Under normal bookshops would be piled high with great novels from debut authors, while events and signings would put their names on every booklover's lips.
While we can't currently do those things to support fresh writing talent, we have highlighted six of the best debut novels available on line.
1 Exciting TimesBy Naoise DolanAn enthralling dissection of love and commitment in the international circles of contemporary Hong Kong. Politically astute and dryly funny, Exciting Times offers a fresh perspective to the grass-is-always-greener scenario, showing how power, privilege, doubt and compulsive self-searching shape - and break - modern relationships.Available in all forms online
2 The Animals at Lockwood ManorBy Jane HealyA gloriously gothic extravaganza, perfect for fans of Sarah Perry and Bridget Collins, Healey’s darkly atmospheric tale of a wartime menagerie haunting the corridors of the eponymous stately home is a masterclass in slow-burning tension and storytelling dynamics.Eerie, romantic and ineffably sinister, The Animals of Lockwood Manor is a stunningly realised piece of historical fiction.Available in all forms on line
3 If I Had Your FaceBy Frances ChaSparkling and utterly original, If I Had Your Face provides a surgical overview of the complex social hierarchies and the absurd beauty standards in modern day Seoul. Through the parallel stories of four young women, If I Had Your Face examines the hyper-competitive urban existence of contemporary Korean women.Available in all forms on line
4 How Much of These Hills is GoldBy C Pam ZhangSet in the afterglow of the great American Gold Rush, Zhang’s bleak, ferocious and heart-breaking debut follows the brutal journey of two immigrant teenage girls after the unexpected death of their sole parent. Haunting, visceral and deeply thought-provoking, How Much of These Hills Is Gold re-examines the American Dream in an utterly original, compelling voice.Available in all forms on line
5 Rainbow MilkBy Paul MendezMendez’s tantalising, bold debut is a coming-of-age tale unlike any other, mapping the journey of a young black gay man with a Jehovah’s Witness upbringing, making a fresh start in London. A fearless meditation on race, class, religion, freedom and sexuality, Rainbow Milk announces the arrival of a truly extraordinary new voice in fiction.Available in all forms on line
6 The Authenticity ProjectBy Clare PooleyThe debut novel from the author of the Sober Diaries balances humour with heart-break, and sincerity with mischief. The Authenticity Project is a warm and uplifting story about friendship, the importance of human connection and the power of truth.Available in all forms online