50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2014 (Pt 4)


  1. Just So Happens by Fumio Obata – A beautiful looking graphic novel: ‘Yumiko is a young Japanese woman who has made London her home. She has a job, a boyfriend; Japan seems far away. Then, out of the blue, her brother calls to tell her that her father has died in a mountaineering accident.’ Please send us this now oh great graphic novelist gods in the sky!
  2. The Thing about December by Donal Ryan – Ryan’s debut The Spinning Heart was nominated for this and won that (which, as the author of a debut that sank without a trace, is admirable indeed, let me tell you) so his second book, which concerns ‘Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers’ and a lonely man called Johnsey Cunliffe will either do better still or kickstart the backlash.
  3. Everland by Rebecca Hunt – The only book on the 50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2014 list that also appeared on the Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2013, having been pushed back by a few months, Hunt’s latest arrests with Arctic intrigue. Can’t wait for this one.
  4. All the Rage by AL Kennedy – ‘A dozen stories: a dozen ways of looking at love, or the lack of love. Over five previous collections, A. L. Kennedy has shown herself to be a master of the short form, with a perfect way with sentences and a voice so distinct as to be instantly recognisable.’
  5. The Thrill of it all by Joseph O’Connor – This time around Sinead’s brother appears to be taking a leaf out of Roddy Doyle’s book – or rather several leaves from several of Roddy Doyle’s book, as The Thrill of it all sounds like The Commitments by way of The Last Round-Up: ‘Infused with blues, ska, classic showtunes, New Wave and punk, using interviews, lyrics, memoirs and diaries, the tale stretches from suburban England to Manhattan’s East Village, from Thatcher-era London to the Hollywood Bowl, from the meadows of the Glastonbury festival to a wintry Long Island, culminating in a Dublin evening in July 2012, a night that changes everything. A story of loyalties, friendship, the call of the muse, and the beguiling shimmer of teenage dreams, this is a warm-hearted, funny and deeply moving novel for anyone that’s ever loved a song.’
  6. The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull – Already reviewed by Bookmunch’s own Julie Fisher (you’ll have to wait until January 2014 for the full review) who said, ‘The story is one of friendship, of love and loss, of adventure and at its heart a compelling and affecting ghost story.’ Another promising debut it seems…
  7. Actors Anonymous by James Franco – The Green Goblin takes a long hard look at himself in the mirror in Actors Anonymous. ‘Franco mercilessly turns his ‘James Franco’ persona inside out while, at the same time, providing a fascinating meditation on his art, along with nightmarish tales of excess. ‘Hollywood has always been a private club,’ he writes. ‘I open the gates. I say welcome. I say, Look inside.’ We liked Palo Alto, we’ll give this one a try if someone sends us a copy…
  8. The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt – ‘Presented as a collection of texts compiled by a scholar, the story unfolds through extracts from notebooks, reviews and articles, as well as testimonies from children, lover, dear friends, and others more distantly connected,’ Hustvedt’s latest concerns ‘Artist Harriet Burden, consumed by fury at the lack of recognition she has received from the New York art establishment, embarks on an experiment: she hides her identity behind three male fronts who exhibit her work as their own. And yet, even after she has unmasked herself, there are those who refuse to believe she is the woman behind the men.’ Sounds very promising this one…
  9. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi – The fifth novel from award-winning author Helen Oyeyemi, who was named in 2013 as one of Granta’s best of young British novelists, Boy, Snow, Bird is (apparently) a deeply moving novel about three women and an unbreakable bond.
  10. In the Wolves Mouth by Adam Foulds – Set in North Africa and Sicily at the end of the last war, this title follows the Allies’ botched ‘liberation’ attempts as they chase the Germans north towards the Italian mainland. It shows how individual fates and truths are lost in the writing of history – lost, along with all tenderness and humanity.

Coming in the final instalment of 50BTLFTI2014: a graphic novel by The Pixies’ Black Francis, new novels from Ned Beauman, Sarah Moss and David Mitchell and intriguing nonfiction from Esther Woolfson…

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