Major/Minor by Alba Arikha (Quartet, £10)

Now based in London, the French singer-songwriter relives her childhood in this memoir of shuttling between Paris and Israel in the 1980s. Her father was Avigdor Arikha, a painter who hob-nobbed with the international art elite but refused to associate with the bourgeoisie. Avigdor had been interned in a Romanian concentration camp in 1941, although he shunned former camp inmates if they weren’t on his intellectual level, and the weight of his history dominated his relationship with his daughter, “[sitting] between us like an intruder that will never leave”. A gawky girl forced to wear a back brace, Alba was keenly aware of the gulf between them, and was torn between her need for his approval and her compulsion to assert her identity by challenging him. Additionally, she writes fondly of visits and gifts from her godfather, Samuel Beckett. It’s a vivid account of a stormy adolescence and a revealing insight into being the child of a Holocaust survivor.

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead (Fleet, £8.99)

Darkly humorous and provocative, but delivered with deadpan seriousness, The Intuitionist is a weird satire on race set amidst the elevator inspectors of an unnamed American city in some vague pre-Civil Rights period. Elevator inspection is bizarrely prominent in this city, up there with sanitation and garbage collection, and twice as corrupt. Lila Mae Watson is one of only two black elevator inspectors in the city. After a staged “accident”, set up for Lila Mae to take the blame, she becomes a pawn for the competing factions in the elevator inspection sector: the Empiricists, who check each nut and bolt, and the Intuitionists, who can somehow determine the safety of an elevator just by riding it. Couched in the philosophical writings of the founder of Intuitionism, it’s an allegory that gathers pulp-noir tropes and social commentary around a central metaphor of upward mobility, but ultimately defies analysis. Originally published in 1999, it’s still way ahead of the pack imaginatively.

2020 by Kenneth Steven (Saraband, £8.99)

Written before the Brexit referendum, but all too credible in its wake, 2020 traces the rapid descent of Britain into violence as its fault lines crack open. A right-wing group called White Rose has emerged, started by disaffected members of the BNP and EDL. When Britain suffers its own 9/11 in the shape of a bomb on an Edinburgh to London train which kills more than 200 people, they are quick to take advantage. Eric Semple, officially an independent but a White Rose candidate in all but name, wins a by-election in an English constituency, marking the start of an outbreak of rioting and racial violence. It’s a fragmentary novel, composed of interviews and witness statements from a variety of narrators, which shows the crisis from numerous angles but continually reminds the reader of the distance between politicians and the consequences of their actions. Extrapolating from present trends, 2020 exerts the unsettling fascination of events that could easily come to pass.