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What we’re reading: December 2016

Visionary graphic novelist Nick Hayes turns his laser-sharp attention to a wordless, bird-focused tale

What we’re reading: December 2016

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The upcoming master of the long-form comic turns his lyrical drawings to a simple tale: the journey of a boy, a girl and their life of buzzing alarms and city demands. Fear and oppression permeates the opening illustrations as the pair wander and strive, war and weep erratically through an urban landscape — all the while ignoring the rising and setting of the sun, and the ever-present chorus of birds. The latter, led by an almost mythical cormorant, calls them closer to the natural world, to water and trees and salvation. Rendered almost completely in tone-on-tone blues, this is a picture book of an odd and eerie beauty. Cormorance by Nick Hayes is published by Jonathan Cape (RRP: £18.99).

Three destinations in focus

The Vegetarian
The 2016 Man Booker International prize-winning South Korean novel. A three-part tale about a woman who gives up meat and tears her family apart. By Han Kang and translated by Deborah Smith.
Portobello Books (RRP: £7.99).

White Mountain
Real and imagined journeys in the Himalayas, by Robert Twigger, acclaimed author of Red Nile. A travelogue and expansive exploration of these mighty mountains that follows a meandering and often mythical path.
Orion (RRP: £20).

Footprints in Spain
Ex-pat Simon Courtauld entwines his forensic knowledge of Spain’s tempestuous history with his personal experiences. Warm and witty, the book touches on British lives in all corners of the sun-soaked country. 
Quartet Books (RRP: £20).

Published in the December 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)