This week's best new fiction

From Xochitl Gonzalez’s busy debut to Anything Could Happen by Lucy Diamond, Alice Hoffman’s final Practical Magic tale and the latest from Hanya Yanagihara, this week’s best new fiction

Olga Dies Dreaming

Xochitl Gonzalez                                                                                          Fleet £16.99

There’s so much to enjoy in this busy, Brooklyn-set debut centred on a pair of middle-aged Latino siblings leading double lives.

Olga is a two-timing wedding-planner secretly pilfering from her wealthy clients, while Pedro is a congressman whose sexuality leaves him prey to blackmail. 

Shadowing both is the pain of abandonment by their mother, a rebel leader in Puerto Rico. Gonzalez couples engrossing political intrigue with engagingly flawed characters you can’t help but root for.

Anthony Cummins

 

To Paradise

Hanya Yanagihara                                                                                       Picador £20

Epic in scope and theme, To Paradise imagines an idealised New York in 1893, when same-sex marriages were allowed, then visits the Aids-ridden Manhattan of 1993, before fast-forwarding to a scarily dystopian 2093, with plague and totalitarianism rife.

You cannot fault Yanagihara’s ambition. Her prose is elegant and she celebrates human decency in times of adversity. There is a thread of fin-de-siècle melancholy. But the overarching narrative structure feels cumbersome and artificial.

Max Davidson

 

Anything Could Happen

Lucy Diamond                                                                                       Quercus £14.99

Star-crossed lovers, long-held secrets and second chances make for a charmingly escapist read. Lara and Ben spend a magical night together in New York.

Fast- forward 18 years and Ben is married to long-time girlfriend Kirsten, while Lara is a single mum to daughter Eliza, who’s about to make a discovery about her father’s identity.

Taking in family life, reinvention and the allure of lost love, it’s a tonic for trying times.

Eithne Farry

 

The Book Of Magic

Alice Hoffman                                                                                       Scribner £16.99

The final instalment of Hoffman’s Practical Magic series finds the supernaturally gifted Owens clan on the cusp of change.

On the last day of her life, octogenarian Jet discovers a book of magic. Could it work on the curse that has doomed the Owens’ love affairs since the 17th Century?

A satisfying tale springs from a slow beginning, packing in escapist fable, real-word savvy and incidents galore.

Hephzibah Anderson

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