These are some of the books the MIROnline team have enjoyed over the past month – we hope you enjoy them too.
"The flaws and fragility of mankind are exposed through a skilfully constructed set of inter-connected, jigsawed stories spanning from 1775 to 2009. Set at a sinister rock formation in the Californian desert, the novel is part mystery, part satire. A hugely enjoyable and satisfying read even though it offers no easy solution to the questions it poses about cultural and religious identity, intolerance, and man's yearning for a spiritual connection or higher purpose, in an age of absurd warfare and technological advancements." - Elinor Johns
"'The Hate Race' is the memoir of a black kid growing up in a middle-class white Australian suburb. Maxine Beneba Clarke's book uses West Indian storytelling traditions to recount stories of her childhood; tales in which Clarke shares the painful experiences of going to school in a place where you look different to the other kids." - Louise Hare
"In this first collection of short stories, Mark Haddon (creator of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night) lets the cringing banality of everyday life escalate into catastrophe, to reveal the blood and guts within us all. Hyper-real social satire with a twist of horror (be prepared for children with guns, riches to rags, cannibalism, and more), these stories are not just funny and heart-stopping, they are highly original." - Stella Klein
"Winner of the 1967 Science Fiction Novel of the year, Kavan’s masterpiece starts with a car driving through a frozen nightscape, headlights catching stunning flashes of external reality – an image that sums up the readers' experience of this haunting book. Set in a world turning to ice, this book is a thrilling chase across borders, both physical and psychological. Readers will be left with questions: is Ice about man-made ecological disaster, Cold War politics, or one exploring the interior apocalypse of drug addiction?" - Louise Kramskoy
"A tale of desire and especially of shame. The novel’s narrator – a young American teaching English in Sofia, Bulgaria (something the author himself did) – meets Mitko in the bathrooms at the National Palace of Culture and an unlikely on/off relationship ensues. The writing is fluid and frequently beautiful, with passages of W.G. Sebald-like rumination, and deserving of the plaudits it has received. The final encounter with Mitko at the book’s end is almost unbearably moving." - James Kennedy
"This is a book that really cares about narrative truth. An author goes to Athens to teach on a writing retreat and retells stories she hears from the people she meets. The confessions of those around her reveal preoccupations with trust and relationships as we gradually learn more about our narrator." - Melanie Jones
"Shortlisted for this year's Baileys Prize for Fiction, Linda Grant's latest novel takes us back to post-war England. East End London twins Lenny and Miriam are diagnosed with TB and shipped off to a Kent sanatorium, the new NHS providing them with treatments that they could otherwise not afford. I found myself travelling back to the 1950s as Grant recounted the various stories of the sanatorium patients, all hoping to survive long enough to take advantage of a new miracle cure." - Louise Hare