In brief: Whale Fall; The Beauty of Falling; My Friend Anne Frank – review

<span>Hannah Pick-Goslar, author of My Friend Anne Frank.</span><span>Photograph: Marcel Antonisse/ANP/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Hannah Pick-Goslar, author of My Friend Anne Frank.Photograph: Marcel Antonisse/ANP/AFP/Getty Images

Whale Fall

Elizabeth O’Connor
Picador, £14.99, pp176

Set in a remote island community off the coast of Wales, O’Connor’s beautifully evocative debut explores the liminal spaces between aspiration and disappointment, adolescence and adulthood, land and sea. Eighteen-year-old Manod lives with her lobsterman father and younger sister. Soon after a dead whale washes up on the beach, the arrival of two anthropologists opens up new opportunities. O’Connor creates a sense of compelling inevitability about the outcome of Manod’s desires in a highly impressive coming-of-age tale.

The Beauty of Falling: A Life in Pursuit of Gravity

Claudia de Rham
Princeton University Press, £20, pp232

As a theoretical physicist, De Rham has spent her career investigating the nature of gravity. Here, she combines the personal with the professional, revealing how her private passions in scuba diving and the piloting of light aircraft have led to a greater experiential understanding of gravity. Highlighting the main theories of gravity from Newton and Einstein to Hawking and Roger Penrose, she produces a comprehensive overview of her scientific obsession.

My Friend Anne Frank

Hannah Pick-Goslar
Penguin, £10.99, pp336 (paperback)

Born in 1928, Pick-Goslar moved from her middle-class German home in 1933 when Hitler came to power. In Amsterdam, she became friends with Anne Frank until July 1942, when the Franks suddenly disappeared. A year later, Pick-Goslar’s family were rounded up, and they spent six months in a transit camp before being moved to Bergen-Belsen, where the author’s entire family perished, save for herself and her baby sister. A deeply moving memoir, it’s a timely reminder of the harrowing experiences suffered by European Jews.