Complicated Love

This month, the team at Gloucester Road Books has chosen the perfect reads for you to fall in love with this Valentine’s Day, exploring the often complex themes of love and romance.

A note from the team: “Our primary aim is that the shop be a fascinating place to explore. We have a significant focus on titles published by small independent presses. There are lots of really brilliant small publishers putting out incredibly exciting books, and we want to help get these out into the world. The stock is carefully chosen and constantly changing, so even if you pop in every week there will always be new books to find.”

The New Life, Tom Crewe
Published by Vintage Books,

Set at the very end of the 19th century, with the country on the cusp of rapid change, The New Life follows the lives of a handful of Londoners, each trying to find a way to live and love in a country that does not want them to be themselves, and certainly does not want them to act on their feelings. Set against the backdrop of Oscar Wilde’s arrest, and written with rich detail, Crewe’s novel brings their stories to vivid life.

Chloe Michelle Howarth
Published by Verve Books, £10.99

Set in rural Ireland in the 90s, this is a gorgeously written debut novel about coming of age and discovering queer sexuality. Lucy is pulled in different directions, by friendship, desire, loyalty, fear, and the novel follows her attempts to navigate these intense emotional gravities. There are some pyrotechnically descriptive moments in writing that is otherwise quite clipped and spare. It’s an enormously accomplished and hugely enjoyable debut.

As the Eagle Flies,
Nolwenn Le Blevennec
Published by Peirene Press £12.99

This is the story of an affair.
An obsessive, tumultous, disasterous, all consuming affair – an amour fou. It’s told in a voice that is brilliantly confessional, self-deprecating, witty and self-aware, and is generally a joy to read. The story is fiction, but heavily autobiographical, which makes the confessional nature of the writing all the more striking.

I’m a Fan, Sheena Patel
Published by Granta Books

It’s hard to imagine a more revealing book about certain kinds of modern relationships than Sheena Patel’s debut novel. I’m a Fan is an intense, fierce, witty, uncompromising look at, among other things, the power in relationships and the impact of social media. It makes for uncomfortable reading at times, but has a welcome rawness throughout.

Simple Passion, Annie Ernaux
Published by Fitzcarraldo Editions,

In this slim book, Ernaux gives a lucid account of an affair she had with a married man years earlier. She writes on how the affair gripped her life becoming an obsession that outside of their brief meetings only brought about immediate misery. Like all Ernaux’s writing, this book is about as honest, curious, and objective as one can be about their own life experiences.

To sign up, visit Gloucester Road Books’ website: Follow them on Instagram: gloucester_rd_books and browse the collection in store: 184 Gloucester Road, Bishopston, BS7 8NU.
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