As well as all the books I missed in 2015 and want to catch up on, there are lots of new books to look forward to in 2016. Here is a selection I will be keeping my eye out for this year:
I‘m looking forward to reading The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes, an author who can always be relied upon to write about something completely different every time he publishes a new book. His latest novel, his first since The Sense of an Ending which won the Man Booker Prize in 2011, is based on the life of Dmitri Shostakovich.
The Muse by Jessie Burton will be out in the summer. I thought The Miniaturist was an enjoyable piece of historical literary fiction but a bit on the light side whereas her second novel looks like it’s going to be more ambitious in terms of content. Set in 1930s Spain and 1960s London, it tells the story of a painting which connects a Caribbean migrant and a bohemian artist.
This Must Be The Place by Maggie O’Farrell will be published in May. I’ve enjoyed all of her novels, particularly The Hand That First Held Mine and I’m looking forward to her seventh novel about an American professor living in Ireland who has a secret which threatens to destroy his idyllic life in the countryside.
‘After Me Comes the Flood’ is a 50p charity shop bargain I haven’t read yet but I’m hoping to read both that as well as The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry this year. Her second novel is set in Victorian London and Essex and tells the story of a unique relationship between a widow and a vicar.
One of the most anticipated novels due this summer is The Girls by Emma Cline. It was reportedly sold to Random House for a seven-figure sum, normally unheard of for a debut novel. Set in a Californian hippy commune during the 1960s, it is loosely based on the Manson murders and has been compared to The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Elsewhere, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, a comic novel set in Britain in the 1970s, has already been generating a lot of interest and is out later this month.
I’m particularly interested in The Good Liar by Nicholas Searle out this month, which is a story told in reverse about a con artist trying to scam an elderly lady who is suspiciously willing to be his victim. Searle has previously worked as a “senior civil servant” dealing with security matters for many years. Intriguing…
I am hoping to read Human Acts by Han Kang about a student uprising in South Korea as well as her debut novel ‘The Vegetarian’ which I have heard many good things about from several bloggers I trust.
Secondly, the penultimate volume of the My Struggle cycle Some Rain Must Fall by Karl Ove Knausgaard is due out in the spring. However, I have yet to read the fourth instalment ‘Dancing in the Dark’ so I have a bit of catching up to do.
Peirene Press have some interesting titles out this year in their Fairy Tale series. These are The Man I Became by Peter Verhelst translated from the Dutch by David Colmer which has been billed as “Huxley’s Brave New World meets Orwell’s Animal Farm“, Her Father’s Daughter by Marie Sizun, a family drama translated from the French by Adriana Hunter and The Empress and the Cake by Linda Stift translated from the Austrian German by Jamie Bulloch.
I will also be following the Man Booker International Prize longlist which will be announced in March. Eligible books for the revamped prize must have been published in the UK between January 2015 and April 2016.
I’m intrigued by In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri as I’ve read all of her fiction which tends to dwell on a very narrow set of themes based around Bengali families adjusting to life on the East Coast of the United States. However, her first work of non-fiction looks like it will offer something completely different. Although her previous novels were written in English, Lahiri originally published her memoir in Italian about her love of the language and her attempts to immerse herself in it since moving to Rome in 2012. It has been translated by Ann Goldstein who has also translated Elena Ferrante’s novels.
I’m looking forward to Far and Away: Essays from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, Twenty-Five Years by Andrew Solomon this summer as I’m currently reading his Wellcome Prize-winning book ‘Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity’. Solomon’s new book covers his travels across the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Greenland and Zambia during times when cultural and political shifts have brought about great change in society.
I’m keen to read This is London: Life and Death in the World City by Ben Judah out later this month in which he tells the stories of immigrants living in London from all walks of life. It sounds like exactly the kind of narrative non-fiction I enjoy reading, particularly when it’s about a city I know well.
Given the buzz surrounding the Neapolitan novels, it’s somewhat inevitable that Fragments by Elena Ferrante is being reissued to satisfy her readers. It is a collection of essays, interviews and other correspondence by the notoriously private Italian author. However, I’m sure the majority of her fans like myself will be more interested in what she will write next after The Story of the Lost Child.
There will inevitably be lots of other books coming soon which I haven’t heard about yet. Which books are you looking forward to reading in 2016 (old or new)?