The first is the best?

Debut novels on this year’s Guardian First Book Award shortlist.

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    Mirza Waheed "The Collaborator"

    Four teenage boys, who used to spend their afternoons playing cricket or singing Bollywood ballads down by the river, have disappeared one by one to cross into Pakistan and join the movement against the Indian army. A tale tinged with grief, 'The Collaborator' describes the heart of a war that is all too real.


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    Amy Waldman "The Submission"

    'The Submission' is a wrenching panoramic novel about the politics of grief in the wake of 9/11.


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    Stephen Kelman "Pigeon English"

    With equal fascination for the local gang - the Dell Farm Crew - and the pigeon who visits his balcony, 11-year-old Harri absorbs the many strange elements of his new life in England. But when a boy is knifed to death and a police appeal for witnesses draws only silence, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own.


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    Erin Morgenstern "The Night circus"

    Follows the tangled relationship between two young magicians who work for the Cirque des Reves.


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    Mary Horlock "The Book of lies"

    Catherine Rozier is 15-years-old and a murderer. She desperately wants to explain what happened that stormy night on the cliffs by Clarence Batterie. But the adults around her - her mother, her teachers, even the Chief Constable - understand that some things are best kept hidden.


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    Juan Pablo Villalobos "Down the rabbit hole"

    Tochtli lives in a palace. He loves hats, samurai, guillotines and dictionaries, and what he wants more than anything right now is a new pet for his private zoo: a pygmy hippopotamus from Liberia. But Tochtli is a child whose father is a drug baron on the verge of taking over a powerful drug cartel.


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    Elif Batuman "The Possessed"

    Elif Batuman takes the reader on a journey both literary and physical as she traces the evolution of her fascination with Russian literature across the globe and several centuries. This is a deeply funny, fiercely intelligent portrait of the not-always-rational pursuit of knowledge.


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    Owen Jones "Chavs"

    In this ground-breaking investigation Owen Jones explores how the working class has gone from 'salt of the earth' to 'scum of the earth'. It is a disturbing portrait of inequality and class hatred in modern Britain.


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    Siddhartha Mukherjee "Emperor of Maladies"

    'The Emperor of All Maladies' is a comprehensive history of cancer - one of the greatest enemies of medical progress - and an insight into its effects and potential cures.


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    Rachel Boast "Sidereal"

    Rachael Boast's first collection of poetry is dominated by astral influence and divine chance, by unseen or remote causes; Despite its celestial title, Sidereal is full of terrestrial concerns, the traffic and chaos of the human and natural worlds.


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