The Wanderers by Tim Pears review – yearning and loss in the West Country

The second in a trilogy, this lyrical novel follows two separated young lovers through Devon and Somerset before the beginning of the first world war

The Horseman, the first book in Tim Pears’s West Country trilogy, observed the budding relationship between a landowner’s daughter, Lottie, and a labourer’s son, Leo. In this second instalment, set in 1912-1915, the pair are apart. Lottie, on her country estate, mourns the loss of her mother and Leo, homeless, wanders across the countryside in the company of Gypsies, tramps and hermits. Descriptions of the landscapes are tinged with a sense of yearning and loss; hills remind Leo of his “mother’s bread-making. The earth […] kneaded into shape” and Lottie finds a flower “like an angel, its hood curved like a pair of wings”. This is a novel of longing and loneliness, yet it is also a novel of nature and of man’s connection ...

The World Goes On review – a masterpiece of fear and futility

Prizewinning Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai’s new collection of stories is ‘deeply affecting’

When the celebrated Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai and his translator, George Szirtes, won the Man Booker international prize in 2015, the judges were impressed by his “extraordinary sentences of incredible length”. Here, Krasznahorkai’s famous sentences, often several pages long, again have huge impact, as a fearful God-like narrator tells a series of enigmatic stories marked by a sense of futility and pessimism. In one, a boy faced with a whale confined in a metal box is “initiated… into a state of melancholy”; in another, a man obsessed with waterfalls confronts the abyss of his mind while wandering drunk in Shanghai; and, in the title story, Krasznahorkai considers how the events of 9/11 destroyed the “meaning, power, spaciousness, and precision” of language. This collection – a masterpiece of invention, utterly different from everything else – is hugely unsettling and ...

Letters to the Lady Upstairs review – Proust and the sound of silence

This slim book of letters between Marcel Proust and his neighbour the dentist’s wife are a delight

Sensitively translated from the French by the esteemed Lydia Davis, the letters in this handsome book chronicle the relationships between three Parisian neighbours: Marcel Proust, who lived on the mezzanine floor of 102 Boulevard Haussmann; Dr Charles D Williams, whose dental practice was just above the often infirm, noise-phobic Proust; and the dentist’s wife, Mme Williams, “who had some control over the silence [Proust] so needed”. Through Proust’s passionate missives to Mme Williams – “[your letters] are delicious, delicious in heart, in spirit, in style, in ‘talent’” – an intimate friendship grows. The pair write through the war, about his work, about grief. The letters requesting silence as he recovers from asthma attacks become almost satirical as he describes singing, banging, hammering workmen like members of a chorus, making their racket upstairs while ...

Tell Me How It Ends by Valeria Luiselli – review

These devastating essays document the terrifying experiences of unaccompanied Mexican children crossing the US border

In 2012, the Mexican writer Luiselli caused a sensation with her haunting debut novel, Faces in the Crowd, in which her unhappy protagonist craved “narrative order.” In this sobering essay, based on Luiselli’s experience as an interpreter for undocumented Mexican children crossing into the US, the phrase “narrative order” reappears, this time to describe what’s lacking in their chaotic stories. Trauma, exhaustion, youth and mistrust make it difficult to make sense of the children’s experiences as she tries to help them fill out the intake questionnaires and piece together a defence against deportation.

Most have lost friends and relatives; 80% of girls and women have been raped (US civilian vigilantes and private ranch owners are known to “go out to hunt” undocumented migrants). In this compelling, devastating book, Luiselli documents the huge injustices ...

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny – review

Katherine Heiny’s characters are faultlessly realised in this tale of a chalk-and-cheese couple caring for a son with Asperger’sGraham and his wife, Audra, live in “parallel universes”. Audra is optimistic, garrulous and popular. Graham is taciturn; his inner monologue, which Katherine Heiny’s third-person narrative dips in and out of, is sardonic and sarcastic. Yet the pair find a “thin spot in the fabric of their worlds” where they can work to create an ordinary life for their 10-year-old son Matthew, who has Asperger’s. They accompany him to origami club, engineer his social life and network with other parents. A current of understated humour runs throughout this book. Moments of tenderness, pain and disappointment consequently hit hard; we feel for Graham, who treasures moments with Matthew that are “reassuringly normal”. Heiny’s characters – charming, flawed, relatable, tragic, hilarious – are faultlessly constructed, lingering long in the memory like family ...

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny – review

Katherine Heiny’s characters are faultlessly realised in this tale of a chalk-and-cheese couple caring for a son with Asperger’sGraham and his wife, Audra, live in “parallel universes”. Audra is optimistic, garrulous and popular. Graham is taciturn; his inner monologue, which Katherine Heiny’s third-person narrative dips in and out of, is sardonic and sarcastic. Yet the pair find a “thin spot in the fabric of their worlds” where they can work to create an ordinary life for their 10-year-old son Matthew, who has Asperger’s. They accompany him to origami club, engineer his social life and network with other parents. A current of understated humour runs throughout this book. Moments of tenderness, pain and disappointment consequently hit hard; we feel for Graham, who treasures moments with Matthew that are “reassuringly normal”. Heiny’s characters – charming, flawed, relatable, tragic, hilarious – are faultlessly constructed, lingering long in the memory like family ...

Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists review – a passionate project

Donna Seaman resurrects forgotten artists and their work in inspiring fashion
In this passionate book, Seaman (daughter of artist Elayne Seaman) asks why seven American female artists – Louise Nevelson, Gertrude Abercrombie, Loïs Mailou Jones, Ree Morton, Joan Brown, Christina Ramberg, Lenore Tawney – respected and celebrated in their lifetimes, have been forgotten or nearly so. Seaman resurrects and reanimates. The women come to life here; grouchy, impish, shy, confident, introspective, scrounging and childish. Seaman also provides multiple interpretations of artworks, creating dialogues and instigating conversations that have for so long been missing and discusses how the gender of these accomplished artists led to society forgetting them. This is an inspiring and beautifully written book that will encourage the reader to research further and discover more. • Identity Unknown by Donna Seaman is published by Bloomsbury (£25). To order a copy for £21.25 go to bookshop.theguardian.com or ...