Ah, Autumn. Cosy season is upon us at last. So while you’re sipping your pumpkin spiced lattes and letting your soup simmer away, why not curl up with our fiction highlights for the month? You won’t regret it.
Nick by Michael Farris Smith
(No Exit Press, 9780857304537, p/b, £8.99)
Before Nick Carraway moved to West Egg and into Gatsby’s world, he was at the centre of a very different story – one taking place along the trenches and deep within the tunnels of World War I. An epic portrait of a truly singular era and a sweeping, romantic story of self-discovery, this rich and imaginative novel breathes new life into a character that many know only from the periphery. Charged with enough alcohol, heartbreak, and profound yearning to transfix even the heartiest of golden age scribes, Nick reveals the man behind the narrator who has captivated readers for decades.
English Magic by Uschi Gatward
(Galley Beggar Press, 9781913111106, p/b, £9.99)
In her debut collection of short stories, the prize-winning author Uschi Gatward takes us on a tour of an England simultaneously domestic and wild, familiar and strange, real and imagined. Coupling the past and the present, merging the surreal and the mundane, English Magic is a collection full of humour and warmth, subversion and intoxication – and announcing the arrival of a shining new talent.
Percival Everett By Virgil Russell by Percival Everett
(Influx Press, 9781910312995, p/b, £9.99)
A man visits his aging father in a nursing home, where his father writes the novel he imagines his son would write. Or is it the novel that the son imagines his father would imagine, if he were to imagine the kind of novel the son would write? A powerful, compassionate meditation on old age and its humiliations, this is Percival Everett’s most important and elusive novel to date. Published for the first time in the UK, Percival Everett by Virgil Russell is like nothing you’ve read before, or will ever read again.
Weird Fucks by Lynne Tillman
(Peninsula Press, 9781913512057, p/b, £8.99)
A young woman drifts through a series of one night stands and truncated love affairs. Finding herself in a series of increasingly bizarre situations, she turns her curious and savage eye out on the foibles of the world around her. The men of this world evade and simper, they prey, and preen, and fall hopelessly in love. Through these snapshots we get a biting examination, not just of masculinity in its various masks, but of sex and desire in the early 1970s.
The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
(September Publishing, 9781912836475, h/b, £16.99)
On the island of Pate, off the coast of Kenya, lives solitary, stubborn Ayaana and her mother, Munira. When a sailor named Muhidin, also an outsider, enters their lives, Ayaana finds something she has never had before: a father. Ayaana ends up embarking on a dramatic ship’s journey to the Far East, where she will discover friends and enemies; be seduced by the charming but unreliable scion of a powerful Turkish business family; reclaim her devotion to the sea; and come to find her own tenuous place amid a landscape of beauty and violence and surprising joy.