Cover image for The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Paperbacks to Look Out for in September 2020

Just a one-part paperback preview for September, disappointingly, albeit a reasonably long one including two books I’ve already read. I’m starting with Margaret Atwood’s joint Booker Prize-winning sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, more because I’d find it difficult to leave it out than because I’m looking forward to it. Truth be told, I’m …

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Dancers on the Shore by William Melvin Kelley: More, please

Originally published in I964, William Melvin Kelley’s Dancers on the Shore comprises sixteen stories some of which recall the characters who brought his striking novel A Different Drummer so vividly to life. Its title refers to a lengthy quote from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness setting the tone for a thought-provoking read. Several of the …

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Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart: ‘I’d do anything for you’

I’m not sure how much of Douglas Stuart’s debut is autobiographical but the first paragraph of his acknowledgements page suggests more than a smidgeon. Given that’s the page I often visit before reading a novel, Shuggie Bain was even more poignant for me than it would otherwise have been. Set in ’80s Glasgow, Stuart’s book …

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The Mission House by Carys Davies

The Mission House by Carys Davies: ‘Both strange and familiar’

Carys Davies’ name will be known to many readers, I’m sure. Her elegantly slim debut, West, was much acclaimed when it was published in 2018. The story of a man so obsessed by reports of ancient bones found in a Kentucky swamp that he leaves his young daughter to fend for herself, it’s very different …

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