One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson

Read with caution: Cleaning companies may never be the same again! I’ve come to Kate Atkinson late in her career: I can recall surprisingly vividly my mother’s water damaged, crinkly paper copy of Behind the Scenes at the Museum teetering on the side of the bath – an avocado kitsch bath – from my childhood…

Wakenhyrst, Michelle Paver

This was my first Paver read having heard some good things about her, and it thrust me straight into a solid Gothic historical yarn with some genuinely creepy moments! The novel is perhaps misnamed: it focuses on the house Wake’s End set beside the local fen, some three miles from the village of Wakenhyrst; and,…

The Comforts of Home, Susan Hill

How does Simon Serrailler recover from a vicious assault at the hands of paedophiles, which left him on the verge of death? How does Serrailler manage his post-traumatic stress disorder? Entry number nine in Susan Hill’s DCS Simon Serrailler series picks up where the previous novel, The Soul of Discretion, finishes: Serrailler is in hospital…

The Pisces, Melissa Broder

Why is it that the words of female sexuality – and of female anatomy – are either rendered taboo or fetishised in our society ? Vagina. Clitoris. Vulva. Menstruation. Compared to “cock”, there is a different quality in these words. A frisson of shock and challenge. And that is a frisson which Broder does not…

Circe, Madeline Miller

Divine days fall like water from a cataract, and I had not learned yet the mortal trick of counting them.

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami

There are some books you want to love so much, but which – for some reason – you cannot. There’s a barrier between you and what you think you should feel about the book. And this is one of those books. There is so much about it that chimed wonderfully with all the things I…

My Sister, the Serial Killer, Oyinkan Braithwaite

Next up, from the Women’s Prize Longlist came Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer, an interesting parallel to Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater. It is an intriguing little novel – a mere 240 pages, for those for whom that is relevant, not much more than a day or weekend’s read – and remarkably effective in the…

Spring, Ali Smith

Look what arrived this week: an ARC of Spring, the third in Ali Smith’s gorgeous Seasons Tetralogy, following Autumn and Winter. Autumn being hailed as the first post-Brexit novel – and it is so much more transformative and lyrical and funny and tragic than that! – the timing of this novel’s release at the end…

Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi

I have lived many lives inside this body.
I lived many lives before they put me in this body.
I will live many lives when they take me out of it.