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Lyrics Alley / Leila Aboulela
Leila Aboulela
Lyrics Alley
(New York : Grove Press, 2010)
This haunting novel, rich with period detail, is the epic story of a wealthy Sudanese family coming to terms with political and social change in the Sudan as the country moves to independence in the 1950s. The soul of the country is torn between the traditional way of life and the pull of modernity, a conflict which is reflected in the central character's two wives - Nabilah who longs to return to the Cairo of her birth and Waheeba who still wears traditional robes and has the tribal scars on her face. The author won the first Caine Prize for African Writing. She was born in Cairo, grew up in Sudan and now lives in Qatar. This is her third novel.

The Darkness / Ragnar Jonasson
Ragnar Jónasson
The darkness
(London : Penguin/Michael Joseph, 2018)
Published in Iceland in 2015, this is the first in a planned series called Hidden Iceland, and features Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir. Forced into early retirement, she is given two weeks to solve one last cold case. She chooses that of a Russian woman whose body was found washed up on the shores of Iceland a year earlier. The death had been treated as suicide but Inspector Hermannsdóttir is convinced there was more to it than that, and she is proved right - but her time to convince the authorities is running out. Interesting characters, fantastic locations and nailbiting suspense make this novel a winner. Jónasson is 42 and lives in Reykjavik. He is already the author of the bestselling Dark Iceland series.

‌‌‌‌In the fall they come back / Robert Bausch
Robert Bausch
In the fall they come back
(London : Bloomsbury, 2018)
Those who come back in the fall are students - in this case, post-primary students in Glenn Acre Preparatory School in New York. Bausch's nicely observed and understated novel is about the relationship between a teacher and his pupils. Ben Jameson is an idealistic young English teacher who wants to change lives for the better, but this laudable desire leads him into complicated territory as he becomes more and more deeply involved in the lives of three troubled students. The author has won several awards for 'sustained achievement in literature' - this is his tenth novel.

Never greener / Ruth Jones‌‌
Ruth Jones
Never greener
(London : Bantam Press, 2018)
The title of this novel refers to the old saying 'The grass is always greener on the other side', or as we might say here 'Faraway cows have long horns'. It's a book about 'what might have been' and what might happen if we were given the chance to find out. When Kate was twenty-two she had a passionate affair with a married man, Callum. It ended in heartbreak but she survived and now she is a married woman with a child. Meanwhile Callum is still married, and the affair is well and truly buried in the past. Until Kate meets Callum again and they are given the chance to find out what might have been - but should they take that chance? The title suggests a note of caution. The author is a television scriptwriter and actress, best known for her work on BBC1's Gavin and Stacey. This is her first novel.

The reluctant contact / Stephen Burke
Stephen Burke
The reluctant contact
(London : Hodder & Stoughton, 2017)
This is the second novel to be published by Dubliner Stephen Burke - his first, The Good Italian, won quite a bit of praise. The Reluctant Contact is set in the Svalbard Archipelago in 1977. Yuri, the reluctant one, is a Soviet-era engineer who arrives to work at a Russian mining outpost in the Norwegian-held territory. Yuri is imbued with all the suspicion and secrecy of the Soviets but when a colleague is found dead in the mine he is, against his better judgment, drawn into an attempt to find out what happened him. Meanwhile he falls in love as the island is frozen in the twenty-four-hour darkness of the Arctic winter. 

The executor / Blake Morrison
Blake Morrison
The executor
(London : Chatto & Windus, 2018)
Matt Holmes had been asked by his friend and fellow-writer Robert Pope to be his literary executor but when Rob dies suddenly his services are required sooner than anyone had expected. Rob had seemed to have a conventionally happy marriage but Matt is shocked and astounded when his papers reveal another side to his friend. He is faced with the dilemma - publish the truth for a better critical understanding of Rob's work or keep the scandalous details under wraps to protect the reputations of the living - and the dead. Blake Morrison is an acclaimed British novelist and poet and the author of the bestselling memoirs And When Did You Last See Your Father and Things My Mother Never Told Me.

Her mother's secret / Rosanna Ley‌‌‌‌
Rosanna Ley
Her mother's secret
(London : Quercus, 2018)
Colette hasn't been home - to the beautiful Breton holiday island of Belle-Ile-en-Mer - for many years. Now, hearing that her mother is unwell she resolves to make the journey, confront the ghosts of the past and try to forgive her mother for her childhood troubles. Captivated again by the the island's charm she wishes to settle there but first she must find out what her mother's secret is - the secret which caused such a rift between them long ago - so that they can all move on. The author is a teacher of creative writing and lives in Dorsetshire.

Tangerine / Christine Mangan‌‌
Christine Mangan
Tangerine
(London : Little Brown, 2018)
The cover says 'As if Donna Tartt, Gillian Flynn and Patricia Highsmith had collaborated in a screenplay to be filmed by Hitchcock'. That's American novelist Joyce Carol Oates talking about Tangerine and it gives a good flavour of the kind of book it is. Alice Shipley arrives in 1950s Tangier with her new husband. She runs into her best friend Lucy Mason - except that she has been estranged from Lucy for more than a year - and soon comes to depend on the intrepid Lucy in the heat and strangeness of the African city. Then her husband John goes missing, and Alice Shipley begins to question everything around her including her relationship with Lucy. Christine Mangan got her PhD from University College Dublin for a thesis on 18th century Gothic fiction. This is her first novel.

‌‌The girl from Pit Lane / Gracie Hart
Gracie Hart
The girl from Pit Lane
(London : Ebury Press, 2018)
This story from a coal-mining village in nineteenth-century Yorkshire features two sisters, Mary-Ann and Eliza Wild. When their mother dies they are thrown on the mercies of a drunken stepfather. Left to fend for themselves they support each other as best they can but when one of them becomes pregnant by a married mine-owner it looks as if she is doomed to the workhouse. They try to keep the pregnancy a secret but such things can't stay secret for long. The author grew up and still lives in the Yorkshire Dales, and has published several family sagas set in Yorkshire including A Mother's Courage and The Child Left Behind.

The neighborhood / Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa
The neighborhood
(London : Faber, 2018)
From the Nobel Laureate and premier Latin American novelist comes a detective novel that dissects the seedy underbelly of Peruvian privilege during the presidency of Fujimori in the 1990s. Two wealthy businessmen and their wives are embroiled in scandal, and are threatened with exposure by an newspaper editor. The editor is found murdered. The author was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. The translation from the original Spanish is by Edith Grossman. 

‌‌Splinter in the blood / Ashley Dyer
Ashley Dyer
Splinter in the blood
(London : Corsair, 2018),
Sergeant Ruth Lake and DCI Greg Carver are hunting a serial killer whom the press has dubbed the 'Thorn Killer' as his victims are carefully posed and their skin is covered all over with tattoos executed with thorns using a primitive and excruciatingly painful technique. But the hunt gets personal when the Thorn Killer's latest victim is posed to look like Carver's wife. Ashley Dyer is the pseudonym for well-known crime writer Margaret Murphy who has published under her own name and also as A. D. Garrett. The book is written in consultation with Helen Pepper, a lecturer in policing and forensic scientist who worked as a consultant in the Vera Stanhope and Shetland series on British television.

‌‌‌A long way from home / Peter Carey
Peter Carey
A long way from home
(London : Faber, 2018)
Irene Bobs and her husband Titch are motor sport enthusiasts in 1950s Australia and they enter the Redex Trial, an Australian road race across the continent, with Willie Bachhuber, the fairhaired son of a Protestant preacher, as navigator. Their journey  becomes an exploration of Australia's brutal history of racism and the exploitation and degradation of its indigenous population. Carey's previous novels include the multi-award winning Oscar and Lucinda and The True History of the Kelly Gang. He was born in Australia and lives in New York.

‌‌Of men and angels / Michael Arditti
Michael Arditti
Of men and angels
(London : Arcadia, 2018)
The biblical story of the destruction of Sodom is explored in this novel of five interrelated stories ranging in time from ancient Babylon to 1980s Hollywood. Imaginatively rich, daring in structure and magnificent in scope, it is a book of penetrating insight and profound human sympathy. The author, who has ten novels and a collection of short stories to his credit, lives in London.

 

 All these titles are available in Cork City Libraries. Further suggestions from your local librarian at Adult Lending, Bishopstown, Douglas, Tory-Top, Blackpool, Mayfield, and Hollyhill. For additions-to-stock lists in the Rory Gallagher Music Library check here. For selected new films click here 

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