What better way to spend a weekend than by basking in the sun with a book from our latest reading list.
The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende’s stories may be woven with magical realism, but they don’t shy away from the political turmoil of her time. Her new novel is a tale of two child immigrants, a boy fleeing Nazi-occupied Austria, and a girl from El Salvador seeking refuge in the United States only to be separated from her family and sent to a camp. Piecing together past and present, the novel echoes Allende’s empathy for children trapped by violence and support for those who help them.
Tom Lake by Ann Patchett
In true Ann Patchett style, Tom Lake is a tender book about young romance, married love and the myths children believe about their parents. It’s 2020, and Lara is living and working at the family orchard with her three adult daughters who implore their mother to tell them the story about her youthful relationship with a famous actor during her time at a theatre company. What unfolds forces the women to reconsider what they believed about love and the world.
The Postcard by Anne Berest
A portrait of a family devastated by the Holocaust, The Postcard opens with the arrival of a postcard on a snowy morning in Paris. It has been sent to the author Anne Berest’s family home, and it bears the names of several family members, all killed at Auschwitz. Years later, Anne sets out to discover who the sender is with the help of family, friends and experts, and together they navigate the journey of her ancestors from Russia to France and the fate that awaited them.
The Fraud by Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith’s new book examines the incredible real-life case of a man who claimed to be the heir to a fortune. Set in 19th century England, ‘The Tichborne Trial’ rests on the testimony of a formerly enslaved man from Jamaica and is keenly observed by a housekeeper — characters who are suspicious of the upper classes and know people can be easily manipulated. This work of historical fiction begs the question, who is reliable enough to tell stories and document a society?
The Late Americans by Brandon Taylor
This campus novel puts a magnifying glass on a group of friends and lovers caught in the tensions of self-discovery, not yet fully tethered to adulthood. Immersed within their social circle, the graduate students test their desires, question their careers and stumble through relationships and intimate encounters, weighed under by debt or the guilt of a trust fund. Rich in detail, the beauty of this novel is the sensitivity and hopefulness with which each character is rendered.
Biography of X by Catherine Lacey
Biography of X investigates the imagined life of an enigmatic artist and writer known as X. When X dies suddenly, her widow decides to chronicle her wife’s childhood and career, finding she knew very little about the woman she loved. The novel does read like a biography, though descriptions of America deviate from reality, and at times the reader is left wondering which characters are made-up. The story is bizarre, blurs life and art, and you won’t have read anything like it before.
Prophet Song by Paul Lynch
A powerful example of dystopian fiction, Prophet Song imagines the Republic of Ireland slipping into a totalitarian state under a tyrannical government. At the heart of the story is Eilish Stack, a mother whose life is torn apart when the secret police arrest her husband. As the country collapses into civil war, Eilish must make unthinkable decisions to save those she loves. The novel is confronting, complex and can feel claustrophobic, but it’s also a poignant portrait of family.
The Vanishing Point by Andrea Hotere
After her mother dies under suspicious circumstances while trying to uncover secrets about a famous portrait, art intern Alex Johns makes it her mission to continue her mother’s research. What follows is a time-travelling adventure through the art world, the church and the 17th century Spanish royal court. Based on the painting Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, this debut novel infuses historical fiction with mystery.