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.