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Pachinko Min Jin Lee Apollo £18.99

The set­ting may be light years from Brexit or Don­ald Trump’s Amer­ica, but this beau­ti­fully crafted fam­ily saga, by the best-sell­ing au­thor of Free Food For Mil­lion­aires, feels none­the­less like a fa­ble for our times. It opens at the start of the 20th cen­tury, with a Korean girl called Sunja fall­ing preg­nant and be­ing of­fered the chance to make a new life in Ja­pan by a young Chris­tian min­is­ter. But the im­mi­grant ex­pe­ri­ence is fraught with hard­ship and, as Sunja and her de­scen­dants find, poi­soned by prej­u­dices that take years to dis­si­pate – if they ever do. It is a strong story, de­liv­ered with ex­em­plary sim­plic­ity.

Max David­son

The Good Peo­ple Han­nah Kent Pi­cador £14.99

County Kerry, 1825. Fol­low­ing the sud­den deaths of her hus­band and daugh­ter, Nora Leahy is left to care for her four-year-old grand­son, Michael, a once healthy child now list­less and en­fee­bled, and who she in­creas­ingly be­lieves to be a changeling re­spon­si­ble for a se­ries of un­ex­plained lo­cal events. To cure the boy she seeks the as­sis­tance of the lo­cal healer, with tragic con­se­quences.

In haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful prose, Kent evokes a claus­tro­pho­bic, rain-sod­den val­ley, where poverty is rife and su­per­sti­tion and folk­lore bat­tle with the op­pres­sive dic­tates of the Catholic church. Grip­ping and com­pelling. Si­mon Humphreys

Hame An­nalena McAfee Harvill Secker £16.99

When Mhairi McPhail, a Cana­dian of Scot­tish de­scent, tells friends she’s leav­ing Brook­lyn and a failed re­la­tion­ship to spend two years liv­ing with her nine-year-old daugh­ter on a re­mote Scot­tish isle, they’re baf­fled. It doesn’t help that they pro­nounce He­brides ‘He-brides’ – ‘as if it were a com­mu­nity of trans­gen­dered new­ly­weds’. Rash though it seems, Mhairi has been com­mis­sioned to write a bi­og­ra­phy of Grigor McWatt, an ec­cen­tric Scots poet and Fas­caray res­i­dent.

In­tri­cately spun from Mhairi’s diary, her work-in-progress, and her sub­ject’s own words, this search­ing and elo­quent novel muses on iden­tity, love and be­long­ing. Hephz­ibah An­der­son

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