27 Brilliant New Books You Need To Read This Winter

Recommended reading from January to March. UK release dates.

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1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – Out Now

Viking, Michael Lionstar

Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader's wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations.

Yaa Gyasi's #Homegoing is incredible. A raw story that is so entwined with the past it brings alive the history of Black Americans today.

2. Virgin And Other Stories by April Ayers Lawson – Out Now

Granta, Jason Ayers

Set mostly in the American South, at the crossroads of a world both secular and devoutly Christian, these short stories explore the inner lives of young women and men navigating sexual, emotional, and spiritual awakenings. In the title story, 'Virgin', Jake grapples with the growing chasm between him and his wife, Leah, a woman who was still a virgin when they wed.

I am in love with the way April Ayers Lawson writes. I'm almost through Virgin and Other Stories and I can't wait to get more of her work.

3. Welcome To Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo – Out Now

Faber & Faber, Chibundu Onuzo

When army officer Chike Ameobi is ordered to kill innocent civilians, he knows that it is time to leave. As he travels towards Lagos, he becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a better life. But things are rarely simple, and the situation awaiting them in Lagos – political scandals, corrupt politicians, desperate journalists – is very complex indeed.

4. Swallowing Mercury by Wioletta Greg – Out Now

Portobello Books, Izabela Banszkiewez

Wiola lives in a close-knit agricultural community. Wiola has a black cat called Blackie. Wiola's father was a deserter but now he is a taxidermist. Wiola's mother tells her that killing spiders brings on storms. Wiola lives in a Poland that is both very recent and lost in time. Swallowing Mercury is about the ordinary passing of years filled with extraordinary days. From childhood to adolescence, Wiola dances to the strange music of her own imagination.

'I experienced the book like a series of cool, clear drinks, each more intoxicating than the last’ - Sarah Perry on SWALLOWING MERCURY

5. Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land – 12 January

Michael Joseph, Ali Land

Annie's mother is a serial killer. The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police. But out of sight is not out of mind, and as her mother's trial looms, the secrets of her past won't let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name - Milly. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be. But Milly's mother is a serial killer. Blood is thicker than water, and she is, after all, her mother's daughter...

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land just blew me away. Review to follow 5* WOW!!! @byAliLand #GoodMeBadMe @MichaelJBooks

6. Homesick For Another World by Otessa Moshfegh – 12 January

Jonathan Cape, Otessa Moshfegh

The first short story collection by the Booker-nominated author of Eileen.

Devoured Ottessa Moshfegh's Homesick for Another World. Now I know why she's known for her short stories. Top drawer.

7. Little Deaths by Emma Flint – 12 January

Picador, Emma Flint

It's the summer of 1965, and the streets of Queens, New York shimmer in a heatwave. One July morning, Ruth Malone wakes to find her two young children missing. After a desperate search, the police make a horrifying discovery. It's every mother's worst nightmare. But Ruth Malone is not like other mothers... Noting her provocative clothing and the empty liquor bottles that litter her apartment, the detectives leap to convenient conclusions, fuelled by neighbourhood gossip and speculation. But is Ruth Malone really capable of murder?

@saramegan I thought Little Deaths by Emma Flint (out early Jan) was BRILLIANT and completely satisfying.

8. Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller – 26 January

Fig Tree, Adrian Harvey

Gil's wife, Ingrid has been missing, presumed drowned, for twelve years. A possible sighting brings their children, Nan and Flora, home. Together they begin to confront the mystery of their mother. Is Ingrid dead? Or did she leave? And do the letters hidden within Gil's books hold the answer to the truth behind his marriage, a truth hidden from everyone including his own children?

Why did I wait the last minute to review Claire Fuller's Swimming Lessons? Such a gifted writer, absolutely recommended @WWNortonLibrary

9. Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan – 26 January

Doubleday, Don Wood

Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left. Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can’t help but look back at the world they left behind. A world whose rules they couldn’t submit to, a place where they never really belonged; a home they’re determined to get back to because they’ve come too far to lose each other now.

I finished HOLD BACK THE STARS by @katie_khan a few days ago and it was a terrific way to round off my year in reading. Beautiful story.

10. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster – 31 January

Faber & Faber, Lotte Hansen

On March 3, 1947, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson's life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. A boy grows up-again and again and again.

@jpsmythe @john_self it's really, just really good. Okay, imagine if Auster read Franzen, and was like "fuck this schoolboy". That's 4321.

11. Rest In Power by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin – 1 February

Jacaranda Books, Paul Morigi / WireImage

In 2012, Trayvon Martin was shot through the chest and killed as he returned home from the local store. In this memoir, Trayvon's parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin reveal the true story of their son’s life, his tragic death, and the campaign for justice that touched the world and later gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Wow this is awesome Black Owned and Founded Jacaranda publising the story of Trayvon Martin "Rest in Power" to be... https://t.co/lFOBpyCN7I

12. Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak – 2 February

Viking, Curtis Brown

Peri, a wealthy Turkish housewife and mother, is on her way to a dinner party when a beggar snatches her handbag. As she wrestles to get it back, a photograph falls to the ground - an old polaroid of three young women. The photo takes Peri back to Oxford University, as a nineteen year old sent abroad for the first time. To her dazzling, rebellious Professor. To the house she shares with her two best friends, Shirin and Mona, and their arguments about identity, Islam and feminism. And finally, to the scandal that tore them all apart.

I lived in Istanbul for 3 1/2 years and for some reason just now started reading @Elif_Safak's books. Three Daughters of Eve was 👍🏼👍🏼

13. Darke by Rick Gekoski – 2 February

Canongate, Rick Gekoski

Dr James Darke has expelled himself from the world. He writes compulsively, eats little, drinks and smokes a lot. Meditating on what he has lost - the loves of his life, both dead and alive. But cracks of light appear in his carefully managed darkness; he begins to emerge from his self-imposed exile, drawn by the tender, bruised filaments of love for his daughter and grandson.

14. This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan – 2 February

Faber & Faber, David Keenan

A love letter to1980s Lanakshire and punk rock, the novel follows a cast of misfits, drop-outs, small town visionaries and would-be artists and musicians through a period of time where anything seemed possible. At its core is the story of Memorial Device, a mythic post-punk group that could have gone all the way were it not for the visionary excess and uncompromising bloody-minded belief that served to confirm them as underground legends.

Just had another wee burst of excitement about @reversediorama's debut novel, This Is Memorial Device. Roll on 2nd February 2017!

15. Whatever Happened To Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins – 9 February

Granta, BFI

Lovers. Lovers who meet at Civil Rights Conferences, sit-ins, church rallies, art galleries. Lovers with dislocated jaws. Lovers who lose themselves or shoot themselves. Lovers who let go too soon. Love that is "colour free". Love that makes men cry. Love that defies the strictures of race and class. In these stories Kathleen Collins explores a universe of lovers. Of poets and freedom riders struggling to get through hot lonely summers. Of young women who step outside of their father's homes, grow their hair wild and discover sex. Of young men whose daredevil antics disguises an abiding sadness.

I read kathleen collins' WHATEVER HAPPENED TO INTERRACIAL LOVE this week (in one sitting, which wasn't nearly enough time to spend with it;>

16. Black Wave by Michelle Tea – 9 February

And Other Stories, Via Twitter: @teamichelle

Desperate to quell her addiction to drugs, disastrous romance, and nineties San Francisco, Michelle heads south for LA. But soon it's officially announced that the world will end in one year, and life becomes increasingly weird. While living in an abandoned bookstore, dating Matt Dillon, and keeping an eye on the encroaching apocalypse, Michelle begins a new novel. But as she struggles to make queer love and art without succumbing to self-destruction, the boundaries between storytelling and reality begin to blur, and Michelle wonders how much she'll have to compromise if she's going to properly ride out doomsday.

My #libfaves16 today is BLACK WAVE by Michelle Tea - an original & darkly funny mashup of queer feminist recovery memoir & dystopian fiction

17. Flesh And Bone And Water by Luiza Sauma – 23 February

Viking, Guilherme Heurich

Brazilian-born doctor André Cabral is living in London when one day he receives a letter from his home country, which he left nearly thirty years ago. The letter prompts André to remember the days of his youth - torrid afternoons on Ipanema beach with his listless teenage friends, parties in elegant Rio apartments, his after-school job at his father's plastic surgery practice - and, above all, his secret infatuation with the daughter of his family's maid, the intoxicating Luana.

18. The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville – 23 February

Picador, Via en.wikipedia.org

1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer and occult disciple Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including Surrealist theorist André Breton. What he unwittingly unleashes is the power of dreams and nightmares, changing the war and the world for ever.

1950. A lone Surrealist fighter, Thibaut, walks a new, hallucinogenic Paris trapped in unending conflict. To escape the city, Thibaut must join forces with Sam, an American photographer. But Sam is being hunted. And new secrets will emerge that will test all their loyalties - to each other, to Paris, and to reality itself.

The Last Days of New Paris: a cracked out cousin of Tim Powers' Declare. Now I want an exquisite corpse tattooed on me somewhere.

19. Stay With Me by Ayobámi Adébáyo – 2 March

Canongate, Michael Lionstar

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything - arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, dances with prophets, appeals to God. But when her in-laws insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair.

20. Exit West by Mohsin Hamed – 2 March

Hamish Hamilton, Jillian Edelstein

In a city swollen by refugees but still mostly at peace, or at least not yet openly at war, Saeed and Nadia share a cup of coffee, and their story begins. It will be a love story but also a story about war and a world in crisis, about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow. Before too long, the time will come for Nadia and Saeed to leave their homeland. When all options are exhausted, this young couple will join the great outpouring of those fleeing a collapsing city, hoping against hope, looking for their place in the world.

Mohsin Hamid's truly harrowing next novel "Exit West" has acquired a new meaning post-US election. (March 2017) (yes, former student!)

21. The Patriots by Sana Krasikov – 2 March

Granta, Tatiana Krasikov

Growing up in 1930s Brooklyn, Florence Fein will do anything to escape the confines of her family and her city. When a new job and a love affair lead her to Moscow, she doesn't think twice about abandoning America - only to discover, years later, that America has abandoned her. Now, as her son Julian travels back to Moscow - entrusted to stitch together a murky transcontinental oil deal - he must dig into Florence's past to discover who his mother really was and what she became.

Sana Krasikov on THE PATRIOTS: "It became a novel of looking at what happens when all your external identities are taken from you."

22. A Natural by Ross Raisin – 2 March

Jonathan Cape, Via rcwlitagency.com

Tom has always known exactly the person he is going to be. A successful footballer. But at nineteen, Tom finds himself playing for a tiny club in a town he has never heard of. As he navigates isolation and his desperate need for recognition, a sudden and thrilling encounter offers him the promise of an escape, and Tom is forced to question whether he can reconcile his suppressed desires with his dreams of success.

Very excited to get a proof of Ross Raisin's new novel A Natural from @JonathanCape. He's the bizzle.

23. Memoirs Of A Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada – 2 March

Portobello Books, Thomas Karsten

A bear, born and raised in captivity, is devastated by the loss of his keeper; another finds herself performing in the circus; a third sits down one day and pens a memoir which becomes an international sensation, and causes her to flee her home. Translated from the German by the Susan Bernofsky.

'A fly bumped against my forehead, or wait, not a fly, a sentence: "I am going into exile."' Uit: Memoirs of a polar bear - Yoko Tawada

24. The Sad Part Was by Prabda Yoon – 3 March

In these stories, Yoon riffs on pop culture, experiments with punctuation, flirts with sci-fi and, in a metafictional twist, mocks his own position as omnipotent author. Highly literary, his narratives offer an oblique reflection of contemporary Bangkok life, exploring the bewildering disjunct and oft-hilarious contradictions of a modernity that is at odds with many traditional Thai ideas on relationships, family, school and work.

25. The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy – 9 March

At the Elysian Society, clients come to reconnect with their dead loved ones, channelled through living ‘Bodies’. Edie works as a Body, perhaps the best in the team, renowned for her professionalism and discretion. But everything changes when Patrick, a distraught husband, comes to spend time with his drowned wife, Sylvia. The more time that Edie spends as Sylvia, the closer she comes to falling in love with Patrick. And the more mysterious the circumstances around Sylvia’s death appear. Edie must discover the couple’s darkest secrets before it's too late.

THE POSSESSIONS by Sara Flannery Murphy. Debut, a near future thriller dealing w/dead, channeling spirits, & mystery. #hcbookbuzz #alaac16

26. Lincoln In The Bardo by George Saunders – 9 March

The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Willie Lincoln finds himself trapped in a transitional realm - called, in Tibetan tradition, the bardo - and as ghosts mingle, squabble, gripe and commiserate, and stony tendrils creep towards the boy, a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo is SO good, I almost forgot to get off the train. Exhilaratingly weird & deeply moving. Poetic. Comic. It's great!

27. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney – 23 March

HQ, Alice Feeney

Amber Reynolds is in a coma. She can’t remember how she got there. But she knows it wasn’t an accident. Terrified and trapped in her own body, she tries to piece together her memories of the last week. With a husband who no longer loves her, a sister hiding a dangerous secret, and an ex-boyfriend who can’t let go of her, Amber knows that someone is lying, and her life is still very much in danger. But can she force herself to wake up before it’s too late?