Take in the longer evenings by enjoying any of these compelling reads in the sun; spring is here.
THE ALL-NIGHTER READ
Sometimes, even the most brilliant books require work. You have to work to get into the story, to empathise with its characters. That’s why I love reading Lisa McInerney stories – because the reader never has to work, its she who has done all the grafting. It was true of her striking debut, The Glorious Heresies and it’s true again now with her anticipated follow-up, “a sort-of-sequel” The Blood Miracles (John Murray, approx. €14.99, out April 20) – the second of an intended trilogy – which again takes place in Cork and this time centres on ex-con and drug dealer Ryan Cusack. He’s now 21, arrogant and a glorious screw-up but you’ll root for him just the same. Ryan is really not all right with the whole drug-trade thing (even though he says he is) but he can’t break out (despite the pleas of his long-suffering girlfriend Karine); he can’t have his dad thinking he’s a failure. The entire story is exuberant; the colourful characters are so vivid, they jump from the page. It’s witty and even when bleak, utterly real and endearing. And you know what? It’s even better than McInerney’s award-winning debut.
THE DAYTIME READ
Author Laurie Frankel drew on her own personal experiences to write her debut This Is How It Always Is (Headline Review, approx. €15.99, out now) and it makes this already beautiful story all the more tender for it. Rosie and Penn are parents to four rowdy sons; their family is just like any other until Claude, their youngest, quietest boy, declares that when he grows up, he wants to be a girl. This is anything but an ‘issue’ book; it’s a tender tale of how a family tries to change and adapt to ensure their much-loved child moves towards becoming transgender. Even during its sad moments, it remains an enchanting read and refreshingly, it doesn’t attempt to wrap up such a complex theme in a neat bow – it makes a subject, of which many have no real understanding, seem normal. Everyone should read it.
THE BEDSIDE READ
While reading Katie Kitamura’s A Separation (Profile Books, approx. €16, out now), you may think of Gone Girl only this time, the roles are reversed. A husband is missing and it’s his estranged wife that travels to Greece to attempt to locate him, due to the insistence of his overbearing mother. What she doesn’t know is that the unnamed narrator has separated from her husband because she’s discovered, he is a compulsive philanderer, and she has gotten sick of his infidelities. And when he ends up dead – murdered – we never know why he insisted she keep it a secret from everyone. What follows is an intriguing mystery and depiction of what happens when things are left unexamined and unresolved.