In brief: The Turnout; Conversations on Love; To Be a Man – reviews

Megan Abbott’s gripping ballet thriller, moving meditations on love, and Nicole Krauss’s impressive short story collection

The Turnout

Megan Abbott
Virago, £14.99, pp352

Sisters Marie and Dara Durante own a suburban ballet school they inherited from their mother. Dara’s husband, Charlie – who grew up in the family home as their mother’s star pupil – runs the logistics. When a building contractor, Derek, enters their lives to undertake some repairs, he inveigles his way beneath the trio’s tightly guarded and emotionally fraught bonds. Abbott’s prose is dazzlingly precise and her portrayal of student rivalries razor-sharp in this taut and psychologically gripping novel.

Conversations on Love

Natasha Lunn
Viking, £14.99, pp320

Based on Lunn’s popular newsletter, this eclectic and heartwarming collection explores love in all its forms, from romantic and parental love to friendship and loss. Lunn has gathered an impressive array of interviewees, from psychotherapist Philippa Perry and psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz to novelists Lisa Taddeo and Diana Evans. Interspersed with short but often deeply revealing interviews are Lunn’s own experiences – of marriage and miscarriage, of being mother and daughter, wife and friend – which she portrays with sensitivity and candour.

To Be a Man

Nicole Krauss
Bloomsbury, £8.99, pp240

In her first short story collection, Krauss demonstrates her talent for inhabiting an impressive range of narrative voices. A woman remembers a teenage friend’s toxic relationship with an older man. Another woman visits the apartment of her late father, only to discover a stranger living there. Later in the collection, Krauss allows herself a departure from the strictures of realism, while a story in which New York residents are urged to wear gas masks feels unnervingly prescient. Exploring desire, sexuality, history and human connections, it’s an extraordinary collection.


Hannah Beckerman

The GuardianTramp

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