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Leaf Arbuthnot Recommends

The debut author shares her recent favourites

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Leaf Arbuthnot
Author of 'Looking for Eliza'

Leaf Arbuthnot's highly anticipated first novel, Looking for Eliza, is the perfect book for anyone in need of a pick-me-up (really, who isn't?). Ada, a recently widowed writer, sets up a 'Rent-a-Gran' scheme and meets Eliza, a recently heartbroken millennial failing to write her doctoral thesis. The pair strike up an unlikely friendship and re-learn how to form meaningful connections.

Leaf shares her six reading recommendations below.

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Looking for Eliza by Leaf Arbuthnot is published by Trapeze and out now.

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The Past

Tessa Hadley, paperback


' I’ve fallen hard for English novelist Tessa Hadley this year. This book reunites a fracturing middle class family for an extended summer holiday in somewhere like Devon. She writes with such serene beauty I have to take little breaks to soak in the quality of her prose for a bit. Hadley's people have that rare quality of seeming to become people you know. A wonderful book. '

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The Periodic Table

Premo Levi, paperback


'Levi is best known for his book about the Holocaust, If this is a man. But his memoir, too, is worth reading, and gives a richer portrait of Levi the chemist and satirist. The book is hilarious and moving and packed with strange family anecdotes about his eccentric antecedents. One of my all time favourite books.'

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The Glass Essay

Anne Carson, paperback


'This, by Canadian heavyweight Anne Carson, is a hard book to categorise. Is it barely-disguised memoir? Poetry? Prose poetry? Whatever it is, it’s propulsive writing. The first section, the Glass Essay, is probably my favourite contemporary poem, and is a fearless portrait of a woman who takes refuge at home after a break up. I turn to this book again and again, particularly in moments of despair.' The Glass Essay can be found in the collection, Glass and God.


See What can Be Done

Lorrie Moore, paperback


'This book is a collection of essays by the American critic Lorrie Moore. She’s a big name over the pond and deserves to be here too. I absolutely love this book. Moore’s writing is lacerating, perceptive, warm, relentlessly intelligent, and she helps you to see sharper. I’d read a review written by her of a cucumber or a packet of dog biscuits.'


Come Rain or Come Shine

Kazuo Ishiguro, paperback


'For my money this is the funniest short story ever written, and released in a gorgeous little Faber book to mark the publisher’s 90th anniversary. It’s touching, beautifully written and made me laugh so much the first time I read it that I had to hide it from myself, because it was making my body hurt. I must have bought fifteen of these over the years to give to friends. '



Tony Morrison, paperback


' It took me years to get Toni Morrison, probably because I associated her with school (she was a set text). But this heady, dreamy novel is one of my closest companions now. Morrison is particularly good at allowing characters to be both bad and good, charming and repulsive, dumb and clever. The book is short too which I appreciate.'