Ignorance, Illusion and Ingenuity
Presenting Our Books of the Month for September
What price belief? A woman finds her world ruined by wilful ignorance in Cressida Connolly’s superlative After the Party, and in Divided, Tim Marshall delivers a world often bloodily scored by ideology. Louise Candlish’s Our House questions the trust we place in those we love, whilst our children’s title this month by contrast celebrates the value of that trust.
Fiction Book of the Month
Echoes of the Mitfords slip through Cressida Connolly’s pitch-perfect account of the price of ignorance. Phyllis Forrester – genteel, privileged, naïve – is pulled into the web of pre-WWII fascist sympathy; a slip at a dinner party breaks her world in two. Elegant, poignant and knowing, Connolly paints an assured picture of England on the eve of war and the misplaced beliefs of those who chose to overlook the truth of Nazi evil.
Non-Fiction Book of the Month
Tim Marshall can summarise the world in a nutshell. His runaway bestseller Prisoners of Geography effortlessly rewrote our understanding of nationhood, and now Divided turns to the sometimes invisible fences and walls that separate culture and belief. There is hope here too, however: for every division a bridge, and in every enemy a future friend. Concise and brilliantly perceptive.
Thriller of the Month
With a premise so deliciously sleek, you wonder how it hasn’t been arrived at before. Fiona Lawson arrives at her desirable London home to discover strangers moving into her own house. Bram, Fiona’s estranged husband, has vanished, as have her two boys; the rooms have been stripped bare. So begins a twisting odyssey of suburban betrayal, masterfully unspooled by Candlish who effortlessly stays several steps ahead of the reader.
Children's Book of the Month
‘I don’t know,’ wrote Philip Pullman, ‘when I last read a book with such pure and unalloyed pleasure.’ Her tale painstakingly delivered via an old Underwood typewriter, prepare to be utterly enchanted by the misadventures of Sally Jones, a gorilla prepared to risk everything for the honour and freedom of her closest friend. Stunning illustrations and wild but thoughtful adventure make for a captivating read.
Scottish Book of the Month
Five first-class writers: 25 unique structures. What better way to address the vast scope of Scotland’s story, from the henge of Bathgate’s Cairnpapple Hill to the towering sixties edifice of Anniesland Court. Shedding the conventions of historical narrative, Who Built Scotland simmers with the passions of its writers, whether it’s Alexander McCall Smith on Edinburgh’s gloriously macabre Surgeon’s Hall, or Kathleen Jamie on Geldie Burn’s vanished lives.
Irish Book of the Month
A pope’s visit is the catalyst to Darragh Martin’s timely adult debut, but here the clock is wound back to 1979 and John Paul II’s iconic appearance at Phoenix Park. The formidable Granny Doyle dowses her offspring’s marital bed in papally-blessed holy water, but her hopes of a future grandson as pontiff are somewhat challenged by the reality of triplets John Paul, Rosie and Damian. Under the reluctant wing of headstrong older sister Peg, the Doyles become a microcosm of Ireland’s transformation, observed with effervescent wit and understanding.