THE LOUDEST SOUND AND NOTHING Clare Wigfall Faber & Faber, £12.99
An unsettling yet compelling collection of short stories that is both haunting and undeniably different. For all their variety, all the characters in Wigfall’s stories are searching for something missing. As they go through their seemingly ordinary lives, there is always a dark undercurrent to their story, showing up just how complex and flawed they are. In one story a university professor turns up at the door of a fortune-teller without realising the effects she will have on the outcome of his life, while in another, a woman overhears the worst thing a mother can do as she sips a Coca-Cola in a small Andalucian village bar. A fine debut.