©James Albon

‘Cockfosters’, by Helen Simpson

The author’s stories are building into a multi-generational chronicle of contemporary women’s experiences. Review by Rebecca Abrams

‘High Dive’, by Jonathan Lee

A fictionalised account of an IRA bomber and his victims is a study in empathy. Review by Luke Brown

©Adam Hancher

‘Number 11’, by Jonathan Coe

Literary prizes and Kensington basement extensions are among the targets of Jonathan Coe’s assured satire of austerity Britain. Review by Suzi Feay

‘The Life-Writer’ and ‘In Another Country: Selected Stories’

A master of the short story explores grief, loss and the shifting past in his second novel. Review by Natalie Whittle

‘Golden Age’, by Jane Smiley

The conclusion of an epic American trilogy is most insightful in its quietest moments. Review by Jonathan Lee

'Where My Heart Used to Beat', by Sebastian Faulks

‘Where My Heart Used to Beat’, by Sebastian Faulks

The novelist channels himself in this tale of a psychiatrist confronting his past. By Michael Prodger

©Dan Mitchell

‘The Penguin Book of the British Short Story’, edited by Philip Hensher

An idiosyncratic anthology showcases a rich short-story tradition. Review by Michèle Roberts

‘Public Library and Other Stories’, by Ali Smith

This story collection quietly lambasts the policymakers closing public libraries. Review by Francesca Wade

‘Dark Corners’, by Ruth Rendell

A moment’s thoughtlessness has lethal repercussions in the author’s final novel. Review by Barry Forshaw

©Shonagh Rae

‘Beatlebone’, by Kevin Barry

An unsettling story of a tormented John Lennon seeking refuge on the Irish coast. Review by Luke Brown