February 2024 books

What’s new and good to read this month? Dan Coombes has a look at what’s on offer and chooses Butter by Asako Yuzuki Fourteen Days by Margaret Atwood, Celeste NG, John Grisham and more, and Come And Get It by Kiley Reid

Butter – Asako Yuzuki

A cult bestseller from Japan, absolutely destined to become a cult bestseller everywhere else, too. Deeply strange, skewed and on occasion really quite disturbing, Butter is nonetheless undeniably beautiful, thought provoking and completely unique.

Gourmet cook Manako Kajii sits in Tokyo Detention Centre convicted of the serial murders of lonely businessmen, who she is said to have seduced with her delicious home cooking. The case has captured the nation’s imagination but Kajii refuses to speak with the press, until journalist Rika Machida writes a letter asking for her recipe for beef stew and Kajii can’t resist writing back.

Rika, the only woman in her news office, works late each night, rarely cooking more than ramen. As the visits unfold between her and the steely Kajii, they are closer to a masterclass in food than journalistic research.

Rika hopes this gastronomic exchange will soften Kajii but it seems that she might be the one changing. With each meal she eats, something is awakening in her body, might she and Kaji have more in common than she once thought? A vivid, unsettling exploration of misogyny, obsession, romance and the transgressive pleasures of food in Japan.

Fourteen Days – Margaret Atwood, Celeste NG, John Grisham and more…

What’s better than reading an awesome book by a brilliant author? Reading an awesome book by lots and lots of brilliant authors! This is a collaborative novel, with each character written – apparently in secret – by a whole roster of top flight authors, from thriller experts to horror and science fiction writers to literary heavyweights and all sorts. Is it a gimmick? Absolutely. Does it work really well and make for a fun and interesting read? Oh yes.

One week into lockdown, the tenants of a run-down apartment building in Manhattan have begun to gather on the rooftop each evening and tell stories. With each passing night, more and more neighbours gather, bringing chairs and milk crates and overturned pails. Gradually the tenants – some of whom have barely spoken to each other before now – become real neighbours. A dazzling, heartwarming and ultimately surprising narrative, Fourteen Days is an ode to the power of storytelling and human connection.

Image above: Fourteen Days front cover, some of the authors Margaret Atwood – Dave Eggers – Celeste Ng

Come And Get It – Kiley Reid

The new book from Kiley Reid, author of the ludicrously bestselling Such A Fun Age, which is also pretty great. Witty and biting stuff, and unexpectedly poignant too.

Agatha is a writer, recovering from a break-up while researching attitudes towards weddings and money for her new book. She strikes gold when interviewing the girls in Millie’s dorm, but her plans take a turn when she realises that the best material is unfolding behind closed doors.

As the two women form an unlikely relationship, they soon become embroiled in a world of roommate theatrics, vengeful pranks and illicit intrigue – and are forced to question just how much of themselves they are willing to trade to get what they want. Sharp, intimate and provocative, Come and Get It takes a lens to our money-obsessed society in a tension-filled story about desire, consumption and bad behaviour.

Images above: Come And Get It front cover, author Kiley Reid