OK, I’ve given in and made the following rather unsurprising predictions for tomorrow.
- Bring Up the Bodies – Hilary Mantel
- Ancient Light – John Banville
- Hawthorn and Child – Keith Ridgway
- Toby’s Room – Pat Barker
- The Yips – Nicola Barker
- NW – Zadie Smith
- Merivel – Rose Tremain
- The Painter of Silence – Georgina Harding
- Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan
- John Saturnall’s Feast – Lawrence Norfolk
- Umbrella – Will Self
- The Land of Decoration – Grace McLeen
- The Big Music – Kirsty Gunn
UPDATE: I forgot one!
A Box of Birds – Charles Fernyhough
A thriller set in the world of brain research investigating the clash between materialism and Freudian therapy, Fernyhough looks to investigate the kinds of explanation that can work in fiction, and in considerations of what it means to be human. On the basis of this pitch I supported the book on Unbound. I want to see how it works,
I’ll be posting a review of John Banville’s Ancient Light in the next few days, but in the meantime I thought I would post a selection of new books I’m looking forward to in the coming months, some of which have landed on my doormat recently. This is a very short non-exhaustive list which rather favours big names. Feel free to suggest others!
Toby’s Room – Pat Barker
The new novel by the author of the Regeneration Trilogy returns to World War One and roughly meshes with the events of Life Class which I was a little disappointed by. Word is that this one is very dark and very good indeed.
NW – Zadie Smith
After Keith Ridgway’s wonderful Hawthorn and Child another novel of London and its inhabitants which will be very different but, I hope, equally brilliant.
The City’s Son – Tom Pollock
Many years ago I went to the pub with Tom Pollock. I’m pretty sure he bought a round, so that’s in his favour. He also mentioned wanting to write. This very well previewed fantasy/YA novel set in a world of ‘monsters and miralces’ is one of the books I really wish I’d got hold of before release.
Rook – Jane Rusbridge
‘Look at the stars, Rook. Tell me what you know.’
Set in the village of Bosham on the Sussex coast, Jane Rusbridge’s second novel tackles buried secrets, history, memory, and the meaning of home.
Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure – Artemis Cooper
I simply adore Patrick Leigh Fermor, one of the great individuals of the Twentieth Century. Soldier, traveller, linguist, and writer, this man was incredible. Amongst his wonderful books are the chronicles of his walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople (as was) in the Thirties, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. The third and final installment of that trilogy is being put together by Cooper after this book. I am very excited. See also his books about Greece, where he lived for much of his life: Mani, Roumeli, and a collection titled Words of Mercury. I’m saying nothing…
Train Dreams – Denis Johnson
If you haven’t read any Denis Johnson then you simply must. Go and get Tree of Smoke. You’ll thank me. This short novel of the American West is one of the books that was in the running for the unawarded Pulitzer Prize.
Merivel – Rose Tremain
Following on from Tremain’s 1989 Restoration, Merivel returns to the eponymous courtier and physician in middle age and finds him in a more reflective, but ever mirthful mood. As he journeys across Europe everything seems to go wrong except, I hope, Tremain’s writing.