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Soviet Milk

Why would a mother refuse to bond with or breastfeed her baby? Milk is a recurring motif in this harrowing and evocative account of three generations of women living under Soviet rule in Latvia, but it is never the milk of human kindness. The impact of radical cultural oppression is especially harsh on women, who must maintain a fa├žade of ideal family life at the expense of intellectual freedom, with damaging psychological repercussions.

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Run into the hall of mirrors and lose yourself for a few hours! This rite-of-passage story has it all: it is eerie and familiar, funny and moving, beautiful and terrifying. All that and a new twist on Irish folklore too.

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Sing, Unburied, Sing

Sad, brutal, tragic, poetic, demanding. Told in separate chapters by members of a black and mixed race Mississippi family; some of whom are ghosts (the 'Unburied' of the title). Whilst it can be read as a history of Southern black suppression, it is much, much more. The relationship of Jojo and his little sister Kayla brings some light relief. Seldom in literature have I encountered such realistic children. A worthy prizewinner and a must read.

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An Unremarkable Body

The hook in this moving story is that chapters open with an extract from a postmortem report. Don't be misled into thinking it's a book about death, as it is very much about life. I am not a fan of shouty novels narrated by overwrought characters. Thankfully this was more thoughtful - the fictional equivalent of sifting through a box of family photographs - a reflective and bittersweet experience.

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