April 2023 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Dan Coombes has a look at what’s on offer and chooses Greek Lessons by Han Kang, Atalanta by Jennifer Saint, and Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater.

Greek Lessons – Han Kang

Winner of the International Booker Prize in 2016 for her beautiful and disturbing The Vegetarian, Han Kang’s new novel – and her first in nine years – promises to be every bit as powerful and unforgettable.

Greek Lessons is the story of two ordinary people brought together at a moment of private anguish – the fading light of a man losing his vision meeting the silence of a woman who has lost her language, yet these are the very things that draw them together.

A tender love letter to human intimacy and connection – a novel to awaken the senses, one that vividly conjures the essence of what it means to be alive.

Images above: Han Kang; Greek Lessons

Atalanta – Jennifer Saint

The last two years have given us the bestsellers Ariadne and Elektra, and established Jennifer Saint as an expert in re-fashioning ancient Greek myths into thrilling modern novels. Her third book continues the trend, telling the hidden story of the only female Argonaut.

When a daughter is born to the King of Arcadia, she brings only disappointment. Left exposed on a mountainside, the defenceless infant Atalanta is raised by a passing mother bear alongside her cubs, under the protective eye of the goddess Artemis.

Swearing that she will prove her worth alongside the famed heroes of Greece, Atalanta joins Jason’s band of Argonauts. But can she carve out her own place in the legends in a world made for men?

Image above: Jennifer Saint with her novel Atalanta

Death of a Bookseller – Alice Slater

A bookshop. A true crime case. A deadly friendship.

A (very) darkly comic tale of bookselling, obsession and a slightly unfortunate snail, Alice Slater’s debut novel is already getting plenty of attention, being hailed as an unmissable thriller, raved about by all and sundry.

Roach – bookseller, loner and true crime obsessive – is not interested in making friends. She has all the company she needs in her serial killer books, murder podcasts and her pet snail. That is, until Laura joins the bookshop.

Smelling of roses, with her cute literary tote bags and beautiful poetry, she’s everyone’s new favourite bookseller. But beneath the shiny veneer, Roach senses a darkness within Laura, the same darkness Roach possesses.

As her curiosity blooms into morbid obsession, it becomes clear that she is prepared to infiltrate Laura’s life at any cost.

 Images above: Alice Slater; Death Of A Bookseller

Dan Coombes is a bookseller at Bookcase, an independent bookshop open in Chiswick since 1993. A specialist in science fiction, Dan has been a bookseller for 15 years.

Bookcase is a member of The Chiswick Calendar’s Club Card scheme – see their current discounts for Chiswick Calendar readers here: Bookcase Club Card offer.

See all The Chiswick Calendar’s previous monthly book reviews here.

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See also: Accidental Death of an Anarchist – The Lyric, Hammersmith, review

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