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Sunday Times Books LIVE

Book bites: 20 August 2017

Published in the Sunday Times

The Wandering EarthThe Wandering Earth
Cixin Liu, Head of Zeus
****
Book fiend
This collection of award-winning sci-fi short stories explores human desire, distant galaxies and potential futures. The titular story’s grand premise is that the Earth’s rotation must stop and its orbit move away from the sun. In “For the Benefit of Mankind” an assassin is hired to kill specific targets before approaching aliens take over the Earth. The power of “The Wandering Earth“ lies not just in Liu’s scientific flights of fancy but his ability to get to the heart of the human condition. These are magnificent tales of people in love in the face of galactic doom. The stories will satisfy space geeks and sci-fi junkies yet are just as accessible to dreamers. – Efemia Chela @efemiachela

See What I Have DoneSee What I Have Done
Sarah Schmidt, Headline
*****
Book thrill
Long before OJ Simpson, Amanda Knox and Oscar Pistorius, the murder that garnered massive public interest was in 1892 when Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally killed with an axe in their Massachusetts home. Lizzie Borden, their daughter, was arrested and found innocent. It’s a story that’s been told in rhymes, movies, books and songs. This is Sarah Schmidt’s chance and she wins. This is a psychological thriller about the family dynamics told from key role-players’ points of view. It’s an emotional journey that shows there was a crisis, even before that fateful day. – Jessica Levitt @jesslevitt

The Reason You're AliveThe Reason You’re Alive
Matthew Quick, Pan Macmillan
****
Book hug
Sixty-eight-year-old Vietnam vet David Granger is a layered man. Irascible, unlikable – he seems like an alt-right dream. One who loves guns and hates everything and everyone. But as he tells his life story and reveals his true character and the daily battles of living with post-traumatic stress syndrome, the reader cannot help but sympathise and like the old man. Quick has written another bestseller filled with characters so compelling and American, you can hear Robert de Niro talking. – Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt

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