From Yaa Gyasi’s thoughtful novel to Dangerous Women by Hope Adams, a heavy-going tale by Edward St Aubyn and P. R. Black’s latest, this week’s best new fiction
Yaa Gyasi Viking £14.99
Gifty is a Ghanaian-American neuroscientist studying for a PhD in California. As she experiments, she dwells on her evangelical Christian upbringing in Alabama, the father who abandoned her, and her beloved brother’s death from opioid addiction.
How can she reconcile belief in God with her commitment to science and her experience of tragedy and racism? Gyasi’s novel is a thoughtful analysis of a pressing social problem.
Hope Adams Michael Joseph £14.99
Inspired by a true story, Adèle Geras’s first novel under her new pseudonym recounts the journey of a convict ship transporting 180 female prisoners to Tasmania in 1841. Though a murder-mystery plot fails to ignite, this atmospheric narrative excels in its depiction of the relationships between the women – largely petty criminals – and the tragic backstories that have brought them together.
Edward St Aubyn Harvill Secker £18.99
Francis, Olivia and Lucy inhabit such a rarefied intellectual world that some readers will develop vertigo. From epigenetics to immunotherapy, all science is here. But they are human beings, too, and as they fall in love, fall ill, fall pregnant, we are drawn into their esoteric lives.
The novel is heavy-going in places, but redeemed by St Aubyn’s elegant phrase-making.
The Long Dark Road
P. R. Black Aries £8.99
Stephanie Healey was 19 when she vanished from a country road, close to her university. Two years later the police seem to have let the case grow cold, but Stephanie’s mother refuses to let it lie.
Her frenzied investigation steadily unravels the network of small-town corruption and privilege that links red-light district to country mansion. A slow-burning thriller that builds to a devastating dénouement.