50 Books we’re looking forward to in the second half of 2015 (Part one by Fran Slater)

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Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins: There can’t have been that many better debuts than Watkins’ short story collection, Battleborn. After winning every award that ever existed (probably) for that one, she’s now back with a love story set in a near future California devastated by drought. If it has half as much power as her breakthrough, it’ll be a bloody good read for sure.

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson: Do you all remember when Adam Johnson won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction? You probably do. It was only two years ago. Still, that’s seemed an awful long time to wait for the follow up to The Orphan Master’s Son. Now that Fortune Smiles is almost here, we can expect six stories which look at love, loss, and the way our lives are governed by the politics we live under. So, you know, all the small subjects.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee: Mixed feelings definitely abound with this one. Does Harper Lee really want to publish a book she’s kept buried for most of her life? We’ll never be sure. What we do know, though, is that this is a new novel from the writer of one of literature’s most loved books. It’s hard not to be at least a little bit excited.

Wind/Pinball by Haruki Murakami: Murakami has his detractors. And even among his most loyal fans, some have doubted the strength of his output in recent years. So it will probably come as a relief to hear that Wind/Pinball sees Murakami’s first two novels grouped together and translated into English for the very first time. As two coming of age novels that deal with loneliness, obsession, and eroticism, they sound like Murakami in his element.

 A Slanting of the Sun by Donal Ryan: With two fantastic novels under his belt, Guardian First Book Award Winner Donal Ryan is bringing us his first collection of short stories. They probably won’t be that cheery. But, if his previous work is anything to go by, they’ll be beautifully written and quietly devastating. Enjoy.

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick Dewitt: It’s been four bloody years since The Sister Brothers. If it hadn’t been such a mindbogglingly good novel, we might almost be mad at its author. But it was. And his new one has an equally brilliant title, so we’re getting excited. Billed as an ink-black comedy of manners, an adventure story, and a mystery, it’s hard to pin down just what it’s about. It’ll be a lot of fun, though.

The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson: The Gap of Time is a retelling of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale based in London in the months after the 2008 financial crisis. Let’s be honest, these kind of rewrites are disastrous as often as they’re inspired. But this is Jeanette Winterson. Surely it’ll be the latter? Right?

New American Stories ed. by Ben Marcus: Hulking great collections of short stories don’t always inspire a great amount of excitement in all honesty. When they’ve been selected by Ben Marcus, though, things are a little different. As one of the more weird and wonderful authors operating today, expect him to have chosen some unique and original stories as he tries to show the best of stateside short fiction.

The New World by Chris Adrian and Eli Horowitz: This is what the tagline says: ‘An innovative story of love, decapitation, cryogenics, and memory by two of our most creative literary minds.’ If that’s not enough to capture the imagination, I don’t know what is.

Two Years Eight Months and 28 Nights by Salman Rushdie: We haven’t had a new Rushdie novel since 2008. For some of you, this is probably a good thing. He isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and he never will be. His latest work takes place in a New York City that’s been oddly affected by a recent storm. Graphic novel characters are coming to life. A baby begins marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. It sounds a bit like Misfits and a bit like Heroes. It even sounds a bit like Irvine Welsh’s The Acid House. But it won’t be. It’s a Rushdie novel, so it’ll be unique and original and loved and hated in equal measures.

Check out part two of our 50 Books we’re looking forward to in the second half of 2015 which includes new uns from the likes of Iain Pears, Joyce Carol Oates, Michel Houellebecq and Orhan Pamuk, among others…


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