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25th Jun, 2022

Bookcase: Reviews of Lightseekers by Femi Kayode and Brown Baby by Nikesh Shukla

Worcester Editorial 1st Mar, 2021

THIS week’s bookcase includes reviews of Lightseekers by Femi Kayode and Brown Baby by Nikesh Shukla.

From a Nigerian murder mystery to a meditation on parenting and grief, why not pick up one of these…

Fiction

1. Lightseekers by Femi Kayode is published in hardback by Raven Books, priced £14.99 (ebook £5.99). Available now

Need a change from the usual Nordic noir detectives or hard boiled anti-heroes?

Lightseekers by Femi Kayode. Picture: Raven Books/PA.

There’s a new investigator in town. Dr Philip Taiwo isn’t a policeman – he’s an investigative psychologist.

After years in the US, Taiwo returns to Nigeria to look into a crime scene.

There’s no mystery around how the hideous mob killing of three university students happened, as it was captured on video.

The question Philip needs to answer is why.

But in this university town, everyone seems to have something to hide.

Is one of the victims as blameless as he seems? What’s the involvement of the local police?

And what are the real motivations of the man who’s hired him?

With its twisty plot, engaging characters and brilliantly realised setting, Lightseekers will keep you eagerly turning the pages.

8/10

(Review by Jackie Kingsley)

2. A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson is published in hardback by Chatto & Windus, priced £14.99 (ebook £9.99). Available now

Mary Lawson writes about families and relationships, history and secrets.

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson. Picture: Chatto & Windus/PA.

A Canadian by birth who’s lived in the UK since the 1960s, Lawson’s latest book is set in chilly Northern Ontario in 1972. Entwined stories twist together in A Town Called Solace: Clara, just eight, finds her world turned upside down when her sister Rose runs away.

Elderly next door neighbour Elizabeth thinks about the people she’s loved as she goes into hospital, and newly divorced Liam moves into her house.

The impact of events from 30 years ago provide the backdrop for today.

The doubts, difficulties and uncertainties of the human condition are examined carefully in a way that is both heartbreaking and joyful.

If you love Anne Tyler or Carol Shields – who make the domestic drama of everyday lives extraordinary – A Town Called Solace will appeal.

8/10

(Review by Bridie Pritchard)

Non-fiction

3. Brown Baby by Nikesh Shukla is published in hardback by Bluebird, priced £16.99 (ebook £8.99). Available now

The challenges of parenthood, social prejudices and grief are thoughtfully examined in

Nikesh Shukla’s new memoir. Lovingly addressed to his young daughter, each chapter provides a frank questioning of difficult themes, including racism, sexism and climate change.

Brown Baby by Nikesh Shukla. Picture: Bluebird/PA.

The book is loosely structured as a life manual for his child, but Shukla readily admits to not having all the answers.

Veering from humour and self-deprecation to frustration and anger, Shukla honestly imparts his wisdom and perspective on society.

His easy, approachable writing style, peppered with colloquialisms and cultural references, is at its most powerful when exploring family relationships, his South Asian heritage and the loss of his mother.

The toll this grief takes provides the most emotional passages – particularly the vivid recollection of her cooking.

Shukla’s commitment to his daughter is movingly clear, and despite future uncertainty, he leaves an uplifting message of hope: to use joy as an act of resistance.

7/10

(Review by Tom Pilgrim)

Children’s book of the week

4. The Last Bear by Hannah Gold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold, is published in hardback by HarperCollins Children’s Books, priced £12.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now

When April accompanies her dad to Bear Island, a wild scrap of Arctic land where he is undertaking research, she is assured polar bears no longer exist there.

The Last Bear by Hannah Gold. Picture credit: HarperCollins Children’s Books/PA.

April believes this to be true – until she stumbles across Bear, who is starving, lost and in dire need of help.

She cannot watch him suffer and vows to save him, sparking an unlikely bond and a great adventure between the little girl and big bear. Hannah Gold’s debut is beautiful and moving, telling an important tale about climate change with tact and hope.

The illustrations enhance this vital and powerful story, making it a charming and impactful read for children and adults like.

9/10

(Review by Molly Hunter)

BOOK CHARTS

HARDBACK

1. A Court Of Silver Flames by Sarah J Maas

2. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

3. The Galaxy, And The Ground Within by Becky Chambers

4. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

5. Daughters Of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

6. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

7. Slough House by Mick Herron

8. The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths

9. Girl A by Abigail Dean

10. No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

HARDBACK (NON-FICTION)

1. How To Avoid A Climate Disaster by Bill Gates

2. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

3. Where Hope Comes From by Nikita Gill

4. Guinness World Records 2021 by Guinness World Records

5. Empireland by Sathnam Sanghera

6. Fall by John Preston

7. Jews Don’t Count by David Baddiel

8. A Promised Land by Barack Obama

9. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given

10. You’ve Got This by Louise Redknapp

(Compiled by Waterstones)

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