Best new books: spring 2021
With the lockdown lingering for the time being, now seems a good moment to escape into the alternative realities offered by books. Publishers usually release their most promising debuts at the start of the year, so there are new voices to be discovered alongside works from literary heavyweights. Our pick of January to March titles is fiction-heavy to reflect publishers’ schedules – plus, imaginary beats real right now.
Also not to be missed is the #MeToo memoir sending shockwaves through France. In Consent by Vanessa Springora, a senior publisher now in her 40s, reveals that she was groomed to begin an affair, aged 14, with a renowned author, then over 50, who openly discussed his attraction to teenagers. Published on 16 February, it shines an uncomfortable light on the permissive attitudes of the French literary elite, and the historic idea that artists are exempt from moral standards.
By Madeleine Feeny