillingly timely new study explores the science of spreading, from viruses and political ideas to memes and trends. Why do some things spread like wildfire? Epidemiologist Adam Kucharski sheds light on the human behaviour and scientific building blocks behind pandemics. As we face the biggest health issue in a generation, this lucid and well-researched book will arm you with facts to help cut through the panic and uncertainty.
The long-awaited final instalment of Hilary Mantel’s epic, Booker-winning Wolf Hall trilogy sees Thomas Cromwell at the peak of his powers. The wily son of a blacksmith has emerged from the execution of Anne Boleyn as one of the victors. But it’s only a matter of time before fickle King Henry turns on Thomas. Mantel exhumes the past with her characteristic humanity, giving all of us who have become so invested in her vision of Cromwell the dazzling ending we deserve.
Apeirogon is the mathematical term for a shape with an infinite number of sides, and it’s this endless multiplicity that shapes Colum McCann’s tender and insightful story of two men divided by conflict but connected by loss. Rami Elhanan lives in Israel; Bassam Aramin lives close by but worlds apart just over the border in Palestine. Both men are grieving for daughters who were killed as a result of the border conflict. As the men strike up an unexpected friendship this soaring novel gives a striking reminder of the power of peace and compassion.
Mother-of-five Clover Stroud captures the heady highs and body-crushing lows of parenthood with visceral brilliance. Chronicling the pregnancy, birth and early months with her youngest child, this memoir balances newborn bliss with the demands of managing a large family and the challenges of parenting an adolescent. Don’t be put off by the idea of a ‘mummy memoir’; this is a story about what it is to love, which will resonate with parents and non-parents alike.
This controversial and provocative debut novel is told from the perspective of a woman who had an affair with her teacher. At the age of 15, Vanessa was swept up in the romance. Seventeen years later, she thinks of it as true love. But when another former student accuses Mr Strane of abuse, Vanessa must trawl back through these formative sexual experiences and reframe them as rape. It makes for a bold, often uncomfortable exploration of consent, self-possession and vulnerability.
This atmospheric slip of a novel by Booker-winner Graham Swift takes us to a theatre on Brighton Pier in 1959. Comedy and magic tricks charm audiences night after night, but the real drama is backstage as the three performers get caught in a chain of events that threaten to change their lives. Wry humour and raw sadness combine in a story that shines a spotlight on the human condition.
Journalist Hadley Freeman found a remarkable story very close to home. After the death of her mysterious, elegant grandmother, Sala Glass, Freeman found a box of treasures and notes that lead her around Europe uncovering a history of bravery and sacrifice. From Parisian courtiers to Auschwitz survivors, House of Glass reveals the lengths one family had to go to in order to survive. And the absorbing real-life tale of identity and belonging in the lead-up to and aftermath of the Second World War resonates with contemporary issues.
Following on from her thrilling debut The Hunting Party, Lucy Foley is back with another twisty murder mystery. A body is found at lavish wedding on a private island. There are only 13 guests, and one of them is the culprit. In a slick modern twist on Agatha Christie’s ‘closed room’ whodunnit, this story digs into family grudges and buried resentments to keep you guessing right until the end.
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