From unlikely and life-changing romance to what it’s like to stay (almost) forever young to extreme parenting, thrilling whodunits and ripped-from-the- headlines espionage, there’s a book for you.
How to Stop Time (HarperCollins) by Matt Haig
To stay forever young may be the stuff of dreams (and rock songs), but for Matt Haig’s protagonist, Tom Hazard, it’s more like being stuck in a perpetual nightmare. While he looks like an ordinary 41-year-old, he was actually born centuries ago (439 years ago, to be exact) with a rare genetic disorder which causes him to age very, very slowly. While his long life has had its perks – he got to hang out with the likes of Captain Cook, William Shakespeare and F. Scott Fitzgerald (encounters that come in handy for his current job as a history teacher) – he has also experienced heartrending loss. His mother was killed after being accused of being a witch; and he was later obliged to leave his wife and daughter for fear they’d suffer the same fate. He becomes a weary wanderer of the world, relocating every eight years before it becomes apparent he isn’t aging like everyone else. Living forever (or at least for a very long time) can be an achingly sad and lonely business, unless, perhaps, you can do it with someone you love.
The story is also heading to the big screen, with Benedict Cumberbatch slated to star in the film adaptation.
THE IMMORTALISTS (Putnam) by Chloe Benjamin
How would you live if you knew, precisely, when you were going to die? This is the central premise to Chloe Benjamin’s bestselling novel, after four young siblings visit a fortuneteller in New York City in the late 1960s and are told the date of their death. This haunting prediction sets in motion the trajectory of their lives and the decisions they make as they approach the appointed time, raising questions about fate, destiny and self-determination. Is the seer, who represented the defining moment of their childhood, actually correct, or a con? More importantly, even if it is the latter, can her prediction become a self-fulfilling prophecy?
LOVE AND RUIN (Penguin) by Paula McLain
Before CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and the BBC’s Cairo-based Orla Guerin, there was the grande dame of female war reporters, Martha Gellhorn.
If you liked The Paris Wife – a novel about Hadley Hemingway, the first wife of the legendary American author — you definitely need to pick up McLain’s new book about Ernest Hemingway’s stormy five-year marriage to the celebrated war correspondent, journalist and novelist Martha Gellhorn — who is, incidentally, the only of his wives to have left him.
THE SPARSHOLT AFFAIR (Knopf) by Alan Hollinghurst
From the winner of the Man Booker Prize and whose work the Guardian has called the “the greatest prose stylist writing in English today”, The Sparsholt Affair explores the richly complex relationships between friends, fathers and sons, as it spans seven decades of radical social change in Britain, from the 1940s through the present.
THE PUNISHMENT SHE DESERVES: A LYNLEY NOVEL (Penguin) by Elizabeth George
The latest installment of Elizabeth George’s series starring the suave Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley, 8th Earl of Asherton, and his colourful sidekick Sergeant Barbara Havers, finds the duo trying to solve a crime that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of a quiet, historic medieval town, where everyone from retirees to college students seems to have something to hide.
THE FEMALE PERSUASION (Random House) by Meg Wolitzer
A timely story that looks at the conflicts of inter-generational feminism from the perspectives of 63-year-old Faith, a second wave feminist (ala Gloria Steinheim) and her protégée, Greer, a fourth-wave or present day feminist. The two women meet in 2006, when Greer is a shy freshman in college, and the recent victim of a groping at a fraternity party. The traumatic incident awakens her interest in feminism and she finds herself travelling down an unexpected path.
THE ONLY STORY: A NOVEL (Random House) by Julian Barnes
From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending, comes this tender story of a first love with lifelong consequences. Set in the 1960s in a staid suburb near London, the unconventional affair of Paul, a 19-year-old man on the cusp of adulthood, and a married woman more than twice his age, turns out to be Paul’s ‘only story’ – the only one finally worth telling – some fifty years later.
THE TROPHY CHILD (Doubleday) by Paula Daly
In her latest domestic thriller, Paula Daly, digs beneath the surface of an idyllic British suburb, where “tiger mothers” send their kids to the best prep schools, compete for the best tutors and spend their free time on demanding extracurricular activities, all in the pursuit of the perfect child. For one family, however, the quest for perfection turns perilous – and in short, perfectly awful.
THE KREMLIN’S CANDIDATE (Scribner) by Jason Matthews
The thrilling conclusion of the bestselling Red Sparrow trilogy from ex-CIA officer Jason Matthews, could well be ripped from today’s Trump-Putin headlines. The book imagines a chilling scenario where the Kremlin recruits someone in the highest levels of the U.S. government who is destined to assume directorship of the CIA – and in so doing, uncovers America’s own double-agent deep in the SVR. Red Sparrow, the debut novel in the series, has been adopted into a 20th Century Fox film, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton.