Rachel Cusk, Faber & Faber, £14.99
A return to fiction for Cusk; except how much does she really make up in this novel about a writer, M, who invites a painter, L, to stay in the annex of her marshland home in the aftermath of a pandemic? You decide.
Jhumpa Lahiri, Bloomsbury, £14.99
A novel in vignettes about a solitary, unnamed narrator living in an Italian city, translated by Lahiri from her own Italian novel. Plotless yet compelling, this is one to read and re-read.
Clare Chambers, Orion, £8.99
Chambers has been writing novels for more than 20 years but it was this one, a suburban mystery about a potential Virgin birth set in the 1950s, that has made her a household name. Witty, touching and compelling.
Octavia E Butler, Headline, £8.99
In Kindred, first published in 1979 but republished in 2018, Dana time travels back to the antebellum South to meet her ancestors, a white plantation owner and a Black slave. Science fiction with a difference.
A Theatre for Dreamers
Polly Samson, Bloomsbury, £8.99
Samson’s story sizzles with Greek sun and seduction. It’s set on Hydra in 1960, where the Australian writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston anchor a tale about art and passion.
A Cursed Place
Peter Hanington, Two Roads, £16.99
The third in a gripping series about veteran Radio 4 reporter William Carver. This time his producer sidekick takes centre stage in a thriller that spins from Hong Kong protests to Silicon Valley surveillance in a heartbeat. Don’t miss the previous two.
Everyone Is Still Alive
Cathy Rentzenbrink, Orion, £14.99
One for fans of the TV show Motherland, this is a touching drama about the minutiae of family life set on a street in west London. An impressive debut from an accomplished memoirist.
Mick Herron, John Murray, £8.99
Slough House is a haven for washed-up spooks with something to prove. We meet them in Slow Horses, the first Jackson Lamb novel. Heart in mouth stuff.
Claire-Louise Bennett, Vintage, £14.99
One to grab in mid-August when it’s out. An intensely relatable snapshot of what it’s like to grow up as a woman, especially one who reads lots of books. From the author of the highly acclaimed debut Pond.
Blue in Chicago
Bette Howland, Picador, £12.99
This collection of sharp, wry short stories is helping to reinstate Howland as a Great American Talent, albeit one who had all but vanished from the literary scene before her death aged 80 in 2017.
Sorrow and Bliss
Meg Mason, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £14.99
Martha tells the story of her marriage collapsing amid the stress of an undefined mental illness yet keeps readers laughing in this stand-out summer hit.
Anne Enright, Vintage, £8.99
In this ambiguous love letter to the theatre, not to mention mother-daughter relationships, Norah tells the story of her mother, Irish theatre legend Katherine O’Dell.
A gem from a former Booker winner.
Keith Ridgway, Picador, £16.99
A Shock is a provocative collection of nine interlinked stories, set in south London’s sultry streets. In writing about characters many would overlook, Ridgway reminds us that everyone has a story.
Susie Steiner, HarperCollins, £8.99
This is the third outing for DI Manon Bradshaw of Cambridgeshire Constabulary who is investigating the death of a Lithuanian migrant worker. A twisting mystery with feisty protagonist.
The Golden Rule
Amanda Craig, Little, Brown, £8.99
A clever riff on Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, this is one to pack for Cornwall, where Hannah has to come up with a plan to murder Jinni’s husband after the two strangers strike a deal, yes, on a train.
Saturday Lunch with The Brownings
Penelope Mortimer, Daunt, £9.99
The name Mortimer is best known for John ’s Rumpole of the Bailey but Penelope’s arch collection of short stories, first published in 1960, deserve star bookshelf billing in this new edition.
Lost Children Archive
Valeria Luiselli, HarperCollins, £8.99
Luiselli won the €100,000 (£86,000) Dublin literary award for her novel that mixes stories of Mexican children trying to enter the US with a narrative about a family driving across the US to Mexico’s border.
Marian Keyes, Penguin, £8.99
Grown Ups tells the story of the Casey family from seven points of view across several generations. Keyes is so ambitious, funny and compassionate it’s no wonder so many adore her writing.
Yaa Gyasi, Viking, £14.99
After the breadth of Gyasi’s debut, Homegoing, which travelled from 18th-century Ghana to modern America, she narrows her gaze to focus on the fall-out from opioid abuse after a beloved brother dies young.
Lean Fall Stand
Jon McGregor, 4th Estate, £14.99
A tense masterpiece that opens in remote Antarctica, where a three-man team is conducting a geological survey, before pivoting to a different sort of exploration – of relationships and how they cope with catastrophe.
The River Capture
Mary Costello, Canongate, £8.99
Costello pays homage to Joyce in her second novel, an elegant tale about an umarried
teacher called Luke who is struggling to write his own book about the Irish master.
The Silence of the Girls
Pat Barker, Penguin, £8.99
With Briseis, a queen who becomes a slave after her city falls to the Greeks, as narrator, this becomes a feminist reimagining of the Trojan War that will make you rethink all of history. One to savour before Barker’s follow up, The Women of Troy, is released in August.
Early Morning Riser
Katherine Heiny, 4th Estate, £14.99
Heiny has been compared to Anne Tyler for her sharp portrayal of American family life, but she is is more daring and funnier, too. This meditation on everyday life in Boyce City, Michigan, will have you howling.
Deacon King Kong
James McBride, Transworld, £8.99
One of Barack Obama’s recent picks, this book, set in a Brooklyn housing project in 1969, is packed with drama and compassion. An old church deacon shoots the local drug-dealer, but neither are the bad guys.
Sarah Moss, Picador, £8.99
Her seventh novel, Summerwater, takes place over a single day at a wet holiday park on the banks of Loch Lomond and explores feelings of isolation and community. Unmissable.
Evening in Paradise
Lucia Berlin, Pan Macmillan, £9.99
This short-story collection followed A Manual for Cleaning Women, which turned Berlin into a literary sensation when it came out in 2015, 11 years after her death, and is equally brilliant.
A Touch of Mistletoe
Barbara Comyns, Daunt, £9.99
Comyns is among a slew of female writers getting a second innings. A Touch of Mistletoe, which follows two sisters on their dance through life, is deservedly back in print long after it was first published in 1967.
James Clammer, Galley Beggar, £9.99
A day in the life of a plumber, Joseph, who returns to work after a mental breakdown. Snappy, tense and revealing.
Richard Smyth, Fairlight Books, £14.99
A greedy outsider upsets the peace in 1920s Gravely, an English coastal town, turning the lives of Jon Lowell and his wife Harriet upside down with his plans to build a pleasure-ground. An accomplished debut.
Leave the World Behind
Rumaan Alam, Bloomsbury, £8.99
It’s hard to believe Alam wrote this before the pandemic. A family heads to a remote corner of Long Island for a quiet vacation. But a power outage upends life as they knew it.
Will and Testament
Vigdis Hjorth, Verso, £10.99
Four siblings. Two summer houses. One terrible secret. This novel, translated from Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund, really is that dramatic – arguably more, given that Hjorth’s sister swears the plot isn’t fiction.
Brandon Taylor, Daunt, £9.99
A linked collection of stories about sexuality, race, and intimacy from the Booker Prize-shortlisted author of Real Life.
Maggie Shipstead, Transworld, £16.99
A sweepingly ambitious tale about pioneering aviator Marian Graves who was attempting to become the first person to fly a great circle intersecting both poles in 1950 when her plane disappeared.
The Eighth Life
Nino Haratischvili, Scribe, £9.99
Haratishvili, who writes in German, tells the story of one Georgian family over six generations. Translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin. A gripping whopper
of a read.
Francis Spufford, Faber & Faber, £16.99
What if five of the children who were among the 168 killed when a V2 bomb hit the Woolworths shop on New Cross Road in 1944 had lived? An intriguing premise for Spufford’s first novel since Golden Hill. Dazzling.
Tana French, Viking, £14.99
Fans love French for her Dublin Murder Squad series, but The Searcher stands alone, taking place in the countryside, where an American protagonist disrupts the social fabric of a small Irish village.
Go, Went, Gone
Jenny Erpenbeck, Portobello, £8.99
A powerful and compassionate novel about migrancy by a German author at the peak of her powers. Translated by Susan Bernofksy. First published in 2017; find a copy if you missed it.
Mr Wilder and Me
Jonathan Coe, Penguin, £8.99
Coe is renowned for his state of Britain novels but this one takes him from California to a
Greek island as he delves into the life of famed Hollywood director Billy Wilder.
Lucy Atkins, Quercus, £8.99
After the eight-year-old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night, all eyes turn to the nanny in the latest psychological thriller from Atkins. Chilling.
Now We Shall Be Entirely Free
Andrew Miller, Hodder & Stoughton, £8.99
Miller is an author who deserves all the prizes. This novel about justice and revenge in the shadow of the Napoleonic War is a delight, not least for the Hebridean backdrop.