Ordinary People by Diana Evans (2018)
Themes: modern marriage, black identity, domesticity
Not to be confused with Sally Rooney’s Normal People, this realistic novel paints a portrait of a marriage that, 13 years in, is running dry. Evans’ has previously spoken of her ambition ‘to see the everyday in middle-class black lives normalised and humanised’ and in Melissa and Michael’s (‘M&M’) Crystal Palace home, things seem gratingly familiar - until they don’t, and the otherworldly starts to unfold.
For those who have a soft spot for the traditional novel, Evans has earned comparisons to Dickens and Tolstoy, such is her ability to create a complete and familiar world. Which means that, even if you don't want to talk about relationships, marriage or long-term love, there is the recent history of Barrack Obama's inauguration and the death of Michael Jackson to reconsider as a group.