5 new books to read this week

(Composite/PA)

Argentinian writer Mariana Enriquez’s dark tale is just in time for Halloween…

Fiction

1. Liberation Day by George Saunders is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Publishing, priced £18.99 (Ebook £13.29). Available now

After nearly a 10-year break from short story collections, George Saunders returns with Liberation Day, nine tales set in a warped – but perhaps not too distant – future. In his opening story, also titled Liberation Day, the 2017 Booker Prize winner tells of modern slaves whose memories have been wiped, and are captive in the home of ‘leaders’ who use them as storytelling pawns. Love Letter presents prose from grandfather to grandson, discussing a difficult political climate and the parts we all play in society. A Mom Of Bold Action gives the account of a worried housewife who fears for her son’s safety after an attack by a homeless man, raising questions of justice. Complex, gripping and sharp, Saunders’ latest collection is a triumph of storytelling, and a frank comment on the roles we hold and our responsibilities in society. 9/10 (Review by Holly Cowell)

2. Our Share Of Night by Mariana Enriquez, translated by Megan McDowell, is published in hardback by Granta Books, priced £18.99 (ebook £18.99). Available now

At over 700 pages, Our Share Of Night is certainly an undertaking – and a heavy one at that. If you’re not put off by the length and sinister content, you’ll be richly rewarded with a dark and twisted tale. Through separate timelines, it follows Juan – a medium who can commune with the dead, a talent that is exploited by the wealthy and evil Order – and his son Gaspar, whom he is struggling to protect from the clutches of those in charge. There’s a lot of black magic and the occult, making for grim reading (think satanic rites and bodily mutilations) but Enriquez’s writing brings the characters to life – particularly the father and son, both flawed (particularly Juan), but trying their best. It’s also a fascinating look at the violent history of Argentina from the Sixties to the 1990s, running side by side with the more fantastical storyline. 8/10 (Review by Prudence Wade)

3. A Ballet Of Lepers by Leonard Cohen is published in hardback by Canongate Books, priced £20 (ebook £13.59). Available now

Long before the string of acclaimed albums, the world tours and the Grammy awards, Leonard Cohen began his career as a young poet and novelist. Although many of those works garnered awards too, his earliest fiction writing has remained hidden – until now, six years after his death, with the release of the titular novella and several short stories. Cohen’s lyrical flair and talent with words is apparent throughout – the opening lines of the novella even rhyme – but this does not necessarily make for a pleasant read. Cohen’s works here revel in violence, the bulk of which seems to be meted out against women. His characters are ugly souls living out ugly lives. Many of these themes would later be at the heart of his music, but in this format, stripped of a good tune, it is a much more shocking read. 6/10 (Review by Ian Parker)

Non fiction

4. The Climate Book by Greta Thunberg is published by Allen Lane, priced £25 (ebook £12.99). Available October 27

When one of the world’s leading environmental activists releases a book called ‘The Climate Book’, you pretty much know what to expect. That doesn’t make it any less of a compelling read – Greta Thunberg has called upon some of the brightest minds in the fight against global warming (and some leading voices you might not expect, like Margaret Atwood) to explain in great detail how the climate works, how mankind is wreaking destruction, and what needs to be done next. At over 450 pages, it’s not the easiest of reads – the content is heavy and in parts quite scientific – but it’s broken up into bite-size pieces, so is definitely digestible. Thunberg does provide some glimmers of hope, but overall it’s a sobering read, and clear a lot needs to be done – particularly by governments and those in charge. 8/10 (Review by Prudence Wade)

Children’s book of the week

5. The Heartstopper Yearbook by Alice Oseman is published in hardback by Hodder Children’s Books, priced £14.99 (ebook £8.49). Available now

The latest offering in the Heartstopper franchise from writer and illustrator Alice Oseman is certainly one for the superfans of the series – of which there are many, particularly since Netflix brought out an adaptation of the comic earlier this year. This isn’t a traditional Heartstopper book, instead it’s a deep dive into the universe – Oseman introduces herself and all of the key characters, explaining her inspirations behind different storylines and settings readers know and love. With plenty of mini comics and bonus bits, fans will find much to enjoy – but it’s perhaps not one to dive into until you’ve read the previous four volumes. 7/10 (Review by Prudence Wade)

BOOK CHARTS FOR THE WEEK ENDING OCTOBER 15HARDBACK (FICTION)1. A Heart Full Of Headstones by Ian Rankin2. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman3. Forever Home by Graham Norton4. Illuminations by Alan Moore5. Lucy By The Sea by Elizabeth Strout6. She And Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai & Naruki Nagakawa7. Act Of Oblivion by Robert Harris8. Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes9. Babel by RF Kuang10. Marple: Twelve New Stories by Agatha Christie(Compiled by Waterstones)

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)1. One by Jamie Oliver2. Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries by Alan Rickman3. Beyond The Wand by Tom Felton4. Guinness World Records 2023 by Guinness World Records5. What Just Happened?! by Marina Hyde6. Diddly Squat by Jeremy Clarkson7. The Twelve Parts Of Christmas by David Jason8. Parenting Hell by Josh Widdicombe & Rob Beckett9. Menopause by Davina McCall & Dr Naomi Potter10. Calling The Shots by Sue Barker(Compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTION AND NON-FICTION)1. Parenting Hell by Rob Beckett & Josh Widdicombe2. The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman3. From The Oasthouse by Alan Partridge4. Menopause by Davina McCall & Dr Naomi Potter5. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman6. Black Holes by Professor Brian Cox & Professor Jeff Forshaw7. Forever Home by Graham Norton8. A Heart Full Of Headstones by Ian Rankin9. 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson10. The Fellowship Of The Ring by JRR Tolkien(Compiled by Audible)

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