Capri, £16.99, pp304
Ward’s first philosophically oriented novellove and other thought experiments, was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize and drew comparisons to the work of Doris Lessing, Voltaire and Sartre. Her second is deceptively simple, weaving an investigation into the disappearance of a schoolgirl with the story of one of the last people to see her, a librarian named Isobel, who is still traumatized by the events of the school. experimental school that she herself had attended 15 years earlier. . Homosexuality and deafness rub shoulders with themes of resilience and confidence, making for an evocative and well-paced tale that is sure to win over its new readers.
Daunt Books, £9.99, pp224 (paperback)
Fashion journalist Ana Kinsella’s debut is an idiosyncratic mix of interviews, memoirs and ramblings, all shaped by the same sharp, empathetic gaze that characterizes her faithfully followed newsletter, The London Review of Looks. Here’s a book to make you love London – with all its synchronicity and serendipity, with the sense of possibility that comes with being part of a population of 9.5 million. To walk through its winding streets, she writes, is to “move through time itself” – and not just through history, but also through personal history. Yes look here sometimes lacks polish, its freshness and charm more than make up for it.
Verso, £9.99, pp288 (paperback)
This compulsive collection functions as an introduction to a spirit whose vitality is hard to match. Spanning 40 years – what Gornick calls his “apprenticeship” – his essays deliberately range from figures such as literary critic Alfred Kazin – a man “eaten alive by his own demons” – to neglected black writer Kathleen Collins and his exploration of “the amazement of human existence”. Meanwhile, a tale of membership in a reading group offers the most captivating distillation you could wish for of why we read – and write. Fashion literature may have revamped the reputations of some of these Gornick tellers, but his ideas have lost none of their luster.