Another Person by Kang Hwagil, translated by Clare Richards, is published in paperback by Pushkin Press
Another Person is a confronting and timely book about consent, toxic masculinity, sexual assault and how women are treated in South Korea, by one of the country’s most prominent feminist writers. It starts with a young woman, Jina, locking herself away in her apartment, after she revealed to the world she was assaulted at work – but the internet swiftly turned on her, accusing her of being a liar and trying to ruin a promising young man’s life. The experience makes Jina explore her past at Anjin University, thinking back to what really happened during her time there – particularly to one student, Ha Yuri, who everyone wrote off as promiscuous and mysteriously died. It’s told from different viewpoints, helping the reader build a full – and shocking – picture of what it’s like to be a woman in South Korea; it’s a powerful look at sexism and assault in university campuses and beyond.
Radical Love by Neil Blackmore is published in hardback by Hutchinson Heinemann
John Church is a preacher on mission to spread a message of love – but Regency London is not a society which tolerates outsiders. For those who experience ‘unnatural’ desires, the city is a place of fear, where love can survive only in the shadows of street corners, in secret molly-houses, in clandestine moments snatched when backs are turned. But Church is a passionate man, and when his desires are sparked by a meeting with intellectual ex-slave Ned, a flame is ignited in him which threatens to consume them both. Blunt, raw and unapologetically sexual, Radical Love is a story of human flaws, the dangers of both honesty and deception, and idealism in the face of cruel reality. With plenty of references to penetrating truths that still resonate two centuries later, it holds a lens up to 19th-century existence, whilst asking uncomfortable questions of our own. It is a story of the search for freedom and for acceptance, and it demands an answer: how high a price must be paid for the radical pursuit of love?
The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende is published in hardback by Bloomsbury
Legendary Chilean writer Isabel Allende’s latest offering is a fictional look at immigration and refugees. It starts in the 1930s, where six-year-old Samuel – who is Jewish – is separated from his parents after Kristallnacht and sent to England on the Kindertransport. Later, this is mirrored in the present day with the story of Anita Diaz – who has fled violence in El Salvador and made the dangerous trip to the US, only to be separated from her mother. It’s particularly fashionable in fiction right now to have books from multiple perspectives – sometimes it can be powerful, but for The Wind Knows My Name, it makes things feel a bit disjointed. While Allende’s prose is polished and beautiful – as is to be expected of her – the similarities of the two stories is altogether too obvious to be that clever, making the link feel a bit forced.
Fearless: Adventures With Extraordinary Women by Louise Minchin is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Sport
It wasn’t enough for former BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin to write true stories of women who have taken on mega-challenges, including freediving in Finland’s ice and swimming in the shark-invested waters of Alcatraz. Oh no, the broadcaster and triathlete was going to do it with them. Over 17 chapters, each charting a different adventure, this book celebrates the bravery of these women of all backgrounds, religions, ages, shapes and sizes, as she joins them in everything from wild caving in the Mendip Hills to diving under a one-metre cut-out of ice in the centre of a frozen lake, to emerge out of another ice hole 15 metres away. Many adventures are terrifying, some are painful, all are exhilarating. It’s interesting, too, that her back story for doing the book stems partly from her BBC battles over male-dominated adventure stories, when she felt women’s feats should be equally highlighted. It’ll leave you feeling inspired, thrilled – and utterly exhausted.
Children’s book of the week
Flora And Nora Hunt For Treasure by Kim Hillyard is published in paperback by Ladybird
Flora And Nora Hunt For Treasure is Kim Hillyard’s fourth picture book. The story follows two best friends Flora and Nora, a pair of sea-faring cats, on an adventure – finding out how they react when disaster strikes. On their quest for treasure, the boat they are on is hit by lightning, splits in two, and leaves the cats separated, with no way of contacting one another. The book is beautifully illustrated and easy to follow for a three-year-old. It provides important lessons about friendship, not giving up and an understanding that everyone is different. The snappy, simple narrative is complemented by colourful pictures that encourage imaginations to run wild – which is exactly what you want from a children’s story.