This week's best new fiction

From Mario Vargas Llosa’s political thriller to Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi, an addictive follow-up from Dave Eggers and Chris Offutt’s latest, this week’s best new fiction

Harsh Times

Mario Vargas Llosa                                                                                         Faber £20 

In 1954, the CIA intervened in Guatemala to overthrow a democratically elected president whose reforms threatened the US-owned United Fruit Company.

The 85-year-old Peruvian Nobel Laureate has crafted an engrossing political thriller, a condemnation of Uncle Sam’s iniquitous involvement in Central America and beyond. 

Simon Humphreys


Helen Oyeyemi                                                                                            Faber £14.99

Oyeyemi’s inventive tales travel to unusual places, and it’s true here as lovers Otto (a hypnotist) and Xavier (a ghost writer) board a mysterious train on their ‘non-honeymoon honeymoon’. 

As the intriguing duo meet other passengers, it emerges that they’re all entangled with an elusive, chameleon-like character. A gorgeous, bamboozling novel. 

Eithne Farry 


The Every

Dave Eggers                                                                        Hamish Hamilton £12.99

The sinister corporation at the centre of Eggers’s novel The Circle has rebranded itself in this bumpy but addictive follow-up. Out to bring the controlling corporation down from within is thirtysomething Delaney.

It’s not always subtle, but the plot is prescient and spookily plausible, and Eggers is always entertainingly spot-on in his targets. 

Hephzibah Anderson 

The Killing Hills

Chris Offutt                                                                                                   No Exit £9.99

Military cop Mick Hardin has come home to Kentucky from Iraq to save his failing marriage. That may be beyond him, but when a murder case lands on his doorstep he knows exactly how to solve it. 

The hard part is stopping this single killing from spiralling into a murderous blood feud. Offutt brings the Appalachian hills to vivid life in this atmospheric thriller. 

John Williams





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