The second graphic novel on our list concerns a beardless man called Dave who lives on an island where such things as beards are not tolerated who is suddenly beset by a beast – that is, a beard – that renders him somewhat Cousin It if the cover of the book is anything to go by. This looks fun to us.
All the Birds Singing by Evie Wyld
Evie Wyld’s debut, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice set the horses racing a couple of years ago and now she’s back with All The Birds Singing which concerns a Jake Whyte and a farmhouse and a story involving flashbacks and some mysterious beastie making off with the sheep, which sound like all (or at least a great many) of the ingredients that make for an intriguing read…
If we’re not going to have a new novel by Willy Vlautin in 2013 then the next best thing must surely be a just discovered novel by folk legend Woody Guthrie. Apparently, ‘Filled with the homespun lyricism that made Guthrie’s songs unforgettable, this is the story of an ordinary couple’s dream of a better life in a corrupt world. Living in a precarious wooden shack, Texan farmers Tike and Ella May yearn for a sturdy house to protect them from the treacherous elements. Thanks to a government pamphlet, Tike knows how to build a simple adobe dwelling from the land itself— a house of earth. But while the land on which Tike and Ella May live and work is not theirs, their dream remains painfully out of reach.’
‘Yes, yes, yes,’ you say. ‘This Books You’re Looking Forward to list is all well and good. But where are all of the intellectual comedies set in Egypt just before the turn of the century?’ To which we say: here it is! ‘Okay, okay, but what about – ooh, I don’t know – alien races?’ Kalfus has that covered too. ‘Alright, how about gender politics? How about love triangles? How about illness, disease, worker’s rights?’ Kalfus has all of that bottomed out. It may be that this is the only novel you need to read in 2013!
Published by Hard Case Crime (and only available as a paperback, there’ll be no e-version of this for a while), Stephen King’s second book of 2013 (that we know about, there may be more, who knows?) is set in 1973, and concerns a fairground and a serial killer. If you’re a King fan you may want to set this on your wishlist so you don’t forget about it as it’s likely to slip relatively beneath the radar as Blockade Billy did a couple of years ago…
Tom Gauld is one of those treasures that more people should be checking out. We loved his book, The Gigantic Robot a couple of years ago and his Goliath is top of our Christmas list. You’re All Just Jealous of my Jetpack is a collection of odds and ends so an ideal place to start if you’ve yet to sample the delights of what Gauld can conjure up.
Sandman prequel by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman is one of – if not the – best collections of graphic novels that exist and if you’ve yet to dabble with the whole graphic novel thing, you could do far worse than start with The Sandman. Fans will know that the whole Sandman piece kicks off with Sandman returning from somewhere only to be captured and imprisoned – and the somewhere he is returning from is sort of forgotten about. But no more. Gaiman has a new Sandman story to tell and we could not be more excited at the prospect.
Coetzee is back with a new novel (in addition to his collaboration with Paul Auster) and this time he isn’t writing a thinly veiled slice of autobiography. The Childhood of Jesus concerns immigrants and stevedores conducting philosophical debates on the dignity of labour and odd slightly elliptical narrative developments that seem to recall Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled. Which probably means he’ll be winning the Booker prize for the third time…
We loved The Housekeeper and the Professor and Hotel Iris so we reckon that Revenge – which strikes us, not having read it yet, as one of those collections of short stories held together by a portmanteau device (in this case, a cakeshop of all things) – will probably impress us as well. ‘In the tradition of classical Japanese poetic collections, the stories in Revenge are linked through recurring images and motifs, as each story follows on from the one before while simultaneously introducing new characters and themes…’
TV Comedian by Stewart Lee
Stewart Lee’s latest follows in the wake of his thoroughly enjoyable How I Escaped My Certain Fate and If You Prefer a Milder Comedian with annotated scripts for his Comedy Vehicle TV series… We loved the first two books, we loved the TV shows, we figure we’ll get a big kick out of the new un as well.