Hot new books of May

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Stylist Team
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Bank holiday reading has never looked better as this month's book releases are hotting up. From Mark Haddon's return with The Red House and Toni Morrison's much anticipated Home to our very own Shortlist columnist Danny Wallace who serves up a very modern love story in Charlotte Street. We say bookmarks at the ready...

Simply click on an image to launch the gallery. Do you agree with our choices? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments section, below.

Words: Dipal Acharya

  • Skios, Michael Frayn

    "Good God," thought Oliver, as he saw the smile,"she thinks I’m him!" And all at once he knew it was so. He was Dr Norman Wilfred. He saw his life as Dr Norman Wilfred stretching in front of him like the golden pathway into the rising sun. He had no choice but to walk along that pathway, towards the warmth, towards the light. So he did, pulling his suitcase behind him.

    The Greek island of Skios provides the sun-lit background for Michael Frayn's latest comic offering. Expect mistaken identities, some subtle satire and a surprisingly high body count

    Release date: 3rd May 2012

  • The Innocents, Francesca Segal

    Adam has just proposed to his childhood sweetheart Rachel. Her family loves him, they share the same friends; they are a perfect young couple set for a life of married bliss and comfort in north-west London. But on to the scene comes Ellie, Rachel's younger, sexier but vulnerable and mysterious cousin from New York. Despite his contentment, Adam finds himself uncontrollably drawn to Ellie and so his struggle begins...

    Francesca Segal's debut novel recasts the classic Wharton novel, The Age of Innocence, into a modern love story set in the Jewish community of north-west London

    Release date: 3rd May 2012

  • Charlotte Street, Danny Wallace

    Jason Priestley (not that one) has just seen her. They shared an incredible, brief, fleeting moment of deep possibility, somewhere halfway down Charlotte Street. And then, just like that, she was gone - accidentally leaving him holding her old fashioned, disposable camera, chock full of undeveloped photos... And now Jason faces a dilemma. Should he try and track The Girl down? What if she’s The One? But that would mean using the only clues he has, which lie untouched in this tatty disposable...

    Danny Wallace brings his characteristic wit and humour to this modern day tale of boy stalks girl. A must for fan's of his previous work Yes Man

    Release date: 10th May 2012

  • In One Person, John Irving

    A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love - tormented, funny, and affecting - and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a "sexual suspect"

    Spanning over fifty years, John Irving's novel is fierce and ambitious as it poignantly examines the meaning of sexual identity through the eyes of his bisexual narrator

    Release date: 10th May 2012

  • The Unreliable Life of Harry the Valet, Duncan Hamilton

    October 17th 1898, on route to Paris' Gare du Nord station, the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland's jewels were stolen from her train carriage. More than 40 pieces, worth nearly £2m today, disappeared that night and the perpetrator along with them...

    Based on a true story, The Unreliable Life of Harry the Valet dives into Victorian Britain following one of the period's most notorious jewel heists

    Release date: 5th May 2012

  • Heft, Liz Moore

    Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn't left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty milesaway, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising sporting career - if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s.

    A charming, offbeat book that celebrates the power of love and family in the most unexpected places. Read this for a feel-good boost...

    Release date: 3rd May 2012

  • Apocalypse Cow, Michael Logan

    When scientists with warped imaginations accidentally unleash an experimental bioweapon that transforms Britain’s animals into sneezing, bloodthirsty zombies with a penchant for pre-dinner sex with their victims, three misfits become the unlikely hope for salvation

    The winner of the Terry Pratchet First Novel prize, Michael Logan's black comedy is an absurd yet utterly addictive read

    Release date: 10th May 2012

  • Bring up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel

    ‘My boy Thomas, give him a dirty look and he’ll gouge your eye out. Trip him, and he’ll cut off your leg,’ says Walter Cromwell in the year 1500. ‘But if you don’t cut across him he’s a very gentleman. And he’ll stand anyone a drink.’

    The eagerly anticipated follow-up to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall explores the frenetic world of the Tudors - from the social and sexual politics of the royal court to Anne Boleyn's final days. A finely wrought sequel from the Man Booker Prize winning author.

    Release date: 10th May 2012

  • The Server, Tim Parks

    Sex is forbidden at the Dasgupta Institute. So what is the sparkling, magnetically attractive Beth Marriot doing here? Why is a young woman whose irrepressible vitality and confident ego were once set on conquest and stardom, now spending month after month serving in the vegetarian kitchen of a bizarrely severe Buddhist retreat?

    Tim Parks' novel follows Beth as she grapples with the ascetic life and her individualism, and has been described as one of this month's most riveting reads

    Release date: 10th May 2012

  • Home, Toni Morrison

    An angry and self-loathing veteran of the Korean War, Frank Money finds himself back in racist America after enduring trauma on the front lines that left him with more than just physical scars. As Frank revisits the memories from childhood and the war that leave him questioning his sense of self, he discovers a profound courage he thought he could never possess again.

    The Pulitzer-prize winning Toni Morrison delivers the heart-wrenching tale of a man's experience in wartime and peace, who struggles to find his true home

    Release date: 3rd May 2012

  • Ru, Kim Thúy

    "I first saw the light of day in Saigon, where firecrackers, fragmented into a thousand shreds, coloured the ground red like the petals of cherry blossoms or like the blood of the two million soldiers deployed and scattered throughout the villages and cities of a Vietnam that had been ripped in two..."

    This fictionalised memoir of Thúy's life darts across the globe, from her childhood growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam war to Québec where our heroine searches for a chance to live the American dream. The novel is at once brutal, beautiful and sensitive to Thúy's remarkable journey

    Release date: 24th May 2012

  • HHhH, Laurent Binet

    Prague, 1942. Two men have been enlisted to kill the head of the Gestapo. This is Operation Anthropoid: two Czechoslovakian parachutists sent on a daring mission by London to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich - chief of the Nazi secret services, 'the hangman of Prague', 'the blond beast', 'the most dangerous man in the Third Reich'.

    Laurent Binet's electrifying, brilliantly written debut of revenge and betrayal at the heart of the Third Reich has already won two prestigious awards in his native France.

    Release date: 3rd May 2012

  • The Storm at the Door, Stefan Merrill Block

    Frederick was a man of manic passions. He wrote a great many letters to her, just as he also wrote stories, ideas for inventions, patents, politics, and philosophy. She can keep all of these pages in boxes in her closet, as she usually can keep the memory of him near her in her orderly way. But the actual object, that bundle of papers, is a telltale heart. She buried it long ago, and still it thumps its maddening beat

    The haunting love story follows Katherine Merrill as she find her way back to Frederick after years of a volatile marriage. This is Block's second novel draws out the subtle complexities of mental illness and family drama

    Release date: 3rd May 2012

  • The Red House, Mark Haddon

    After his mother’s death, Richard, a newly remarried hospital consultant, decides to build bridges with his estranged sister, inviting Angela and her family for a week in a rented house in a Welsh border valley. But in the quiet and stillness, ghosts begin to rise up. The parents Richard thought he had; the parents Angela thought she had. Past and present lovers. Friends, enemies, victims, saviours.

    Mark Haddon's latest offering interweaves the words and thoughts of eight characters, as they come to terms with loss, estrangement and the persistent echoes of the past

    Release date: 10th May 2012

  • Hello Kitty Must Die, Angela S. Choi

    '''Meet Fi. A 28 year old lawyer with a six figure salary and an 80 hour working week, Fi has no intention of being another pretty, passive Hello Kitty, in thrall to the men in her life. It’s a shame her parents won’t stop setting her up with undesirable men.

    Meet Sean. Fi’s childhood best friend, he’s now a very successful surgeon. But there’s something you should know about Sean. Some men cook in their spare time, others play sport. Sean kills people.'''

    This darkly comic novel is Angela Choi's stunning debut, described as 'The Joy Luck Club crossed with American Psycho

    Release date: 3rd May 2012

  • The Girl in Berlin, Elizabeth Wilson

    Summer, 1951. Two suspected spies, Burgess and Maclean, have disappeared, and the nation is obsessed. Speculation is at fever pitch when Colin Harris, a member of the Communist Party who has been in Germany for several years, turns up to see his old friends Dinah and Alan Wentworth. He has news: he has fallen in love with a girl in East Berlin, and is coming home – with her – for good.

    Elizabeth Wilson's noirish thriller is brilliantly wrought, conjuring up the atmosphere and drama endemic in post-war London

    Release date: 3rd May 2012

  • The Ninety Days of Genevieve, Lucinda Carrington

    He is an arrogant and rich worldly entrepreneur who always gets what he wants. And what he wants is for Genevieve to spend the next ninety days submitting to his every desire...

    For fans of the renaissance of erotic fiction comes Lucinda Carrington's tale of love and obsession

    Release date: 24th May 2012

  • The Colour of Milk, Nell Leyshon

    The year is eighteen hundred and thirty one when Mary begins the difficult task of telling her story. She leads a harsh life working on her father's farm alongside her three sisters. In the summer Mary is sent to work for the local vicar's invalid wife, where the reasons why she must record the truth of what happens to her - and the need to record it so urgently - are gradually revealed.

    This tale of domestic trouble is set off by Nell Leyshon's finely wrought dialogue and vivid characterisation of her fifteen-year-old heroine

    Release date: 31st May 2012

  • Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé, Joanne Harris

    Vianne Rocher is living with her two daughters and lover Roux in Paris when, on a changing summer wind, comes a letter from beyond the grave. Vianne has no choice but to heed its contents and return to Lansquenet, the village in which, eight years ago, she opened up a chocolate shop.

    Following the story set up in her bestselling Chocolat, Joanne Harris revisits Vianne Rocher's infamous chocolaterie, now running under an exotic marauder

    Release date: 24th May 2012

  • In Her Blood, Annie Hauxwell

    On a bone-chilling February morning, Catherine Berlin, investigator with the Financial Services Agency, finds the almost-headless body of her informant 'Juliet Bravo', rolling in a shallow reach of the Thames. When Berlin's own unorthodox methods are blamed for the murder, she realises bigger predators are circling

    With a controversial drug-addicted heroine, Hauxwell's novels have already caused a stir in the book world. Expect her gritty crime series to rival some of the Scandi-greats

    Release date: 24th May 2012