50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2014 (Pt 3)

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  1. Complete Eightball by Daniel Clowes – The recent Fantagraphics Kickstarter (which was a big success – phew!) revealed that Daniel Clowes’ Complete Eightball is due for the slipcased Fantagraphics treatment in the second half of 2014. This has essential purchase written all over it.
  2. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters – ‘It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants,  life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers…’
  3. Sugar Skull by Charles Burns – We’ve puzzled over X’ed Out and lapped up The Hive. The third instalment of Burns’ confounding trilogy is Sugar Skull. Can we expect answers? More questions? Bafflement and confusion? All of the above? Let’s hope so. You can glimpse the cover here
  4. Grandville Noel by Bryan Talbot – We’ve seen the cover for the Christmas themed Grandville outing and contained our disappointment when the book didn’t surface in November (we figure maybe Talbot doesn’t want to distract from potential sales of The Dotter… this Christmas and then we have Sally Heathcote Suffragette). So maybe this will see the light of day next November. And already there are talks of a fifth volume…
  5. The Insufferable Gaucho by Roberto Bolano – The last book Bolano prepared for publication before his death in 2003, The Insufferable Gaucho contains five short stories – including the tales of ‘a stalwart rodent detective trying to investigate the mysterious deaths of his fellow rats, an elderly judge giving up his job in the city for an improbable return to the family farm in the pampas, and a confrontation between an elusive film-maker and the little-known Argentinian novelist whose work he’s plagiarized for years’ – as well as two essays.
  6. The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi – ‘Mamoon is an eminent Indian-born writer who has made a career in England – but now, in his early 70s, his reputation is fading, sales have dried up, and his new wife has expensive taste. Harry, a young writer, is commissioned to write a biography to revitalise both Mamoon’s career and his bank balance. Harry greatly admires Mamoon’s work and wants to uncover the truth of the artist’s life. Harry’s publisher seeks a more naked truth, a salacious tale of sex and scandal that will generate headlines. Meanwhile Mamoon himself is mining a different vein of truth altogether. Harry and Mamoon find themselves in a battle of wills, but which of them will have the last word?’
  7. Geek Sublime by Vikram Chandra – Many moons ago we saw a young Indian man read from a book called Red Earth and Pouring Rain and we were a bit dumbstruck by the brilliance of said writer. The brilliance may have been a flash in the pan (nothing Chandra has written since has excited us as much as his debut) but this nonfiction work centring on the attraction of writing fiction and writing code has piqued our interest…
  8. Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart – A Shteyngart memoir for Shteyngart fans (I figure if I keep writing Shteyngart it will stick in my head eventually). ‘A candid and deeply poignant story of a Soviet family’s trials and tribulations, and of their escape in 1979 to the consumerist promised land of the USA, Little Failure is also an exceptionally funny account of the author’s transformation from asthmatic toddler in Leningrad to 40-something Manhattanite with a receding hairline and a memoir to write.’ Apparently.
  9. Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun – Coming steeped in hype already (rights sold in the dead of night, movie on the way) that arouses all kinds of suspicion, Calhoun’s debut still retains (at least so far) more than a whiff of excitement about it. A novel about a world in which no-one sleeps any more – no-one but the narrator Matt Briggs. The world is on the brink of pandemonium. This has about it something of Kevin Brockmeier’s The Illumination or (Heaven forbid) The Flame Alphabet (we know you all liked it, you’re all wrong).
  10. Roth Unbound by Claudia Roth Pierpont – We still can’t entirely believe that we are never going to read a new Philip Roth (he must have a couple of unreleased novels salted away, right?) but at least Claudia Roth Pierpont is on hand to fill the gap with some Rothsian musings. ‘Claudia Roth Pierpont tells an engaging story even as she delves into the many complexities of Roth’s work and the controversies it has raised. This is not a biography – though it contains many biographical details – but something more rewarding: an attempt to understand a great writer through his art.’

Coming in Part 4 of our 50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2014 is…. new AL Kennedy, new Joseph O’Connor, new Siri Hutsvedt, new Adam Foulds…


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