Entertainment

5 new books to read this week

Following the 2017 hit This Is Going To Hurt, Adam Kay is back with more personal memoirs…

fiction

1. All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien is available as a hardcover from HQ priced at £14.99 (eBook £7.99). Available September 22nd

The story begins when Ky, a journalist and daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, returns from Melbourne to her hometown of Cabramatta, a suburb of Sydney, for the funeral of her younger brother Denny. At home, she discovers that the police are perplexed by Denny’s murder. Although there are multiple witnesses at the popular Vietnamese restaurant where the A-student was beaten to death, no one comes forward – and even Ky’s parents are reluctant to urge authorities to act. Tracey Lien’s writing style is compelling throughout the novel, and you can sense Ky’s frustration as she takes on the disinterested police force and decides to uncover the truth on her own. This debut novel is a slow burn that is thought provoking as it not only uncovers the truth about Denny’s death but also the complicated relationship between refugees and their new home.8/10 (Review by Rikki Loftus)

2. Shrines Of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson is published in hardcover by Doubleday at £20 (eBook £10.99). Available September 27th

(double day/PA)

Kate Atkinson’s new entry Shrines Of Gaiety tells the story of Nellie Coker – the formidable head of a family who ran a Soho nightclub empire in 1920s London. The novel captivates the reader from the start. It paints a picture of the capital’s glittering nightlife and its shabbier downside so vividly that it’s almost possible to smell the stale cigarette smoke and taste the alcohol. The pace is a little slow at times, but ultimately the story of Nellie and her family and the characters they are associated with builds to a satisfying ending as the strands of their lives are skillfully woven together. 8/10 (review by Alison Kershaw)

3. Nights Of Plague by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Ekin Oklap, is published in hardcover by Faber & Faber, priced at £20 (eBook £7.99). Now available

(Faber & Faber/PA)

The coronavirus pandemic has spawned the so-called “lockdown novel” written during and about the social isolation imposed. Nights Of Plague is not an explicit example, both because Orhan Pamuk started it in 2016 and tells of a plague outbreak on the fictional Mediterranean island of Mingheria at the turn of the 20th century. However, isolation is still the dominant theme – with Ottoman authorities struggling to impose restrictions on the various religious and nationalist factions before the island is eventually quarantined from the outside world. The design device that this is a novel account written by a modern historian has the narrator regularly explain her sources or use an imaginative reconstruction. As in reality, the regular details of quarantine measures and death tolls can be overwhelming or repetitive, but the political developments and added crime thriller intrigue keep the novel gripping to the end. 7/10 (Review by Joshua Pugh Ginn)

nonfiction

4. Undoctored by Adam Kay is published in hardcover by Trapeze, priced at £22 (eBook £10.99). Now available

Fans of This Is Going To Hurt, Adam Kay’s hilarious and heartbreaking diaries of a young doctor adapted for television, starring Ben Whishaw, will welcome more cutting humor and humiliating stories in the author-comedian’s memoir. This one looks at life since he hung up his surgical scrubs, the nightmares and PTSD he suffered, the struggles to pursue a career in comedy and writing interspersed with childhood flashbacks, medical moments and deeply personal events in his life. An eating disorder, the loss of an unborn child, and a violent sexual assault are among his most traumatic memories, but Kay’s survival mechanism has always been humor. He sheds light on this with hilarious anecdotes from a sperm bank, passing a painful bladder stone and how he broke free from a social media stalker. There is also anger at former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, whom he accuses of not being in touch with NHS workers, and at Matt Hancock and the Government’s inaction when Covid hit. The humor is dark, full of sarcasm and yet it comes from a voice that is sometimes very vulnerable. It feels angrier than his first book, but it’s just as heartbreaking. 8/10 (review by Hannah Stephenson)

children’s book of the week

5. The Girl In The Castle by James Patterson is available in paperback from Penguin at £8.99 (£5.99 eBook). Now available

(Penguin/PA)

Troubled teenager Hannah Dory spends most of the book in what is now Belman Memorial Psychiatric Hospital, but her mind is often drawn to the year 1347, trying to save her family and friends from starvation. She tells her doctor that she’s actually from the past – not the usual storyline for James Patterson, whose books have sold over 400 million copies worldwide. The Girl In The Castle is a YA psychological thriller that will keep readers hooked to the end. Student nurse Jordan Hassan begins to see why Hannah suffers from such violent mood swings and hallucinations, and is obsessed with finding the truth — even if that means breaking the rules and turning to detective work instead of taking more medication. You’ll love how tension builds in both the past and present, with apparent empathy for Hannah’s fellow patients – perhaps aided by Patterson’s job as a psychiatric assistant at a hospital while he was in college. 8/10 (Review by Alan Jones)

BOOK CHARTS FOR THE WEEK END OF SEPTEMBER 17 HARDBACK (FICTION)1. The Missed Bullet by Richard Osman2. The Inky Heart by Robert Galbraith3. The Ballad from Never After by Stephanie Garber4. Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes5. Lessons from Ian McEwan6. Act of Forgetting by Robert Harris7. The Butcher and the Wren by Alaina Urquhart8. Fairy Tales by Stephen King9. The Marriage Portrait of Maggie O’Farrell10. Babel by RF Kuang (compiled by Waterstones)

Hardcover (non-fiction)1. Undoctored by Adam Kay2. One by Jamie Oliver3. Landline by Raynor Winn4. I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy5. Calling the Shots by David Dein6. Colditz by Ben MacIntyre7. Menopause by Davina McCall & Dr. Naomi Potter8. Who I Am by Melanie C9. Guinness World Records 2023 by Guinness World Records10. Elizabeth II: Princess, Queen, Icon (compiled by Waterstones)

AUDIOBOOKS (FICTIONAL AND FACTICIAL)1. The Missed Bullet by Richard Osman2. Fairy Tales by Stephen King3. The Inky Heart by Robert Galbraith4. The Myth of Normal by Dr. Gabor Maté & Daniel Maté5. The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien6. Undoctored by Adam Kay7. Atomic Habits by James Clear8. Act of Forgetting by Robert Harris9. Why hasn’t anyone ever told me this before? from Dr. Julie Smith10. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (compiled by Audible)

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/adam-kay-kate-atkinson-james-patterson-vietnamese-shrines-b2171943.html 5 new books to read this week

JOE HERNANDEZ

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