San Francisco, 2017. Clinton’s in the White House, Brexit never happened – and Verity Jane’s got herself a new job. They call Verity ‘the app-whisperer,’ and she’s just been hired by a shadowy start-up to evaluate a pair-of-glasses-cum-digital-assistant called Eunice. Only Eunice has other ideas. Pretty soon, Verity knows that Eunice is smarter than anyone she’s ever met, conceals some serious capabilities and is profoundly paranoid – which is just as well since suddenly some bad people are after Verity. Meanwhile, in a post-apocalyptic London a century from now, PR fixer Wilf Netherton is tasked by all-seeing policewoman Ainsley Lowbeer with interfering in the alternative past in which Verity and Eunice exist
Penguin, January 2020
The Shadow King
With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid in Kidane and his wife Aster’s household. Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilise his strongest men before the Italians invade. Meanwhile, Mussolini’s technologically advanced army prepares for an easy victory. Hundreds of thousands of Italians – Jewish photographer Ettore among them – march on Ethiopia seeking adventure. What follows is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, with Hirut as the fierce, original, and brilliant voice at its heart. In incandescent, lyrical prose, Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.
W.W. Norton, January 2020
Sex and Lies
In Morocco, adultery, abortion, homosexuality, prostitution, and sex outside of marriage are all punishable by law. Sexuality is both an obsession and a taboo, provoking violence, frustration, secrecy, and shame, and women have only two choices: They can be wives or virgins. Leila Slimani was in her native Morocco promoting her first novel, Adèle, about a woman addicted to sex, when she began meeting women who confided the dark secrets of their sexual lives, from assault to their closeted homosexuality to the perils of leading a sexually liberated lifestyle. Their vivid, often harrowing testimonies, combined with Slimani’s passionate and intelligent commentary, make a galvanising case for a sexual revolution in the Arab world.
Faber & Faber, February 2020
Warhol. A Life As Art
Based on years of archival research and on interviews with hundreds of Warhol’s surviving friends, lovers and enemies, Warhol traces the artist’s path from his origins as the impoverished son of Eastern European immigrants in 1930s Pittsburgh, through his early success as a commercial illustrator and his groundbreaking pivot into fine art, to the society portraiture and popular celebrity of the ’70s and ’80s, as he reflected and responded to the changing dynamics of commerce and culture. Behind the public glitter of the artist’s Factory, with its superstars, drag queens and socialites, there was a man who lived with his mother for much of his life. He overcame the vicious homophobia of his youth to become a symbol of gay achievement.
Allen Lane, February 2020
Going Dark. The Secret Social Lives of Extremists
By day, Julia Ebner works at a counter-extremism think tank, monitoring radical groups from the outside. But two years ago, she began to feel she was only seeing half the picture; she needed to get inside the groups to truly understand them. She decided to go undercover in her spare hours – late nights, holidays, weekends – adopting five different identities, and joining a dozen extremist groups from across the ideological spectrum. Ebner takes the reader on a deeply compulsive journey into the darkest recesses of extremist thinking, exposing how closely we are surrounded by their fanatical ideology every day, the changing nature and practice of these groups, and what is being done to counter them.
Bloomsbury, February 2020