Last year’s Man Booker Prize winner George Saunders has waxed lyrical about this powerful book, which is sure to leave you in tears. It’s not uplifting, but it’s important nonetheless. Make sure this is in your travel bag – and at the top of it. £12.99, Bloomsbury Circus
Not all holiday reads need to be trashy novels. This collection of essays by the contemporary thinker Zadie Smith includes thoughts on global warming and Jay-Z, as well as a poignant rumination on the death of her father. Reading these, you’ll realise why Zadie’s so acclaimed. £20, Hamish Hamilton
The acclaimed The Essex Serpent has been called a forebear to this novel, which is Imogen’s first. In 1785 a captain discovers a mermaid, which causes ructions in Georgian society. £12.99, Harvill Secker
The superstar novelist an author of The Interestings looks at the life of Greer Kadetsky, a college student whose life is upended when she meets activist Faith Frank. £15.99, Riverhead Books
Ren Ishida is on a mission – to find out what happened to his murdered sister Keiko. He picks up his life and moves to the town where she died, to discover that his sister kept a litany of secrets from him.
£18.99, Soho Press
This debut novel from Corinne Sullivan focuses on Imogene, a recent college graduate who teaches at an elite prep school – when things take a turn for the worse, and it has shocking consequences.
£18, Wednesday Books