Migrations is Australian author Charlotte McConaghy’s debut novel, and it is an incredibly emotive and beautifully-written tale of journeys, both necessary and dangerous, both human and animalistic. I came across Migrations on the increasingly influential platform that is BookTok, a particular side of TikTok dedicated to the world of books.
Love Orange, hailed as a ‘vivid comic cocktail about a modern American family,’ is translator Natasha Randall’s debut novel. The book chronicles the lives of the Tinkley family: a traditional, all-American, white, Christian suburban family living in a stereotypical cul-de-sac in the town of Bentonville. Parents Jenny and Hank relocate from the city with their two young sons: twelve-year-old Jesse and eight-year-old Luke in 2014 into an Arts and Crafts home. A year later…
Under The Blue is Oana Aristide’s debut novel, published in 2021. It chronicles the experience of a reclusive artist in the midst of a plague-like pandemic that leaves Europe a deserted, soon-to-be-inhabitable wasteland littered with corpses in the year 2020. At the same time, researchers Lisa and Paul are ‘educating their baby’ Talos, an advanced AI program, out in the Arctic Circle. As time goes on, and Harry traverses a deeply unfamiliar and unsettling European landscape, these two threads...
Cleopatra and Frankenstein is Coco Mellor’s appropriately-labelled ‘triumphant debut’. Chronicling the impulsive and ill-dated marriage between Cleo and Frank, and all is negative side-effects, Mellors debut novel is a wickedly beautiful read.
D.A. Mishani’s Three, translated to English by Jessica Cohen, is a visceral crime thriller. Set in Israel, though spanning other countries such as Romania and Poland, three women, unrelated but soon connected in a way they’ll never know, will all meet the same man: Gil Hamtzani, an immigration lawyer. Orna, a divorced single mother, Emilia, a religious caretaker from Latvia, and Ella, a student and mother feeling trapped in her marriage, will all come across Gil, for better or worse.
When They Find Her is a bit of tearjerker. With some some really shocking twists and turns, namely toward the end, this is a book about one woman and how her love for her daughter and her complex web of lies and secrets are fundamentally incompatible.
Living While Black is an exploration and confrontation of “the nuances of Blackness,” and how to heal and overcome when anti-Blackness breeds racial trauma by formulating a “tailored self-care plan.” This book is borne out of author Guilaine Kinouani’s lived experiences and evidence as a Black woman.
Girl A is a gripping look at collective, familial healing and how raw and complex this journey and experience can be. Lex is a fiercely convincing protagonist: she’s intriguing, with a distinctive voice and outlook on the situation. Lex is an individual, and the product of Dean’s incredible skill as an author. Dean’s writing has made for an exceptionally strong debut – making those that read Girl A excited for her next title, which she is currently working on.
The Lost Sister seems like the kind of novel that is great in theory, but in practice it falls very short. With a seemingly underdeveloped writing style, which then takes away from the strength of its plot, constituting a read I honestly found disappointing and lacklustre, The Lost Sister only earns 2 out of 5 stars.
In Klara and the Sun, Ishiguro completely reframes the genre of dystopian science-fiction by restructuring what one has come to expect from it: the despair; the desperation; the futurism; the love. This novel is such an enchanting and immersive read led by an exceptionally strong-willed an exceptionally strong-willed and kind-hearted (artificial) girl that it easily earns five out of five stars.
Having won gal-dem’s Valentine’s Day giveaway on Instagram, I got a free copy of Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut novel Open Water in the post sometime last month. And it is an absolute gem. Open Water reads much like a love song, or like an open love letter.
Why haven’t they grown? This impossible question is one that this entire novel is written around, and it certainly is intriguing. From this premise alone I truly had no idea what to expect by way of explaining Thomas and Emily’s seeming inability to grow. At first, I thought it might be some science experiment gone awfully wrong, or, even worse, perfectly right. Then I wondered if the explanation was more sinister, more evil, and indeed it is as twisted as you can imagine.
Kink, with its multitude of characters across the spectrum of sexual interest, is profoundly queer in its nature. The link between queerness and BDSM is one that hasn’t received much attention historically, but Kink explores this phenomenon from start to finish through the art of storytelling.