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Here are 10 great autumn reads for snuggling up and enjoying when you're travelling or enjoying some downtime
The weather is cooling down and the nights are drawing in. Sounds like the perfect time to get cosy and lose yourself in a great books. Check out this selection of great new fiction to enjoy this autumn.
Cilka's Journey: The sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
In 1942 Cilka Klein is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival. After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator by the Russians and sent to a desolate, brutal prison camp in Siberia known as Vorkuta, inside the Arctic Circle.
Innocent, imprisoned once again, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, each day a battle for survival. Cilka befriends a woman doctor, and learns to nurse the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under unimaginable conditions. And when she tends to a man called Alexandr, Cilka finds that despite everything, there is room in her heart for love.
Cilka's Journey is a powerful testament to the triumph of the human will. It will move you to tears, but it will also leave you astonished and uplifted by one woman's fierce determination to survive, against all odds.
The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman
Seven years after the events of The Amber Spyglass and twenty years after the conclusion of La Belle Sauvage, Lyra Silvertongue is now a young woman studying in Oxford. But times are changing, bringing discord between her and her daemon Pantalaimon, and sending her on a momentous journey across the globe. From Europe to the far ends of Asia, she will go on a quest for the lost and mysterious: a city rumoured to be haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of the desert, and the elusive truth of Dust. As the stakes of her search continue to rise, she will be faced with the reality of growing up and finding herself, as well as contend with her painful past.
As riveting as it is moving, as profound as it is enchanting, The Secret Commonwealth is another masterpiece of fiction from Philip Pullman—one that will take a permanent place in the heart of its readers.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.
As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.
What happened? By Hanif Kureishi
Comic, dark and insightful, What Happened? is Hanif Kureishi's new collection of essays and fiction. No topic is too fringe or too mainstream for this insatiable-and much-loved-author. From social media to the ancient classics, from appraisals of David Bowie to Georges Simenon to Keith Jarrett, this is the latest literary 'event' in a unique body of work that displays Kureishi's characteristic boundless curiosity and wit.
What Happened? is as much about the very fact of Kureishi's catholic appetite for culture as his observations and insights themselves, and any new book in his oeuvre is a justification for celebration.
The Lying Room by Nicci French
Neve Connolly looks down at a murdered man. She doesn't call the police.
'You know, it's funny,' Detective Inspector Hitching said. 'Whoever I see, they keep saying, talk to Neve Connolly, she'll know. She's the one people talk to, she's the one people confide in.'
A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things. She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all. But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.
She can't tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves? And who does she really know? And who can she trust?
A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.
Could she be a murderer?
Grand Union by Zadie Smith
In the summer of 1959, an Antiguan immigrant in north west London lives the last day of his life, unknowingly caught in someone else's story of hate and division, resistance and revolt. A mother looks back on her early forays into matters of the human heart - and other parts of the human body - considering the ways in which desire is always an act of negotiation, destruction, and self-invention.
A disgraced cop stands amid the broken shards of his life, unable to move forward into a future that holds no place for him. Moral panic spreads like contagion through the upper echelons of New York City - and the cancelled people look disconcertingly like the rest of us. A teenage scion of the technocratic elite chases spectres through a premium virtual reality, trailed by a little girl with a runny nose and no surviving family.
We all take a much-needed break from this mess, on a package holiday where the pool's electric blue is ceaselessly replenished, while political and environmental collapse happen far away, to someone else. Interleaving eleven completely new and unpublished stories with some of her best-loved pieces from the New Yorker and elsewhere, Zadie Smith presents a dizzyingly rich and varied collection of fiction. Moving exhilaratingly across genres and perspectives, from the historic to the vividly current to the slyly dystopian, Grand Union is a sharply alert and prescient collection about time and place, identity and rebirth, the persistent legacies that haunt our present selves and the uncanny futures that rush up to meet us.
Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
Quichotte, an ageing travelling salesman obsessed with TV, is on a quest for love. Unfortunately, his daily diet of reality TV, sitcoms, films, soaps, comedies and dramas has distorted his ability to separate fantasy from reality. He wishes an imaginary son into existence, while obsessively writing love letters to a celebrity he knows only through his screen.
Quichotte’s story is narrated by Brother, a mediocre spy novelist in the midst of a midlife crisis, triggered in part by a fall-out with his Sister. As the stories of Brother and Quichotte ingeniously intertwine, Salman Rushdie takes us on a wild, picaresque journey through a world on the edge of moral and spiritual collapse. Quichotte is one of the world's great storytellers at his exuberant best, in a book that highlights the instability of the world we live in and speaks to an era when fact is often indiscernible from fiction.
The Cockroach by Ian McEwan
That morning, Jim Sams, clever but by no means profound, woke from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed into a gigantic creature.
Jim Sams has undergone a metamorphosis. In his previous life he was ignored or loathed, but in his new incarnation he is the most powerful man in Britain – and it is his mission to carry out the will of the people. Nothing must get in his way: not the opposition, nor the dissenters within his own party. Not even the rules of parliamentary democracy.
With trademark intelligence, insight and scabrous humour, Ian McEwan pays tribute to Franz Kafka’s most famous work to engage with a world turned on its head.
The Confession by Jessie Burton
The sensational new novel from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse. Jessie Burton's latest novel tells the story of three women and the complex connections they have shared across decades and continents.
This is a novel about love, sex, work, motherhood, how we construct our pasts and dream our futures, and the wildly divergent paths our lives can take.
A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier
It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiance and her brother and regarded by society as a `surplus woman' unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone. A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity.
Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything... Warm, vivid and beautifully orchestrated, A Single Thread reveals one of our finest modern writers at the peak of her powers.