Ben Okri’s lucid prose, a stylish debut by the Oscar-winning Argentine screenwriter Nicolás Giacobone and a pacey tale by Kate Furnivall
Prayer For The Living
Ben Okri Head of Zeus, £14.99
Okri is always good company and these 20-odd tales showcase his lucid prose and freewheeling imagination. The settings range from the Andes to Nigeria, and the common thread is that what you see is only part of the story.
If you think a doll’s house is just a doll’s house, you will quickly be disabused of such flat-footed attitudes. ‘Dreaming of Byzantium’, the most substantial piece, transports a man in a London cafe to the heart of Istanbul in a literary magic-carpet ride of shimmering beauty.
The Crossed-Out Notebook
Nicolás Giacobone Corsair, £14.99
Screenwriter Pablo has been kidnapped by Latin America’s greatest film director and held for five years in a basement where he’s forced to write a screenplay. Every night, he records his thoughts in a notebook; every morning, he crosses out what he wrote the night before.
This stylish debut novel by an Oscar-winning Argentine screenwriter (he co-wrote Birdman) is a suspenseful, darkly funny exploration of the creative process and the porous boundary between reality and fiction. Highly recommended.
The Guardian Of Lies
Kate Furnivall S&S, £20
World War II is over, but France in 1953 is on the front line of the Cold War. In Paris, private detective Eloïse Caussade has ambitions to join France’s intelligence service like her adored older brother, André.
When André is injured, Eloïse is drawn into his world of deception, uncovering lies that lead directly back to her home in the wild wetlands of the Camargue. Here her loyalties will be tested again and again.
Furnivall can’t resist a cliché (2CVs and glasses of pastis abound) but her pacey tale is as pleasingly twisty as the back-streets of Montmartre.