Nothing beats a summer reading. Afternoons lazing on picnic blankets or swings, lounging by the pool or languishing on beach blankets are infinitely more enjoyable when immersed in an entertaining romance. This year, a list of brilliant new books emerges, especially those by newbie female authors who already seem poised to become serious literary stars. We met five of the best new voices to take with you this summer.
Natasha Brown, Blend
This slim novel may be tiny at just over 100 pages, but it has an oversized impact. Exploring nuanced and redefining form on class, work, gender and race, Brown’s debut has already garnered a hype from the industry. In fact, Bernadine Evaristo crowned her “Next Big Thing” – not bad for a beginning writer who has spent the last decade working in finance. “Writing had become my guilty pleasure over the years,” she says. “It wasn’t until I started re-evaluating my life that I realized this was what I wanted to spend more time on and then luckily it all happened organically.”
Assembly skillfully plays with words and structure, and it seems done consciously. “I wanted to approach race and class from a very nuanced linguistic point of view. So rather than really coming from a place of frustration, it was more about how we communicate with each other? And how does that sometimes break down? ” she explains. “Assembly is very concerned with the different stories we tell ourselves: cultural narratives, how we understand what it means to be British, what it means to be successful, how we understand identity and how we have it built. I really wanted to draw attention to the fact that these things aren’t really there. We have assembled them.”
Louise Nealon, Snowflake
“I love books. Apart from my family and friends, books are the most important relationship of my life, ”says Nealon, whose debut, Snowflake, which was released in May, has already seen the team behind Normal people. Although lightly based on her own experiences growing up on a dairy farm in County Kildare and moving to college in a big city, the story of the main character Debbie is far from a memory. “Yes Snowflake was entirely factual, that would be extremely boring. Of course, I started to write about things I knew, but the story started to grow, and that’s where the magic happens, ”she explains. “I get really excited when I can’t keep up with my characters and I no longer have control of the story.”
Nealon laughs that the world is already clamoring to dub her the new Sally Rooney and Herald Snowflake this year’s Millennium Story. “I didn’t mean to do anything consciously,” she smiles. “In fact, I’m really happy to have come to a place where I have given up on the world of books, and it is able to exist independently without me. The story is no longer mine, it belongs to the reader who opens the cover and brings their own imagination and experiences to the pages.
Francesca Reece, Voyeur
From Paris to the south of France, with narrative threads winding beautifully through London’s Soho and the warm streets of Athens, Voyeur It sounds like your standard airport romance: Scandals in Sunny Climates. But Francesca Reece’s heartwarming debut is more than the sum of her parts of the wanderlust. In fact, its origins can be found in medieval literature. “It was around 2015 and I was totally obsessed with using doppelgängers in these really old texts,” she says, rolling her eyes self-deprecatingly and calling herself pretentious. “This is really where the main point of the novel comes from. I was fascinated by what would happen if someone came into your life who looked exactly like someone from your past.
Her debut, which tells the story of Leah, a aimless graduate living in Paris, and Michael, an aging literary star whose lives are irrevocably tangled after a chance encounter, deals with notions of memory and perception – how her identity can often be misinterpreted in someone else’s eyes. “For me, I wanted to portray layers of people’s voyeurism,” she explains. “That, and I was determined to write a central character who was intentionally lacking in ambition. We don’t seem to let people hang around anymore. There’s a lot to be said for loitering!
Abigail Dean, Daughter A
“It’s really easy to think that none of this really happened, because it happened during the lockdown,” Dean says of the fact that his novel, released in January, has become a bestseller. global. The TV rights were recovered by Sony, with the director of Chernobyl already attached. “It’s just surreal.”
Dean wrote Girl A, an intelligent and compulsive story of a woman who escapes from an abusive family home, in moments around her incredibly trying work as a corporate lawyer. A fan of real crime, he was inspired by the stories of families like the Turpins, whose lifelong abuse of their 13 children was revealed in 2018. “I obviously had to do a lot of heavy research to get into the head of somebody. who had experienced that, ”she explains. “I was also amazed that we so rarely see what happens to these children next, after their rescue, after the trial. What are they doing with their lives? How do they get over it? What happens to their dynamic as siblings? I wanted to explore all of this in the novel.
Melody Razak, Butterfly
So many events described in the assured beginnings of Razak, Butterfly, feel so elaborate, horrible, and painful, that it’s hard to believe they really happened. “This is what struck me when I started hearing stories about the partition of India,” she says. “It made me realize that so few of us know the horrors of those times.”
An Anglo-Iranian writer, Razak is also a pastry chef, who ran a pastry shop in Brighton for eight years before embarking on a master’s degree in creative writing. She wrote Butterfly, a powerful family story that separates India and Pakistan, during long train journeys through India, a country with which she is “totally in love”. “I mainly focused on women,” she says. “Women were rife at that time and many were lost. We hear these voices so rarely and I wanted to Butterfly to do it, to tell it all from their point of view.
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