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From a short story collection to a gripping memoir: the most exciting new books of April

What a joy to see a bit of sunshine as we get tantalisingly close to the part of the year where reading is an outside activity.

With the honourable exception of the excellent Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave which is set during the Second World War, all of this month’s choices are contemporary and paint a picture of life as we are living it now. All That Man Is by David Szalay gives us portraits of nine different men across Europe and What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell is a tender and desolate rendering of a relationship that starts in a toilet in Bulgaria.

London is the setting for Yvette Edward’s heartbreaking page turner The Mother and for Not Working, a funny book laced with melancholy. Five Rivers Met on a Wooden Plain by Barney Norris shows us the aftermath of a car crash in Salisbury. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield is a reworking of Pride and Prejudice and Reader, I Married Him uses that famous line from Jane Eyre to inspire short stories from 21 authors.

Finally, I was very taken with two superb memoirs this month. All at Sea by Decca Aitkenhead and We’ll Always Have Paris by Emma Beddington are fine examples of life writing and I finished both of them feeling wiser, sadder, yet somehow enriched.

Happy reading.

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