Tag Archives: Publishing

Their Brilliant Careers by Ryan O’Neill

Their Brilliant Careers Ryan O’NeillI have been reading a lot of non-fiction over the last few weeks, and even the most recent novel I have read masquerades as a series of biographical sketches. ‘Their Brilliant Careers’ by Ryan O’Neill is introduced as a collection of sixteen portraits of Australian literary figures from the 20th century. It is a shame that the blurb and my review are forced by necessity to reveal that everything from the dedication to the index is invented, but O’Neill’s highly amusing pastiche more than makes up for this. Continue reading

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My Most Anticipated Books of 2019

I have an ever-growing list of books I want to read which will be published in 2019, even though it is extremely unlikely I will get round to all of them in the next 12 months and more will inevitably distract me as the year goes on. Here is a selection of some I will be looking out for. All publication dates where known apply to the UK only and may be subject to change.

Spring Ali Smith

Among fiction titles, there are numerous sequels and instalments of series due in 2019. Spring by Ali Smith is the third book in the Scottish author’s seasons cycle following Autumn (2016) and Winter (2017) with Summer presumably following in 2020.

A part of me wonders if The Testaments by Margaret Atwood would ever have been written if the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale hadn’t been so successful. Set 15 years after the original book, the new volume won’t be based on the grim storylines of the second season broadcast last year, but it’s safe to assume that it won’t be a light and cheery read either. Continue reading

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A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

A Ladder to the Sky John BoyneI don’t normally read books by the same author within the space of a few weeks but after enjoying The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne so much in July, I was very keen to read his latest novel ‘A Ladder to the Sky’. It tells the story of Maurice Swift, an aspiring young writer who meets moderately successful novelist Erich Ackermann in Berlin in the late 1980s. Erich becomes infatuated with Maurice and reveals a long-held secret from his youth in Nazi Germany. Maurice later publishes a novel based on Erich’s secret to great critical acclaim but struggles to follow the success of his debut. He can write average prose but ideas, plots and characters don’t come naturally to him at all, so he goes in search of other people’s stories, resorting to extreme measures in order to pass them off as his own work. Continue reading

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Do Book Blog Reviews Have Real Influence?

Blog Influence Snoopy Cartoon

The book blogger versus traditional literary critic debate has been rumbling on for a while now, especially as it is noticeable that endorsements from bloggers are increasingly used alongside reviews by established journalists. However, I was recently surprised to find a quote from my review of Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien inside the UK paperback edition published by Granta. I hadn’t known my review was going to be used for this purpose (but I don’t object to it) and I also didn’t receive a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my comments. Continue reading

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On Anonymity, Identity and Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante Neapolitan Novels

There are many reasons why authors may choose to publish their work anonymously or pseudonymously. Historically, this has primarily been due to the threat of persecution or prosecution if the material produced was controversial and/or illegal. More recently, however, it has often stemmed from the author’s desire to simply let the words speak for themselves. Continue reading

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The Man Booker International Prize Longlist 2016

The longlist for the newly reconfigured Man Booker International Prize has been announced today. The thirteen books are:

  • A General Theory of Oblivion by José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola), translated by Daniel Hahn and published by Harvill Secker.
  • The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante (Italy), translated by Ann Goldstein and published by Europa Editions
  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang (South Korea), translated by Deborah Smith and published by Portobello Books
  • Mend the Living by Maylis de Kerangal (France), translated by Jessica Moore and published by Maclehose Press
  • Man Tiger by Eka Kurniawan (Indonesia), translated by Labodalih Sembiring and published by Verso Books
  • The Four Books by Yan Lianke (China), translated by Carlos Rojas and published by Chatto & Windus
  • Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo/Austria), translated by Roland Glasser and published by Jacaranda
  • A Cup of Rage by Raduan Nassar (Brazil), translated by Stefan Tobler and published by Penguin Modern Classics
  • Ladivine by Marie NDiaye (France), translated by Jordan Stump and published Maclehose Press
  • Death by Water by Kenzaburō Ōe (Japan), translated by Deborah Boliner Boem (Atlantic Books)
  • White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen (Finland), translated by Emily Jeremiah & Fleur Jeremiah and published by Peirene Press
  • A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk (Turkey), translated by Ekin Oklap and published by Faber & Faber
  • A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler (Austria), translated by Charlotte Collins and published by Picador

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New Books Coming Soon in 2016

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:

FICTION

IThe Noise of Time Julian Barnes‘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 Maggie O'FarrellThis 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. Continue reading

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