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Atomised – Michel Houellebecq

It touches upon the loneliness and loss of direction that so many of us have to contend with in an ever more connected, yet more atomised world…

Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Why did people ask ‘What is it about?’ as if a novel had to be about only one thing?”…

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce

Having no bookish children of her own, my best friend’s mum lent me this and a stack of other books when I was a teenager…

Dusty Answer – Rosamund Lehmann

I think it’s often the case that our favourite books are the ones we don’t pick for ourselves…

The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

It makes me question the world again…

The Glassblower of Murano – Marina Fiorato

I was on a trip to Venice and this absolutely transformed my experience…

Hunger – Knut Hamsun

Hunger makes for brilliantly uncomfortable reading…

My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante

This is the first of four volumes of the Neapolitan novels, set by the pseudonymous author in post-war, poverty-stricken Naples…

The Successor – Ismail Kadare

The mystery around the death – was it a suicide? was he murdered by the state? – has never been resolved…

Zeno’s Conscience – Italo Svevo

Psycho-analysis. Italianness. How the two coming together creates bitterness…

Faceless Killers – Henning Mankell

When it comes to opening a window onto a place and its social issues, a good work of crime fiction can be hard to beat…

The Lonely Londoners – Sam Selvon

Selvon’s work is a historical masterpiece…

Metro – Alexander Kaletski

It’s a great read: light and depressing and weird and funny all at once…

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

This was a really helpful book to read at this point in my life – aged 21 and beginning to figure out the path ahead. Reading The Alchemist gave me confidence…

His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet

A Jekyll and Hyde for the Scottish Highlands…

Nausea – Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre had a way of expressing these feelings I was having and it helped to have it put into words…

The Demon Lover, and Other Stories – Elizabeth Bowen

Mostly set in London during the famous ‘Blitz’ of September 1940 to May 1941, her stories create a sense of the uncanny experience of wartime life…

A Death in the Family – Karl Ove Knausgaard

I felt as though I’d watched the fabric of a life being unfolded, slowly and deliberately, without any attempt to hide the stitching…

Purge – Sofi Oksanen

A dark tale of resistance and abuse, of familial jealousy, lust and betrayal…