10 New Books To Read This September

From the return of horror master Stephen King to a Japanese bestseller that’s been translated into English for the first time, this month offers dark thrillers and uplifting reads in equal measure…

The Confession by Jessie Burton

One winter's afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But while Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of a new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever. From the bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The Muse, The Confession is a powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves.

“Dazzlingly good, utterly engrossing… Without doubt one of the best novels of recent years.” –Elizabeth Day, author of How To Fail

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece The Handmaid’s Tale is a modern classic. Now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel. More than 15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results. Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The third wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets. As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead. Each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

“One of the literary events of the year.” – Vogue

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Coventry by Rachel Cusk

Coventry is Rachel Cusk’s first collection of essays, centred on motherhood, marriage, feminism and art. Cusk redrew the boundaries of fiction with the Outline Trilogy, three "literary masterpieces" (Washington Post) whose narrator, Faye, perceives the world with a glinting, unsparing intelligence while remaining opaque to the reader. Coventry encompasses memoir, cultural criticism and writing about literature, with pieces on family life, gender and politics, and on D. H. Lawrence, Françoise Sagan and Kazuo Ishiguro. Named for an essay Cusk published in literary magazine Granta, this new collection is essential reading.

“Cusk’s voice in Coventry resonates loud and clear.” – Financial Times

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The Things We Left Unsaid by Emma Kennedy

Rachel’s relationship with her mother Eleanor has always been far from perfect. Eleanor is a renowned artist born in the Swinging Sixties; Rachel has lived in the shadow of her success. When Rachel is left by her fiancé on the morning of their wedding, she has no choice but to move back into her family home and spend an unbearably hot summer with a mother she feels distant from. It will take another turn of events before Rachel realises that sometimes the past holds exactly the comfort we need, and that behind the words left unsaid are untold stories with the power to define us. A radiant novel in which past and present collide with life-affirming consequences.

“A beautiful novel... So tender and thoughtful. I loved it.” – Marian Keyes 

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Inland by Téa Obreht

In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life: her husband, who has gone in search of water for the household; and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument. Nora is biding her time with her youngest son, who is convinced that a mysterious beast is stalking the land around their home. Meanwhile, former outlaw Lurie is haunted by ghosts. He finds reprieve in an unexpected relationship that inspires a momentous expedition across the West. Mythical and lyrical, Inland is grounded in true but little-known history. It showcases all of Obreht’s talents as a writer as she subverts the myths of the American West.

“What Obreht pulls off here is pure poetry. It doesn’t feel written so much as extracted from the mind in its purest, clearest, truest form.” – Entertainment Weekly 

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The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

In a large house in fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for someone to pick her up. In the kitchen lie three decomposing corpses. Close to them is a hastily scrawled note. They’ve been dead for several days. So who has been looking after the baby? And where did they go? Featuring two entangled families and a house with the darkest of secrets, this is a compulsive new thriller from Lisa Jewell.

“A twisty and engrossing story of betrayal and redemption.” – Ian Rankin 

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Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

In a small back alley in Tokyo, a café has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than 100 years. It also offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time. In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer: to confront the man who left them; to receive a letter from their husband, whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer's; to see their sister one last time; and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know. Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s moving story – translated from Japanese by Geoffrey Trousselot – explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? A memorable read.

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A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier 

Tracy Chevalier is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including Girl with a Pearl Earring. In A Single Thread, it’s 1932. After the Great War took her brother and fiancé, Violet Speedwell has become a ‘surplus woman’, one of a generation doomed to spinsterhood because the war killed so many young men. Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother. After countless meals of boiled eggs and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother’s place and into the town of Winchester, where she is drawn into a society of likeminded women. When forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren’t expected to grow.

“Sometimes, a book comes along that somehow ticks all the boxes. This is one of those books: the voices are rich and individual; the attention to detail impressive; the scent of apples, damp earth and pines runs potently through the whole. A joy.” – Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat

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The Dutch House by Ann Patchett 

Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is played out under the watchful eyes of the house’s former owners in the frames of their oil paintings. Then their father brings Andrea home. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny’s and Maeve’s lives. Now grown up, the siblings are drawn back time and again to a place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother, who is an absence more powerful than any presence they have known. 

“The book of the autumn. The American author of Commonwealth (brilliant) and Bel Canto (even better) releases perhaps her finest novel yet.” – Sunday Times

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The Institute by Stephen King

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. Outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents – telekinesis and telepathy – who got to this place the same way Luke did. In this most sinister of institutions, the director Mrs Sigsby and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

“Not a word is wasted in this meticulously crafted novel, which once again proves why King is the king of horror.” – Publishers Weekly

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