Two-time Booker Prize shortlisted author Chigozie Obioma has released his latest novel…


  1. The Heart In Winter by Kevin Barry is published in hardback by Canongate Books

Kevin Barry’s first novel set in the United States takes us to Butte, Montana in 1891. Amid the hordes of Irish miners who have moved to this frontier city is Tom Rourke, who fancies himself as a poet but is in truth a drunkard, roaming from bar to bar before heading on to the opium dens and brothels. That is until he falls in love with a newly-married mail-order bride, Polly Gillespie, and his romantic ideas lead him and his new beau to elope in search of California. Barry’s trademark lyrical style follows their stuttering progress through the forests – pausing for one of the most remarkable ‘shroom scenes you might ever read – as they are pursued by those working for Tom’s creditors and Polly’s abandoned husband. At parts violent, touching, and funny, Barry’s tale is unpredictable at every turn, the reader swept along by a tight turn of phrase with barely a word wasted.

2. Hey, Zoey by Sarah Crossan is published in hardback by Bloomsbury Circus

From the first paragraph you know that Hey, Zoey is going to be something special. Dolores’ relationship with husband David is becoming strained – when one day she uncovers a secret. That secret comes in the form of Zoey, an animatronic sex doll she discovers in the garage. The rest of the book is a well-paced journey into what makes Dolores tick. From her childhood and adolescence, to her crumbling psyche in the present. Both dark and foreboding, yet light and moving, Sarah Crossan embraces silence on the page and never overstates the obvious. What is left unsaid are among the parts that shout the loudest. This is not your ordinary ‘wronged wife finds herself’ type of story.

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3. The Road To The Country by Chigozie Obioma is published in hardback by Hutchinson Heinemann

Chigozie Obioma has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize twice, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to think The Road To The Country could get him on the list a third time. For his latest book, Nigerian writer Obioma looks back to the Biafran War in the late Sixties. The book starts with Kunle – a shy and reclusive university student – looking for his brother Tunde, when he finds himself accidentally in the thick of the brutal fighting. Obioma powerfully reveals the brutality of war, and while it can be quite dense and heavy reading, there’s threads of humanity, love and redemption throughout.

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4. White Terror: A True Story Of Murder, Bombings And Germany’s Far Right by Jacob Kushner is published in hardback by Mudlark

White Terror reads like a thriller as it charts the terrorist campaign waged by three neo-Nazis in Germany at the start of the millennium, and the policing failures that allowed them to evade capture for a decade. But it is also a stark warning about what happens when the authorities do not take crimes against a minority group seriously and fail to consider the threat of far-right violence – something Jacob Kushner links explicitly to rising white supremacist incidents in the US. Written for an American audience, it has lessons for Europeans as well at a time of hostility towards immigrants.

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Children’s book of the week

5. The Legend Of The Wild West Twins by Jodie Lancet-Grant, illustrated by Katie Cottle, is published in paperback by OUP Oxford

This is a charming tale of twins Buffalo Lil and Buffalo Jill from Lone Ridge. They are the best of friends but opposites in every way. Buffalo Lil is rowdy, loud and very confident, whilst Buffalo Jill is sweet natured, dainty and good at baking the tastiest iced buns. Every year Lone Ridge hosted Rip Roarin’ Rumble, which Yee-Haw Jack always won with ease. This year, Buffalo Lil decides she was going to enter – but as Yee-Haw Jack excels, the two decide to investigate and see what’s really happening. It makes for an exciting tale with colourful illustrations.

Credits: PA;