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Paperbacks

Learning To Make An Oud In Nazareth by Ruth Padel (Chatto and Windus, £10)

Learning To Make An Oud In Nazareth by Ruth Padel (Chatto and Windus, £10)

"Will you be angry for ever?" asks Padel in one poem, as this superb collection looks at the Middle East and conjures up images, inevitably, of peace and war. "Civilised", "massacre" and "asylum" lie side by side. This is a sorrowful and elegiac collection, though it ends on a note not entirely without hope.

EIBF, August 23, 10.15am

Ghost Moth by Michéle Forbes (Phoenix, £7.99)

From the opening where she swims too far out to sea, we can sense that married mother-of-four Katherine is skirting danger. This time-shifting, superior, if rather too gentle love story, that parallels the Ireland of 1949 and 1969, comes recommended by those titans of Irish literature, Sebastian Barry, Anne Enright and John Banville.

EIBF, August 18, 8.30pm

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas (Atlantic, £7.99)

Set partly in Scotland and partly in Australia, Tsiolkas's tale of swimmer Danny can feel a little bloated and self-indulgent at times, and it relies wholly on the charm of his working-class underdog hero to carry you through, as Tsiolkas alternates between past and present, first and third person, in a fairly traditional narrative.

EIBF, August 12, 8.30pm

Season To Taste, Or How To Eat Your Husband by Natalie Young (Tinder Press, £7.99)

Lizzie Prain not only kills her husband, she cooks him and eats bits of him too. Young uses this premise for some inevitable black comedy, but while her prose style is simple and straightforward, her structure is suitably jagged and tricky, so that the soapier elements reflecting on a marriage gone wrong take on a more bitter taste.

EIBF, August 24, 5pm​

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