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Paperbacks

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (Black Swan, £7.99)

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (Black Swan, £7.99)

Sittenfeld's tale of sisterly rivalry focuses ostensibly on whether the ability to see the future is real, but beneath that, sisters Kate and Vi are too obviously in opposition to allow for psychological depth, with Kate the conventional stay-at-home mother and Vi the childless "free spirit". The plot's reliance on secrets and lies can drag a little.

Hitler's Girls: A Novel by Emma Tennant and Hilary Bailey (Or Books, £12)

Tennant and Bailey's murder mystery tale of Monica Stirling, who believes she is Hitler's daughter and is killed for it, is ingenious in the telling. One narrator, Monica's deliciously stiff and correct friend Jean Hastie, is surely Miss Jean Brodie-turned-investigator. It's stylishly composed, too, and an interesting comment on violence and young women from different eras.

The Virtues Of The Table: How To Eat And Think by Julian Baggini (Granta, £14.99)

Baggini begins with Kant's exhortation "dare to know!", as he in turn exhorts us to think for ourselves about what we eat, why and how. He also makes a good point, if not an original one, about the dominance of foodie TV shows being in inverse proportion to our knowledge about the food we're eating.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty by James Thurber (Penguin, £5.99)

A new film of Thurber's classic may bring a fresh audience to his short story about the man even garage mechanics smirk at. At a more profound level, however, his collection of stories shows how we need narratives to ward off the death of the soul, like the detective-story fan who can only read Macbeth like an Agatha Christie.

Lesley McDowell

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