ANIMAL by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury £16.99, 336 pp)


by Lisa Taddeo (Bloomsbury £16.99, 336 pp)

This is the first novel from the author of the 2019 non-fiction smash hit Three Women, which explored female sexuality through interviews with a student, a mother and a swinger.

This is very different but equally compelling. Narrator Joan leaves New York abruptly after witnessing the shocking suicide of her married lover in a restaurant where she’s dining with another lover.

What ensues is a literary thriller following the various threads of misery and shame in Joan’s life which explain why she is the way she is.

It’s about power, abuse and control — sometimes Joan is the victim, sometimes the perpetrator, but she is always brutally honest. It’s raging, hilarious and utterly addictive.


THE STARTUP WIFE by Tahmima Anam (Canongate £14.99, 304 pp)

by Tahmima Anam (Canongate £14.99, 304 pp)

I raced through this beautifully written, often hilarious and always thought-provoking book about big-tech, love, faith and chasing dreams. Computer scientist Asha had an obsessive crush on Cyrus at school but he didn’t know she existed.

When they reconnect years later, however, they begin a whirlwind romance that quickly leads to marriage. Asha is super-bright and hugely driven while Cyrus is charismatic and spiritual.

Together they come up with an app which asks questions about your favourite cultural reference points and then designs personalised rituals while connecting you to people who feel the same way. It’s a huge hit and Asha abandons her PhD to work at a tech incubator called Utopia. She is the brains behind all this but Cyrus is in the spotlight. It’s not long before their marriage is floundering. Fabulous.

ONE ORDINARY DAY AT A TIME by Sarah J. Harris (HarperCollins £14.99, 432 pp)


by Sarah J. Harris (HarperCollins £14.99, 432 pp)

This is an uplifting read about two people on the margins of society and the power of friendship.

Simon is a genius who got his maths GCSE aged five, graduated from Cambridge at 17 and has won pretty much every quiz show going.

When single-mother Jodie meets him years later, however, he is flipping burgers and she has no idea of his astonishing achievements.

Simon also has no idea of the reality of Jodie’s life or the dreams she nurtures while living in a horrible bedsit with her young son, making sure there is food on the table.

Simon agrees to tutor Jodie for her exams in return for help with socialising.

Both prickly, things soon improve as they help each other. A great beach read.

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