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Narrative theme: Death, grief, loss

Should We Stay or Should We Go

Should We Stay or Should We Go

Author: Lionel Shriver Format: Hardback Release Date: 24/06/2021

Lionel Shriver’s Should We Stay or Should We Go is an of-the-moment novel if ever there was one. With whip-smart dialogue and thought-provoking internal monologues cutting to the core of its characters, it tackles the topic of ageing through a playfully inventive structure involving twelve parallel universes and two principle protagonists who’ve made a suicide pact. Should We Stay or Should We Go boasts a smart concept that’s been cleverly executed - think Life After Life meets Sliding Doors delivered in Shriver’s distinctive style. After watching her father’s demise during ten years of Alzheimer’s, Kay struggles to cry for him when he dies: “I feel absolutely nothing… I feel as if he’s been dead for years.” Both fifty-something NHS medical professionals, Kay and her husband, Cyril, move to discussing everything from the nature of memory to universal social care. They’ve seen far too many of their patients suffer like Kay’s dad and their discussion leads Cyril to propose they agree to a suicide pact to avoid a similar fate - they will kill themselves on turning eighty. Of course, when that time comes, they must confront their decision.  Each chapter serves up an alternate ending for the couple, with the likes of the ethics of suicide, cryogenic preservation, and ageing cures explored along the way. By turns amusing, moving and provocative, it examines the biggest of questions through personal detail, and will surely provoke thought as to how readers themselves wish to bow out.

eBooks of the Month
One Last Time

One Last Time

Author: Helga Flatland Format: Paperback Release Date: 24/06/2021

A deeply layered, emotional and compelling novel that examines and contemplates family relationships. A terminal cancer diagnosis results in reflection for Anne and her daughter Sigrid. This is award-winning Helga Flatland’s fifth book, and her second to be published in English, it was shortlisted for the Norwegian Booksellers Award and topped the bestseller lists there. Her first English translation A Modern Family which was a number-one bestseller in Norway is another beautifully written book I can highly recommend. Both books have been translated by Rosie Hedger, and it is superbly done, you can feel Norway and the differences, yet an exquisite connection to the story makes you a part of the words. Anne and Sigrid narrate, the chapters aren’t headed yet each character’s voice is distinctive and any momentary hesitation between chapters soon clears. This joining of voices yet fragmentation of thoughts as the voices change, helps not hinders as it establishes the tone, the feeling of these women. Helga Flatland is a writer who is able to directly touch innermost thoughts and set them free to explore. She knows how to display the raw yet real side of what it is to be human. Using small slices of humour to break tension, she allows emotions to form, alter, sway. The ending, that engaging eloquent ending, sent goosebumps skimming down my arms. One Last Time is a beautiful meaningful expressive read and I truly loved it.

Star Books
I Know What I Saw

I Know What I Saw

Author: Imran Mahmood Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/06/2021

An artfully composed and thought-provoking novel covering several sub genres within crime fiction. When Xander Shute reports witnessing a murder to the police, they don’t believe him, and as he begins to search for answers himself, he finds himself lost in his own mind and a vortex of memories. Xander narrates his tale, he lives on the streets and within a few pages his existence stamped itself all over my consciousness. Imran Mahmood is a practicing barrister and his debut novel was long listed for the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger. He writes with cunning pen, an intricate plot slowly and stealthily reveals itself creating the most wonderful page-turner of a story. Short sharp shocks of sentences ganged together driving my thoughts before them. Sometimes I felt as though I was inside Xander’s mind, a part of his awareness, sometimes I was on the outside, trying desperately to work out what was going on. I found this a clever, provocative novel, and when the ending came sat back and travelled back over my suspicions and presumptions. I Know What I Saw is a smart, stimulating, and compelling psychological thriller and mystery, enter the pages and prepare for your thoughts to scatter and explore.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
House of Correction

House of Correction

Author: Nicci French Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/05/2021

LONGLISTED FOR THE CWA GOLD DAGGER AWARD She's a murderer. Everyone knows she killed Stuart Rees - why else would his dead body be found in her shed? So now Tabitha is in prison, awaiting trial. Coming back to the remote coastal village where she grew up was a mistake. She didn't fit in then, and she doesn't fit in now. That day is such a blur, she can't remember clearly what happened. There is something she is missing, something important... She only knows one thing. She is not capable of murder. And the only one she can trust to help her out of this situation is herself. So she must fight. Against the odds. For her life. Beautifully written about prejudice, loneliness and fighting spirit, this new book by Nicci French is shocking, twisty and utterly compelling.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Insatiable

Insatiable

Author: Daisy Buchanan Format: Hardback Release Date: 11/02/2021

A Grazia, Stylist, Cosmo, i paper, Red and Independent book of the year for 2021 Stuck in a dead-end job, broken-hearted, broke and estranged from her best friend: Violet's life is nothing like she thought it would be. She wants more - better friends, better sex, a better job - and she wants it now. So, when Lottie - who looks like the woman Violet wants to be when she grows up - offers Violet the chance to join her exciting start-up, she bites. Only it soon becomes clear that Lottie and her husband Simon are not only inviting Violet into their company, they are also inviting her into their lives. Seduced by their townhouse, their expensive candles and their Friday-night sex parties, Violet cannot tear herself away from Lottie, Simon or their friends. But is this really the more Violet yearns for? Will it grant her the satisfaction she is so desperately seeking? Insatiable is about women and desire - lust, longing and the need to be loved. It is a story about being unable to tell whether you are running towards your future or simply running away from your past. The result is at once tender and sad, funny and hopeful.