Overcoming Adversity: Writing the Resistance
When the future seems uncertain and life feels out of control, writers take to the page to comprehend the current moment and imagine a brighter, less divisive society. Tackling race, relationships and even the end of the world, here are six new and upcoming releases that we cannot wait to read…
Betty by Tiffany McDaniel 20 August, Orion
This powerfully moving coming-of-age story set in the foothills of the Ohio Appalachians tells the tale of a young girl and the heart-breaking family truths that change the course of her life forever. We are taken on a journey through the trials and tribulations that Betty must face, and the resilience she builds against the harsh realities of haunting family secrets, racism and womanhood. The power of storytelling and the magical escape that it offers Betty, allowing her to survive under such difficult and painful circumstances, is at the heart of McDaniel’s novel. This is a brutal portrayal of how the stories we create can offer us the courage to find the light even in the darkest of times.
Here Is the Beehive by Sarah Crossan 20 August, Bloomsbury
This is the latest release from award-winning author Sarah Crossan, a novel written in lyrical and heart-wrenching prose. Ana and Conor have been having an affair for the last three years; stolen moments in hotel rooms, secretive coffee shop meetings and deleting texts has become their norm. Then the worst happens, and Ana is left to grieve alone. They kept their love a secret, forcing Ana to turn to an unlikely companion: Conor’s wife, Rebecca. As the pair grow closer, Ana is forced to re-examine everything she knows about love, loss and desire. In Sarah Crossan’s powerful and captivating adult debut, she explores what it means to lose something that nobody knew was yours.
A House Is a Body: Stories by Shruti Swamy 1 September, Algonquin Books
Shruti Swamy’s A House Is a Body is a ground-breaking debut collection of short stories that travels across two continents to show how joy and pleasure can be found in the most unexpected moments. Stories such as ‘Earthly Pleasures’, ‘A Simple Composition’ and ‘A House Is a Body’ are filled with mystery, intrigue and desire, and show how various people overcome struggle and loneliness and persevere through the toughest of circumstances. This is a beautiful and thrilling collection that takes the reader from India to America and back again to give a broader insight into different cultures, and how different people react to hardship and uncertainty.
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam 1 September, HarperCollins
Punching the Air is potentially the most powerful collaboration of the year. Those who know about the exonerated Central Park Five may already recognise Yusef Salaam’s name and the life that he has lived. In partnership with the New York Times bestselling author, Ibi Zoboi, the pair have produced a compelling novel in verse about wrongfully convicted sixteen-year-old Amal. The life of the gifted young artist and poet forcefully changes overnight when a confrontation in a park leaves a white child in a coma, and Amal and his four friends accused of crimes that they did not commit. Zoboi and Salaam’s fictional tale addresses some unpleasant truths that are all too common in society.
Afterland by Lauren Beukes 3 September, Penguin
Daring and imaginative, Lauren Beukes’ ground-breaking new thriller, Afterland, is utterly compulsive. After a virus wipes out 99% of the total male population on Earth, a mother, Cole, and her son, Miles, are forced to go on the run. As men become highly sought after, Cole must overcome a staggering number of obstacles and barriers in order to keep Miles safe. With only each other left in this frightening new world, the pair must navigate an unimaginable and hostile land in order to reach the goal of freedom, which may not even exist. Balancing an exploration of crucial themes, such as gender politics, with thrilling action, this pandemic-based novel feels disturbingly close to home in these uncertain times.
Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine 8 September, Allen Lane
From the bestselling author of Citizen comes another genre-defying interrogation of the racial divide in America. Through a series of conversations and confrontations with friends, colleagues and strangers, Claudia Rankine tackles ‘white privilege’ versus ‘white living’, anti-Latinx racism and even the cultural implications of dyeing your hair blonde. Taking place at dinner parties and in airports and schools, each discussion purposefully disrupts the false sense of comfort that these supposedly ‘neutral’ spaces provide us, revealing them instead to be sites of political contestation. Placing the thoughts of those around her in dialogue with images, poetry and academic research, Rankine asks us, in her most intimate and vulnerable work yet, to “lean forward, to hear, to respond”.