LAT­EST TI­TLES

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LOST AND WANTED by Nell Freuden­berger, Penguin, £14.99 (ebook £9.99) ★★★★★

THE­O­RET­I­CAL physi­cist He­len Clapp’s best friend Char­lie has just died, and her grief is sharp­ened by guilt over their re­cent lack of con­tact.

When she re­ceives calls and texts from Char­lie’s phone num­ber she as­sumes the de­vice has been stolen. But when the mes­sages get in­creas­ingly per­sonal, He­len’s cer­tainty that there is no af­ter­life be­gins to weaken. Nell Freuden­berger’s fourth novel is no spooky ghost story: It’s an el­e­gant study on the im­pact of loss and mourn­ing, com­plex fam­ily re­la­tion­ships, prej­u­dice and power. It’s fan­tas­tic: Freuden­berger is at the top of her game.

THE BOOK OF SCI­ENCE AND ANTIQUITIE­S by Thomas Ke­neally, Scep­tre, £20 (ebook £9.99) ★★★★ ★

THIS is a fas­ci­nat­ing two-han­der told from the per­spec­tives of two age­ing men sep­a­rated by 40,000 years. Shelby Ap­ple is a present-day film­maker. He is fas­ci­nated by the dis­cov­ery of the re­mains of a 40,000 year old hu­man, dubbed Learned Man, on the now-dry bed of Lake Learned in New South Wales. But Learned Man isn’t just an arte­fact and so we en­ter also the con­scious­ness of Shade, who lives by the boun­ti­ful lake.

SALT SLOW by Ju­lia Arm­field, Pi­cador, £12.99 (ebook £7.99) ★★★ ★★

A SCHOOL­GIRL lit­er­ally bug­ging out at a teenage party, a Franken­stein mashup with the pizza de­liv­ery guy, and a lover re­turn­ing from the dead to eat mi­crowaved rice – Ju­lia Arm­field ex­cels at com­bin­ing the eerie with the ev­ery­day in her de­but short story col­lec­tion, Salt Slow. A stand­out is The Great Awake, which won The White Re­view Short Story Prize 2018, and de­scribes an in­som­niac plague sweeping a city.

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