THE LOVE SONGS OF W.E.B.Du BOIS by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers (£20, 4th Estate, 816pp)

W.E.B.Du BOIS’ LOVE SONGS Honoree Fanonne Jeffers (£20, 4th Estate, 816pp)


by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers (£20, 4th Estate, 816pp) 

At this exceptional novel’s heart is Ailey Paul Garfield, from childhood to adulthood, weaving in and out of the narrative that details her family’s history from its beginnings in the American South.

In Chicasetta, Georgia, they experienced deprivation, abuse and slavery but found a way to survive via the women in the family, Ailey’s forebears.

They trace the history of black America from slavery through the Civil War to today. An award-winning poet, Jeffers has conjured up a sweeping epic that’s humane and thought-provoking.

It is thoughtful and well thought out. Outstanding.  

ABUNDANCE by Jakob Guanzon (£14.99 Graywolf Press, 288pp)

A BUNDANCE By Jakob Guanzon (£14.99 Graywolf Press, 288pp)


by Jakob Guanzon (£14.99 Graywolf Press, 288pp) 

Henry is a distraught father who lives in the Midwest with his son and his F-250 truck.

The novel opens on Junior’s birthday, the day before an all-important interview for Henry which could land him a job and get him out of this rut.

However, in the 24-hours leading to his victory, accident and illness hampered him from achieving it. This story is interwoven into the past. It tells the story about Henry and Junior’s relationship: their marriage, how he met a drug-dealer who landed him in prison, his rehabilitation and the end result of his marriage.

Every chapter begins with Henry’s current amount of money. These only add immediacy to Guanzon’s devastating portrayal of Henry’s hard-scrabble life and desperate love for his son. 


TIDES by Sara Freeman (£12.99 Granta, 256pp)

TIDES Sara Freeman (£12.99 Granta, 256pp)

by Sara Freeman (£12.99 Granta, 256pp)  

Mara is unable to tolerate her relationships after the death of her child.

In summer, she runs to the seaside, full of tourists. She gets an internship in a wine shop, and then secretly sleeps in the cellar.

Simon, the owner is also grieving over his divorce from Mara and their children. He and Mara slowly warm to each other — and Mara begins to heal. Tides’ fragmented chapters gleam like pearls strung on a powerful narrative of grief and survival, some only a line or so long, a page given to each.

As the novel progresses, Mara’s back story is revealed, showing how much the past is bound up in her present. Beautifully written, this is the story of Mara learning how to live again.

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