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Duration: 50 minutes

Martha Kearney and guests Germaine Greer, John Mullan and Kate Mosse review new books by Hilary Mantel, Kate Summerscale, Mark Haddon and John Irving. Plus Orange Prize judge Natalie Haynes talks us through this year's shortlist.

  • The Red House by Mark Haddon

    The Red House by Mark Haddon

    Following the runaway success of his prize-winning novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Mark Haddon’s third adult book, The Red House, is out this week. The Red House is set over the week of a family holiday in Wales and, as in his previous work, Haddon probes the fault lines that separate family members, exploring the gaps between our sense of self and the views of others. By taking on the narrative perspectives of all eight people – four adults and four children – the book presents and re-presents the various family relationships as the forced intimacy of the holiday brings buried tensions to the surface. The Red House was published on the 10th May.

    The Random House Website
  • Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

    Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

    The 2nd instalment of Hilary Mantel’s epic trilogy Bring up the Bodies, picks up from where Wolf Hall left off. Thomas Cromwell, the Machiavellian puppet master of Henry VII and his court continues to pull the strings. Katherine of Aragon is dead and the position of Anne Boleyn at the side of the King is also coming in to question. Henry’s eyes are roaming and have settled on Jane Seymour, lady in waiting to both Katherine and Anne. Martha Kearney spoke to Hilary Mantel about her latest work. Bring up the Bodies was published on the 10th May.

    The Harper Collins Website
  • Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace – The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale

    Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace – The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady by Kate Summerscale

    Kate Summerscale’s follow up to her best-selling novel The Suspicions of Mr Whicher continues her technique of dramatising real life Victorian tales, in this case The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady tells the story of Mrs Isabella Robinson who is accused of adultery by her husband, having discovered her diaries which appear to allude to apparent infidelities. Frank and revealing the diaries caused a scandal in the mid 1800’s, with newspapers refusing to publish the shocking contents which detailed her loveless marriage and thoughts towards other men. In a time when divorce had only recently been legalised and still difficult to obtain, Isabella stood for everything that terrified Victorian society – a middle-class wife who was restless, unhappy and avid for arousal. Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace – The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady was published on the 30th April.

    The Bloomsbury Website
  • In One Person by John Irving

    In One Person by John Irving

    Literary heavyweight John Irving’s 13th novel is said to be his most political since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany.
    The book is the first-person chronicle of Billy Abbott, a bisexual novelist in his 70s looking back on a life of promiscuity and alienation.
    As a teenager in 1950s Vermont, Billy’s affections are torn in two – his lust for the local librarian, Miss Frost, develops at the same time as his crush on an athletic fellow high school student.
    The book moves on to span five decades, taking in the death of JFK, the Vietnam War and the AIDS crisis in 1980s New York, and tracing American attitudes towards sexuality and tolerance, as Billy reflects on a proliferation of partners, from a predatory poet and a Viennese opera singer, to a transsexual former wrestling champion. In One Person was published on the 10th May by Doubleday.

    John Irving's Website
  • The Orange Prize for Fiction

    The Orange Prize for Fiction

    Now in it’s 16th year, The Orange Prize for fiction is an award for the best in women’s writing, in English, from anywhere in the world. We spoke to Review Show regular Natalie Haynes in her official capacity as one of the judges for this year’s Prize, she gave us a rundown of the shortlisted titles.

    The Orange Prize Website
  • King Creosote and Jon Hopkins

    King Creosote and Jon Hopkins

    One of the driving forces behind the Fife-based Fence Collective and influential Fence Records label, King Creosote (aka Kenny Anderson) has released over 40 albums in various incarnations.
    Last year the album Diamond Mine – by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, received widespread critical acclaim, and earned a nomination for the Mercury Prize.
    A special edition of the album has just been released, and King Creosote’s new EP, I Learned From The Gaels, is due for release in May.
    Tonight King Creosote and Jon Hopkins perform live in The Review Show studio.

    King Creosote on the BBC Website


Martha Kearney
Kate Mosse
John Mullan
Germaine Greer


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