Newsletter 1st May 2021

Posted 4th May 2021

In this week’s newsletter our bookseller Anna Vincent takes a look at some new titles to be published in May and recommends her favourite novels recently published in paperback.

Our bookseller Anna Vincent has put together a selection of six titles on her radar this month. If you like this list and would like more recommendations then pop by the shop and we will be more than happy to oblige. We would also like to welcome our new Saturday bookseller – Caroline. Caroline especially loves historical fiction so call into the shop if you want to find out more about new titles or some old favourites.

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency
Olivia Laing
Reserve here
Having been lucky enough to get my hands on a proof copy of this luminous biopic in the weeks preceding the first lockdown, I felt I had been given a manual on how to survive an apocalypse. Olivia Laing, who assumes her usual intimacy with each of her subjects, immerses us in the lives of an impressive cohort of artists. In doing so, we catch glimpses of how these writers and painters undertake the process of creation, each attempting to carve some sense out of the absurdity of life. The result is a patchwork of hope-filled essays and profiles, which, as Laing says of art itself, points towards ‘resistance and repair’. Celebrating an eclectic spectrum of artistic legacy, from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Ali Smith, this timely and tender book will delight readers of both art history and biography.

Diary of a Young Naturalist
Dara McAnulty
Reserve here
In this lyrical and spirited examination of the Northern Irish landscape, fifteen-year-old Dara McAnulty beckons his readers into communion with the nature on his doorstep: the Mourne Mountains in County Down. Diagnosed with autism as a child, the narrator’s non- neurotypical perception of wildlife resounds with purity and precision, qualities which stem from his self-described lack of any ‘joy filter’. His analysis of his surroundings carries an earnest authenticity, combined with a surprising maturity. From its very first page, this unique diary is a soothing tribute to the medicinal power of nature, told from the perspective of a brilliant and perhaps unexpected narrator.

The Invisible Painting: My Memoir of Leonora Carrington
Gabriel Weisz Carrington
£17.99 21/05/21
Reserve here
The life and legacy of renowned surrealist Leonora Carrington has been dissected and reinvented in countless ways, by countless people. Now, for the first time since her death in 2011, Gabriel Weisz Carrington revisits conversations and encounters with his mother, in order to reclaim and demystify her memory. Striving to depict the complex reality of the woman behind the legendary reputation, Weisz Carrington introduces us to some of the iconic characters with which she was intertwined, whilst intentionally separating her from their gaze. Traveling between Leonora’s two homelands: England and Mexico, he portrays her as both artistic genius and beloved mother. Using the form of biography to navigate grief and preserve truth, Weisz Carrington embarks on an enchanting study of life, loss, and the real in Surrealism.

The Balkan Trilogy
Olivia Manning
Reserve here
Every corner of this fraught and fast-paced journey through wartime Europe resounds with uncertainty, from the timid dynamic between the newly wed expatriates Guy and Harriet Pringle, to the threat of an advancing Nazi regime. Perilous, but often savagely funny, this modern epic examines the nuances of marriage against a desperately disintegrating political landscape. As all three volumes of the trilogy are published together, Manning’s addictive and highly immersive novel can now be experienced in the joy of a single edition.

The Devil and the Dark Water
Stuart Turton
Reserve here
From the author of the genre-bending The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle comes this gothic twist on a seafaring saga. For a crime he may – or may not – have committed, world-renowned detective Samuel Pipps is sailing to Amsterdam to be executed. But the voyage is soon subsumed by sinister forces, and conspiracy quickly haunts the ship. Turton’s ability to conjure an atmosphere of true paranoia is brilliantly showcased, as a mystery which connects each passenger unfolds. A classic who-dun-it thriller with a subversive edge of fantasy, I will be recommending this book to lovers of Christie and Rothfuss alike.

A Theatre for Dreamers
Polly Samson,
Reserve here
The year is 1960. On the sun-drenched Greek island of Hydra, a collective of painters, poets and musicians live out their days of blissful bohemia. Amongst them, Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen strike up what will eventually become recognised as one of the greatest love affairs of all time. Glowing with the heat of summer and the ache of illicit romance, this novel is a meditation on what it means to take risks, in art and in love.

Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell – £8.99
Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart – £8.99
Small Pleasures – Clare Chambers – £8.99
The Mirror & the Light – Hilary Mantel – £9.99
In the Garden – Various Authors – £9.99

The ‘shop local’ message is really helping us here and our next day order service means we can easily match the delivery times of our online competitors. The Owl’s website is a good place to place an order with us: you can order any available book, just fill in the ‘order a book’ form and we will do the rest. If you prefer to speak to one of us please call 020 7485 7793, we are more than happy to help over the phone.

Click here to place an order for any book.
Owl Bookshop, 207-209 Kentish Town Road, London NW5 2JU Tel 020 7485 7793