Carolina Setterwall (Bloomsbury, £9.99)

When Swedish concert promoter Carolina Setterwall found her partner Aksel dead one morning, she was left, at 36, to raise their son alone. In this memoir of her bereavement, she writes about the devastating impact of his death, but also looks unflinchingly back over a difficult relationship. Always the dominant partner, Carolina was the one who pushed the couple along in a series of painful negotiations, her need for control wearing down Aksel’s reticence about moving in together and, later, having a baby. Asking tough questions about her attitude towards him when they were together and how she, as a grieving widow, can come to terms with their troubled partnership in the wake of his death, it’s a painfully raw, starkly honest examination of her very human and personal reaction to bereavement, leading up to another hammer-blow when she begins dating again and finds herself in a situation which will result in pain whatever action she takes.


Andrew Greig (Polygon, £8.99)

The latest collection from poet and novelist Greig, who divides his time between Edinburgh and Orkney, has an elegiac mood, the author seeing himself and his friends “edging towards the exit like guests/ready to slip away before the bill’s presented” and musing on how words can cross time and space to connect us with lost friends who once wrote or spoke them. He’s also preoccupied with our no less real but more elusive connection with the landscape, which can express itself through us far more easily than we can penetrate its mysteries. Elsewhere, he’s inspired by a figure on a ship in a bottle, a football team in training, the brief life of a Stinkhorn mushroom. His quartet about Jimmy Shand – “Yon was music-making Scottish style/a serious business and damn hard work” – says it all and does so brilliantly. Throughout, the watchword is clarity, Greig’s poems relatable and direct without sacrificing any of the magic and mystery of his medium.


Mike Carter (Faber & Faber, £10.99)

In 1981, left-wing activist Pete Carter, “one of the last of a breed of self-educated, working-class, chest-thumping orators”, became one of the organisers of the People’s March for Jobs, in which 300 people walked from Liverpool to London to protest Thatcherite policies. Thirty-five years later, partly as a way of bridging the gulf between himself and his late father, his son Mike decided to retrace the route on foot to see what had changed and what had remained the same in the parts of the country it had passed through. Over four weeks, he saw food banks, homeless people, council budgets pared to the bone, public spaces lost to private enterprise, the return of diseases thought eradicated – in short, a country demoralised and, on the eve of the EU referendum, looking for someone to blame. It’s an affecting book which blends the personal and political, Carter grieving for his country while seeking a posthumous reconciliation with his father.