The current cargo of new paperbacks for sale covers a lot of ground, from Paul Theroux's road trips around the US Deep South, through to Jonathan Mayo and Emma Craigie's account of Hitler's final hours, trapped in his Berlin bunker.
Read on for IBTimes UK top 5 paperback reads, ready to be unwrapped along with your Easter eggs.
The master of travel writing drives around some of the US's most poverty-stricken states
Paul Theroux is one of the finest travel writers in the English speaking world. This time round he explores his own homeland, driving around some of the poorest parts of the US, including South Carolina, Alabama and the Mississippi Delta. Theroux's descriptions of scenery remain as evocative as ever and his talent for getting strangers to unburden themselves is still going strong. For many of the Southerners he encounters, the Civil War and the civil rights struggle remain an ongoing issue. We trip through tales of black preachers, dirt farmers and white bigots alike. The common thread - widespread poverty,
as startling as it is intractable - builds up to a tale of
failure that is an an enormous blot on the American success story.
A novel about human intervention in nature via the reintroduction of wolves to Britain
Hall is celebrated for her descriptions of natural landscapes and the ways that humans intervene in them. The novel's protagonist, Rachel, returns to her native Cumbria to manage a project that will introduce wolves back into the wild. Hall is a straightforward storyteller and the segments of her tale snap neatly into place as she talks of the eccentric aristocrat behind the lupine re-wilding and the opposition of the locals. In and around this Hall weaves in Rachel's personal travails, notably the death of her mother and an unwanted pregnancy. The wolves symbolise the wild hinterland and its precarious place in modern society. Underpinning the novel is the question of whether we have tamed ourselves and our landscapes so much that wildness now belongs to the past.
An avant garde narrative that delivers an unsettling portrait of a woman estranged from the world
Walsh is an experimental writer who uses repetition, wordplay and other innovative tools, creating elliptical fiction by offering stories in fragments. In this slim volume she offers a series of interlinked tales that slowly accrete into a composite novel. Each chapter looks at a part of an unnamed female protagonist's existence. She has several roles – wife, mistress, mother and daughter – but none are fulfilling. Amid descriptions of marriages gone wrong and cheating husbands, a life story blighted by insecurity and failure emerges. On the plus side, the protagonist is able to step away from her life and observe it dispassionately, but this distancing gives her the unsettling vertigo of the novel's title. Walsh's inventive development of feminist themes is revealing and disturbing.
A compelling combination of meditative lost love and a skilful thriller
Samson's novel is a captivating mix of rumination and psychological thriller. She is adept at creating an intense - sometimes claustrophobic - atmosphere, which counterpoints her lyrical descriptions of rural settings. The story begins in 1989 in Oxfordshire, where Julia is reflecting on her extra-marital affair with her young boyfriend, Julian. Her husband then confronts her over her infidelity, with brutal consequences. The action jumps to 1997, when Julian is living alone, with no trace of Julia to be seen other than a single shoe which he keeps as a poignant memento. The novel poses a series of mysteries, as it segues into an adept suspense novel with shocking revelations in store.
A compelling recreation of the final hours of the erstwhile Führer amid the destruction of Berlin
The death of Adolf Hitler was one of the previous century's most dramatic events. Mayo and Craigie track the dictator's last day in minute detail. For Eva Braun it should have been a day of celebration, following her marriage to Hitler the previous day. But her joint suicide with her new husband took place within hours of the nuptials. We observe the führer learning of how Berlin has no hope of holding out, before he eats his final meal and issues instructions for the disposal of his body. We know this story's ending, but that does not stop it from being fascinating and horrifying by turns. The book also includes the controversial claim that Hitler had a condition called hypospadias, which left him with a micropenis.