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FIC­TION TWO STEPS FOR­WARD by Graeme Sim­sion and Anne Buist, Two Roads, £12.99 (ebook £9.99) ★★★★★ THE Rosie Project au­thor Graeme Sim­sion has teamed up with his wife, Anne Buist, for this charm­ing novel about two very dif­fer­ent peo­ple who keep bump­ing into each other on the Camino de San­ti­ago pil­grim­age trail.

Newly wi­d­owed Amer­i­can artist Zoe and di­vorced York­shire en­gi­neer Mar­tin can’t stand each other when they meet at the start of their walk in France, but over the course of 2,000 kilo­me­tres and var­i­ous ro­man­tic en­tan­gle­ments, they dis­cover new sides of each other – and them­selves.

There may be a few too many sim­plis­tic wis­doms and pre­dictable epipha­nies, but Sim­sion and Buist’s de­tailed knowl­edge of the Camino (they have walked it twice) and the large cast of quirky char­ac­ters, make this an au­then­tic and di­vert­ing read that will make you want to put on your walk­ing boots and book a one-way ticket to south­ern France.

PA­TIENT X: THE CASE-BOOK OF RYUNOSUKE AKU­TA­GAWA by David Peace, Faber & Faber, £14.99 (ebook £8.99) ★★★★★ WHEN York­shire-born David Peace re­turned home county af­ter 17 years in Tokyo, he did not hang around for long. Best known as the au­thor of The Damned Utd, which fever­ishly charts the late Brian Clough’s tor­mented ten­ure at Leeds United

in 1974, Peace’s most pas­sion­ate works be­tray his deeper love for Japan.

Pa­tient X – a dark imag­in­ing of the strange, short life of writer Ryunosuke Aku­ta­gawa – com­pletes his Tokyo Tril­ogy. Aku­ta­gawa, af­ter whom Japan’s lead­ing lit­er­ary award is named, lived a let­tered life that fea­tured much fraught for­eign travel be­fore he died trag­i­cally aged just 35.

Peace presents Aku­ta­gawa’s jour­ney in a sur­real, haunt­ing style, de­liv­er­ing a novel that is a re­veal­ing ex­am­i­na­tion of a lit­tle ex­plored time and place.


THE FEATHER THIEF by Kirk Wal­lace John­son, Hutchin­son, £20 (ebook £9.99). Avail­able April 26 ★★★★★ KIRK WAL­LACE JOHN­SON was fly-fish­ing in New Mex­ico when he heard of Ed­win Rist –The Feather Thief – a US clas­si­cal mu­si­cian and part of an ob­ses­sive com­mu­nity who make the flies that lure fish to the lines of such fish­er­men.

These of­ten call for rare feath­ers, which led Rist to break into a Bri­tish mu­seum and stuff a suit­case with bird spec­i­mens. Rist went to court but es­caped jail af­ter an as­perg­ers’ di­ag­no­sis.

Po­lice have yet to find ev­ery­thing he took and John­son takes us with him on a quest across the world to find the cache. You’ll be ea­ger to know what hap­pens next, es­pe­cially as it be­gins to look like he might even meet the mys­te­ri­ous Ed­win.

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