Sam Kitchener

Four debuts

Left of the Bang

By Claire Lowdon

Fourth Estate 338pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

The Wallcreeper & Mislaid

By Nell Zink

Fourth Estate 168pp & 242pp £20 order from our bookshop

The Fat of Fed Beasts

By Guy Ware

Salt Publishing 256pp £8.99 order from our bookshop

It’s fun to find a novel in which the emotional and physical topography is so clearly recognisable. The events of Claire Lowdon’s sharp debut, Left of the Bang, take place among the young and privileged of contemporary west London, a world with which I happen to be familiar (albeit as a chippy dinner guest or wayward child’s Common Entrance tutor), and she skewers this particular smart set in a fashion no less cruel for its apparent patience. She has Evelyn Waugh’s willingness to inflict gruesome plot twists on her Bright Young Things. Her title is taken from a military term for the lead-up to an explosion. Lowdon’s explosion, we assume, will be the consummation of a much-telegraphed affair between concert pianist Tamsin and Afghanistan-bound soldier Chris.

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