From Victoria Hislop’s immersive sequel to Reality And Other Stories by John Lanchester, a profound novel by Sigrid Nunez and Stuart Turton’s latest, this week’s best new fiction

One August Night

Victoria Hislop                                                                    Headline Review £14.99

In the sequel to her best-selling debut, Hislop revisits The Island’s leper colony of Spinalonga, which closes when a cure is found in 1957. On the night its residents return to Crete, a love triangle sparks tragedy in two entwined families, sending shockwaves through the community. 

Hislop richly evokes mid-century Greece, from raki-fuelled nights to the thriving port of Piraeus. Though the plot loses momentum, immersive storytelling sweeps you along.

Madeleine Feeney

 

Reality And Other Stories

John Lanchester                                                                                         Faber £12.99

Lanchester likes to keep us on our toes. Last year he followed 2012’s best-selling state-of-the-nation comedy, Capital, with a downbeat dystopia, The Wall; now come eight deliciously eerie tales of ghostly goings-on. 

From a scheming reality-show hopeful to a stressed QC who longs to be rid of her father-in-law, the spooked-out protagonists learn to be careful what they wish for. Lanchester’s reliably affable style makes these paranormal parables pure pleasure.

Anthony Cummins 

 

What Are You Going Through

Sigrid Nunez                                                                                               Virago £16.99

An American writer suffering from terminal cancer decides to end her own life. Estranged from her daughter, she asks an old friend to share her final weeks in a house in New England, where the two women review their lives. 

Though absorbing, the main narrative is largely an excuse for anecdotes that illuminate some of life’s biggest subjects, from age and beauty to love and happiness. The result is profound, moving and brilliant.

Anthony Gardner

 

The Devil And The Dark Water

Stuart Turton                                                                                               Raven £16.99

As he showed in his prizewinning debut, The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle, Turton has a rare ability to combine a fiendishly complex plot with elegant prose. Arent Hayes is a detective aboard a 17th Century Dutch ship heading home from the East Indies. 

The trip is cursed from the start and horrific deaths pile up, apparently the work of a demon called Old Tom. A pungently well-imagined yarn, though the destination is less compelling than the journey.

John Williams 

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