Sure to be most hard hitting literary works you'll come across this SeptemberMore
Proving once again that paragraphs – not to mention chapters – are for saps, Esquire editor-at-large Will Self's new novel is a dazzling feat: one in which metaphors morph into memories and sentences are swilled around and intermingled like fish guts in a chum bucket. Revisiting some of the characters from his 2012 novel Umbrella, the new book's "shark" motif comes from the real-life 1945 incident when many hundreds of sailors off the torpedoed cruiser USS Indianapolis were eaten by sharks in the Pacific Ocean, and which one of the book's many disturbed characters may or may not have witnessed himself.
"Pain is in the saltwater eating into these wounds, and the sun hammering down on them – most all, pain is in the vitals of those boys foolish enough to slake their terrible thirst with seawater, who soon enough begin crazily ranting, then puke their guts out, some so violently they turn full somersaults."
Out now (Viking)
Ian McEwan's latest novel, written with his customary unshowy meticulousness, has a schematic economy that makes it more of a novella in spirit if not in length. Judge Fiona Maye has to decide whether a 17-year-old Jehovah's Witness with leukemia should be given a blood transfusion against the wishes of his parents. The choice she makes will go on to determine his future: or rather, whether or not he is to have one; but will also have significant implications on Fiona's relationship with her husband, whose eyes are starting to wander, and her understanding of her own unfulfilled past.
"She thought of his proposed or actual lover, his statistician, Melanie – she had met her once – a silent young woman with heavy amber beads and a taste for the kind of stilettos that could wreck an old oak floor."
Out now (RH)