INSATIABLE by Daisy Buchanan (Sphere £12.99, 352 pp)
by Daisy Buchanan (Sphere £12.99, 352 pp)
I raced through this funny, filthy and utterly compelling debut about female sexuality, ambition and vulnerability.
Protagonist Violet is unhappy at work, unhappy being single and seriously unhappy about being estranged from her long-time best friend. She doesn’t fit into the glossy art world she is desperate to belong to, convinced she doesn’t have the right clothes, background or conversation.
Then she meets chic, confident and endlessly charming power couple Lottie and Simon, who offer her a job at their glamorous start-up. And soon Violet is invited to join in their regular weekend sex parties.
The more Violet is included in Lottie and Simon’s lives, the more they make her feel special, the less sure of herself she feels, but pushes her scepticism down while their manipulation increases. I’m still thinking about it long after turning the final page.
NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THIS
by Patricia Lockwood (Bloomsbury Circus £14.99, 224 pp)
The author is an acclaimed American poet, born in a trailer in Indiana — this is her first novel but it’s so accomplished I found that hard to believe.
It’s also entirely unique, if not totally weird — I’m sure some readers won’t like the genre-defying fragments and social media-style short observations but I was hooked straight away.
The protagonist is a woman whose internet posts have gone viral and who now tours the world giving talks to large audiences of Twitter obsessives.
The internet is called ‘the portal’, a place where every user starts off sounding like themselves but ends up being homogenised until everyone sounds like each other.
Users are so terrified of holding the wrong opinion and being cancelled that they can’t trust their own thoughts without fact-checking them against the ever-changing crowd-sanctioned opinions. In the second half, a family tragedy splits this fake existence in two. An intellectual and emotional rollercoaster.
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING by Helen McGinn (Boldwood £8.99, 264 pp)
THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
by Helen McGinn (Boldwood £8.99, 264 pp)
This beautifully written novel is about love, family, secrets and following your dreams. It’s stuffed full of appealing characters and, especially delightful when we’re all grounded, a lot of the action takes place in Rome, which McGinn describes so vividly it’s the next best thing to a real-life trip.
Annie and her sister Jess are used to their mother Julia making off-piste moves —indeed, she’s already been married three times. When Julia announces that she’s flying to Rome to meet the man she says was her first love (after not seeing him for 50 years), the girls see only pitfalls ahead so follow her there on an undercover mission. Escapist, warm, witty and wise.
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