In brief: We Are the Brennans; Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid; Boys Don’t Cry – review | Fiction


Tracey Lange
Pan Macmillan, £16.99, pp289

The Brennans are a close-knit Irish-American family, running a pub in a small New York town. Five years ago, their eldest daughter, Sunday, fled to California, breaking off with her fiance and leaving her family disoriented by her abrupt departure. Now she returns after a drink-driving incident and, together with her brothers and father, their individual secrets are begun to be laid bare in this beautifully observed portrait of dysfunctional family life.

Thor Hanson
Icon Books, £20, pp304

“Simply put, if bush crickets, bumblebees and butterflies can learn to modify their behaviour, then it stands to reason that we can too.” So begins Hanson’s fascinating exploration of climate change, exploring the adaptation of species in different habitats. Hanson is a biologist whose passion and expertise are writ large here, as he combines personal observations – from watching Alaskan grizzly bears to migrating macaws in Central America – with the latest scientific research in a lively, engaging and optimistic assessment of the planet’s future.

Fiona Scarlett
Faber, £8.99, pp256 (paperback)

Joe is a promising scholar at a prestigious school. His younger brother, Finn, has been diagnosed with cancer. They live in a socially deprived block of flats in Dublin known locally as the Jax, where local criminal Dessie Murphy is intent on getting Joe, like his father, embroiled in illegal activity. Alternating between Joe and Finn’s perspectives, Scarlett paints a vivid, tender and compelling story about fraternal love and grief in this accomplished debut novel.

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