While many of the year’s blockbuster book releases may have been delayed due to lockdown, there’s still plenty to celebrate on the literary scene this month. From poignant memoirs to new Irish voices and even a literary first in the form of a female Kurdish writer being published in English, these are the new books you are going to want on your shelf for the weeks ahead. Place your orders with your favourite local bookshop now or buy online through Hive, the clever digital bookstore that supports an independent bookshop with every sale they make.
by Gavanndra Hodge
Examining the power of love and loss, this memoir from Tatler’s former Deputy Editor is almost brutally honest. At seven, Gavanndra finds herself keeping her younger sister Candy safe – something her drug-dealing Chelsea hairdresser father and alcoholic ex-model mother aren’t prioritising. But when nine-year-old Candy tragically dies on holiday, the family unit implodes, leaving Gavanndra traumatised and grieving. Now a mother herself, Gavanndra’s memoir is her attempt to tackle this suppressed grief through the power of memory, resulting in a beautiful look at the love between sisters.
Out now (£14.99, Penguin)
by Lionel Shriver
Best known for her chilling novel We Need to Talk about Kevin, Shriver’s 15th book has all the sharp-eyed insights we’ve come to expect from the author. Taking inspiration from her own former fanaticism for fitness, the plot follows Serenata, an active 60-year-old who has ruined her knees from years of ‘biological housework’ in the form of running. When her previously sedentary husband suddenly becomes an exercise convert after losing his job, Serenata is appalled by his new-found sanctimonious attitude to fitness. Cue a searing story of a struggling marriage.
Out now (£16.99, Borough)
by Alex George
Told over the course of a single day in 1927, The Paris Hours brings together the stories of four ordinary people in one extraordinary narrative as they each search for something they’ve lost. Camille, Marcel Proust’s maid, has lost one of her dead employer’s notebooks she promised to destroy. Lovesick artist Guillaume is lost in a mountain of debt. Armenian refugee Souren has lost his home, and journalist Jean-Paul has lost his family in the war. Together, can they find what they are looking for?
Out now (£21.88, Flatiron Books)
by Ava Homa
The first novel published in English by a female Kurdish writer, this extraordinary new book weaves together 50 years of modern Kurdish history through one oppressed family. After his father is tortured and imprisoned, Chia decides to become an activist for justice. But when he disappears, it is up to his older sister Leila to fight for both freedom and justice on his behalf. Inspired by the life of Kurdish human rights activist Farzad Kamangar, the book has been published to honour the 10th anniversary of his execution and was released on the exact date he was killed.
Out now (£12.99, Abrams)
by Paolo Giordano
The perfect way to transport yourself to Italy this month. Teresa spends her summers at her father’s childhood home in Puglia, next door to three boys: Nicola, Tommaso and Bern – the man Teresa would love for life. Sharing a bond like brothers, the three seem to have a relationship nothing could tear apart. Until, that is, Bern commits a brutal act of revenge as a result of a dark secret. Expect a soulful story about enduring love and the power of brotherhood, set against the shimmering heat of the olive groves of Italy.
Out now (£14.99, Orion)
by Lily King
It’s the summer of 1997 and waitress-cum-aspiring-novelist Casey is an emotional wreck. Dealing with the sudden death of her mother and a bad break-up, she moves to Massachusetts to finally finish the novel she’s been writing for six years. But as she writes, she meets two very different men, each promising very different futures. Can she manage the conflicting demands when art and life collide? This is what King explores with wit and intelligence in this transfixing novel.
Out 28 May (£14.99, Picador)
by Nick Bradley
Reading like a love letter to the city in which it is set, this novel follows a stray cat as it winds its way through Tokyo. On its wanderings it happens across a group of strangers, from a homeless man squatting in an abandoned hotel to a lonely shop worker who is looking for love. Like a feline Dickens, the cat weaves together their narratives in this stylistically surprising book, which tells its tale using various mediums, from Manga to footnotes. An inventive yet tender read.
Out 4 June (£14.99, Atlantic)
by Brit Bennett
Previously unpublished in the UK, Bennett’s debut novel was a New York Times best seller across the pond, making her an exciting prospect. In 1954, 16-year-old identical twins Desiree and Stella ran away from a small town in the Deep South. Ten years later, Desiree is back with her young daughter – but not her sister. It turns out Stella has been passing for white with her new family all these years, who know nothing about her background. Expect a novel that fascinates and enchants in equal measure.
Out 11 June (£14.99, Dialogue)
by Niamh Campbell
Recently, young female Irish voices have been dominating the literary agenda like never before. Now, following in the footsteps of Sally Rooney and Naoise Dolan, comes Niamh Campbell – another millennial writer taking the DubLit scene by storm. Her debut novel follows Alannah, who was 23 when she married an older man and rented a cottage in rural Ireland, presided over by the local landlady. Six years later she bumps into this landlady with a different husband, causing unwanted memories to return. This is a novel – and an author – to watch.
Out 11 June (£14.99, Weidenfeld and Nicolson)