BOOK REVIEW: Joseph Surtees Books of 2018

Our reviewer Joseph Surtees takes us on a whistle-stop tour of the best books he read in 2018 – so here they are, in no particular order.

 

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Days Without End

by Sebastian Barry

There isn’t a bad Sebastian Barry book, but this one’s particularly moving. An exploration of male love set in 19thCentury America, Days without endhas a mesmeric, timeless quality that leaves a deep impression on the reader. Barry’s writing is a constant delight.

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Never Mind

by Edward St Aubyn

The first novel in the Patrick Melrose series, Never Mind is strange, brutal and disorientating. You’ll feel bruised after you’ve put this book down, but desperate to pick it back up again later. Recently made into an excellent tv-series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

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Moving The Goalposts

by Anthony Clavane

A powerful exploration of post-1980s Yorkshire, concentrating on its sports teams and their meaning to the communities they represent. But don’t be put off if you’re not a fan of sport (or Yorkshire), Moving the goalposts represents one of the most thoughtful discussions of the impact of Thatcherism on the UK and its ongoing influence.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

by Jesmyn Ward

Devastating and brilliant, you’ll find yourself returning again and again to this novel of family breakdown and lost hope. Not one to read in public if you’re an unattractive crier.

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The Light Years

by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Occasionally you read a book and feel sad that you went so many years without finding it. The light years, the first novel in the famous Cazalet chronicles, was one of those for me. A funny, touching, bitter-sweet look at the way a family grows and changes, how hopes are dashed, and opportunities grasped. You won’t be able to stop yourself devouring the next four books in a row.

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A Different Kind of Weather

by William Waldegrave

Warning: People will look at you strangely when you tell them you’re reading the autobiography of a minor Minister in a (John) Major government. But ignore the haters, A different kind of weather is a fascinating look at politics, family and the changing nature of English society over the last 40 years.

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