These newspaper articles always come too late for me. I'm off in the next few days and have bought my summer books already- damn! Anyway, this article from the Irish Times gives a good few suggestions for my return to back garden reading in the hoped-for August sun.
Ancient Light By John Banville
“Billy Gray was my best friend and I fell in love with his mother.” John Banville’s new novel grabs the reader with its opening line. It’s the story of an ageing actor called Alexander Cleave, who looks back on his illicit teenage affair with a woman he still calls Mrs Gray. But Cleave is haunted by memories not only of his youth in a small Irish town in the 1950s but also of his daughter, who died by suicide.
Me Before You By Jojo Moyes
When Lou loses her job as a waitress and takes a job as carer-cum-companion to a quadriplegic young man, she doesn’t know what to expect. Her new employer, Will Traynor, is surly and uncooperative. But gradually Will and Lou start to expand each other’s horizons. So when she discovers he’s had enough of his life she is convinced she can change his mind.
Ghost Town By Michael Clifford
A fast-paced thriller about two sorts of criminal: those who carry out their crimes with guns and those who prefer to do it all on paper. Well-meaning ex-con Joshua Molloy enlists the help of a solicitor, Noelle Diggins, to find his missing son, and both are soon enmeshed in a dangerous world of crime, greed and violence.
Capital By John Lanchester
A Dickensian look at the residents of a London street as the financial bubble bursts. From rich bankers to the struggling immigrants who put parking tickets on their cars, all human life is in this epic story.
Gold By Chris Cleave
An insightful gaze on the world of Olympic-level speed cycling. Gold tells the stories of cyclists Zoe and Kate, friends and rivals. In their struggle to balance their difficult personal and professional lives, he shows the cost of sporting greatness.
The Lifeboat By Charlotte Rogan
After an explosion on a transatlantic liner in 1914, newly-wed Grace Winter is bundled into a crowded lifeboat. A few weeks later she’s on trial for a murder supposedly committed on the boat. From a Boston jail, Grace tells the story not just of her horrific time on the boat but also of the life that led her there.
Heft By Liz Moore
Arthur Opp is a massively overweight former academic who hasn’t left his Brooklyn home in years. Kel Keller is a high-school student with a talent for baseball. The two very different narrators of Moore’s stunning novel are linked by Kel’s troubled mother, Charlene, Arthur’s former student.
Charlotte Street By Danny Wallace
A romantic comedy aimed, unusually, at both men and women. It’s the story of Jason Priestley, who after helping a woman into a cab, finds himself holding her disposable camera. Urged on by his hapless best friend, Dev, he gets the photos developed – and a quest ensues.
Broken Harbour By Tana French
The bodies of a man called Pat Spain and his two children are found in their house in Broken Harbour, a ghost estate in Co Dublin; Spain’s wife, Jenny, has been seriously injured. Det Scorcher Kennedy initially believes that Spain, who has been hit hard by the recession, had tried to kill his entire family, then killed himself – but he soon realises that things don’t quite add up.
The Nameless Dead By Brian McGilloway
The hunt for the body of a supposed IRA informer murdered in the 1970s uncovers the skeleton of a disabled baby instead. The rules of the Commission for Location of Victims’ Remains mean that no prosecutions can result from its findings, so Devlin is forbidden from starting an official investigation. But he knows a murder has been committed, and he’s determined to find out the truth.
Angelmaker By Nick Harkaway
Angelmaker is the dazzling story of Joe Spork, a quiet clockmaker whose father happened to be a master criminal. When Joe is asked to repair a mysterious 1950s doomsday machine, he ends up joining forces with retired superspy Edie Banister. What ensues makes for a witty and wonderfully sprawling fantastical thriller.
A Message to Your Heart By Niamh Greene
Frankie is a workaholic who seems to be more attached to her phone than she is to her family and friends. When Frankie loses her phone on a business trip to San Francisco, she’s distraught. But when she gets a replacement and starts receiving texts for another woman, she doesn’t realise that her life is about to change forever.
Torn By Casey Hill
Dublin-based forensic investigator Reilly Steel on the hunt for a serial killer whose first victims are found buried in sewage, frozen in a bath of ice and strung up in a tree. As Reilly tries to find out what links the murders, her colleague and friend Chris Delaney is struggling with his own demons.
Tell the Wolves I’m Home By Carol Rifka Brunt
Fourteen-year-old June has always been close to her Uncle Finn, a celebrated painter. When he dies of an Aids-related illness in the mid-1980s she is convinced that no one understands her grief – until she meets Finn’s long-time partner, Toby, a man whose existence her family have studiously ignored.
Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn
Nick Duane’s wife, Amy, disappears on the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary. He becomes the chief suspect, especially when Amy’s friends claim she lived in fear of him. But who, and what, can the reader believe?
The Soldier’s Farewell By Alan Monaghan
In the final part of Alan Monaghan’s trilogy, Dubliner Stephen Ryan, who served as an officer in the British army during the first World War, gets embroiled in the political tensions of Ireland in the early 1920s while trying to protect his fiancee from a vicious enemy. As Stephen joins in the Treaty negotiations in London and becomes a part of the new Free State, his brother Joe remains firmly on the other side, and familial and political strife are intertwined in this accomplished novel.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette By Maria Semple
Bernadette Fox has disappeared. The volatile, funny former architect has vanished a few days before a family holiday, and now her teenage daughter, Bee, is determined to find out what happened. Told through emails, notes, letters and reports by everyone from Bernadette’s husband and former colleagues to the other mothers at Bee’s school – her sworn enemies.
Half Sick of Shadows By David Logan
The darkly fantastical and eccentric story of Edward, who grows up in an isolated country house with a very dysfunctional family.
HHhH By Laurent Binet
It was said in the SS that Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich (HHhH), meaning “Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich”. The Heydrich in question was the Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, who became known as the Butcher of Prague. Laurent Binet’s brilliant new book tells the true story of two Czech resistance fighters’ mission to assassinate him in 1942. But how can Binet’s narrator be sure he’s accurately depicting the past? This Is How It Ends By Kathleen MacMahon
In 2008, as financial structures start to crumble, an American former banker called Bruno arrives in Ireland to explore his family tree. There he meets Addie, an unemployed architect, and a romance ensues.
The Art of Fielding By Chad Harbach
A freak accident during a baseball game transforms the lives of five characters, from talented shortstop Henry Skrimshander to college president Guert Affenlight.
Not Quite a Fairy Tale By Cee Liddy
The story of John and Evelyn, two friends who meet at Trinity in the 1980s and become firm friends. Evelyn is the realist who doesn’t believe in fairy tales; John is the starry-eyed romantic. They’re just good friends, and over the years both find love with very different people. Could they be each other’s happy ever after? .
The Age of Miracles By Karen Thompson Warner
What would happen if days started to get longer? Very bad things, if Karen Thompson Warner’s chilling debut novel is to be believed. When the world starts turning more slowly, the longer daylight hours cause an environmental catastrophe as crops fail, animals die and gravity shifts. At first, 11-year-old Julia doesn’t see what the big deal is – is this really the end of the world?
You Are Awful (But I Like You) By Tim Moore
One of Britain’s funniest travel writers sets himself a grim challenge: visiting his native land’s least appealing holiday resorts. Read this hilarious, poignant book while on holiday somewhere that isn’t Skegness – and count your blessings.