Photo: Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy
The Fourth Estate, £14.99pp272
The humor and charm of the second-person narrative reflects the experiences of a Jamaican family living in Miami in this exciting series of linked stories. Topper and Sanya flee to the United States when political unrest engulfs Kingston in 1979, but the collection is really about the younger of their two sons, Trelawny, a bookish boy whose light skin means that, from an early age, forced him to respond to the situation. question “What are you?” The implications take him to the midwest, where he attends a liberal arts college, and into a series of odd, sometimes dubious jobs that he must take to make ends meet. Despite financial crisis and hurricane, there is a glimmer of hope amidst the trauma and turmoil. A head start from a talent to watch.
Chatto & Windus, £22pp320
At the heart of this questionable and poignant social history is an album covered in pink silk, its blue pages filled with 2,000 scraps of fabric. Each fragment has a neat inscribed label and a 19th century date but who put it together? Strasdin, a lecturer in cultural studies and costume aficionado, was determined to solve this “beautiful mystery” and Anne Sykes, a woman from Lancashire, left swatches of the wool, silk, cotton and lace from which she left her. their clothes became her friends and family. These fragments connect true stories of merchant life, pirates and princesses, recalling the networks of female companionship Anne built as she moved from the industrial north to Singapore and Shanghai.
Grove Press UK, £9.99, pp240 (software)
After the 2016 US election, New Yorker Mead and her husband decided to move with their 13-year-old son to London. Mead was born there but grew up in Weymouth and left for the United States as a young graduate, making this mid-life relocation less of a homecoming than an uncontroversial voyage of discovery. Reflections on the city she left behind and the magical life she built there lead to an exploration of her new city, its contemporary features and its famous history. She accurately captures a mood of transition, and a vibrant interplay of ambiguity and curiosity sheds light on the meaning of home and the ways in which the chronology of our lives becomes closely intertwined with ever-changing urban backdrops.
• To order If I Live You, Dress Diary of Mrs Anne Sykes or Town/Land go to guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply