In brief: The Cure for Good Intentions; Widowland; The Moth and the Mountain – reviews

An eye-opening memoir of leaving journalism for medicine; a gripping counterfactual novel about 1950s Britain; and the moving story of a daring attempt to climb Everest

The Cure for Good Intentions

Sophie Harrison
Fleet, £16.99, pp271

Switching career from editor to doctor is rare, but as Sophie Harrison says in her memoir, there are a surprising number of skills that can be used in both professions. Each requires an extraordinary focus on detail, an interest in people and a dark sense of humour. Yet only doctors make the life-or-death decisions that Harrison recounts grippingly and affectingly here. The medical profession has seldom been more prominent than it is now and this fine book brings its day-to-day struggles to life.

Widowland

CJ Carey
Quercus, £14.99, pp435

CJ Carey’s novel follows Robert Harris’s Fatherland and CJ Sansom’s Dominion in its depiction of a Nazified 1950s Britain, but its thrilling storyline remains fresh. Its protagonist, Rose Ransom, works at the Orwellian Ministry of Culture under the auspices of the sinister “protector”, Alfred Rosenberg, repurposing literature for the country’s new ends. Yet she finds herself drawn to the mysterious Widowland, a slum district for unmarried, middle-aged women who may be able to incite revolution. Revelatory, page-turning reading.

The Moth and the Mountain

Ed Caesar
Penguin, £10.99, pp259 (paperback)

The adventurer Maurice Wilson was a forgotten figure until Ed Caesar’s brilliantly written and superbly researched book restored him to his rightful place in the annals of exploration. Wilson conceived an idea of flying a Gypsy Moth to Everest, crash-landing his plane and then making a solo trek to the summit. That he could neither fly nor climb were merely surmountable obstacles. Caesar’s book received enormous praise on publication last year and rightly so. This splendid tale is every bit as exciting as any adventure novel and, ultimately, deeply moving.

• To order The Cure for Good Intentions, Widowland or The Moth and the Mountain go to guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply

Contributor

Alexander Larman

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
In brief: The Mountbattens; This Is Happiness; Churchill – reviews
A revelatory aristocratic life, a magical novel and a fine political biography

Alexander Larman

08, Sep, 2019 @2:00 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: All Among the Barley; This Really Isn’t About You; Histories – reviews
Melissa Harrison’s lyrical coming-of-age story, Jean Hannah Edelstein’s unflinching cancer memoir, and consultant oncologist Sam Guglani’s interlinking stories from a busy hospital ward

Hannah Beckerman

19, Aug, 2018 @8:00 AM

Article image
In Brief: On Chapel Sands; Nobody Will Tell You This But Me – reviews
A gripping memoir by Laura Cumming along with a touching tribute to a Brooklynite grandmother

Hephzibah Anderson

12, Apr, 2020 @10:00 AM

Article image
In brief: A Good Enough Mother; Character Breakdown; Take Nothing With You – review
A thoughtful novel from Bev Thomas, a keenly observed memoir from Zawe Ashton and a poignant coming-of-age tale from Patrick Gale

Hannah Beckerman

28, Apr, 2019 @12:00 PM

Article image
In brief: The Seduction; Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls; James and Nora – review
A brave memoir on love and addiction

Hannah Beckerman

21, Jun, 2020 @10:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Lost Cat; Lake of Urine; LEL – review
Mary Gaitskill’s missing pet prompts an essay on love

Hephzibah Anderson

22, Nov, 2020 @1:00 PM

Article image
In brief: Balancing Acts; Francis I; The Fire Court
Behind the scenes at the National Theatre, the life Francis I of France, and murder on the streets of London after the Great Fire

Alexander Larman

22, Apr, 2018 @11:00 AM

Article image
In brief: Mother: A Memoir; Catherine House; Upheaval – review
Nicholas Royle explores the parent-child bond, Elisabeth Thomas serves up a gothic horror and Jared Diamond unpicks nations in crisis

Hephzibah Anderson

11, May, 2020 @10:59 AM

Article image
In brief: Stay With Me; Eat the Apple; Trajectory – review
Nigerian novelist Ayòbámi Adébáyò’s vivid debut, an inventive Iraq memoir from Matt Young and an introduction to the genius of Richard Russo

Ben East

18, Feb, 2018 @11:00 AM