In brief: The Walking People; Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain; A Long Petal of the Sea – reviews

Mary Beth Keane’s rich debut is republished, Lisa Feldman Barrett makes neuroscience snappy, and Isabel Allende engrosses with a Spanish saga

The Walking People

Mary Beth Keane
Michael Joseph, £14.99, pp400

In the wake of the critical acclaim for her third novel, Ask Again, Yes, comes the UK publication of Keane’s debut, an epic story about immigration, identity and family. In 1956, sisters Greta and Johanna Cahill are growing up in a remote, almost deserted hamlet on the west coast of Ireland, before departing for the US as teenagers. Keane portrays the complex and, at times, challenging lives of these working-class women over the following decades with tenderness and compassion.

Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain

Lisa Feldman Barrett
Picador, £14.99, pp192

Barrett, a leading American neuroscientist, offers a series of highly accessible, content-rich and eminently readable essays about the workings of the human brain. Drawing on the latest scientific research, and debunking plenty of myths along the way, Barrett tackles everything from child and infant development to managing the divisiveness in contemporary politics. Fascinating and informative, it is popular science at its best.

A Long Petal of the Sea

Isabel Allende (translated by Amanda Hopkinson and Nick Caistor)
Bloomsbury, £8.99, pp336

Spanning 60 years and two continents, Allende’s latest novel follows two young Spanish republicans – Victor Dalmau and Roser Bruguera – from the Spanish civil war, through French detention camps and finally to Chile and Venezuela. Roser’s son is the child of Victor’s brother, Guillem, killed in the war, and when Victor decides to take care of them, what begins as a practical arrangement gradually develops into a tender, lasting commitment to each other. Allende examines themes of cultural dislocation and the impact of political upheaval on quotidian lives in an engrossing and vivid novel.

To order The Walking People, Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain or A Long Petal of the Sea go to guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply

• This article was amended on 15 March 2021 to correct a misspelling of Lisa Feldman Barrett’s name.

Contributor

Hannah Beckerman

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende review – love on the run from Franco
A doctor and his brother’s wife connect in exile from fascist Spain

Hephzibah Anderson

02, Feb, 2020 @1:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Unsettled Ground; Genesis; Inferno – reviews
Twins unravel their family history when their mother dies; myths, science and the origins of the universe; and a harrowing account of postpartum psychosis

Hannah Beckerman

28, Mar, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Lemon; The Nutmeg’s Curse; Dirt – reviews
Kwon Yeo-Sun brings eerie beauty to crime fiction, Amitav Ghosh traces the climate crisis to colonialism and Bill Buford goes to the heart of French cuisine

Hephzibah Anderson

26, Sep, 2021 @3:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Turning the Tide on Plastic; A Long Island Story; A Life of My Own – reviews
Lucy Siegle tackles our plastic habit, a McCarthy-era novel lacks pace, while biographer Claire Tomalin tells her own engrossing story

Hannah Beckerman

22, Jul, 2018 @10:00 AM

Article image
In brief: The Man Who Died Twice; Aesop’s Animals; Breathtaking – reviews
Richard Osman’s second novel doesn’t disappoint. Plus, the science behind Aesop’s fables and on the Covid frontline with Dr Rachel Clarke

Hannah Beckerman

12, Sep, 2021 @3:00 PM

Article image
In brief: States of Passion; Unnatural Causes; Devil’s Day – reviews
A story of passion in Syria’s golden age; a compassionate memoir by a leading pathologist; and a tension-filled gothic horror

Hannah Beckerman

16, Sep, 2018 @10:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Walking the Great North Line; All Our Broken Idols; The Farm – review
A marvellous tour of British landmarks, an archaeological mystery and a dystopian satire about a ‘gestation retreat’

Ben East

31, May, 2020 @10:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Black Water Sister; Mr Wilder & Me; Teach Yourself to Sleep – reviews
A graduate is haunted by the voice of her grandmother, Jonathan Coe examines fame through a film director, and Kate Mikhail wants to send us to sleep

Ben East

27, Jun, 2021 @3:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Water Ways, The City Always Wins, A Shot in the Dark – reviews
Jasper Winn on the mood and meaning of Britain’s canals, Omar Robert Hamilton crafts a vivid story about Egypt’s revolution, and Lynne Truss exhibits her mastery of mystery

Ben East

10, Jun, 2018 @9:00 AM

Article image
Isabel Allende: ‘I still have the same rage’
The renowned author on the unfinished task of replacing the patriarchy, swapping 24,000 letters with her mother, and why she gives all her books away

Hephzibah Anderson

15, Jan, 2022 @6:00 PM