Peter Parker

Spectator Books of the Year: The dangers of unrequited love

Spectator Books of the Year: The dangers of unrequited love
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My novel of the year was What Belongs to You (Picador, £12.99), Garth Greenwell’s slender, poised, clear-eyed and devastating account of the depths to which unrequited sexual obsession can lead you, particularly if you become entangled with a rent-boy in Sofia. I also enjoyed and admired Aravind Adiga’s funny and touching Selection Day (Picador, £16.99), in which cricketing prodigies in Mumbai face googlies from both bowlers and life. And Tom Bullough’s densely and thrillingly written Addlands (Granta, £14.99), which traces the lives of a farming family on the Welsh borders through 70 years. Treat of the year was Richard Stokes’s The Penguin Book of English Song (Penguin, £30), an original and invaluable anthology of poems that have been set to music. Arranged in chronological order by author, from Geoffrey Chaucer to Sidney Keyes, it is supplemented with succinct, elegant and illuminating descriptions of the lives and works of both poets and composers.

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