Martin Chilton reviews six of June’s biggest releases for our monthly column
Sinéad O’Connor’s fearless autobiography Rememberings is a riveting account of modern celebrity and a deeply candid account of her own “trainwreck” life. The singer’s memoir also addresses the grim truths of sex and power in the modern world – a subject close to the heart of Lisa Taddeo, whose 2019 non-fiction bestseller Three Women explored female sexuality and desire. Her debut novel Animal, like O’Connor’s book, has important things to say about the mistreatment of women in a male-dominated society.
The final instalment of the second Fifty Shades trilogy, which ties up the story of Christian Grey and his soon-to-be bride Anastasia Steele, is also out in June. “And I do it again. And again,” boasts Christian, while in the midst of “thrusting” Ana, early in the opening chapter of Freed: Fifty Shades Freed as told by Christian. “Again and again” seems to sum up the public’s unending desire to lap up the same steamy slop from author EL James.
Joanna Walsh, described as a “multidisciplinary writer for print, digital and performance”, captures the fragile experience of growing up in her hypnotic, challenging novel Seed (No Alibis Press). The 1980s protagonist, just turning 18, is trying to make sense of coming out in a world of Aids, nuclear anxiety, and her own battles to make sense of fractured sexual politics (“I am a feminist/I don’t like any of the women here”). The novel, written in layers of poetic prose, is hard to define, but it is lush, experimental and strangely lovely.