Stories to get lost in, to talk to your friends about and go to bed early to get stuck into. 

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The Snakes by Sadie Jones

The Snakes is the devastating story of a family whose worst sins come back to bite them. Bea and Dan, recently married, rent out their tiny flat to escape London for a few precious months. Driving through France they visit Bea’s dropout brother Alex at the hotel he runs in Burgundy. Disturbingly, they find him all alone and the ramshackle hotel deserted, apart from the nest of snakes in the attic.

Suspenseful and beautifully written.

Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

In Brexit Britain, a young transgender doctor called Ry is falling in love – against their better judgement – with Victor Stein, a celebrated professor leading the public debate around AI. Jeanette Winterson’s reimagining of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein explores reinvention, artificial intelligence and bodily autonomy in a world of shifting power. 

Funny, furious and bold.

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad

One of the hotly tipped debut novelists of 2019, Isabella Hammad delicately untangles the politics and personal tragedies of a turbulent era – the Palestinian struggle for independence, the strife of the early twentieth century and the looming shadow of the Second World War.

Historical fiction with a remarkable contemporary voice.

What Red Was by Rosie Price

Kate’s world is changed when she befriends Max at university and is introduced to his family, the wealthy Rippons. At their London home, just after graduation, her life is shattered apart in a bedroom while a party goes on downstairs.

 

What Red Was explores the effects of trauma on mind and body, the tyrannies of memory, the sacrifices involved in staying silent, the courage of a young woman in speaking out.

 

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

If you haven’t read this classic now is the time, ahead of the sequel The Testaments coming this September. The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of twenty-first-century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood's devastating irony, wit and astute perception.

Vertigo & Ghost by Fiona Benson

And for something powerful but bite-sized this summer, lose yourself in award-winning poet Fiona Benson’s collection Vertigo & Ghost.

Vertigo & Ghost is an important, necessary book, hugely impressive in its range and risk, and dramatic in its currency: a collection that speaks out with clarity, grace and bravery against the abuse of power.

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