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Books of the month
Brilliant books picked each month by expert booksellers.
Goodbye abstinence, hello February. Make ready to become absorbed in our miscellany of tales that touch upon humanity, bad behaviour, creepy crawlies, adventure and gripping intrigue. Here are our books of the month.
The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015, Sunjeev Sahota’s perceptive second novel chronicles the lives, both present and past, of three Indian economic migrants sharing a slum-like house in Sheffield, whose lives intersect with that of one British Sikh woman. In this timely, graceful observation of humanity, Sahota shows he is a writer of admirable subtlety, who lets his pauses and silences do as much talking as those words printed within his book’s covers.
Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories by Thomas GrantThis is a vivid portrait of a privileged, well-connected, utterly charming man, who did much to instil and protect our current culture of freedom of speech. Case Histories examines the now-centenarian Jeremy Hunt QC’s most remarkable and scandalous cases of the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, detailing the ‘moral dramas’ of those people the world viewed as amiable rogues, harlots and philanderers; people such as Howard Marks, Christine Keeler and Great Train Robber Charlie Wilson.
The Rose of Tibet by Lionel Davidson
Seasonally apt, a running theme of Lionel Davidson’s novels is man’s struggle against the cold (see Kolymsky Heights). So it’s fitting that The Rose of Tibet, which wins Daphne du Maurier’s admiration via a comparison to a modern-day King Solomon’s Mines, is set in the Himalayan landscape of Tibet. Against the backdrop of the Chinese invasion of 1950, Charles Houston travels there to hunt for his filmmaker brother, and the horrors and perils he endures are realistically rendered thanks to Davidson’s matter-of-fact tone.
The Night Manager by John le Carré
Ahead of the new BBC series based on The Night Manager that arrives at the end of the month, we’re once again immersing ourselves in this claustrophobic tale from the giant of intelligence writing. True to the author’s thematic form, there’s sacrifice, honour, courage, love and betrayal, all in a plot pivoting around the night manager at a luxury Zurich hotel, who becomes tangled up in an arms trade conspiracy when “the worst man in the world” walks through his hotel’s gilded doors.
Beetle Boy - The Battle of the Beetles by M.G. Leonard
Beetle Boy is an eccentric little novel telling of 11-year-old Darkus’s quest to find his missing father Dr. Bartholomew Cuttle, and it’s populated with strong, independent characters in equal parts female and male. Exclusive to Waterstones in February, it’s as much for reading to primary-aged children as for tweens to digest alone, and via the coleopteran Baxter, is delicately threaded with scientific information about beetles, covering themes such as ecology, genetic engineering and cross-species breeding.