The Swimmer by Roma Tearne

A hauntingly atmospheric love story that offers so much more. The topical themes of asylum seekers and terrorism fears make bleak reading at times, but it is so beautifully written that you can’t help but be drawn in. The sadness is justified but there are enough unexpected twists to leave you with of hope for the future - and I'm left feeling so glad to have experienced this book.

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Nimrod's Shadow by Chris Paling

This is not a simple whodunit. Amongst the characters, there is less searching for the murderer and more questing for personal fulfilment. The quirky sense of humour surprised me and encouraged me to read on and find a deeper meaning in the story.

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The Lost and Forgotten Languages of Shanghai by Ruiyan Xu

Imagine waking up to find you can no longer speak your own language. Thats the situation Li Jing finds himself in at the start of this culture-clash tale. Hectic, steamy Shanghai is beautifully evoked as Li Jing and American visitor, Rosalyn, are drawn to each other by their shared inability to express themselves in Chinese. An array of well-drawn, sympathetic Chinese and ex-pat characters and an intriguing set up make this a very readable, atmospheric treat.

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Hereditation by James Smythe

Must the sins of the fathers be passed down each generation - or can the two Sloane brothers escape the cycle of infidelity and fatherless children revealed in their family records? This is a family cursed from when its ancestors landed in the New World, with wicked skeletons and black sheep worthy of a Greek tragedy. A darkly surreal tale in the Cohen Brothers tradition.

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The Cry of the Sloth by Sam Savage

Central here is the farcical, dark humour of a self-deluded, struggling novelist running a small literary magazine, whilst his personal life disintegrates around him under mounting debt. This is an epistolary novel told in a series of random letters (penned by the novelist) to various correspondents. The tone is self-deprecating and satirical, and seems likely to achieve a small cult following amongst the disaffected.

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