Roaring out of 40 years in obscurity, Elizabeth Harrower's The Watch Tower (Text Classics) is a beautifully written, utterly hypnotic account of two Australian girls' abandonment by their manicure-admiring mother and subsequent drift towards annihilation at the hands of the eldest's viciously craven husband.
Red or Dead by David Peace (Faber) is a rare example of a novelist intentionally exploring the possibilities of boredom. Through great walls of merciless repetition – illustrating how life, like football, is all in the perspiration – Peace swings the glorious wrecking ball of Bill Shankly, providing much-needed, if agonised, release.
Magda by Meike Ziervogel (Salt) is a creeps-inducing miniature life of Magda Goebbels, wife of Joseph, mother of the Reich and murderess of her own six children. Historical accuracy is not the aim, however. This is an imagined portrait of intergenerational maternal cruelties implanting a horror of self and the seeds of what monsters may be.
Next: Chris Judge's books of the year
Previous: Donal Ryan