On our radar: 3 books that are making major waves

A Time for Mercy

By John Grisham

Hodder & Stoughton

It’s the one thing you can always bet on. If it’s almost the end of the year, there’ll be a new John Grisham hitting the shelves, just in time for Christmas. And with his latest offering, he doesn’t disappoint as he returns to Jake Brigance, the hero of his very first book, A Time To Kill.

In this gripping legal thriller the small-town lawyer finds himself at the epicentre of a sensational murder trial.

 

A Time for Mercy By John Grisham Hodder & Stoughto

What it’s about: Jake is the court-appointed lawyer for Drew Gamble, a young man accused of murdering a local deputy. Many in Clanton, Mississippi, want a swift trial and the death penalty, but Jake sees it another way. Once he learns the details of the case, he realises he has to do everything he can to save Drew....who is sixteen. His commitment to the truth puts Jake's career and the safety of his family at risk. Source: hachette.co.uk

 What the critics say: “At a time when our opinions are terrifyingly polarized, Grisham reminds us that people aren’t one thing or another, but composed instead in shades of grey.” – Sarah Lyall, New York Times

 Opening lines: The unhappy little home was out in the country, some six miles south of Clanton on an old country road that went nowhere in particular. The house could not be seen from the road and was accessed by a winding gravel drive that dipped and curved and at night caused approaching headlights to sweep through the front windows and doors as if to warn those waiting inside. The seclusion of the house added to the imminent horror.”

 

Breasts and Eggs

By Mieko Kawakami

Picador

 

If you are wanting a book that challenges you and transports you into a completely different culture, then this bestseller by literary sensation Mieko Kawakami is a great bet. Originally published as a novella in Japan in 2008, it was subsequently fleshed out into a full-scale novel, which was recently released in English.

Breasts and Eggs  By Mieko Kawakami Picador
Breasts and Eggs By Mieko Kawakami Picador

What it's about: On a hot summer’s day in a poor suburb of Tokyo we meet three women: thirty-year-old Natsu, her older sister Makiko, and Makiko’s teenage daughter Midoriko. Makiko, an ageing hostess despairing the loss of her looks, has travelled to Tokyo in search of breast enhancement surgery. She's accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently stopped speaking, finding herself unable to deal with her own changing body and her mother’s self-obsession. Her silence dominates Natsu’s rundown apartment, providing a catalyst for each woman to grapple with their own anxieties and their relationships with one another. Source: Pan Macmillan

What the critics say: “I can never forget the sense of pure astonishment I felt when I first read Mieko Kawakami’s novella Breasts and Eggs . . . breathtaking .” - Haruki Murakami, Author of Norwegian Wood.

 “Kawakami has made her name articulating womanhood in Japan better than any living author.” – David McNeill, The Guardian

 

Opening lines: “If you want to know how poor somebody was growing up, ask them how many windows they had. Don’t ask what as in their fridge or in their closet. The number of windows says it all. It says everything. If they had none, or maybe one or two, that’s all you need to know.”

 

 

Summerwater

By Sarah Moss

Picador

This is definitely not your average summer holiday read. It’s a tale about 12 people and the single day they spend next to a lake in Scotland.

Summerwater By Sarah Moss Picador
Summerwater By Sarah Moss Picador

 

What it’s about: On the longest day of the summer, twelve people sit cooped up with their families in a faded Scottish cabin park. The endless rain leaves them with little to do but watch the other residents.

Each person is wrapped in their own cares but increasingly alert to the makeshift community around them. One particular family, a mother and daughter without the right clothes or the right manners, starts to draw the attention of the others. Tensions rise and all watch on, unaware of the tragedy that lies ahead as night finally fall. Source: Pan Macmillan

 

What the critics say: “Sharp, searching, thoroughly imagined, it is utterly of the moment, placing its anxious human dots against a vast indifferent landscape; with its wit and verve and beautiful organisation it throws much contemporary writing into the shade!” -  Hilary Mantel, Booker-winning author of Wolf Hall

 “Nothing escapes her sly humour and brilliant touch. Deft and brimming with life, Summerwater is a novel of endless depth. A masterpiece.” – Jessie Burton, author of The Miniaturist

Opening lines: “Dawn. There’s no sunrise, no birdsong.

Light seeps over the water, through the branches. The sky is lying on the loch, filling the trees, heavy in the spaces between the pine needles, settling between blades of grass and mottling the pebbles on the beach. Although there’s no distance between cloud and land, nowhere for rain to fall, it is raining; the sounds of water on leaves and bark, on roofs and stones, windows and cars, become as constant as the sounds of blood and air in your own body.

You would notice soon enough, if it stopped.”

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