Susie Mesure

The end of days: It Lasts Forever And Then It’s Over, by Anne de Marcken, reviewed

16 March 2024 9:00 am

‘Don’t try to picture the apocalypse’, advises the novel’s unnamed zombie narrator. ‘Everything looks exactly the way you remembered it.’

Mystery in everyday objects

27 January 2024 9:00 am

Household gadgets take on a sense of wonder or menace for Lara Pawson, who sees a porpoise’s dorsal fin in the dial of a toaster and a hand grenade in a pepper mill

Prejudice in Pennsylvania: The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, by James McBride, reviewed

18 November 2023 9:00 am

Inspired by his own family history, McBride explores the problems faced by a Jewish shopkeeper and her black neighbours in the small town of Chicken Hill in the 1930s

The hell of the antebellum South: Let Us Descend, by Jesmyn Ward, reviewed

21 October 2023 9:00 am

Teenage Annis and her enslaved mother endure beatings and rape as they are marched in chains to New Orleans to be sold to the latest brutal plantation owner

A treatise on greed: The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff reviewed

16 September 2023 9:00 am

The American author turns her attention to colonial injustice in a tale about a servant girl who flees a blighted English settlement in 17th-century Jamestown

The good stepmother

5 August 2023 9:00 am

Jean entertains her young stepdaughter Leah with drawings and fairy stories – but the two grow sadly estranged in this haunting novel with its own fairy-tale similarities

Mother trouble: Commitment, by Mona Simpson, reviewed

22 July 2023 9:00 am

Simpson writes from personal experience in this moving story of three children’s commitment to their mentally ill mother

Secrets of the couch

10 June 2023 9:00 am

When a sex therapist arranges for his clients’ sessions to be secretly recorded, there are life-changing consequences for two women involved

An eye for the absurd

13 May 2023 9:00 am

Come for the satire, stay for the one-liners, and take succour from the hope Walter finds in a world where everyone needs an angel from time to time

Strange meeting

18 March 2023 9:00 am

When distraught teenage Orla embarks on a secret pilgrimage to her mother’s grave, she meets a ‘mad hairy’ man with miraculous powers

Expelled from paradise

11 February 2023 9:00 am

A mixed-race family living in an island paradise off the coast of Maine are made painfully aware that their days are numbered

Women of no importance

18 January 2023 10:00 pm

From their brothels in lawless 1850s Monterrey, Eliza and Jean set out discover why their fellow workers are going missing

Philosophers in the cradle: Marigold and Rose, by Louise Glück, reviewed

5 November 2022 9:00 am

Infant twin girls, in the first year of their lives, muse on everything from the futility of existence to the purpose of memory

Seize the moment: Undercurrent, by Barney Norris, reviewed

20 August 2022 9:00 am

Barney Norris’s third novel opens with a wedding in April. The couple tying the knot don’t matter; it’s the occasion…

Dark days in Hollywood: Mercury Pictures Presents, by Anthony Marra, reviewed

30 July 2022 9:00 am

Summer is a time for blockbusters and Anthony Marra has delivered the goods with Mercury Pictures Presents, a sweeping book…

A child’s-eye view of the not-so-good life

23 July 2022 9:00 am

Since winning the Costa prize for best first novel in 2008 with The Outcast, Sadie Jones has become known for…

Troubles of the past: The Slowworm’s Song, by Andrew Miller, reviewed

5 March 2022 9:00 am

Andrew Miller specialises in characters who are lost, often struggling to deal with the burden of failure. They don’t come…

Parallel lives: Violets, by Alex Hyde, reviewed

5 February 2022 9:00 am

When Violet wakes up in Birmingham Women’s Hospital at the start of Alex Hyde’s debut novel her first thought is…

A tale of love and grim determination: Zorrie, by Laird Hunt, reviewed

22 January 2022 9:00 am

When Zorrie Underwood, the titular character in Laird Hunt’s deeply touching novel about an Indiana farm woman, is pregnant, a…