This week’s top fiction includes everything from Mario Vargas Llosa’s political thriller, to Peaces By Helen Oyeyemi which is an addictive sequel to Dave Eggers’ latest and Chris Offutt’s latest.

Harsh Times

Mario Vargas Llosa                                                                                         Faber £20 

1954: The CIA intervened at Guatemala’s request to topple a democratically elected president whose reforms threatened United Fruit Company, which was owned by the United States.

The 85-year-old Peruvian Nobel Laureate has crafted an engrossing political thriller, a condemnation of Uncle Sam’s iniquitous involvement in Central America and beyond. 

Simon Humphreys

The Peace of Mind

Helen Oyeyemi                                                                                            Faber £14.99

Oyeyemi’s inventive tales travel to unusual places, and it’s true here as lovers Otto (a hypnotist) and Xavier (a ghost writer) board a mysterious train on their ‘non-honeymoon honeymoon’. 

As the intriguing duo meet other passengers, it emerges that they’re all entangled with an elusive, chameleon-like character. A gorgeous, bamboozling novel. 

Eithne Farry 



Dave Eggers                                                                        Hamish Hamilton £12.99

The sinister corporation at the centre of Eggers’s novel The Circle has rebranded itself in this bumpy but addictive follow-up. Delaney, thirty-something, is determined to destroy the corporation’s control.

It’s not always subtle, but the plot is prescient and spookily plausible, and Eggers is always entertainingly spot-on in his targets. 

Hephzibah Anderson 

The Killing Hills

Chris Offutt                                                                                                   No Exit £9.99

Mick Hardin is a former military officer who has just returned from Iraq with the hope of saving his failed marriage. He may not be able to do that, but he is able to handle a case of murder when it comes up. 

This is the hard part. Stopping this killing from turning into a deadly blood feud. In this thrilling thriller, Offutt vividly brings to life the Appalachian mountains. 

John Williams