by Helen Dunmore
Fig Tree ₤17.99

Set against the uprising of the Finns against Russian rule at the start of the 20th century, this is the ninth novel from English novelist Helen Dunmore - who won the first Orange Prize in 1995 with A Spell of Winter. Deeply moving, it tells of the relationship between a young orphaned girl and a widowed doctor, and also examines how large-scale events bear down on individual lives.


by Pierre Merot
translated by Frank Wynne
Canongate ₤9.99 (July 6)

A bitterly funny novel about a dissolute, alcoholic loser who wanders between dead-end jobs and therapists. This is the first of Parisian Merot’s novels to be translated into English.

by Andrew Hussey
Viking ₤25 (July 6)

An enthralling new look at Paris from the perspective of its outcasts - immigrants, sexual outsiders, criminals and revolutionaries. Starting with the origins of the city as the home of the nomadic Parisii tribe and culminating with the riots of disaffected suburban immigrant youth last autumn, it provides a fresh take on the world’s most romanticised city.

by Pierre Magnan
translated by Patricia Clancy
Harvill Secker ₤10.99 (July 6)

The fifth of Magnan’s idiosyncratic crime novels set in the author’s native Provence and featuring his appealing detective, Commissaire Laviolette. It hinges on the bizarre murder of Veronique Champourcieux, whose body is discovered pinned to a piano by a bayonet.

by Martin Gayford
Fig Tree ₤18.99

Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh shared a home in Arles, southern France, for three months in 1888, with explosive results. By the end of their cohabitation van Gogh suffered a psychological crisis and went on to spend the rest of his life in a mental institution. Gauguin fled Arles and never saw his former house-mate again. Art critic Gayford describes their time together and how they exchanged ideas about art - as well as the minutiae of their daily life.


THE SWARM: A Novel of the Deep
by Frank Schatzing
translated by Sally-Ann Spencer
Hodder & Stoughton ₤12.99

Having topped the German bestseller charts for two years, this is a suspense-packed ecological thriller about an escalating series of natural disasters. Two marine biologists develop a theory that the cause lies in the oceans, where an entity known as the Yrr has developed a massive network of single-cell organisms.


by Simon Mawer
Little Brown ₤16.99

English novelist Mawer spent some of his own childhood in Cyprus, as does the central character of this novel, historian Thomas Denham. Denham unearths his dead mother’s photos and papers to discover what she really got up to while living there in the late 1950s, forcing him to rethink his own childhood and history.


by Adrian Goldsworthy
Weidenfeld & Nicolson ₤25

A compelling biography of Julius Caesar, charting his fantastically eventful life from birth into the unexceptional Julii tribe in 100BC to world domination and finally his assassination 55 years later. Goldsworthy tells stories of Caesar’s predilection for bedding other men’s wives, his concerns about hair-loss and his laughter at his own army’s rude songs about him.

by Niccolo Ammaniti
translated by Jonathan Hunt
Canongate ₤12.99

Another powerful story about the loss of childhood innocence in small-town Italy from Rome-born author Ammaniti - who wrote the highly acclaimed I’m Not Scared. The action focuses on 11-year-old Pietro, who is forced into committing crimes and seeks a terrible revenge when his pleas to adults for help are ignored.


by Dag Solstad
translated by Sverre Lyngstad
Harvill Secker ₤12.99

Solstad is Norway’s leading contemporary author and the only writer to have received the Norwegian Literary Critics’ Award three times. A darkly Scandinavian take on the mid-life crisis, it is the story of an Ibsen scholar who feels the world no longer values or recognises him and he is forced to reassess his work, his marriage and his values.


by Almudena Grandes
translated by Sonia Soto
Weidenfeld and Nicolson ₤12.99 (July 13)

Grandes is one of Spain’s most popular contemporary authors and this is her second novel to be translated into English - the first being The Age of Lulus, the story of a young woman’s quest for sexual experimentation. More Iberian ardour this time round, focusing on the high passions an easterly wind provokes in the inhabitants of a small coastal town.

by Giles Tremlett
Faber ₤16.99

There are an estimated 30,000 bodies in unmarked mass graves around Spain - said to be victims of dictator General Franco’s repression after winning the civil war in the late 1930s - yet it is only recently that some of them have been excavated. Tremlett takes this literal digging up of history as the starting point for an intriguing collection of essays on how, after decades of collective silence, Spaniards are beginning to analyse their recent fascist past.

by Albert Sanchez Pinol
translated by Cheryl Leah Morgan
Canongate ₤9.99

A creepily compelling debut from this Barcelona-based author that reads like a sinister version of a Boy’s Own survival adventure. A man posted as a weather observer to an island near Antarctica meets a deranged castaway who refuses to talk about a horror he has witnessed.

by Alan Warner
Jonathan Cape ₤11.99

For the first time Scottish writer Warner has moved away from the darkly brooding landscape of his homeland to the unremitting sunshine of southern Spain. Set against a backdrop of the urbanisation of the Spanish coast from the 1970s through to the present day, this is the darkly funny and vividly imaginative story of a middle-aged playboy’s life told through his sexual encounters.

Eastern Europe

by Andrei Makine
translated by Geoffrey Strachan
Sceptre ₤12.99

Although Makine has lived in France since 1987, where he is a prized member of the literary establishment, this is a tale set in a remote hinterland of his native Russia. It is the mesmerising story of a young writer who becomes obsessed with an older woman who has waited decades for her lover to return from the second world war.

BEHIND THE CURTAIN: Travels in Eastern European Football
by Jonathan Wilson
Orion ₤16.99

Sports writer Wilson travelled to football matches from Armenia to Zagreb while working as eastern European football correspondent for the Financial Times. He developed a passion for teams with names such as KSZO Ostrowiec or players such as Dzelaludin Muharemovic, out of which arose this book - charting the region’s change from communism to capitalism through football.

CATHERINE THE GREAT: Love, Sex and Power
by Virginia Rounding
Hutchinson ₤20

Sexually voracious, head-strong, hard-working and intellectual, Empress Catherine II of Russia was everything an 18th-century woman ought not to be. Yet as an absolute ruler - albeit one who came to power after turning a blind eye to her husband’s murder - she did as she pleased, to the general scandal of both her court and the wider world. This rollicking biography does ample justice to her hugely energetic character.

by Ismail Kadare
translated by David Bellos
Canongate ₤9.99

Winner of the inaugural Man Booker International Prize, Kadare is much lauded for his ability to blend his native Albania’s folklore and contemporary history with universal themes. His latest novel is based on real-life events surrounding the sudden death of Mehmet Shehu, the man selected to succeed hated Albanian despot Enver Hoxha.


JOHN OSBORNE: A Patriot for Us
by John Heilpern
Chatto & Windus ₤25

The life of the playwright who wrote Look Back in Anger was far more dramatic than anything he ever wrote about. Osborne hated his mother, cut off his teenage daughter and openly rejoiced when his fourth wife, Jill Bennett, killed herself. This is an eyebrow-raising biography of the angriest man in English theatre.

by Diane Purkiss
Harper Collins ₤25

A richly detailed history of how English people went about their daily lives during the cataclysmic years from 1640 to 1649. Superbly researched and including a particularly interesting chapter on the food and cookery writers of the era, this book vigorously brings the horror and humanity of the conflict to life.

by David Mitchell
Sceptre ₤16.99

The master of metafiction and multiple narrative does something entirely different with his fourth novel: he writes a straight-forward, single story set in one location. Purportedly semi-autobiographical and packed full of nostalgic references, it is narrated by Jason Taylor, a stammering, nuclear-war-fearing, poetry-writing 13-year-old in the 1980s.


BECKETT REMEMBERING: Remembering Beckett
edited by James and Elizabeth Knowlson
Bloomsbury ₤20

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Beckett - the hugely influential and notoriously reclusive Irish dramatist, novelist and poet - this is a previously unpublished collection of intimate interviews with him conducted by his biographer, James Knowlson. It also contains articles from contemporary writers, including J.M. Coetzee and Paul Auster, about the impact of the great absurdist’s unremittingly bleak but ground-breaking work.

Northern Ireland

MEN THAT GOD MADE MAD: A Journey Through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland
by Derek Lundy
Jonathan Cape ₤18.99

Born in Belfast but brought up in Canada, Lundy lucidly and with an even hand revises Northern Irish history and reveals the mythologies and lies that have inspired people to kill each other for decades. This revision is all the more fascinating considering the author is a descendant of Robert Lundy, the Protestant governor of Londonderry who sought peace with the Catholics during the 1689 siege of his city and whose effigy has since been burnt in Northern Ireland every year.

by Bernard MacLaverty
Jonathan Cape ₤14.99

A beautifully written and engrossing short-story collection from the Belfast-born MacLaverty on the theme of how people live with death. A few deal with his homeland’s sectarian troubles, but others focus on glimpses of mortality in daily living - such as the wonderful “The Clinic”, in which a middle-aged man is undergoing tests for diabetes.

by Seamus Heaney
Faber ₤12.99

This collection might be named after London Tube lines, but Nobel laureate poet Heaney is as Irish as they come. That being said, these new poems take on wider, global themes than Heaney has written about to date - primarily the ever-increasing violence of the age.


by James Robertson
Hamish Hamilton ₤17.99

This is the third novel from Robertson, who became the first writer-in-residence at the Scottish Parliament in 2004 and won both the Saltire Book of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year for his last novel, Joseph Knight. The story of a Presbyterian minister who comes back from a near-death experience claiming that he has met the devil, this is both a hugely gripping tale and a fascinating examination of the difference between faith and belief.


IF LOVE WERE ALL: The Story of Frances Stevenson and David Lloyd George
by John Campbell
Jonathan Cape ₤25

Showing that John Prescott’s behaviour is nothing new, this is an intriguing study of the relationship between Welsh prime minister Lloyd George and Stevenson, his secretary and a woman more than 20 years his junior. Their secret relationship started before the first world war and lasted 30 years, until his wife’s death meant that he could finally marry her.


by Segun Afolabi
Jonathan Cape ₤11.99

Nigerian-born Afolabi’s debut short story collection gives voices to a series of immigrants marooned in cultures and worlds they do not understand or recognise. Particularly moving is “Monday Morning”, which won the 2005 Caine Prize for African writing and concerns an asylum-seeking family in a London hostel.

AN ORDINARY MAN: The True Story Behind Hotel Rwanda
by Paul Rusesabagina
Bloomsbury ₤16.99

Rusesabagina managed to save 1,268 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the Rwandan genocide, before escaping to Belgium to work as a taxi driver. His amazing story was made into the film Hotel Rwanda, but this new autobiography offers much more of his inner life than the film - and he also attempts to put the horrific events into a historical context, comparing them with other genocides and trying to fathom what makes an entire nation go insane.

by Patricia Schonstein
Bantam Press ₤15

Zimbabwean writer Schonstein - author of The Apothecary’s Daughter - explores the unrest in South Africa in the 1990s through a relationship between an alcoholic white man and the young daughter of a black activist. A bittersweet novel.

by Henning Mankell
Harvill Secker ₤12.99

Renowned Swedish crime writer Mankell takes a break from his detective novel norm to write a magic realist African fable - the brutally short life story of street urchin Nelio, which he tells as he lies dying.

by Marilyn Heward Mills
Time Warner ₤14.99 (July 12)

Due out next month, this is a promising debut novel from Heward Mills - who was brought up in Ghana - concerning the entwined lives of two very different women in Ghana in the 1940s. Matilda Quartey is a 14-year-old forced to become the second wife of a powerful lawyer, while alcoholic and miserable Audrey Turton is the wife of the new aide-de-camp to the governor of the then British colony.

by Kunal Basu
Weidenfeld & Nicolson ₤12.99

Basu moves away from his native India to set his third novel in Africa. Set on the beautiful but barren island of Arlinda, it tells of a cruel experiment dreamt up by two Victorian scientists intent on establishing the biological supremacy of the Caucasian over the black race by raising one white and one black baby. It does not quite live up to the promise of the author’s previous novels - The Opium Clerk and The Miniaturist - but is imaginative and intriguing all the same.

by Hisham Matar
Viking ₤12.99 (July 6)

Due out next month, this is a semi-autobiographical novel from new Libyan writer Matar, set in Colonel Gaddafi’s Tripoli during the late 1970s. It is written from the perspective of a nine-year-old boy trying to make sense of his father’s disappearance and the growing atmosphere of suppressed hysteria that is overwhelming his family and friends.

Middle East

CITY OF ORANGES: Arabs and Jews in Jaffa
by Adam LeBor
Bloomsbury ₤18.99

This is the engrossing history of six actual families - three Arab and three Jewish - living in the ancient Mediterranean port of Jaffa, now a suburb of Tel Aviv. Journalist Le Bor uses the deeply moving experiences of individuals as a lens through which to explore the complex history of Israel and Palestine in the 20th century.

by Jason Elliot
Picador ₤16.99

Shattering every western stereotype about Iran, this is an enchanting blend of travel anecdote and history. Avoiding political commentary, it creates a vividly humorous and beguiling portrait of this much demonised nation.

THE MESSIAH MYTH: The Near Eastern Roots
of Jesus and David
by Thomas L. Thompson
Jonathan Cape ₤25 (July 13)

As the Western world descends into a Da Vinci Code-inspired frenzy over the idea of Jesus procreating with Mary Magdalene, biblical scholar Thompson argues against the notion of a historical Christ of any kind, maintaining the supposed son of God was only ever a mythical figure.

PALESTINE: A Personal History
by Karl Sabbagh
Atlantic ₤17.99

Born to a British mother and Palestinian father, Sabbagh traces his family history in an attempt to understand his own and his country’s turbulent past.


by Hamid Ismailov
translated by Robert Chandler
Jonathan Cape ₤12.99

A wonderfully engaging novel about an array of multi-ethnic characters living in the railway town of Gilas, in Uzbekistan, between 1900 and 1980. Ismailov is an Uzbek writer exiled from his homeland in 1992 because of his democratic political beliefs and he is now head of the BBC’s Central Asian service.


The Strange Rise of Modern India
by Edward Luce
Little Brown ₤20 (August 3)

It is estimated that by 2010 India will have the world’s third-largest economy and yet it has more than 300 million people living in absolute poverty. Financial Times journalist Luce skilfully analyses the bundle of contradictions surrounding the subcontinent’s rise to superpower status.

by Kiran Desai
Hamish Hamilton ₤12.99 (August 31)

A stunning, complex novel - due out at the end of August - about the experience of Indian immigrants in both Britain and the US. It focuses on an old judge retiring to his home in the Himalayas and offers a less optimistic vision of multi-culturalism than popular writers on the subject, such as Zadie Smith and Monica Ali.

by Manju Kapur
Faber ₤10.99

An entertaining slice of middle- class Delhi domesticity from the author of Difficult Daughters, Kapur’s latest novel focuses on three generations of the same family and examines the Indian preoccupation with children and heirs; daughter and mother-in-law relationships; cross-caste love affairs; arranged marriages and even sexual abuse.


by Sun Shuyun
Fourth Estate ₤20

In 1934-35 the fledgling Chinese communist army walked more than 6,000 miles in retreat from the nationalist armies. Eventually inspiring the civil war that put Mao in power, the Long March is the founding myth of communist China. Historian Sun Shuyun has interviewed the few remaining survivors and documents the horrific reality of the two-year ordeal in this new history, with emphasis on the appalling experiences of women and children.

by Yiyun Li
Fourth Estate ₤14.99

Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing but emigrated to the US in 1996. This short story collection - providing a poignant glimpse into people’s lives in post-Marxist China - won the prestigious Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award last autumn.

by Alice Greenway
Atlantic ₤10.99

On this year’s Orange Prize long list and brimming with the heat and colour of 1960s Hong Kong, this is an evocative debut novel about two very different sisters growing up under the threat from nearby communist China and the looming spectre of the war in Vietnam.

by James Kynge
Weidenfeld & Nicolson ₤18.99

Beijing-based business journalist Kynge, formerly of the Financial Times, has written an in-depth study of China’s recent, rapid economic growth, and analyses the implications of this on the balance of world power and the global environment.


by Taichi Yamada
translated by Michael Emmerich
Faber ₤9.99

An unsettling but exquisitely ethereal novel from the author of Strangers, this is the tale of an immigration officer in Tokyo who hears a disembodied female voice and sets off in search of the woman behind it.

by Alan Spence
Canongate ₤12.99 (August 24)

This novel is based on the fascinating real life story of Thomas Blake Glover - the so-called “Scottish Samurai”. Edinburgh writer Spence, whose accolades include Scottish Writer of the Year in 1995, tells how in 1858 Glover left Aberdeenshire for Nagasaki, where he went on to build a business empire and become a key figure in Japan’s industrialisation.


by Peter Carey
Faber ₤16.99

The latest novel from Carey, who has won the Booker Prize twice, is the tale of two brothers: artist Michael “Butcher” Boone and his 220lb, learning-disabled brother, Hugh. Carey weaves a wonderful tale of love, art and criminality in New South Wales - alternating the first person narrative between Michael and the strikingly original voice of his idiot-savant sibling.

by Kate Grenville
Canongate ₤12.99

Winner of the 2001 Orange Prize for Fiction with The Idea of Perfection, Grenville’s latest, beautifully written novel concerns William Thornhill, a 19th- century convict from London deported to Australia, where he staked a claim on ancient Aboriginal lands - with tragic consequences.

North America

by John Updike
Hamish Hamilton ₤17.99 (August 3)

The 22nd novel from one of America’s most famous writers is bravely written from the perspective of an 18-year-old Islamic militant in New Jersey, who is persuaded by a Yemeni imam to undertake a suicide attack on New York’s Lincoln Tunnel.

by John Haskell
Canongate ₤9.99

A remarkable collection of short stories from the author of American Purgatorio, examining the relationship between art and reality and featuring a mind-boggling cast of characters, including Orson Welles, Joan of Arc, John Keats and Janet Leigh.

by Ron Powers
Simon and Schuster ₤25

An immensely readable biography of America’s most famous writer, charting his extremely colourful life from his boyhood in frontier Missouri in the 1840s through to his death in 1910. It also adeptly places Twain in his historical context - providing interesting insights into 19th and early 20th-century America.

by Douglas Coupland
Bloomsbury ₤12.99

Ever since his era-defining debut, Generation X, in 1991, Coupland has been synonymous with amoral, aimless young drifters subsumed by the mindless excesses of American capitalism. True to form, JPod focuses on a group of PlayStation game developers in Vancouver who talk aimlessly about which day of the week is the best, Ronald McDonald’s sexuality and breakfast cereals.

THE UNKNOWN AMERICAN REVOLUTION: The Unruly Birth of Democracy and the Struggle to Create America
by Gary B. Nash
Jonathan Cape ₤25

History professor Nash paints a much bloodier and more brutal portrait of America’s liberation from the British than patriotic US stereotypes normally allow. Of particular interest are the sections dealing with Native Americans allying with the British.

by TC Boyle
Bloomsbury ₤10.99

Best-selling Californian author and winner of the prestigious PEN/Faulkner Award in 1988 for his third novel, World’s End, TC Boyle’s darkly funny new short-story collection concerns characters drawn to extremes. These include a man who shares his flat with a wild cat; a suburban woman who joins a pack of wild dogs and an ornithologist who is blown out to sea by a freak gale.

by James Lee Burke
Orion ₤12.99 (July 20)

Another instalment in the popular Detective Dave Robicheaux series from this celebrated crime writer and chronicler of misfits living in a jaded, booze-soaked Louisiana underworld. This time Robicheaux - who constantly battles with alcoholism - is haunted by his failed, drunken attempt to prevent the murder of a friend.


by Robert Antoni
Faber ₤10.99

Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Best Book award, this novel charts the return of three Trinidadian expats for the island’s annual carnival - which they discover has degenerated into a debauched drunken party, with racial tension and violence simmering just below the surface. A sharp contrast to idyllic palm-tree-and-rum stereotypes of the Caribbean and a challenging examination of the nature of identity and belonging.

by Jose Latour
Orion ₤10.99

Hailed as the master of Cuban noir, Havana-based Latour took great personal risks by writing his last novel Outcast, which was a stark depiction of life under Castro. He continues to defy Castro’s government with his latest novel - an exhilarating espionage tale that follows the fortunes of a spymaster who tries to defect to the US.

Central and South America

by Tomas Eloy Martinez
translated by Anne McLean
Bloomsbury ₤12.99

Argentinean Martinez is considered to be one of Latin America’s finest living writers - he was nominated for the 2005 inaugural Man Booker International Prize. This is the beautifully atmospheric story of a search for a crippled, haemophiliac singer whose voice is so beautiful it makes people cry; it is also a homage to the city of Buenos Aires.

by Paulo Lins
Bloomsbury ₤8.99

Published for the first time in English, this is the original novel on which the 2002 Oscar-nominated film of the same name is based. Awash with violence, guns and drugs it depicts gang life in Rio de Janeiro’s most notorious slum during the 1970s and 1980s.


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