March 2020 Books

What’s new and good to read this month? Annakarin Klerfalk has a look at what’s on offer and chooses three good reads for March.

March is full of big publications by famous authors. Here are my three top picks for the month: Hamnet, The Mirror and the Light and Wayfinding: The Art and Science of How We find and Lose Our Way.

Hamnet

Maggie O’Farrell brings light to the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, Hamnet, which he wrote after his son’s death. Hamnet, Maggie O’Farrell’s first historical novel, is set in 1596. At the centre of the book is Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, his sisters Judith and Susanna and their mother, Agnes. Hamnet is a gripping portrait of the children and of Shakespeare’s marriage, but it also gives the reader an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman who has been absent from history. The reviews have been magnificent and Sarah Moss said: “Grief and loss so finely written I could hardly bear to read it.” Hamnet is published by Tinder Press 31 March.

The Mirror and the Light

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel is the final book in the trilogy that started with Wolf Hall and was followed by Bring Up the Bodies, which both won the Booker Prize. The Mirror and the Light brings the trilogy to its final conclusion and it starts where Bring Up the Bodies ended, with Anne Boleyn’s blood gushing out and Thomas Cromwell wanting his breakfast. Cromwell, the powerful minister in the court of King Henry VIII, finally has England under his sway but he lacks a great family to back him and his enemies are waiting for him in the shadows. How long can Cromwell stay at the height of his power? Hilary Mantel said: “This book has been the greatest challenge of my writing life, and the most rewarding; I hope and trust my readers will find it has been worth the wait.” The Mirror and the Light is strictly embargoed until 5 March, published by Fourth Estate.

Wayfinding: The Art and Science of How We Find and Lose Our Way

Wayfinding: The Art and Science of How We Find and Lose Our Way by Michael Bond explores how our brains make cognitive maps that keep us oriented, even in unfamiliar places. Very few of us today make use of the wayfaring skills that we inherited. Bond answers the question of why some of us are much better at finding our way than others. And he explains how our conception of physical spaces has been crucial to our evolution. Michael Bond won the British Psychology Society Prize in 2015 for The Power of Others. He is a freelance journalist and a former senior editor at New ScientistWayfinding is published by Picador on 5 March.

Annakarin Klerfalk

Anna is a literary agent based in Chiswick who is keen to hear from authors trying to get their books published. Contact her on anna@intersaga.co.uk. She used to run the Waterstones bookshop in Chiswick. You can read more about her and Intersaga here.

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See more of Anna’s book choices here

Read about the annual Chiswick Book Festival here