The Alternatives by Caoilinn Hughes

“Olwen Flattery, eldest of four accomplished orphans and professor of geology, finishes her day’s lecture, has dinner with her husband, then cycles off into the night, leaving her whole life behind. As her semi-estranged sisters descend on County Leitrim to search for her, their reunion unearths the bones of their shared past. Hughes’ writing is terrific here – full of warmth, immaculate characterisation, and world-class wit. The Alternatives deals with ideas of hopelessness in a world on fire, the intricate (and messy) bonds of sisters, and the unknowability of others, even those closest to us.” – Rohan.

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Woodworm by Layla Martinez

“Set in a poverty-stricken part of rural Spain a grandmother and her granddaughter are trapped inside a house that won’t let them leave. Through alternating perspectives, we get drawn into a dark web of conflicting truths – from tales of longstanding curses, family feuds, visitations from saints and an abusive patriarch buried inside the walls of the house. This deliciously eerie horror novel, drenched in intergenerational trauma and feminist rage, couldn’t be more perfect for fans of Mariana Enriquez and Shirley Jackson. I can’t wait to read what Layla Martinez writes next!” – Emma.

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Cinema Love by Jiaming Tang

“In rural China, there was once a cinema where war films played on a loop while illicit love found dark corners to bloom. The Workers’ Cinema represented a refuge for gay men like Old Second and Shun-Er, until its brutal demolishing by officials. Decades later, lives have been built far from home on precarious histories and scraps of affection, and two women connected by a torn-down cinema will find each other in contemporary New York City to purge themselves of the past.

This is an assured debut where four central characters dance around the fringes of each other’s stories, moving between China and America, regret and longing. It’s a saga of tenacious individuals not afraid of the daily factory grind or the cockroach in the corner of the room; not so much a rose-tinted love story or ode to making it in America, more an affirmation that everyone needs someone at the end of the day, history be damned. Perfect for fans of Han Kang and Bryan Washington.” – Laura

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