Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Book bites: 4 December 2016

Published in the Sunday Times

The Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the CrownThe Perplexing Theft of the Jewel in the Crown
Vaseem Khan (Hodder & Stoughton)
Book mystery
****
Readers will rejoice at this reunion with venerable Inspector Chopra, his wife Poppy and chocolate-guzzling elephant Ganesha! Chopra visits a heavily guarded exhibition on the very day when the priceless Koh-i-Noor diamond is stolen. He leads us on a helter-skelter hunt for the gem, now part of the British crown jewels, but historically a source of legendary covetousness. Unsavoury characters from Mumbai’s dark underbelly join in the chase, as do more endearing ones. Laced with raucous humour, pathos and occasionally disturbing realism, this caper has serious undertones in its examinations of Indian politics, corruption and post-Raj Anglo-Indian diplomacy. – Ayesha Kajee @ayeshakajee

The Comet SeekersThe Comet Seekers
Helen Sedgwick (Harvill Secker)
Book buff
****
The Comet Seekers is an epic ballad. The lyrical story follows the comets visible from Earth over a 1000-year span. At its core are two lives, destined to meet in Antarctica: Róisín, a scientist who studies the sky, and François, a chef whose ancestors are linked to the scenes on the Bayeux Tapestry. The story gently weaves in and out of generations, littered with ghosts, depicting lives that are stuck and people who cannot stop wandering. A tale of magical realism that encourages dreaming, with a caveat to not dismiss the ground beneath our feet. – Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie

The NixThe Nix
Nathan Hill (Picador)
Book buff
*****
In the opening scene of The Nix, an elderly woman throws stones at a right-wing politician, causing a media frenzy that brandishes her as a terrorist. It’s a scenario that plants this novel firmly in the here and now, and captures the rift between left and right in the US. Would-be novelist/college professor Samuel Andresen-Anderson sees this and it’s not how he pictured being re-united with his estranged mother. Samuel is forced to make a difficult choice: continue hiding in his office, or write a tell-all book portraying his mother as a monster. It’s brilliantly executed political satire, anchored by the powerful drama unfolding between mother and son. The hefty 600-plus page novel is well worth taking your time absorbing. If John Irving compared The Nix to Dickens, you know it’s a classic in the making. – Sally Partridge @Sapartridge

The Hummingbird's CageThe Hummingbird’s Cage
Tamara Dietrich (Orion)
Book fling
****
This debut novel is a believable exercise in magic realism, a gentle observation of a woman conditioned to accept anything, until she realises she needs to escape. Joanna is violently abused by her husband Jim, a popular and protected cop in a small town. She has given up, but is rescued by Jim’s ex, a wild biker, and ends up in the idyllic and unmapped village of Morro. The only problem is that all the good folk of Morro are dead: Joanna can remain in limbo, but knows she should go back and confront her demons. – Aubrey Paton

Book details

 

Please register or log in to comment