While trying to ignore the fact that the flat is getting overtaken with books (no more shelf or stacking space!), I’ve looked through the books coming out for the first half of 2017 and listed down those that tickled my fancy. I can’t say I’ll be able to read them all, since I’d have to buy them first and that, plus the space issue…erm. But we’ll see how long my self-control lasts, eh?
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (1 January, Viking Fiction/Penguin Random House)
“Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow.”
Everyone’s already been raving about this since it was released sometime middle of 2016 in the US. I thought it was going to be released at the same time here in the UK, but obviously not, as this will be one of the first releases of Penguin in 2017.
Innocents and Others by Dana Spiotta (12 January, Picador/Pan Macmillan)
“Meadow and Carrie have everything in common—except their views on sex, power, movie-making, and morality. Their lives collide with Jelly, a loner whose most intimate experience is on the phone. Jelly is older, erotic, and mysterious. She cold calls powerful men and seduces them not through sex but through listening. She invites them to reveal themselves, and they do.”
The premise interests me, but I’m wary that this may go over my head. Reviews make it sound like a bit of a slog, as well as having a non-linear method of storytelling. But one of my favourite reads from last year was The Life and Death of Sophie Stark which was non-linear as well, but it hooked me right in. We’ll see how much in the mood I am in to be challenged.
Windwitch by Susan Dennard (12 January, Tor/Pan Macmillan)
I’ve got the first book in the series, Truthwitch, scheduled to be read on the plane on my way to Southeast Asia for holiday. I’ll be right on time for this sequel when I get back! I won’t put down the synopsis of this book here, since I think it’ll be better to start with the first book in the series. That one has an intriguing plot, about a rare ‘Truthwitch’, someone who is able to distinguish truth from lies. Sounds like a burden. Anyway, get on that, and then I’ll see you as we get the sequel on the 12th!
Dalila by Jason Donald (19 January, Jonathan Cape/Penguin Random House)
“Irene Dalila Mwathi comes from Kenya with a brutally violent personal history. Once she wanted to be a journalist, now all she wants is to be safe. When she finally arrives, bewildered, in London, she is attacked by the very people paid to protect her, and she has no choice but to step out on her own into this strange new world. Through a dizzying array of interviews, lawyer’s meetings, regulations and detention centres, she realises that what she faces may be no less dangerous than the violence she has fled.”
This interests me considering the current mood in the country, nay, the world, regarding immigration and asylum seekers. With the latest news regarding the Berlin truck driver who was applying for asylum status in Italy, I cannot fault people being suspicious; however, there are also those genuinely needing it, and I want to educate myself on this issue.
Gilded Cage by Vic James (26 January, Pan/Pan Macmillan)
“Britain’s magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years – and now it’s the Hadleys’ turn. Abi Hadley is assigned to England’s most ruthless noble family. The secrets she uncovers could win her freedom – or break her heart. Her brother Luke is enslaved in a brutal factory town, where new friends’ ideals might cost him everything. Then while the elite vie for power, a young aristocrat plots to remake the world with his dark gifts. As Britain moves from anger to defiance, all three must take sides. And the consequences of their choices will change everything, forever.”
This is a debut novel, the first in a dystopian/fantasy trilogy set in an ‘Orwellian Britain’. I’m a big fantasy nerd, and lately YA fantasy has been delivering most of the goodies, so I’ve kept my eye to get my fix while waiting for other book series to get a move on (Brandon Sanderson, I’m looking at you).
Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller (26 January, Fig Tree Fiction/Penguin Random House)
“Ingrid writes letters to her husband Gil about their life together. But instead of giving them to him, she hides each in the thousands of books Gil has collected. Despite their two daughters, despite their beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, despite Gil’s talent as a writer, their marriage has been troubled. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach. Twelve years later her adult daughter Flora comes home to look after her injured father. Secretly, Flora has never believed that her mother is dead, andshe starts asking questions, without realizing that the answers she’s looking for are hidden in the books that surround her.”
Sounds mysterious, and mystery hidden in books? Sign me up! From what I can glean from skimming Goodreads reviews, there’s a tale of romance too, albeit the type where it burns when it’s hot then goes cold as the reality of living a life sets in.
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (31 January, Faber & Faber)
“On March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four Fergusons made of the same genetic material, four boys who are the same boy, will go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Loves and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Chapter by chapter, the rotating narratives evolve into an elaborate dance of inner worlds enfolded within the outer forces of history as, one by one, the intimate plot of each Ferguson’s story rushes on across the tumultuous and fractured terrain of mid-twentieth-century America. A boy grows up – again and again and again.”
This book scares me. According to reviews, it has 800+ pages, and good lord, how will I ever finish that? But a story with four different paths in life? I’m curious to find out how this is written. And everyone has praises for it, so I’m hoping my curiosity won’t kill me (because good god, 800 pages).
Caraval by Stephanie Garber (31 January, Hodder & Stoughton)
So, I’ve already read this book (thank you, Hodder!), and I did quite enjoy it! I’ll save all of the commenting and reviewing in a separate blog post, but I wanted to read Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus first, which some people have said is quite similar to Caraval (but has less action). If you’re following YA, you know they’ve got beautiful covers (four of them!) for this, and I can’t wait to caress them!
The Good People by Hannah Kent (9 February, Picador/Pan Macmillan)
I’m not even going to put the synopsis here — I’ve been completely captivated with Hannah Kent’s debut novel Burial Rites, and there’s no way I won’t be checking this one out. As with her first one, The Good People is based on true events that happened in County Kerry, Ireland in 1825, and again, it has women as the main characters. This book has been released in her native country Australia sometime late last year, and I’ve been rubbing my hands, waiting in anticipation for it ever since.
Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors, translated by Misha Hoekstra (23 February, Pushkin Press)
“Sonja is learning to drive. Her instructor is insane. She should have done this when she was eighteen. On the streets of Copenhagen she struggles with the mirrors, with the signalling – she can’t even change gears. Her masseuse thinks she witholds her emotions, she needs to let them hang out more. And there’s the positional vertigo that threatens to overwhelm her at the most inconvenient moments. Dorthe Nors examines the absurdity of modern life and the ache of loneliness & disappointment in a novel shot through with humour. This is a stylishly original & meticulously structured story about searching for meaning in the alienating urban landscape.”
Pushkin Press is a gem for those wanting to read novels from different countries. It was hard going through their catalogue because I my interest was piqued (in varying levels) with most of the books on their list. This book was one of those that I feel I will have to read, whether I get once its released, or some time during the course of the year.
Let’s have a chat!
Any of these books caught your eye? Or is there anything that I didn’t mention that you’re anxiously waiting to be released?
Stick around for another post tomorrow where I list out the books I’m keeping my eye on for a March-June 2017 release!