Barbara Love

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Choice

These pages abound with misery: animal mistreatment, the harsh plight of refugees, and dire poverty. But the rewards--indelible images, admirable story-telling, and wicked good writing--are many.

The Wren, the Wren

This generational story alternates between Nell and Carmel, with a little time out for Phil and his poetry. Channeling her inner Sally Rooney as twentysomething Nell, Booker Prize winner Enright (The Gathering) is as convincing as when writing about Carmel, a woman closer to her own age. A poignant novel by a writer in peak form.

Orbital

Coming from five different countries, the space travelers represent a microcosm of humanity. This is a beautifully written, deeply thoughtful meditation on planet Earth and our place in it.

Bournville

Bookended by the events of March 2020, when the world went into pandemic lockdown, the novel lands lightly on the major happenings of British life, from the queen’s coronation to Diana’s funeral and the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Coe (Middle England) deftly encapsulates 80 years of British history in this tender portrait of a woman, based on his mother, who lived through it all.
PREMIUM

After the Funeral and Other Stories

Good short stories are complete and satisfying in themselves while leaving open the possibility of a continuing storyline; Hadley’s stories do both very well.

The Bee Sting

This is a big, multilayered book full of secrets and surprises. But not a word is wasted in this unsettling, character-rich, devilishly plotted page-turner.
PREMIUM

August Blue

Twice nominated for the Booker Prize and admired for her inventive fiction, Levy (Real Estate; The Man Who Saw Everything) typically writes challenging books that appeal to fans of the work of Rachel Cusk and Ali Smith. Her latest, a more conventional novel, is well told and affecting.
PREMIUM

That Reminds Me

Published earlier in the UK, Owusu’s slight novel was awarded the 2020 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction. Short chapters, some merely a paragraph in length, propel the narrative. Don’t be fooled by its slight size, however; this poetic story packs a big emotional punch and will engage a range of readers.
PREMIUM

Falling Hour

It is no small thing to spend time inside the troubled mind of this restless man. Read this debut for the author’s poetic sensibility and for his insightful observations on a wide range of interesting topics. Consider it time well spent.
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