This week’s bookcase includes reviews of Exit by Belinda Bauer and Asylum Road by Olivia Sudjic.
With tighter Covid restrictions, there couldn’t be a better time to dive into a new book…
1. Exit by Belinda Bauer is published in hardback by Bantam Press, priced £14.99 (ebook £9.99). Available January 21
Exit is a fast-paced thriller where you find yourself rooting for someone involved in an accidental murder.
Pensioner Felix Pink is a simple, straightforward man who just wants to help people; he does so by being part of an anonymous organisation that help their clients die with dignity.
But his last case goes wrong when he accidentally aids the wrong man – and this is where the twists and turns begin.
How did his well planned operation go wrong? Was there a set-up?
Would anyone suspect the man who travelled to the murder via bus?
Bauer writes from the view of Felix, the victim’s son, and the PC investigating a crime that has little or no visible evidence.
It’s a great distraction from the every day, that’s for sure.
(Review by Rachel Howdle)
2. Asylum Road by Olivia Sudjic is published in hardback by Bloomsbury, priced £14.99 (ebook £10.49). Available January 21
This is a story about beginnings, endings, and the collapse of time between the two.
Anya, who escaped Sarajevo as a child during the Bosnian War, is now estranged from her family who remained.
Engaged to the elusive Luke, she feels compelled to share their news in person and revisit the roots she has kept so separate from her new identity.
The journeys Anya takes are more circular than linear, marred by underlying trauma that threatens to overspill and disrupt her London life.
Sudjic conveys this breach of identity deftly; while the outside intrudes, the inside cannot be contained – Anya vomits repeatedly, obsessively removes the hairs that sprout on her chin and shows an involuntary disgust for the fleshy interior of soft fruit.
Each page thrums with anxiety and insecurity, pushing inexorably towards one final, terrifying journey.
(Review by Jemma Crew)
3. How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones is published in hardback by Tinder Press, priced £16.99 (ebook £8.99). Available January 21
How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House tells the story of a small island in Barbados, a ‘paradise’ held together by its tourism industry.
Through snapshots of the lives of the locals in a small beach town, three women fight to survive amid the violence and poverty. Set against sandy beaches and beautiful blue seas are three marriages, with characters that are richly explored and compelling. From a murder in a luxury village to the seafront shack where a mother lives with her baby and abusive husband, it is a fast-paced and dark insight into tropical paradise. Jones does not flinch away from the more upsetting realities of Bajan life, and the result is a heart-wrenching debut.
(Review by Megan Baynes)
Children’s book of the week
4. How To Change The World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Annabel Tempest, is published in hardback by Puffin, priced £6.99 (ebook £3.99). Available now
In this beautifully illustrated book, Rashmi Sirdeshpande recounts a series of important milestones in human history.
Including the establishment of the first democracy, the International Space Station, and the start of the fair trade campaign, each achievement acts as inspiration for a better world.
This empowering book is well suited to curious young minds, and Annabel Tempest’s intricately detailed pictures ensure every page has plenty to explore. Although Sirdeshpande gives a basic introduction to every milestone, it should inspire discussion about personal sacrifice, courage, and team efforts, and act as a colourful springboard to learning more about each point in history.
(Review by Nicole Whitton)
1. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
2. The Death Of Francis Bacon by Max Porter
3. Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
4. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
5. Troy by Stephen Fry
6. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
7. The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
8. One August Night by Victoria Hislop
9. Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes
10. Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith
1. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
2. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Give
3. Eat Better Forever by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
4. Pinch Of Nom Quick & Easy by Kay Featherstone & Kate Allinson
5. Ottolenghi Flavour by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage
6. A Life On Our Planet by David Attenborough
7. Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson
8. Word Perfect by Susie Dent
9. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
10. The Almanac by Lia Leendertz
(Compiled by Waterstones)