Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied


Asako Yuzuki

This much-talked-about cult Japanese novel has at last been translated into English. Based on the real-life case of “The Konkatsu Killer”, in which a celebrated cook and con artist poisoned three of her lovers, it’s the story of a journalist who befriends the jailed woman. Her visits become masterclasses in cooking and recipes as she drills into the prisoner’s psyche, as well as in obsession and misogyny. Readers are raving, hailing it as luscious and ingenious.


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Percival Everett

 This is an immensely clever novel; the amplification of a world classic that lends a bold new richness to the original story — Mark Twain’s The Story of Huckleberry Finn and specifically the character of Huck’s sidekick, Jim. It is 1861 in Missouri. When the enslaved James hears he is to go to a new owner in New Orleans and be separated from his wife and daughter, he flees in the company of Huck Finn, who is escaping his drunken, abusive father. The two venture down the mighty and treacherous Mississippi in search of salvation and legendary free states.


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Prescription: Ice Cream

 Alastair McAlpine

 Back in 2018, a young palliative paediatrician in Cape Town decided to share some thoughts from the patients in his care. He asked the terminally ill children what they enjoyed most in life and their answers went viral on Twitter: dogs, superheroes, being read to, family time. The seaside. Ice cream. Its warming simplicity spread to hundreds of thousands around the world. This is that doctor’s story, who overcame horrific alcoholism and bitter training during an HIV pandemic to become the physician he is now. A profound and life-affirming read.


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You Like It Darker

 Stephen King

 There can’t be a better companion on a winter’s night than Stephen King. In these dozen or so perfectly honed stories he burrows into the darker reaches of life, literally and metaphorically. There’s one about a Vietnam vet that King has said is so creepy “he can’t think about it at night”, and another about a psychic event that upends dozens of lives that is a pure morsel of terror.


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All That Glitters

 Orlando Whitfield

 We can’t get enough of fraudsters, and the setting of this true story, in the highest echelons of the art world, gives it an irresistible glamour. Two posh kids, Orlando Whitfield and Inigo Philbrick, met at university in London and then set themselves up as art dealers. Whitfield watched, aghast, from the sidelines as Philbrick schmoozed and scammed buyers, leaving his old mate in his wake. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and this book is Whitfield’s icy offering.


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Amphibious Soul

 Craig Foster

Who can forget My Octopus Teacher? The heart-warming, Oscar-winning documentary was balm for the soul during lockdown. Now Craig Foster draws on his experiences of exploring the wildest and loneliest places in the world and fashions a potent philosophy of remaining connected to nature, no matter how far we are from it. Exhilarating.


Michele Magwood is an award-winning literary critic

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