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RED IS MY HEART by Antoine Laurain and Le Sonneur (Gallic £14.99)

RED IS MY HEART

by Antoine Laurain and Le Sonneur (Gallic £14.99)

Out just in time for Valentine’s Day, this inspired combination of romantic musings and playful drawings is a collaboration between two great Parisians: novelist Laurain and contemporary artist Le Sonneur.

The plot, such as it is, concerns a recently ended relationship and we follow our hero (or heroine’s) inner journey across a range of related topics. Could a new watch reset a life? Were clothes responsible for the split? Quirky drawings intersperse the witty text.

While the subject is ostensibly love, as ever with Laurain it’s really Paris. Lovers of the city and lovers in general will love this.

ALL’S WELL

by Mona Awad (Scribner £14.99)

People with bad backs will appreciate this book, which elevates the condition to that of literary inspiration. It’s also really funny.

Miranda runs the drama department at a minor university; her choice for the student play, All’s Well That Ends Well, isn’t going down all that well. The class is mutinous and a tricksy colleague is after her job.

And then there’s the chronic pain, the painkiller addiction and the recent collapse of Miranda’s marriage. But after she hits rock bottom on the floor of a seedy bar, life takes an unexpected turn.

The satirical targets, all brilliantly hit, include useless physios, entitled students, internet advertising and — for all you romantics out there — love!

THE STARS ARE NOT YET BELLS by Hannah Lillith Assadi (Sceptre £16.99)

THE STARS ARE NOT YET BELLS

by Hannah Lillith Assadi (Sceptre £16.99)

The narrator has dementia, so one cannot be sure what’s true and what isn’t. That it switches back and forth in time only adds to the confusion.

But the poetic beauty of the writing and a certain swirling Gothic passion and drama bowl the reader along.

It’s 1997 and Elle still lives on the island off Savannah, Georgia, where she arrived as a bride in 1941.

As well as musing on her husband who had a mysterious quest (for some strange blue stones, since you ask), Elle mourns a former lover whose loss she has never got over. An unusual, intense, experimental novel, but it didn’t quite work for me.

To buy any book reviewed here, visit www.mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937

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