The Scottish Mail on Sunday
THE BEST NEW FICTION
The Painter’s Friend Howard Cunnell
Picador £16.99 Working-class artist Terry Godden could have been a contender,
but now, reclusive and forgotten, he has rented a boat off an island inhabited by similarly damaged oddballs. When the island’s owner attempts to evict the community, Terry uses his art as a powerful weapon of protest.
Beautifully written in painterly prose, this is an intense, moving meditation on the role of art in our increasingly profit-focused society.
Interviews With An Ape Felice Fallon Century £14.99
Set in an unspecified war zone, this eyeopening novel centres on a gorilla who learns to use sign language to recount the distressing stories of how he and other animals in his zoo have been
poached and tortured. We also get to see the perspective of the perpetrators, not merely villains but impoverished victims whose survival depends on acting as middlemen in the chain of abuse. A thoughtful, audaciously panoramic novel, told with a brio that belies the horror.
Dream Girl Laura Lippman Faber £14.99
Lippman’s latest is a dark satire of the literary world and psychological thriller. Eminent novelist
Gerry Andersen is confined to bed with a broken leg in his Baltimore penthouse. In the middle of the night he receives phone calls from a woman claiming to be the inspiration for his best-loved novel, Dream Girl. Could one of his ex-wives be gaslighting him? Maybe his oddly devoted nurse can help? Clever, funny and supremely readable.
Hope Nicely’s Lessons For Life Caroline Day
Hope Nicely is a 25-year-old dog-walker living with her mum, Jenny. But
Hope isn’t your average millennial – she was born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and abandoned by her birth mother. Now, in an effort to unravel the mysteries of her beginnings, she’s decided to write a memoir. Step one: join a creative writing class. This touching, bighearted debut is funny, sensitive, and has lessons for us all about optimism