50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2015 (Part 5 brought to you by Valerie O’Riordan)

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The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel – an obvious choice, perhaps, but if this final volume in the Cromwell trilogy is even half as good as its predecessors, it’ll be worth the wait. If I need to explain just how bloody fantastic a prose stylist Mantel is, then you’ve not been reading these ages attentively these past several years.

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link – Link’s an American short story writer, and her work isn’t quite as well known in the UK as it deserves. Think literary realism crossed with creepy fantasy: Susanna Clarke meets Buffy but with a dollop more horror. New link books are few and far between, so we’re very excited about this release

A story collection by Danielle McLaughlin, an Irish writer who’s lately been runner-up in the Davy Byrnes Short Story Prize and published by The New Yorker, no less: we’re not sure what the book’s to be called, but it’s coming out with The Stinging Fly and we’re pretty much always impressed by their output.

The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall – one of the UK’s finest contemporary writers. From her properly heartbreaking debut, Haweswater, to her most recent collection, The Beautiful Indifference, Hall’s consistently bowled us over: she almost makes us want to go and live in rural Cumbria. Bring on the new one!

We Don’t Know What We’re Doing by Thomas Morris – Morris is the latest editor of long-running Irish lit mag The Stinging Fly (see above) and if his stewardship there is any indication, he knows good prose. So we’re intrigued by his own forthcoming collection – a group of stories set, we believe, in his Welsh hometown of Caerphilly.

The Ladies of the House by Molly McGrann (Picador) – a literary murder mystery from poet, writer and literary editor Molly McGrann. We haven’t yet explored her back catalogue, but they’re marketing this one as comparable to Muriel Spark, and that’s a train we definitely want to ride.
Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories by China Mieville collection (Pan Macmillan): If the author of the Bas-Lag trilogy and The City and the City were to publish his shopping list, we’d probably want to read it, so a new story collection definitely skips to the top of the queue. This one is heralded to contain several as-yet unseen works as well as seven reprints – I’m on tenterhooks…

The Goddess of Buttercups and Daisies by Martin Millar – we hear a lot of praise for Millar, and, though we’ve not read all his back catalogue, what we have sampled has impressed us with its pretty bizarre mix of urban grime and magic realism. The new one’s set in ancient Greece, and we’re expected Pratchett-style humour and antics.

Aquarium, by David Vann – we’re on a serious crusade to get everybody reading Vann (you have read Legend of a Suicide, right?) and his incandescent and utterly depressing series of stories and novels that (mostly) fictionalize his own tragic family stories. We don’t know much about the new volume but we’re confident!

10:04 by Ben Lerner – New York about to flood, a desperately ill narrator, and Lerner’s excellent prose – what could go wrong?

 

Coming up tomorrow: Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2015 – the full list!


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