Welcome to Shiny New Fiction. To help you find your way through the reviews, they are listed alphabetically by title on your right, or we’ve grouped them by theme below. As always, there is a selection of paperback releases in the mix:
We’ll start with a selection of contemporary literature from around the world: Australia in the case of Amnesia by Peter Carey and New Zealand for Peter Walker’s novel Some Here Among Us. Japan is the setting for Michelle Baillat-Jones’ Fog Island Mountains and Haiti in Edward Danticat’s third novel Claire of the Sea Light. Coming closer to home, The Winter War by Philip Teir is set in Helsinki, The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer is set in Switzerland and Dublin features in Marian Keyes’ latest – The Woman Who Stole my Life. Short story fans won’t feel short-changed either by Rose Tremain’s latest collection in The American Lover.
We have plenty of narratives set throughout the 20th Century: Adele Geras’ new novel Cover Your Eyes spans several generations, as does Jane Smiley’s Some Luck. The story of the unknown soldier of WWI is brought to life in Anna Hope’s Wake, and in A Price to Pay by Swiss author Alex Capus, we follow three from the 1920s through WWII, which is also the backdrop for The Two Hotel Francforts by David Leavitt. Post-war stories can be found in Alice McDermott’s novel of an Irish immigrant to New York – Someone, and the first novel from actress Sheila Hancock – Miss Carter’s War. Mining is behind the story in Black Sheep by Susan Hill, whereas Funny Girl by Nick Hornby celebrates 1960s TV comedy. Celeste Ng’s debut Everything I Never Told You takes us into the 1970s, the secrets at the core of Amanda Coe’s Getting Colder span from the 1970s to the 1990s where we cap off the century with a Rock ‘n’ roll tale in Chinaski by Frances Vick.
Going further back in history, we have two novels set in Victorian times for you in Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss and The Widow’s confession by Sophia Tobin. Tudor times appear in Lamentation – the latest Shardlake novel by CJ Sansom and Heir to a prophecy by Mercedes Rochelle takes us back to the 11th century and the time of Macbeth.
Our selection of novels in translation include two from different languages spoken in Spain – Bilbao-New York-Bilbao by Kirmen Uribe was written in Basque, and A Man of His Word by Imma Monsó in Catalan. We have two French authors: Paul Fournel has written a novel about e-reading in Dear Reader. Boualem Sansal’s Harraga is set in Algiers. Finally, we have Han Kang, author of The Vegetarian who is from Korea.
Books for Young Adults with crossover appeal – I Was Here by Gayle Forman looks at the after effects of a teen suicide, the debut novel Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss is also about grief after a mother dies in childbirth. Marcus Sedgwick’s newest novel The Ghosts of Heaven is completely different and obsessed with spirals in a cycle of linked novellas.
Contemporary crime and thrillers – we have a good and varied bunch for you: psychological thrillers. First in a new series, Good Girls Don’t Die by Isabelle Grey is set in Essex, and we stay in East Anglia – Peterborough to be precise for Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan. Ben Aaronovitch also moves out of London for the fifth in his Rivers of London series Foxglove Summer, whereas Jigsaw Man by Elena Forbes stays in the capital. Her by Harriet Lane is a slim, but very effective psychological thriller, whereas Runaway by Peter May has a dual narrative – unusual in a crime novel. Bringing our list to a close is Gray Mountain from the king of legal thrillers, John Grisham.
Annabel, Fiction editor.