Selection of the best literary fiction books May 2016 | Books | Entertainment

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Catherine Banner’s House by the Night (Hutchinson, £ 12.99)

This is a delicious start for adults from young adult author Banner. The setting is a magical little island adrift in the Mediterranean where three generations of history-loving Espositos run the local bar, the ruined house at the

Edge of the night. The family is at the heart of a gripping story of love, war, financial crisis, and loyalty populated by wonderfully alive characters including eccentric fishermen and a local earl with fascist leanings.

The Outer Lands by Hannah Kohler (Picador, £ 12.99)

The lives of siblings Jeannie and Kip are forever changed when their beloved mother suddenly passes away. Stumbling in a world they are ill-prepared for, Jeannie gets married and Kip finds himself in all kinds of low-level trouble.

But then he signs up, travels to Vietnam, and finds out the real cost of impulsive behavior. The same goes for Jeannie when she gets involved, politically and romantically, with Lee, an unreliable agitator, who is an agitator in the anti-project movement. Dark, beautifully written, and insightful, it’s an impressive start.

A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker (Doubleday, £ 14.99)

Jo Baker’s debut novel, Longbourn, headed under the stairs in a bestselling tale of Pride and Prejudice. Here she heads to the beaten territory of WWII and manages to offer a new perspective on the conflict as well as elegant imagery of one of the most enigmatic figures in art.

An anonymous Irish writer inspired by Samuel Beckett walks into the creative community in Paris and faces poverty, lack of success, and the inherent danger of being a member of the Resistance.

Girls On Fire by Robin Wasserman (Little Brown, £ 12.99)

It’s a white-hot but dark story about a teenage girl’s friendship. Hannah Dexter is mundane until Lacey arrives and sets her world ablaze: “Together they are radioactive, Together they shine.”

Lacey loves grunge music and teen rebellion, and has a bunch of secrets Hannah can’t even guess, but most of them center on dark-hearted golden girl Nikki. Wasserman chillingly reveals how the intense emotions of adolescence can go wrong.

All Things Stop Appearing by Elizabeth Brundage (Quercus, £ 16.99)

There is something decidedly strange about Brundage’s psychological ending to a messy marriage. The intelligent George Clare and his beautiful wife Catherine move into a spooky farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. George gets stranger and stranger, Catherine’s nerves are broken, and the house is full of weird noises and dark appearances.

So when Catherine is killed, the suspects are both real and supernatural. It’s a gripping read, an unusual yet sophisticated blend of ghost story, murder mystery, and family drama.

Top five

Top five in fiction

1. The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (MacLehose Press, £ 7.99)

2. One With You by Sylvia Day (Penguin, £ 7.99)

3. Make Me by Lee Child (Bantam, £ 7.99)

4. Alert from James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (arrow, £ 7.99)

5. Splinter The Silence by Val McDermid (Sphere, £ 7.99)

Top five non-fiction

1. Bill Bryson’s Little Dribble Route (Black Swan, £ 8.99)

2. Lean In 15 by Joe Wicks (Bluebird, £ 14.99)

3. BBC Proms 2016 (BBC Books, £ 7)

4. Mary Beard’s SPQR (Profile, £ 9.99)

5. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell (Puffin, £ 7.99)

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