10 best new fiction books for spring

From Medieval England to murder, hedonism and love in the modern world, IndyBest finds new reads you won’t be able to put down this spring

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Spring will see a rich slate of novels appear on bookshelves, with winter providing some late pearls that should be considered as well. From The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan to the surreal stories of Angela Readman the fiction here covers everything from magicians in alternate versions of London, the legacy of the Romany Holocaust to Knausgaard’s failed attempts to lose his virginity. We’ve rounded up the ten best reads for you this spring.

{1} Dancing in the Dark  by Karl Ove Knausgaard: £17.99, vintage-books.co.uk

 

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The fourth in Knausgaard’s extraordinary literary cycle, this documents his arrival in a tiny village north of the polar circle to work as a school teacher. But it’s outside the classroom that’s the focus: alcoholism, sexual failure and adolescent insecurities are all dealt with in this honest work.  

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{2} A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab: £7.99, titanbooks.com

 

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A refreshing take on magic and the author’s crafting of loveable characters make for a strong start to a new fantasy series. There are multiple Londons and Kell, a magician, has the ability to travel between them, smuggling an item back each time – but something sinister is brewing.

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{3} Don’t Try This at Home  by Angela Readman: £10, andotherstories.org (5 May)

 

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Readman’s debut short story collection is a masterclass in the surreal. Enter the Lynchian world where love transforms a mother working in a chip shop – into Elvis. This slim volume is a great commuter read, and shows why she won the Costa Short Story Award.

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{4} The Illuminations  by Andrew O’Hagan: £17.99, faber.co.uk

 

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This novel asks how much we hold back from those we love. The focus splits between Anne, once a pioneer of British photography, and her grandson, Luke, an Army captain. When Luke returns from Afghanistan to Scotland, secrets begin to emerge.

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{5} Glass  by Alex Christofi: £12.99, serpentstail.com

 

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This is a moving, funny coming-of-age tale about Günter Glass who, after his mother dies, leaving the family impoverished, takes up an offer to clean the Shard. Life amid London’s bright lights and murkier corners ensues.

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{6} The Anchoress  by Robyn Cadwallader: £14.99, faber.co.uk

 

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Based in England, 1255, a 17-year-old girl becomes an Anchoress – a holy woman, shut off for the rest of her life inside a tiny cell. A book about fear, the need for human touch, and the boundaries of intimacy.

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{7} The Buried Giant  by Kazuo Ishiguro: £20, faber.co.uk

 

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Ishiguro’s first novel in 10 years sees Axl and Beatrice set out across a Saxon land in hope of finding their son. A mist of forgetfulness pervades – and as they quest to remove this amnesia, they must face the reality of what they themselves have forgotten.

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{8} Second Life  by S J Watson: £14.99, randomhouse.co.uk

 

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Watson’s second novel after the brilliant Before I Go to Sleep highlights the murky world of internet exchanges. Julia is distraught after finding out her sister has been murdered in Paris. Propelled by guilt, grief and obsession, she sets out to find the killer through the very dating sites her sister used.

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{9} Jakob’s Colours  by Lindsay Hawdon: £14.99, hodder.co.uk (9 April)

 

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Inspired by the lost voices of the Romany Holocaust, this weaves between Austria during the Second World War, to Switzerland and 1920s England telling the web of stories surrounding Jakob, an eight-year-old gypsy boy and his family.

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{10} The Gracekeepers  by Kirsty Logan: £12.99, vintage-books.co.uk  (7 May)

 

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A literary fantasy about a world changed by water – North lives on a circus floating between islands, while Callanish resides alone in the middle of the ocean, tending to those who die at sea. This will stay with you long after the final page.

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Verdict : A Darker Shade of Magic will certainly become any fantasy lover's latest obsession. If that’s not your bag, Glass is a snappy, intelligent read.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing

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