Sebastian Barry and Abi Daré: This week’s best new fiction

From Sebastian Barry’s splendidly old-fashioned A Thousand Moons to an ultimately uplifting debut from Abi Daré, this week’s best new fiction

A Thousand Moons

Sebastian Barry                                                                                           Faber £18.99

Set in rural Tennessee in the period after the Civil War, A Thousand Moons is a strange and beautiful story, narrated by a young Native American girl who has been adopted by two Irishmen who are openly living together, and whose tale Barry told in Days Without End

If elements in the novel strain credulity, he’s a good enough storyteller to keep his rickety Wild West wagon rolling. 

The result is a splendidly old-fashioned yarn, shot through with fine phrases and graced by a high-spirited young heroine whose brushes with death have the spine tingling nicely.

Max Davidson


The Girl With The Louding Voice

Abi Daré                                                                                                      Sceptre £12.99

Adunni is a 14-year-old girl from a rural village in Nigeria where old traditions continue to hold sway in a deeply patriarchal society. 

Dreaming of an education and a better life, she is instead sold by her father to an abusive old man, whose third wife she’s to be. She escapes, only to find herself enslaved to a wealthy family in Lagos. 

Narrated by Adunni herself in a brilliantly sustained broken English, this ultimately uplifting debut novel shines a penetrating light on the barbaric practices of child labour and child marriage.

Simon Humphreys