BY LAURA BRADING
Exploring power, privilege, family wealth and female frustration, Lioness tells the story of one woman’s mid-life awakening after her husband’s dodgy business deal threatens to upturn their comfortable life. Intelligent and seductive, Lioness will elicit as much contemplation about capitalism and the failures of feminism, as it will furious page-turning.
Female writers being overshadowed by their creative husbands is a rich literary theme (see Wifedom for another recent incarnation). In this claustrophobic novel, it gets another run. Here, writer and protagonist JB Blackwood, who married her former professor, Patrick, has suffered years in his shadow, only to find herself in danger of finally eclipsing his success by winning a big literary prize. When Patrick dies suddenly, JB’s grief causes the secrets of their marriage to unspool – and they’re damning for all involved, particularly as JB reveals herself to be an increasingly unreliable narrator…
Mostly about women at odds with someone or something in their lives, the 12 stories that make up this collection illuminate the enduring conflicts between responsibility and freedom, power and desire, convention and subversion, reality and dreams.
If the job of a book is to deliver a fresh perspective, then Hannah Diviney’s memoir I’ll Let Myself In delivers and then some. Diviney has cerebral palsy and I’ll Let Myself In offers an unvarnished insight into how this condition has affected her life, her body image, relationships and sense of self. At just 24, Diviney is an impressively elegant writer.
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction last week, this poignant and powerful debut offers a lyrical and contemporary approach to the refugee tale. Following three siblings who flee Vietnam after the fall of Saigon, arriving first in Hong Kong and then in Thatcher’s Great Britain, the novel details the refugee experience, the weight of intergenerational trauma and the psychological toll of assimilation.
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