First-rate fiction to curl up with this November

As you wrap yourselves in cosy scarves, light a cinnamon-scented candle and sip from a ridiculously over-sized hot chocolate while the rain falls outside, we are about to make your snug November picture complete with a selection of the crème de la crème of fiction books out this month. With the longer nights, colder air and Christmas just around the corner, what better way to indulge in the last few days of a wonderfully chilly autumn… go on, treat yourself!

The Islands by Dionne Irving

Catapult, 9781646220663, p/b, £14.99, 03/11/2022

A powerful collection of short stories following the lives of Jamaican women and their experiences of sexual and racial discrimination and class struggles, and exploring the generational ripple effect impact of colonialism. Either immigrants or descendants of immigrants, these women live all over the world to escape the ghosts of colonialism on what they call the Island. Restless, displaced, and disconnected, these characters try to ground themselves – to grow where they find themselves planted – in a world in which the tension between what’s said and unsaid can bend the soul.

Tale of the Dreamer’s Son by Preeta Samarasan

World Editions, 9781912987399, p/b, £13.99, 03/11/2022

Haunted by the violent occurrence from May 13, 1969, a community in the highlands of Peninsular Malaysia live as equals in religion and race at what is now known as the Muhibbah Centre for World Peace. However, the arrival of Salmah, a Malay Muslim woman, marks a change in the political climate with its increasing religious intolerance. Throughout, Samarasan’s polyphonic, rambunctious prose brilliantly navigates the tug-of-war between ideals and reality.

The Last Days of Terranova by Manuel Rivas, translated from the Galician by Jacob Rogers

Archipelago Books, 9781953861320, p/b, £13.00, 17/11/2022

A moving love letter to independent bookshops and their vitality as cultural institutions, this is a riveting read for book-lovers, peppered with literary references. During the last days before his shop, the Terranova Bookstore, is forced to close, Vicenzo Fontana reflects on the seventy years of fugitive histories that fill its rooms. From the time when the shop first opened in 1935 by his father, to the hands it changed through, the political transitions and stories it lived through, this touching story is brought to life in Rivas’ vivid and moving narrative.

Just Thieves by Gregory Galloway

Melville House, 9781612199962, p/b, £16.99, 10/11/2022

Partners-in-crime and recovering addicts Rick and Frank are not impulsive house thieves—they are professional robbers, stealing to order by a secret handler. When a job goes wrong and Frank disappears, Rick must upend his livelihood and sense of reality to find him. An engrossing and richly cryptic crime thriller steeped in cons and double-crosses, JUST THIEVES will grip your imagination with its nail-biting narrative and wily characters.

They Won’t Let You Live by Simon Blumenfeld

London Books, 9780995721791, h/b, £14.99, 28/11/2022

In this hard-hitting, pre-WWII fiction, two shop-owners try to keep their small family businesses afloat during time when London was blighted by depression, unemployment and fascists marching the streets. One shop-owner Christian, the other Jewish, this is a brutal examination of a merciless system poisoned with racism, antisemitism and sexism as the inevitability of war looms. First published in 1939, this is Blumenfeld’s fourth and final novel, setting out to confound the reader’s prejudices in a plot that confronts the difficult and disturbing.

The Dazzle of the Light by Georgina Clarke

Verve Books, 9780857308306, p/b, £9.99, 17/11/2022

Set in the Jazz Age of 1920s London, this is a fast-paced, razor-sharp, vivacious novel, inspired by the real-life all-female crime syndicate known as the Forty Thieves, and follows the parallel lives of two women—Harriet from the upper-class, Ruby from lower. After witnessing Ruby, a member of the Forty Thieves, at the scene of a robbery, Harriet becomes drawn to the evasive thief, and both become drawn to each other by their magnetic dynamic. This is a fast-paced, razor-sharp, vivacious novel, driven by desire and envy and animated by Clarke’s blisteringly fierce prose.

This Train by James Grady

No Exit Press, 9780857305220, p/b, £9.99, 24/11/2022

On a heart-pounding cross-country train ride, this is a modern-day Murder on the Orient Express featuring a cast of mysterious and eclectic characters. Racing through America’s heartland, this train weighs heavy with the secrets it carries, including treasure, an invisible puppeteer, a madman, a suicide ticket, a bomb, just to list the top of the iceberg. Set over just 47 hours, this is an intense non-stop ride of suspense, life-threatening crises and page-turning mystery.

Now Is Not The Time To Panic by Kevin Wilson

Text Publishing, 9781911231424, p/b, £11.99, 17/11/2022

Funny and tender, Kevin Wilson’s new novel follows two young people whose friendship is tested when an artwork they create begins to incite chaos in their small town. Written with Wilson’s trademark wit and blazing prose, this is a nuanced exploration of young love, identity and the power of art. Our incredible November Book of the Month, read the full blog on this title by clicking here.

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