The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
The author's second novel is set in 1949, when WWII has just ended and Empire is dying. The protagonist, a survivor of a Japanese wartime camp, becomes the disciple of a man whom she initially hates, Aritomo, the exiled gardener of the Emperor of Japan. War, murder, Communists, guerrillas from the jungle, the beauty of gardens and grim wartime secrets all feature.
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
Set over a single week, the novel that ostensibly follows a group of tourists at the French Riviera but actually turns an unerring eye on the nature of depression, has been praised for its linguistic brilliance, its technical power, humour and understanding of psychology.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
A sequel to Wolf Hall, which won the Man Booker in 2009, Bring Up the Bodies pivots on the story of Anne Boleyn and the political intrigues of England under Henry VIII. Part of a trilogy about Cromwell, the book concentrates particularly on the three weeks in which Boleyn, the second wife of Henry, is tried and executed on charges of treason and adultery.
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
The Lighthouse follows Futh, a middle aged man, as he sets off on a walking holiday along the Rhine in Germany. As he walks, his thoughts take in his childhood, his failed marriage and his mother's abandonment of him. The novel then returns to the hotel from where Futh set out and the events that loom up to meet him.
Umbrella by Will Self
Self's latest book includes in its sweep, London of the early 20th century and life in a mental institution in 1971. The story follows psychiatrist Zachary Busner whose treatment of a patient, 71-year-old Audrey, gives the reader glimpses of a lost era.
Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
Set in an opium den and an adjacent brothel in Mumbai, Narcopolis features in its cast of characters, a eunuch called Dimple and the painter Newton Xavier. The narrator, steeped in this world of drugs, addiction, sex and death, tells the story of a changing city as it was in the late 1970s and as it is when he returns to it in 2004.