Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Culture
12 June 2012updated 07 Jun 2021 4:39pm

NS Recommends: New books from Clare Pollard, Jericho Brown, and Livia Franchini

By New Statesman

Fierce Bad Rabbits
Clare Pollard

“Opening a picture book from your childhood can be dangerous,” Clare Pollard warns of her history of illustrated children’s books. Each chapter examines how a weighty topic – anthropomorphism, didacticism, femininity – is packaged for children. Pollard so delicately enters into the world of “sweet treats, acrobats and laughter”, that the reader feels they are rediscovering once-loved landscapes. Her accounts of works by the likes of Beatrix Potter dissect the way our childhoods were crafted while rendering them, as Lewis Carroll’s Alice said, “curiouser and curiouser”.

Fig Tree, 304pp, £14.99

The Tradition
Jericho Brown

The Tradition is the third collection from the Louisiana-born poet Jericho Brown, who ten years ago won the American Book Award for his debut collection, Please. His latest book addresses themes of evil, masculinity, race and trauma with striking clarity. “A poem is a gesture toward home/It makes dark demands I call my own,” Brown writes, introducing his newly conceived form, the “Duplex”, which merges the sonnet and the ancient Arabic ghazal and moves cyclically in a neatly enclosed exploration of the poet’s desires.

Picador, 86pp, £10.99

Shelf Life
Livia Franchini

“Throughout our relationship, I’d engineered myself to occupy as little space as possible so that he could be as large as he liked.” This self-reflection touches all aspects of Ruth’s life after Neil, her partner of ten years, abruptly ends their relationship. As she sets about restructuring her identity her story is interspersed with fragments of the past written from Neil’s perspective, which hint at the troubling origins of their relationship. Livia Franchini has delivered an impressive, Sally Rooney-esque debut novel.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

Doubleday, 288pp, £12.99

This article appears in the 14 Aug 2019 issue of the New Statesman, The age of conspiracy