NS Recommends: New books from Will Wiles, Jim Crumley and Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Wiles’s Plume, Crumley’s The Nature of Spring and Manyika’s In Dependence.

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Plume
Will Wiles

Wiles is a design and architecture journalist whose last novel, the compulsively enjoyable The Way Inn, was set in a ubiquitous chain hotel. Plume is a more ambitious work that plays addiction, crime and the absurd pleonexia of London’s housing market for dark laughs. In an interview with a reclusive author, an alcoholic magazine writer stumbles across a story that may resuscitate his career, while above the city smoke from a fuel-depot fire forms a menacing presence. It’s a pacey read, but it is also an achievement – few writers can remain angry and funny across hundreds of pages – with much to say about  authenticity, inequality and London itself.
Fourth Estate, 352pp, £16.99


The Nature of Spring
Jim Crumley

Publishing more or less in step with Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet, the Scottish nature writer and poet Jim Crumley returns with a third volume of close observations. He watches a stand-off between a kestrel and peregrine falcon in the lowlands and an encounter between a pine marten and a fox in the highlands; marvels at the sea’s “Iona Blue” off the Inner Hebrides and charts the arrival of spring, from the February song of a mistle thrush to May’s drowsy warmth. Crumley quotes Margiad Evans – “Write in the very now where you find yourself” – and takes her advice to heart.
Saraband, 242pp, £12.99


In Dependence
Sarah Ladipo Manyika

Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s 2016 novel Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize; now her 2008 debut, which sold more than three million copies in Nigeria, is republished in the UK. It follows Tayo as he leaves newly independent Nigeria in the early 1960s for Oxford. There, he meets Vanessa, the daughter of a racist colonial officer, in a love story that tackles colonialism’s bitter legacy with nuance and heart.
Cassava Republic, 284pp, £11.99